"Ma'am?" The desk agent interrupted her thoughts. "I'm sorry, but the other hotels are booked solid as well.
"Great, just my luck. Thanks for checking anyway." Charlie turned away from the front desk only to run into something that felt like a brick wall. She would have fallen backwards if two strong arms hadn't wrapped themselves around her. Charlie looked up to see whom she had run into. Damn, it was the pretty boy from the bar. Her heart beat a tattoo against her chest.
Oh dear, I hope he isn't following me. This is the last thing I need.
"Thanks." She pushed away from him, but not before Charlie noted how solid he felt. Why were her palms suddenly sweaty and her breathing abnormal?
"Can I be of some assistance to you?" His voice was deep and as sexy as the rest of him.
"No, thank you." Charlie would have walked past him had he not been blocking her way.
"I couldn't help but overhear you at the reception desk and I think I may have a solution to your problem."
"Whatever solution you may have, I'm not interested."
He went on as if she hadn't spoken. "There's a convention in town and all the hotels within walking distance are booked solid. I was fortunate enough to get one of the last available rooms in this hotel, which just happens to have two double beds. I would be happy to share with you tonight."
"No, thank you." Her voice came out in a weak croak. She hoped she sounded firmer to him than to her own ears.
This man was obviously out of his mind if he thought she was going to share a room with him. No matter how handsome he was, he could be a sex maniac for all she knew. Ted Bundy stood out in her mind.
"Don't be so stubborn. You know as well as I do that you shouldn't be driving. Where will you go?"
He had a point, but still, how could she know he wouldn't try anything? As if reading her mind he said, "Look, I know what you must be thinking but I'm not some raving lunatic. You are a very attractive woman, but believe me, I need sleep more than anything else right now. I have an early flight to catch tomorrow. Besides, I'm placing myself in as much jeopardy as you are lady. How do I know that you won't rob me blind?"
"I am not a thief!"
"And I'm not a sex fiend. Unwilling women aren't my scene. Also, if I might suggest, you need to sleep off all the alcohol you drank tonight."
Charlie felt like a jackass. She hadn't meant to offend him; after all, he had been nice enough to pick up her tab at the bar. Charlie was generally a good judge of character and intuition told her she could trust this man. "I'm sorry. You're very kind to offer me a bed for the night. I really appreciate it."
"Does that mean you're accepting my offer?"
"Yes, I am, that is if I haven't pissed you off. I meant no harm, but you never know these days."
He smiled at her. "It's okay. Since we will be roommates for the night, you should at least tell me your name. I'm Jake Fox." .He held out his hand to her.
"Charlie Brown." She took his hand and laughed at the expression on his face.
"You're joking right?" He smacked his head as though realizing how rude his question was. "Sorry," he apologized quickly.
"Don't worry about it. I get that quite a bit. Charlie is short for Charlotte, but no one but my parents call me Charlotte. Even then, they only use it when they're mad at me. As you can imagine, my parents have a twisted sense of humor." She smiled, feeling shy all of a sudden.
An indiscernible expression flickered in his blue eyes as Jake looked down at her, but it was nothing that made her feel ill at ease. He smiled back. "It suits you. Well, let's go, Charlie Brown."
To Charlie's surprise she felt comfortable with Jake. All her reservations about staying with him slid away as he led her to his room. She shouldn't have trusted this stranger on such short acquaintance, but she did. Charlie couldn't explain the feeling, but his very presence put her at ease.
When they arrived at Jake's room, he opened the door, motioning for her to enter first. Charlie hesitated for only a second. She looked at him and he smiled at her. Her heart twinged. It was the alcohol, she was sure of it.
"Don't worry, I won't bite if you don't want me too," he teased, as he nudged her further into the room.
"Well, you can't exactly blame me for being a little nervous. I've never shared a hotel room with a stranger before," she pointed out.
"Well, aren't I taking as big a risk as you are? How do I know you won't take advantage of me?"
She shook her head, seeing the playful gleam in his eyes. "Okay, you big idiot. I give. You're going to have to turn your back while I undress, though."
He pouted. "Do I have to?"
Charlie laughed wondering what she had been so afraid of in the first place. They seemed like old friends. After chatting for a few more minutes, she yawned. "I'm exhausted."
"Yes, I'm pretty tired as well. You can take this bed. I'll take the one on the wall. Is that okay with you?"
"Sure," she agreed with a shrug.
Jake walked over to his side of the room, turning his back so she could undress and slip into her bed.
"Okay," Charlie indicated to Jake after she'd gotten under the covers. "It's safe to turn around now."
Jake turned and looked at her with those arresting eyes again.
"Goodnight, Charlie." He reached down to turn off the lamp and got into his bed.
Long after Jake was asleep, Charlie lay in her bed wide-awake.