Another challenge thrown down as far as he was concerned. She never learned. “What, exactly, do you think ‘this’ is?”
Her directness was a never-ending source of entertainment. “And why do you think it would be wrong?”
“Because I work for you.”
Technically yes, although it never seemed to stop her from arguing with him.
“It’s not going to make for a more awkward situation between us,” he said.
“It’s already pretty awkward,” she conceded.
His fingers trailed down her throat to toy with the line of her collarbone. “Can you look me in the eye and tell me you aren’t wondering what sex between us would be like?”
“Oh, I’m wondering.” Her lips bent upward. “And I’m sure it would be fantastic, especially right now, and believe me, I’d like nothing more than to find out. But what happens after?”
She was riding a high. He shouldn’t encourage her to make a rash decision that was fueled more by adrenaline than physical attraction, regardless of how much she thought she might want him. That sense of having drifted into uncharted territory jolted him again. Normally, what would matter most was how much he wanted her.
“My timing is off,” he said.
“Your timing is perfect,” she corrected him, leaving him completely bewildered. “But this is a one-off event. To satisfy mutual curiosity. Do you think you can wake up in the morning and pretend nothing happened?”
He had complete confidence in his personal abilities in that regard. “You’ve just described my whole philosophy toward sex. What about you?”
She stepped closer. He inhaled the feminine, flowery scent of her hair. She rose to her tiptoes and kissed him, her hands on his shoulders for balance. Heat again licked her amber eyes. “You’d be amazed by how quickly I can forget you.”
He laughed out loud at that. “Sweetheart, you keep on tossing out those challenges, why don’t you? Because trust me, this will be an experience you’ll never forget.”
“I’m going to take that as a promise. I want another promise from you, too.”
“You really know how to go after a man when he’s weak,” he complained, although honestly, negotiating sex with her was one of the hottest things he’d ever experienced. “Okay, let’s have it. What’s this going to cost me?”
“I’m not going to question why you equate sex with money, since it fits in with your philosophy. Which means I’d better get two more promises from you—first, you wear protection.”
“Done.” He patted his back pocket, which contained his wallet and two foil-wrapped, latex-filled packets.Thank you, Doctor Dallas, for insisting we always carry condoms on us.“And the second?” That one made him a whole lot more nervous.
“That you don’t use anything about this evening as an excuse to terminate my employment.”
Damn it. He didn’t care what anyone said. Women definitely knew how—and when—to negotiate, and approached sex far more opportunistically than men. “You think I’d do something like that?”
“Absolutely. I think you’d do it in a heartbeat.”
He nipped at her lower lip, then licked it as if it were candy. She tasted like a sugar high and he couldn’t wait to sample every sweet inch of her. It was amazing how quickly he’d gotten over any reluctance to touch her.
“Fine. I promise. This had better be sex I’ll never forget either, though,” he warned her.
Her palms smoothed the front of his jersey, then edged impatiently into the sleeves of his jacket to nudge it off of his shoulders. “I’ll do my best. I’m not sure how I’ll stack up against the professionals, though.”
“I’m sure you’ll score at least a five out of ten. You’ve got them beat for sarcasm already.”
“Speaking of professionals… When was your last checkup?”
“Right before we inherited the ranch. And well after the last time I had sex, so I’m good to go.”
He shucked the jacket and tossed it onto one of the empty bunks. It was late. They might as well spend the night here. They could move her things to the house just as easily tomorrow. It crossed his mind that he had a much better bed in his spare room than one of these narrow bunks, but they didn’t need a whole lot of room for what he had in mind.
The top three buttons of her blouse were already undone. He reached for the fourth, his attention engaged by the flushed skin underneath. All of his impatience—the anger and fear—had morphed into pure lust, and thoughts about how good she’d feel naked with him deep inside her shoved aside any lingering concerns as to what the morning might bring. He was hard and they were both fully dressed.
Elizabeth, however, hadn’t fully bought in. The light clasp of her hands on his wrists brought his traveling fingers to a halt.
“One more thing,” she said.