Come Away With Me(3)

By: Ruth Cardello

“I won’t have to because I’m fierce. I have my whole presentation ready. He will be so wowed by the items I show him, he won’t have drool left for my legs.” She hovered behind Paul’s seat at the front security desk cautiously. What are the chances he sanitized any of it?

With a grunt of disapproval, Paul headed toward the large glass-door exit.

Julia couldn’t stop herself from calling out, “Hurry, Paul. I can’t be late.”

Julia paced behind the desk and watched the clock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Crap, I should have brought my clothes out here. I could change in the ladies’ room while waiting.

She sprinted back to the surveillance room to gather her things. While scanning the area to make sure she wasn’t forgetting anything, she noticed something on one of the monitors: a door to one of the administrative offices was open. All offices were supposed to be closed and secured after the cleaning staff left. Paul would hear about it in the morning if nothing were done. Don’t forget to tell Paul about it. Don’t forget. Crap, I’m going to forget.

Back at the front desk, Julia couldn’t stop thinking about that open door. I can get up and back before Paul returns.

She rushed to the elevator bank and pushed the button to the highest office floor. She flew across the carpeted hallway to the open office and had her hand on the doorknob when she noticed a tall man in sweatpants trying to break into the desk in the outer office.

She said the first thing that came to her head: “Halt right there.”

The man slowly straightened to an impressive height and turned. Julia gripped the door handle tighter. Eyes as dark as coal slowly raked over her, as if they had every right to. Gorgeous eyes. Thick, dark hair that was tussled just enough to set a woman’s imagination afire. Who knew burglars could be hot? Yes, officer, I did tackle him, but I had to. It had nothing to do with those perfectly muscled shoulders and that flat stomach. I admit, we rolled around on the floor once or twice together, but purely so I could restrain him.

Julia shook her head to clear it. Down, libido, down. This is not one of those dreams where someone like him kisses someone like me, and I wake up frustrated and reach for my vibrator. This is reality, and even though he’s gorgeous, he could still be dangerous.

One of his beautiful eyebrows arched at her prolonged appraisal of him, then his gaze settled appreciatively on the exposed length of her legs. “And you are?”

“Security.” She referenced her uniform and name tag. “You don’t belong in here.”

“You’re security?” he asked incredulously. “The singing or the stripping kind?”

Instantly angry, Julia put a hand on one hip and demanded, “Do I look like a stripper?”

His eyes slowly, ever so slowly, roamed over her high heels, short skirt, and riotous head of hair.

She stomped a foot at his lack of appropriate response. “This is a power outfit.” She looked down and tugged at her uniform top. “Not this. But it’s coming off.” When his eyes widened, her ire rose. “Not for you. And that’s not what I meant. I have a beautiful red shirt that goes with this skirt. A nice conservative shirt. And this skirt is a perfectly appropriate length for a business meeting, according to Entrepreneur Today.” She took a deep calming breath. “Why am I justifying my outfit to a possible criminal? I don’t know what you’re doing here, but you need to leave.”

“Or what? What would you do?” He stepped closer.

Good question. Julia looked behind her, then back at him. See, this is why I should have taken the salesperson job at the mall. But I thought, Night security—that will give me more time to read and network during the day. Where are you, Paul, when I need you? That’s it. Paul. “I won’t have to do anything, because my partner is already on his way up. In fact, the next time that elevator opens, it’ll be him, and he is twice your size and has taken just enough steroids to have a little rage, if you know what I mean. I’ll do what I can to hold him off, but if he catches you, that gorgeous face of yours will never look the same.”

A predatory smile stretched his lips. He closed the short distance between them, effectively pinning her against the wall between his arm and the door. “I don’t believe you,” he said, his voice deep and husky. He studied her as if he were trying to solve a puzzle. “Are you going to tell me what you’re really doing here?”

Her voice tight in her throat, she said, “I told you. I’m security.”

He opened his mouth to say something, and Julia lost control. Attraction peaked and collided with panic. Her frantically searching hand closed on a lamp on the table beside them. With one swift move she cracked him in the temple with it. He stumbled back and raised a hand to the assaulted area. “What the hell . . . ?”

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