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One Night with a Stranger -- Linda Steinberg

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One Night with a Stranger
Unforgettable Nights (Book 1)

On the rebound from a bad breakup with Mr. Wrong, Lisa Randall does something she’s never done before:  has a one night stand with a strangershe meets in a bar. As amazing as the night is, the last thing she expects is to hear from the guy again. But when one night turns into two, and then three, and then more, Lisa wonders whether her infatuation with Matt is keeping her from meeting Mr. Right, or whether a passionate one night stand can actually lead to true love.

Matt Owens has always considered himself the King of Jumping into Things Too Fast. He met his ex on a Tuesday, proposed on Saturday, and married her a month later.  This time around he wants to take things slow, enjoy the moment. And the attractive woman he picked up in a bar seems to fit the bill. Lisa doesn’t even want to know his last name, let alone plan a future.  But as he begins to develop feelings for her, he knows his one big secret could ruin any chance for something more.


“How about that hottie at the end of the bar? If this were my one-night stand, he’s the guy I’d pick.”

Lisa Randall followed her best friend’s gaze. Courtney had good taste. The man swiveling on a black leather stool had dusky brown eyes, the enticing shadow of beard along his hard-planed cheek, and broad shoulders that narrowed to slim hips. But… “I didn’t say I was going to do it. Just considering it.”

“Well consider fast, Girlfriend, before someone else scoops him up.” Courtney licked her lips. “Possibly me.”

“What about Jared?”

Courtney shrugged. “What about him?”

Lisa rolled her eyes. Since they’d moved to L.A. from Texas, Court had been involved in four relationships--five if you counted the guy they’d met driving out here and stayed with for a couple of weeks until they'd gotten settled. Fun-for-the-moment guys, but not husband material. Courtney wasn’t looking for long-term.

But Lisa was. And in the last two years all she’d met were Mr. Wrongs.

“Well?” Courtney nudged her shoulder.

Lisa slid toward the edge of the booth for a better view. “I’m thinking.”

“Stalling, you mean.”

Her heart hammered with the same intensity as when she’d had to sing a solo for fifth grade graduation. “What if he isn’t interested?”

Courtney sipped her pina colada. “Only one way to find out.”

This was crazy. But sometimes, after a bad breakup, it was good to ‘cleanse the palate,’ right? At the thought of partaking of that delicious specimen of maleness, Lisa’s mouth watered.

You deserve this. She swung her legs over the side of the bench. And at that moment, Mr. Hotter-than-Midland-in-August stopped swiveling and met her gaze.

Holy macaroni. His eyes were pools a woman could drown in. Though they remained fixed on her face, his intense gaze had the effect of slowly, painstakingly undressing her.

It was not an unpleasant feeling.

“Go time,” Courtney whispered.

Limbs that felt like somebody else’s legs propelled Lisa from her seat and toward the bar. She felt as if she were moving in slow motion but maybe that was just the way she’d remember it afterward. Don’t trip, she warned her high heeled sandals. Remember to breathe.

Up close, the man had a killer smile. Not a fake grin, although how would she know if he were sincere or not? She strode confidently toward his barstool as if she did this kind of thing every day of her life. “Hi.”

Great opening, Lisa. You couldn’t think of something, anything more original?

“Hey,” he said. His voice was deep and yet mellow, smooth as sanded glass. “Can I buy you a drink?”

Okay, so he wasn’t any more polished at this than she was. But she’d come this far, she’d look like a fool if she backed off now. “Sure. Dirty martini, please.” She sat on the stool next to his.

He ordered the cocktail and another scotch for himself. “I’m Matt.”


“Nice to meet you, Lisa.”

He didn’t ask if she came here often. Or say that her eyes reminded him of the stars, or that she looked good in her black rhinestone-studded jump suit that Courtney had convinced her to buy. He just sipped his drink as if he had all the time in the world. And there was no need to make small talk, was there? They both knew why she’d come to sit next to him. At least he’d offered her a drink first. Because there was no way she could do this sober.

As she sipped the liquid courage, Lisa stole glances at her companion. He didn’t look nervous. Probably he was used to women coming on to him. Maybe she was the second or third this week.

Does it matter? The cold vodka slid down her throat in a brain freeze. She winced.

“Put your hand over your mouth and blow into it,” Matt advised.

She did as he suggested and the pain stopped. “Thanks.”

“No problem.”

She drank her martini at a slower speed, knowing what draining the bottom signaled. Matt downed his scotch but seemed in no hurry, content to let this thing evolve according to Lisa’s comfort.

At last she pushed her empty glass aside, trying to quiet the pounding of her heart. “Thanks for the drink.”

He nodded. Then wiped away a droplet of sweat from his upper lip. “Want to get some air?”

She slid off the stool and followed him to the door. Her eyes searched for Courtney but her vision was a little bleary.

“My truck’s just over there,” he said, pointing to a dark colored pickup. “We can drive down to the beach.”

Sanity fought its way past the blur of surging primal emotions. “I don’t think so, Matt.” She’d just picked up a guy in a bar. What if he was a serial killer? She tried for a light tone and a silly grin. “My mother always told me not to accept a ride from a stranger.”

He couldn’t deny he was exactly that. “Fair enough,” he said. “We can just take a walk down the block.”

They set out, but before they’d made it to the corner, the humidity and the mosquitoes attacked Lisa with a vengeance. She reversed direction. “Does your truck have air-conditioning?”


“Why don’t we just sit inside and listen to the radio or something?”

The ‘or something’ seemed to pique his interest. He opened the passenger door and helped her step up, then slid his well shaped butt into the driver’s seat and turned on the engine and the air.”You want to pick the radio station?”

Lisa could have cared less whether they listened to classical music or gangsta rap. She just wanted something to drown out her pounding heart, and her heavy breathing. She reached for the tails of Matt’s shirt but he’d already grabbed it and yanked it over his head. Lisa peeled herself out of her jumpsuit and climbed onto his lap in her bra and panties. His bare lap.

The last vestiges of anything resembling rationality fled. As she clutched and pawed, ached and moaned, Lisa’s last discernible thought was wondering if the truck’s windows would fog up like in that love scene from Titanic.