Katy Evans grew up with book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love, married him, and now they are hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches "The End." Which, is hopefully, only the beginning...
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“Please tell me you’re not going to do this guy,” Kyle tells me, his face scrunched in worry as the doors roll open. “This is not you, Brooke. You’re far more responsible than this.”
Am I really?
Because tonight I feel crazy. Crazy with lust and adrenaline and two sexy dimples.
“I’m just going to talk to him,” I tell my friend, but even I’m not sure of what I’m doing.
We follow the two men into the first part of the enormous suite. “Your friends can wait here,” Riley says, motioning to the gigantic black granite bar. “Please help yourselves to a drink.”
As my friends flock to the shiny new bottles of alcohol, an unmistakable squeal escapes Melanie, and Pete motions me to follow him. We cross the suite and go into the master bedroom, and I spot him sitting at the bench at the foot of the bed. His hair is wet, and he holds a gel pack to his jaw. The visual of such a primal male nursing a wound after he repeatedly broke man after man with his fists is somehow fabulously sexy to me.
Two Asian women kneel on the bed behind him, each of them rubbing a shoulder. A white towel is draped around his hips, and rivulets of water still cling to his skin. Three empty bottles of Gatorade have been tossed on the floor, and he has another in his hand. He slaps the gel pack on the table and downs the last of the Gatorade. Blue as his eyes, the liquid drains in one swig, then he tosses it aside.
I’m mesmerized as his ripped muscles clench and relax under the women’s fingers. I know massage is normal after intense exercise, but what I don’t know, and can’t understand, is the way watching him get one affects me.
I know the human form. I revere it. It was my church for six years, when I decided a new career for me was in order, when I realized I wouldn’t be sprinting again. And now, my fingers itch at my sides with wanting to probe his body, push and release, get deep into every muscle.
“Did you enjoy the fight?” He watches me with a little cocky smile, his eyes glimmering, like he knows I loved it.
It’s a love and hate thing for me, to watch him box. But I just can’t compliment him after hearing five hundred people scream how good he is, so I just shrug. “You make it interesting.”
“Is that all?”
He seems irritated as he abruptly jerks his shoulders to halt the massage therapists. He stands and rolls those square shoulders, then cracks his neck to one side, then the other. “Leave me.”
The two women offer me a smile and head out, and the instant I’m alone with him, my breath goes.
The enormity of being here, in his hotel room, isn’t lost on me, and suddenly I’m anxious. His tanned, long-fingered hands rest idle by his sides, and a rush of wanting runs through me as I imagine them running over my skin.
My body pulses, and with an effort I tear my eyes up to his face and notice he’s staring at me in silence. He cracks his knuckles with one hand over them, then does the same with the other. He looks agitated, as though he hasn’t expended enough energy pounding half a dozen men to the ground. Like he could easily go a couple more rounds.
“The man you’re with,” he says, flexing his fingers open at his sides as though to get some blood flow, his eyes watching me. “Is he your boyfriend?”
Honestly I don’t know what I expected coming here, but it may have gone something along the lines of being led straight to his bed. I’m so confused and more than a little anxious. What does he want from me? What do I want from him?
“No, he’s just a friend,” I reply.
His eyes flick to my ring finger and back up. “No husband?”
A strange little buzz courses in my veins, straight to my head, and I think I’m lightheaded from the scent of the massage oil they rubbed on him. “No husband, not at all.”
He studies me for a long moment, but he doesn’t look overcome with lust like I’m personally, shamefully, feeling. He’s merely assessing me with a half-smile in place, and he appears genuinely intent in what I’m saying. “You interned at a private school rehabbing their young athletes?”
“You looked me up?”
“Actually, we did,” the two familiar voices of the men who brought me over say, and as they reenter the room, Pete carries a manila folder and passes it to Riley.
“Miss Dumas.” Once again, Pete, with the curly hair and soft brown eyes, speaks to me. “I’m sure you’re wondering why you’re here, so we’ll just cut to it. We’re leaving town in two days, and I’m afraid there’s no time to do things differently. Mr. Tate wants to hire you.”
I stare for a moment, dumbfounded, and frankly, confused as hell.
“What is it, exactly, that you think I do?” A frown settles on my face. “I’m not an escort.”
Both Pete and Riley burst out laughing, but Remington is alarmingly silent, slowly settling back down on the bench seat.
“You’re onto us, Miss Dumas. Yes, I admit when we’re traveling, we find it convenient to keep one or several special friends of Mr. Tate’s to, shall we say, accommodate his needs either before or after a fight,” Pete laughingly explains.
My left eyebrow shoots up. Really, I’m perfectly aware of how these things work with athletes.
I used to compete and know that, either after sports or before them, sex is a natural and even healthy way of relieving stress and aiding performance. I lost my virginity at the same Olympic tryouts where my knee was shot to hell, and I lost it to a male sprinter who was almost as nervous about competing as I was. But the way these guys speak about Mr. Tate’s “needs,” so casually, feels suddenly so personal, my cheeks burn from the embarrassment.
“A man like Remington has very particular requirements as you might guess, Miss Dumas,” Riley, the blond-haired man who looks like a surfer, continues. “But, he’s been very specific in the fact that he’s no longer interested in the friends we have secured for him during our trip. He wants to focus on what’s important, and instead, he wants you to work for him.”
My insides clench as I glance at Riley, then Pete, and then Remington, whose jaw seems even squarer than I remember, like it’s made of the most gorgeous, most priceless piece of granite the world has ever found.
There’s no way for me to know what he’s thinking, but although he’s not smiling anymore, his eyes remain alight with mischief.
His face is swelling slightly on the left side, and my nurturing instincts really want to take the gel pack and put it on his jaw again. Hell, in my mind, I’ve already put salve on the red scar in the middle of his lower lip. I’m so overcome with these thoughts that I realize I can’t trust myself with someone as powerfully attractive as him. I am still, still, wired just knowing I’m in the same room as him.
Pete flips through the folders. “You interned at the Military Academy of Seattle in sports rehab for their middle graders, and we see you graduated only two weeks ago. We’re prepared to hire your services which will cover the duration of the eight cities we have left to tour and Mr. Tate’s continued conditioning for future competitions. We will be very generous with your salary. It’s very prestigious to tend to such a followed athlete and should be impressive on any resume. It might even allow you to be a free agent if, in the future, you decide to leave,” Pete says.
I find myself blinking several times.
I’ve been anxiously applying for jobs, with no callbacks as of now. The school where I interned offered me to return when classes resume in August, so at least I have that option. It is, however, months away, and the restlessness of having a degree and not doing anything with it is eating at me.
Suddenly I realize everyone’s eyes are on me, and I’m especially aware of Remington’s eyes.
The thought of working for him after I’ve been already having sex with him in my head makes me more than a little queasy.
“I’ll have to think about it. I’m not really looking for something away from Seattle long term.” I glance at him hesitantly, then at the other two men. “Now if that’s all you wanted to say to me, I’d better get going. I’ll leave my card on your bar.” I swing around, and Remington’s commanding voice stops me.
“Answer me now,” he snaps out.
When I turn, he slants his head and holds my gaze, and the glimmer in his eyes is no longer playful. “I’ve offered you a job, and I want an answer.”
Silence descends. We stare at each other, this blue-eyed devil and I, and these exchanged stares are complicated. I can’t decide if his is just a stare or more. Something that feels like a living, breathing thing inside me, and it flares when I look into his eyes, and see the way he looks back at me with those heartbreakingly intense eyes.
All right, then. Screw the stupid lust. I need this so much more. “I’ll work with you for the three months you have left to tour if you include room, board, and my transportation, guarantee me references for my next job application, and let me promote the fact that I’ve worked with you with my future clients.”
When he merely stares, I swing around, supposing he’ll want to think about it. His voice halts me again.
“All right.” He nods meaningfully, and my head reels in disbelief.
He’s hired me?
I took him on as my first job?
Slowly, grabbing the towel to his waist to keep it from unraveling, Remington rises and looks at his men. “But I want it on paper she’s not leaving until the tour is over.”
Muscles bulging in a way I try hard not to notice, he tucks his towel into place and starts coming over, and once again, he looks feline and predatory in his approach, his self-assured smile making him even doubly so. It is a smile that tells me he knows he unsettles me. And boy, does he unsettle me. I’m watching over six feet of pure brawn walk over in oil-slicked glistening skin and an eight-pack, which is physically actually impossible, but how to deny it when it is there? God.
My heart kicks when he engulfs my hand in one of his huge hands and bends his head to look straight at me. He whispers, while he squeezes me in his powerful grip and his touch shoots like an electric shock through me, “We have a deal, Brooke.”
I think I just fainted.
He steps back, and his smile blazes through me, charged with a thousand megawatts, and then he turns to his men. “Get it on paper by tomorrow, and see her safely home.”
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