By: Lola Taylor

“Clearly,” he said, not bothering to hide his irritation. He squished his eyes closed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I hope this isn’t going to be a sign of things to come.”

“No!” she blurted. Desperation crept into her voice. “I’m just having an off day, I swear!”

He stared at her. His jaw—so perfectly sculpted and perfectly lick-able—was set in a hard line. “If this is an ‘off’ day, I can’t wait to see a bad one.”

She stopped breathing. Her heart hammered against her sternum. It felt as if her very life depended on his meaning, which it technically did. “You mean I can stay?” She made herself whisper, afraid to hear the answer.

He remained silent and studied her with his calculating stare. His eyes roved from head to toe slowly.

Oh shit. He was probably trying to decide whether her rent money was worth the trouble of putting up with her.

That’s when she resorted to the only thing she had left.

Screw her pride.

With the weight of her prying neighbors’ eyes on her back, she swallowed hard and knelt down on her knees.

Scott couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

Was she...groveling?

The round globes of her ass, which looked damned good in the sweatpants she wore, made him yearn to stroke her. It didn’t help that he could see a hint of a crimson thong peep above her waistline.

Damn. He hadn’t been this hard in so long that it almost hurt. He cleared his throat, leaned against the doorframe, and crossed his legs in what he hoped was a casual pose. Anything to draw attention away from the noticeable bulge around his crotch.

“Please don’t kick me out!” she begged, her face directed toward the carpet.

Oh, he could make her beg, all right. Beg for him to take her as he made her crazy with need while his tongue swirled—

Stop it. Right. Now.

These ridiculous fantasies had to stop. The girl didn’t deserve a guy like him—she deserved better. Any woman did.

He was nothing but baggage wrapped up in a very male package. “Damaged goods,” as it were.

He stood there, silent from concentrating so hard on suppressing his desire to do naughty things to her. His mind was so preoccupied that he almost missed what she said.

“Please,” she went on, “I’ll do anything.”

“Anything?” He raised a brow. Damn, his voice sounded rough. He might as well say, “Want to sleep with me?”

She looked up at him. Those pouty lips opened slightly. He’d love to slip his tongue between them to see whether she tasted as sweet as she looked.

“Anything,” she whispered.

That almost undid him. His mouth pressed into a firm line. “And what are you going to do to make it up to me?” His voice came out clipped. And low; rough, even.

She sucked in a tight breath. Briefly, her eyes drooped to his crotch and lingered there.

He caught his breath. Could she...? No. No way in hell would a woman that gorgeous want someone like him. He was “a plague upon women,” or so one of his casual fucks had screamed at him on her way out the door.

If Amy knew what was good for her, she’d stay the hell away from him. And if he was any kind of a gentleman, he’d push her along.

“My face is up here,” he said sternly.

She blinked as crimson flowed into her cheeks. “I—I wasn’t—”

“It’s fine.” He tried to sound annoyed and sighed hard. “You can relax. I’m not going to kick you out.”

Her shoulders fell as she released a huge sigh.

“That is,” he added, “if you have the stairs cleaned by tomorrow morning.”

She gulped and pressed her lips together.

Damn, she looked cute doing that, too. Wasn’t there anything about her he didn’t find attractive as hell?

Forbidden fruit always smells the sweetest...

He shrugged and started to go back into his office. “If you don’t want to live here any longer, I certainly won’t—”

“No, no, no!” She rushed to her feet. “I’ll do it! I’ll clean everything. I’ll even get you a new welcome mat, something without yellow paint all over it.”

Well, he did like the sound of that.

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