Leslie didn’t know when the night had turned to such utter crap.
Oh wait, yes she did. It was when Riley Hart’s ridiculous entourage insisted on flying in and taking over her small bar.
That’s right, stupidly rich Riley Hart could simply fly in a bunch of his frat boy clinger-ons and take them out on the town to distract himself from his brother’s upcoming wedding.
Leslie, however, as the owner of the only bar in town, ended up having to pay the true cost of entertaining them. And damn, if these Hollywood boys weren’t entitled.
“Oh come on, let a real man show you how it’s done,” the brute pushing up against her grunted. With his sweaty, limp blond hair and his smelly body and his smelly breath, it didn’t matter that he was a minor actor friend of Riley’s. That he thought he was hot shit.
Leslie shoved against his shoulders, testing his strength as he tried to reach her neck with his lips. “Get off me,” she muttered, leaning in close. “Or you’ll regret it in about ten seconds.”
“Ha!” the drunk muttered, daring to raise his hand in the direction of her breast. At 5’10”, she was taller than him by nearly an inch. In her stiletto heels, it was nearly comical.
Sighing that she had to make a scene in the hallway of her own bar, she made a quick move to swat his hand out of the way and then grabbed his shoulder and jerked him forward, placing her knee neatly and fiercely into his groin in one smooth motion.
The man let out a little squeak as he curled forward onto the dirty floor between the restrooms, and Leslie cursed him and his friends for trashing up the place.
Leslie brushed off her hands and turned to leave, pulling her tight, red dress back into place. It was ruched and hugged her lush curves, exposing curvy brown legs from the mid thigh down. Leslie was a curvy girl and proud of it. She used her hand to flip her dark curls over her shoulder in triumph as she walked away from the dirtbag on the floor.
Then she felt a yank on her ankle.
She gasped as her stiletto flipped to the side, rolling her ankle painfully, and she fell to the ground, catching herself on her hands on the sticky ground. Oh, Riley Hart would pay for this night, for his friends trashing her bar and this friend in particular trying to take liberties.
She was used to tourists coming on to her. Sometimes she even took them up on it. She liked a little taste of adventure now and then.
But not with douchebags like this.
He crawled toward her, anger and menace in his eyes. She swore as she tried to regain her footing and stumbled on what was probably a severely twisted ankle. She tried to catch herself with a hand on the wall but found herself tumbling forward again. Her arms flailed out in front of her, because she was sure she was headed for the floor, and then a pair of large, strong arms was around her.
She swallowed and looked down at the huge forearms braced under hers. At the chest that was much higher than hers. There weren’t a lot of men taller than her in this town, and most only by a few inches. There was only one man she knew of that would be at this particular bar, right now, that was tall enough to tower over her, to make her feel small.
She swallowed resentfully and looked up into surprised, concerned hazel eyes.
He looked her up and down with a grin, and then helped her regain her balance. She leaned on the wall to pretend her ankle wasn’t screaming. She didn’t need or want this particular man’s help. Not when all of this was his fault in the first place.
It had nothing to do with the fact that he’d rejected her several times since meeting her, despite flirting outrageously. Yes, clearly Riley Hart thought he was better than everyone, and a local girl like Leslie would never be good enough for him.
Then again, he was a famous movie star. A heartthrob who’d been in too many chick flicks to count the past few years.
Still, Leslie didn’t think she was out of his league. And she had a firm sense of pride that wouldn’t let her keep putting herself out there only to be rejected.
“Try not to trip,” she said. “The floor is sticky.”
He eyed her carefully, noting the way she held the wall, and then tried to look over her shoulder at whomever was behind her. “Good thing I was just on my way to the bathroom. Not that I’m going to complain about you falling into my arms.”
“Please,” she said. “As if.” She jerked a thumb over her shoulder. “One of your entourage was getting rowdy and after I taught him a lesson he turned out to be a sore loser.”
Riley’s handsome, boyish face darkened in anger, and he rose to his full height as he looked past her. “Who?”
She turned to look, being gentle on her ankle. “He was right there. Probably scampered away when he saw you. Blond, skinny. Short.”
“Short compared to normal, or short compared to us?” he asked, sharing a cocky smile with her.
Damn, that smile could melt cold butter, she thought. “Short. Compared to me.” She folded one arm over her waist, trying to look strong when she felt anything but. Leslie’s mother, a strong, single mom, had taught her to stand on her own and not rely on men. They couldn’t be trusted.
They were delightful, sexy creatures, but they couldn’t be counted on to stick around.
Especially men like Riley Hart.
“Hm. Might have been Ben? What did he do?” Riley leaned against the wall opposite her. He looked exquisite as usual tonight, his tanned, taut body on display in a fitted gray tee and designer jeans. An expensive watch accentuated his fine wrist and drew attention to long, strong fingers. She’d heard that movie stars usually looked smaller in person, but Riley Hart was definitely larger than life.
She had to look up at him, and he seemed smug about this fact. His golden-brown hair with natural blond highlights was thick and windswept, the kind of hair that men probably took hours to tousle into place, but looked like he’d just gotten up that way.
And that face, that unfairly handsome, rakish face that had gotten him discovered at a simple college party and led to him being on the big screen where women across the nation could lust after him. A sharp, straight nose with a hint of a bump on the ridge. Dark brows that arched over delicious hazel eyes flecked with green and gold. A slight cleft in his perfectly masculine chin. A jaw one could measure with a straight-edge. High, prominent cheekbones. He was Hollywood royalty and he knew it.
Or at least, he was well on his way there, already a household name, at least in his genre.