“Hey, Sean. Here a little early today, huh?”
One thick brow lifted in surprise but the scowl remained. I batted my eyelashes playfully in an attempt to make him smile, but he just rolled his eyes.
“I left work early,” he growled.
“Oh? Everything okay in the world of retail?”
He looked conflicted, as if he couldn’t decide on whether to actually talk to me or not. I didn’t know why every conversation had to be a battle with him, but we were finally making progress and I wasn’t willing to give it up.
“Yeah. No… I don’t know. I’m just a little stressed out right now.”
My smile melted into genuine concern and I placed a hand on the fist he held clenched against the countertop. He looked down at my hand but didn’t pull away.
“You know, there usually isn’t anyone in the hot tub at this hour. Why don’t you lay off the weights today and go relax?”
When his gaze returned to mine there was genuine surprise. He unclenched his fist and turned his hand up, twining our fingers for one heart-stopping moment.
“That’s a great idea. Thanks, Megan.”
I smiled and slipped my hand from his to grab a towel. The loss of his skin against mine was like a slap but it was worth it to see appreciation in his gaze. He took the towel with a nod of thanks and walked away. My heart started beating again and I remembered to breathe. Something was weighing heavily on his mind and I wanted to know how to make it go away. A glance at the clock showed ten minutes until my replacement arrived. I usually left the gym right after working an early shift to go to the bookstore. I could spend hours there and usually more money than was wise, but it’s my only vice. This time I decided to stay and take a dip in the hot tub. After all, I needed some downtime too.
Twenty minutes later I peeked around the corner of the wall separating the women’s locker room from the coed pool area. The hot tub was on the other end of the room, so Sean would see me coming. I adjusted the straps on my one-piece, black bathing suit, wishing for the millionth time I had Elle’s body. I naturally kept in shape being an employee of the gym, but I’d always been athletic. Years of softball, volleyball and soccer had given me a teenage boy’s figure rather than a voluptuous woman’s. There wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it without surgery so I tried hard not to care.
Sean had his back to me, lounging in the hot tub with the jets on high. His eyes were closed and my bare feet made almost no sound. We were alone, though there were two men in the pool swimming laps. I entered the water slowly so my body could acclimate to the higher temperature. It was divine. I didn’t normally take time to enjoy most of the gym’s perks, but this was one time I just couldn’t stay away.
I must have splashed or gasped, or something to announce my presence, because when I looked up from taking the final step into the water Sean’s intense blue gaze was on me. I froze and smiled weakly, my nerves going into overdrive at joining him uninvited. Was I being too bold after barely getting him to agree on the barbecue? He remained silent with a blank look on his face as I took a seat opposite him, a full leg’s length away. I’d piled my dark-brown hair into a haphazard knot at the top of my head. It’s so thin, I usually can’t get it to stay in a neat braid. I silently prayed it didn’t look too messy.
“Mmmm, this feels great, huh? Definitely relaxing,” I said.
He didn’t reply and I fought to keep my natural smile in place. I made a show of looking around, as if seeing the pool area for the first time. I didn’t come in here often, so it wasn’t completely for show. Sean didn’t say a word or move a muscle.
An eternity later, in reality only about seven minutes, the two men in the pool left. Sean and I were completely alone, but I didn’t expect to stay that way in the middle of the afternoon. I lounged back against the hot tub and clasped my hands behind my head, closing my eyes. I was actually relaxing and enjoying the solitude when something brushed my foot. I opened one eye to see Sean standing and my pulse leapt. I wanted to jump up and grab him but decided looking that desperate was uncalled for. If he wanted to leave, fine.
I let my lid drop back down and he brushed against my calf. I’m on the short side, so I didn’t understand how my legs could possibly be in his way. However, if Sean wanted to touch my bare skin I was all for it. Even after that thought, his rough hands on my upper thighs jerked me fully upright. My eyes flew open and were filled with his lightly furred chest. I looked up to see him well within my personal space, and slowly inching slower. My breath caught in my lungs and I watched in fascination as his gaze zeroed in on my lips and stayed there. He was going to kiss me and I was going to let him.
All rational thought disappeared the moment his lips touched mine. I didn’t give a damn about being in a public place, where I worked and could potentially be seen by my boss. I wrapped my arms around Sean’s neck and pulled him in tight, afraid to let go when I finally had him where I needed him. He didn’t seem to want to escape as he explored my mouth with his expert tongue. His taste, mint and coffee, filled my senses and I moaned in delight.
His hands had moved to my hips and he tightened his grip to pin me in place. I wasn’t going anywhere, but his forcefulness ratcheted up my arousal and I wrapped my legs around his hips. He finally pulled back but didn’t try to move away. I caught my breath and looked up into his eyes.
“I really needed that,” he whispered.
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