Chapter 2

The small group all piled through the doorway to their favourite pub. The scent of sweat and beer lingered in the air and surrounded every table. Cara and Ethan plonked themselves into a booth while Jessica bought the first round.

The door swung open and two gentlemen strolled in, an air of confidence surrounded them as they stood at the bar.

“Who is that?” Ethan gawked. Cara recognised one of them, he had sat next to her at the auditorium but apart from that, there was nothing screaming familiarity at her. She looked over at the two men, one with jet black hair, trimmed into a buzz cut, the other was a mousy blonde colour with a similar hairstyle. They both wore tiredness on their faces but their personalities were a stark contrast. Both were laughing and joking as they waited to be served. The blonde-haired man surveyed the room before his attention focused on Cara.

“Cara?” Ethan poked her, pulling her attention back.

“I don’t recognise them.” Cara shrugged at him, looking away from the handsome stranger.

Jessica had soon returned with drinks, and before long one drink became four until Ethan screamed “shots!” and bought everyone in the pub a shot each.

By eleven o’clock Cara was feeling the effects of the alcohol, excusing herself from the table to get a breath of fresh air, she made her way out the door. The crispness hit her like a bus, dizziness overcame her and she stumbled towards the bench in the beer garden.

“Whoa! Steady there!” Came a voice as a pair of hands grabbed her waist. Cara looked up to see a stunning set of deep brown eyes gazing at her, “You okay?” The deep voice asked. Clutching Cara’s waist still, the stranger guided her to the bench. He lowered her down carefully before handing her a glass of water, “Here.” He offered with a glistening smile.

Cara took the glass, trying to focus on the stranger in front of her. “Thanks.” She paused before taking a sip.

“No problem,” The stranger smiled back, crouching on the ground in front of her. He was now wearing a dark grey t-shirt and black jeans. His arms rested on his knees and Cara noticed how his forearms were golden and toned under the tattoos that adorned his arms. Her gaze lifted to his face, his jawline was kissed with light stubble but the sharpness of his facial structure was hypnotic.

The stranger watched as the girl in front of him gazed back intently, smiling back before standing up and taking a seat beside her. Cara took another sip of water, allowing the coolness to soothe her throat.

“Better?” The stranger asked.

“Much, thanks.” She responded.

“My favourite place,” the stranger sighed, his gaze moved distantly, admiring the flowers and trees that lined the beer garden.

“The beer garden?” Cara chortled back at him.

“No,” He chuckled back, shaking his head. “The outdoors.” He smiled, closing his eyes and letting the soft breeze brush past him, sweeping stray hairs from his head around and around. His accent was familiar to Cara, she couldn't place it but it was like a siren, pulling her to him.

“Can I get you another drink?” He asked, glancing at her empty glass.

“Sure.” Cara smiled, attempting to stand up.

“I’ll be back in two minutes.” The stranger smiled before placing Cara back on the bench, “Enjoy the fresh air,” He laughed, motioning around him with his arms before retreating inside.

Cara did as she was told, embracing the breeze that lightly kissed her skin. The sweet smell of the rose bushes beside her filled her senses and she welcomed the goosebumps that enveloped her arms. Cara closed her eyes, enjoying the silence.

“Here,” The stranger returned, placing a beer in front of her. Cara raised her glass and the stranger clinked his against it. “Cheers,” he said lowly, taking a swig of the drink.

“Have I seen you somewhere before?” Cara asked inquisitively.

“Maybe, I’m here and there,” the stranger said with a hint of mystery. Cara scoffed at the statement before taking another sip.

“Are you a hobo or something?” She replied mockingly.

“Do I look like a hobo?” The stranger sounded shocked, but the smile on his face said otherwise. He puffed his chest out before checking himself over. Cara couldn’t help but admire the muscles that adorned his physique, like some Greek god. His chest was threatening to burst from his shirt like a water balloon.

“No,” Cara giggled like a schoolgirl.

“That’s a cute laugh.” He flirted, looking up at Cara under his long eyelashes, cueing another girly giggle. “So tell me about yourself,” he urged, wanting to know as much about this woman as possible before the night ended.

“What do you want to know?” She smiled back shyly.

He shrugged back at her, “What do you do for work?” The stranger said.

“Really? You want to know what I do for work?” She questioned, knowing that no one took interest once she told them.

“Sure, or I could guess?” The stranger jested.

“Okay,” she replied, accepting the game.

“Hmm...” The strange pinched his chin in thought, “Primary School teacher?” He pointed to her.

“Nope,” She shook her head with a small smile. After a few guesses, the stranger gave up.

“Okay, tell me.” He raised his hands admitting defeat. Cara giggled at the gesture before telling him.

“I’m a biochemist.” She smiled, “what about you?”

“Whoa! Biochemist? Beautiful and smart!” He exclaimed, emphasising the word ‘and’. Cara blushed under the stranger’s announcement. “I’m in the army,” the stranger responded.

“So that explains the tattoos?” She pointed to his covered limbs.

The stranger twisted his arms back and forth, chuckling at her. “Yeah, I guess so.”

Cara glanced back at her watch, realising she had been outside for some time.

“I should get back to my friends.” She explained, lifting herself from the bench. She took a step forward, but her knees buckled underneath her before she felt the floor beneath her a warm arm wrapped itself around her waist protectively. She gazed up again to see the swirling chocolate eyes seeking hers. His lips twitched as his gaze travelled down to hers, the distance between their faces closing slowly. Time felt like it had stopped as the stranger grazed his lips across hers, his other arm snaked around her waist, caging her into his embrace. The warmth of his arms and chest caused heat to spike up her neck. He closed his lips on hers, claiming them as his own, Cara parted her lips gently, allowing the stranger’s tongue to massage hers. Their tongues tangled and teased as her hands cupped his face. A hand supported the base of her neck while the other gently caressed circles down her lower back. She moaned into their kiss, begging for more.

Thoughts of Rich sat at home with an anger-filled face flashed through her mind and Cara froze. She pulled away reluctantly, claiming her breath once more. She shook her head, fighting the overwhelming desire to continue kissing the stranger. His lips were soft and sent sparks to other areas of her body that hadn’t experienced such tenderness in so long.

“I have to go,” She said regrettably, pulling out of his arms. He cupped her chin between his finger, teasing her face towards him.

“I want you to stay,” he growled seductively, placing a tender kiss on her lips, and wrapping his arms around Cara’s waist, pulling her close. The sparks reappeared, sending shivers up Cara’s spine. The stranger revelled in the feeling of her in his arms, she fit perfectly and he decided there and then that she wasn’t going anywhere. Cara melted into the stranger’s arms, her fingers dragged through his hair, as she allowed her mouth to be violated once more.

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