And so it was outside the editing room, after she’d sent her crew to have some dinner, that Meagan entered the tiny break area of the production facility. There, Meagan finally came face-to-face with Sam. She was struggling to get the package of peanuts she’d purchased from one of the two snack machines when it happened. She was actually facing the machine when the tingling awareness started—the same tingling awareness she’d felt in the executive offices, a sensation she’d been too flustered then to identify. But she felt it now, and knew what it meant.

“Sam,” she said softly, steeling herself for the impact that seeing him again would have. And she’d been right to steel herself because if Sam had stolen her breath before she’d slept with him, he absolutely sucked it straight out of her lungs now.

He stood there, gloriously male, with one broad, perfect shoulder resting on the doorjamb, his jaw shadowed, already fighting the blade of his morning shave.

“Problem?” he asked, his eyes raking over her slim-fitted jeans and studio T-shirt, as if she were naked. And, heaven help her, the real problem was how many times she’d replayed being exactly that way with him today.

She nodded. “The curse appears to have targeted my peanuts.”

His sexy, wickedly capable mouth curved upward, and he pushed off the wall. “Let me see what I can do.”

He sauntered toward her, and she fought the urge to stay right there in front of the machine, right there in his path. She was losing her mind. Sam was making her lose her mind, distracting her from her job, her dream, and the career she had as the only means of supporting herself. And yet, she wanted to touch him, to feel the warmth of him again. She realized then, that on some level, she’d push Sam away. Since she now knew he wasn’t just an alpha male who made her tingle when he entered the room. What he made her feel was awareness on a much deeper level. The kind of thing you were lucky to experience, and so you didn’t simply shut it off. Lucky. Yes. She couldn’t ignore what she felt for him. She didn’t want to.

Meagan didn’t move. She stood in front of the machine, and he stopped in front of her. They stared at each other, neither speaking. They didn’t have to. The air around them all but combusted.

His fingers brushed her cheek. “You look tired, Meg.”

“Meagan,” she corrected, fighting the shiver of arousal rushing down her spine.

He smiled. “Whatever you say, sweetheart.”

Voices sounded somewhere in the distance and her heart raced. The last thing she needed was her crew talking about her affair with Sam, especially with Kiki out for blood. Not that Meagan was having an affair with Sam. She didn’t know what she was doing with Sam. Confusion balled up inside her. “Don’t call me sweetheart, either. I said one night, Sam.” She hated herself for saying that, and she wanted to take the words back. She didn’t even know why she’d said them.

He continued to stare at her, his expression unreadable. “Yes,” he finally said. “You did.”

There was a sharp quality to the two words that cut her deeply. Just as she’d thought, she pushed him away and didn’t mean to. It felt bad. Really bad. “I just…we can’t…I just don’t want people to see so that’s why I said no touching and no sweetheart—”

“And no kissing. Got it. I’ll stick to rescuing your peanuts.” He didn’t sound happy and his mood seemed to darken instantly.

She expected him to shake the machine. Instead, he stuck change in the slot and punched a button. Before she knew it, he’d secured two bags of peanuts, and two Dr. Peppers.

He held up one of the sodas. “I believe I owe you this.” He claimed a chair and then tossed out bait to get her to sit with him. “I have news about the contestants’ house. Join me and I’ll tell you all about it.”

“More bribery?”

He arched a brow. “Is it working?”

“Apparently very well.” She sat down across from him, and truthfully she was relieved to have a few more minutes with him, to be able to fix whatever she’d broken. “What about the house?”

“They agreed to all my requests, including the exterminator. If you’re sure you want the place, then I can have it ready for you to move in by the weekend. That should give you time to get settled before you have to go live in the house. And frankly, I’d prefer having the contestants there and contained, rather than at a hotel where I can’t be sure they’re really in their rooms and safe.” He popped open his drink.


Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Stepping Up Romance
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