“Take your hand off me, or I’ll remove it and several other of your favorite appendages.”
Ariel Knight stood toe to toe with the Goliath blocking her way and stared him down. She’d faced hellhounds, demons, vampires, and all manner of scary beasties in her time. One oversized cowboy with a chip on his shoulder didn’t even cause her to bat an eyelash.
“Now, sweetheart, you’re not wanted here, so why don’t you just go on back to wherever it is you came from.”
His gravelly voice reminded her of the sound her car made when she didn’t add oil for too long. And the “sweetheart” grated on her nerves. She took a breath, calming her simmering temper and tried to use her most professional voice along with her sweetest smile. “This is the last time I’m going to warn you, Jeb. I have an appointment with Logan McAllister, and no one is going to scare me off.”
From her background check of Mr. McAllister, she knew Jeb was a former bouncer and Logan’s horse trainer and sometimes security man.
If this is any indication of his people skills, he needs to stick to the horses.
His deep chuckle reverberated around her. “You’ve got spunk, I’ll give you that, but you’re no match for me and we both know it. So, this is the last time I’ll ask you to leave before I help you out the door.” His lascivious gaze slid over her like an oily caress. “And believe me, that won’t be a hardship.”
Dream on, big boy. I’ve been leered at by far scarier things than you.
Quick as lighting, Ariel grabbed Jeb’s wrist. Twisting it back at a painful angle, she used leverage to drive him to his knees and then locking his hand up behind his head, she applied more pressure to keep him there.
The door in front of her flew open and a man right out of her fantasies stepped through and then stopped short as if he’d slammed into a solid wall. He stared at the scene in front of him openmouthed as if still trying to comprehend what he saw. Ariel took the opportunity to study him right back.
He stood before her, six foot plus of golden muscular delight topped by gently waving sandy blond hair and piercing blue-gray eyes the color of the sea after a storm.
Jeb’s whimper brought her back from her male inventory. She glanced down to see her captive’s eyes watering from pain. “I tried to ask you nicely,” she reminded him.
The intensity of the scrutiny from the blue-gray eyes burned through her skin until she glanced up. The passion swimming in the fevered depths hit her like a physical blow. It zinged through her, touching off small sparks of awareness throughout her body and causing heat to pool between her legs. She sucked in a breath, fighting not to drown in the sexual buffet of sensations assaulting her. Closing here eyes for a moment, she allowed hundreds of years of training to return her to her calm center.
Ariel stood stock still as he completed his slow inventory. And if his hungry gaze was any determination, he liked what he saw. A flicker of pure female delight flowed through her until she reined it in.
Get your mind out of your crotch!
She’d even worn her business skirt and blazer to appear professional, but the way he looked at her gave images of him peeling her out of it to discover what secrets she hid underneath, which blew the whole professional image out the window.
“You must be Mr. McAllister,” she said, breaking him out of his inventory.
“Yes,” he said finally and reached out to shake her outstretched free hand.
“I’m Ariel Knight. I believe we have an appointment?”
His lips quirked just enough to show the dimple in his left cheek. “Yes, I believe we do.” He gestured down at Jeb still trying to break out of Ariel’s leveraged grip. “Would you mind letting Jeb up?”
Ariel smiled, just a small curve of her lips, and met his gaze. She wondered briefly what his stormy eyes would look like darkened with desire as he moved inside her.
Get a grip, Ariel. You’re here to work, not…play. Her traitorous body reminded her it had been quite a while since she’d played, and it would be more than happy to nominate Logan McAllister to play with. She chided herself out of that train of thought and glanced down at Jeb. “Now, I’m willing to let you go if you promise to keep your hands to yourself. I really don’t want to have to hurt you.”
Anger flashed in Jeb’s eyes and smoldered. She knew she’d just made an enemy, but in her job, she made many more of those than friends. Jeb’s ego was taking a beating, but from the pained look on his face, she wasn’t overly surprised when he finally muttered, “Yes, Ma’am.”
“Ma’am works much better on me than sweetheart,” Ariel said. She released Jeb’s wrist and stepped back so he could stand, keeping enough distance to maneuver in case he wanted to take another shot. But he only stood, rubbed his sore wrist and glared at her.
Logan, visibly trying to hide his smile, turned to his bouncer. “Thank you, Jeb. I think I can take it from here.” Jeb looked between the two of them before nodding and turning to go.