Bill excused himself and stood, forcing Lee to lean away so that he would have space to leave the table, her hand reached behind her to steady herself and brushed against a hard male muscular thigh. She whipped her head around to stare into Jeremy’s eyes.
“I’m sorry.” She smiled and moved her hand away from the hard muscles she had touched. Her fingertips still tingled.
“No problem.” Jeremy spoke for the first time; his voice low with a distinct growl to it. “So what is Lee short for?” He asked.
“I prefer just Lee. But my full name is Leandra.” Lee found herself turning towards Jeremy, wanting to talk to him.
“Leandra suits you.” His voice brooked no argument, as though he stated a fact. “So little Leandra, full of fire, what brings you to Toronto?”
Lee watched his eyes, trying to suss out if she was being made fun of. Finding nothing but serious enquiry on his face, she answered. “My father died six months ago, and then our home burnt down last month. I decided the time had come to try my luck in the big city.”
“You’re around the same age as the rest of us, I’d say. Mid-twenties? Why did you stay home so long?” His eyes narrowed as he watched her, and he leaned out of the shadows so that Lee could see the slight scruff that marred his perfect jaw line. Total bad ass screamed into Lee’s mind as she watched him.
Jeremy nodded as though agreeing with her.
“My dad got sick just before I graduated from high school. I stayed home and took care of him.”
“What did he get sick from?” Jeremy asked.
“He had a massive stroke. It left him unable to speak, or move easily. He suffered for nearly six years. As much as I grieved for him, it was a blessing for him.” Lee tore her gaze away, stifling the emotions that threatened her when she thought of her strong, capable dad reduced to relying on her to feed him.
“I’m sorry for your loss. Where was your mother?” Jeremy showed a genuine interest; he leaned towards her, and cocked his head listening while she spoke.
“My mom died a long time ago.” Lee gazed at him, confused as to why she answered all his questions while she knew little more about him besides he looked divine in the black, fitted, long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans he wore to perfection. He was a hell of a specimen of manliness. Lee wanted to reach up to confirm that any drool existed only in her lust-addled brain and didn’t actually drip down her chin.
Lee shook her head. Jeremy looked at her for quite some time, until the silence became uncomfortable, and Lee was filled with self-consciousness. His eyes lightened; they went from a sapphire ringed with green to an aqua almost blue-green. His gaze wandered over her face and his jaw tightened.
After what seemed like an eternity, he spoke. “So little Leandra, all alone in the big bad world. Thinking her tattoos and bad ass attitude along with her charms,” he smirked the word, “will help her get by.”
“Excuse me?” Lee shook her head, taken aback by what he said.
“Just making an observation. You seem to be one of those 'woe is me' kind of girls. You come here talking big, telling everyone your sob story. You’re looking for someone to take care of you.”
“Really?” Lee’s voice rang out like a whip. “And you appear, to me, to be a dick for brains who makes assumptions based on a snap judgment. You asked me questions, I answered and now after an entire five-minute conversation you think you know me? Please. Get over yourself.” She turned around to face the group, determined to ignore the ass hat sitting beside her.
Unable to focus on the conversation she stood and moved to the bar, definitely ready for another drink and unwilling to wait until the waitress returned.
As she stood at the long gleaming wooden counter, she took several long breaths. The bartender took her order and then moved away to retrieve her drink.
A sixth sense came over her and she knew someone stood behind her, she turned to see Jeremy, his six foot four inch frame towering over her. The top of her head came up to his chin. Nonetheless, determined not to let him intimidate her, she put her hands on her hips and glared up at him.
“What? Come to try to make me feel bad? Listen buddy, that’s not gonna work. I’ve dealt with apes like you for a hell of a long time, and no one is going to make me uncomfortable. I don’t have any idea what I did to make you think so low of me, and frankly I don’t give a shit. It could be as simple as you man-struating but whatever, it doesn’t matter. Men like you are a dime a dozen.” She went to turn around until Jeremy spoke.