Tempt Me(5)

By: Carly Phillips


Mia, who’d stared at him with wide eyes and flushed cheeks, and put dirty thoughts in his head just by looking at him for a few seconds too long. He’d used those seconds to stare at her luscious mouth and wonder whether she tasted sweet like the sugar she put in her tea at night and coffee in the morning. Yes, he fucking studied her personal habits and memorized what she liked.

“Not to mention she’s young and pretty?” his mother asked as if reading his mind about Mia.

“Mom!” he said, horrified she’d even go there. He felt guilty enough for his inappropriate thoughts. Now he had to worry about whether he’d sent out inadvertent signals about his interest in Mia that his mother had picked up on.

“What? I’m just pointing out that you’re a healthy man with… appetites and she’s a sweet, good-looking woman,” his mother said, not backing down.

Jesus. He pulled behind a car driving below the speed limit, glanced in the mirror, and swerved into the left lane to drive around it.

“She’s my daughter’s nanny,” he reminded his mother as well as himself, because he clearly needed a good talking to. “And I just said Mia was fantastic. I’m not going to mess up a good situation for Bailey.”

Not to mention, he knew better than to get involved with a woman right now. He’d been screwed by his ex and he had no desire to deal with the opposite sex on any level but professional.

Liar.

“Shut the fuck up,” he muttered aloud to his inner voice.

“What did you say?” his mother asked. “I couldn’t hear you.”

He shook his head, grateful she’d missed those words, and swallowed hard. “I said this wasn’t a conversation I want to have.”

“I think you protest too much.” His mother clicked her tongue like she would when he was a child. “It’s not healthy to be without companionship. I don’t want to know what you’re doing about your sex life but—”

“Mom!” This time he yelled, feeling his face flush and having a hard time keeping an eye on the road. “This conversation is over.” It reminded him of the time she’d given him the sex talk while driving on a highway and he couldn’t escape. “I love you but we’re done. I’ll talk to you later.”

“We’re coming to visit this weekend,” she said, reminding him of plans they’d made.

“Right. Okay. Bye for now.” He disconnected quickly, shaking his head.

God love his mother. She meant well but she liked to meddle in the name of worrying about her children.

But she’d put the thought of Mia squarely at the forefront of his mind. He’d definitely lied when he told himself he had no desire for any woman. He had a healthy sex drive and he’d already admitted he wanted Mia. And the more he watched her interact with his child, the more she engaged him on many levels.

But he wouldn’t be the guy who screwed the nanny. And being single didn’t make it all right. She worked for him, so any kind of overture would be considered sexual harassment, and that was a lawsuit waiting to happen. And as he’d already said, he refused screw up something that worked well for his daughter. As always, she came first.

Before his dick, that was for certain. Which meant he was going to have to put a leash on his wayward thoughts, his probably not-so-subtle glances and desire to kiss her, touch her soft skin, and fuck her notwithstanding. With great difficulty, he turned his thoughts to work and his upcoming conversation with his boss, prepping himself for the pitch he was about to give.

He walked into the offices of Alpha Security. Everyone was out on assignment, so he headed directly up to Dan’s office, bypassing the empty game room Dan had built for his employees to relax in during their downtime.

He knocked on Dan’s door just as he was putting the phone down. “Come on in,” his boss said, gesturing for Austin to join him.

“Hey. Thanks for working around me today.”

Dan nodded. “Of course. When you asked to meet, it sounded important.” He motioned to the chair in front of his desk.

Austin settled in while Dan leaned against the wall close by. “Talk to me, son.” He considered all his employees his kids, even if only one of them was actually his biological child.

Austin drew a fortifying breath. “I know you’ve been talking about delegating your responsibilities because you want to cut back some. And I don’t want to be out in the line of fire when I have a young child at home and I’m the only parent she has.”

Dan studied him in silence, nodding as Austin spoke.

He sweated a little, worried his boss would think he was presumptuous. “I was hoping to take over some of your workload… It would take me out of the field and I could do much of the administrative side from home. I have a high-tech office setup there that would connect to the office.”