“Jaci, I don’t care what you’re wearing so open the damn door. We need to talk.”
That sounded ominous. And Ryan sounded determined enough, and arrogant enough, to keep leaning on her doorbell if he thought that was what it would take to get her to open up. Besides, she needed to hear what he had to say, didn’t she?
But, dammit, the main reason why her finger hit the button to open the lobby door was because she wanted to see him. She wanted to hear his deep, growly voice, inhale his cedar scent—deodorant or cologne? Did it matter?—have an opportunity to ogle that very fine body.
Jaci placed her forehead on her door and tried to regulate her heart rate. Having Ryan in her space, being alone with him, was dangerous. This apartment wasn’t big—this was Manhattan, after all—and her bedroom was a hop, skip and a jump away from where she was standing right now.
You cannot possibly be thinking about taking your boss to bed, Jacqueline! Seriously! Slap some sense into yourself immediately!
Ryan’s sharp knock on the door had her jerking her head back. Because her father had made her promise that she wouldn’t open the door without checking first—apparently the London she’d lived in for the past eight years was free of robbers and rapists—she peered through the peephole before flipping the lock and the dead bolt on the door.
And there he was, dressed in a pair of faded jeans and a long-sleeved, collarless black T-shirt. He held a leather jacket by his thumb over his shoulder and, with the strips of black under his eyes and his three-day beard, he looked tired but tough.
Ryan leaned his shoulder into the door frame and kept his eyes on her face, which Jaci appreciated. “Hey.”
Soooo sexy. “Hello. What are you doing here? It’s pretty late,” she said, hoping that he missed the wobble in her voice.
“Leroy Banks finally returned my call. Can I come in?”
Jaci nodded and stepped back so that he could walk into the room. Ryan immediately dropped his jacket onto the back of a bucket chair and looked around the room, taking in the minimalist furniture and the abstract art. “Not exactly Lyon House,” he commented.
“Nothing is,” Jaci agreed. Her childhood home was old and stately but her parents had made it a home. It had never been a showpiece; it was filled with antiques and paintings passed down through the generations but also packed with books and dog leashes, coffee cups and magazines.
“Did your mother ever get that broken stair fixed? I remember her nagging your father to get it repaired. She said it had been driving her mad for twenty years.”
Did she hear longing in his voice or was that her imagination? Ryan had always been hard to read, and her ability to see behind the inscrutable mask he wore had not improved with age. And she was too tired to even try. “Nope, the stair is still cracked. It will never be fixed. She just likes to tease my father about his lack of handyman skills. Do you want something to drink? Coffee? Tea? Wine?”
“Black coffee would be great. Black coffee with a shot of whiskey would be even better.”
She could do that. Jaci suggested that Ryan take a seat but instead he followed her to the tiny galley kitchen, his frame blocking the doorway. “So, how are you enjoying work?”
Jaci flashed him a quick smile at his unexpected question. “I’m loving it. I’m working on the romcom at the moment. You said that you want changes done to Blown Away but I need to spend some time with you and Thom to find out exactly what you want and, according to your PA, your schedules are booked solid.”
“I’ll try to carve out some time for you soon, I promise.”
Jaci went up onto her toes to reach the bottle of whiskey on the top shelf. Then Ryan’s body was flush up against hers, his chest to her back, and with his extra height he easily took the bottle off the shelf. Jaci expected him to immediately move away but she felt his nose in her hair, felt the brush of his fingers on her hip. She waited with bated breath to see if he’d turn her to face him, wondered whether he’d place those broad hands on her breasts, lower that amazing mouth to hers...
“Here you go.”
The snap of the whiskey bottle hitting the counter jerked her out of her reverie, and then the warmth of his body disappeared. With a dry mouth and a shaking hand, Jaci unscrewed the cap to the bottle and dumped a healthy amount of whiskey into their cups.
Hoo, boy! And down, girl!
“It’s a hell of a coincidence that you, the sister of my old friend, had a script accepted by me, by us,” Ryan said, lifting his arms up so that he gripped the top of the door frame. The action made his T-shirt ride up, showing a strip of tanned, muscled abdomen and a hint of fabulous oblique muscles. Jaci had to bite her tongue to stop her whimper.