Contemporary

SLOW HAND by VICTORIA VANE

Thursday, November 06, 2014

EXCERPT:

Wade raked his hand through his sandy hair with a curse. “Damned vegan tree-huggers will destroy our entire state economy.”

Iris rolled her eyes as if anticipating a full-blown tirade. “Be back in a jiffy.” She winked at Nikki as she slipped out the door.

Nikki grinned. “I take it you’re not a card-carrying member of the Green Party?”

“No.” His gaze narrowed and brows pulled into a frown. “You’re not one of them I hope.”

“Who me?” Nikki shook her head. “No, sir-ee, I’m a live-and-let-live Libertarian and a longtime omnivore. My grandparents had a chicken farm in Lavonia. I betcha didn’t know Georgia is the country’s biggest chicken producer.”

“No, ma’am.” His shoulders visibly relaxed. “I didn’t, but then I’m not a big chicken fan myself.”

She let her gaze travel over him in a slow appreciation of his tall, lean, muscular frame.
She guessed he stood at least six-three in his boots. “I suppose not,” she said. “It would be only prime grass-fed beef and Idaho potatoes for you.”

He crossed his arms over his broad chest and leaned on the door frame studying her.

“Miz Powell, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were undressing me with those pretty blue-green eyes of yours.”

A guilty flush infused her face but she refused to give him the advantage. She opted for a strong offense instead. “So what if I was? Weren’t you quite fixated on my ass at Denver airport?”

He raised a sandy eyebrow. “You noticed that, eh?” His confession came with a shameless grin attached.

She jutted her chin. “Quid pro quo, Counselor. What do you say to that?”

He approached her slowly, the smile in his eyes transforming in a blink to a wicked gleam. A gleam that promised very bad things. His reply sent a warning signal to every nerve in her body. “I’d say, why just use your eyes?”

Dear God, he was trouble with a capital T.

He closed the space between them in two long strides. Instinctively, Nikki backed up as many steps—but her ass hit the desk. Before she realized what he was about, he’d caught her hips and lifted her onto it. He held her hostage with his gazed locked on hers, his arms braced on either side of hips. “There’s something real interesting going on here,” he remarked at length.

Nikki swallowed hard, her gaze wavering. “I already told you I’m not interested. I don’t do casual hookups.”

“You think that’s what this is about?”

“Isn’t it?” she asked, intentionally blithe.

He shook his head. “Hell, I don’t know. Maybe. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a damn powerful attraction to you.”

She’d never had such a strong reaction to another man either. All he had to do was look at her to get her pulse racing and her insides quivering. And right now he was too damned close for comfort. She shifted backward, trying to create some distance, but there was nowhere to go.

“Don’t you have to be in court soon, Counselor?” she reminded him in a voice that came out breathless.

“Yeah, I do,” he replied. “Guess I got a bit sidetracked. You’re turning out to be a big distraction, you know that?”

She bit her lip. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be such an imposition.”

“I said a distraction not an imposition. There’s a big difference. I didn’t realize until now just how badly I’ve needed such a distraction.” He stepped away with a reluctant sigh.
Her pulse still hammering in anticipation, Nikki exhaled the breath she hadn’t realized was trapped in her chest.

Wade spun toward his office. “Help yourself to the phone and anything else while I get cleaned up.” He paused again on the threshold. “Of course, you’re welcome to use my office if you need greater privacy.” He added over his shoulder with a look of devilment.

“Or in the event any wild impulse overtakes you while I shower.”

He went to work on his shirt buttons. His collar was soon wide open revealing a generous show of muscular chest that make her hands itch to rip it off him. She diverted her gaze and curled her itchy hands by her sides.

“Have no fear, cowboy,” Nikki replied in a tone meant to disguise the warm flush that had come over her. “I corralled all my wild impulses long ago.”

“Did you, now?” He still stood in doorway, head cocked. “Somehow, I think you may have missed a few strays.”

“Maybe I need to make myself clearer. I have an aversion to cocky cowboys.”

Just keep telling yourself that, Nikki. Maybe if you repeat it often enough it’ll become true.

“Is that so?” His brows flew upward. “I can’t say I ever met a woman with an actual aversion to me.”

“Don’t take it personally. It’s nothing against you in particular, but to your type.”

“And what do you think you know about my type?”

“Since I don’t have a pole handy, enough to keep you at arm’s length. Besides that, this whole line of conversation is entirely inappropriate in light of professional ethics, don’t you think? You are my attorney, after all.”

“Well, darlin’”—he scratched his unshaven jaw—“there’s a little hitch to that.”

“What do you mean? You said you’d help me.”

“And I will, but you can’t engage my professional services until I know who you are.”

“I’ve told you who I am!” she insisted.

“Sweetheart, I’m a lawyer, and according to the law, your claim don’t weigh without authentication.”

“Authentication?”

“Proof.”

“So what are you saying? That you don’t believe me?”

“I’m not saying that at all. Only that our professional relationship will commence once you get your ID. In the interim”—his gaze slid over her in a way that threatened to melt her insides—“you’d best find yourself a nice, long, sturdy pole.”