Tempting the Player(8)

By: Kat Latham

“Checking you’re not dead!” His shout was muffled thanks to Adele’s singing. Libby held up a finger and tugged the earbuds out.

“Ah, that explains it,” he said, his body relaxing a bit against the counter. Even with some of the tension fading away, he was still vibrating with energy. “When you didn’t answer the door, I let myself in. Then I saw you kinda slumped over, and you didn’t move when I called your name. It looked like you’d passed out and were about to go under.”

He must’ve seen her hand going under. Oh thank God he hadn’t come in thirty seconds later. He would’ve known exactly how alive she was. Better he think she was dead.

“For fuck’s sake, Lib, I think you gave me a heart attack.” He leaned back against the counter and rubbed the center of his broad chest.

“Try opening your eyes to find a big, bruised man standing over you in the bath.”

He grimaced. “I’d probably have shat myself.”

“Yeah, well, good thing there’re a lot of bubbles in here.”

He let out a bark of laughter and slid down to sit on the floor. She slipped farther under the bubbles. “Make yourself at home.”

“Cheers,” he said without a hint of irony. “Christ, what a day. I need some quality time with my girl.”

Before Libby could misinterpret who that girl might be, he reached for their dog.

Unbelievable. She was naked in the flippin’ bath and he could sit there completely unaffected. He was fully clothed, but just looking at him made her pulsate. He was big—too big for the bathroom that the estate agent had described as bijou when Libby had bought this flat. His back was against the cupboards, his feet against the tub, and his knees bent to turn his lap into a cradle for Princess. She yipped and tried to leap onto his lap but missed, tumbling off his thigh into a pile of overexcited Chihuahua. He rescued her. Lucky bitch curled up on his crotch.

“Ah, how’s my baby? I missed you. Yes, I did. Yes, I did.”

As Matt made baby voices at their dog, Libby took the opportunity to drink him in. He must’ve come straight from the airport because he still wore the charcoal suit and green-and-white striped tie he traveled in for overseas matches. The jacket fit him perfectly across the shoulders, accentuating their breadth. It was unbuttoned, the plackets falling casually to the side to reveal the white dress shirt beneath. If he stood and turned around, his trousers would hug the tightest arse Libby had ever seen. She could draw his bum from memory—not that she was good at art. She was pretty shit at it, actually. But she was fantastic at checking out Matt’s backside when he wasn’t paying attention.

He finally glanced up at her with those spectacular moss-green eyes and grinned the grin that haunted her most erotic dreams—the one that brought out the dimple in his left cheek, just below a dark red patch covering his cheekbone that looked like it would turn into a nasty bruise. “Romantic.”

“What? Oh, the candles. I do this every night. Don’t you?”

“Nah. I’m more an ice-bath man, myself.”

“What, in your bath?”

“Well, yeah. Where else? My sofa?”

Her hands clenched beneath the water. He lived in a flat just below hers. Knowing he might be down there naked on a bed of ice would make her future bath-time fantasies so hot they’d radiate through the floor to melt his bath. She’d read about things she could do with an ice cube that he would really, really enjoy.

Though she undoubtedly wouldn’t be the first to do them to him.

He gave her face a searching look that momentarily shot her through with fear that he could read her thoughts.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“Perfectly. Why?”

“You, uh, you look like someone smeared you with toothpaste.” He gestured to her eyebrows. “Either that, or you’ve just stepped off the set of the world’s worst porno.”

“Oh, bollocks!” She spun away and tried to hide her forehead with her palm. Her skin had been red and sore when she’d got home from her waxing appointment, so she’d applied thick antiseptic cream across her brows. The cream had dried and turned crusty, but she’d been so distracted with finding Matt suddenly in her bathroom that she’d completely forgotten. She must look like a clown. Like a clown that had been used by men with terrible aim.

“I just, um—bollocks. Could you hand me a flannel from the cupboard?” Still turned away, she held out her hand until she heard a cupboard door close and felt the soft cloth brush her palm. “Cheers.”

She dipped the cloth into the water and pressed it against the delicate skin where her yeti-hair used to be. The wet heat made her skin throb. She rinsed out the cloth and did it again until her skin felt slick and clean. When she’d finished, she dropped the cloth into the tub and turned back to him, sinking to cover herself. “I got my brows waxed today, and the white stuff’s cream to help it heal. That’s all. Definitely not toothpaste. Or semen.”