I swear to God, I’m just planning on getting laid, but then she turns to me, pokes me in the center of my chest and says, “Listen, mister. I don’t care who you are. If you can’t behave like a gentleman and keep your eyes where they belong, you can just take a walk.”
Yeah, when she says that, she’s mine.
Meadow is all mine.
“Say I want to give you the massage, instead, Meadow.” I step closer and tilt up her chin. “How much would you charge me for that?”
My high school guidance counselor told me my smart mouth would get me into trouble someday. Apparently that day will come sooner rather than later.
I’ve just told the Walker “Bad Boss” McManus to take a walk.
Of course, I didn’t know my eleven o’clock deep tissue massage was with a notorious mob boss. I’m new in town, fresh out of Florida, so I didn’t even know such a man existed. Not until Carla burst into the room like the hounds of hell were at her heels, stammering that we we’d probably have to cough up all our tips as protection money now or die a bloody death.
Oh yeah? I’d like to see him try.
I didn’t work three jobs to put myself through massage therapy school so I could hand over my money to some mobster.
Granted. He is rather large, spectacularly intimidating and very…
Very, very, very good looking.
He’s older than me, by more than a decade. At least. And that maturity is making itself known in annoyingly attractive ways. Little lines at the corners of his dark blue eyes, a wealth of gravity in his expression. Like he knows how the world works and is merely amused by my attempts to try and spin it in a direction he doesn’t dictate.
His hair is slicked back, away from his granite-jawed, master-of-the-universe features, the likes of which my nether regions were not prepared to handle this morning. He’s in a white dress shirt and navy slacks that look like they were licked onto his thick muscles.
I still haven’t answered his question. Did he really ask if he could pay to massage me? Ooh. The nerve of this man. I have scraped my way to this point in my life. From a trailer park with constant casting changes of whoever was playing my mother’s boyfriend that week to a respectable one-bedroom apartment in an up-and-coming section of Boston. A certified massage therapist! And I’m good. I’ve only had this job for three weeks and already I’ve had several return customers.
Sure, I have to put up with my disgusting, touchy feely boss, Randall, but you take the good with the bad. And for me, this move has definitely been good.
Now this…harshly attractive man who is almost certainly a dangerous murderer thinks he can come up in here and treat me like a joke?
I’ve worked really hard not to be one of those. Too hard.
Deciding I’d like to keep my self-respect at any cost, I raise my chin. “How about you spend your money on some common decency?”
A dark eyebrow arches. “Are we not getting off on the right foot, Meadow?” The way he breathes my name curls my toes in my sensible shoes. “You on the table, instead of me. Name your price.”
“The price would be my pride. I value it quite a bit.”
“I know a little something about pride.”
“Robbing people of it?”
“Holding on to it.” His chest dips and expands, releasing a low growl. “Fuck, you are interesting.”
Fuck, you ahh interesting.
I like his Boston accent way too much.
This man wants to eat me alive. I’ve had guys show interest in me on a fairly regular basis, but what they showed me was child’s play compared to Walker McManus. He’s only letting me think I have an ounce of control here. That realization scares me, yes. But…it makes my limbs loose and my stomach levitate.
I’ve fantasized about moments like this, never thinking they’d happen anywhere but in my mind. What would Walker think if he knew I’d warred against two opposing needs for years? The need to finally be in control of my life…and have control wrestled away in the heat of passion.
Not with him.
Not with him.
This man is bad news.
He will chew me up and spit me out. That’s the last thing I need when I’ve only started standing on solid ground, living my new life. A life I built, brick by brick, through hungry nights and endless days. I won’t be knocked off course.
My mental reinforcements mean nothing to Walker. He crowds me up against the massage table, slowly and I curl my fingertips into the leather underside. “If I sacrifice a little of my pride, will you do the same?”
“I’m not sleeping with you,” I breathe.
“I asked to give you a massage, but I like where your head is at.”