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Absorbing the serenity of the moonlit garden, Zoe took a deep breath and tried to pep talk herself into going back into the ballroom. Gandalf was in there. She’d be damned if she’d let Candice and her pompoms intimidate her into losing her edge.
“Whip me, beat me, make me attend a class reunion?”
Zoe spun around to face the owner of the low, male voice. She peered through the dark, only able to make out his costumed body, since his face was shadowed. Still, heat flared and a wide, appreciative grin curved her lips.
Breathless, she stared. Leaning against the wall, the guy was pure sex appeal. She narrowed her eyes, trying to make out his costume. Tight leather pants, a loose shirt and a big ass sword. Between the dim garden light and what looked like a wide mask ala Zorro, she could barely make out his face. But his body was a work of art. Tall, lean, but well muscled, all she could think about was pressing herself against his chest and trying him on for size. A black cape completed the mysterious look.
“Having fun?” he asked, his question reminding her of his original comment.
“Hardly. To tell you the truth, it would have taken a whip to get to me attend if I’d know it would be this bad,” she admitted.
“Time heals all wounds?” he asked in a teasing voice.
“Or sharpens all claws.”
“Interesting image coming from a woman wearing leather and studs,” he teased, his tone low and husky. Almost like he had a cold or was disguising it along with his face. He had a faint accent, giving his sexually charged words an extra dose of romance. She couldn’t tell from where, though.
But there was something achingly familiar about him. Not surprising, given the circumstances, but still she wished she knew who he was. She eyed his cape and recalled the photographer’s comment. But, even though it’d been ten years, this guy just didn’t remind her of Brad.
“Who are you?” she asked.
She narrowed her eyes. Wasn’t that a Lord of the Rings character? She scanned the costume again and tried to remember the movie. Unlike some of her friends, she hadn’t read the books. Instead, she’d gone to see the hot, sexy hunk hero and that cute blonde elf guy. She regretted not paying more attention to the names, but with all that eye-candy, she’d been distracted.
“How about your real name,” she invited.
“Nah. It’s a costume party. Go with the mystery.”
Zoe debated. He could be Brad under that mask. Better yet, he could be Gandalf. Or was she just justifying her need to spend some time with a guy who got her thinking naked thoughts with just a few words?
“How about that break?” he asked again. “Catch your breath before you head back in to whip butts and make them beg.”
He gave a charming, one sided grin in response to her snort of laughter, then gestured to the path leading toward the rose arbor. “Maybe a walk in the moonlight?”
When he gestured, his cape fell back. She could clearly see the outline of his chest and shoulders beneath the soft flowing fabric of his shirt. Her breath caught. The sculpted muscles beneath the white cotton owed nothing to the costume and everything to Mother Nature. Broad shoulders, solid pecs and biceps that made her mouth water.
Gorgeous. Zoe swallowed hard, her body, already aware, went hyper alert. Her breasts swelled, nipples pressed arousingly against their leather restraints.
“A walk sounds tempting,” she breathed, tucking her arm in his elbow. God, what could be more romantic. A moonlit walk in the gardens with a gorgeous guy with a really big sword who got her hot with just the sound of his voice.