Excerpt from Playing for Her Heart
My eyes drifted down K.C.’s back as he exited my office. The jeans he wore hugged his butt to perfection. Not too tight. Not too loose. Just right. Thank goodness for casual Fridays. I smiled to myself as I turned back to my computer. Just because I had no interest in buying, didn’t mean I couldn’t admire the packaging.
With a smirk on my face and an image of unwrapping that package in my mind, I opened my desk drawer and grabbed a clip. I pulled the front of my mass of aggravating curls toward the back of my head and clipped it in place. Much better.
My heart slammed against my ribcage at the sound of Lilly’s voice. I’d forgotten I’d had her on speakerphone when K.C. had shown up, which meant…dammit.
“I know you are not about to let that sexy ass man go to lunch by himself.”
I made a face at the phone as if she could see me. “First, how do you know he’s sexy? You’ve never seen him.”
“For two reasons. One, his voice sounds like melted chocolate flowing over a warm brownie. And two, you laughed.”
“What does that have to do with anything? You think he’s sexy because I laughed?”
“No, I think you like him because you laughed. I can’t remember the last time I heard you laugh like that. In those few minutes I heard you joking with him, it felt like I had the old Clover back. Carefree, unguarded. Don’t you want that?”
“Well yeah, but—”
“No, buts. Get up right now and go have lunch with that man.”
“No one is saying you have to date him, but what’s so wrong with having a sexy, male, office friend?”
“I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
She was silent for a beat before blowing a deep breath into the phone. “I didn’t want to have to do this, but you’ve forced my hand. I’m calling the sister code into action. To be exact, rule number eleven.”
I lurched forward in my chair. “That rule doesn’t even fit this situation.”
“Doesn’t it though?”
I said nothing.
She continued. “Rule number eleven states: if one sister is making a disastrous decision, the other may intervene in any way she deems necessary. I’m intervening, Clover. Passing up this chance could be the greatest mistake of your life. Go to lunch with that man.”
I smacked my lips, narrowing my gaze at the phone. “Aren’t you the one who just said ‘make your own decisions, Clover.’?”
“I did, and after this I’ll leave you to do just that. But not this time. This time I’m putting my foot down. Go.”
“Go. Trust me, it’s for your own good. You’ll thank me later.”
I grumbled while sliding my feet into my shoes. “Fine, but if it all goes to hell, just know, you’re to blame.”
“I’ll take full responsibility. Now go! I’m not hanging up until you leave, and I better not find out you didn’t go.”
“Whatever, Miss Pushy.” I grabbed up my purse and made my way toward the door, contemplating faking my exit.
Oh, what the hell. I’d had lunch with him once already, it didn’t have to go any farther than that. Plus, he was an okay conversationalist. I took a deep breath then pulled open the door and stepped into the outer office.
I paused at the sight of K.C. leaned over one of the cubicles, speaking with a copy editor. A few seconds later their conversation ended and he turned to the elevator and pushed the button.
Here goes nothing. I started toward him, quickening my pace when the elevator door slid open. “K.C.,” I called a little louder than necessary.
He turned toward me with a widened gaze. His expression soon changed and that devilish smile came out to play.
Two feet from him, my foot slid from beneath me and tumbled forward.
Strong arms circled my waist and I collided with a hard mass. A masculine scent invaded my senses. Cologne mixed with deodorant and…something else. There was something very…primal about the aroma. It wrapped me in its embrace and sent heat rushing to my core. Good gracious.
I’d closed my eyes upon impact, because that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do when you fall. Not. When I opened them, I was face to face, or face to chest rather, with K.C. Even that wasn’t accurate. It was more like my face was crushed against his chest while my legs dangled beneath me. Way to humiliate yourself, Clover.
K.C. helped me right myself, his hands lingering on my waist as he looked me over. “Are you okay?”
Lilly was wrong about his voice, it was more like melted chocolate flowing over me. I forced down a shiver and nodded. “Yeah, darn shoe. Now you see why I hate heels.”
He chuckled and looked down at my feet which stood lopsided because one of my sandals had vanished during my little spill. His gaze met mine again and he smiled and held up a finger, signaling for me to wait. He went and retrieved the shoe from where it had flown then came back and dropped to one knee, holding it in front of him.
What was going on with this day? First the brief, but intellectual discussion this morning. Now this man was kneeling before me like Prince Charming, with pretty packaging to boot? The universe was mocking me, I just knew it.
I held onto his shoulder as I slipped my foot into the shoe, my eyes never leaving his. If ever there was a such thing as a beautiful man, K.C. was it. “Thank you,” I said as he rose to his feet. “Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to fall all over you. I was just coming to tell you that I could join you for lunch after all.”
He pressed the elevator button then leaned beside it. “No need to apologize. I liked catching you.”
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