Friday, April 4, 2014


As Ellie pulled her little car in front of the funeral home, she saw Finn sitting on one of the two wide wicker rockers on the front porch.
            Her face reddened, and she took her time shutting down her engine, collecting the thirty scraps of paper covered with notes from her Tidy Whitiez conversations, and getting out of her car.
What was it with this guy? Did he have radar? Did he somehow scoop her thoughts from the air and know that she’d been thinking about him?
About having sex with him?
She climbed up the porch steps. “What do you want?”
            He sat forward on the big wicker chair. His short hair stuck up in all the right places, as if he’d combed his fingers through it in frustration, but that only gave it a sexy, bedroom look. He’d ditched his suit in favor of jeans and a gray T-shirt that showed off his broad shoulders and those gloriously sexy tattoos.
Her breath stumbled. Or maybe she sighed with disgust at her own weakness. Sure, he was great-looking. But did her artist’s eye have to notice every detail? Especially after her thoughts while talking to her Tidy Whitiez crew?
“Is that any way to treat a guest?”
            The smart move would be to get away from him. Yes, an affair seemed logical, given how attracted she was to him and how much she needed a distraction right now. But there were other issues to consider. Particularly the fact that they were enemies, fighting for the same customers.
“You’re not a guest. You’re the competition. You stole the Wojak funeral.”
            “I’d sold her a package months ago.” He glanced at the glob of sticky notes in her hands. “What’s all that?”
            “The results of hours of conversation.”
            “Staffers for my adult diapers campaign.”
            “You’re trying to get adult diapers elected to public office?”
Damn it. It was the struggle of a lifetime not to laugh. And maybe that was the biggest temptation of all. He didn’t just turn her on. He made her laugh.
“It’s an ad campaign.”
“So you’re hawking adult diapers?”
She grimaced. “Yes.”
“This is exactly why I came here.” He chuckled.
            “To make fun of me?”
            He shook his head. “No. To hear something that would make me laugh.”
            It was one thing to joke around. It was another to insult her. “You’re laughing at my job?”
            “No. I’m just laughing at the absurdity of life.”
No matter how he prettied it up, he was laughing at her. Despite her very rational arguments for having an affair with him, that brought her back to planet earth. She unlocked the door to McDermott’s and went inside.
He followed her. “Hey, come on. Don’t be mad.”
“Just shut up. Go home.” How had she ever thought sleeping with him would be a stress reliever, when he was the biggest producer of her stress? Especially when she’d told him to go home but he was still following her up to her apartment.
She tossed her purse on the old glass table, her gaze colliding with his broad shoulders beneath his gray shirt, and she almost groaned. He had the trimmed, toned body of a warrior. The sexily mussed hair of a man who liked to take life easy. The strong, chiseled face of a Greek god. And a voice that could melt butter. She had to forgive herself for being attracted to him. But that didn't mean she would let him stay.
She raised her gaze to meet his. “I’m not mad. I just want you to go away.”
“After the way you just sized me up?” He grabbed her arm, spun her to him. “I think you lie.”
His lips were on hers before she could even form a reply. At first she stiffened, but the reality of her life closed in on her. It had finally sunk in that her dad wasn't getting any better. And Finn was offering a way to forget, if only for a few minutes.
            He rolled his tongue along her bottom lip and everything inside her went nuclear. Heat exploded low in her body and roared through her. This was what she wanted from him. The heat. The intensity. She didn't just need to forget her troubles. She wanted him. And he wanted her.
And if only for a few minutes, she was taking what she could get. Even if that was only one long, delicious kiss. She caught the back of his neck and pulled him closer.
As if she’d taunted him or challenged him, he deepened the kiss. Gliding his tongue along her lips again, opening her mouth so he could dive inside. Sweet sensation exploded in her mouth. The scratch of his tongue. The taste of peppermint.
Desperate, needy, she pressed closer, feasting on his mouth, cruising her hands down his neck, shoulders, and arms, feeling the strength in the corded muscles, taking what she craved. Any minute now, he’d break away or she’d push away, and he’d leave in a huff…or maybe teasing her. She would be fine. They would be fine. She just wanted two minutes of pure pleasure.
His hands slid from her shoulders down her back, pressing in when they reached the swell of her bottom. Heat shot through her, scorching her, ramping up the needs swelling inside her.
His hands roamed up again, tracing her spine, filling her with liquid heat, but instead of stopping at her shoulders, they raced around and found her breasts. Her nipples pebbled to aching life, straining to get into his hands, but meeting the soft lace of her bra.
She groaned.
“I love this dress. Let’s take it off.”
That woke her up. Instead of stopping they were going further?
            He stepped back, swiveled her around, and unzipped her dress. Before she had a chance to say stop, he turned her back to him and slid his hands under the shoulders of her simple black sheath. With one quick shove from him, it puddled to the floor.
In what felt like the blink of an eye, she stood before him in a black bra and panties, exposed, vulnerable.
            He chuckled as he whipped off his T-shirt. “You’re a closet underwear junkie. I like that about you—you’re never what I expect. You’re always better.”
            The word “stop” died on her tongue. “Every girl likes to be pretty.” She said the words slowly, finally understanding why he tempted her so much. He wasn't just gorgeous. He had a way of making her feel beautiful. Even when they were arguing.
            He put both hands on her waist and nudged her to him again. “You are the prettiest.”
            “Oh, now you’re just lying.”
            He skimmed his lips along her neck. “Never.”
            That made her laugh out loud, then his lips nibbled behind her ear, and her laughter died. Heat flooded her and became an ache at the apex of her thighs.
            Were they really going to do this?