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One Night in the Spa
By Kathy Lyons, Stacy Abrams
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Kathy Lyons
All rights reserved.
"So I'm trying to bulk up, but without ..."
Kim Castillo tried not to strangle her client. He was a middle-aged bodybuilder, a man who'd spent thousands on personal training, and who was currently doing nothing more than asking her advice. It wasn't his fault that she felt as though she was about to crawl out of her own skin. He was droning on about different supplements, shifting into poses to show off his progress.
Can you say midlife crisis? He was a jerk, but he paid well, and damn it, she couldn't stop looking. Not just at his impressive pectorals, but at the guy doing squats a few feet away. There was an adolescent in the corner who had really nice calf muscles, and even the old guy near the cardio machines had broad shoulders. Old, young, athlete, or not — if the body was male, she was looking. And that made her absolutely insane.
That was her. Miss Ogle-the-Weight-Lifters.
It's a medical condition, she reminded herself. There were fancy words for it, even a chart with hormone levels and the like, but it all boiled down to two words: super horny. Yup. That was her: twenty-four years old and suddenly a female horndog.
She ground her back teeth, trying to force herself to focus on her client. Besides, there was nothing new out there for her to see. She was no stranger to the male form. She'd practically grown up in various gyms around Chicagoland, she'd aced all her anatomy classes, and then she'd become a personal trainer while building a pro racquetball career. She knew bodies — male and female. And yet for some reason, completely out of the blue, she abruptly couldn't stop staring at them.
"Kim? Kim, what do you think? Can you see a difference?" Frank Johnson struck another bodybuilder pose, flexing his pecs and bunching his abs. At some point, he'd pulled off his shirt just so he could show off for her. And damn it, he was impressive for a middle-aged guy with a wife, a mortgage, and three kids.
"Very nice," she said, unable to keep the throaty purr from her voice. Where the hell had that come from? "But you need to put on your shirt. We've got a policy on that, and I am the manager here."
"Oh. Right," he said as he took his time getting dressed again. "Um, hey, I know you have brochures and stuff on the supplements the club recommends. Do you mind if we go grab a few?"
She blinked. "No problem. I'm sure Danni can —"
"But I want to go over them with you." He flashed her a charming smile. "Do you mind? I'd really appreciate it."
She blinked. It was against the rules to take a member upstairs to the office suite. The club was open until eleven, but the office suite closed at seven and it was now after nine. As manager here, she had to stick to the rules. "Tell you what, I'll grab what we have and bring them down while you shower."
He rubbed a hand over his head and looked rather charming, with the way his pecs bunched as he did it. "Come on, Kim. You've known me for years. I just want to talk to you about them."
She looked at Frank, feeling jittery and lustful all at once. God, she was sick. She just wanted to get home so she could climb the walls there. But then her business mind kicked in. Yes, Frank was a jerk, but one who paid very well. And — bonus — if she made nice with him now, she could probably get him to sign up for the elite training and sports massage package. Sales were sluggish; her job here at John's Fitness depended on that promotion going well. And all of that — the forms and the brochures — were upstairs.
"We just have to make it quick," she said with a smile. "Follow me." She breathed a sigh of relief as they left the main weight room. Her eyes had been roving so much, she'd given herself a headache.
Frank kept talking as she led him up the stairs. Kim tuned him out, her mind already churning over ways to blow off steam. Maybe a sauna. Her knee injury meant she couldn't exercise except for yoga, and frankly, turning herself into a pretzel hadn't worked for her.
She unlocked the door to the office suite, flipping on the light as she went to the bank of filing cabinets. Beyond her were the offices — hers included — completely dark at this late hour. Frank was following a step behind her, gabbing all the way. But at his first pause for breath, she went into her sales pitch.
"You know about the spa attached to the club, right? Pamper Me Spa. Have you thought about our new fitness massage package? It's perfect for elite athletes like — Ump!"
Suddenly, Frank had shoved her up against the filing cabinet so hard the breath was knocked from her lungs. Then before she could do more than gasp, he had flattened himself along her back. His hands turned into tentacles, groping her everywhere while his erection started shoving rhythmically against her butt.
She couldn't believe how fast it happened. One second, elite athletics, the next — pinned.
"Yeah, baby, show me how you like it," he groaned in her ear.
WTF? Fury pounded in her ears, and she started to move on reflex. She slammed backward with her elbow and stomped hard with one foot. But she was flattened, and worse, he had about a hundred pounds on her. She had little leverage and he was just too damned big.
She was just gathering breath for a really good scream when suddenly, the bastard was off her. She barely registered an umph of sound before she was staggering backward, abruptly free of the asshole.
She stumbled then caught herself, her knee suddenly blossoming in pain. She ignored it. Spinning around, she watched in stunned surprise as David — her best friend David, the spa manager from next door — proceeded to pummel her client with lightning-fast rabbit punches.
Damn, he was amazing. She'd never seen fists fly so fast. Frank was a big guy. A really big guy, but David had him down and whimpering like a child. He had the guy pinned with one knee while he kept delivering blow after blow.
She took a ragged breath, telling herself to call security, but she couldn't manage to move. Her legs were too weak, her knee was screaming, and so she stood there staring. Frank was down, she was safe, and David was ... Blood was starting to flow — all of it Frank's — and yet the fury she saw in her friend's face wasn't fading.
"David. David! Stop!"
She moved forward and tried to grab his arm. But not only was he fast, damn, he was strong. A lot stronger than she expected.
He froze for a second, then rapidly twisted around to look at her. His blue eyes were dark and intense as he scanned her from head to toe. "Are you all right? Did he hurt you?"
She gaped at him. "Hurt me? You were on him like a ton of bricks. He just ..." She looked down to the still-whimpering Frank, feeling a surge of satisfaction at the man's battered face. One eye was already closed from swelling, his nose was broken, and he was working his jaw as if it might have popped out of place. But no fractured bones.
She took a deep breath, trying to steady her pounding heart. She had to think. She looked to her best friend, hoping for a little clarity. His sandy-brown hair was wild and his lean body was as taut as a guitar string. And what she saw in his eyes both terrified and reassured her: he was blisteringly furious, all too ready to start pounding on the bastard again.
That made her feel safe. The drama was over.
Not so good was the fact that once Frank recovered some of his equilibrium, he was going to remember that his brother was an attorney. One who could make life uncomfortable for her, the club, and most of all David. Especially since she'd broken the rules in the first place by bringing Frank up here. What an idiot she'd been. And thank God her best friend had been here to save her.
"It's over, David," she said, as much to herself as to him. "Frank was just confused about something, right, Frank?"
The asshole nodded, the motion jerky. He mumbled something like "Sorry," but it was David who gaped at her.
"You don't seriously think —"
She squeezed David's arm, gaining strength from the heat of his skin and the corded power in his biceps. He was here. She was safe. The whole thing was over. "I think," she said, her tone filled with underlying meaning, "that Mr. Johnson behaved inappropriately and that I'm considering calling the cops. And telling his wife."
"I'm really sorry," Frank said through swelling lips. "Big mistake. No need ..."
"Your wife?" David pressed. "You know, I think she's scheduled an appointment for tomorrow in the spa —"
"No!" Frank was practically apoplectic.
Kim crossed her arms and glared down at the man. "I'm so sorry, Mr. Johnson," she said drily. "I find we will have to terminate your membership, effective immediately. I'll be writing a full report on this incident, but I suggest you leave now."
The man nodded, though the gesture obviously pained him. Meanwhile, David just glared. His fists were still tight, his biceps impressively bulked, and his teeth were bared. Damn, she'd never seen her friend looking so fierce. Or so ... hot? She never got into the testosterone and blood scene. Never. And yet ... Kim swallowed. Suddenly, her best friend in the world was looking like an action star. And she couldn't stop staring.
Sadly, this wasn't the time or place for her to be thinking like that. So she cleared her throat and tried to get a handle on her raging hormones.
"Uh, David," Kim said.
"You should probably get off him now. I don't think Mr. Johnson will be causing us any more problems."
David looked down as if surprised that he was still straddling the guy. "Oh. Um, okay." He got up, taking his time and "accidentally" stumbling as he moved. One of his knees dropped straight onto Frank's solar plexus. "Oops," he drawled.
Kim choked back a hysterical laugh. This wasn't a funny situation and she wasn't amused. Her nerves were stretched taut, her illness was making her look at her best friend as if he were a really chiseled bar of expensive chocolate, and ... well, there was no and. She was insane, and there was nothing else to it. So she turned to the nearest desk phone and hit the number for security. They appeared with gratifying swiftness and ten minutes later, Mr. Frank Johnson was peeling out of the parking lot as if the hounds of hell were on him. And given the way David still seethed, it wasn't a bad decision.
"I hope this doesn't come back to bite us," Kim said as they stood at the door watching Frank drive out.
"I hope he does come back. I'd love a second go at him."
She smiled, the power in her friend's voice steadying her as nothing else could. It was over. Everything would be fine. "Was it really necessary to destroy his face? He's going to be plotting revenge every time he looks in the mirror."
Normal color was coming back to David's skin. The flush of fury had faded to the light golden tones that were all part of his usual boyish good looks. "Are you kidding? He's lucky I didn't tear off his nuts."
She snorted, another thoroughly inappropriate sound. "I'm glad you didn't. Imagine the paperwork for that."
Then he turned to her, his eyes warming, though the fierceness never left his expression. "Seriously, Kim, are you all right?"
She nodded. "I'm fine. And I could have handled him, you know."
"He's twice your weight and had you pinned. Damn it, you know you can't bring guys into the back office like that. Not alone. Not at night."
She swallowed and ran a shaking hand through her hair. "I know, I know. I've just been so distracted lately. Normally, I would never make a mistake like that."
He grunted, and it wasn't even remotely a nice sound, but she liked it. Apparently, she was way more off-kilter than normal.
They started walking together to the back office. There was no reason for him to follow her, but she was glad of his company.
"God, if I hadn't been there ...," he muttered.
She touched his arm. It was a friendly gesture, one that she'd done a thousand times, but this time they both jolted at the contact. Clearly, they were both still hyped up from the adrenaline. "I'm fine," she said firmly, more to herself than to him. "And I would have screamed, you know. Someone would have heard and come running." She took a deep breath, blowing it out as she steadied herself. "Besides, I know a ton of self-defense moves. I do teach that class."
He shuddered, his body actually shaking as he seemed to throw off the horror of what might have happened. In the end, he blew out a long, frustrated breath. "Just ...just don't do that again, okay?"
"I won't. I promise." Then she frowned, her mind finally kicking in as she looked around the empty office suite. Mentally, she replayed every moment of the attack. She'd been standing by the filing cabinets, Frank was coming up from behind, and then David had saved her. But he'd saved her from the wrong direction.
She narrowed her eyes. If he'd rushed in from the hallway, she would have heard the door and Frank would have gone flying in the opposite direction. But the men had gone sprawling the other way. Which meant David had come from ... her office? But that couldn't be. The office suite had been dark. She was sure of it.
"Why were you here, anyway?" she asked. "I'm grateful, of course, but how did you come to be my knight-errant?"
She watched his eyes widen and he looked away. "Uh ...um ..."
Now this was the David she knew, the coworker who had been part of every day of her life for the last three years. This floor of the office high-rise had two businesses: John's Fitness and Pamper Me Spa. Though the companies were entirely separate, she and David worked together constantly on joint promotions and the like. There was a pass-through from one business to the other, and members had extra discounts. Add to that their shared love of all things sports, and they'd been best friends from almost the start. And right now, she was seeing the man who had been at her side nearly every day for the past three years. He looked half goofy, half boy-next-door friendly. And right now, he was all embarrassed. "Oh, I smell intrigue!" she said with a laugh. "Come on, Dave, what were you doing?"
"It's, uh, kinda embarrassing."
"Really? Do tell." She leaned back against the desk, her arms folded as she waited for him to answer.
"I, uh, came looking for you."
"I was with a client."
He flashed her an annoyed look. "Yeah, I know. Mr. Bastard Johnson with the tiny —"
"So, we were talking about you?" she interrupted. "In my office?"
"Yeah, well, I was looking for you about an hour ago and then I ... well, I fell asleep."
She blinked. "You what?"
"I wanted to talk to you about next week's spa promotion. I was hoping to tie it to a back-to-school theme or something." He shrugged, looking completely embarrassed.
"Don't you have a perfectly good couch in the spa area? Plus recliners and —"
"Yeah, I do, but the cleaning crew's there and it was all quiet back here."
"You just fell asleep? In my chair?"
"On the floor, actually. I decided to wait for you and stretch out my back at the same time. Then the overhead light was buzzing, so I turned it off. And then ..."
She snorted. "And then you zonked out. Really, David, you've been working way too hard if you fell asleep on my office floor."
He sighed. "It was a really long wait. I woke up when I heard you and Bastard —"
"You don't have to keep calling him that."
"Oh, yes I do," he shot back. Then he took a deep breath, and what lovely things that did to his chest. When had David gotten so He-Man buff?
Meanwhile, he was looking down at his shirt, grimacing at the blood splattered there. "Damn," he muttered as he ripped off his spa polo and threw it into the trash. His motions were abrupt and still angry. The suppressed violence of the motion startled her. And gave her a secret thrill. When the hell had her best friend gotten all ... manly?
"You could have washed that out," she said, her throat suddenly very dry.
"It's garbage. I don't want anything of that asshole anywhere near you."
Excerpted from One Night in the Spa by Kathy Lyons, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2013 Kathy Lyons. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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