All Work and No Play

By: Coleen Kwan

He didn’t speak for a while, and she felt his heavy gaze resting on her. “At least I know it’s not one-sided.”

She couldn’t resist snickering at that. “So glad your male ego is still intact.”

His smile was wry. “But it has taken a battering. You didn’t like me much.”

“True.” She could be honest with him now. “I still don’t like you much.”

“Because of my Pommie accent? That’s a bit prejudiced, don’t you think? After all, I don’t mark you down because of your mangled Aussie vowels.”

“Mangled?” she spluttered before she cottoned on that he was teasing her. “Okay, I admit I was—am—prejudiced against your whole toffy appearance because it reminded me of my dad.”

“Your father’s English?”

She nodded. “Came out here, married my mum, had two kids with her, then dumped us when I was eight and went back to the Old Dart, never to be heard from again.”

“That’s rough.”

“My mum struggled to raise me and my brother, but my dad never gave us a cent, even though he’d inherited a fortune from his parents.”

“And that’s why you won’t even let me buy you a coffee?”

“Something like that.”

“And you object to the way I dress?”

She hesitated, wondering how honest she should be. “I like the way you dress,” she admitted. “But the hand-tailored suits and the silver cufflinks and everything’s so alien to me. My mum used to buy us second-hand clothes from Vinnies. To this day I can’t splurge on clothes. I once spent six hundred dollars on a handbag. Even though I could easily afford it, I was nauseous all night, and the next morning I returned the damned thing.”

She stopped abruptly. Why was she babbling on like this to Giles?

“It’s true I’ve had a privileged upbringing.” He looked almost apologetic. “When I was growing up, it was all ponies and prep schools and holidays in Antigua. And I suppose the hand-tailored suits and silver cufflinks go with the territory. But they’re just clothes, Anna. Underneath them, I’m as human as you are.”

She swallowed at the thought of Giles without his clothes. The softness of his shirt didn’t disguise the broadness of his chest, the cut of his pants didn’t hide the strength of his legs. In fact, his elegant clothing only emphasised his athletic build, and he knew it too, the devil.

“Only human?” she managed to get out. “And here I was thinking you were some kind of tech guru.”

He closed the gap between them, and she found herself trapped with a shelf digging into her back and Giles’s body tantalisingly close to hers, so close she could smell his subtle, heady cologne.

“I’m very human, Anna.” His husky voice twined around her name, owning it, as he picked up her hand and pressed it against his chest. “Here, see for yourself.”

The heat of his flesh warmed her palm and sent a rush of desire crashing through her defences. His bass heartbeat vibrated in her bloodstream, transmitting his excitement. Her skin flushed, and sweat dampened between her breasts as she stood and stared at him, transfixed by his boldness, his nearness, and the sensual sweetness of touching him.

“Giles—” The breathy want in her voice shocked her. She licked her lips, suddenly unsure of herself. Why was this so difficult? Why couldn’t she move or speak?

His other hand reached up, his fingers brushing her cheek. His touch was feather light, and devastating. She wanted his lips on hers. Needed them. Right now. Her hunger must have showed in her face because his expression altered, his eyes suddenly burning with need.

Her fingers curled into his shirt as she pulled him closer. The shelf behind her rattled as his body pressed into hers. The air was humid with their shortened breathing. He lowered his head, his mouth coming towards hers, causing her toes to curl in delicious anticipation—

The door rattled, and someone on the other side swore. With a gasp, Anna thrust Giles away from her as if he were a vampire. The door handle jiggled up and down several more times. Sweating, Anna pounded on the door.

“Hello!” she hollered. “We’re stuck in here. Can anyone help us?”

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