Dirty Headlines(3)

He had a strong French accent. Smooth and raspy. But my eyes were locked on the amber fluid swirling in my glass. I wasn’t in the mood for small talk. Usually I was the person who could make friends with a brick. But right now, I could stab anyone with balls simply for breathing in my direction. Or any other direction, really.

“Or a horny man’s worst nightmare,” I responded. “Consequently, I’m not interested.”

“That’s a lie, and I don’t do liars.” He rolled a cocktail stirrer between his teeth in my periphery, shooting me a wolfish smirk. “But for you, I’ll make an exception.”

“Cocky and full of yourself?” I inwardly slapped myself across the face for even answering him. I had my earbuds in. Why had he talked to me in the first place? That was the international signal for leave-me-the-heck-alone. Never mind the fact that I wasn’t actually listening to anything, just wanted to push away potential conversationalists. “Good thing you didn’t say you put the STD in stud and now all you need is U.”

“I take it you’ve been hit on by extremely unsophisticated men. How rough was this day of yours, exactly?” He erased the rest of the distance between us, and I could now feel the heat of his body radiating from beneath his tailored suit.

I had a feeling if I turned around and looked at him—really looked at him—he would steal the breath from my lungs. My heart, angry and wounded from earlier today, thudded dully in my chest. We don’t want any intruders, Jude.

Tall, French, and Handsome slipped a one-hundred dollar bill to the bartender in front of me. His eyes caressed the side of my face as he asked him, “How many drinks did she have?”

“This is her second one, sir.” The bartender offered a curt nod, wiping the wooden surface in front of him with a damp cloth.

“Get her a sandwich.”

“I don’t want a sandwich.” I yanked my earbuds out of my ears and slammed them on the bar, finally looking up and spinning on my barstool to stare back at him.

A colossal mistake if I’d ever made one. For the first few seconds, I couldn’t even decipher what I was seeing. He was a level of gorgeous most people were not programmed to process. I’m talking Chris Pine perfect, Chris Hemsworth mammoth, and Chris Pratt charming. He was a triple-C threat, and I was S.C.R.E.W.E.D.

“You’ll have to eat one.” He didn’t bother sparing me a look, tossing his phone on the bar. It was lighting up like crazy, with dozens of emails pouring in every minute.


“Because I’m above fucking a drunk girl, and I would very much like to fuck you tonight,” he said calmly, peppering his casual statement with a dimpled, bewitching smile that turned my guts into warm goo.

I tried to blink away my shock, still staring, cataloging his face. Deep blue eyes—tiger-slanted and dark, dark, dark like the bottom of the ocean; mud-brown hair tousled to a fault; a jawline that could give you a papercut if you touched it; and lips made for saying filthy things in a sexy language. He was a specimen I had yet to encounter. I’d lived in New York my entire life. Foreign men were not a foreign concept to me. Yet he looked like an improbable cross between a male model and a CEO.

His navy suit made him look severe. The curves and edges of his face were ruthless. Filling in between those cutthroat cheekbones and square chin were a pouty mouth and straight nose.

I averted my gaze to his fingers to check for a wedding band. The coast looked clear.

“Excuse me?” I straightened my spine. Just because he looked like a god didn’t mean he had the right to act like one. The bartender slid a hot plate with a roast beef, mayo, tomato, and cheddar cheese sandwich on a brioche bun in front of me. I wanted so badly to remain defiant and tough, but unfortunately, I also wanted to not puke up pure whiskey in about an hour.

Hot Stranger Guy leaned against the bar, still standing—six one? six two?—and cocked his head to the side. “Eat.”

“It’s a free country,” I quipped.

“Yet you seem chained to the idea that fucking a stranger is somehow wrong.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name, Mr. Not Getting The Hint.” I yawned.

“Will Power. Nice to meet you. Look, you’re obviously having a bad day. I have a night to burn. I’m flying back home tomorrow morning, but until then…” He jerked his arm, allowing the sleeve of his blazer slide up as he glanced at his vintage Rolex. “I’m going to make sure whatever’s on your mind is forgotten for the night. Miss…?”

Screw it. And him. He was the kind of hot I very much doubted I’d even get to meet again in my lifetime.

I could put the blame on Milton.

And the medical bills.

And the whiskey.

Hell, I could blame the entire state of New York after the day I’d had.

“Spears.” I narrowed my eyes and took a bite of the sandwich. Darn. I flipped the napkin that came with the sandwich to check the name of the bar. Le Coq Tail. I made a mental note to return in about twenty years, after I’d finally paid my dad’s medical bills and stopped living off ramen noodles.

“Like Britney Spears?” He arched an incredulous eyebrow.

“Correct. And you are?”

“Mr. Timberlake.”

I took another bite of the sandwich, nearly moaning. When was the last time I’d eaten? Probably this morning, before I left the house for my job interview.

L.J. Shen's Books