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A Handyman's Best Tool
By Alexis Fleming
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.Copyright © 2006 Alexis Fleming
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Are you the man who's going to plug my hole?"
Riley Osborne's eyes boggled. His mouth dropped open and he stared at the little pixie in front of him. Surprise kept him frozen on the spot for a moment. He shook his head and tried to gather his scattered wits. Freakin' hell, he couldn't believe a woman had just said that to him. I know I have a dirty mind, but I don't even think she's aware how that sounded.
He couldn't help himself. His zany sense of humor demanded he answer in kind. The weighted toolbox connected with his thigh as he propped one hip against the door jam. "What would you like me to plug it with?" Despite his best efforts, his smile broke free.
She frowned and blinked her eyes as if she needed time to assimilate his question. Big, baby blue eyes, with the thickest, darkest lashes he'd ever seen. She couldn't be more than five feet ... five-one at the most. Dark red hair, at the moment dripping wet, hung in corkscrew twists that fell forward over her shoulders.
He wondered what color it'd be when it was dry. If he knew women-and he did-he'd hazard a guess that the red was real, not a bottle job. He could be wrong, but she had the fair skin that went with red hair and a sprinkling of little freckles across her nose. Cute.
"Um, what do you suggest we use?" she said with a frown.
She raised her hand and tried to push the wet curls back from her face. He would have to be blind not to notice the way her tee shirt pulled across her breasts. It didn't help that the top was soaked. Damp fabric and the obvious fact that she didn't have a bra on. Hell of a combination. Wonder if she knows white material is almost see-through when it's wet?
Riley straightened up and stepped over the threshold. The little pixie backed up a pace to allow him entrance. His grin was pure devilment. He had to say it. There was no getting away from it. He just couldn't ignore that perfect opening sentence.
"Hmm, let's see. There are certain things designed especially for filling holes. Tailor-made, you might say. Depends on what your specific needs are. Soft and malleable works fine for some. Then there's hard and rigid, but with surprising strength. A little heat behind it and it will amaze you what can happen."
Beth-Ann Harris allowed his words to sink deep. A slow curl of fire ignited low in her belly. Her face burned with a flush of heat. Surely he hadn't said ...?
She looked into his chocolate-brown eyes and saw the twinkle. And the oh-so-sexy smile on his face. Hot damn, he was coming on to her.
With a frown, she cast her mind back over what she'd said when she'd flung open the door. As she picked up on the sexual connotation implicit in that simple little question, her eyes widened. Lord, she was at it again. Terminal foot-in-mouth disease. All she ever did was open her mouth long enough to change feet.
Her immediate reaction was to take him to task. Instead, she hesitated. It had been a bitch of a day. Heck, the last forty-eight hours had been a nightmare.
First that jerk, Brad, dumped her for not being adventurous in bed. For crying out loud, they hadn't even got as far as going to bed. Not that he'd really dumped her. He'd told her she needed to go away and rethink what she wanted out of a relationship with a man. It was at that point she'd walked out, his comment that he'd be in touch ringing in her ears.
If he'd been a bit more particular about personal hygiene, she might have been willing to discuss the idea of going down on him. As it was, the whole thing was a total turn-off.
She wasn't a prude by any means. As far as she was concerned, as long as both partners were comfortable, anything was fair game between the sheets. But, come on, there had to be at least a strong physical attraction there, and with that bozo, she'd only just been getting to know him. What she'd seen to date hadn't impressed her in the least.
Okay, he hadn't been important to her. Her emotions weren't involved and it had only been their second date. Heaven knows why she'd let him talk her into going back to his apartment. The squalor in his home had given her a pretty good idea that she wasn't far off the mark in her assessment of the guy. She could tell a lot from the way a man lived.
Damn, this had become a habit. A girl could get bent out of shape after being ditched three times in a row because she wouldn't play kinky games.
For some reason she always attracted the wrong type of guy. She didn't want a lifelong relationship, but a bit of steamy one-on-one wouldn't go amiss. She needed a red-hot fuckfest to raise her sexual self-esteem because it had sure taken a beating in the last six months.
Put your money where your mouth is, Beth-Ann. She had the perfect specimen right in front of her and he wanted to play.
She backed up into the flat, hands on hips to emphasize her tiny waist. "And which one would you recommend?" She lowered her voice to a husky drawl, dragging in a deep breath to push her breasts high.
His gaze slid down the front of her tee shirt. She knew her breasts weren't big, but they were enough to catch his attention. And the soggy fabric sure helped matters somewhat. She should have been embarrassed, but she wasn't. If anything, she was titillated and eager to see how far he'd go.
"Hot and hard will do it for me every time," he drawled. The toolbox dropped from his hand and hit the tiled floor with a heavy clunk. He leaned back against the door and hooked his thumbs through the belt loops of his tight blue jeans.
Boy, talk about confidence. This guy had it in spades. She conducted her own examination. He was so darn tall, she had a mental picture of having to stand on a chair to kiss him goodnight. Or perch two steps up on the nearest staircase with him on the other side of the railing. Hard to get hot and heavy when a metal bar comes between a girl and the object of her lust.
She raised her eyebrows. "So you reckon heat does the best job, do you?"
"Sure does, ma'am." He straightened up and moved away from the door, his hands spread wide. "I'm a builder. Would I lie to you?"
Something about his tone of voice and even the fact he'd called her ma'am struck a chord deep in her mind. She tried to pin it down, but it was too elusive. One thing was for certain, she had a strange sensation she knew this man. How weird. There's no way she'd forget someone like this. So why did she have such a strong sense of recognition?
She shook the thought away and concentrated on her sexy visitor. Backing up even further towards the far side of the living room, she lowered her brows in what she hoped was a come-hither look. "Okay, Mr. Hot and Hard, prove it. Fill my hole up."
Excerpted from A Handyman's Best Tool by Alexis Fleming Copyright © 2006 by Alexis Fleming. Excerpted by permission.
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