Ducking into the kitchen, I confirmed that the evening buffet was set to go after the fireworks then headed to the small office the hotel had loaned me for the weekend. I clicked on a table lamp and the windowless room filled with a soft glow. I tapped my long red fingernails on my laptop and hit start. As it whirred to life I spoke to the fireworks guy who assured me they were minutes away from go, then I confirmed with the head stablehand that all the horses had been safely put away for the night.
A knock on the door snapped my attention from my clipboard. “Come in,” I called, wondering who it could be. Everyone who knew I had this tiny office was busy carrying out my instructions.
The door swung open.
My heart stuttered.
Filling the frame was an enormous silhouette that could only belong to one guy at the wedding.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, flipping shut my mobile and straightening.
“I thought I’d give you my number, in case you change your mind about the dating thing,” Rick said, his deep, gritty voice echoing around the quiet office.
“You followed me?”
“I went to the restroom and spotted you heading this way on those sinfully sexy shoes you’re wearing.” He paused. “I guess I was hypnotized, it was like a scene from the Pied Piper. I had to follow you.”
“I’m sorry but you wasted your energy because I won’t change my mind about dating, not for a long time.” I shifted on my heels.
He stepped into the room and shut the door with a quiet click.
“You’ll miss the fireworks,” I said, wondering why it felt as though the temperature had suddenly rocketed up several degrees. “If you don’t get back to the reception.”
“I can take or leave lights in the sky.” He shrugged out of his suit jacket and dropped it over the back of a chair. My gaze was drawn to the white shirt he wore that stretched tight over his hard, well-defined muscles. The top button was undone and his tie was gone.
“No, seriously you have to leave, I’m very busy. I have things to do.” I tapped my pen against the clipboard.
“And when you’re done, then what?”
“Then I’ll go home, rest, and get up early to work again tomorrow. My business doesn’t run itself.”
“All work and no play will make you very dull, Dana.”
“Maybe I like being dull.” I dropped my pen and folded my arms over my chest, tried to press in my nipples, which were hardening and twisting with each softly spoken word he uttered.
“I bet you don’t like being dull, not really.” He picked up the pen and wrote a string of numbers on the top left-hand corner of my clipboard. “Call me, we’d have fun together. I can tell.”
“How can you possibly tell?”
A sexy twinkle in his eyes told me he was enjoying our banter. “Oh, I have a way of knowing these things,” he said, stepping around the desk and moving up close, real close.
My feet stayed rooted to the floor as his body heat and his smell completely overwhelmed my senses. His voice and the undisguised desire in his eyes captured a need in me that demanded attention. I tried to beat down a wave of pure, shocking lust that flowed through my body like red-hot lava. Lust was not something I’d entertained for a long time but right now it was besieging me. Right now sex was the only thing this perfect specimen of a man had me thinking about.
Rick was larger than life, his presence all-consuming in my office. It was as though he took up every square inch of physical space simply with his existence. I tried to remember my reasons for not agreeing to a date, for ever having started this damn celibacy thing, but the memories and the knowledge escaped me and in their place a carnal need grew—hungry and desperate, greedy and demanding.
“Dana,” he whispered, his voice like silk over sandpaper. “Just one date, how hard can it be?” His voice dropped lower. “I promise I’ll be a good boy and I won’t sully your pristine reputation.”
I shook my head, confusion running through my brain. Pristine reputation? Old Dana’s reputation was far from pristine, but she hadn’t been around for years.
He reached out and looped a thick finger into a dark curl hanging over my collarbone. When he gently tugged the roots, my scalp screamed for more sensation. It had been so long, too long since a man had touched me in even this small way.
Suddenly something deep inside me snapped. Blood rushed to my face and seared through my body. My hands reached for biceps nearly as wide as my waist and I pushed myself up to meet his dipped head. “Rick,” I murmured, my lips a hairsbreadth from his. “Stop talking about damn dates and pristine reputations and kiss me.”