A tall well-dressed guy entered the bistro, dripping rain and hotness. He stopped by the door and surveyed the room. Must be looking for Rob, Jeanne thought. She tried to peel her gaze off him and focus on the conversation around her. Easier said than done. Aside from his general attractiveness, the stranger was full of contrasts that mesmerized her.
Just as the mysterious hunk turned to survey her side of the room, Rob approached him and gave him a big hug. "I'm so glad you made it! It wouldn't have been a proper engagement party without my future best man."
"It's a matter of having one's priorities straight," the hunk said. "I told the boss I was leaving at five thirty, whether we were finished or not."
"That's the spirit, man." Rob grinned.
"Fetching her folks. They should be here in half an hour." Rob patted him on the shoulder. "Now, why don't you give me your wet jacket and go get yourself a drink. The party doesn't officially begin until eight thirty, so you can chill and talk to the people you know."
The hunk removed his jacket, uncovering an expensive-looking shirt--and a better view of his broad chest.
Jeanne swallowed. Was this guy real?
Rob took the wet garment from him and walked away. And then something weird happened. The hottie remained by the door instead of walking toward the guests or the bar. He looked around the room again as if searching for someone--his gaze lingering on the females until it met Jeanne's. He beamed and walked toward her, his eyes trained on her and full of warmth.
It was downright impossible that she would forget a stud of this caliber, even if she had met him during her wild teens.
"Hi, Jeanne. Don't you remember me?" he asked when he was close enough for her to discern the hint of five-o'clock shadow on his chiseled jaw.
"I'm sorry . . . Are you sure we've met?"
"Every day for almost two years."
Righto. "Next you'll tell me I used to go out with you," she said tilting her head to the side.
"Unfortunately, you didn't." The dreamboat sounded genuinely sorry. "But it wasn't for my lack of trying. I spent most of my money eating at this bistro just so I could see you."
"OK, you really don't remember me." He bowed ceremoniously. "Mathieu Gérard, also known as Mat. I'm a friend of Rob's. We studied together here in Paris a few years back."
"Mat?" There was no way this guy was Mat. "You can't be him. Mat was . . . he was . . ."
"Nothing like me?" he prompted, the corners of his mouth twitching.
To put it mildly.
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