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Bad Boys Online
By Erin McCarthy
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2003 Erin McCarthy
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHe'd told himself he wouldn't kiss her until she showed interest, and so maybe alarm couldn't be classified as such, but she wasn't smacking his hand away either.
"Houston ..." She licked her lips. "We have a problem."
His fingers stopped sliding across her cheekbone as Josie realized what she had said and giggled.
"I guess you've heard that one, before, huh?"
There was a bright sparkle in her eyes, so adorable that he couldn't bring himself to be annoyed the way he usually was when someone made an Apollo 13 reference. "Once or twice." Or a thousand times. He'd lost count.
Leaning forward, he kissed the corner of her mouth, then the other. A little gasp left her, but she didn't move away. Her lips were soft and moist from wetting them with her tongue, and they fell open as he brushed over her a third time. Right in the center, flush on her mouth with his.
Josie sighed, her mouth receptive to him, relaxed.
She tasted like apple juice, sweet and ripe, willing, and he fought to keep his eyes open and his hands off her body as he pulled back.
This wasn't what he had intended to do with her in here. He had meant to clear the air, make sure she didn't have a more serious problem than chronic klutziness. But he couldn't be sorry that he'd kissed her.
Nor did he feel sorry for what he was about to propose.
"The problem, Josie, is that you're driving me crazy."
"I am?" She shook her head, flustered, eyes unfocused. "Oh, right, with all the dropping and the tripping. I don't mean to, you know, it just happens."
"That's not what I meant." He buried his nose in her hair by her ear and breathed in deeply. Strawberries. Damn. She was practically a fruit farm.
"I meant you're driving me crazy because I want you."
"Want me?" Her breath hitched, and he felt goosebumps rising on her jaw and neck, but she still didn't pull away. "Want me for what?"
That she could even say that, so innocently, made him hard.
"I want you for this." He plunged his hand into her short hair, drew her flush up against him, and gave her a real kiss. A lip-sliding, mouth-open, tongue-tasting kiss that had them both panting and wide-eyed.
"Oh," she said, looking up at him before darting her eyes over to the closed door to the hallway.
He could hear the standard hustle-and-bustle, voices carrying down the hall as business went on as usual in the hospital. This was risky, inappropriate, and he was still new on staff. He should care that someone could walk in at any second, but he didn't.
"Are you serious?" she asked.
Seriously out of his mind with lust. "Very. I'm attracted to you, Josie, and we need to discuss what we're going to do about it."
Josie gave an awkward laugh. "I thought you couldn't stand me."
Had she just missed the kiss he'd given her? "Hardly. Now tell me that you're attracted to me, too." So he could lean her against that door to prevent a possible interruption and kiss her again.
Josie worried her bottom lip with her teeth than gave another heartfelt sigh. "Okay, here's the thing. I am something of a klutz, but I've never been this bad before and it's all your fault."
Her fingers gripped his shirt and pushed him lightly to emphasize her point. "I feel like you're always watching, waiting for me to screw up, and I've had this sort of ridiculous crush on you."
Her cheeks were pink, eyes wide, and Houston kept quiet, liking the sound of this, wanting to hear where this could go. Desire punched him in the gut at her admission that she was attracted to him.
"Silly, really, because you're ..." She waved her hand around in front of him. "And I'm ..." Gesturing to herself, she blew a loud breath out of the corner of her mouth.
He had no idea what that was supposed to mean, and he was about to ask her, when she glanced toward the door again.
"But anyway, I don't think this is the place to discuss this."
Josie stepped back out of his reach. He took her hand, pulling her to a stop, not about to let her escape now that he'd gotten a teasing taste of her. She had admitted she was attracted to him as well, and that was just the green light he'd been looking for.
He knew he should let her go. He should forget he had started this and walk out of here with his sanity intact. Except that he would go crazy if he couldn't have Josie. The ache was too strong, too burning, deep inside where it plagued him and distracted him every minute in her presence.
He had to have her.
Excerpted from Bad Boys Online by Erin McCarthy Copyright © 2003 by Erin McCarthy. Excerpted by permission.
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