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“We’re going to get your penguin back,” Joe said firmly. “Before the deadline.”

She looked up at him with those melting eyes of hers and he found himself cupping her jaw, stroking her skin with his fingers. “We will,” he said firmly, wanting her to believe.

Eyes still locked on his, she nodded.

He nodded too and then took her by the hand to walk her through the courtyard. Kylie slowed at the fountain and looked into the water.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

Instead of answering, she pulled a coin from a pocket and closed her eyes for a moment, about to toss the coin into the water.

Joe stopped her. “What are you doing?”

She looked at him. “Do you know about the fountain’s myth?”

It wasn’t a secret. The myth went that if one wished for true love with a true heart, they’d find it. Good thing Joe didn’t have a true heart. Or a heart at all, at least not a working one.

“So you do know,” she said, watching his expression carefully.

“Something about true love, blah blah blah,” he said with a shrug. “Why?”

She let out a small smile, and this both brought a reluctant one of his own because she never failed to make him feel things, whether he wanted to or not. “What does the fountain have to do with your penguin?” he asked.

“I’m going to wish for its return.”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that. It’s about love.”

“Well, I love that penguin,” she said stubbornly and tossed the coin, which hit the water with a soft plop.

“So you wished for the penguin?” he asked cautiously. “Not for love for yourself?”

She went brows up and he knew he’d given himself away.

“Are you afraid of the myth?” she asked incredulously.

“Of course not.” Actually, he was terrified. Because not one, not two, not three or even four, but five people he knew had been bitten by the love bug in the past two years and all were directly linked to wishes from this very fountain. He stared at the coin she’d tossed, shimmering beneath the water’s surface, mocking him. “Just tell me that you really did wish for the penguin,” he said, because out of everyone he knew, she had the truest heart of them all. So if she’d just wished for love, they were both screwed.

She smiled, and he had one thought. He was so screwed.

“You were taking me somewhere,” she reminded him, stepping closer. “By the way you dragged me out of the pub, you were clearly in a big hurry, too.”

He gazed down at her in that red wig, unable to keep his hands from going to her hips in order to hold her to him. “We had unfinished business,” he said.

“So finish it,” she dared him.

His heart skipped a full heartbeat as he tightened his grip on her hand to lead her up the stairs to the second floor, where he disarmed Hunt Investigations’s alarm and let them into the dark offices before resetting the alarm.

His office was the first door on the right. He could’ve found it with no light at all, but there was some ambient glow coming in through the closed shades on his window. He shut and locked that door and then turned to Kylie.

She was unbuttoning her coat. After letting it fall to the floor, she hoisted herself up onto his desk. “Nice work space,” she said casually, looking around, as if she hadn’t just laid herself out like a buffet for a starving man.

He moved to stand between her legs and placed his hands flat on the desktop on each side of her hips. “If I’d known we might end up here,” he said, “I’d have cleaned it up.”

She smiled and wrapped her legs around him, locking her ankles at the small of his back. “Liar. You don’t care what anyone thinks of you.”

That was true. He’d never cared what anyone thought of him. But he found he did care what she thought. With one hand, he swept his things to the floor. The other moved to her ass to anchor her to him.

A sound escaped from deep in her throat. She’d enjoyed the Neanderthal move and that did something to him too. With her, he could be himself—good mood, bad mood, riled-up mood, whatever. He didn’t have to control himself for her. Ever.

Yet another huge turn-on.

She tilted her face to his, but then, just as he leaned in to kiss her, she pulled back an inch.

“What?” he whispered, fascinated by her, all of her.

She gave a single shake of her head. “I was pretty determined not to like you. But I keep learning new things about you. Things I like.”

He half smiled. “Even though I’m pushy and arrogant and . . . what else was it you said? Bossy?”

Her lips twitched. “Definitely bossy. Maybe you should repeat them out loud every day to work on them.”

“Sure,” he said easily. “If you say something out loud for me.”


“My name.” He nipped her ear and whispered into it, “I’m going to make you scream it, Kylie.”

He heard the breath stutter in her chest. “I’m not much of a screamer,” she whispered.

“A challenge.” He slid a hand beneath the hem of her shirt and encountered warm, creamy smooth skin. He stroked his way north until his fingertips brushed lace. Picking her up, he turned to the couch against the far wall.

“What are you doing?” she asked, clutching at him.

“I want to be horizontal this time.”

“But . . . here?”

“Most definitely here.”

“Your desk phone,” she gasped. “You knocked it off the hook.”


“You have a candy bar. It’s on the floor too, which seems like a big waste of a really good candy bar—”

“It’s okay,” he said. “I know something that’s going to taste even better than a candy bar.” He licked the sensitive skin beneath her ear and she let out a shuddery moan. Dropping her to the couch, he reached for her shirt, tugged it up, and pulled it over her head to reveal the chocolate brown lace of her bra. “Pretty.” In another second he discovered that her barely-there panties matched.

No chocolate required . . .

“Hurry,” she whispered, her voice a soft plea as she reached up for him. He was lowering himself over her when from his back pocket, his cell vibrated. He dropped his forehead to her gorgeous breasts and gulped in a breath.

“It might be urgent,” she said, her hands in his hair.

No doubt. But it’d been a text and not a call, so he decided it couldn’t be that important. “I don’t care.” Unhooking her bra, he drew it away from her, feeling his heart quicken at the sight of her sprawled beneath him. “Everything else can wait a minute.”

She put a hand to his chest. “And if I need more than a minute?”

“You get all the minutes you need.” His hand slid down to grip her sweet little ass, pulling her closer into the cradle of his thighs.

“Mmm, you want me,” she said breathlessly, squirming against the part of him that wanted her the most of all. Her eyes were shining with triumph, humor, and her own need.

Damn, he was such a goner for her. “I do.” He lifted his head to brush a kiss over her bare shoulder and then the underside of her jaw. “And I want you bad, too.”

With a dreamy sigh, she tipped her head back, humming in pleasure as he trailed his mouth down her throat. Over her collarbone. The tip of her breast, which he drew into his mouth, making her arch up with a gasp as his tongue rasped her nipple.

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