Callan Baird used to laugh more than he frowned, but that was before his wife died. Now his life is duty, debts and a general apathy for anything else. And then Victoria Burke burst into his life. She’s everything he wants to corrupt. Victoria has two choices: agree to a grouchy, sexy Scotsman’s extortion or call her boss to explain why she can’t do her job. Since she’s spent the last three years rebuilding her career as antique appraiser, and this one commission could make or break it, the decision is a no-brainer. Except everything about Callan is complicated. He sees no problem turning their work relationship into a sexual one. She refuses to break her boss’ no-fraternization rule. He’s the one thing she wants and the one thing she can’t have. He’s had his one great love, and doesn’t want a replacement. His heart doesn’t agree, because she’s everything he desires. Callan will have to let go of his past if he wants Victoria to be in his future.
From ‘Kilted for Pleasure’:
“How about drinks after we’re done here? That table over there is the last on our list. You can make amends for calling me goat-fucker.”
Booze, plus him seemed to equal a dumb-ass decision. Also, she wasn’t sorry for that particular insult. “I still have more work to do. I’m sorry but I’ll have to decline the offer.”
“The same Burke who’d have likely slept on my doorstep until I signed a contract has suddenly lost her guff?” He tutted in disappointment.
He dangled that as bait, and with him this close, she only wanted to bite into his lower lip as punishment. This was bad. “The only thing I need to know about you is whether or not you can competently repair the antiques.”
“Good. I was worried there for a moment. The way you were looking at me…”
His position had forced her to hold his gaze. Heat burned in her chest, and she realized she’d been holding her breath. Letting it out, she took her time in replying—okay, she had to wait until her voice could come out cool, unaffected. “If you were the last man on earth, yada, yada.”
He laughed, and this time she was sure he’d taken her words as a challenge. She pushed him back and stood. For a fraction of a second, her palms lingered on his chest. His pecs under the shirt felt as wonderful as they looked.
Victoria snatched her hands away. Isn’t this how she’d screwed up in the first place? She’d lost sight of her goal because a man had made her swoon. She’d already gotten hoodwinked into taking care of her boss’ father. Victoria didn’t need to add sex with Callan to the situation.
“Back up.” She put a bit of steel in the words and hoped it would trickle down her spine.
He tilted his head, taking in her face. “If I misread you then I apologize about making you uncomfortable.”
Her brows shot up in surprise. She didn’t think he was the type to apologize, but nothing about him seemed consistent. He’d been a pain in her ass, gruff, impatient, thoughtful, uncaring and smart. She couldn’t catch a foothold around him, but the tension in her shoulders ebbed.
“Apology accepted.” After his nod of acknowledgment she added, “We’re at work. Let’s act like it.”
He stuffed his hands in his jacket’s pockets, his blue eyes so damn observant as he took her in. “For the record, I didn’t read you wrong.”
She huffed. They’d circled back to him being a pain in her ass. At least she’d found something consistent about him. “Tell me one thing, Callan.”
His lip twitched. “Aye?”
“Do you hit women in the head and then drag them into your cave by their hair? Because that’s the only way I can imagine you ever get laid.”
He took a moment to think about his answer. “Only the pulling hair part, but I’ve yet to get a complaint about that. So, the last thing on our list?”
Yup. That one thing was consistent. “Please, let’s get this over with.”
He laughed again. She had the distinct impression he’d taken her reply as another challenge.
About the Author
Melissa Blue’s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. Eventually she upgraded to a computer. She’s still typing away on the same computer, making imaginary people fall in love.
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