Nate watched the woman in front of him. No doubt about it, she was smoking hot. Lucky for her, he was trying to get to Luca when that pond scum made a grab at her. In her gold dress she was like a beacon in the crowded club and he’d been drawn to her as she’d swayed to the music alone, as though she were in her own bubble, completely relaxed and content. He’d been watching her and her lithe movements when he’d seen the drunken asshole making his way toward her from aways away and, even though he was not up for it, he knew he had to step in. He loved a soft , beautiful woman like any other man but he preferred them consenting. He had no tolerance for men who forced themselves on women. Th e blonde bombshell in front of him took in a deep breath and her full chest heaved in response, giving him a welcome view of her supple assets. She sat down on the low wall ahead of them and flipped her hair over her shoulders. “I’m really fine,” she said, lifting her gaze and raising her shocking-blue eyes to his. “You can go back in now.” Nate didn’t understand why he was even here in the first place, he was certainly in no mood to deal with a woman, no matter how amazing she looked. He found himself sitting next to her on the wall, filling up the small space between them. God she smelled amazing. Soft and fresh and womanly. “Look, I’m just going to find my friend and we’re going to leave, ok? I don’t need a bodyguard.” “Sure, go ahead,” he remarked, making no effort to leave. She started toward the entrance and then, taking in the thick mass of gyrating bodies, backed up again. “Ok, I will just send her a text.” She whipped out her phone, quickly typing a message to her friend. He found it very refreshing that she had no idea who he was and wasn’t the least bit flustered by him. It was a welcome change of pace. “Where are you staying?” She narrowed her blue eyes at him. “I’m not going to tell you. Who knows what kind of stalker you might be.” Nate tilted his head back and laughed, “Wow, you are refreshing.” He shift ed toward her and held out his hand, “Hi, my name is Nate.” She tentatively took his hand in her small one and at the center of their touch, her warmth spread through him, stirring a sexual awareness. “Th ere, now I’m not a total stranger trying to lure you into an alley and have my way with you.” He grinned his charming for-TV smile that he’d perfected over the years and he sensed her easing up. Melissa Kate 19 “I’m Brielle.” “Can I walk you home?” “Um… Ok, as long as your hands are always where I can see them and you don’t try any monkey business.” “Yes ma’am.” “And I want to make a pit-stop first.” Nate smiled at her choice of words. “You need to use the bathroom?” She gave him a dubious look. “No.” Twenty minutes later, he found himself sitting opposite Brielle in an open street food shack, scarfing down burgers. Nate wouldn’t have pegged her for the kind of girl to eat with such abandon. He liked it. Th e girls he was used to would munch two celery sticks then claim they were full. He had forgotten what it was like to be around a normal girl with an actual appetite, not the tortoises he usually dated who only nibbled on carrot sticks. “So, what are you doing down in Brazil, Nate? You’re obviously not a local.” “What gave me away?” he smiled sideways. “I’m here on business.” “Oh yeah? What kind? “I’m a driver.” “Like a chauffeur? I’ve never seen a chauffeur that looks like you.” He found himself beaming at her compliment. At least he thought it was a compliment. Hell, for years now women had been throwing themselves at him and making sure his head got very inflated with vanity, so why her simple comment stirred him was beyond Nate. “Not quite.” he weighed up whether he should be honest with her or not. He was actually enjoying the anonymity 20 Love in the Fast Lane for a change but then again, that would only last so long with the races being held a few miles away. He settled for a half truth. “I drive for a team.” “Is that a sport?” He looked at her incredulously. “What?” she squeaked. She at least had the decency to look embarrassed. “I don’t get a lot of TV time.” He decided to steer the conversation away from himself, not wanting to burst the illusory bubble. “Why’s that Brielle?” “I study too much.” “Study? You’re still in school? How old are you?” “Nate! You cannot ask a woman her age!” she smiled, a wide warm smile that turned her full, supple lips upward. Nate was taken in by the soft curves of her features, her high cheekbones and big blue eyes, half hidden by the thick mass of hair swaying in her face. “I’m twenty-five. Studying toward my chiropractic license. One more year to be Doctor Woods.” “Th at’s impressive. So, what are you doing in Sao Paulo?” “Taking a break before my life is non-stop work,” she grinned sheepishly and he found himself liking that look. “I haven’t had much of a life for the past seven years, and this is my trip to have my last wild run before I have to grow up.” “So, what have you done so far to achieve that?” Brielle frowned and he took in the worry lines at the center of her forehead. “Now that you mention it, not much.” She rolled up the remains of their food and tossed it in the nearest trash can. Nate stood up and matched his stride with hers as they walked toward the beach ahead. Bending down, she removed her shoes. She started to sway off balance, probably still fighting the effects of her alcoholic buzz, and she reached forward to find her balance on his chest. He firmly grabbed her arm to steady her, liking the feeling of her hand on his chest. “Sorry,” she mumbled, pulling her hand away. She stepped onto the still-warm sand, scrunching her toes in it and he thought he heard her sigh. Th e soft sound had a chill running up his spine. She had amazing feet. He took in her delicate ankles and her amazing calves that led up long, luscious, tanned legs. Th is was undeniably a woman he could spend a few hours losing his troubled mind in. Since he’d met her, he hadn’t thought about that phone call once. Definitely progress. He followed her movements and stepped out of his dress shoes and his sports jacket before bending at the waist to roll up his jeans to mid-calf. Th e sand felt amazing beneath his bare feet and he realized how seldom he took in moments like this. Simple pleasures like sand in between your toes. “Have you ever skinny dipped?” “What?” she sounded so surprised, Nate couldn’t help but laugh at her. “You know, swim without your clothes on,” he goaded. “Naked.” At the mention of the word, she flushed a deep pink and it made him want to see that look when he was deep inside her. He mentally scolded himself for having his mind even go there. She looked away, embarrassed. They were on a dark, secluded part of the beach and it was a warm night—he decided to throw caution to the wind.