By: Leslie Kelly

She made it even sexier by surreptitiously unfastening two more buttons while he took his seat opposite her. When he looked at her, his gaze traveled to her suddenly much-deeper neckline, lingered there for a moment and then moved up to her face.

His smile said he’d read her every move.

She didn’t care.

Didn’t blush.

Didn’t retreat.


Instead, she went one step further. Smiling innocently, she said, “Another good thing about unemployment. I no longer have to put my hair into hideous buns, either.”

Reaching up, she pulled out the pins that constrained her thick, long hair, and shook it out, running her fingers through its length. It fell in a golden curtain around her shoulders.

He didn’t take his eyes off her, as she’d known he wouldn’t. There wasn’t a man alive who didn’t see an attractive woman’s long, silky hair and imagine twining his fingers in it as she rode him into oblivion.

Damien watched her, his lips parted, his eyes hooded. And a surge of feminine power rose within her. For the first time in ages, she felt strong, sure of herself, certain of what she wanted and how she was going to get it.

The real Viv was back—in charge, in control and ready to get wicked.

* * *

STARING INTO THE face of a woman who’d gone from extremely attractive to drop-dead gorgeous, Damien felt like a baseball player standing on the field who’d just learned all the rules of the game had changed. Missed swings no longer counted as strikes, and three definitely didn’t mean you were out. As for a grand slam, well, he had the sense that was suddenly well within his reach.

What, he wondered, had happened?

She’d been prickly when they met—with reason, given what she said she’d been going through. She’d warmed up and become a little flirtatious, but mostly just conversational. He’d noticed flashes of wit, but nothing that could have been described as provocative. And then, between the time he pulled out her chair and when he sat across from her, she’d armed herself with every potent, sexual tool in her arsenal. She’d gone from buttoned-up, sedate businesswoman to vamp with a few unbuttons and a swish of that glorious mane of blond hair.

Only a fool, or a male virgin, wouldn’t get the message.

“What are you up to?” he asked, blunt, as always. He didn’t play games, not when it came to anything important. And he sensed she could be important.

“Hmm? What do you mean?” she said with a shrug, playing innocent.

He nodded toward the hair, and cast another pointed glance at the extremely interesting cleavage. “I asked Miss Marple for a drink and ended up with Jessica Rabbit.”

“Who’s Miss Marple? And, uh, Jessica who?”

Not many people shared his enjoyment of old mystery novels, so he gave her a pass on that one. But a woman built like Roger Rabbit’s wife ought to be familiar with the cartoon character.


“Kidding.” Batting her lashes and vamping her voice, she purred, “‘I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.’”

Oh, yeah. She most definitely was.

“Why the costume change?”

She shifted her gaze away, but before she could reply, a server stopped by their table. The young woman deposited two glasses of ice water, garnished with lemon, and offered them each a perfunctory smile. That was good. He didn’t want to be recognized and called by name by everyone in this place, not in front of Viv.

“Two gin and tonics, please,” he said, remembering his companion’s drink preference.

When the server was gone, Viv glanced around. “This is beautiful—the view of the river is lovely. It’s even nicer than the one from the restaurant upstairs.”


Her jaw fell. “What?”

“No subject change allowed.”

“Did I do that?”

“You know you did. Now answer the question,” he murmured, enjoying the sparkle in her eyes and the tiny smile lurking on those lush red lips. She was slightly annoyed that he was pressing her, but also, he suspected, excited that he was following her where she’d led him with those two unfastened buttons.

“I suppose you’re right,” she finally admitted. “Remember that librarian comment? Well, I have been wearing a costume. Not by choice. It was at the suggestion of my supervisor.”

Back to the job with the shitty coworkers and asshole of a boss. He stiffened, instinctively growing angry on her behalf again. “Why was that?”

“I worked with a lot of poor, weak, helpless men. Isn’t that sad?”

He rolled his eyes, knowing exactly where she was headed. “Men with no self-control?”