He found her sitting at a darkened corner table, silently nursing a glass of red wine. She did not seem to be waiting for anyone, yet he could hardly believe she would be alone. Her full curves accentuated by the silken fabric of her clothes would have been invitation enough for many men. The ebony waterfall of her hair around her shoulders could trigger more than one erotic fantasy for him alone.
A cold Saturday night in a smoky jazz club screamed of a woman looking to pick up a man. But the amber glow in her whiskey eyes when he finally caught her gaze reassured him that she wasn’t on the prowl. She simply craved human connection and the flicker of recognition when she found it reflected in his dark eyes brought her entire soul to life.
He moved toward her, the proverbial moth drawn to a flame. Although he knew nothing about this woman, he felt compelled to reach out and feed her unmistakable desire to be discovered. He wanted her naked before him, but not in flesh. Tonight, he wanted to covet the secrets she wasn’t even aware she had hidden for a lifetime.
They assessed each other upon his approach. Before Quinn opened his mouth to speak, she had pushed out the chair next to her and smiled with such unabashed warmth, Quinn faltered a moment in his greeting. “Good evening. Are you expecting anyone to join you tonight?”
Her inviting expression remained, but Quinn did not fail to notice the uncertainty taint her gaze. “Actually, I was hoping you were on your way over to keep me company. Unless, you have other plans,” the charming stranger added.
Quinn leaned casually toward the woman, careful not to infringe upon her space but wanting her to clearly hear him. “Although we haven’t properly introduced ourselves, I was going to invite you to join me for a coffee at a café a few blocks over. I’m afraid this place is a bit too noisy to enjoy a decent, unrushed conversation with you. And I would much prefer a strong expresso to alcohol while getting to know you.” Quinn allowed himself to enjoy the slow blush that painted the stranger’s cheeks. To her credit, she never broke eye contact with him while she considered his unusual request.
With a nod, she grabbed her coat and stood to join him. He reached into his pocket to indicate that he would pay for her tab. She shook her head. “It was taken care of when I ordered, but thank you,” she demurely declined. “But before I blindly follow you into the street, may I at least know your name and where you intend on taking me so I can let a friend know?” She smiled, indicating the cell phone in her hand.
Impressed by her caution yet avid sense of adventure, he offered his hand. “My name is Quinn Wilcox and I’d love for you to accompany me to Eva’s on North Sedgwick.”
Quinn was rewarded with a firm grasp of her hand and relieved exhale of laughter, “Pleased to meet you, Quinn. My name is Anna Jones. And Eva’s is one of my favorite coffee shops in all of Chicago. If you will excuse me just a moment, I want to text my friend my plans and then we can be on our way.” She squeezed his fingers briefly, conveying a subtle strength and a warning that she was much more than what first met his eyes.
To be continued …