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Authors: Kathryn Shay

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BOOK: Risky Business
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He paid the cabbie, got their things and went back to the condo. In the kitchen, he found
a pad and scribbled a note to her. “I stayed. I was dead on my feet. Hope that’s okay.” He went into her bedroom again and taped it on the mirror in the bathroom. Noticing she’d kicked off the throw, he crossed to the bed. She had to be uncomfortable, with her skirt riding up and her blouse twisted. Hell, since when had he become shy with her? Carefully, he unzipped her skirt and slid it off her.
She said panty hose were like Chinese torture, so in the winter, she wore bike shorts beneath her skirts, and boots, or often preferred pant suits. Tonight, it was the skintight shorts. His knuckles brushed her hip, her toned thigh, as he slid the spandex over her calves and feet. When his hands went to her blouse, and he saw her breasts straining against the silk, he felt skittish about removing
it tonight, so he left it on. He covered her with the sheet and duvet this time and went back out into the kitchen
.

Even edgier now—he noticed his breath had speeded up some—he found the Scotch in a cupboard and poured himself one. He headed to the spare bedroom on the other side of her home, undressed and wondered if he should leave on his briefs. Then he remembered that he’d left some things
in the guest room because, on occasion, once when she was sick and sometimes if he had too much to drink, he stayed over. In a drawer, he found navy pajama bottoms and a white tee. He slipped them on and sank down onto the bed to finish his drink. Unbidden, Thomas’s comments tonight echoed around in his brain. And he admitted that tonight, seeing her mussed in bed, he’d had an unusual urge to
join her.

Nope. That wasn’t going to happen. He definitely wasn’t going down this road. Cursing Thomas, he set the glass on the nightstand and crawled under the covers. In seconds, consciousness faded.

oOo

Sunlight peeked in through her window and awakened Magdalena. Because she loved the sensation, she left the blinds slatted so the shiny rays would greet her every morning.
What was today? Saturday. She didn’t have to hurry to the office. She glanced at the clock. Nine a.m. Wow, it had been a long time since she’d slept so late.

Sitting up, she noticed she was still in her blouse, bra and panties. Her suit was hung up on a door handle. She frowned, then she remembered vaguely the cab ride home with Logan and falling asleep on his shoulder. He’d undressed her.
For some reason, she shivered with the thought. Then she pushed it away, got up and headed to the bathroom, where she saw a note pasted to her mirror. So he was here. For a moment, she blushed. Why? He’d stayed over before. Then she remembered the graphic dream she’d had about him. Oh, hell. This was stupid. It was good he’d stayed. Since they had to confer on their findings, they could work here.

She put on some lounging pajamas and wandered out to the kitchen, fixed herself a cup of black coffee, then one for him. Holding both mugs in one hand, she crossed the living room and went down the hall, knocked on the guest room door.

“Come in, Mags.”

She entered and found him in bed, dressed in the T-shirt and pajamas he’d left here. The last time he stayed, she’d washed and dried
them and put them back in the drawer. “Hi.”

His smile was devastating, accented by the scruff of his morning beard. “Hi, sleepyhead.”

“I know. I’ve been burning the candles at both ends. You, too, huh? Too tired to go home?”

He explained why he’d stayed, then nodded to the cup. “That for me?”

“Yeah.” She crossed to the bed and handed him a mug, then circled to the other side and
climbed onto the mattress, sat against the headboard. “I’ll be glad when this part is over.”

“Me, too. I’ve gotten far. You?”

“No talk about work until I have at least one cup of caffeine.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

They discussed his dinner with his mother tomorrow, Magdalena’s plans to have Opal, her niece, tonight. “Ana has a date.”

“I hope it goes well. It was a bummer running into
Jared.”

When they’d finished the coffee, she scooted off the bed. “Shall we just work here?”

“Sure.”

“I’ll be in my office when you’re ready to go over anything.”

“Okay.” He looked her up and down. She’d put on ice-blue, pajama-things, like the women used to wear in old movies
.

“What’s wrong?”

“You changing?”

“I already did. Leave on your pj’s, if you want.”

When
she left, she recalled the once-over he’d given her, how it made her soft and mushy inside. Oh, God, she was probably imagining that because of her dream and wayward thoughts about him.

oOo

Logan had read somewhere that once an image was planted in the brain, it remained there forever. Most were never accessed again. Some were. The one plaguing him now was a doozy. He could barely
concentrate on his work. The way Magdalena’s pajamas clung to her when she moved, like now, curling her legs under her on the couch, was killing him. The scent of her perfume when she’d leaned over to point something out in a document made him tense. The way she bit her lip when she worked scrambled his brains
.

“Logan, I asked what you think.”

Did she know? “Excuse me?”

“I asked about
the duplication of management. I can see places that we’ll need to do layoffs.”

“Um…”

“Logan, are you okay?”

“No.” He sighed heavily. “I guess I’m distracted.”

“By what?”

He shook his head
.

Setting the papers on the coffee table, she moved in closer. He practically moaned as he felt his body spring to life. She took his hands in hers. “Tell me.”

This kind of thing couldn’t
go on. She was his best friend, the only person he could confide in. He pushed some silky strands of her hair back. “
You’re
distracting me, Mags.”

She held his gaze, her tawny eyes dark and intense. “I know.”

“You do?”

She laid her head back on the cushions. “Yeah, I felt it this morning when I got in bed with you.”

He had to be sure about this. “Felt what?”

“The attraction.
Actually, I had a dream about you when I fell asleep at the desk. We were… You can fill in the blanks.”

“Have you dreamed about me before? Like that.”

“I might have. It felt familiar. But I must have buried them in my unconscious. Have you? About me?”

“Yeah. Just last night. After undressing you.” Thank God he wasn’t in this alone. “I, um, what are we going to do about it?”

“Ignore
it. It’ll go away.”

“Will it?”

“It has to. I don’t want to lose your friendship, Logan. It would be a mistake to act on these feelings. You know it.”

She was being practical. Telling him what he’d told Thomas. In the cold light of day, it did make sense. “Okay.”

Turning away, she slid her feet to the floor. “I’m going to go get dressed, though. No reason to tempt fate.”

“None
at all.” Why did his voice sound harsh? Wasn’t he happy about her suggestion?

When she stood and bent to get her coffee cup, he was greeted by the curve of her ass in satiny material.

Fuck it! He snaked a hand around her waist and pulled her back down to the couch
.

“Logan, what are you doing?”

“Just this. Just once.”

Pressing her against the couch, he cupped her jaw and lowered
his mouth.

oOo

Scorched. That’s what Magdalena felt the moment his mouth touched hers. His lips were insistent, the kiss turning hot long before it should have. She didn’t resist. Instead, she let him deepen the pressure of his mouth on hers, slide his hand to her neck, cup her nape to bring her closer. When his chest met hers, she bucked toward him. Now, of their own volition,
her hands went to his shoulders, his back, pulling him closer, too. The kiss went on…and on…

Who drew back first, she couldn’t say. But suddenly they were staring at each other, breathing like bellows. Her hand went to her mouth. She could see his chest heaving. His gorgeous face flushed with desire
.

Angling his body away, Logan said, “Shit.”

She was surprised. She didn’t respond.
When he turned back to her, he asked, “Did you know it would be this way?”

“Hot? As hot as this?”

He nodded
.

“I had no idea.”

“Me, either. Hell, Mags.”

Sitting back, she took a pillow and clutched it to her chest. She was shaky from his touch. Vulnerable. A sudden bolt of fear shot through her. “I don’t want to ruin things between us, Logan.”

“Are you sure we would if we
took this further?”

It was her turn to shake her head. “I guess the question is, do we want to risk it?”

“Do you want to pursue this?”

“I think it should be a joint decision.”

“Based on?”

She arched a brow. “I don’t know. Probability of success? We spend our days assessing that at work.”

“Okay. Let’s figure this out logically, like the business people we are.”

Hunching
over, he put his hands on the coffee table. His back was impossibly tense. “Sixty percent of all marriages end in divorce. Thomas is separated, by the way.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Workplace romances have dire consequences unless the people get married. Often, even then, their jobs go south.”

She grimaced. “That doesn’t sound very promising. I love my job.”

“I do, too. We have to set priorities.”

Magdalena stomach knotted. “What’s most important to me is to have you in my life, Logan. I don’t want to lose that.”

“Yeah, kind of like that saying you use. ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.’”

“Right. Things are great now between us. I’m afraid that will change.”

Straightening, he faced her. “Then I don’t think we should let this go further. I don’t want to take
the chance.”

The disappointment was almost overwhelming. Still she eked out, “All right.”

“You sure you agree?”

“I do, Logan. I promise, I’d tell you the truth about something so important. I am disappointed. More than. But this is the right thing to do.”

He stood. “I’m going to take a shower.” He shook his head. “A cold one. When I return, we start over. Let’s not ever mention
what happened.” He held out his hand. “Deal, partner?”

“It’s a deal, Logan.” She meant it, though she held on to him a little longer than she should.

And as she watched him leave, she knew she hadn’t lied to him. She did think this was for the best. She just wished she didn’t feel sad about it.

 

Chapter 5

 

On the Monday after his and Magdalena’s explosive kiss, Logan was feeling at odds with himself. He’d been fairly certain, when they’d made the big decision not to change their relationship, until he’d seen her come into the office today, all bundled up like a snow bunny, cute and cuddly. So he emailed her.

No preambles. Just:
Are you sure we did the right
thing
?

She quoted back:
One friend is worth a hundred lovers.

He laughed. Or:
You miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Yeah, fake it till you make it, I guess.

He sat back in his seat and steepled his hands. She was right. He wasn’t going to go back on the deal he’d made with her. He was simply feeling lust,
and therefore, it was controllable. Logan was man enough to beat one of the seven deadly sins!

Turning away from his computer, he took out the spreadsheets of the management teams for each store and worked obsessively for two hours. At about eleven, when he knew she’d be up, he called Teresa. “Hey, babe, it’s Logan.”

“I’m glad to hear from you. I thought I’d see you this weekend.”

I was too preoccupied by another woman.
“Work has been 24/7.”

“Then you could probably use a backrub. Today’s Monday. No show or rehearsal. I’ve got a day off.”

“Umm. Let me check my calendar and get back to you.”

“I’ll have my phone with me if I go out. And Logan?”

“Yes?”

“Please make time for us. It’s important to me.”

“I’ll try. I promise.”

As he disconnected, Magdalena
appeared at his doorway. Today, her suit was a light brown, beneath which she wore a baby pink top. His Hermès scarf rested at her throat. He wondered if she’d overheard the conversation
.

She had. “You’ll try to do what?”

“Nothing.”

As she came inside, the gold bracelet at her wrist jangled when she put in front of him a cup of coffee from the shop downstairs.

“Thanks.” He sipped
the hot, hot brew
.

Taking the chair in front of the desk, she crossed her legs. “How was dinner with your mother?”

“Uneventful.” In truth, he could barely concentrate on what Viola Price had been saying. She’d told him he was behaving as his father always had.

“How about your time with Opal?”

Her eyes glistened, the pinpoints of green in them sparkling. “She’s so lovely, Logan.
And growing so fast. She’ll be ten soon.”

“Ah, double digits. I couldn’t wait.”

“I said the same thing to her. She didn’t get it. I guess they call them tweens.”

He stared at her. “So, is this going to be the depth of what we talk about now?”

“It’ll be awkward for a bit. But I won’t ignore you. After all, we did this so we could still enjoy our friendship.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Our
tweet exchange was fun.”

“It was. Maybe we should do that so we’re not tempted to touch each other.”

Her eyes burned with intensity at his suggestive remark.

There was a knock on Logan’s partly open door. The assistant at the front desk stood before them. “Sorry to interrupt, Logan, but your door was ajar.”

“It’s okay, Laura.” Fuck, his voice was hoarse. “What can I do for you?”

“It isn’t you. Magdalena, you have a visitor.”

“Me? I don’t have any appointments today. We’re still ironing out this prospective investment.”

Laura tried to hide her amusement but couldn’t. “He doesn’t have an appointment. He says he’s an old friend. He’ll only take a few minutes of your time.”

BOOK: Risky Business
5.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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