Bottoms Up by Kate Deveaux
GENRE: Erotic Romance
A bartender with a penchant for naughty drink recipes is well known for crafting the perfect concoction for his clientele. Justin meets his match when down on her luck Lexi walks into his bar and he whips up a cocktail especially for her.
It’s not just the booze talking when Justin and Lexi explore his list of naughty drink recipes in more detail — after hours. Night after night, Lexi is drawn back to Justin’s bar for another deliciously dirty creation and another night of extreme fantasy when he shows her how to let go of her inhibitions — One tantalizing drink recipe at a time— Seems it’s definitely Bottoms Up for these two!
Standing in the doorway streaks of the fiery Tucson sun blazed into her back. Lexi propped the heavy door open with her hip. Something Arizonians did in July. They knew better than to grab a metal door handle in the heat of summer. Squinting, she poked her head inside. The air conditioning was a welcome blast. And way too tempting to refuse.
Stepping inside, the thin scent of sweat and alcohol singed her nose. The door closed behind her. Lexi’s eyes adjusted in the dim light.
The bar slowly came into focus.
Taking a few steps further she was relieved the place was not as seedy as she’d expected. The bar’s décor surprised her. Not that she frequented bars in the middle of the day. Ever.
Lexi surveyed the handful of customers. A few were couples with their heads bowed together. The rest were singles. Drinking and then looking at their phones for entertainment. Loners. The kind of people who went into a darkened bar in the middle of the afternoon. Their loneliness echoed hers. She fought the urge to turn on her heels and bolt. But then what? Back into the baking heat and back to real life?
Several unoccupied tables dotted her pathway when she ventured forth. Her focus narrowing, she took in the deep blue color scheme, from the tufted leather curved booths and club chairs to the intricate Moroccan style light fixtures that hung from the low coved ceiling. Something she’d come accustomed to in her travels overseas but unusual in the southwest.
Passing by the clusters of patrons gathered closer to the bar, Lexi passed a waitress serving drinks to a couple.
Lexis’s attention quickly turned to the good-looking bartender. Soft lighting and sheers engulfed the impressively lit bar area in a wash of amber and midnight blue almost framing him. He stood behind the shiny blue countertop with his hands braced on the bar. Looking at Lexi as if she were the only person in the room.
She eyed the tattoo on his forearm. Letting her gaze linger a little too long before meeting his. Quickly, she glanced back towards the door, as if still debating if she was going to be staying or not.
“Hi, can I get you something?” the bartender called out to her.
Lexi forced a nod of acknowledgment in his direction, then moved closer. With every step she took, the myriad of liquor bottles labels came into view. That and the bartender’s blue eyes, the same stunning shade of deep midnight blue as the décor. She focused on the scar just above his jaw. An imperfection on his otherwise perfect five o’clock shadow.
His lips turned upward when he grinned. Caught red handed staring at him, she blushed self-consciously at his encouraging glance. Damn. Good-looking bartenders, that was the last thing she needed after the day she’d had. After the year she’d had.
“Have a seat…” He patted the counter hard enough that it made her jump. “Whoa. Didn’t mean to startle you,” he apologized, reaching behind the bar and plunking a frosted martini glass on the counter.
Lexi’s cheeks flushed. She was embarrassed by her skittishness, but also sobered by the fact that a simple action like the stranger plunking the glass on the counter made that her jump. A dead end relationship with Deakin had not only proved to her that rebound lovers were a bad idea, but also the bruises he’d given her. Once. And only once. Before she’d told him they were done. And then she was left to head back to her empty apartment. To ache for the love she really longed for. Scott.
Overcome with a sinking feeling, she felt more alone than ever and reached for the bar stool to steady her. Her lip trembled, tears stinging her eyes.
The pain was fresh once again. Shit. Why had Scott had gone and died on her?
“So what’ll it be?” the bartender asked.
Lexi was instantly dragged back to the present.
“Uh…I don’t know,” she offered, wondering how a drink could possibly dull the emptiness inside her.
He gave a smile and a confident shrug. “Well then, you’re in luck.”
“How’s that?” she asked half-heartedly, not really in the mood for banter
but realizing she was in need of a drink but with no clue what drink she wanted. Just something to make her forget the shitty day she’d had. And the even shittier year.
The bartender with the soul-searching eyes and the cute little smile that even Lexi had to admit was a bit of a mood lifter, leaned on the bar so his eyes were level with hers.
“You’re in luck because it so happens my drink picking skills are legendary.”
“Legendary?” She repeated his claim, aware some would consider her response a flirt, but she felt it was more of a challenge. A challenge to see if he could pick something for her that would make her feel…feel…What the hell did she want to feel anyway?
“Legendary,” he repeated.
Okay, he was definitely flirting. Lexi couldn’t help but crack a smile.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Kate Deveaux is a contemporary erotic romance writer and die-hard romantic. A former wedding planner, she has always been “in love” with love! Kate is currently working on several fictional stories – each filled with sexy romance, heroines who are no shrinking violets and heroes who make your heart skip a beat. She currently resides with her husband in the U.S. When Kate is not busy writing, she can be found on the tennis court –yes, there’s even ‘love’ in that game too.
Author website: http://www.katedeveaux.com
Google Plus: https://www.plus.google.com/104114173171800541171/
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Kate Deveaux has hit it out of the park with this one. I’d use a drink-related metaphor here, but I can’t think of one. Deveaux, though, doesn’t suffer from the same problem. She skillfully weaves drink recipes into the narrative, paralleling them with the budding relationship between Lexi and Justin.
Lexi meets Justin when she stumbles into his bar, reeling from a run of bad luck. They have an instant connection, and things heat up pretty quickly. Insta-love is a tough sell much of the time, but Deveaux’s skill as a storyteller means she delivers a worthwhile love story. By turns scorching and touching, Bottoms Up delivers pure bliss. Highly recommended.