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“What are you doing?” she asked.

“We should talk about it.” He pointed to the wall where he’d pinned her and pillaged like a madman. Not that he’d been alone; he was pretty sure he still had the indentations from where her fingers had dug into his back.

But she was shaking her head. “Not necessary. I don’t know what that was but I’m going with denial. It never happened.”

“But it did,” he said.

“No.” She exhaled a long, shuddering breath. “The thing to remember here is that I annoy the hell out of you and you make me angry.”

“Yeah, I noticed that when you had your tongue down my throat,” he said.

If looks could kill … “Are you telling me that was all me?” she asked in a tone that suggested he was an inch from death.

“Are you telling me it was all me?”

“Oh my God.” She slapped his hand off the Close Door button. “Let’s just get out of here before I strangle you.”

The doors opened but he held her arm. “I want to hear why you want to pretend this didn’t happen.”

“Trust me,” she said. “You don’t want to know what I’m really thinking.”

“I do.”

“Fine,” she said and tossed up her hands. “You’re … remarkable. And by remarkable I mean remarkably egotistical and—” She broke off as another couple got onto the elevator.

Darcy stepped off and started to walk, stopping only to send a glance back at AJ. “Hurry, I want to get this over with.”

They were in the middle of the bank of elevators, alone. “Need a minute,” he said.


He just looked at her.

Her gaze ran over him and he knew the exact moment she saw the problem because she stared at the obvious bulge behind his zipper. “Are you kidding me?”

“Oh, and you’re not turned on?” he asked.

“Nope.” She crossed her arms. “Not in the slightest.”

He leaned in so that their mouths were nearly touching, marginally satisfied by her intake of breath and the way her gaze dropped to his mouth. “If we had even a minute of privacy,” he said, “I’d prove you a liar.”

Pushing free of him, she let out an annoyed sound and strode off toward the bar and grill in that dress and those heels, both his greatest fantasy and his biggest nightmare.

Halfway to the lobby she slowed.

He had no idea if she wanted to apologize or kill him. It could go either way.

Still not looking at him, she let out a long, unsteady breath. “AJ?”

He braced himself and schooled his features. “Yeah?”

“You really did save my life.”

That was just about the last thing he’d expected her to say. She flashed him a quick, unreadable look. “But that changes nothing about how little I want to be here with you.”

He nodded. “Understood.”

The truce was over. He got that. He was going to just hope for the best. His potential grant partner was Trent Gibson, a genius IT guy who’d sold his software company several years ago for a staggering amount of money, more money than “my grandchildren’s grandchildren could ever spend” as he’d told AJ.

The guy was fifty-five, self-made, and on top of his world. Or had been until his second wife had been terribly burned in a car accident. Physical therapy had saved her life.

Trent claimed that without his substantial wealth she never would have gotten the extended care she’d needed. As a result, she’d talked Trent into giving money to help others less fortunate than she. Trent’s only stipulation had been that he got to personally meet and approve the physical therapists he awarded grant money to.

AJ had contacts throughout the country, good friends in the business, and he’d been mentioned to Trent several times over. He and Trent had spoken on the phone and via e-mail, and though Trent came off a little full of himself, no one could fault the guy’s philanthropic spirit.

As for whether AJ’s program would get to benefit from it, that all rode on tonight.

And on Darcy, the woman who’d just given him a hardon in an elevator.

So his head wasn’t exactly on straight as the three of them ordered drinks and dinner. In fact, his head was seriously fucked up. Darcy had him spinning. For one thing he had no idea what would’ve happened if the elevator doors hadn’t opened when they had.

And for another, was this a random thing for Darcy, or had she felt it, too?

And while he sat there half lost in his own remembered lust, something shocking happened. Darcy carried the conversation. She held Trent’s interest and … well, was the opposite of her usual snarky self. She laughed at the guy’s jokes, smiled sweetly when he rambled on and on about how much money he’d made and the expensive colleges he planned on sending his kids from his first marriage. She asked questions as he pulled out his iPhone and flipped through hundreds of pictures of their lives on yachts and exotic islands and the like. In short, she was sweet and charming and wonderfully genuine—all while managing not to look at AJ or address him once.

Still, she kept her end of the bargain, and on top of that, it was a whole other side to her that she hadn’t let him see before.

This didn’t help him get his head on straight in the slightest.

And then dinner was cleared and in a lull of the conversation, Trent said to Darcy, “Tell me about your accident.”