Channel 20Something by Amy Patrick
Series: 20Something #1
Publication Date: August 12th 2014
Publisher: Oxford South Press
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
22-year-old Heidi Haynes is almost one year into her “real life”. She has her first reporting job, her first apartment, and a comfortable relationship with her college sweetheart. But for some reason she’s not as eager to talk about walking down the aisle as he is.
Heidi secretly longs for big cities, big-market breaking news, and real independence from her way-too-close-by helicopter parents. Problem is, the last time she left the security of home for new places and new people, things didn’t go so well. Disastrously, in fact, and she came running back to a local college and a “safe” boyfriend.
Aric Serrano is definitely not safe.
He’s six-feet-four-inches of missing-Hemsworth-brother-hotness and plans to stay in small-market-Southern-Hell just long enough to grab a cup of coffee and put together a kick-ass “escape tape”. He’ll serve his one-year contract, then he’s taking off for a higher rung on the TV sports ladder—alone—the way he likes it. Then he meets his new co-anchor.
Heidi would be so much more comfortable if she could simply ignore Aric. He’s just her type—the type she’s so careful to avoid these days. But that becomes impossible when she's forced to work closely with him on the weekend newscast. Now the attraction between them is growing even faster than the ratings, and what happens behind the scenes is the real news.
The song segued into another Michael Jackson hit—the DJ must’ve been encouraged by the sudden influx of dancers to the floor and didn’t want to take a chance on losing the mojo. Mara jostled me with a hip-bump, and I laughed, beginning to move to the music more fluidly, relaxing, enjoying myself more than I had in a long time.
The girls from the station were spinning and showing off, thrilled to find a guy who would actually dance, and Aric served as a sort of group-partner for us all. Though we were all together, every time I glanced up at Aric’s face, he was watching me. He studied how my body moved, responding to my motions, matching them with moves of his own. We didn’t touch at all, but it felt like we were… connected somehow.
After another song or two, I grew used to the feel of his eyes on me, grew to like it. And the focused attention made me brave. I sang along with a song I knew, closing my eyes and moving to the hypnotic beat, as Michael advised me to let the madness and the music get to me.
“It’s fun to watch you dance.”
The nearness of Aric’s voice jolted me out of the moment. My eyes opened, and I took a step back, the seductive warmth of his breath still caressing my ear. “Um… you too. You’re good.”
He leaned in close again to be heard over the pounding music, his fingers gripping my shoulder lightly. “No. I mean I really like watching you.”
I stopped cold, right there on the dance floor. Literally feeling cold, as if someone had poured a post-game Gatorade bucket over my head.
“I’m—going to the ladies room.” I spun around and headed for the lighted sign in the back of the club as if the hounds of hell were at my back.
I’d recognized him. Not him, of course. But I knew what kind of guy he was—I’d met his breed before. The elite players, the sexual Heisman candidates, genetic freaks who produced bionic pheromones capable of turning even the smartest girl stupid, at least temporarily.
How could I not have seen it right away? The beautiful face, the enticing scent, the self-assured way he walked and talked and danced. If I could’ve left the club right then, I would have. But I’d promised to drive Kenley and Mara home. I couldn’t strand them. I fled to the restroom and gave myself a narrow-eyed look in the mirror. Not going there, girlfriend. I did not return to the dance floor.