The shower was still running. Interesting. I swapped the beer for a remote and flipped on the set. Then I took a bite and actually moaned, because the food was that fucking good.
Christ, I’d needed this. I had no idea what’d compelled her to fix me dinner, but the woman was a goddess and I regretted every nasty thing I’d ever thought about her. The shower turned off, and I heard her singing softly to herself. My dick perked up as I took another bite.
Fuck it, because I really didn’t regret any of the nasty shit I’d thought about her … at least not the screwing-her parts, which had been the nastiest of all. The only thing better than eating this food would be if she fed it to me naked.
After a minute the bathroom door opened and London stepped out, a towel wrapped loosely around her body. She saw me and screamed, which made her tits jiggle in a way that was nothing less than outstanding.
She’d been taking a shower. In my room. Naked.
I set the bowl down and rose to my feet, stalking toward her. Clearly London operated a full-service business.
Not one single thing had gone right … No, that wasn’t true. The doctor’s trip yesterday had been great. All good with Jess, no signs of complications and no need to come back in for another six months unless she had symptoms. It was easy to lose perspective on how far we’d come over the years, get impatient with her for doing stupid things. The fact of the matter was she’d been born a miracle baby and now she was a miraculously healthy adult.
I needed to remember that.
That morning I’d been scheduled to finish at Hayes’s house, but I’d gotten called to the hospital instead. One of my girls was pregnant and she’d gone into preterm labor at four a.m. It looked like she’d be on bed rest for the duration, which wasn’t exactly good news for me but at least she was doing okay. Fortunately I’d gotten six applications in this week, and I’d already set up interviews with two of them. Hopefully one or both would work out—they both looked good on paper.
That left me in a bind with Hayes. I had to bring food for the potluck at six, and there was no way I’d be able finish up at his place and get back home in time to fix it, let alone make myself presentable, so I’d thrown the chicken into a Crock-Pot and grabbed the ingredients for biscuits to take with me. I figured I could clean, throw together the biscuits, and then take a quick shower before grabbing the pot and running out the door.
Was it appropriate? Not even a little, but beggars can’t be choosers and it’s not like he was paying me. Fortunately he wasn’t even home, so it seemed to be a non-issue. The last of the cleaning went smoothly enough, and showering at his place was a treat. The house might be old, but he’d gone all out in the addition and the bathroom was luxe.
Beyond luxe, actually. It was big, almost as big as one of the little bedrooms upstairs. There was a sunken tub built for two and a large, glassed-in shower stall with one of those fancy adjustable shower heads that go up and down. I’d lowered it for myself, making careful note of where he’d had it set. I’d make sure it was back where it was supposed to be when I finished, but it was still a pleasure to use a shower that was actually the right height for me.
By the time my hair was all washed and I stepped out, I was in a pretty good mood. I couldn’t wait to see Jessica in her element at the community center again. Life with her was a series of ups and downs, but I had a good feeling about tonight.
Maybe she could even get a job down there, because for all her faults she really did have something to offer those kids that a more typical young woman wouldn’t bring to the table. Maggs Dwyer might be new, but she was smart. When she looked at Jessica, she saw the same potential that I did.
My mood stayed good as I toweled off my hair, and then I looked around for my backpack and realized I’d left it in the bedroom. Humming brightly, I opened the door and screamed.
Reese Hayes was sitting back on his bed holding a bowl of food, eyes trailing down my figure speculatively. A slow, predatory smile crossed his face and he set the bowl on the bedside table, pushing to his feet.
Run! my brain screamed, but my feet didn’t move. Seriously. No movement at all, just like in one of those dreams where a giant dinosaur suddenly appears in the grocery store parking lot and you can’t seem to start running away or even throw a package of chicken thighs to create a diversion, no matter how hard you try.
Chicken thighs? Where did that come from? Why couldn’t I focus?
Hayes stalked toward me, and then one of his fingers slid down the front of my towel, right between my breasts. My nipples perked up, acting against orders. He tugged gently at the fabric, and finally my body started listening to me. I clamped down my arms against the towel, holding it firm as I took a step back.
He let me go, a strange smile teasing his lips.
“Don’t be shy,” he said. “Wet and naked’s a good look on you. Gotta say, between this and the food you’ve turned my day right around.”
I glanced over at the bowl, then realized he’d been in the chicken and biscuits. Crap. I loved it when the biscuits formed a perfect, unbroken layer across the top while the broth bubbled up along the edges. Now there’d be a gap. Of course, I couldn’t exactly begrudge the man some dinner, given that I’d essentially taken over his house without permission.
In retrospect, I think I might have subconsciously set myself up. From the beginning he’d fascinated me … He scared me, too, but he’d also gotten under my skin like a bur. Maybe if I hadn’t been so out of practice, I’d have figured it out sooner.
Holding the towel firmly, I gave him a tight smile.
“Sorry. I got delayed this morning. One of my employees is in the hospital, and I have a potluck after this. I figured you wouldn’t mind, seeing as I didn’t even charge you for the cleaning …”
A flash of pain crossed his face.
“Had an employee in the hospital this morning myself,” he said. “Hope yours turned out better than mine. If you aren’t gonna take off that towel, then you should get dressed now, I think.”
“That’s the goal,” I said dryly, deciding not to follow up on the hospital comment. It didn’t sound like a happy story.
I didn’t want to get involved.
“Can you hand me my bag?” I asked, nodding toward the backpack I’d left sitting near the door. He walked casually over to grab it, and I couldn’t help but watch the movement of his legs under those jeans. His thighs were thick, and not with fat. He had a tight butt, broad shoulders, and a back that I wanted to rub my cheek against.