I pace over to the windows for what feels like the tenth time and quickly check the street outside. No sign of a car yet.
I sit back down and force myself not to check again. He’ll get here when he gets here.
Or maybe he won’t. Maybe this is all a big misunderstanding on his end too. Maybe he’s double-booked or he’ll need to cancel. Maybe he didn’t mean to accept that email either.
I find myself praying he doesn’t show. Then I can just retreat upstairs, treat myself to a long hard session with my toys, on my own thank you very much, and go to sleep early.
At least I’ll have good fodder for my imagination tonight. Unbidden, the image of Caleb—which cannot be his real name—rises to mind. I doubt that photo included his real abs either. There’s no way a guy exists with a body that perfect. Not to mention his face—the cut cheekbones, the perfect amount of scruffy beard below his sharp gray eyes and his narrow nose. The way he stared into the screen, it felt like he could see right through the computer to me. I can’t even imagine how intense that look must be in real life.
Unable to help myself, I picture him undressed in the same room as me. I start to imagine how exactly he’d fulfill his promise—his promise to fill me like no other man ever has. I envision him bending me over the couch in my living room and pinning my arms to the cushions while he undoes my belt, runs a hand along the seam of my panties. He’d have thick, strong fingers, thick enough to drive me wild when he slips one under the string of my thong, tugs it aside and pushes one finger up to his knuckle inside my tight pussy…
My doorbell rings.
I gasp and leap off the couch. Damn. My panties feel a little bit wet already. I’m letting my imagination run away with itself. Calm down, Carmine. I’m not going to fuck this guy. Not even going to entertain the idea.
I’m just here to explain the misunderstanding and ask him to be on his way.
I cross the living room, take a deep breath, and open the door.
Then I immediately lose that breath of air all over again.
The man standing on my doorstep looks like he just stepped out of every woman’s wet dream. He’s dressed casually in a tight T-shirt that shows off his bulging biceps, his strong chest and even his flat, washboard abs. I can count the ridges through the fabric.
Guess that photo wasn’t photoshopped after all.
As expected, those piercing gray eyes are even more intense in person. He smiles at me, a crooked half-smile that makes my heart seize in my chest and my belly tighten in anticipation. He looks ready to eat me alive—and I want to let him.
I stagger back a step, all the pre-planned words I meant to say trapping themselves in my throat at once.
“You must be Carmine,” he says, still grinning that half-grin.
Any remaining resistance I might have drummed up dies as soon as I hear his voice. Of course. I should have guessed from his name. Caleb British.
I can’t help it. It’s too fucking much—I have to laugh. So I do.
He steps inside—I back away from the door enough to give him space, and I can’t think of anything else to do now except close it behind him. At least I can let him down in private. “What’s so funny?” he asks, one brow lifted.
“Should have guessed you were British,” I respond when I manage to find my voice. “From your name.”
“I’m from London, yes. Fake name though, obviously,” he replies, though he’s still smiling.
“Obviously,” I echo.
“But enough about me. I want to hear about you, Carmine.” He angles himself toward me.
Without thinking, I step backwards, toward the living room. He follows, until I’m trapped between this towering, muscular, hot-as-hell man and the back of my couch. I lean against the couch in what I hope looks like a casual move, rather than the truth—like my knees have lost the ability to keep me upright by their own volition.
“Me?” I shake my head. “Oh, I don’t know, I’m… I’m just from here, nothing exciting…”
“Why did you hire me?” He tilts his head.
“Does there need to be a story?” I ask, biting my lip.
“There usually is. I want to hear yours.” His eyes bore into me; will me to tell him the truth.
“I… Well. I don’t have a lot of free time to date or anything. So, it’s… been a while.”
His gaze dips over my body again. “I find that hard to believe.”
I flush. “I work a lot.”
“What do you do?” He leans against the wall, still eying me, totally shameless about it.
“I own a bakery,” I say. “Red Velvet.”
His eyes widen. “The new place that everyone is talking about?”