As he poured a mug of draft for a customer, Keith O’Day glanced around his bar glad to see the place was hopping, certain he’d never seen as many people packed on the dance floor swaying to the oldies which his man on the turntable usually favored, especially on a night like this. Most people didn’t need an excuse to go out for a good time, but seeing as it was Valentine’s day there seemed to be even more people out with their significant others, and loads of others out hoping to find theirs.

Then he had to stifle a groan as he watched a couple of bar bunnies jiggle their way over to the bar, hike their tight little asses onto to a pair of bar stools, smile into his eyes, and coyly murmur in one voice, “Hey, there.”

“Hey,” he said, giving them a cautious smile. “So, what can I get you?”

The busty blonde one grinned, batting her eyelashes, and murmured in a throaty purr, “How about your phone number?” she winked, “for both of us.” Then the pair of them giggled after she’d said it, like it was the funniest thing in the world.

Somehow resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Keith told them, “Sorry, ladies, but I’m taken.” Although he was free as a bird, his father, who had willed the bar to him just before he died, had instilled in him from the first night he’d ever worked in the place, “You never want to mess with the clienteleat least if you want to stay in business.” And since he’d managed to grow the business his old man had left him five years before from a garden variety watering hole into a fairly nice place that people from all walks of life seemed to enjoy, he wasn’t about to change his policy for a pair of bimbos looking for a three way, no matter how eager they looked to get laid.

“So… what’ll it be?” he asked them again.

The willowy brunette flashed a naughty smile and said, “I’d like a Screaming Orgasm.” Oh, cripes, here we go. And this time he just couldn’t stop himself from rolling his eyes.

Her blonde friend laughed at that, then leaned in as close as she could get to him without crawling onto the bar, giving him an eyeful of cleavage as she seductively murmured, “And I’d love to have a Creamy Pussy, providing you know how to make that happen.”

Without batting an eyelash, Keith nodded and said, “Coming right up,” and reached for a couple of glasses. Of course he’d heard of every kinky-named cocktail there was, from Sex on the Beach to Bend Over Shirley, to a Three Legged Monkey, and naturally knew just how to make them all, too.

Once he had their drinks mixed and put down on a napkin in front of them, he had to fight not to laugh at how put out they looked, both of them pouting when all they got was their cocktails, since he imagined they weren’t accustomed to getting turned down. But as a young single guy, working in a bar ten years since his teens, he knew that being propositioned came with the territory. Sometimes he’d even accept the odd business card or a phone number scrawled in lipstick on a cocktail napkin, just to spare a woman’s feelings, but he always tossed them out. Mostly because his father’s words still rang in his head, but more often because the thought of hooking up for a little random sex with a stranger just didn’t do it for him. Call him old-fashioned, but he had to at least feel something for a woman in order to want to be with her.

Then looking around, his glance settled on an incredibly stunning looking woman pulling up a seat at the far end of the bar, who he could tell at a glance was no bar bunny, since she looked way too classy and put together for that. Strikingly beautiful, with shimmering shoulder length red hair and dressed to the nines in a perfectly fitted black suit with a lacy ivory colored camisole peeking out at the top, affording just a tantalizing hint of cleavage, he just couldn’t stop staring. And when she lifted her gaze and met his, another thing he knew from experience was when someone was hurting, and clearly she was, since even from a distance he could tell that she’d been crying. Now he just hoped she hadn’t been stood up on the most romantic night of the year and wasn’t here to drown her sorrows.

When he approached her, he flashed a friendly smile and said, “Hi there, what can I get you?”

But he was taken aback when he swore he thought he heard her mutter, “How about a life that sucks less than mine?”

After eyeing her for a moment, he asked, “Everything okay?”

Blowing out a breath, she nodded and said, “Oh, yeah, just dandy. So, tell me, what do you have that’ll put me in a comma the fastest.”

He leaned close, resting his elbows on the bar, smiled into her big blue eyes, and said, “That bad, huh?” Like most bartenders he was a good listener and had probably heard it all, and if she wanted to vent or unload whatever was bothering her, he was all ears.

Deciding he looked trustworthy enough and sure that she was never likely to see him again, after studying him for a moment, Holly finally nodded and reached into her purse and dug out her phone, then showed him the text that had turned her world upside down. ‘Sorry, baby. I’ve got to take Holly out for a Valentine’s dinner — and there’s no way I can get out of it without her figuring something out. But tomorrow I told her I’d be out of town, so you’d better be ready for what I have in mind. I promise I’ll be there in the morning as soon as I can get away from her, and I want you naked with your legs spread waiting for me, hot cheeks. Then it’ll be just you and me non-stop, at least till I have to see her again.”

Keith actually winced once he’d read it. Holy shit, no wonder she was upset.

As Holly put her phone away, she explained, “Obviously my fiancé texted me that by mistake.” Keith looked down then and noticed the enormous rock on her finger. She shrugged, telling him, “And now, although he doesn’t know it, he’s no longer my fiancé. And I just hope the bastard sits there all night waiting for me to show up.” Heaving a sigh, she asked, “So, once again, what have you got that’ll knock me out cold?”

Not even sure why he was doing it, but Keith covered her hands with his and told her, “You know you’re better off without him, right? And I’d say you’re lucky you found out in time.”

Swallowing past the lump in her throat threatening to choke her, Holly nodded and said, “Yeah, lucky me. Too bad I just went for the final fitting of my wedding gown yesterday, and I know I’ll never be able to get my money back. What I should do is send that little weasel the bill. And of course now I have to tell everyone that the wedding’s off, and he was only marrying me so he could work his way up in my father’s company; oh, and that he never loved or even cared for me.” Heaving a sigh, she murmured, “A few of my friends hinted that he might be using me, but I never wanted to believe it.” Then she looked up at him and said, “Pretty pathetic, huh?”

As Keith watched her wipe at her eyes, fighting back tears, he said, “I’d say it’s his loss.”

Surprised by what he said, Holly took a longer look at him and was stunned to realize what a good looking guy he really was — incredible long-lashed green eyes, just brimming with compassion, a strong jaw, thick head of auburn hair, and a killer body, nice and lean and tightly muscled. Too bad she wasn’t in the market, or he’d be just her type. A little on the rugged side, he was the complete opposite of that preening asshole Scott, the smarmy, lying, cheating, rat bastard — she’d almost been foolish enough to saddle herself with.

A moment later, Keith set a tall icy glass in front of her with lemon and lime wedges floating on top of the ice. “What’s this?” she asked him.

“It’s just a spritzer, heavy on the soda. Believe me you don’t want to get wasted or you’ll hate yourself in the morning.”

“You mean even more than I do now?” She clenched her fists on the bar as she muttered, “I still can’t believe I was stupid enough to fall for his lies. You know that’s probably what’s pissing me off the most about this; that I was foolish enough to fall for every damn word that came out of his stupid mouth. I just can’t believe I could be so naïve.”

Keith shrugged. “Maybe he was just good at his game.”

“Oh, he was, believe me. Until I read that text I thought he was madly in love with me. Well, mostly. I was having a few doubts lately, like he was phoning it in sometimes, you know?”

Although he nodded like he understood, Keith already knew he wouldn’t have to fake it with someone as beautiful as she was. And talk about crappy timing, tonight of all nights to find out she’d been tricked by the jack ass into almost marrying him while he was fucking around with somebody else.

Finally Holly took a sip of her drink and said, “Thanks, this is good.” Finally, blowing out a breath, she looked up and said, “Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer, being as tonight’s supposed to be all hearts and flowers, and not horrible stories like mine.”

Keith patted her hand and told her, “No problem. You need anything you just call me, okay.” He could really feel for her, sure that he’d be pissed, too, especially considering he’d once walked in her shoes.

After nodding her thanks, she looked skyward trying to decide what she was going to do now. Of course her mother would probably have a seizure once she told her. The poor woman had put so much work into their wedding — of course hoping it would be the society wedding of the year — that was never going to happen now. But then amazingly she managed to grin, just thinking about how fast her father would fire that weasel’s lying cheating ass the moment he learned the truth about him. At least that was something. Still it irked her to think that she hadn’t been able to see through him until he’d literally spelled it out for her in a text. Obviously he never cared for her at all, and was willing to marry her just to get ahead and look good in her father’s eyes, which had to be the oldest trick in the book, marrying the bosses’ daughter to move his way up the corporate ladder.

Then she looked up and saw her handsome bartender was back with a pretty amazing looking platter of food, telling her, “Thought you might be hungry if you missed out on dinner.”

For the first time all night Holly smiled when she realized that not all men were bastards like the one she’d almost married. And what a thoughtful guy this one was turning out to be. Smiling into his startling green eyes, she said, “Thank you…uh…”

“It’s Keith, and you’re very welcome. Enjoy, it’s on the house.” Figured it was the least he could do, considering how crappy her night had turned out.

As he wiped down the bar and watched her pick dejectedly at the platter, he still couldn’t believe that someone would do something like that to her of all people. She was such a stunner and from the few words they’d said, she seemed pretty nice, too. But he knew she had to be dying inside to discover she’d been cheated on like that, especially by the guy she was all set to commit her life to. Although he knew nothing about him, he knew that he was a first class asshole.

Deciding to take a moment to see if she was okay, he called over his night manager Pete and said, “I’m taking a break. You want to keep an eye on the bar for me?”

Pete just nodded and went and got an apron, since he often worked the evening shift. And once Keith had poured himself a glass of soda water, since he never touched anything at work, he wandered down and took the seat beside the pretty redhead and joined her. Not that he was interested, but he hated to see her so upset, especially all on her own, tonight of all nights with everyone around her gushing over each other, which only made it worse.

Just as Keith slid onto the stool next to hers, Holly heard the ping of a text and actually groaned as she looked at her phone and read, “Darling, I’m waiting. Where are you, my little Valentine?”

Noticing that he’d taken the seat beside her, she let him see it, rolling her eyes. “Can you believe this jerk?”

Actually he couldn’t. So he suggested, “Why don’t you just turn your phone off and try and forget about him for a while.”

“Oh, believe me I’m not that upset that it’s over, although I know should be. I’m actually angrier about being treated like a fool, and not having a clue who he really was. You should have seen the night he proposed to me, it was so over the top, it almost felt staged, and now I know why. He got the best table at one of the finest restaurants in town, right by the water, and even hired a violinist, had two dozen red roses sitting on my chair for me, and there was fireworks shooting off in the sky as he popped the question. And I was so stunned I felt I had no choice but to say yes to the lying little creep.” But noticing how Keith was narrowing his eyes on her and shaking his head, she nodded and took his advice, turned off her phone and tucked it into her purse. Feeling an instant sense of relief knowing she wouldn’t be hearing anymore pings coming from him tonight, and was even happier to know that he could text her till his fingers turned blue and he’d never get a response.

Forcing herself to push her troubles to the back of her mind, she turned and smiled into his incredible emerald green eyes, deciding she couldn’t have found a more pleasant distraction, as she said, “So, tell me about yourself, Keith.”

Smiling right back, he said, “What do you want to know?”

Looking at his lips, she suddenly wanted to know what it would feel like to kiss him, but knew it was a bad idea even as she thought it. But staring at them intently she just couldn’t get over how perfectly shaped they were, and she’d bet he knew just what to do with them, too — and probably everywhere on a woman’s body she could imagine. But even as her nipples began to harden, she told herself it wouldn’t be fair to him to use him for revenge sex. But then again, seeing as she’d never exactly felt the earth move when she’d been with her now ex-fiancé, and since she’d discovered he was actually involved with someone else, she didn’t imagine she had to worry about being faithful anymore, since it was over. Particularly seeing as he was undoubtedly going to be hopping into bed with the little slut the text had really been for, long before the night was over, especially once he realized that she wouldn’t be joining him for the Valentine’s farce he had planned.

Tipping her head and gazing into Keith’s eyes, she saw something that looked a lot like desire as his eyes began to darken and warm as he stared into hers. Heaving a sigh, she leaned her head against his shoulder if for no other reason than being relieved to discover that he at least seemed to find her attractive.

Keith instinctively put his arm around her, mostly to comfort her — at least that’s what he told himself. But he had to admit, it felt pretty nice to hold her, and damn she smelled good. Nothing cloying like so many of the bar bunnies wore, but a sweet light floral scent that stirred something inside him. Which he knew damn well shouldn’t be stirring.

Reaching out he picked up a zucchini stick from the platter, and said, “Here, why don’t you have a bite?”

Accepting it, she let her lips touch his fingers as she took a little nibble, smiling into his eyes as she chewed. She could tell he was one of the good ones, already proving himself to be kind and thoughtful. And she knew she shouldn’t be looking at him the way she was, but he was just so incredibly nice to look at, especially this close up. Closing her eyes and inhaling his scent, he even smelled like a man should smell, clean and musky and all male, deciding there was nothing phony about him. And right now she just needed to feel something real.

Then she picked up a mozzarella stick and held it up for him to take a bite, and as he sank his teeth into it, smiling right back, his gaze never left hers. And something inside her grew warm and without even thinking, she ran a finger along his jaw and asked, “Are you in a relationship, Keith?”

Although he blinked at first, since he normally deflected a question like that, he decided just to tell her the truth. “No, there’s no one in my life right now.”

Well that made two of them, then.

Blowing out a shaky breath, Holly wondered if she had it in her to do something about it. After all, she’d never been the type for a casual fling, but right now a little hot sex with a gorgeous man might just be what she needed. And it would sure help get her mind off the conniving little creep who’d just ruined her life.

And when she felt the heat of Keith’s hand running up and down her back, she turned her face to his and whispered on a warm breath, “You ever just want to let go and do something crazy, just because you know how good it’ll feel?”

Yeah, looking at her right now, he had a pretty good idea what she meant. And so did his cock, judging by how hard it was twitching in his pants. Too bad she was a customer, or he’d be awfully tempted to take her up on her suggestion. He could already imagine how hot she’d look out of that little suit, maybe spread out on the pool table in one of the more private back rooms. Slender with a nice little rack, he’d bet she liked to make some noise when she came, too. Then he shook his head, surprised where his thoughts had taken him. He wasn’t going to touch her, well at least any more than he already had, no matter how beautiful or sexy she was — and no matter how good he imagined it would be with her.

Then he looked up when the overhead lights dimmed and the guy on the turntable put on a slow sultry long song. And he rolled his eyes as the guy took to the mic and said, “And this one’s for Keith, never seen him up on the dancefloor yet, but tonight just might be the night for you, huh, boss?”

Keith shot a narrowed-eyed look at him over his shoulder that he hoped would stop him cold, but Jessie just laughed, clapped his hands together, and said, “Come guys, give us some noise and let Keith know it’s not going to stop till he gets his lady up the floor with him.”

And then as the crowd broke into ear-splitting whistles and cheers, Keith turned and looked at Holly and gave her a shrug. “I think this is our cue.”

Holly smiled, took his hand, and said, “Well I’m game if you are.”

He was game alright, but not for dancing, at least not the kind where they had to keep their clothes on. Once they got up on the dancefloor, he pulled her close and began to sway to Al Green’s sexy love song, “Let’s Stay Together,” and since the first line of the song belted out was, I’m so in Love with You, Keith could imagine that she’d be pretty easy to get wrapped up in. She was probably the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and the way she was looking into his eyes already had him spellbound. And it just felt so good to hold her, like she was meant to be in arms. Which he knew was crazy. After all, she was just a woman who’d unfortunately been jilted on probably the worst night to find out, but she said herself she was never really in love with the guy so…

Since it the lights were low, and the floor was jammed, sure that no one could see them, he brushed his lips across her forehead and had to fight back a groan when he felt the warmth of her lips slide across his adam’s apple. And his eyes shot open even wider when she went further, trailing her tongue along his neck and gently nipping at his ear lobe. Jesus, his cock sure seemed to like that, judging by how hard she was getting him.

Part of him was telling him no, this can’t be happening. He’d never messed with a customer, at least not yet, but then again there was always a first time for everything. And when he looked into her eyes, and could see that she was every bit as turned-on as he was, he dropped his hand from the curve of her back and slowly slid it over her ass. And if the plaintive little moan that came out of her as she brushed her breasts back and forth across his chest wasn’t a green light, then he didn’t know what was.