Love in the Crosshairs by Eve R. Hart

 

Prologue

Jonas

“Take a vacation. Got you tickets to one of those nerd gadget conventions down in Florida.”

I hear my work partner’s voice in my head with a hint of an added mocking tone. I grumble right after I think of it because this is not as fun as he made it sound.

Staring down at one of the new smartphones that’s not even on the market yet, I sigh heavily. Yeah, I’m a nerd. I do ‘computer things,’ as Doug, my work partner, likes to call it. But I have no interest in checking out the newest and coolest smartphone that many people are dying to get their hands on. Nor do I care about all the cool accessories that go along with it, like those super cute earbuds that come in matching colors.

Yet, here I am, trying my hardest to find some sort of excitement in this practically forced on me vacation. Usually, Doug suggests time off after a big job is over, but he’s never gone out of his way to send me somewhere specific like this. He’s never bought me a plane ticket— not that I would travel by plane, ever— and booked a hotel room. I keep thinking that maybe he’s reaching out in his own way. Like a grandpa trying to understand what the ‘kids these days’ are into. I mean, Doug isn’t that old, but he definitely doesn’t understand a single thing that I do. That’s why he came to me about four years ago. He had an idea and I had the key to executing it. Key as in skills. So, in reality, I suppose Doug is more of a boss than a partner, but I like to think of us as equals in this thing since he can’t do shit without me.

Whatever. I’m in Florida and the hotel has a nice pool. Maybe if anything, I can at least get some sun on my pale-as-sin skin. All while drinking some of those pretty colored drinks with the fruit on the side and feel fancy for once in my lifetime.

An awkwardness falls over me as I realize I’ve been standing in front of this booth staring down at the display phone without picking it up for way too long to be normal. That’s what it’s there for anyway. Test it out and even pre-order it so you can have the damn thing the day it comes out. Talk it up to your friends and whatnot. Only, I don’t really have many friends, and the ones I do have are much like me, don’t give a shit about this thing.

I reach for it the same time the person to my left does and our fingers brush together. There’s this strange shock that I feel, kind of like static but so much more intense. I instantly snatch my hand back as I look up.

“Sorry,” he says to me and all I can do is gape at him.

He’s… not my usual type since he’s on the thin side and only a few good inches taller than me. He’s a bit older than me, but probably only four years at most, making him just shy of thirty. His hair is jet black and long enough that it curls around the bottom of his ears. But it’s his bright blue eyes that I can’t seem to look away from. So bright and clear like a pool of untouched tropical water. I want to wade in them and drown. No, dive in and never come back up for air.

What the hell?

I shake my head in an attempt to snap out of the stupor I’ve found myself stuck in.

“W-what?” I ask and yes, I sound like a nitwit that doesn’t understand words.

“It’s just that you were staring at it so long I didn’t think you were actually going to make a move. Sorry I kind of cut in.”

His voice is smooth and the hint of teasing in his tone matches his sexy smirk. It sets me at ease because it’s clear he’s not making fun of me. Then this weird breathy laugh falls out of my mouth and there’s no way he didn’t hear it.

“You know,” he goes on like I hadn’t just made a fool of myself. That charming smirk is still there, pushing against his clean-shaven cheek as he continues to talk and I wonder if his mouth is permanently stuck that way. “I don’t get these things.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out what I assume is his phone. “It looks just like this one. I fail to see the difference and how much better it really is.”

“Well, for one,” I start seeming to have found my voice. “That is a year old. It’s practically a dinosaur at this point.”

Oh, my God! I’m making jokes. In front of this hot guy! Please make it stop before it ends badly. Because it will, and you know it, Jonas.

He laughs softly and his eyes brighten even more. With the ice broken, he seems as if he’s thrilled he got me to respond.

“Oh, and,” someone cuts in. I look over to see the lady behind the booth now all up in our business. She’s fluttering her eyes at my new friend and I feel strange. Is this jealousy? I’m not sure since I’ve never really felt something like this before. I turn my attention back to… the guy. I really need to get his name. And his dick… preferably in my mouth or ass. Okay, no. Bad thoughts. “For starters, the battery life on it is…”

Her words fade to the background as I notice his attention is still on me. She’s talking about all the nerd-boner things like how fast the processor is on it and how quick the download speeds are, but it’s clear he doesn’t give a fuck what she’s going on about.

“You don’t understand a thing she’s talking about, do you?” I say quietly. I’m not trying to be rude but there’s something odd here that I can’t put my finger on. Maybe he’s that captivated by me, but I really doubt that.

Seriously, I’m nothing special. I’m just under average height. Like if I stand on my toes I could be five-foot-nine… maybe. Okay, more like five-foot-seven. My hair never does what I want it to do. It’s wavy but most of the time it just looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical outlet, especially if I try to use a blow dryer on it. My middle is… fluffy and my thighs are not meant to wear skinny jeans, that’s for sure. Don’t even get me started on my ass.

“No,” he whispers back.

“Why are you here?”

“I came with a friend. He had tickets and didn’t want to go alone, and I was the only one nice enough to agree to go with him.”

“Oh.” That’s really sweet actually.

“I lost him somewhere around the second booth. He was drooling and touching things.”

I huff out a laugh.

“So… he wouldn’t miss you if you happened to sneak out?” I’m shocked at myself and I know it shows on my face. I’m not usually this bold. Fine, I’m never this bold.

“I’m sure he wouldn’t even realize I was gone until they kick him out at the end of the night.”

Before I can say anything else, his hand slips into mine and he’s pulling me along. The doors are up ahead and I can’t wipe the smile off of my face.

“I don’t even know your name,” I say stupidly.

“Levi,” he tells me without a hit of hesitation. I smile as I roll his name around in my head a few times. I like it. Strong and sexy.

“I’m Jonas.” I sound lame but I suppose I should just tell him mine at this point. Wouldn’t want it to get awkward or anything.

He pushes the exit door open and looks over his shoulder at me, that smirk deeper this time, showing a faint dimple right in the middle of his cheek. My knees buckle and I stumble a bit. Luckily, our hands are still attached and he manages to help steady me.

Once we’re outside, he walks along the sidewalk with a pace that is much less rushed than it had been a minute ago. His body turns in my direction as he keeps walking and I let out a laugh that shakes my body when he playfully begins to swing our joined hands.

“Hungry?” he asks.

“Starved,” I reply, but it’s not food I’m in need of.

“I know this cute place a few blocks up.”

“I’m game.”

***

That cute place turned out to have the best tacos and salsa I’ve ever had in my life. Oh, and margaritas. Which I might have had one too many of. Tucked into the corner at a small table, we’d talked about everything.

Now, hours later, we’re sitting in a club, having more drinks. I’m not sure how I’m still standing, to be honest, but I am. And I’m having the best time of my life. I don’t want this day to end. I don’t want to say goodbye to Levi. In fact, I want to invite him up to my hotel room and tie him to the bed just to keep him.

Whoa there. Creepy much?

I shush my head out loud.

“You doing good over there?” he asks and I think I giggle. I’m not a giggler but the alcohol has decided I need to bring out a new side apparently.

“Yep. It’s nothing. Just thinking s’all. But it’s not anything I’m ever gonna share.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yes,” I say as sternly as I can manage. I slide closer to him, my lips inches from his and I wonder if this is a good idea. He hasn’t made a move, but he does look at me like I’m the last piece of chocolate cake and he will fight to the death to have it. “I don’t want to think.”

I press my lips against his. It’s sloppy and messy and my head is spinning. Half of me expects him to push me away, the other half is wishing on all the stars that he will kiss me back.

My wishes come true.

His lips take over, ever so sensually coaxing mine open. I follow his lead and allow him in. I’m overstimulated as his tongue delves into my mouth. It’s just a quick taste, but it’s so good my knees feel shaky. He pulls away and comes back right before I can whimper in sadness. Again and again, his tongue teases mine. My head is swimming. His arms go around my back and I end up plastered against his firm chest.

He pulls back and I blink open my eyes. He’s real, yeah. And he’s still standing right here holding onto me.

It’s there on my lips to ask him to come back to my room.

But before I do, he slides his hand into mine.

“Let’s dance,” he yells over the loud as fuck music that suddenly slams back into my ears.

That kiss was something. I seem to have forgotten that I’m standing in the middle of a crowded club.

He doesn’t give me time to say anything, and moments later, we’re in the middle of a gyrating, grinding mob. But it’s only him and I here as he spins me around and pulls me against his chest. His hips rock against my ass and I’m pretty sure I find a rhythm with him. I’m drunk and it feels like I’m doing it right. His hand goes to my hip, his fingers curling in as he jerks me back even further. His dick is hard and the fabric of our clothes causes my bottom lip to pop out in a pout for just a second.

I have no idea how long we dance and grind and kiss, but I’m drenched in sweat and out of breath. I need a break, and maybe some water.

He must read my mind because he’s then dragging me off the dance floor. He grabs us two bottles of water from the bartender and we find a semi-quiet corner to down them. I’m still panting and hot, but the water feels good as it goes down.

When I look up and catch his gaze, I know there’s no stopping the words that have been threatening to spill out of my mouth since the moment I laid eyes on him.

“You wanna come to my hotel room?” There’s no stutter. No shake in my tone. Not a single hint of hesitation in my question. For once, I feel confident and I like that it has a ring of demand to it too.

“Lead the way,” he says with a smirk that tells me he’s been waiting all night for that very suggestion.

Suddenly, I’m silently thanking Doug for this forced vacation as I all but run out of the bar.