More Than Crave You(10)

By: Shayla Black


Which is why my sudden urge for Nia is blindsiding.

I was hopeful when I sauntered into the office yesterday that the odd feelings would be behind me, that I wouldn’t look at her and immediately think about peeling away her clothes and bending her over my desk. Unfortunately, I was overly optimistic. She swayed in yesterday morning, wearing something she’s worn a dozen times: a crisp white blouse, a black skirt with a slit halfway up the back of her thighs, and stilettos with straps that wrap around her ankles. Suddenly, those shoes are screaming “fuck me!” In that moment, I really, really wanted to oblige…like I wanted to on Thursday night. And last night. Tonight isn’t looking much better.

Not long after Becca’s death, my desire for sex resurfaced. I didn’t want another woman, per se. Just relief. My hand has been getting a hell of a workout, but I’ve never had a body or a face to put with my imaginary bed partner. Now, I can’t get Nia out of my head.

This is a problem I didn’t foresee.

Bas and the waitress laughing bring me out of my reverie. She looks ready to fall for his flashy good looks and smooth charm. But the blonde flits away moments later, and my buddy watches her go with a sigh.

“You brought me here to be your wingman? You don’t need backup to get laid, and I have a mountain of work I could be doing.” I move to stand.

“Don’t leave. I brought you here because a) you can’t work all the time, b) you have to stop avoiding the fact that you need to move on from Becca, and c) like I said, there’s something you’ve got to see.”

“Something here? What?”

He shrugs, but his face is full of mischief.

“Oh, I get it now.” I shake my head. “You think I need to get laid.”

“I know you do. But not by just anyone. That’s not your style.” He leans back and peers at me. “First, are you sure there’s nothing going on between you and Nia?”

In my head doesn’t count. “We beat this dead horse the other night. She took pity on me because I hadn’t had a home-cooked meal in months and my apartment was a disaster. Stop reading more into it.”

“Ever think about why she’d bother? Why she’d care?”

Actually, I have. “Because she’s a nice person who likes to help others. She’s done some babysitting for Marcy when her husband was out of town and her older son had a soccer game. She also helped Don and his wife when they moved into a new place over Fourth of July weekend. I’m not looking for ulterior motives.”

Mostly because if I thought she was hot for me in return, I’d be way more tempted to throw caution to the wind, risk a lawsuit, and carry her off to my bed.

Then you’d have no assistant, dipshit, and where would you be?

“You should. I think she’s got a thing for you.”

I scoff. “I think you’re insane. I also think you should drop it.”

If he doesn’t, I’ll fixate on the possibilities. Nia is not only the first female who’s stirred my interest since Becca, but she’s the only one who’s ever made me feel like my blood is boiling. I don’t understand it; I’ve barely touched her.

“All right. Let’s sit back, enjoy the show, and see what tonight brings.”

Whatever he has planned will at least be more entertaining than his October profit and loss statements. Maybe this show, whatever it is, will help me keep my mind off the newest offer Colossus Investment Corporation submitted just before five o’clock on Friday…and the fact that today my son or daughter was supposed to have been born.

In March when the obstetrician gave Becca and me the baby’s due date, November fourth hadn’t sounded that far away. Before we even left the office, she was furiously making plans to hire a decorator for the nursery and interview potential nannies. We even discussed private schools.

I had no idea then how different my life would be now.

“Sure,” I say finally. It’s probably better—and healthier—than sitting in my penthouse alone, stewing about my worries and lamenting all I’ve lost.

The waitress returns with another sassy grin, a few drinks, and a veggie tray on the house. Over the next ten minutes, I see more women dressed suggestively bustle in and out of the curtain draped across the stage, some showing thigh or ass to appreciative audience members. Others outright wriggle, flirt, and tease.

“God, I love kittens,” mutters the forty-something guy behind me.

I lean in and peer at Bas. “Kittens?”

He smiles. “They help the show run smoothly.”

“What kind of show?”

Before Bas can answer, the room goes dim. A spotlight hits the stage. Then a man in a red velvet tux centers himself in the beam of light, mic in hand. “Welcome! Who’s ready for a swinging Saturday night?”