Filthy English (English #2) - Ilsa Madden-Mills Page 0,1

get cozy with, go for it. Don’t sit on that stool all night and think about Hairy Hartford. You know what they say—‘Sometimes you have to get under someone to get over someone.’”

After she left, I fiddled with my bracelet and mulled. I grumbled under my breath, remembering how Hartford had sworn he’d love me forever—only to break up with me over a plate of lasagna. My mind drifted to better memories. I thought about his kindness and sweet nature, his penchant for anticipating my every need, his all-American good looks—

Oh, for heaven’s sake, stop the sentimental crap, I yelled at myself.

Lulu was right. I needed a man, someone so spectacularly different from Hartford that—

My mouth plopped open at the beautiful male who strode past me, and by beautiful I mean drop-dead sexy with a body like a brick house.

I snapped my lips shut and adjusted my velvet half-mask—the annoying feathery plumes on the sides kept sticking to my red lipstick—and turned ever so slightly to check him out. He slid into the seat next to me, tall and broad with rippling shoulders and a massive frame.

“Whatta Man” from Salt-N-Pepa came to mind.

I checked my appearance in a mirror behind the bar, mentally analyzing the odds of an overgrown, average girl like me snagging a hottie like him.

Although no one had ever called me beautiful, I did have two—okay, maybe three—things going for me in the looks department. My golden-brown hair that hung down to my shoulders, my fluffy “pillow lips” as Lulu described them, and, lastly, I had an itsy bitsy space between my two front teeth which were otherwise white and perfect. Lulu claimed the gap lent me an exotic look, like Madonna or Sookie Stackhouse. Whatever. I was a True Blood fan. I went with it.

The guy turned his head in my direction.

Then promptly looked away.

Dammit. I had about a one in a gazillion chance of catching his eye.

He shifted on the stool, leaning closer to me. His cologne swirled in the air, the smell of expensive Scotch and musk mingling together to create a heady, slightly dangerous scent. I paused, goosebumps rising when the spicy whiff triggered a distant memory.

I knew that smell . . .

But whatever my nose recognized, it didn’t connect with my brain.

As slyly as I could, I studied his profile from top to bottom. Like me, he wore a black mask, although his was more masculine, not hiding his chiseled, movie star jawline. His lips were carnal and luscious, the bottom more plump than the top with a slight indentation in the middle. As I watched, his tongue swept out and caressed it, his top teeth biting it as if he were deep in thought. He raked a hand through his dark, longish, messy hair, held it suspended above his head for a few seconds, and then released it, letting it swish back into its tousled yet perfect place.

Choreographed male perfection.

I tore my eyes away.

Something about him sent loud warning bells ringing in every atom in my body.

Danger, danger. Don’t touch that.

You will be annihilated with an M16 rifle straight to your heart.

But my gaze would not be denied as I took in the tight black shirt and sculpted chest that was obviously used to the inside of a gym, right down to an arm that looked like it could snap a board in half—or me.

Nice biceps, Mr. Beautiful.

The pièce de résistance was the dragonfly tattoo he sported on his left arm—it was bigger than my hand and in vivid blues and oranges. My gaze traced the contours of the design from the papery wings to the multi-faceted eyes. A bold black color outlined the insect, giving it a masculine feel.


Of course, I didn’t have any tattoos—my mom would flip her lid—but secretly I’d always wanted one. The artistic side of me admired them on people, especially when they featured anything with wings. Probably because I’m a bird girl, as in someday I’ll have a doctorate in ornithology.

Him tonight?

Yes, my body said, go for Mr. Beautiful! Make him yours!

He was the polar opposite of Hartford, who was blond, lean, and tattoo-free.

I nibbled on my fingernail. How do I get him to notice little ole me?

Just then a redhead with fluffy Farrah Fawcett hair strode up to his stool, bold as brass, wearing a tight, white mini-skirt that barely covered her booty.

She flicked her hair over her shoulder, casually stroked her finger down his arm, and struck up a conversation. Her fake, black