A mysterious man gives Darla the weekend of her life.
Darla never had time for love. Even though she worked in the perfume industry that epitomizes romance. No appropriate male ever wandered into the picture. Maybe that’s why she accepted her friend’s suggestion to fix up her up. Desperation and a desire to make sure she even remembered how to act like a woman as opposed to a corporate warrior.
Too bad, her arranged date fell on the eve before her meeting with some hot shot Italian nobleman she needed to sign for her company’s continued success. Even more ironic, her blind date Alex besides being the poster child for all things delicious had a sexy Italian accent. The accent alone should have reminded her of the need to prepare for her meeting. Instead charmed by his old world manners and animal magnetism she allows him to take charge and forgets about business. Two things she’s never done before.
Her gaze started at his shoes and roamed up his dress pants. He dressed up for her, how nice. He’d loosened his tie and rolled up his shirtsleeves, maybe his version of business casual. Nice strong chin and olive toned skin made the man appear more mysterious. She’d always preferred the Mediterranean look. So far, she liked everything she saw. He smiled, revealing a nice set of teeth. Smiling meant… yes, he was staring at her and walked toward her. The dating gods finally took pity on her.
She waited until he stood a mere foot from her. “Alex?” she asked hopefully, praying this time her luck would turn for the better. He grinned down at her and raised one eyebrow questioningly
“You wish for me to be Alex?”
“Oh, yes.” She practically sighed the words. He had an odd way of phrasing, but he had an accent. Marlene didn’t mention he’d be foreign. Things just kept getting better and better.
His eyes twinkled. “For you, I will be. I am at your service.” He motioned to a bar stool as if asking to sit. “Your name, if I may ask?
“Darla.” He should have known her name. Didn’t Marlene tell him? Probably his way of making small talk. Darla inhaled the scent of Alex. Hmm, he smelled as good as the scampi aroma riding the air. Instead of garlic and butter, he smelled more like a pine forest with a touch of lime and bergamot. A sophisticated blend for a complex man. She smiled well aware she just used one of the tag lines for the colognes her company promoted. They didn’t sell the one he wore or she would recognize it.
“What a wonderful cologne you have on, Alex. What is the name of it?” The moment the words came out of her mouth she could have slapped herself. She needed to leave business at work. Could be the reason she was single and accepting blind dates.
“No name yet. It is something I threw together. What would you call it?” he asked, his eyes crinkling at the corners.
George Clooney had nothing on Alex. Crow’s feet never looked so sexy. Weird, if he really made it, especially since she expected the Fortunato rep in town any day. Couldn’t be Alex. She’d heard Fortunato was a silver haired patriarch. She doubted he made it himself, just flirty small talk. Name, what she’d call his cologne? She could do it too. “I’d call it Perfection. It has all the right tones with woodsy scent, pulling in a masculine musk element, plus the unexpected citrus twist.”
He took a sip of his drink, thoughtful, as if considering her words. “You have a good nose for fragrances. Few people could separate the individual elements.”
Darla nodded in agreement, knowing her sense of smell was one of the reasons she was the top fragrance buyer for her company. While she should be researching the new cologne her company might distribute, her fingers unbuttoned her jacket, wondering how to slide it off while looking natural. She’d like to unbutton a few buttons on her blouse too. Hard to make that seem natural.
Alex leaned a little closer and lowered his voice. “The masculine musk note you mentioned is absent. What you smell is my natural aroma.” His eyes reflected some amusement. “You may realize when a man is in the presence of a beautiful woman he desires, the pheromones kick in, increasing his scent.”
Darla’s hand slipped on her drink, almost dropping it. She quickly placed it on the bar, sloshing the liquid contents. The bartender swooped in and wiped up the spill, indicating he may have been eavesdropping. Darla awkwardly confessed. “Um, I know about pheromones. I guess I haven’t had a chance to see them in action. So which woman do you desire?” She craned her neck as if looking for someone.
His laugh, deep and suggestive, sent a thrill dancing up her spine. The low, throaty sound caressed her, warming her, almost causing her to melt at his feet.
“You know I am talking about you, bella.”
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