Instead, I focus on helping her, since that seems to get this woman going. I fix the stove while she tells me what she worked on inside the cabin. She turned on the hot tub to make sure it heats up properly (Gramps cleaned it a few weeks ago), changed all the bedding, straightened all the rooms, hung fresh towels, and scrubbed the bathrooms. “I even checked to make sure the water runs and isn’t rusty. See? I have a handy side.”

I shake a finger at her, chiding. “Don’t be taking my job away.”

“I would never do that. Just trying to be helpful.”

“You’re very helpful. And you’ve made this cabin quite lovely.”

“Hey, are you hungry? I picked up sandwiches at the market.”

I pat my stomach, shaking my head. “Nope. Had a late lunch with my dad. But thanks for offering. Maybe later.” And I leave it at that, because later would be good.

“Yes, later,” she says, agreeing, and I like her answer very much.

As I finish the stove, she tilts her head as if she’s deep in thought. “Should we chop wood for the fireplace? There’s a bit on the deck, but it won’t last long.”

I lean my head back and laugh.

“What’s so funny? Don’t you know how to chop firewood?”

“Course I do. I’m a fireman. I can handle an ax just fine. I just thought it was funny when you said we. Don’t worry—I’m not letting you handle an ax.”

One eyebrow rises. “You think I can’t handle an ax?”

“I think it’s dangerous for anyone who doesn’t know how to use one. Plus, I’d love to make sure you have enough firewood to be warm and toasty. So I’ll go outside and play Paul Bunyan for you,” I say with a wink.

“Then I’ll make sure I have hot chocolate for you when you come back in.” She flicks a lock of chestnut hair off her shoulder. “Think you’d like a little treat?”

Does she even know how sexy she sounds when she asks that question?

“I do want a treat,” I tell her, but the treat is already here—us alone in this cabin as afternoon spills into evening.

That’s the best treat I could have.

As she grabs milk, a bag of gourmet chocolates, and some spices, I head outside to chop some wood. As I work, the snow falls softly and quietly, with no sign of stopping as nighttime tiptoes into Tahoe. Doesn’t take a genius to realize we aren’t leaving this cabin anytime soon, or likely even tonight.

I stack the wood, return the ax, and head back inside, where I find Vanessa whipping up what smells like a delicious drink.

I whistle in appreciation as she wields whisks, spoons, and chocolate with deftness. “Damn, woman, you are a gourmand.”

“I’m of the belief that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who like chocolate made with water”—her gagging face says exactly what she thinks about that—“and those who like it made with milk.” She smiles devilishly.

“And what kind do you think I am?”

As she stirs the pot, she studies my face. “I think you’re the kind who’s going to enjoy what I give you.”

A groan rumbles up my chest. “That is exactly the kind of man I am.”

A few minutes later, my mouth is watering as she pours the chocolate mixture into two mugs. I reach for mine, but she swats my hand away. “What the hell? You’re toying with me. It’s sitting here, tempting me, and you won’t let me have it?”

“It needs to cool off, Shaw. And while it does, I’m going to tease you even more,” she says, and yanks open the fridge. She comes back brandishing a canister of whipped cream.

I like her style of teasing. “When did you become such a taunter?”

“When we got snowed in,” she tosses back as she dispenses some whipped cream on top of the steaming mug of chocolate then on my nose.

Yup. She’s dropped a delicious and provocative substance on my body.

Maybe not the first body part I had in mind for whipped-cream kink, but I’ll take what I can get. I move a little closer to her. “And now how do you propose I get that off my nose, snow bunny?”

Her smile is magnetic. It’s sweet and dirty at the same time. “I don’t know, snow devil. How do you want to get it off?”

Dear Lord. Did she take extra foxy pills today? I reach for her hand and slide my fingers along her palm, noting the hitch in her breath. Correction: noting it and loving it.

I drag her finger along the whipped cream on my nose, watching her eyes go bigger, wider. And because there’s no time like the present, I bring her finger to my mouth.

And lick off the whipped cream.

She gasps.

“My turn,” I murmur. Grabbing the whipped cream, I drop a dot on her cute nose.

Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance