The One Nighter(6)

By: Shauna Hart

He had thought of her many times. Even wondered where she might be. He would have been a fool not to. Their night together was the stuff of erotic fantasy. But it was too late. He had gone on with his life. They couldn’t pick up where they left off now.

Not that he even knew where that was.

After all, the woman had run from him after a night of incredible sex. She had acted like she was guilty, and he had spent the better part of the last year trying to figure out why.

Did she have a boyfriend?

Or worse, a husband?

Why had she run out without saying goodbye?

It was a question that still haunted him.

Maybe she would quit?

It wasn’t inconceivable. She had run from him before. It seemed to be her M.O. He gripped the steering wheel. Whether she decided to quit or not, he was fairly certain that she would still attend their meeting tomorrow. That meant that he would have to deal with her whether he wanted to or not. Since he had no choice, maybe it was time he got some of the answers to the questions that had been plaguing him for the last year.

* * * *

Melanie stared at the walls of her cubicle. Ten o’ clock was approaching way too fast. She sighed heavily. Sometimes, it truly felt like life was out to get her. And that wasn’t even the worst of it. Last night, her dreams had been an enemy she couldn’t fight. Over and over she’d relived their night together, and even created some new scenes.

It was horrible.

Mostly because it was so seductive.

What was it about this man that made her lose all sense of reason?

She watched the minutes get closer, wishing she could be somebody, anybody else. Finally, when she could wait no longer, she gathered her files and headed down the hall. She would face this the way she had faced everything else in her life.

Head on.

It was the only way.

Clutching the files to her chest, she tapped her knuckles against the office door.

“Come in,” she heard his deep voice boom through the thick door.

Taking a deep breath, she gripped the doorknob and walked in. He pushed back from the small conference table in the corner to stand, crossing the distance in two long strides. He relieved her of several files by placing them on the table. When he turned back to face her, his boyish grin nearly did her in.

“Turner had a meeting, so it looks like it will just be the two of us today.”


She wanted to say it, but she didn’t.

She sat down beside him, opening one of the files.

It was going to be a long day.

After an hour of going over accounts, Melanie almost forgot the tension between them existed. Almost. Sure, there were the odd moments when they reached for the same file, their fingers brushing against each other’s innocently. She tried to ignore the tingle of awareness that thrilled through her each time it happened, but she couldn’t deny that it was getting harder.

As much as she tried to focus on the renewal costs and past claims, certain things were beginning to distract her. Like the way his blue eyes turned sea green in certain lighting. Or the little lines around his mouth that deepened when he laughed.

He leaned back, stretching before long tanned fingers met together in the center of his chest.

“I’m beat,” he admitted. “How about a break for lunch?”

She shifted in her chair. “When do you want me back?” she asked.

His eyebrows drew together. “Come on, Mel. We have to eat. Why don’t I take you to lunch?”

She didn’t want to like the way he shortened her name. It was too knowing, too intimate.

So, why did it sound so good?

“I don’t know,” she replied hesitantly.

He stood up, holding out a hand in invitation. “Consider it a thank you for everything you’ve done.” When she didn’t immediately agree, he added, “Plus, you can help me get ready for the McCready meeting.”

Reluctantly, she placed her hand in his. His fingers closed around her hand. It was too warm, too inviting. It seemed unfair that one man should be so tempting.

She felt his hand on her lower back as he led her out.

Dear God, why did it have to feel so good?

Maybe it was because she hadn’t had sex in six months?

Yes, that had to be it. She was hard up. That was the reason that she wanted to melt into him. Still, no matter what the cause, being with him in such close proximity was definitely chipping away at her resolve.