Although she couldn’t make out the words, the hushed conversation below her on the stairs aroused Leah's journalistic instincts. She moved quietly down the stairwell. When she was ten steps above the two men, she cleared her throat.
“Hey, Zeke, I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”
The two men had been so intent on their conversation, they hadn’t heard her approach, and they looked up, startled.
Leah drew closer. As her gaze rested on Zeke’s companion, her breath caught in her throat. Damn, he’s hot.
The stranger looked Latino; he had a dusky complexion and high, sharp cheekbones. A thin scar ran down his left cheek from temple to jaw. That’s a knife scar, a tiny voice inside her brain whispered.
His black hair was combed straight back from his forehead, and he had a five o’clock shadow that made him look disreputable and a little dangerous.
Great! A bad boy. Just my type. While Leah’s brain screamed warnings, her pussy twitched with approval. After all, it had been over three hundred days. And he looked so damn sexy.
Although she had difficulty judging his height from her position, he appeared to be as tall as Zeke, which would make him at least six-feet-two.
A black T-shirt and dark jeans emphasized his broad pecs, tight stomach and narrow hips. Tattoos decorated the muscles on both arms.
Mr. Sex-on-a-Stick stared at her, his gaze intense, penetrating and . . . hungry.
The breath she had been holding since first seeing him whooshed out in a soft exhalation.
Hold it together, girl. Don’t drool right in front of him. Embarrassed by her thoughts, she glanced at Sandy’s husband.
Zeke frowned, not pleased by her sudden appear-
ance. “Leah, this is Quin,” he offered in a grudging tone, giving the name a Hispanic pronunciation so that it sounded more like “Queen” than the English Quinn.
Leah moved closer. “Hi. I’m Le—”
The stranger interrupted. “Leah Reece. I know. I read your column in Heat. Your picture runs above it.”
His voice was dark and husky. But he didn’t seem to be trying to match her face with the head shot from her e-zine. His gaze roamed up and down her body, and he didn’t appear to care that she knew it.
Leah felt warmth flood her cheeks, but she refused to look away. Instead, she challenged him, staring boldly at the bulge at the juncture between his legs. “I’m so glad to hear you read Heat,” she said. “I hope you enjoy it.”
She raised her gaze to his face, and his smile turned her legs to rubber. Gleaming white teeth raised his sexiness quotient from a ten to a fifteen . . . minimum. She grabbed the banister with one hand.
Quin smirked as if he understood his impact on her. “I enjoy Heat, all right. You’ve got a great imagination.”
She swallowed to clear the lump clogging her throat. When she was certain her voice was under control, she said, “Oh, all that imagination isn’t mine. The credit goes to the writers and editors.”
He quirked one eyebrow. “I said I read your column, not your whole magazine. After I finish with you, I’m not interested in anyone else.”
The innuendo rocked her. She moistened her suddenly dry lips with the tip of her tongue. Realizing the gesture might signal nerves—something she’d be damned if she’d show him—Leah transformed the act into a come-on. Slowly and deliberately, she licked her lips like a cat tasting cream.
His eyes darkened and his torso stiffened, making him stand a tad straighter.
Her turn to smile. A direct hit.
He shifted his feet, spreading his legs a bit farther apart, as though his jeans were suddenly too tight.
She flicked another glance at the juncture between his legs. Let’s see how Mr. Macho likes being treated like a sex object.
Now that she’d made her point, she looked at the man beside him. “Where do you know Quin from, Zeke?”
Zeke opened his mouth, then hesitated. “I . . . he . . . ah . . .” His voice trailed off.
Surprised, Leah narrowed her eyes. Zeke Prada was one of the most self-assured men she knew. She’d never seen him at a loss for words before.
Quin broke the silence. “He’s trying to tell you that he’s the cop who arrested me.” His voice was neutral, carrying no anger.
“Arrested you! For what?”
Quin’s lips twitched with amusement. “Ask him. He’ll tell you all about it.” He nodded toward Zeke. “Catch you later, man.” Looking back at Leah, he smiled again, a lazy, sensual smile that made her stomach leap.
“I’m sure we’ll see each other again, Princess. I’ll look forward to it.” Touching his right hand to his forehead, he offered her a small salute before he opened the door and stepped out of the stairwell.
Cocky bastard. Leah grinned at her unintended pun, but watched him leave with regret.