“There’s no time to wait for Coach to rehash what I did. I pummeled ten dudes to the ground and I’m fucking tired. But—at the same time—I’m wired as hell.
“Well done, boy. I’m gonna send a pair of masseuses to work on you,” he says once we’re in the locker room, and slaps my back.
In silence, I grab a pair of Gatorades to replenish my minerals and head out to the car with my duffel, knowing Pete and Riley will bring her to me soon. I want her.
At the hotel suite, my cock is hard and fully standing when I shower and I have to turn the knob to cold—ice-cold—as the water runs down my body. Dragging in a breath, I close my eyes and plant my hands on the wall as the water calms me.
But, god, the way she looks at me, the way she smells . . . Come tomorrow, when she works for me, I can smell her anytime, if I want to. And I want to.
When I come out of the shower in a towel, a pair of massage therapists have been let in by Diane.
“Food’s hot now, Remy,” she calls from the kitchen.
“Not now.” I grab an ice pack from the fridge and several more Gatorade bottles and then settle down at the foot of the bed, my muscles worn. My face hurts and I slap the ice pack on the sore as the women start working me. They massaged me last time and immediately get to work on my arms and shoulders while I intently wait for a certain signal from out in the living room. And then I hear it.
Anticipation curls around my gut and I train my eyes on the bedroom door. Pete strolls inside in his best PA mode, and something tangles in my chest when I see her following him.
God, she scrambles my head.
Her legs look lean and endless in those tight jeans she must use butter to slide into, and the soft-pink top she wears is the same exact shade of her lips.
I like the shade of her hair, dark and seductive and sun-lightened with just a hint of copper, and I like the small earrings on her ears. She’s wearing hardly anything fake. No watch. No bracelets. Small earrings, and her lips are shiny with something. The rest of her is fresh and natural as a flower, but not even flowers smell as fucking good as her.
She’s checking out my bare chest, and I concentrate on not blinking in order not to miss the way her cheeks heat up and her eyes fill with lust. My body tightens with need. I haven’t had anyone in days, and I’m not used to any sort of abstinence. It’s simple to me: if I want it, I indulge. Hungry? Eat, asshole.
But all I want to eat now is her. I wish her hands were the ones on my shoulders. . . . No. I want my hands on her small shoulders. But I want them most on her clothes, ripping them away so I can see her.
When Brooke stares at me, and then the therapists, in slight confusion, I slap the ice pack down, finish my Gatorade, and toss it aside.
“Did you enjoy the fight?” I ask.
She startles slightly at my voice, which is gruff with dehydration and exhaustion, and my lips curl into a smile.
I want to run my fingers over her skin. She was a runner; and that flesh has seen the sun. It looks as warm as her eyes and the faint light streaks in her beautiful dark hair.
She’s silent as she contemplates the question. Like it has an answer other than the one I’ve always received, which obviously is yes. Isn’t it?
“You make it interesting,” she finally answers.
I’m slightly thrown. So, she’s not a fan of mine? “Is that all?” I prod.
The hands on my back and shoulders become annoying, and I roll my shoulders to jerk them off. “Leave me,” I command the women.
The women head out—and she’s alone with me. In my suite. My bedroom. Inches from my bed. Inches from me.
Once again, I’m hard as stone. I remember she’d been sitting with two women and a man who seemed protective of her. Yeah, thanks for protecting her, dude, but I’m taking it from here.
“The man you’re with . . . Is he your boyfriend?”
Amusement sparks in her eyes and I think I see a slight curl to the corners of her lips. “No, he’s just a friend.”
“No husband?” I keep prodding. Possessively, I study her ring finger and see how slim and delicate her hands look.
“No husband, not at all.”
The air is static. My entire body is ready to fuck her. Just being near her feels sexual. “You interned at a private school rehabbing their young athletes?”
She looks surprised, her eyes sparking with curiosity and disbelief. “You looked me up?”
“Actually, we did.” Pete and Riley come into the room, and her attention swings away from me. But mine doesn’t shift. I know what they’re going to say already. I told them what, exactly, they would propose today.
Miss Dumas . . . I’m sure you’re wondering why you’re here, so we’ll just cut to it. We’re leaving town in two days and I’m afraid there’s no time to do things differently. Mr. Tate wants to hire you. . . .
She looks so surprised that I smile inside, even as my insides go tense. I don’t want her to say no. She surprised me today, denying she liked my fight. If she says no to this too, I’m not going to take it so well.
The tension escalates when she frowns after Pete’s explanation that I want her to travel with me from site to site. I don’t like the way her eyes darken.
“What is it, exactly, that you think I do? I’m not an escort,” she says.
Okay, so she doesn’t look as excited about the job as I’d thought she would be. Wary, I settle back down on the bench seat and watch her, torn between amusement and frustration at the way things are developing. Both Pete and Riley burst out laughing at her comment; I don’t.
“You’re onto us, Miss Dumas. Yes, I admit when we’re traveling, we find it convenient to keep one or several special friends of Mr. Tate’s to, shall we say, accommodate his needs either before or after a fight,” Pete laughingly explains.
Her left eyebrow shoots up and now I want to laugh at how these idiots paint me. But, hell, if she thinks my being friendly with the ladies is something bad, then wait until she hears about the worst part of me.
Suddenly, this whole scene is just not amusing at all. If I go manic before I can ever get close to her, I’ll be completely fucked. But I also can’t just take her to bed and let her go, I don’t want to let this one go.
“A man like Remington has very particular requirements, as you might guess, Miss Dumas,” Riley tells her. “But he’s been very specific in the fact that he’s no longer interested in the friends we had secured for him during our trip. He wants to focus on what’s important, and instead, he wants you to come work for him.”
She glances at Riley, then Pete, and then at me, and she looks puzzled, which is cute.
Pete flips through the folders. “You interned at the Military Academy of Seattle in sports rehab for their middle graders, and we see you’ve just graduated only two weeks ago. We’re prepared to hire your services, which will cover the duration of our eight cities we have left to tour, and Mr. Tate’s continued conditioning for future competitions. We will be very generous with your salary. It’s very prestigious to tend to such a followed athlete and should be impressive in any résumé. It might even allow you to be a free agent if in the future you decide to leave.”
She blinks and seems completely disconcerted. “I’ll have to think about it. I’m not really looking for something away from Seattle long term.”
She glances at me, somehow hesitantly and even confused. “Now if that’s all you wanted to say to me, I’d better get home. I’ll leave my card on your bar.” She swings around and heads for the door.
For a moment, I stare at her retreating back, disappointed as fuck.
I’ve been planning this for days. I’ve been wondering what it would be like to have her with me every day. I’ve been stone-hard to the point of pain imagining what her hands on me will feel like. . . .
“Answer me now,” I say, my voice harsher than I anticipated.