Locked in Temptation(6)

By: Brenda Jackson

Joy could only assume the remaining people in the group were friends of the Grangers. Her eyes found their way back to the one man who, even from across the room, was sending flutters of heat all through her, seeping into her every pore. How was that possible when he hadn’t even looked her way?

She stopped staring at him long enough to check her watch. She was officially off work and could leave. That meant going home to an empty house with hopes of getting a good night’s sleep without any interruptions. However, as a homicide detective, it wasn’t unusual to be awakened in the middle of the night and summoned to police headquarters because of some murder case she’d been assigned to.

Joy decided to take one more quick look at that man before leaving. Nothing like a good drool before going home.

She released a slow, deep sigh, and as if the sound carried across the room, he suddenly turned his head and looked right at her. She knew she should have looked away, broken eye contact. It wasn’t nice to stare. But it was as if their gazes were locked and she couldn’t break the hold. She practically forced air into her lungs. He had to be the most gorgeous specimen of a man she’d seen in long time. A very long time. Just looking at him had her heart racing at top speed in her chest. What in the world was wrong with her? She’d never in her life been this affected by a man.

Everyone appeared to fade into oblivion except for the man whose gaze was holding her captive in the most delectable way. Then his gaze began scanning over her, boldly checking her out from head to toe, returning to look into her eyes every so often as if daring her to look away. His silent and bold appraisal filled her with heat of the most intense kind. Suddenly her dress felt too tight. It was obvious her nipples had hardened and were stretching against the material.

She could see more of him now that he’d turned his body. Like the other men present, he was wearing a black tux, and she definitely appreciated the way it fit him, defining all those muscles. He had a very handsome face, and even from where she was standing, she liked the shape of his lips. Even more, she appreciated the neatly trimmed beard that covered the lower part of his face, making him even more handsome. From the distance separating them, she could only speculate about the color of his eyes. Were they black or dark brown? Either one worked in such a gorgeous face.

He suddenly broke eye contact with her when one of the men with him said something and regained his attention. That was her cue to exit. She needed to get home and turn up the air as high as it could get to cool her off while she drank a glass of wine.

She moved toward the exit, which would put her in closer proximity to the hottie, but there was no way of getting around it if she wanted to leave. She felt flutters move inside her once more and knew his gaze was back on her. Although she was tempted to take one last look, she refrained from doing so.

Joy kept walking, determined to make it to the door, when suddenly she heard someone call her name. She stopped, her heart nearly in her throat when she realized the person calling out was Jules Granger.

Jules was all smiles as she walked toward her. “Joy, how are you?”

Joy returned Jules’s smile. “I’m fine. What about you?”

“I’m doing great. You’re leaving already?”

“Yes.” She wasn’t at liberty to admit she’d been working undercover.

“It’s still early. Come over and join us for a minute. I’d love for you to meet everyone.”

Joy knew that meant she would also be meeting the guy who’d caught her staring. Mr. Oh-So-Fine-And-Sexy. It would be easy to tell Jules that she really had to go. But instead, she heard herself say, “Okay.”

Jules hooked their arms together as she led her back over to the group. “Everyone, this is Joy Ingram, a homicide detective here in the city.” She then introduced her to everyone, including the man who had so intrigued her. “Joy, I’d like you to meet another good friend of the Grangers, Stonewall Courson.”

He was even more handsome up close. His dark brown eyes were striking, and she felt a tightening in her midsection when a pair of flawless lips eased into a smile. “Joy, it’s nice to meet you.”

Joy thought he sounded delicious, as well. His deep, throaty voice sent pleasurable shivers up her spine. “Nice meeting you, too, Stonewall,” she said, taking the hand he extended. The touch suffused her with heat. When she was about to pull her hand back, his fingers tightened their grasp, holding her hand captive even as she was introduced to the next two guys.

“And these two are also family friends, Quasar Patterson and Striker Jennings.”