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By Cathryn Fox
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Cathryn Fox
All right reserved.
How could so many women be looking to curb their husbands' sexual appetite?
Laura Manning pondered that question as she flicked off her Bunsen burner and curled her fingers around the warm glass test tube that held her future. She swirled vial number twenty-four in her palms and arched an eyebrow at her lab partner, Jay Cutler.
"Sure you don't want me to do this?"
Jay raked his fingers through his midnight hair. His sensuous mouth curved downward. "The libido suppressant we're cooking up is for guys, Laura." His eyes swept over her curves as he shifted his stance. "Trust me, you don't qualify by a long shot. And anyway, the Grant Governing Board will tank your career, and mine, if we don't show them something concrete by the end of next week."
Laura gnawed on her bottom lip, the way she always did when she was frustrated. Of course, he was right. They hadn't spent the last few months working long into the night for the board to suddenly red-light the project.
She sat on a stool and planted her elbows on the stainless steel work counter. "But we don't know all the side effects yet."
Jay reached out and closed his hand over hers. The sharp angles of his face softened when their eyes met. "And we'll never know unless I play guinea pig."
He squeezed her fingers and brushed his thumb over her skin. The touch wasinnocent, really, but it didn't stop the shock waves from pulsing through her. Shivers of warm need tingled all the way down to her toes. The already too small lab seemed to close in on her.
Even though his touch played some mysterious alchemy with her libido, she knew he didn't go for nerdy science girls like her. For the last three years she'd watched enough women fawning all over him to know Mr. Different-Woman-Every-Week had a ravenous appetite for tall, waify blondes with big toothy smiles that were, ultimately, the brightest thing about them. Her intelligence and petite, curvaceous frame were the antithesis of what he gravitated toward.
Honestly, couldn't men figure out that all good things came in bright, small packages? Her glance drifted downward and halted just below Jay's belt. Well, maybe not all things.
The heat from his thumb idly stroking her skin pulled her thoughts back. She jumped up and reached for a syringe. "Okay, if you're game, then let's get this over with. Grab a seat and roll up your sleeve." Motioning for him to take the stool beside hers, she prepared the serum.
She drew the potion into the needle, removed the air bubbles, and met his gaze straight on. "All set?"
"Prick me, Laura."
She ripped open an alcohol swab and swiped his bicep. Oh my! And what a lovely bicep it was.
"But be gentle. I've seen the way you give needles." The sexy cock of his head scattered her thoughts. "We're just lucky there haven't been any casualties yet." Humor edged his voice and played down her spine like a powerful aphrodisiac.
Ignoring the tingle flowing through her bloodstream, she bit back a grin, tossed him an annoyed look, and held up the syringe. "There's always a first."
He leaned into her and opened his mouth to speak, but she wagged her index finger and cut him off before he could come back with some smart-assed comment.
She arched a warning brow. "Play nice or I'll trade this in for a dull one." When would their easy banter and friendly jibes finally stop stirring her insides? Working closely with him for the last three years had not always been an easy task. At times she was certain root canal would have been less torturous. Whenever he gifted her with one of his casual, sexy grins, her body would ache to join with his, making it difficult to summon a modicum of concentration. Fortunately, they rarely spent any time together outside the lab. Such prolonged exposure to "Wildman" Jay Cutler would scorch her body more than a week in the blazing summer sun without SPF. Honestly, the man should come with a warning label.
They were, however, required to make an appearance at a monthly bonding session that Director Reginald Smith insisted all employees attend. Like Reginald always preached, "By bonding outside the workplace, we accept happiness and harmony into our lives." Good Lord! Step aside, Dr. Phil.
After she filled his muscle with the syrupy concoction, she covered the pinprick with a Band-Aid and sat back on her stool. "Now we wait." She turned her attention to her notebook and began jotting down the data.
He pitched his voice low. "Wait for what?"
She lifted her chin to look at him. "To see"—she stretched that last word out and nodded toward his crotch—"if Little Jay gets aroused."
"Little Jay?" A rakish smile touched his lips. "More like not-so-little-Jay, and don't you think we should put him to the test?"
Laura twisted sideways and glanced over her shoulder. "There must be a magazine around here somewhere to help you with that small problem," she teased.
He folded his arms in defiance, his lips curled. "I don't think so."
"Perhaps you should call one of your many girlfriends." What had been meant to sound professional came out sounding rather sarcastic, jealous. Damn.
Jay sidled closer. Close enough to overwhelm her senses with his hypnotic scent. He looked deep into her eyes and gazed at her with such intensity that ripples of sensual pleasure danced over her flesh.
"Did you forget this project is top secret, Laura? If Little Jay, as you so kindly named him, goes AWOL while I'm having sex, don't you think my date would get just a little suspicious?"
Okay, so apparently he'd never suffered from a bout of impotence. That didn't really surprise her. Thrill her? Yes. Surprise her? No. Too bad the last guy she'd dated couldn't claim the same victory. . . .
Excerpted from Pleasure Control by Cathryn Fox Copyright © 2007 by Cathryn Fox. Excerpted by permission.
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