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Wild for you, p.11
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       Wild For You, p.11

           J. C. Reed
 
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  But that’s not going to happen.

  I sigh in mock exasperation. “I don’t ever kiss my patients. You’re the first. Engaging in any sexual activity with my patients could cost me my license. You know that.”

  “Why choose me to break the rules?”

  Oh, for crying out loud!

  He wants it spelled out and served on a silver tray.

  “Fine, I’ll tell you just so you shut up.” I roll my eyes. “I happen to be attracted to you, and very much so.”

  No, make that crazy much so.

  His lips twitch. “You need to see a shrink, Miss Stone. I’ve been nothing but a jerk to you.”

  “If we see this through, I’ll probably end up needing to see one. I’ll have to share with him all the murderous thoughts I’ve been having about you.”

  “Murderous, huh?”

  “Very dangerous.”

  “Do they happen to involve tying me to your bedposts and doing unspeakable things to me? If so, then by all means, please proceed and punish me right now.”

  Now he’s really getting into it. I should be appalled, angry. But as usual, my reasoning doesn’t seem to work around him. I want to tie him up and do unspeakable things to him, after which I’d like him to do sexy and unspeakably dirty things to me.

  “Maybe later.” Leaning into him, I brush my lips against his, once, twice. Each time our mouths connect, a wave of heat travels through me, leaving a tingling sensation behind. I don’t have to see it to know that his touch isn’t as harmless as it seems.

  With every kiss, he embeds himself further into my soul—and I let him.

  Eventually, I pull away from him and start to roll up the map.

  “What if I want more now?” Cash asks, watching me.

  I exhale a long, shaky breath. “If you want more, I’ll need to see more effort from you.” I kneel beside him but keep a safe distance. “But if it helps, I’m very pleased with what we’ve achieved today. You should be very proud of yourself, Cash.”

  “It doesn’t feel like much.”

  “Wait until next month, and you’ll think differently.”

  “Next month?” He reaches for me. I try to move aside, but he’s too fast. Before I know what’s happening, his hands settle around my waist, pulling me on top of him. I crash against his hard chest. “I want it now. I want you now. I want you in every way I can get you.”

  Wow. I stare at him, unable to breathe. I don’t know whether it’s from the collision or because of the sudden need to give him exactly what he wants.

  “I’m sorry, but you have to work for it.”

  “What if I can’t wait?”

  “Then you’ll have to exert more self-control.” Which I hope he possesses, because I sure don’t.

  I press a soft kiss on his lips, then scramble to my feet, fighting his hands off of me.

  “I can’t wait a month,” Cash says. “At least let me have a taste of you. Let me lick you.”

  My heart skips a beat.

  Holy shit!

  I want that. Badly.

  I regard him, wondering if he’s saying what I think he’s saying. My tongue flicks over my parched lips as I take in his hooded gaze and the naughty glint in his eyes. Slowly, a lazy grin spreads across his lips.

  “It’s my birthday, after all, meaning I expect a gift. The cake doesn’t count.”

  I shake my head. “You’ll have to work for it. No sex until we’ve done at least ten sessions.”

  I don’t know when I made this decision, but it sure sounds like I’ve made up my mind to sleep with him. Strangely enough, the thought isn’t as vexing as the fact that I’ve no idea how to make it through nine more sessions with him without giving in to whatever he wants.

  “You’re seriously going to leave me with blue balls?”

  “Yes.” I sling my bag over my shoulder and head for the door, calling over my shoulder. “Now, clean up. Your guests could be here any minute.”

  “What guests?” Cash’s voice bellows.

  I don’t turn to explain that his family’s stopping by. I don’t answer because I don’t want him to see my face. He can’t see that he’s not the only one who’s going to be suffering from blue balls, figuratively speaking, of course.

  As I take a quick shower, I can’t help but wonder what the hell I’m doing.

  Nine sessions are going to be impossible to complete.

  I should never have let him kiss me.

  I should never have let his hands roam over my body like they belonged there.

  Because now I know that there’s no way I’ll be able to control myself the next time he touches me. I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want him.

  This isn’t going to end well.

  Chapter Thirteen

  Cash

  I still harbor no intention of doing exactly as my new physical therapist says. In fact, I’ve made it my top priority to make sure she knows I decide the pace at which we’re going.

  Erin’s a hot little thing as it is…particularly during therapy. No woman I’ve ever met has been as stubborn and angry as she is.

  It’s been ten days of therapy; ten days of an angry mix between determination and perseverance. Ten days during which I’ve wanted nothing more than to carry her into my bed and fuck her until she’s coming with my name on her lips. That’s all I’ve been able to think about, day in, day out. And it’s not helping that she seems hell-bent on headbutting me at every corner. I never realized just how hot a smart mouth is in a woman.

  Why can’t she just be the help?

  Then I would be able to skip therapy and just work my magic to get her into bed. Instead of having my wicked ways with her the way I see fit, she’s the one to call the shots by only rewarding me with a kiss whenever she feels I’ve earned it.

  What are we?

  Five-year-olds?

  That’s the thought that keeps my mind busy and my mood at a new low as I call my club in Chicago.

  “This isn’t gonna work, Cash. You can’t give us a new slogan and expect us to create an entire campaign in days when there seems to be a problem with everything, starting with getting a liquor license to getting the interior design done on time,” Jack says.

  He’s my on-site manager and as such, one of the best money can buy. But right now he’s not worth the brain space he’s renting in my head. I fight the urge to slam my fist onto my desk out of sheer frustration. If I were in Chicago, face to face with the guy, ‘no’ wouldn’t even feature in his vocabulary. I’m slowly losing my tight grip on my employees; I can see it in the way everyone seems to start to slack off, take the evenings and weekends off, cut corners to get where I want them to get.

  “Jack—” I take a menacing breath and release it slowly “—get it done.”

  “We need you here, not just for the opening,” Jack says. “People are getting nervous. We’re losing—”

  He stops in mid-sentence. I know what he’s about to say.

  Money.

  Without the media coverage, without the celebrities who used to run through the doors, we’re just another club of which there’s a dime a dozen.

  In business, four months equal four years. Right after the accident, the media was in a frenzy, speculating, predicting the worst. Everyone began to feel sorry for me, and my reputation as the super stud—Forbes 100 Most Eligible Bachelors of the Year—was in tatters. It didn’t help that the accident happened at the same time I noticed inconsistencies in my financial reports.

  In fact, my accident couldn’t have happened at a worse time. The clubs’ profits began to tank together with my reputation. Worst of all, the competition stole plans, concepts, ideas, and opened a club that resembles mine a little too much.

  An irony, too, that they named their little organization Club 99.

  I don’t need Jack or my assistant or anyone out there to tell me where I need to be this instant.

  “I’ll be there as soon as I can,” I mutter, even though we both know it’s not tr
ue. This accident has turned me into a prisoner in my own house; a shell of my old self. And no doctor or therapist or friend can do anything about it.

  The only person who makes me feel half alive is Erin. She’s trying hard to make me feel better. She’s trying even harder to pretend nothing happened last week at the party.

  But I know myself. I’m an asshole inside and out, which is why I’m not going to let her forget that she wanted me just as much as I wanted her.

  A part of me feels bad for using her. Another part of me is pissed off that she’s only agreed to sleep with me if I complete her therapy plan, and only if she sees progress.

  It’s all about her reputation.

  The thought angers me.

  I’ve reached the point where only work will be able to relieve some of the tension I’m feeling. After an online conference with the entire team, Jack and I go through last month’s figures one more time, and then I end the call, my mood grimmer than ever before.

  “Cash?” Erin’s voice carries over from somewhere outside.

  I peer at my watch. The physical therapy session was supposed to start an hour ago. I kept her waiting again. Usually, I wouldn’t care less, but she’s stuck around for longer than anyone before her.

  She’s put up with my foul mood that she deserves credit for her perseverance. She also deserves a clearer message that whatever happens in my life, happens on my terms.

  Groaning from the effort, I lift my body off the chair and head out into the backyard. Granted, right after therapy I noticed an improvement in mobility. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I’m sure the pain’s a little less intense than before. By the time I’ve reached the porch, my back is drenched in sweat and Erin is long gone.

  I head back inside, ready to wait.

  The thought of doing another therapy session with her causes me discomfort.

  I can barely get through an hour with her without touching her, let alone days or weeks.

  What did she think would happen? That I would happily oblige while keeping my hands off of her?

  Chapter Fourteen

  Erin

  Cash is Cash.

  I wish I had believed Shannon when she claimed that you couldn’t win a fight with him.

  I stare at my image in the bathroom mirror as I prepare myself for what I’m pretty sure will be yet another day without seeing Cash or making the kind of progress I know he’s capable of.

  Our make-out session happened more than a week ago, and yet I can still feel Cash’s mouth on mine. I can feel his gaze on me whenever we’re going through the set of exercises I’ve put together for him. His hands feel hot on my skin as he holds on to me for support. It’s those little moments I’ve secretly come to look forward to.

  We’ve come such a long way, and now he’s halting again. He pushes himself, only to give up an hour later. He declares his readiness to participate in physical therapy, only not to turn up.

  I begin each day with the same thoughts—will he or won’t he let me do my job?

  Today is no different.

  I shake my head grimly as I regard myself.

  Only a few weeks into this job and the dark shadows I used to sport back home are gone from under my eyes. My skin has turned a light golden shade from all the walks I’ve been taking thanks to Cash’s unwillingness to actually let me work hard for my money. I thought we had come to an agreement. I thought Cash meant it when he proclaimed his willingness to work with me, albeit on his terms. I was sure a kiss would suffice to get him motivated.

  I was wrong.

  Thank goodness I didn’t give in and sleep with him on the spot. I wanted to, and maybe, under different circumstances, my decision would have been a different one.

  But as things stand, he’s too full of himself and in dire need of my help.

  And help is the only thing he’s getting from me…for the time being.

  At eight a.m. sharp, I tried knocking—or rather banging—on his bedroom door…to no avail. I tried calling his name, left a note on the kitchen counter.

  Begging, pleading, demanding—nothing seems to do the trick.

  All I can do now is wait—again—give him more time.

  Minutes. Hours.

  Time he doesn’t have.

  I don’t want to say it, but his refusal to work with me is slowly making me frustrated. He’s still being difficult even though I’ve offered him the kind of reward that could make me lose my license.

  I want him, but more than that I want him to succeed because I know he can. Unfortunately, Cash doesn’t share my confidence in his abilities.

  “Maybe I’m approaching this the wrong way,” I mutter to my mirror image.

  Maybe he’s wallowing in self-pity because too many people care, and he enjoys the attention.

  A kiss seemed to motivate him for a little while. Maybe I could give him more as we go along until—

  My breath hitches and heat rushes through my abdomen, gathering in that private spot that begs for his touch.

  The thought of sleeping with him, just for the sake of it, is both scary and exciting. I don’t know if I should be shocked or appalled at the fact that I want him to the extent of putting professionalism aside, even though I should know better than that.

  Clearly, I need to straighten my head before this job turns into a disaster.

  As I change from my usual work attire into tight shorts and a tank top, I devise a new battle plan, one that involves calling Shannon.

  * * *

  ***

  * * *

  Half an hour later, I leave my bedroom without my therapy gear, and instead of heading for the living room, I round the house and stroll straight for the open fields and the woods stretching out in the distance.

  The broad gravel path crunches beneath my feet. Even though it’s barely eight a.m., the air’s already scorching hot and heavy with the scent of approaching summer. I take a few long breaths, marveling at the untouched beauty around me. There’s a fence in the distance right next to a huge barn. I head in the opposite direction. It’s at least a half-hour walk to the woods, but I have all the time in the world.

  Lost in thought, I only hear the footsteps behind me when a tall figure appears right next to me. I jump a step back, and a startled yelp escapes my throat.

  “Jeez, you scared the crap out of me.” Cupping a hand over my eyes, I look all the way up into the stranger’s face.

  He looks just like Cash, maybe a couple of years younger. But the resemblance is striking—the same haunted, green eyes, the same dark hair, and straight nose. The only difference is that whoever the guy is, he’s sporting a smile rather than the scowl I’ve gotten used to seeing on Cash Boyd.

  “Sorry. I didn’t mean to.” The guy’s smile broadens, revealing two strings of perfect white teeth. “I’m Josh, Cash’s cousin. Mom sent me.”

  “I’m Erin.”

  “I know.”

  We head up the path, keeping our stroll leisurely. “How do you know?”

  “I know everyone around here.” Josh winks. “You’re the only new face I’ve seen in ages. But a very pretty one at that. Joking aside, we’ve already met at Cash’s birthday party.”

  I narrow my eyes as my brain struggles to place him.

  Now that he’s mentioned the party, I remember him faintly.

  He was the guy who organized some of the stuff—can’t remember what it was exactly. There were so many faces, so many people wanting to talk to me, caring about Cash, that I probably wouldn’t remember half of them.

  “It would be hard to forget someone like you. Want some company?” Josh asks.

  “Sure.” The compliment is so obvious that I can’t help but laugh, and Josh joins in. “I wish everyone would be so happy to see my face.”

  “You’re talking about my cousin,” Josh says. “Don’t worry about Cash. He can be like that. You don’t need the world to like you; it’s enough if the ones who matter in your life do.”

  I nod. “It wou
ld still be nice, though. Did your mother tell you why I called?”

  “Yes. And she asked me to bring you the blueprints.”

  I want to say that I’ve been thinking about invading Cash’s privacy because my patients matter to me, but I refrain from it. For one, I don’t want to give off the impression that I need to justify my thoughts or actions. And then there’s also the fact that Josh seems quite the chatty type, so I should probably let him take the lead. I’m here to help Cash, but for that I need as much information as I can get from whichever source I can get my hands on.

  “Take a look,” Josh prompts.

  I peer at the oversized manila folder in his hand, suddenly unsure. This is wrong on so many levels, maybe even immoral, and definitely not right.

  “I’m not really sure I need those. It was just a joke. I—” I brush my hair out of my eyes, realizing my sense of humor wasn’t taken as such. I’m already unwelcome in Cash’s house. I can’t help but wonder how he’d react if he realized I might have gone a step too far by looking at documents that are really none of my business.

  “Cash has been disappearing on you? As his contractor I can’t tell you why, but I can have you glimpse at the layout of his house.” He winks. “Obviously, you didn’t get those from me.”

  “That’s—”

  “Invasion of privacy?” Josh shrugs. “Sure. But you see, he’s pulled the same stunt on everyone else. Someone needs to do something about it.” He passes me the documents. “And that someone’s going to be you. Just don’t mention I gave them to you.”

  I peer at him sideways. “You said you’re his contractor?”

  “That’s right. I inherited my dad’s construction business a few years ago.”

  I fold the document and tuck it under my arm. “I’m sorry.”

  Josh laughs. “He’s not dead, Erin. Just banging some woman other than my mom. One day he just up and left, leaving us behind. Rather than selling, I took over the business.”

 
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