Pouring milk into my mug, I watch the black and white colors swirl together until they turn a pretty caramel. I didn’t sleep well, and the creamy mix is exactly what the doctor ordered. Hurrying, I flick the sugar packet and dump its contents. The door behind me opens as I toss the spoon into the sink and lift the mug to my lips. The satisfying liquid warms my insides, and I can’t help my sigh even if I tried.
“Rough night?” a velvety voice asks.
I take another sip of my glorious cup of joe before turning toward Mario. He started working in the Reference Department three months ago and has featured in a few of my dirty dreams. He’s gorgeous and about six feet three inches. Dark, tall, and handsome would describe him to a T.
I shrug and force my mind from the gutter. He brushes past me and grabs the spoon I just discarded. The first time I saw him do this, I yelped in protest, but it seemed he really was another gross college guy.
One with full kissable lips.
“You’re quiet this morning,” he says and leans against the counter next to me.
After the episode with Tristan last night, I can’t help but stare a second longer. “No, just a date.” The words spill from my mouth. “I mean, I was up late.”
Mario’s mug freezes halfway to his lips, and an eyebrow raises as he stares at me.
“Fuck!” I slap a hand over my mouth in horror. My heart races, and I know my cheeks are bright pink. “I gotta go.” I squealed and run out of the break room.
Great job, Izzy! Now he thinks you were up all night fucking.
Calling myself a string of insults, I take the elevator down to the copy office. See, we both work in our college library in different departments. I keep the copy machines and printers stocked with paper and toner, and Mario does whatever the students in Reference do.
We both tend to be in the break room grabbing coffee in the mornings at the same time. If I’m lucky, I get a glimpse of him when I do my rounds. Our conversations aren’t long, usually revolving around our mutual love of coffee. His doesn’t include milk, but his love of coffee runs as deep as mine.
I walk around the corner and sigh with relief when I find the door closed. My boss, Jerry, isn’t in yet, and I know he’ll tease me if he spots the blush still on my cheeks. Jerry is old enough to be my dad and is the best boss I’ve had, not that there have been many.
Kicking the doorstop under the wooden door, I prop it open. I set my mug on the long counter and take a quick peek at the staplers and empty the pencil sharpener set out for students to pop in and use. My body goes into autopilot, and Mario’s lips come to mind. I wonder if they are they as soft as they look?
I reluctantly remind myself he’s out of my league. It’s not that I don’t think I’m pretty. I am, but I’m not the girl all the boys come sniffing around. They’ll look in my direction, but few take the next step. Of those who do, none are as handsome as Mario.
AJ Renee is the author behind the St. Fleur series, Beauty Unmasked, Winter’s Surprise, Surviving Paris, and Finding Love at the Falls…. She’s a military wife and mother to three young girls. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with her Master of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology while working at the library.
She loves to write steamy romance with suspense and a happily ever after. When she isn’t writing or interacting with her readers, you can find her spending time with her family or reading. AJ enjoys traveling, researching family history, and all things New Orleans.
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