Declan doesn’t seem to be bothered by my lack of response. He continues on, what appears to be a rehearsed oratory. “I thought I could fuck you just that once and I wouldn’t think about it anymore. That’s usually how it works, but then I thought, that probably works because I don’t typically see a woman more than once. But with you—working with me and seeing you day in and day out—I figure it’s just keeping the memory of what we did in the forefront, you know what I mean?”
I do indeed, but I refuse to admit nor deny that either. I just stare.
“So my solution is that we should fuck again,” he says, and that definitely makes my girlie parts start to tingle and throb. “And it might be that one more time is all we need to finish scratching that itch. Or maybe it will take a few times. Who knows?”
My wanton side, which wants to give in to all base instincts, has to dig my fingers into the cushion to keep from whipping off my clothes. The prudent side, which wants to protect my job, cautiously asks. “You’re proposing we have sex again? Like right now?”
A muscle in Declan’s jaw pops as his body stiffens. “No. Not right now. I want to be careful that we keep the personal and professional separate, because if we can’t, then you can’t work for me. It’s that simple.”
“I don’t understand,” I murmur.
“The Wicked Horse,” he replies, his eyes boring into mine. “We go there. Together. Whenever it’s convenient for us. We get it out of our system, we come into work the next day, and we focus on work. It’s a good plan.”
Is it, though?
I genuinely don’t know one way or the other, but I do like the knowledge Declan is affected by me. It’s nice to know he didn’t escape our first encounter unscathed. It means I’m not being silly in my continued obsession about that night together.
I tip my head to the side. “And you’re positive this is not going to affect our working relationship? Because I need this job.”
Declan rises from the couch, eyeing me from across the coffee table. “You’re incredibly good at what you do, Miss Robbins. I’ve decided I’d like to preserve this working relationship if we can. This is our best chance.”
“That doesn’t quite answer my question,” I mutter. “And you can call me Bailey. I think we’re past formal names now.”
Declan actually grimaces at that suggestion. “I can’t say whether this is going to work. I just know I need it for my sanity.”
I should take some time to think about this. It’s complicated, sticky, and a bad idea all around. My job is paramount, yet I find myself willing to believe this is the best way to preserve it. I know my willingness to believe it has everything to do with the fact I want the man standing before me.
“Then I agree to your proposal,” I say, waiting for a stab of uneasiness to tell me I made the wrong decision.
It doesn’t come.
“Are you planning on going tonight?” I ask hesitantly.
“As much as I would love that,” Declan replies, sounding a bit regretful, “I have plans tonight. Besides, we’re going to have to draw up a legal agreement first.”
“A legal agreement?” I exclaim with surprise.
“That our relationship inside The Wicked Horse is separate and apart from our professional relationship. That I’m offering you no inducement or holding your job over your head in exchange for your agreement to go to the club with me. It’s to protect both of us.”
“Sounds more like it’s to protect you,” I muse, but I also don’t blame him. He’s in dangerous territory pursuing a sexual relationship with an employee. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why a man—who is clearly intelligent and successful—would ever put himself in such a position.
The only thing I can deduce is that he must have some level of trust—even if he doesn’t even recognize that’s what it is—in me. He knows inherently I’m not the type that would use this against him, because I’m not. I don’t operate that way. If I did, I would have taken my husband to the cleaners, rather than silently, if not bitterly, help him pay off our marital debt that he accrued.
“I’ll sign your agreement,” I finally say.
And for the first time tonight, I realize just how tense he’s been since he stepped foot in my house. His entire body visibly relaxes. While it’s not quite a smile on his face, it could possibly be called triumphant joy.
“I’ll have it on your desk in the morning,” he says as he heads for my door. Not a backward glance either. “Then plan on attending The Wicked Horse with me tomorrow evening.”
“Yes, sir,” I can’t help but chirp in an exaggerated tone.