With six-month-old twins at home, Penny was just looking for a quick distraction. She’d pumped right before coming out and wasn’t going to drink a single drop of alcohol. Her housemates, Katrina and the new girl, Hazel (who had some sort of diplomatic position, as the house that they lived in was the hotspot for newly-discovered dragons), were watching Lisa and Mark. It was the first time Penny had left them alone except to go to work.
She was only going to be gone for a couple hours.
At least, that was the plan. Until the dark-eyed, dark-haired stranger sat down beside her, gazed at her with those sharp eyes and cocked a brow at her. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
Penny straightened from where she’d been hunched over her club soda. He did look vaguely familiar actually. She frowned at him. “You know, I think we have met.”
“I thought you looked familiar.”
Penny studied him, stirring the bubbles from her club soda. He was familiar. Achingly familiar. Strong jaw, dark eyes, sharp cheekbones. There was something unsettling in his gaze, something that made her shiver. If only she wasn’t so terrible at recognizing people! It had taken her almost a week to be able to pick out Hazel from a crowd and that was with the other woman’s flaming red hair. She was hopeless with recognizing this guy; she could have worked with him at her job as a nurse for years and he’d still only be vaguely familiar.
“Sorry, I can’t remember where I saw you before.” She leaned forward slightly. “I work at the hospital, maybe you’ve seen me there?”
“Doubt it.” He took a shot of whiskey and sipped at it. “I don’t go to hospitals. I’d remember if you treated me, anyway.” He winked at her, then downed his drink. He didn’t even flinch. “Can I get you anything?”
Penny shook her head blankly. No, she wasn’t going to get caught up with this… “I have babies at home,” she blurted. “I can’t drink anything, I’m still breastfeeding.”
“Ah.” He chuckled under his breath and waved away the bartender when he offered more whiskey. “Well, that explains it.”
The stranger’s gaze dipped to her exposed cleavage. “Why you’ve got that glow about you. So, your husband is watching them?”
“There is no father.”
His gaze heated.
Something heated inside of her. A tingle ran down her spine, and Penny suddenly wanted his hands on her. She knew the dangers of unprotected, casual sex. She was a nurse; of course, she knew it. But she’d never been one to shy from the risk. Hell, her twins came from a one-night-stand with a guy whose face she barely remembered. All her life, she’d been told that she wasn’t pretty, wasn’t desirable, because she was thicker than your average girl.
Sleeping around started in high school. She’d gone to a walk-in clinic and pretended to be an adult in order to get her first birth control pills. Penny had soon gotten the reputation of being a ‘slut’, and eventually it was that reputation that got her expelled. This despite her high grades and clean record. All it took was one incident where she refused to put heavy sweatpants under her knee-length skirt that her teachers claimed was distracting the boys, and she was out.
Penny knew all her life that nobody wanted her, except for sex. And she was fine with that, because if she could feel desirable for an hour here and there, what was the problem with that?
“My car’s outside,” she told the stranger, pushing her shoulders back to make her breasts look even bigger. She’d been blessed in that department since middle school, and as an adult, they’d only gotten better. “Want to go for a ride?”
The stranger slapped some money on the counter. “Let’s go.”
“Isn’t that a little fast?”
“What can I say?” He winked. “I’m an opportunist.”
Penny slid off her stool and took his hand, grinning. A distraction was just what she needed. True, she wasn’t on her birth control right now, but she was breastfeeding. That should prevent another pregnancy.
If she had known that it wouldn’t and that in nine months she’d have another son, she would have gone anyway.