“That’s not what I meant,” I said, flustered – though, yeah, that was actually exactly what I had meant. I tried to recover. “Did they teach it at your high school?”

“No. There’s a Procol Harum song where they mention the Miller’s Tale – ”


A memory sparked in my mind. “I know that one – ”

And we both said “Whiter Shade Of Pale” at the same instant.

“Jinx,” Shanna sneered angrily as she flopped down on her narrow single bed.

I ignored her and focused on him. “That’s a good song.”

“Hell yeah it is. So, anyway, I read the Miller’s Tale and a few others. You’re not reading the Miller’s Tale, are you?”

“No.”

“Good.”

I gave him a quizzical little frown. “Why ‘good’?”

“It’s fucked up. It’s a little too… naughty for a nice girl like you,” he said, nodding in mock solemnity.

The way he said ‘naughty’ made parts of me want to get naughty.

“Ohhh, is it,” I nodded back, turning up the ‘doe-eyed and innocent’ to 11.

“Yeah. People sleeping around… having sex… kinky sex… it’s not for impressionable young minds like yours.”

Unhhhhhhh…

The way he said ‘kinky sex,’ in that rumbling, deep voice… hoo boy.

“Well then, I’m safe,” I assured him, still playing along. “I’m reading the Wife of Bath’s tale.”

His eyes opened a bit wider. “Ohhh, the horny chick.”

I smiled tightly. “Yes. That was Chaucer’s original title for it. ‘The Horny Chick’s Tale.’”

He arched one eyebrow. “Am I wrong?”

Actually, no, he wasn’t. The Wife of Bath brags that she’s been married five times, all to guys with great chests and large, um… packages. At one point she speculates on how much her hoo-ha would get at auction. Hint: she thought it would break records.

I didn’t want to get into those details, though, so I just gave a noncommittal “Mmmm…”

He didn’t pursue it, thank God.

“That’s the one with the knight who has to figure out what women want, right?”

I cocked my head and stared at him. “I’m impressed.”

“What, just because I’m incredibly hot, you think I don’t have a brain?”

He said it in a way that was supposed to be self-mocking… but it was pretty apparent that he knew he was hot. Which was annoying.

“I think you meant, ‘just because I’m incredibly in love with myself,’” I said with a prim smile. “And as for the brain thing, no, it’s the tattoos and rings. I would’ve figured you more for knowing the complete works of Whitesnake.”

He laughed – and oh my God it was sexy.

Apparently he wasn’t insulted, because he said, “I know those, too, but obviously you don’t, because you missed the obvious hint that I’m not a huge fan.”

“Which is?”

“No head-bangin’ hair.”

It was true. No poofed-out mullet or cascading locks. His hair was just long and tousled enough to make him look disreputable… and damn sexy.

“Ah. You have to have the hair to be in the Whitesnake fan club, is that it?”

“Yes you do.” He grinned, crossed his arms, and locked his gaze with mine. “So… what do women want?”

“I know what I want,” Shanna said grumpily as she stretched out on her bed. “And I’m not gettin’ it.”

“I have my own Wife of Bath as a roommate,” I joked.

Derek frowned, mildly confused.

“Um… horny chick,” I explained, blushing a little.

“HELL YEAH,” Shanna shouted.

Derek grinned. “Gotcha. So… what do women want?”

“I haven’t finished the story.”

“I’m not talking about the story.”

“Then why are you asking?”

His smile was ohhhh so seductive. “It’s an interest of mine.”

He was too cocky for his own good. I couldn’t let him get away with it.

“One you do a lot of field research in, huh?” I asked, nodding.

He shrugged, gave me a half-smile. “A little.”

“I’m sure.”

“…so?”

“So, what?”

“So what do women want?”

His green eyes felt like they were undressing me.

I forced myself to keep staring into them, and not let my eyes drop down to what I really wanted. “Why are you asking me?”

“You’re a woman. I’m a man. I want to know.”

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