, Novella One
A rap sounded at the door. Lauren’s heart jumped as she whipped around.
“Open up,” Tierney called in that sexy Irish voice that did insane things to her libido.
Seductive, she reminded herself as she took one more deep breath. Keep it smooth. Make it hot.
She barely had the door open before he pushed his way inside. “Where the hell is Hedley? He’s supposed to be outside your door.”
Lauren stepped back as he turned and cast her a withering glare. He was still wearing the same clothes he’d had on down at the beach—black tee stretched across an impressive set of pecs, faded Levi’s, white at the stress points, and Doc Marten boots he had to be sweating in. And he didn’t look the least bit happy with her summons.
His masculine eyebrows were pulled tight across his forehead, his mouth set in a grim line, his eyes as dark as she’d ever seen them. Finn Tierney would never be considered classically handsome, she realized as she studied him. Not with that angled scar near his left eyebrow and another across his chin. His features were too chiseled, his mood too intense. But he was definitely striking. And he commandeered all attention when he walked into a room. Especially hers.
“I sent him with Moira to check out the location for tomorrow,” she said, closing the door.
“You did what?”
That Irish accent was really gonna do her in. And when he was pissed—like now—it came out even thicker. A tingle ran down her spine, her stomach tightened. Shards of heat ricocheted through her body. “Clarisse might think the waterfall location is hunky-dory, but I want my camp to give it the thumbs up before I head all the way out there. I’m not breaking my neck for a stupid magazine. And I wasn’t about to send Moira out there alone.”
He eyed her as if he didn’t like her calling the shots, but on this she wouldn’t budge. Wicked attraction aside, this was her domain, and he didn’t tell her how to run the show.
His jaw muscles clenched and unclenched. “Fine. I’ll wait outside until they get back.” He glanced at his watch. “How long have they been gone?”
Her heart skipped a beat, knowing she had him all to herself. It was now or never. She took a step toward him and tried to calm her racing pulse. “Actually, I was thinking about dinner. Room service here is pretty good.”
His eyes slowly lifted from his wrist and a skeptical look passed over his hard features. “Who’s joining you?”
“No one. I mean, well, no one but you.”
His eyebrows drew together, deepening the scar on the left side of his forehead. “Did the sun bake yer brain or something?”
One corner of Lauren’s mouth curled up, but the lack of humor in his expression had perspiration dotting her spine. Those nerves came back full force. What would he say if she confessed that this was the first time she’d had to make the first move in, well, years? She hated the fact men fell all over her, and the ones who finally got up the nerve to ask her out in the end only wanted a piece of her fame or celebrity or bragging rights. Finn hadn’t once fawned over her, hadn’t flirted or cajoled or made even one suggestive comment. And her sixth sense told her he gave a rip about celebrity status. But that only made him more appealing. That and the fact he was the hottest thing she’d seen in months made him irresistible.
“I just thought maybe we could have dinner together.”
When he didn’t answer, just looked at her with that skeptical expression and those impossible-to-read eyes, she took a deep breath.
Now or never.
She eased forward, closing the gap between them to a mere six inches. Warmth radiated from his skin, infusing her body and giving her the courage she needed. “I’ve seen how you watch me.”
“It’s my job to watch you.”
He didn’t step back, and she took that as a sign to keep going. “There’s watching and then there’s watching. I’ve seen you do the first at my brother’s gallery.” She glanced at his bicep, as thick as her thigh and was reminded how strong he was and just what his job entailed. “Nothing gets by you, I’ll give you that. But that’s not the kind of watching you do when I’m around. The watching you do with me, the second kind, it’s different. There’s heat there. Smoldering heat.”
She looked up into his eyes, into black pools of obsidian as dark as night and felt her blood warm like it did every time they were close. “Erotic heat I can feel all the way across a room. The kind that needs just the slightest spark to turn into a full-blown blaze.”
He didn’t answer, but he didn’t look away, and the pulse in his neck picked up, beating like wildfire beneath his skin, matching her own. No, he wouldn’t make the first move because she was his job and he was a man who followed duty and service to the letter. If she wanted this, she had to be the one to take the lead.
“I’d like you to stay and have dinner with me tonight, Finn.” She reached out, pressed her hand against his rock hard chest. Warmth gathered beneath her fingers. He tensed, but she didn’t let that deter her. Easing up on her toes, she brought her mouth close to his, loving the way he felt against her hand, her body, anywhere she touched him. “And after—or before—perhaps a little more.”