BODY OF WORK–Chapter One


Copyright © KARLA DOYLE 2013, 2016

All Rights Reserved, Karla Doyle

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Chapter One


“You’ve been getting later and later.” Brian’s face appeared from behind the bench to smile down at her. “This is the third night this week you’re closing the place.”

“Is it?” As if she didn’t know. Hitting the gym at 11:00 p.m. was playing havoc with Cassie’s sleep. Between the adrenaline rush from weight training and the pheromone rush from tracking Brian as he worked, she tossed and turned for at least an hour after she got home. No amount of toy time took the edge off.

She pressed the bar up and would have set it on the rack, but Brian shook his head and held up two fingers.

“Two more.”

“Slave driver.”

“Nah, just keeping you from slacking. Come on, show me what you’ve got.”

If only he were referring to her naked body writhing on top of him instead of her quaking muscles as she committed every ounce of energy into pushing the barbell up from her chest.

“Done. I can’t do another one.”

Brian’s hands covered hers on the bar, blocking her from quitting. Also, setting off a riot of naughty thoughts about what they could do on this weight bench. Thank god her face was already beet-red from the workout.

“You can do it, I’ll spot you.”

“Check my membership—I’m not paying for personal training.”

“No charge for my services tonight.”

In that case, she had a list of services she’d like to add to her tab. Sweaty, naked services that did not involve this barbell. “Fine.” She inhaled while lowering the bar for what felt like the fifty-fifth repetition, rather than the twelfth. Halfway, that’s all she had left. She quit mid-descent and started the upward pressing motion.

Brian shook his head again. “No stopping. I want you to go all the way down.”

A giant snort burst out. “How am I supposed to focus on my form when you’re talking dirty to me?”

The barbell dropped to her chest, whooshing all the precious oxygen from her lungs. Any chance she had of completing the last rep was officially dead.

“Help?” She batted her eyelashes exaggeratedly, making him laugh. It wasn’t the smoldering expression of passion she fantasized about, but he had a great laugh and an amazing smile, both of which were currently directed at her, so she’d take it.

His hands gripped the bar on either side of her breasts, his fingers grazing her spandex-covered torso. Covered with sweat, yet she shivered. Good lord, could she get any more desperate for him?

His fingers twitched and something flickered in his blue eyes. “I’m tempted to keep you pinned there awhile.”

He what? She stared up at him, but whatever she’d seen in his eyes disappeared quickly enough to make her question whether she’d seen it at all.

“But since it’s closing time, I’ll let you go.” He plucked up the barbell she’d practically killed herself to press and returned it to the stand.

What she wouldn’t give to see Brian bare-chested, to watch all those muscles flexing and rippling without a t-shirt hindering her view. If he was fully naked and poised over top of her, ready to fuck her with all that power, so much the better.

“Catch your breath yet?”

She blinked. Blinked again. Yup, he was still there, big hands curled over the bar, grinning down at her. Oh god, her fingers were this-freaking-close to her nipples. Another thirty seconds and she probably would’ve been stroking them.

“I’m good, thanks.” She scrambled from the bench, tripping over her feet as she walked to the nearest station for a bottle of spray cleaner and a rag.

A little friendly attention and she’d become a bumbling, hot-and-bothered mess. She needed to give up the futile flirtation attempts she’d repeatedly thrown his way for the past several months. Find an attainable guy, hustle him into her empty bed and ride him until she didn’t get mental images of Brian Black every time she closed her eyes. Call that tomorrow’s plan. That, and hitting the gym when Brian wasn’t here, instead of essentially stalking him at his workplace five times a week.

She grabbed the sanitizer and turned, shrieking when she face-planted into a wide expanse of chest. “Geez, you need bells on your shoes or something.” She looked up, then up some more until she got to his face.

A tidy, super-short ginger beard and mustache framed sensual pink lips. Did the man ever not look delicious? Much more of this innocent contact and she might not make it out of the building before giving in to her body’s aching demands. A quickie in the ladies’ locker room—solo edition.

“I spoke to you twice. I guess you didn’t hear me.”

Hence his smirk. They were alone in the gym and he’d been a dozen feet away, max. Once again, he’d caught her daydreaming—this time at midnight.

“Just calculating how quickly I can de-sweatify that bench and get out of your way. I’m sure you’re sick of being polite when I keep holding you up at closing time. Especially on a Friday.”

“I’m not being polite. And I don’t mind staying late if you’re the reason.” He relieved her of the cleaning products, but didn’t release her hands in the process. Not only were they hostage beneath his strong, rough palms, his thumb was brushing back and forth over her skin.

That couldn’t be accidental, right?

Holy crap, holy crap, holy freaking crap. All the times she’d joked around with him, tossed out the innuendos, outright told him how hot he was…he’d always seemed amused, heck, he came back for more, day after day, but not once had he returned the sentiment. But this, now? If only he’d say something…

“I have to wipe everything down anyway, so don’t worry about the bench.”

Okay, not quite the something she’d hoped for. Because she’d foolishly let her imagination get the jump on reality. The touch wasn’t a caress, duh. He was being his super-friendly self and offering to clean her equipment, nothing more. Probably so he could get out of here faster. Go hook up with a date or something. Ugh.

“I’ll hit the change room and leave you to it, then.”

He let her fingers slide free. “Sure.”

The perma-smile she couldn’t get enough of—gone. Not that she blamed him. The gym had officially closed five minutes ago. By rights, he should’ve kicked her out the door already. Instead, he’d allowed her to finish her routine. Her way of thanking him for that—drooling all over herself while staring at him with what had to be moony eyes. Time she took a hint and stopped pinging the poor guy with lame come-on attempts.

“I’ll be quick. Just because gym time is the highlight of my day doesn’t give me an excuse to hold you up more than I have. I’m sure you have something much more exciting to do when you leave here.”

“Take your time.”

“Thanks, but I’ll hurry.” No reason to prolong the agony.

Inside the locker room, she groaned and pressed her back against the lockers. Her reflection stared back at her from across the room. She wasn’t the hottest female at the gym, but she wasn’t too shabby. She’d had a decent—yet respectable—amount of boyfriends and lovers, several of whom had told her she was beautiful. Beautiful might be a stretch since she didn’t have the long hair, long legs or big boobs most men preferred, but if she appraised herself honestly, she was pretty enough. Good skin and an athletically trim figure. She’d give herself a solid seven-point-five out of ten. Maybe not in Brian’s league, but taking a stab at him—or more accurately, several dozen stabs—had been worth the attempt. Sometimes über-hot guys went for the more ordinary girls. It happened all the time in the movies and romance novels—there had to be real-life examples.

Just not where Brian was concerned. She dropped onto the bench with a sigh. His recent arm candy included a stunning blonde with massive boobs who did qualify as beautiful. One of his ex-girlfriends was a hard-bodied fitness pageant competitor whose legs probably went higher than Cassie’s nipples. The list didn’t get any less extraordinary. Yes, she’d used a variety of investigative techniques to acquire this information. And yes, she’d been a moron to think she could be next in line. Attempt made, defeat acknowledged.

She stripped off her tank and bike shorts. A shower would be great, but she certainly wasn’t taking the time for one now. Blotting the perspiration from her skin didn’t make it less sticky or easier to wrestle the baby-doll tee and short denim skirt into place. Crap, she’d been in here almost ten minutes already.

Beyond the locker room door, the loud whir of heavy-duty machinery kicked on. She stuffed her workout gear into her backpack, scooped up her purse and cracked the door a couple of inches. Perfect timing. Brian was across the gym, pushing a huge-ass industrial vacuum around the weight room. Plenty of distance and noise to prevent more awkward conversation. She threw up one arm in a goodbye wave, tucked her chin to her chest and hightailed it the heck out of there.

* * * * * *

Brian rolled to a stop on Sloane Street. He killed the engine and stared through the rain-covered window of his Jeep at the white bungalow. If he did this, if he knocked on Cassie’s door at a quarter to one in the morning, there’d be no going back.

A man could only take so much. The petite brunette had caught his eye from day one. She’d been torturing him for months—chatting, teasing him with comments that made her blush, openly flirting with him while she exercised. He’d have made his move immediately if not for his stupid contract.

Which led him back to the decision at hand—to knock on her door or drive away?

He scooped the cell phone from the passenger seat. Weighed it in his palm and took another glance at her house. Light escaped around the edges of her closed curtains. If he didn’t grab this opportunity, the odds of him getting another like it were slim. Fuck it, he was going for it.

Still raining and no sign it planned to let up. The drops cooled his skin, not the fire churning in his gut. He made short work of the distance to her door, each long step knotting his insides a little more. Yeah, he was nuts to do this. Nuts and committed to seeing it through. Worst-case scenario, she’d tell his boss and he’d get fired. Yeah, that’d suck—on multiple levels.

He stopped a couple inches shy of the doorbell. Looked at the pink-covered phone in his hand and considered its owner. Her eyes, her smile, her body. The way everything inside him came alive when she laughed with him at the stupidest thing. Totally worth the risk.

He swallowed hard at the muted sound of the chime. Resisted the urge to press his face to the glass and look through the small window in her front door. Twenty seconds later, he rang again. Maybe she hadn’t heard it. Or maybe she was hiding in a corner, waiting for him to leave. Another minute and he’d assume the second and haul his ass back to the car.

The outside lamp came on. Cassie’s eyes popped into view in the lower portion of the window. They locked with his, instantly changing from a cautious squint to wide with surprise. The tip of her nose appeared, then her top lip. She had to be standing on her toes now. The rest of her mouth followed, curled in a smile. That’s all it took—he was a goner for the thousandth time.

The thunk and scrape of metal as she unlocked the door ramped up the tension in his gut. When that door opened, things were going to change, one way or another.

Her soft voice and pretty eyes greeted him through a narrow crack. “Brian? What are you doing here?”

“You dropped your—” The door inched open. Wide open. Holy hell, there went his jaw, all the way to the ground. He’d seen Cassie in gym clothes and street clothes. Hot, sexy, adorable—those descriptions all fit, depending on the moment. Cassie in a silky, Oriental-patterned robe that barely reached the tops of her thighs and didn’t close all that well in the front, wet hair framing her face…a word didn’t exist to describe the sight. “You’re dripping.” Oh yeah, smooth opening statement right there.

“So are you.” She giggled as a fat drop of water fell from his nose.

“It’s really coming down.”

“Thanks for the late-night weather update. Is that part of a membership upgrade?”

Messing with him now, was she? Exactly how he liked it. “Only for my favorite member.” He pulled her cell from his pocket and offered it up. “You dropped this.”

“Oh my god, where? I didn’t even notice it was missing.”

Restraint, he needed a bundle of it. In reaching for her phone, Cassie’s robe gaped enough to give him one hell of a view. Add that to the charge that ran up his arm when their hands brushed and he nearly forgot the question. “Ladies’ change room, near the lockers.”

“How’d you know it was mine?”

He forced his eyes upward and—bam. Caught in the act of ogling her body. Classy, man. The door ought to be slamming in his face any second.

Instead, she waved the phone side-to-side. “Hmm?”

“I tapped the email icon. Didn’t read anything, but I figured cassiebunny69 had to be you.” The blush she got was unmistakable. “You might want to consider a passcode for your phone.”

“Guess I got lucky that you found it, not somebody else.”

Got lucky—his cock liked those words. At this point, his cock was a hell of a lot more optimistic than the rest of his soaked-to-the-skin self. “You going to the gym tomorrow?” A reasonable question to ask at one in the morning while standing in the pouring rain. Yeah, not too obvious.

“I’m not sure…” She turned the phone over and over in her hand. “Will you be there?”

“I will.”

“What time?”

Time to play this out, see where it led. “Whenever you need a spotter.”

“You’re not working?” She stared up at him, pretty eyes getting bigger when he shook his head. “You want to…work out with me?”

“Actually, I want to do a hell of a lot more than work out with you, Cassie.” Lightning cracked behind him and the street lost power. Fantastic timing, nature. He could barely make out Cassie’s silhouette, let alone read her expression. For all he knew she was frozen in front of him, too scared to respond or make a move. “Go inside and lock the door. I’ll see you at the gym sometime.”

“Brian, wait…” Her small, soft hand latched on to his arm. She pulled him closer, over the threshold, close enough to smell the shampoo she’d used and feel the waves of heat rippling from her freshly showered body. Close enough for him to make what could end up being a huge mistake.

Thunder boomed and electricity streaked the sky again. Three seconds’ worth of light was enough. His hands found her waist—so tiny beneath his grip. She submitted to his tug, gasping when she connected with his drenched t-shirt.

“I’m getting you wet.”

A sexy giggle floated up. “It’s not the first time.” Her palms flattened against his chest, the tips of her fingers curling into his pecs. “It happens every time I see you…and sometimes when I’m just thinking about you.”

The girl could flirt and she had a subtly dirty sense of humor, but this, telling him she got wet because of him—fuck. He had to know for sure.

“You should shut your door before your house is wet too.” He slid his hands over the silky robe, up her back, into the damp hair at her nape. “What side of the door do you want me on?”

“The inside. I want you inside.”

All he needed to hear. He walked her backward, pushed the door closed. Fumbled around for the deadbolt with one hand. Without the moonlight and flashes of lightning, he was as good as blind in a house he didn’t know. Hopefully he wouldn’t break anything—or worse, launch them down a staircase or something—because now that he had her in his arms, he had no intention of letting go for a single second. To hell with finding his way to a room. He put an arm out, located a flat surface and turned them toward it.

Cassie’s back hit the wall with more of a thud than he’d planned.

“Shit, sorry.”

“Don’t be.” Her hands snaked up his chest, her nails making him shudder as they scraped the back of his neck then pushed through his hair. “I always wondered about this, how it would feel.”

Felt like fucking heaven to him. “And?”

“Very soft.” She arched her body tight against his. “Unlike the rest of you.”

If only she knew the truth of that statement. Most days he had to stand behind the counter or some piece of equipment at least once while the hardness she’d inspired eased. No amount of standing around would relieve his hard-on now, only coming. He’d agree to almost anything at this point to have it be with Cassie, instead of his fist and a bottle of lotion.

“I can’t count how many times I’ve thought about touching you.”

Her fingers trailed over his beard. “Maybe you should forget about math and just—touch me.”

He smoothed his palms down, over her hips, then back up, past the dip of her waist to the curves of her breasts. Through the satiny material didn’t cut it. He needed skin. Her skin.

“Back up.”

“Okay.” She resumed her position on the wall, giving him better access. Her breath quickened as he followed the front edge of her robe to its belt.

He worked the knot free. Paused when she sucked in a breath and held it. “Too fast?”

“No, don’t stop.”

One light tug and the belt fell to her sides. The robe had to be hanging open now. Fucking blackout. All that beautiful skin waiting for him and he couldn’t see a damn thing. His hands would have to do what his eyes couldn’t, starting at the top.

He followed her shoulders to the slender column of her neck. Cupped her face between his palms. “I’ve wanted to kiss you since the first day you smiled at me.”

“That was months ago.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.” He laughed with her, then caught a lock of cool, damp hair and tucked it behind her ear, letting his hand linger on her jawline. “I’ve never looked forward to going to work as much as I have since you started talking to me. Best hour of my day.”

“I had no idea you were…” Her head shook against his palm.

“Such a huge coward?”

Another head shake.

Once again, he wished he could see her, though for different reasons. No more joking. “All the time I spent hanging around your machines, talking to you, you couldn’t tell I was interested?”

“I thought you were just being friendly. Why didn’t you say something, or I don’t know…pin me up against a locker?”

The woman must be a mind reader. In his imagination, he’d done all kinds of illicit things to her at the gym. Bent her over a weight bench and fucked her doggy style, tied her wrists to the barbell and eaten her pussy until her screams of pleasure echoed off the walls. So many things.

He gathered her wrists in one hand and gently held them above her head. “Is this what I should’ve done?”

“For starters.”

The quiver in her voice made him smile. He swept the pad of his thumb along her lips, biting back a groan when she teased his finger with the tip of her tongue. He’d spent a lot of time thinking about her mouth and the things he wanted it to do to him. One tiny lick on an innocent spot had him aching for more.

“Then this?” He brushed her ear with his mouth. Kissed her neck, her jaw, the dip below her mouth. Then, those full lips. The bottom one first, lightly, before pulling back.

“Yes, please.”

For months he’d gotten hard from the sound of her laugh. Her whispered begging—goddamn. His cock might bust right through his pants if she kept it up.

He cupped her neck with his free hand. Leaned in and found her lips, both of them this time, soft, warm and eager. So fucking eager. She opened for him immediately, moaning into his mouth. She arched toward his body, his cool, wet clothes not deterring her for a second.

He pushed the robe off her shoulders as far as her position allowed. She shivered, then froze as his hand moved lower. He pulled back from their kiss. Waited. She didn’t tell him to stop, but she didn’t relax, either. She tilted her head at his nudging, offering her neck. He buried his face against her silky skin and inhaled. The hint of fruit with something even sweeter, something unnamable. She sighed, her body relaxing as he kissed and licked his way down her neck, along her shoulder.

“I need both hands, one isn’t enough to touch you the way I want.” He released her arms and they fell to his shoulders. “You’re so soft.” He smoothed his fingers along her collarbone. Lower, over the slopes that led to two hard tips. “Except here.” He cupped her breasts, strumming the nipples with his thumbs. “These are…” How corny would it be to say amazing or incredible?

“Tiny, I know. That’s the trouble with wearing push-up bras—the unassisted boobs are a disappointment.”

“I’m only disappointed that I can’t see them.”


More blood surged to his groin. The stern tone really worked for her. “They feel perfect to me.”

She tried to wiggle free of his hold. Not happening. Not like this.

“I’m barely a 32B and you prefer big boobs.”

“Do I? Thanks for the update.” He grinned at her huff. Her head might be annoyed at his teasing, but the rock-hard nubs between his fingers told him her body didn’t mind. “What else do I prefer, since you’ve got me figured out?”

“Tall women. Long hair.”

“So, the opposite of you.”


“Wrong.” He snagged her hand, cupping it over his engorged cock. “Still think you’re not exactly the woman I want right now?”

“That is pretty convincing,” she said, making him laugh again.

Laughing while groping each other for the first time. With any other woman it’d be awkward and weird—hell, with anybody else it wouldn’t happen—but with Cassie, it fit. Like everything else was going to fit—perfectly.

He skimmed over her flat stomach. Another couple of seconds and there’d truly be no going back. Lower. Goddamn, nothing but more smooth skin. “So fucking soft and warm.” He slid two fingers between her legs. “And wet.”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” she said, mimicking him.

“I will if you will.”

“You first.”

“Deal.” Back and forth he stroked, sinking deeper into her folds, giving her clit extra attention at the end of each pass. “You make me crazy hard. Like I am now.” He dipped inside her, finger-fucking her knuckle-deep while she moaned near his ear. “I’ve gotten off thinking about you every day since we met.”

“Where do you, oh god, do it?”

He brought his second hand in on the act, flattening his palm above her pubic bone and rocking his thumb across her clit. Another moan filled his ear, this one choppier, more desperate.

“Most of the time, lying on my bed. Sometimes in the shower. A couple of times in the employee washroom at the gym.”

“While I was there?”

“Yeah. Had to. That or stand behind the counter until you left. Disgusted with me?”

“The opposite. If I’d known, I would’ve snuck in there with you.”

Fuck, another of his fantasies. “Are you noisy when you come? Would we have gotten caught?” He rubbed harder, faster. Fucked his fingers deeper into her pussy.

“I don’t—I—” Fingernails bit through his t-shirt, curling into his shoulder. Something thunked against the wall—her head, probably—and her grip on his fly tightened like a vise. Thank god for that spur of pain, it kept him from shooting in his pants like a tenth-grader watching porn.

More than ever, he wanted the damn power to come on. But he didn’t have to see her to know she was more beautiful than ever—it was all around him. The sounds and scent of her arousal, the heat of her body. “You’re so fucking sexy.” He nipped her neck, her earlobe. “Don’t hold back, come for me.”

Her hips rocked forward, grinding onto his touch. She panted and moaned, the low, erotic sound vibrating through his body while hers jerked hard against his hands. For him, all for him.