She made her way down the hall toward the main bathroom on the second floor. This bathroom was nearly the size of her little flat across town. She could afford something bigger, but she’d opted to keep her place small because she lived alone and she’d rather save her money for fabrics, new sewing machines, investing in her future and ultimately her move. One day that nest egg she’d set aside would come in handy and she couldn’t wait to leave Alma and see how far her dreams could take her. Another couple months and she truly believed she would be ready. She still couldn’t pinpoint her exact destination, though. Milan was by far the hot spot for fashion and she could head there and aim straight for the top. New York was also an option, or Paris.
Catalina smiled at the possibilities as she reached beneath the sink and pulled out fresh white hand towels. Just as she turned, she collided with a very hard, very familiar chest.
Will gripped her arms to steady her, but she wasn’t going anywhere, not when she was wedged between his solid frame and the vanity biting into her back.
“Excuse me,” she said, gripping the terrycloth next to her chest and tipping her chin up. “I’m running behind.”
“Then a few more minutes won’t matter.” He didn’t let up on his hold, but instead leaned back and kicked the door shut with his foot. “You’re avoiding me.”
Hadn’t she thought this bathroom was spacious just moments ago? Because now it seemed even smaller than the closet in her bedroom.
“Your ego is getting in the way of common sense,” she countered. “I’m working. Why are you always here lately anyway? Don’t you have an office to run on the other side of town?”
The edge of his mouth kicked up in a cocky half smile. “You’ve noticed. I was beginning to think you were immune.”
“I’ve been vaccinated.”
Will’s rich laugh washed over her and she cursed the goose bumps that covered her skin. Between his touch, his masculine scent and feeling his warm breath on her, her defenses were slipping. She couldn’t get sucked back into his spell, not when she was so close to breaking free once and for all.
“Come to dinner with me,” he told her, smile still in place as if he truly thought she’d jump at the chance. “Your choice of places.”
Now Catalina laughed. “You’re delusional. I’m not going anywhere with you.”
His eyes darkened as they slid to her lips. “You will.”
Catalina pushed against him, surprised when he released her and stepped back. She busied herself with changing out the hand towels on the heated rack. Why wouldn’t he leave? Did he not take a hint? Why suddenly was he so interested in her when a few years ago she’d been “a mistake”? Plus, a month ago he’d almost been engaged to another woman.
Being a backup plan for anybody was never an option. She’d rather be alone.
Taking more care than normal, Catalina focused on making sure the edges of the towels were perfectly lined up. She needed to keep her shaking hands busy.
“You can’t avoid this forever.” Will’s bold words sliced through the tension. “I want you, Cat. I think you know me well enough to realize I get what I want.”
Anger rolled through her as she spun around to face him. “For once in your life, you’re not going to be able to have something just because you say so. I’m not just a possession, Will. You can’t buy me or even work your charm on me. I’ve told you I’m not the same naïve girl I used to be.”
In two swift steps, he’d closed the gap between them and had her backed against the wall. His hands settled on her hips, gripping them and pulling them flush with his. This time she didn’t have the towels to form a barrier and his chest molded with hers. Catalina forced herself to look up into his eyes, gritted her teeth and prayed for strength.
Leaning in close, Will whispered, “I’m not the man I used to be, either.”
A shiver rippled through her. No, no he wasn’t. Now he was all take-charge and demanding. He hadn’t been like this before. He also hadn’t been as broad, as hard. He’d definitely bulked up in all the right ways...not that she cared.
“What would your father say if he knew you were hiding in the bathroom with the maid?” she asked, hoping the words would penetrate through his hormones. He’d always been yanked around by Daddy’s wishes...hence their breakup, she had no doubt.
Will shifted his face so his lips were a breath away from hers as his hands slid up to her waist, his thumbs barely brushing the underside of her breasts. “My father is smart enough to know what I’d be doing behind a closed door with a sexy woman.”