He took that in for a moment and nodded. “It suits you. Moving on to the next question.”

She leaned on the doorjamb, all casual-like, as if she wasn’t aching at the sight of him so at ease in his own skin—which, by the way, was dusted with wood shavings. “You miss the I’m-busy part?” she asked.

His eyes softened. Warmed. “I’ll make it worth your while.”

Her knees wobbled. Stupid knees. “No, you won’t,” she said. “You’ve gone all prim and proper and stodgy on me.”


She shrugged.

He stared at her, then let out a sound that might have been a laugh as he hauled her in close and personal, and kissed her right there in the doorway. It was a really great kiss, too, all slow and long and deep and hot.

Finally, when she was good and speechless, he pulled back and looked into her eyes. “Why do you play the piano when you think I can’t hear you?” he asked.

Still not the question she expected, but not exactly one she wanted to answer, either, so she dropped her gaze from his beautiful, piercing eyes and looked at his throat. But this only reminded her that she liked to press her face there and inhale him because he always smelled amazing, like the ocean, like the beach, like one hundred percent yummy man. “That’s ridiculous,” she finally said.

He put a hand on her stomach and nudged her clear of the doorway, then stepped inside her apartment.

“Hey,” she said.

He eyed the portable piano keyboard on her bed and the blankets wrinkled like she’d just been sitting right there playing—which, of course, she had.

He turned back to her, brow raised.

She crossed her arms. “I—” But she broke off because he got right in her precious space bubble. Like he’d forgotten he’d made her choose between him and the job. She’d been trying to maintain some distance, but it wasn’t easy because . . . well, because she still wanted him, damn it. And she especially couldn’t maintain any distance with the taste of him still on her tongue.

Then he cupped her face and made her look at him, and she couldn’t remember her name much less why she didn’t want him to cup her face like she was the most precious thing in his life.

As if.

“Why do you play the piano only when you think I’m not listening?” he asked again, his eyes unwavering, telling her that her answer really meant something to him.

She closed her eyes.

He merely shifted closer. “And why,” he whispered against her lips, “are you giving me attitude when you used to give me sweet, like maybe you want to piss me off so I’ll go away and leave you alone.”

“Because I want you to go away and leave me alone,” she whispered back.

“Because you don’t want to talk about things,” he said, calling her on it. Didn’t he know that wasn’t the polite thing to do? The polite thing to do was let her hide, damn it.

“You prefer to live in your head instead of the here and now,” he said.

“Correct,” she said back, and gave him a long look from beneath her lashes. “And anyway, you’ve asked your questions. Where’s my worthwhile?”

His gaze heated about a gazillion degrees as he leaned in and kissed first one corner of her mouth, and then the other.

She tightened her grip on him, closed her eyes, then moaned and dropped her head to his shoulder when he stopped.

“You still work for me?” he asked, voice gruff.

Great. They were back to that. “Unless I’m fired.”

“If I fired you, would you go get a job that better suits your abilities?” he asked.


“Like . . . being a full-time music teacher. Or writing more jingles.”

“Because I just love writing about feminine products.” Damn it, she hadn’t meant to let that slip. “If you laugh,” she warned, “our friendship—or whatever this is—is over.”

He paused, as if doing his best to bite back his amusement. “How about doing whatever floats your boat?”

“Why do you care about what floats my boat?” she asked.

He didn’t have an answer for that, apparently, since he said nothing, just looked at her with those eyes that seemed to see far more than she wanted him to.

“Stop worrying about me,” she finally said. “It’s not your problem. I’m not your problem.”

“I don’t know what kind of men you’ve had in your life, Becca, but that’s not how I work.”

“What are you saying? You’re in my life?”


She didn’t know what to make of that, so it was her turn to say nothing, but she couldn’t help but stay a little too close. It was his warmth, she told herself. In any case, she wasn’t the only one feeling . . . things. She could feel him still hard against her. “Your body doesn’t agree with the not-sleeping-with-your-employee decree.”

“You know I still want you,” he said. “That’s not exactly a secret. But I want to know what happened today in my office more.”

She pulled back, but he caught her. “It was nothing,” she said.

“Becca.” His eyes were still on hers, his voice low but oddly gentle, as if he knew she’d just told a big, fat whopper.

And then, oh God and then, he cupped her face yet again and lowered his head, brushing his lips across hers. “It was a lot more than nothing,” he said with another soft, devastatingly gentle kiss.