Tina stared at his naked body, unable to look away.
He stood bare-chested, his bronze skin seeming to glow against the dark green fir trees in the background and brighten the gray day. His legs were parted, the muscles tense, his bare toes digging into the grass, as his fingers dug into the denim-covered ass of the woman whose legs were wrapped around his waist. Her head was thrown back, strands of long blonde hair nearly brushing his fingers as her breasts strained against her tight pink t-shirt, the hard nipples seeming to seek his mouth, inches away.
Tina set the plastic watering can on the glass-top credenza and held the photo in both hands. She ran her fingertip over the image of the man’s chest, tracing the muscle, wondering if he was cold, wearing nothing but a skimpy thong under the gloomy sky.
Okay. So that wasn’t even close to what she was thinking.
Instead, she wanted to know if his chest felt like satin-covered steel and what it would be like to be gripped by his large hands. To be the woman in the photo, to be held by that mouth-wateringly gorgeous man, to be pressed against his hips, the feel of him searing her skin through the denim, making her wet.
Not that the woman in the photo was wet. For her, it was probably no big deal to be in the arms of yet another hunky man. With the smooth, tight skin surrounding her emerald eyes and her flawless complexion, she could probably have any man she wanted.
Tina raised a hand to her own face, running her fingers along her jaw line and up over her cheek, then around her eye, rubbing skin that felt as flawless as the blonde’s looked. And without a mirror, Tina could pretend that it was.
She dropped her hand and forced her gaze from the photograph she was holding. She stared at the other photos decorating the credenza. In each one, the man appeared with a woman of a different race—white, black, East Indian, Asian, Latina, and several she couldn’t identify. Sometimes, the woman stood with one leg thrown across his torso, with his strong fingers gripping her thigh. Other times, she straddled him upright like the blonde in the first photo.
In every image, the man’s smile was the same—masculine, confident, as if he was used to women wanting him, as if he was used to fulfilling their sinful desires.
But his smile didn’t say what he wanted. Nor did his eyes. While enthusiasm and attraction shone from the women’s, his toffee-colored irises remained impersonal.
Sexy, but shuttered. Distant.
Did real enthusiasm and attraction ever shine there?
Maybe that was the appeal he held for Tina, why she stood staring at his pictures, aroused by his raw masculinity—the bunch of his muscles as he gripped a waist or an ass or a thigh, the self-confidence he oozed for the camera—while drawn to the . . . nothingness . . . that seemed to lurk behind the sexy smile. No glimmer of heat. No flicker of passion. No hint of emotion.
Maybe, like her, he felt those things but had to hide them.
He hid them because he had to remain professional. She hid them because it was best not to show desire for things she would never have, never experience.
Maybe, in that way, they were kindred spirits.
She frowned. “Maybe you should just stick to things you know. Like plants.”
Exactly. What was wrong with her tonight? Rarely did she take interest in the offices she entered. All she’d ever cared about before were the plants—removing a dead leaf here, wiping away dust there, speaking to them softly to spur good health, while supplying the water and food necessary for a prolonged life. Plants responded to her touch and flourished under her care, totally accepting, never judging. She loved them, and this love, along with her ability to nurture, were traits that ensured her business, Plants Alive, thrived and continued to keep and attract new clients.
New clients like this one, Hot Dreams.
An appropriate name for a male entertainment company, for she had been dreaming and she did, indeed, feel hot.
Tina set the photo aside and reached for the Pothos plant in the matte gray pot. But, as she tilted the watering can toward its dry soil, she couldn’t stop wondering what the sexy man in the photo felt.