Reckless Love Page 15

I found the last door, and Ian opened it before I had a chance to knock.

“Hey…” I had a billionaire joke on the tip of my tongue, but when I saw him, the playful smirk on my face fell. It had been over a week since the fight, but his eye still bore the dark marks of bruising, and the gash over his eyebrow they’d stitched up in the ER hadn’t healed yet. I instinctively stepped forward, wanting to brush away the pain I saw there, but I held myself back. This was a professional visit. I was here to help Ian work on his injury.

There was nothing going on between us. He knew it. I knew it.

He wore loose shorts and a clean white T-shirt. His left arm was immobilized, strapped to his chest with a complex brace. He hadn’t worked out in over a week—doctor’s orders—and yet his arm muscles still bulged as if he could rip out of the brace’s straps at any moment. It made the contraption look like some sort of joke.

“I hadn’t knocked yet,” I stammered.

“The doorman called to let me know you were here.” As he spoke, I realized I was looking down at his firm calf muscles. I forced my gaze back up his body to meet his eyes. They were soft—for him—and he looked sleepy.

“Must be nice to have a doorman,” I said. “Did I wake you?”

He rubbed his free hand over his short hair. “Actually, I did sleep in a bit today.”

He stepped back to let me in. As I walked past, I caught a hint of his scent—soapy with a hint of musk. Of course he smelled amazing.

Just business, I reminded myself. This visit was going to be tricky.

The room was not what I’d expected, since it obviously wasn’t his apartment. Instead it was a small gym with several types of punching bags, a mat, free weights, and all the machines he needed to work out.

“If your building has such nice facilities, why do you even go to the gym?”

“This isn’t the building’s facility.” He paused and smiled a little. “I rent this unit. This is my own personal gym. If I kept all this in my condo, my downstairs neighbor would shoot me. I live upstairs in a different unit.”

I made a mental note that he might be a little more well off than I thought. The billionaire jokes threatened to resurface, but I held back. “Okay, so why do you even bother with Chris’s gym?”

“Here I don’t have sparring partners or coaches.”

“Right. Of course.”

I pulled my bag off my shoulder and looked around for a good place to stash it. He took it from me, his hand brushing against mine as he did. Just that small touch sent my nerves singing and gave me goose bumps.

Ian set my bag on a chair by the door, then turned back to me. His eyes smoldered. Was it possible to be caressed with only a look? His Adam’s apple moved as he swallowed, then he reached to the wall behind me, grabbed a hoodie from a hook, and held it up in front of me.

“You’re cold.” His gaze drifted down almost imperceptibly.

Damn it, I was still nipping out. This was going great.

I pulled on the sweatshirt, even though the sun coming in through the windows made the place warm. My nipples weren’t exactly reacting to the cold anymore, but he didn’t need to know that.

“Let’s get you out of that brace.” I stepped toward him and reached out, but he took a step back.

“I’ve got it,” he said. He managed to open the first Velcro strap, but he struggled with the next.

“Just let me help you, or we’ll be here all day.”

I closed the gap between us before he could retreat again, and gently pulled his free arm from its impossible task. Holding his shoulder in place with one hand, I slowly pulled open the brace to release his arm.

“How the heck have you been managing with this thing all by yourself for the last week?” As I asked, I realized I had no idea if he’d been alone for the last week. Maybe he’d had his new adult-movie-star girlfriend, “the screamer,” taking care of him.

Not that it was any of my business. So why was I searching his eyes for any hint that he might not have been alone? But he remained silent, quietly studying me. God, I was making myself sick. Why couldn’t I just let it go?

“Let’s start by testing your strength,” I said. “Put your hand on my shoulder.”

Ian smiled and effortlessly raised his right arm. His hand gently cupped my shoulder. I was thankful that I was wearing his sweatshirt, because his touch was doing crazy things to me.

I took a breath and said, “Other hand, genius,” giving him an exaggerated eye roll.

His nostrils flared and his eyes widened at the effort, but he couldn’t manage to get his arm much higher than his waist. His hand shook and he let out a grunt before dropping his arm, swearing under his breath. “Shit.”

“I guess we have our work cut out for us,” I said.

“We? I appear to be the only one breaking a sweat here.”

“Yes. We.” I stepped closer and helped him lift his hand, placing it on my shoulder. His arm, being all muscle, was heavier than it looked, and as soon as I rested it on my shoulder, he took another step closer and tightened his grip.

“Am I hurting you?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “Push down.”

I waited but felt nothing, no push from his hand. But with him so close, I felt a push of a different nature that needed to be nipped in the bud. And there was only one way for me to stop this growing desire before it got totally out of control.

Prev Next