When he turned back toward me, my eyes widened. I have a thing for muscular men, no question, and his body pushed every one of my buttons. Broad chest, thick arms and thighs … And his stomach? Holy cow, I just knew that under that tight black shirt would be the perfect six-pack. The man’s body was ideal—not like a twenty-year-old’s, though. No, he had the solidity that only comes with age and endurance and maturity.
My eyes had just drifted lower, below the belt, when he spoke.
“How important is this potluck thing?” he asked softly. Huh? I blinked, then glanced back up at his face. Oh, wow. He’d totally caught me checking him out. He liked it, too. I saw heat in his eyes, the kind of heat that only means one thing. This is why I shouldn’t be let out in public, I decided. I just couldn’t be trusted to handle myself.
“Why?” I asked, my throat ever so slightly dry.
“Because if you look at me like that for even one more second, I’m gonna throw you down on that bed and fuck every part of you, starting with your tits. Unless that’s on the menu, you need to grab your shit and leave while you still can. This is the only warning you’ll get.”
I gave a strangled gasp, because there was absolutely no question he was dead serious. I reached out for my pack, which he handed over wordlessly. Then I turned and bolted back into the bathroom, slamming the door shut and locking it. I heard him laugh behind me, but there wasn’t even a hint of humor in the sound.
“Don’t think a lock could keep me out, sweetheart.”
Ha. No danger of me feeling safe in his home anyway. Five minutes later I was dressed and ready to go. I’d planned to wipe down the bathroom after I finished, leave it perfect so he’d never know I’d taken advantage of the situation. Unfortunately that ship had well and truly sailed, so I decided escape was probably more important than preventing water spots.
Like he’d notice them anyway …
Thankfully Hayes wasn’t in the bedroom when I cautiously stepped out again, and I didn’t find him in the kitchen, either. Perfect. I took my damp towel and wrapped it around the Crock-Pot, preparing to haul it to the car.
“We need to talk,” he said behind me.
I froze. Was the man a ninja? “I think we’ve talked enough. I’ve finished the job for you and it’s really time for me to get going.”
I heard him step forward, then felt his heat surround me. Big hands came to rest against the edge of the counter on either side of me and his breath whispered across my ear.
“You should come back here next week,” he said, his voice low and growly. It slithered down my spine, sending tendrils of heat swirling through me.
No, I definitely shouldn’t come back. Not even a little bit.
“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” I said quickly. “You probably don’t remember, but I actually have a boyfriend. We’re starting to get serious.”
“I didn’t mean you should come back to fuck, although I’m all over that idea, too, if you change your mind. Don’t give a damn about your boyfriend, either, that’s between you and him. Nope, I want you back to clean again, maybe make more of that food. It’s really fuckin’ good, and tonight I realized just how much nicer it is to come home to a house that smells like people actually live here.”
My brain froze.
“I don’t do houses,” I said. “I mean, this was a special deal. But I run a commercial business and I use crews. I manage things and fill in—I’m not interested in being someone’s housekeeper.”
“Two days a week,” he murmured. I felt his lips brush and it took everything I had not to moan. “You come here two days a week and I’ll make it worth your while.”
He leaned into me, and I felt his hardness touch my rear so lightly I wondered if I’d imagined it. This was not a legitimate business proposition. I needed to tell him where to go. Unfortunately my mouth wouldn’t work. It was too busy imagining what licking his nipples would feel like.
“Your crew came in and did cleanup after that last big party at The Line, remember? Did a real good job, too.”
I nodded, still unable to speak.
“I think Gage mentioned we might be looking for a long-term contract,” he continued. “Something more regular so we don’t have to count on the waitresses to shut down at night.”
“You should really consider it,” I answered quietly. “A business like that needs to be cleaned thoroughly every day if you want to keep it up right.”
“Contract’s all yours if you do my house, too. You cook two meals a week and you’ll do some grocery shopping. I’ll make it worth your while.”
Then he whispered a number that made my eyes widen. That was pizza money and then some.
“That per visit or per week?”
He laughed, and we both knew he had me.
“Per visit,” he said. “But you work around my schedule. I can be flexible, but I don’t want you out here cooking on nights I won’t be around.”
“Why don’t you just get one of your club girlfriends to do it?” I asked, wondering if I’d lost my mind. But having my crews seven days a week out at The Line? That would add up fast … The club paid top dollar, and like I said—they paid it in cash.
“Because they’re little girls with dreams and plans and bullshit,” he said, a hint of humor in his voice. “You’re a grown-up. You know this doesn’t end with wine and roses, whatever happens between us. When I don’t need you anymore, you keep the shifts at The Line so long as things stay drama-free. Got me?”
“Nothing is going to happen but cleaning and cooking,” I said quickly. “I have a boyfriend.”
Hayes pressed forward into me, and I felt the hard heat of him all along my back, so hot I thought my spine might melt. His erection dug into my bottom and I bit my lip to distract myself—otherwise I’d start grinding back against him like a cat in heat. Then he kissed my neck, tongue tracing along my jaw, and his teeth caught my ear. I moaned, desire twisting up from between my legs, swelling my breasts and hardening my nipples.
“Unless you plan on skipping your potluck, time to go,” Hayes whispered, giving his hips a slow twist. “And next time you see your boyfriend? Tell him I said hi.”
“Everything okay?” Nate asked, softly ending our kiss. We were at his place and I’d had a couple of glasses of wine, along with the very nice steak dinner he’d cooked for me. Now we were out on his back deck, me on a lounger and him on me, legs tangled together in the warm summer air.