Page 45

They were given a blindfold. Darcy met his gaze and then moved behind him, her arms coming around him. You are not having sex with her, he reminded himself. Not unless she strips naked and throws you to the bed and—

No. Under no circumstances were they having sex. Period. He couldn’t, not without getting his heart involved. Even though there was already an entire section of his heart with her name engraved on it.

Darcy’s body brushed his and he stilled in order to catch every single second of it.

“You okay?” she asked.

“Yes.” No …

She settled the blindfold against his eyes, during which time her hair brushed his jaw and her scent filled his head. He actually caught himself trying to inhale her whole.

“Don’t get any ideas,” she murmured in his ear.

Too late. He had all sorts of ideas. “About?”

“About doing this to me.”

With his eyes covered, his other senses kicked into gear, like the feel of her mouth so close to his ear, her breasts pressing into his back. “Turnabout is fair play,” he said, voice low and husky even to his own ears.

She laughed but her voice was just as low and husky as his. “Maybe if you’re very lucky.”

Damn. She was only teasing him, he knew this, but … damn.

She led him into the boardroom, shutting the door behind them. She was told to climb up the platform and call out directions to her partner from there.

“The first station’s about six feet,” Darcy said. “But there’re boxes right in front of you, haphazardly stacked. If you even brush them, they’re going over. Take a big step to the right.”

He took a big step and crashed into what felt like netting.

“Sorry!” she gasped. “I meant my right, your left!”

He corrected and she said, “Good. Now you’ve got to go up and over what looks like one of the things that construction workers use for their saw.”

“A sawhorse?”

“Yeah,” she said. “That. Go over it because you can’t go around without knocking over a set of foam bricks.”

AJ felt out in front of him, gauged the height and swung a leg over.

“Duck low,” she said.

He crouched.

“Crawl forward five feet to the first station.”

His hands hit something that felt an awful lot like snakes. His fears hadn’t yet played into this whole trustbuilding game they’d been playing all morning, but they were about to. Logically he knew damn well he wasn’t crawling through a pile of snakes, but the mind was a funny thing and his instantly rebelled. “What the hell is this?”

“Four more feet,” she said. “Hurry, there’s only one minute left and I want to get to ask my question!”

He was starting to sweat. “Darcy—”

“Yeah? Hey,” she said, her voice suddenly soft. “AJ? You okay?”

“Peachy. Next move.”

“Okay,” she said, gentle but firm, as if she knew. “You’re almost there. It’s almost over. Just stretch out in front of you. You’ll feel the platform. Pull yourself up on it. You just need to move forward a few feet, that’s all.”

He sucked in a breath and surged forward and up onto the platform. On his knees, he gulped air in like he’d been running a marathon.

A set of arms came around him and squeezed. “You rocked it,” Darcy said in his ear. “You’re all done.”

Ripping off the blindfold, he stared down into the large kiddie pool he’d just climbed out of.

Filled with rubber snakes.

“Jesus,” he breathed.

Darcy, on her knees facing him, was running her hands up and down his back, her eyes worried. “You’re not peachy at all.”

“Sure I am,” he said, swiping the sweat from his brow. “I’ve never been better.”

He’d dislodged her arms from him but she didn’t move away, just kept looking into his face. “So … snakes, huh?”

He shuddered. “Little bit.”

Without another word she offered him one of the two bottles of water that had been waiting for them on the platform.

He gulped it down.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I didn’t know.”

“Ask your question.”

“It can wait.”

“Just ask your damn question,” he said.

“Alright.” She met his gaze. “Who’s Kayla?”

Darcy let herself into her hotel room, plopped down on the bed, and stared at the ceiling.

They’d finished the trust workshop but hadn’t won. She couldn’t be surprised. After she’d asked her question, she and AJ had sat on that first platform staring at each other long enough to fall into last place going into the second round.

She’d had to prompt him again about her question and he’d answered with one of his own.

“How do you know about Kayla?” he asked.

“You said her name last night. In your sleep.”

And that had been the last thing they’d said to each other because someone in the next boardroom over chose that moment to have an anxiety attack in their “snake” pit and had to be taken out on a stretcher.

AJ had checked the roads on his phone and showed her the app. “The summit’s closed, even to four-wheel-drive vehicles with chains.”

Just her luck. Karma was a bitch.

They’d lunched with a large group, including Trent and Summer. And then Trent and AJ had gone to the gym while Summer and Darcy had hit the spa and had mani-pedis while looking out the sixteen-foot-high windows as the snow continued to dump out of the sky in lines so heavy it looked like a cartoon of a storm.