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Taming His Tutor(3)

By: Natalie Anderson



“You’re living here?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she muttered. In central San Francisco. A while away from the refined, leafy suburb where they’d been at school, but this city was her home now. She nodded, pulled herself together enough to answer more. “Working down the street.”

“On a Saturday?”

Was he teasing or pitying? She lifted her chin. “Not so bad—I like my job. You?”

“Love it. Work all the time,” he answered with an amused glint—and genuine tone.

That made her smile. “Even Saturdays?”

“And Sundays.” He nodded piously. “You impressed?”

“No.” She chuckled. “So what are you working at all the time?”

“I’ve got a fitness center, in the process of opening another.”

It figured he’d still be doing something mega-sporty despite his NBA career ending after the hideous on-court accident that broke his leg.

“You’re not still playing?” she asked, wincing as her voice skidded into husky territory. He looked it—fit enough to run back-to-back marathons, strong enough to scoop her up without breaking into a sweat. Agile enough to—

“Playing?” His voice dropped in a playful imitation of hers. But his expression was more than playful, it was wicked.

Abbi’s throat closed. Oh hell, she hadn’t meant it like that. Flustered, she stared up at him, lost in his intense expression. How could she say anything more when he looked at her like that? Right into her eyes, as if he could see through to the way her brain was frying in his presence?

“You really do look amazing,” he murmured.

Oh, the guy knew his power. And relished it.

Abbi swallowed hard. Every article she’d read so far talked about confidence being key. Ha. Cultivating confidence wasn’t easy when your bedroom style had been shredded. But she couldn’t stand here floundering like some pathetic fish on a hook. Damn it, she did have some assets, even if she knew they couldn’t be relied on for anything but initial attention. Maybe she ought to try the “fake it ’til you make it” tip?

She pulled her shoulders back, letting her curves thrust out a little more, and tried to engage her supposedly genius brain. Surely she could act a part for a minute? It wasn’t like she was going to see him again anytime soon. If she fluffed it, it wouldn’t matter, right?

He shook his head slowly, his eyes still glued to hers. “I think it’s your hair—”

“It’s the pole dancing,” she cut him off. Half sassy, half piqued. She might as well go wholly out there.

His entire body snapped, he lifted another inch in height, his biceps bunched, and now those melt-me emerald eyes sharpened to lasers. His gaze dropped to her chest before it quickly flickered back to her face. “That’s what you’ve been doing?”

Pleasure rippled within her at his reaction. “Best form of exercise I’ve found.”

His brows lifted and he slowly shook his head. “Second best,” he said softly.

“To basketball?”

That had been the guy’s number one priority. Nothing came before the game. Certainly not relationships. That’d meant misery for all the girls he’d played at school.

He paused, his lips curving. “I like to basket some balls, sure.”

His answer was pure auditory tease. Yeah, he was the same cocky player and slayer, only even more potent what with the years of experience.

“You always liked to play any chance you got,” she said.

“Whereas you were the more cerebral type back then.” He angled his head, studying her all the more intently—as impossible as that felt. “But now you’re all geared up for the physical?”

She let her brows lift a little in a mirror of the teasing look he’d given her just before. “Seems so.”

Was she actually doing it? Talking flirty with a guy for the first time in her life? With the guy who worked hard and—rumor had it—screwed harder than anyone she’d ever known?

He stepped closer. “How physical?” he asked.

Her gaze was locked in his. Ensnared. He was so damn tall. Suddenly her mind absolutely blanked. She couldn’t think, speak, move.

She gazed up at him. His words hit her like bullets over the rushing thud of her heart.

“We’re talking sweaty?” he asked, soft but so lethal. “Fast?” He moved another step closer. “Rough?”

Ooookaaay. Uh. Yeeeeaah.

She had to tilt her chin higher to keep her focus on him. The cool morning breeze brushed her neck. A shiver whispered down her spine. She lowered her gaze a few inches to his mouth. His wide, full lips were ripe for nipping.

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