Muscling In

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Authors: Lily Harlem
company.
    If he cheered up, that was.
    He’d been moody ever since the
dinner party two evenings ago. Grunting rather than speaking at breakfast and
working late in the evening, coming home exhausted and answering questions with
single-word answers.
    “Hey,” I called as I heard the
front door close. “TGI Friday.” I put down the spoon I’d been using to stir
chili and looked from the kitchen door into the hallway.
    “Hi…” he said, hanging his
suit jacket on a hook. He still had that grumpy vibe.
    “I’m making your favorite.
Come and have a beer while I cook.”
    “Yeah, in a minute.” He toed
off his shoes, slid his tie from his neck and draped it over his jacket.
    I scowled. A thank you would
have been nice. “Why? What else have you got to do?”
    “Check my e-mails.” He undid
the top button of his shirt.
    “But you’ve just come in.”
Surely he’d spent all day at his office doing that. “Come on, sit in here with
me.”
    He clicked his tongue against
the roof of his mouth as though annoyed by my insistence that he spend time
with me.
    Heat boiled in my veins, my
ears rang and my heart rate sped up. “Okay, mister.” I strutted up to him and
poked my finger against his chest. “I’ve just about had enough of you.”
    His eyes widened and he leaned
backward to avoid my jabbing fingernail. “Sian, babe…?”
    “Don’t Sian babe me.
What’s with the misery and the long face? You’ve been like this since Wednesday
evening.” I wanted to add that we hadn’t made love since then either, even
though he’d seemed pretty up for stripping off my sexy underwear before we’d
gone to Harold and Mable’s.
    “No I haven’t.”
    “You bloody well have.” I put
my hands on my hips.
    “No…I…haven’t.” He stepped
around me and into the kitchen.
    I followed and watched as he
pulled a bottle of beer from the fridge and popped the lid. He sat at the pine
table with his elbows on the surface.
    “Coben?” I held out my hands.
“What is it? Talk to me.” I’d never had to ask him to do that before.
    “Is it work?”
    “Yeah, lots on.” He took a
slug of beer. It left a line of foam on his top lip and he swiped his tongue
out to retrieve it.
    “But that’s not unusual.” I
stepped up to him, rested my buttocks on the table and stared down at the top
of his head. His hair was getting ready for a trim. “And surely it’s good to be
busy.”
    “Yes, it is good to have the
business. Just means my mind is…”
    “What?”
    “All over the place.” He
shoved his hand through his hair. “It’s just all over the place.”
    I flattened down several strands
he’d left sticking up. “But you’ll cope. You’ve got systems organized, a good
team.” Damn it. I hated seeing work get to him like this.
    “I know.”
    “And you have to remember this
is down time. The evenings and weekends are not work time. It’s you time…” I slipped my hand down his
temple and stroked my finger over his bristly cheek. “ Us time.”
    “Us time.” He looked up at me.
His eyeline dropped to the small pink vest top I was wearing and the line of my
cleavage. His pupils dilated a little and he pushed his beer to one side, the
base of the bottle scraping on the surface of the wood.
    My belly clenched. I knew that
look well enough. It didn’t usually happen quite so fast but I wasn’t about to
complain. I cupped his chin and he stood, fast, the chair grating on the floor
tiles.
    “Sian,” he said, gripping the
back of my neck with one hand, his fingers tightening in my hair. “Fuck.”
    “Okay.” I grinned and slid my
hand down the column of his neck to the undone collar of his white shirt.
    He loomed over me and pressed
close.
    I could feel his body heat
blasting onto my skin and smell his faded cologne. He was breathing fast.
    His mouth caught mine. He
cradled the back of my skull. His tongue was insistent and urgent.
    Lust shot through my body and
I clung to his shoulders. I was whisked into

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