The VIP Doubles Down
Page 50

 Nancy Herkness

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He slid his arm away with a sigh of resignation. “In that case, answer my question.”
She pulled a still-warm croissant from the bag and wrapped it in a napkin before handing it to him. “Virgil is such a shadowy figure that I’d love to know more about him. What kind of subplot?”
“I was thinking he might be forced to go out in the field with Julian. Team them up so they learn more about each other in the process. After all, Julian doesn’t know much about Virgil, either.”
“How much do you know about Virgil?”
“Ah, that would be giving away trade secrets.” Gavin bit into the croissant and groaned before taking another bite. “Your first duty every morning is to pick up a dozen of these to bring here.” He polished off the rest of the croissant and licked his fingers, making her remember other ways he’d used his tongue. A shudder ran through her.
She pulled another croissant from the bag and held it out to him.
“Aren’t you going to eat one?” he asked as he took the pastry.
“The smell broke down my willpower, and I ate it before I got back to my apartment. So the rest are for you.”
He ate the second one more slowly, giving her time to admire the fluid movements of his fingers as he tore off pieces of the flaky pastry and brought them to his mouth. It took a few bites before she realized he was dragging out the process on purpose while he watched her from under hooded eyes.
“You are a bad person,” she said, tossing the bag on her desk.
“An indisputable fact.” He grinned and polished off the croissant in one swallow. “Let’s discuss Julian and Virgil.” He waved her toward the couch. A cheerful fire burned in the fireplace, and she was happy to sit near it. He settled himself in a chair, stretching out his legs in their dark gray wool trousers.
“First, tell me how your neck feels.” She’d noticed he was holding one shoulder higher than the other one, as he had last night.
“Did you bring your marching ants?”
“I told you I can’t treat you anymore, but I’m going to call someone who can.”
“My neck is fine. My”—he stared at the fire—“actions yesterday just aggravated it temporarily.”
“Look, I’ll give you a massage later—as a friend—but I want you to get professional treatment. Your writer’s block may have created the problem, but it’s become a real physical issue now.”
Gavin shifted in the chair. “This person you’re going to call, is it someone Ben Cavill works with?”
“Not that I know of. Why?”
“You and Ben spent a lot of time talking medical business at dinner the other night.”
“He wanted to know more about my qualifications because he might be able to recommend me to his patients.” She had hoped to hear from him by now, since the doctor had seemed very interested in her background. “It would be great for my career.”
“I imagine he just hasn’t yet had a patient who needs PT.” Gavin dropped his chin to his chest and looked up at her from under his dark eyebrows. “Can we get to work?”
For the next hour, they slung ideas back and forth. Gavin used her as a sounding board and also as a reference to the books. Allie was a little surprised he didn’t remember every detail of every book.
Gavin gave a wry shrug along with a wince. “I don’t reread them after they’re published. After writing the book, revising it, copyediting it, and proofreading it, I believe the book has been made as good as I can make it. Then it gets sent out into the world to stand or fall on its own merits. I feel as though the books aren’t mine anymore. They belong to my readers.”
“So the books aren’t your babies?”
“Only when one gets a bad review.” He winked.
“I thought authors weren’t supposed to read their reviews.”
“I don’t . . . anymore. But I used to because I had to know what readers were saying. As a result, I developed a thick skin—or maybe it was just arrogance—so bad reviews no longer bothered me. Much.”
Gavin’s cell phone vibrated on his desk. He sat forward as though he was going to stand and then stopped. “I’ve gotten into terrible habits. Like answering my phone during writing hours because anything seemed preferable to the frustration of not being able to write. That stops today.”
This time he rose to approach Allie. He held out his hand and drew her to her feet. “Thank you, my dear.” He placed a gentle, almost reverent kiss on first one cheek and then the other. “That’s a gratitude kiss.” Then he slanted his mouth over hers hard, his tongue beguiling her into parting her lips so they could taste each other.
All her good intentions vaporized in the blaze of arousal that he sent burning through her. Where their thighs grazed, where her breasts pushed against his chest, where his pecs bunched under her seeking hands, every touch sent a charge of desire down to the dark pool between her legs. He lifted his head to look down at her. “And that’s a kiss that means I want to take you to bed.”
“I got the gist,” she said, tracing her fingers over his tense anterior deltoid.
“But you’re my assistant.”
“And we both have work to do,” she said, her voice a breathy rasp. “Just wait until you feel the massage I’m going to give you later. It’s going to hurt so good.”
He groaned and rocked his hips into her. “You’re not reinforcing my work ethic.”
“Pot, meet kettle,” she said, squirming out of his grasp.
“I may have to write a sex scene to satisfy my lust.”
“Does that work for you? Because reading sex scenes just makes me feel . . . lustier,” Allie said, laughing, then dodging around the couch as Gavin made a grab for her.
She marched to her chair and forced herself to sit down without looking at Gavin. As his footsteps receded across the room, she sneaked a quick glance over her shoulder. He stood at a tall wooden desk with a pen in his hand, frowning down at a yellow legal pad. He tapped the pen against his cheek a couple of times and started to write.
The focus etched in the angles of his face and the tautness of his posture conveyed the intensity of a mind in the throes of creating. A thrill of excitement ran through her. She felt as though she shouldn’t be watching because he left himself so unprotected, so she turned back to her computer, straining to hear the scribbling sound of his pen on the paper.