Predatory - By Alexandra Ivy
The nightclub near the University of Missouri wasn’t anything to brag about. Hell, it wasn’t much more than a leaking roof held up by four walls and a prayer. In the center was a cramped dance floor surrounded by tables and at the back a long bar ran the length of the wall. Up the narrow staircase you could find pool tables and a few old-time pinball machines, while in the back parking lot the dealers strolled from car to car, searching for shoppers interested in less legal means of intoxication.
A typical college hangout.
Seated in a booth nearly obscured by shadows, Angela Locke watched the crowd of college students bump and grind to a heavy beat that was making her eye twitch.
Not that she wasn’t enjoying herself, she sternly chided herself. She might be a few years older than most of the kids in the club, but that didn’t mean she was a complete party pooper. Right?
On cue she winced as two girls shrieked with laughter at a nearby table, the aggravating sound some sort of homing signal to the guys who eagerly crowded around their table.
Okay, this wasn’t really her scene.
She’d spent the majority of her twenty-six years in musty libraries or high-tech labs, which meant she was more comfortable with petri dishes and microscopes than the opposite sex.
Her dark thoughts were interrupted as she belatedly realized she was no longer alone.
Glancing up, she met Megan Wagner’s exasperated frown. The pretty, pleasantly rounded blonde was one of Angela’s few friends at the university. In the process of recovering from a disastrous marriage, the older woman was taking classes to earn her teaching degree.
“Oh, for God’s sake,” Megan complained. “I didn’t bring you here to hide in the corner.”
Angela wrinkled her nose. “I’d rather hide in corners than park myself in the spotlight where everyone can see me sitting alone.”
Megan folded her arms under her ample bosom, her lush curves displayed in a tight red dress and her blonde curls allowed to fall freely over her shoulders.
“You wouldn’t be alone if you didn’t put out vibes that you’re—”
“A geek? A nerd? A first-class egghead?” Angela offered wryly.
“Are you kidding?” Angela shot a glance down at her jade stretchy top that was scooped low enough to reveal the soft curve of her breasts and the too-tight jeans that threatened her circulation. “In this outfit I not only look available, I look like I charge by the hour.”
“It’s not your clothes. It’s your attitude.”
Angela blinked. Attitude? She didn’t know she had an attitude.
“What do you want me to do?”
Megan placed her hands flat on the table, eying Angela with the same stern expression she used on her students at the local preschool.
“Pay attention to the men who are here, not the one who isn’t.”
Angela tried to squelch the renegade blush that stole beneath her cheeks.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“I mean that it’s all fine and dandy to moon over Professor Hottie, but what’s it gotten you?” A blonde brow arched. “Unless there’s something you’re not telling me?”
Angela ducked her head, allowing her finger to trace the beads of moisture that trickled down her untouched drink.
Or, better known as Dr. Nikolo Bartrev.
He’d arrived at the university six weeks before. A tall, dark stranger who’d been invited by the president to review their science curriculum. Angela didn’t know precisely what his work entailed, but she did know that one glance into those pale blue eyes and she’d been lost.
Head over heels in lust for the first time in her life.
A damned shame he didn’t return her aching need.
“There’s nothing to tell,” she muttered.
“And that’s the point,” Megan pressed. “He stops by your lab once a day—”
“Sometimes it’s twice.”
Megan snorted. “He makes a little chitchat and disappears.”
Angela hunched a shoulder. It was true enough.
The first time Dr. Bartrev had strolled into her lab she’d nearly had a heart attack. She’d just finished teaching a freshman biology class and he’d waited for the giggling girls to drag themselves past him before he slowly approached her desk.
She hadn’t known what to expect, but after a few minutes of questioning her about her research, he’d turned and left.
Just like that.
Since that day, he’d made a habit of stopping by when she was in the lab, sometimes discussing her research and other times just randomly discussing her day.
She assumed that he was cleverly extracting information from her to use in his assessment, but she didn’t have a clue what he was searching for.
And she didn’t care.