“I’d hate to be on her bad side. She makes a mean cup of hot cocoa.”
He smiled, and damned if his trademark, singular dimple didn’t cause her stomach to dip and roll in a giddy somersault. Sheesh. Her hormones had better take a long glance in the mirror because she so wasn’t in his league.
“That how she bribed you to work out with me?” she asked.
A muscle twitched in his cheek, much to her satisfaction. “We had a conversation, that’s all.” He held out his hand. “Give me the ball.”
“What would your diehard fans say if they knew you have a serious addiction to hot chocolate?” She released it, but not before their fingers brushed. Electricity sparked, igniting another sharp yearning under her skin.
His gaze was firm, rooting her to the floor. “She puts marshmallows in it. The tiny kind.”
She exhaled a long breath. “And you’re partial to tiny marshmallows?”
“Among other things,” he said, lifting one brow.
Her insides flipped again. There was no mistaking the intent in his voice. But he couldn’t want her. A long-lost rebellious instinct fought to the surface and responded, propelled her to close the inches separating them.
“Like what?” she asked.
Like you. Blake wanted to draw Jessie into his arms, mold his lips to hers, and hear her moan his name when he entered her. Her smoky blue eyes made him want to break his personal vow to keep his hands off and show her how much she turned him on. But at what cost?
He attempted to squash his desire with a solid picture of her mother stirring her hot chocolate. As a pseudo parent for the past ten years, he knew how angry he’d be if someone took advantage of his little sister.
His body refused to obey his direct commands to ice down, and heat rushed to his groin, making him uncomfortably hard. Damn and damn it again. He couldn’t, wouldn’t, and absolutely shouldn’t cross the boundary between them. “Whipped cream.” He stepped back and lowered the kettle ball to the ground.
Jessie was special. She deserved someone who wouldn’t leave her behind. All he could offer her was a temporary fling. And he refused to engage in a shallow holiday affair no matter how much his hormones said to pull the trigger and go for it.
She lifted a corner of her lip. “I see. And would that be with or without the prerequisite hot fudge sundae?”
“So the great Blake Johnston has a little boy’s sweet tooth.” She tipped her head to the right, tapped her chin with her index finger. “You ever consider alternative uses for said sweets?”
Hell yeah. He wanted to kiss her, replace that snarky face with a blissed-out one. And damn times five, he imagined licking whipped cream and melted chocolate from her skin, tasting her sweetness, and dipping into her.
Icebergs. Think glaciers and the North Pole. Not working. Zero effect on the current state of hardened affairs. Blake searched for an exit strategy, a reason to leave before Jessie saw the evidence of his arousal.
He moved behind the abdominal cruncher, then adjusted the seating position. “What do you think?” he asked.
“I think you’re a tease, Blake Johnston.” Her lush mouth narrowed into a sharp line capable of cutting through granite. A long beat of silence weighted the air before she spoke again. “But then you’re supposed to be an all-American Hollywood sex machine so I guess you can’t control your natural animal magnetism. No worries. I’m immune.”
Blake’s lungs squeezed, emptied of air. He wanted to believe her. Hell, he should believe her. He couldn’t afford not to believe her. But Blake heard the lie tripping over her assertion. And he had caught sight of the flicker of recrimination glistening in her blinking eyes.
Drawing in oxygen, Blake called upon every ounce of his acting ability to ignore the overwhelming urge to cross the room and kiss her senseless. “Excellent,” he said. “That makes two of us.”
Moments later, Jessie repeated her reps, counting the reasons the fire chief would stamp his approval on her application. Then triple checked why she wanted to kick Blake Johnston’s sorry-teasing behind from here to the Middle East where he’d get a serious acting lesson in Active Duty 101.
She’d half-expected he’d skip the gym today. But here he was, and her hormones jigged a happy dance whenever he flexed his spectacular muscles during their session. Geez. Focus on what you’re getting out of this, not his pecs.
“You get Constanza a walk-on?” she asked. Though she couldn’t bring Rodriguez back from the grave, she sure as hell could help her friend.
Blake moved behind her and spotted her final two reps, touching her elbows to help maintain her form. “Called the director last night. It’s a go,” he said. “You want to tell him the good news or would a call from Quinn Sawyer be better?”