He placed an elbow on the mahogany surface of the bar and a black boot on the gold foot rail near the floor and watched the scene around him. Men flirting with women, women flirting with men. Many he knew, but his dark brown eyes sought only one and they stopped their quest when they landed on their quarry.
She was across the room, her back to him, so she didn’t see him or his penetrating gaze. She was taller than average and prettier, too. That’s what caught his attention at the beginning. It wasn’t what held his interest though. It was the way she carried herself, as if she were royalty. She was stunning, but beauty only got a woman so far.
This one was also the epitome of sophistication and had more intelligence than a lot of men he knew and she wasn’t afraid to show it, either. Although she executed that without making anyone feel deficient. So much dignity all rolled into one beautiful package.
Oh, and her laughter! He couldn’t forget that! It touched his ears and made his heart skip as it filled the room like skilled fingers gliding on piano keys. Her smile could blind a person and it mesmerized him, like the sun’s rays glistening over a lake on a clear day. She certainly was rare; a precious jewel.
He couldn’t remember the last time a woman captivated him the way she had. Maybe that was the problem. She was the first. He couldn’t get enough of her. And he was totally content just watching her.
No, that was a lie. He wanted more than that.
She was like a virus—contagious and toxic. The more he was around her, the more he needed to be near her. He knew she wasn’t aware of the affect she had on him, because even though she was sophisticated, she had a natural naiveté. The world hadn’t contaminated her with its pretentiousness. Or maybe she hadn’t let it. Either way, he didn’t think she had a deceptive bone in her slender body and he liked that the most about her.
She turned, glanced his way and their eyes met. He held the intangible contact for a few seconds before smiling and then looking away. He had to. If he didn’t, he’d go to her and he couldn’t do that. He yearned to hold her. He craved to be the one she laughed at. The one she smiled for.
Then why? Why didn’t he tell her his true feelings?
Then he felt it.
His brother’s hand on his shoulder.
He couldn’t have her for she already belonged to another.