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Pursuit

By:Lynda Chance

Chapter One


Logan Crenshaw finished paying for his coffee and turned away from the counter, holding a cup with one hand and snapping his wallet closed with the other. There were at least four people in line behind him, and as he moved out of their way, he glanced up and his gaze was immediately caught and held by a pair of amazing blue eyes with the longest, darkest eyelashes he'd ever seen. His footsteps stalled as an instantaneous, raw arrow of heat immobilized him. A delicate female face looked back at him and a soft pink flush filled the contoured cheekbones before the woman quickly looked away, undoubtedly knowing that she'd been caught staring. The profile she turned to him was eminently feminine, and as he watched, she hastily turned her attention to the manila folder spread out in front of her.

She was sitting at a table, alone, and as he shoved his wallet in his back pocket, he continued to look at her. She was unquestionably beautiful with long, soft hair and graceful features. She sat still and quiet and a subtle tension seemed to have stiffened her shoulders. She refused to look at him again and he glanced swiftly around the semi-crowded coffee shop before zeroing in on her once again. He knew he should probably look away, but hell, she was beautiful in a sultry, exotic way, in a way that attracted him instantly, and anyway, she'd started it by staring at him first. A primitive hunger clawed through his guts, hardening him beyond comfort, and a sudden need to touch her overcame him.

Fuck. This was his own damn fault; he knew he should have jacked-off this morning.

Having gotten the coffee he came in for, he'd been about to turn and leave. While he was certainly fearless enough to walk up to her, there was something about her that told him a bold move at this moment wouldn't be well received. But as the soft lines of her profile showed an unease that indicated she continued to be aware of him, Logan knew there was no way in hell that he could just leave, and he made the quick decision to sit for a while.

He turned away and snagged one of the only open tables, where he could see her from behind, but couldn't be observed in return unless she turned around completely. He wanted to make sure she wasn't with anyone, or possibly meeting someone, before he approached her. And he knew he had to approach her. He pulled his cell phone from his pocket and sat it on the table and took a healthy drink of coffee. He debated what the hell he was doing, but as he watched her, her hand reached out and she scribbled something on the document she was reading. Was he only imaging the slight tremor he saw in her slender fingers? Did she know he sat behind her?

As his gaze pierced her narrow shoulders and the delicate line of her back, libidinous thoughts filled his head. Thoughts of ripping the shirt from her body and laving the nipples he'd find with his tongue. Her hair looked just long enough to wrap around him as he thrust inside of her, and those slender fingers painted a pale pink were enticing him to imagine them wrapping around his cock and relieving him of the hard-on he had for her.

So the question was: Did he have a shot at her? The way she'd been watching him indicated that he might, and the way he was jonesing for her already told him that he knew he was going to find out before he left this place.

He realized his coffee cup was empty and he'd been sitting there for ten minutes fighting a boner that refused to go away, when she began to gather her things together and slipped the folder into a large purse. Now that she was standing, he could see that she was only medium height, and she was dressed in tight, albeit, conservative, jeans. She wore a purple t-shirt and medium heels, and the entire combination enflamed his senses. She slipped the strap over her shoulder and prepared to leave. Unconsciously graceful, she looked neither to the left nor to the right as she made her way to the back of the store where the restrooms were located.

Logan didn't waste a second. He slipped his cell phone in his pocket and dumped his coffee cup in the same can that she'd used. As she disappeared inside the restroom, he walked up to the kid who'd waited on him earlier. The line was gone now, and the male barista, who didn't look much older than a teenager, turned to him when Logan leaned on the counter. "The woman who's been sitting there," he began, indicating the chair she'd vacated.

The kid's eyes widened and he came to attention. "Yeah?"

"You know the one I'm talking about?"

The kid lifted his chin in a quick affirmation and raised his eyebrows. "It'd be hard to miss her, dude."

Logan nodded his head. That was the damn truth. She was hotter than hell. "Have you ever seen her before?"

"Yeah."

"She come in here often then?"

The kid leaned closer and crossed his arms over the counter a foot away from Logan. "Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually."

"Thanks. I owe you."

"Nah. Just lookin' out for you, bro. Good luck."

"Yeah, thanks." Logan turned away and went to stand in the small vestibule outside of the women's restroom.

Maybe he'd be accused of stalking, but then again . . . maybe not.



Lauren walked from the restroom and came to an abrupt halt as she saw the man leaning against the wall, casually masculine, in a relaxed posture with his boots crossed in front of him and his fingers hooked into the front pockets of his jeans. Crap. She'd thought he'd left, she really had.

Liar, she admitted to herself. She'd known he'd sat down behind her. This was so her fault. He'd caught her staring, but damn, she was only human! As she looked up into his face, she took a sustaining breath, but it didn't help her nerves settle. Jesus, they made 'em tall here in Texas.

Tall and freakin' gorgeous.

Which had been the exact reason he'd caught her staring in the first place.

She felt her cheeks fill with heat for a second time. She nodded quickly and attempted to move past him, trying to ignore the fact that he was leaning against the wall, and in all probability, waiting on her.

As she slid past, he pushed off the wall, stood to his full height and his hand shot out and wrapped around the fleshy part of her upper arm.

Her stomach flipped crazily and she almost melted at his feet when he drawled, "Not so fast." She blinked up at him, and the heat she saw in the dark brown striations of his eyes was almost her undoing. The guy was incredible looking, and she was semi-ashamed to acknowledge that the beefy fist wrapped around her arm only excited her. The main area of the coffee shop was full of people who weren't three feet away. What she was feeling certainly wasn't fear, and she couldn't even pretend to herself that it was. Her heartbeat stalled and then began to bang loudly in her ears as she attempted to look at him serenely, with only a question in her eyes.

His gaze raked boldly over her. "Now honey, don't look at me that way. You started it back there and we both know it."

His voice was deep and low, and its effect on her ran like hot liquid scorching through her veins. She knew she should be pulling away from him, but how was she supposed to do that when he was, by far, the sexiest man she'd ever seen in her life? She valiantly tried to bring her mind into focus. Had he just accused her of something? She needed to pay attention to the conversation and not the deep tones of his beautifully modulated voice. "I'm sorry, what?"

As she uttered the question that undoubtedly betrayed her confusion, Lauren was aware that his grip became caressing, and his face broke into a smile so stunning that it nearly knocked her off her axis. His eyes creased with amusement as if she'd pleased him in some indefinable way, and he briefly looked at her lips before glancing back up. "What's your name?" he drawled.

That indecently deep voice hit her senses, and Lauren wondered for a split second if it would be an entirely wise move to give him the answer he was asking for. On the one hand, he was the epitome of hot male. But on the other, he seemed to have a confidence that said he was aware of it.

At her silence, his amusement grew and his overt, virile appeal made it difficult to make up her mind. "Come on, sweetheart. You have a name, don't you?"

Lauren bit the inside of her lip to control the trembling. "Lauren," she finally responded.

He lazily appraised her and in that moment, his sexual magnetism was blatantly displayed. "You're very pretty," he said in a voice filled with a self-confidence that seemed to grow by the second.

It didn't make him any less appealing.

She inhaled raggedly. "So . . . so are you."

His smile became wider and she could see his perfect white teeth. A river of heat ran down her spine. God. She wanted to kiss him!

"You think I'm pretty?" he asked in a perfectly controlled voice.

Lauren realized that she'd voiced that thought out loud and she felt her blush become hotter. "Not . . . not pretty, exactly." Since she'd graduated from college and come to live in Texas she'd dreamed of meeting cowboys, but never one like this. And maybe he wasn't a cowboy. Maybe he just favored jeans and scuffed boots.

"It's okay, sweetheart. You're pretty enough for the both of us." It occurred to Lauren that he was trying to soothe her, but with his thumb sliding back and forth across the skin of her bicep, it wasn't happening.

She attempted to get a grip and was about to try to slide her arm from his grasp, because there wasn't anything decent about loitering in a restroom vestibule with a stranger, but his fingers only tightened, as if anticipating her next move. She looked down at his hand clasped around her arm before lifting her eyes back to his. "I've got to go . . . I'm sorry you caught me staring. I mean . . . I mean I'm sorry that I stared at you." He was looking at her so steadily that she thought she might drown in the deep velvet pools of his eyes.

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