The next day arrived entirely too fast. Training lasted until well past midnight, leaving Rachel to function on less than six hours of rest. It’s only six months, she reminded herself, and you’ll be junior editor in no time.
She stood in line at the coffee shop beneath the building that housed Equinox Publishing, her eyes burning from lack of sleep. Certain that a frappe would make the world right again, she waited patiently to place her order. Her patience was rewarded with quick service, and she held her iced coffee drink lovingly as she scooped it up from the counter. Sleepily, she suppressed a yawn and turned to head upstairs where, undoubtedly, another stack of wasted manuscripts awaited her attention. Rachel hadn’t taken five steps, when her toe caught on the edge of one of the rugs. It sent her falling forward; her frappe went flying ahead of her.
Before the exclamation had completely escaped her lips, she felt a pair of hands grab onto her. The floor rushed up toward her face, then away again as she was yanked into a standing position. Disoriented, she grabbed onto the mystery arms for dear life. A familiar voice boomed above her.
“Good God, how do you make it to work?"
Rachel’s breath caught in her throat and she realized she was caged in a pair of strong massive arms. Her eyes trailed upward, past a strong chest and a sprinkling of hair. Her gaze extended further and she finally saw his face. Those eyes, the smile that dripped with swagger.
His arms locked around her waist, he looked down and smiled. “Really, gorgeous – we have got to stop meeting like this."
Rachel’s breath left her body in a low steady stream. His lopsided grin was covered in a few days growth, and his hair fell forward in unruly black waves over the sides of his face as he towered over her.
Wow, she breathed inwardly, and it occurred to her that the heat of his body would unglue her if she stayed in his arms any longer. Forcing herself to stand, she pulled away from him. She found herself shaking the cobwebs out of her head as she looked at him...again.
“Do you just go to random coffee shops and wait for women to fall into your arms?”
Joe let out a throaty chuckle, deep and masculine. Rachel's body ignited with tiny little sparks, and she fought to hold them down. "Not usually, but if you’re the one that keeps falling, I may have to look into a career change.”
And there was that lopsided grin again. Rachel wanted to groan just looking at him. She figured him to be six feet five, less than 300 pounds. Every single inch of Hottie McCoffeehouse was solid, and her eyes widened as he began to take his blazer off.
“What...what are you doing?"
“Huh,” he replied, oblivious to the fact that she was mentally undressing him, “Oh, you got my blazer with your frappe. I’m just going to get it off..."
Rachel could’ve sworn the heavens had just opened up. Beneath the dark blazer he wore a white V-neck that fit him like a second skin, probably because of his size. With every movement of his well-muscled torso, the shirt threatened to tear at the seams.
Rachel averted her gaze, refusing to absorb any more of the raw sexual energy that seemed to ooze out of him.
“I’m so sorry about that,” Rachel stammered, keeping her head down, “It’s a...it's a nice blazer."
Hottie McCoffeehouse grinned, finally appearing to tune into the way he was affecting Rachel.
“It’s all right,” he replied, placing a hand under her chin and looking her in the eye.
“Listen, that’s twice in less than a month that you’ve ended up in my arms. Don’t you think we should at least have dinner now?"
Rachel’s eyes widened as his touch burned her skin. It was insanely electric; could he feel it too? She stepped backward and away from him, blushing uncontrollably.
“Yeah,” Rachel spoke, slowly, “That’s probably not the best idea...but thank you for the offer, Mister...?"
“Joe,” he smirked, allowing her to pull away, “Just call me Joe. And I’ll tell you what, if this happens again --"
“If what happens again?” Rachel asked, “If I fall?”
Joe chuckled. “If you trip again, and I’m there to catch you, then you have to have dinner with me. Agreed?"
Rachel closed her eyes with a grin, opening them again to meet his gaze. "Fair enough, Joe."
“I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you again,” he closed the gap between them.
Rachel tried to remain composed as he towered over her. "I'm sure you do, Joe."
Joe smiled, seemingly amused by her refusal to react to his advances. He stared at her for a moment, his eyes darkening as a mischievous grin appeared on his face. The tiniest of growls escaped his parted lips, and Rachel's breath caught in her throat. She nearly hit the floor. Without another word, he turned and walked away.
Sexy in the City 9 Glamorous, Globe-trotting Contemporary Romances .
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