I made my way to the bar at the back of the room and ordered a Heineken. From there, I observed the people at the tables nearby when I first saw her. She caught the attention of one male admirer after another, each rebuffed until she sat alone. Her tight black sweater accentuated her full breasts. I studied her copper hair, framing her fine-boned, pale face. She was stunning, unattainable by any of the men who sought her.
A heavily muscled blond man sat down beside her without invitation. She shook her head before he had a chance to say anything. When he put his left hand on her shoulder, she grasped his forearm with her right hand and twisted. The force of her motion lifted him out of his chair and spun him on to the floor.
He landed on his back and slid a few feet. He shook his head, as if to clear his mind, and then rose. He rolled up his shirtsleeve and examined his forearm. Even from where I sat, I could see the marks of her fingers. The man backed away, and then walked quickly to the other side of the room. A few people looked over, but turned away. I couldn't imagine how a petite woman could generate such force.
As I gazed at her, she gave me a bemused smile. I hesitated, even when her smile widened. She beckoned me with her finger, and I walked to her table and sat down opposite her.
“Hello, I'm Frank Thornton.”
“Nessa Harcanu,” she said in a husky voice with a trace of an accent.
“I assume it's safe for me to sit here.”
“I invited you, but he made an unwanted boorish advance.” Her glinting eyes accentuated her message.