With his target in sight, Nate crossed the dance floor and reached the couple just as the song ended and a fast Top 40 dance hit came on. Something between anger and nausea rolled through him as the couple broke apart and the man whispered something in Lauren’s ear. Then she turned and her eyes locked with his. Unable to look away, Nate held her gaze as a whole gamut of emotions swept through him. For the past year, everything he had done was in preparation for this moment. He’d tried to envision how their first meeting would go. Many scenarios had played through his head. Everything from passionate embraces to doors being slammed in his face. None, though, had included the utter fear on her face or the expensively dressed man with his arm around Lauren’s shoulders. When she didn’t make a move, Nate stepped toward her. In response, her date pulled her closer to his side.
“Lauren, I’ve been looking for you all night.”
Lauren swallowed, her owl-sized eyes staring back at him as if he were a ghost.
“Nate . . . I didn’t . . . what are you doing here?” she asked in that low, sultry voice he laid awake nights thinking about.
“Your mom invited me.” No way in hell was he revealing anything in front of her date. “Evidently she knew about the party tonight.” Not that he was surprised by that. Virginia McDonald always seemed to know everything that was going on in town.
Lauren nodded, her eyes never leaving his face. “I know. Kelly let it slip. You know her. But I think she convinced everyone else that she didn’t know about the party when she walked in.”
“I think you’re right.”
“Aren’t you going to introduce us, Lauren?” Her date spoke to Lauren, but his eyes never left Nate’s face.
Nate met his glare and waited for the other man to look away first. Something that didn’t take him long to do.
Color spread across Lauren’s face, turning her cheeks pink, and she looked over at her companion as if just remembering he stood there. “Sorry. Kevin, this is Nathaniel Callahan. We lived next door to each other until he joined the Marines.” She paused and pressed her lips together. “Nate this is Kevin Walsh.”
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