“No, that’s impossible.”
“Seems perfectly possible to me.”
“No,” I said in a harsher tone. “I don’t want you, Rick, I don’t want any man. What part of you doesn’t get that?”
His hand shot out and curled around my waist. He snapped me to him, pressing his lips against my ear, his body burning hot against mine. “The part of me that just felt you ripping at my clothes, grinding your pussy against my thigh, then writhing beneath me begging me to fuck you, that’s the part of me that doesn’t get it, Dana. That is the part of me that just can’t fucking believe you don’t need a man in your bed and your life.” His voice lowered. “A man like me.”
I pushed at him, twisted my body and was thankful when he released me. “Go,” I said, biting back a rush of regret. If only he’d come into my life several years down the line, maybe things could be different. “Go, or I will have to call security and have you hauled out.”
He huffed and grabbed his jacket. “Yeah, you try that, but the way my life is going they’ll probably think you’re more of a danger to me than I am to you.”
I cocked my head, wondering what he meant.
He frowned and turned, reached for the door handle.
I pressed my fingers to my lips. “Wait,” I gasped, staring at several scarlet dots seeping into the stark white of his dress shirt, right over his shoulder blades. “Shit, sorry, you better put your jacket on.”
He twisted to look at me, confusion etched on his face. “Why?”
I held up my hands, wriggled my fingers so my long nails caught the light. “You have spots of blood on the back of your shirt.”
“Perfect, absolutely fucking perfect,” he muttered and disappeared out of the office, banging the door behind him.
“Maddie, Maddie, where is the damn file?” I asked two days later, handbag swinging from my shoulder and laptop case clutched beneath my arm.
“Here.” She pushed a slim new file forward and I grabbed for it. “You’re not going to bother driving all this way back afterward are you?”
“No.” I glanced at my watch. “I’ll finish my emails at home.”
“Good, then I’ll lock up in half an hour after I’ve sent these potential venues to the Callahans.”
“Yes, great, I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
“Yep, and good luck.”
I paused in the doorway. “Why would I need luck?”
“Well, from Carly Flannigan’s phone call this morning, she wants her engagement party pulled together in less than two weeks.”
I blew out a breath. “Yes, I know, as if we haven’t got enough going on. But still, we can’t turn away business.”
“Absolutely not,” Maddie agreed with a grin. “Now go, boss, or you’ll be late.”
I strode across the lot, beeping my Mercedes to life. I had seriously considered, for the first time ever, turning down this job. Carly Flannigan and The Brick’s engagement party would inevitably include an invite to a certain hot hockey captain who’d made me fall off the celibacy wagon. Fall off so spectacularly that by the time I’d realized I’d hit dirt it had driven into the damn sunset leaving nothing more than a trail of dust in its wake.
But I’d decided the answer was to send Maddie to attend this particular party. That wasn’t Best Laid Plans’ normal way of doing things. I liked to be in attendance. It was part of the package to have me there. But that would have to start changing. We were getting so many events it was bordering on ridiculous to have me attend every one. Yes, Maddie could start sharing the load, starting at this particular engagement party. If she managed well I’d be able to give her a pay raise too.
I piled my stuff onto the passenger seat and climbed in, flicking the air-conditioning to full-blast. My emotions had been in a whirl ever since my crazy, sexy meeting in the office with Rick “Ramrod” Lewis over the weekend.
Well, at least I know one of the reasons for his nickname!
On the outside I’d gone about as usual. But on the inside I’d switched from feeling nauseous, hunting for something to kick, and falling into a deep well of self-loathing, to having butterflies jumping in my stomach and my flesh on fire at the thought of his body over mine—hot and hard, ready and demanding. It had been good, so damn good and I couldn’t recall ever having a lover look at me so hungrily, so appreciatively, or be so pissed that I drew a line under it and made him walk away.
I sighed at what could have been, tapped Carly’s address into the GPS and headed for the freeway, reminding myself to make an appointment with my manicurist. Scarlet just wasn’t doing it for me anymore—too many wagon-falling memories.