Wild With You(6)

By: Layla Hagen

"I respect that you are my client and I liked working with you in the past, but I will not put up with excuses. If you can no longer afford my services, just say so, and we will part ways."

Her back was to me, and since she hadn't seen me arrive, I could observe her in her element. Her tone was firm, her back straight. Lori Connor didn't take anyone's bullshit. I liked that she had a backbone. I liked the back of her too; she was wearing a pencil skirt, tight at the waist and molding perfectly over the curve of her hips and ass.

"Okay. We have a deal. I appreciate the honesty. Give me a call when you get back on your feet," she said. After hanging up, she spun around.

"Mr. Frazier, hi! I didn't hear you come up."

"Just Graham. Is everything okay?"

She pointed to her car. "Engine won't start. Tow service is on their way, but they said it would take at least an hour and a half. Know any coffee shops or restaurants in walking distance?"

I knew a few good restaurants, but I had a better idea. "Come inside with me. I'll make us dinner."

She blinked, then shook her head. "Thanks, but I'll grab something nearby."

She'd hesitated long enough for me to know she was tempted, so I pushed. Dinner in Lori's company would be a great way to spend the evening.

"Lori, I'll cook. You’ll relax and tell me about the progress you made today with Matt and Amber. What's not to like about my offer?"

The corners of her mouth lifted in the most beautiful smile. She crossed her arms over her chest, but her smile was even wider when she answered. "Well, when you put it like that, it is quite irresistible."

Lori brought me up to date on the wedding arrangements within minutes. They'd already decided on the type of tent. Menu tasting was next on the to-do list.

"The tent will be in the backyard, of course. The beach is too narrow to have the ceremony there. We can have it in the backyard as well, or on your deck, to overlook the water. Certainly large enough for eighty. But you'd have everyone traipsing through your house."

"I don't mind."

"I love your house. And the view is to die for."

"Thanks. That's what sold me on it."

I wanted to be near the ocean, and this property was the first to come up. It was far too big for one person, but I hadn't wanted to wait longer. The kitchen opened up to a formal dining area, and a tall breakfast bar separated the two spaces. I pointed to one of the two tall chairs under the counter, and said, "You can sit there while I cook."

"What's on the menu, chef?" Lori climbed on the stool and drummed her palms on the counter, eyeing the double oven on the other side. I leaned with an elbow against the surface, placing my other hand on the short backrest of Lori's chair.

"I have chicken legs. Could whip up a tomato sauce and boil brown rice. I also have pasta. Like gorgonzola sauce? I know an excellent recipe with cream and a mix of gorgonzola cheese and parmesan."

She wrinkled her nose. "Chicken with tomato sauce sounds good."

"You really want to go for the pasta, though."

"How could you tell?"

"Body language. So, why say no to something you want?"

"Oh my God, you can't corrupt me like that. Of course I'll go for the pasta."

She laughed, and seeing her plump lips open up like that for me made me wonder what else I could corrupt her to do. I came closer, moving my hand from the backrest to her back. Lori straightened but didn't pull away.

"I'm very good at corrupting."

She laughed again and tilted her head to one side. "And you had me all convinced you like to follow the straight and narrow path."

"What gave you that impression?"

"Not sure." She licked her lower lip, and I nearly closed the distance and kissed her. Then she averted her gaze, so I backed off. What the hell was I doing, anyway? I moved through the kitchen and took out all the ingredients, starting to prepare our dinner.

"Wow, you really cook!" Lori exclaimed while I was chopping onion.

"Yeah. It relaxes me. You thought I'd invite you in for frozen pizza?"

"That possibility crossed my mind." I heard the smile in her voice and looked at her over my shoulder.

"Your bar is pretty low, isn't it? Let's see if I can impress you."

"Game on, chef."

From where I was standing, I had a direct view of her long legs under the counter. Her skirt reached just over her knees, and my fingertips itched with the impulse to touch her and push the fabric all the way up her thighs. How smooth would her skin be? How delicious would she taste?

"How long have you known Matt and Amber?" she asked, effectively cutting through my thoughts. I set the sauce to simmer and turned to face her.