His new favorite chef Rowan would be getting a raise soon. Erik didn't know what it was about his food but the delicious moans coming from Rosie had him shifting in his chair and wishing it would've been appropriate to wear track pants on this date. Good Lord, the woman enjoyed her meal.
Now Erik was behind the bar -a place he felt very much at home- while Rosie sat on one of the barstools across from him. "Sorry about needing to be back here. It'll only be a short time."
"It's no trouble. I could walk home but I like just sitting here and people watching." She cast a look around the room and Erik followed the slope of her shoulders over a light brush of freckles where her hair caught and clung to her sun-kissed skin.
When she turned back towards him, he went back to the drink order he was prepping. "I'll walk you home after I'm done behind here." She might think she could just walk home but he wasn't ready to let her go just yet.
Rosie sipped her beer and smiled. "I'd like that."
"Do you walk everywhere? Or do you have a car?" Erik hadn't missed the muscle definition in her legs. When her flirty little skirt blew up in the wind when he was watching her in the courtyard earlier, he bit his knuckles imagining her long legs wrapped around him.
"I have a car but I never use it." Rosie shrugged. "I keep it for times when I go to the mainland."
"And its safe to walk around the island, even at night like this?"
Rosie shrugged again. "I feel safe, and I believe in following my instincts. So far, so good."
Erik nodded despite a hint of reservation about such a cavalier attitude. There was still part city boy in him that worried about safety. "The island has a safe feeling about it, that laid back lifestyle. That's been the biggest difference for us, and the people. Our patrons are a far cry from our usual crew back home."
"I know what you mean. The island life, that feeling of time having little meaning, makes for a calm atmosphere," Rosie agreed.
"There are no men in suits stopping in after work -"
"And no men with terrible pick up lines for the women," Rosie interrupted in a joking tone.
She had no idea how close to his truth that was. Erik was likely the biggest player of them all behind the bar at his family's brewery. She'd see none of that from him here, and now that she pointed it out, there wasn't much of a single scene here at all.
"Seems like most people are coming in as groups or coupled off already."
"The island definitely isn't known for its single scene," Rosie agreed.
Erik filled beer orders from the waitresses at the taps in front of Rosie as they talked. He was curious about Rosie's dating past but bringing that up would likely mean drudging up his own history. He didn't want to go there. He'd try a safer route. "You haven't minded that?"
She raised an eyebrow. "That there's not opportunity for dating?" When he just nodded, she continued while shaking her head. "Not at all. My parents had expectations of me marrying into their social circle someday so my dating life consisted of sons of their friends. They weren't exactly what I envisioned for myself."
"So you only dated boys on the parental approval list?" Erik teased but when Rosie sighed and nodded, he regretted the question. "I'm sorry. Let's talk about something else."
"Good idea. Let's talk about you instead."
Just what he didn't want to talk about. Time for distraction. "Or let's talk about what we should do on our next date. Maybe something that involves you in that swim suit of yours again?"
Rosie closed her eyes and looked down at the beer she'd been sipping. The blush that spread across Rosie's cheeks was all the encouragement he needed. She was beautiful and based on her reactions to his compliments, she was unaware of just how sexy she was. He took that as a challenge.
"Or maybe not," Erik touched his finger to her chin and drew her gaze back up. "I have trouble thinking with you in such little clothing. What can we do with our clothes on?"
Her blush grew deeper and he laughed. "Am I embarrassing you?"
As if he wasn't already enchanted enough, Rosie straightened her back and shook her head at him. "You know exactly what you're doing, Mr. Thorne."
"As long as it leads me to another date, I'm perfectly okay with it. You?"
The pause before she answered had Erik sweating. He could honestly say he'd never been worried over a girl rejecting him before now. It was a gut wrenching experience. Then she smiled and the tightness in his gut was replaced with satisfaction.
"You're growing on me," Rosie smiled. "And I have the perfect idea for our next date."
YOU ARE READING
Ring Around RosieRomance
This weekly serial introduces some of the characters from the ISLAND REFUGE series. The first full book in the series will be published in Winter 2016. Born and bred to become the perfect princess in the Chicago socialite scene, Rosemary's dream of...