Authors: Belle Maurice
Tags: #Contemporary, #BDSM, #Erotic Romance
AS YOU WISH
As You Wish
Copyright © January 2013 by Belle Maurice
All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
Editor: Kierstin Cherry
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Published in the United States of America
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This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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“I can’t believe you’re not screwing him,” Rita said in an awed whisper. Her face was plastered to the leaded glass panes. “Dear God, he’s laying down on the stones to reach into the water. He’s laying on his chest. I’ve never seen such a perfect male specimen in my life.”
Sitting well away from the window on the camel-back settee facing the cold fireplace, sipping her lemonade, Patricia wished Rita would sit down. As soon as they’d walked into the room several minutes ago, Rita had noticed the estate caretaker, Ryan, working in the reflecting pool at the back of the house and hadn’t abandoned her running observation since.
Patricia knew precisely what Ryan looked like lying on the stones to reach into the cool water of the reflecting pool. She’d given in to the temptation to spy on him often enough this past summer since she’d moved home. Today, before forcing herself away from the window, she’d noticed he’d taken off his shirt. This morning, he’d been wearing an Atlanta Braves T-shirt that had made a valiant effort at stretching across his shoulders and succeeded only through strain, leaving nothing to the imagination.
She envisioned the way his sculpted chest met the granite paving stones and the way his large, confident hands reached through the water to reposition the water lily pots. He wore one of his preferred pairs of jeans today—ones he’d had so long they molded to show off every muscle in his legs. Wearing those jeans he might as well be naked from the thighs down. And from the thighs up…but she was better off not dwelling on that.
His longish black hair would have fallen over his brooding brow when he leaned down, his deepening scowl indicating how hard he was trying to ignore it until he’d finished with his task. When he stood, he would run his wet hand through his hair, slicking it back from his dark eyes.
Patricia’s hand started to sweat against her damp glass of lemonade. “Rita, you must be embarrassing him, ogling at him like that,” she muttered, pained. Just the thought of Ryan right now had her hot and sticky. The ache between her thighs maddened her. She might be better off to peek, and maybe reality wouldn’t measure up to her imagination.
Ha. As if she hadn’t tried that before. Like the day he’d been working on the fountain in the walled garden. A pipe had burst, plastering his clothes to his muscular body. The sight had almost shocked her out of ducking behind the curtain when he’d glanced at the house. Her imagination never quite measured up to the belly-warming reality of the estate gardener.
“Don’t be silly. Men love to be ogled. It’s their second favorite thing after blowjobs,” Rita said, gaze still riveted out the window.
Patricia forced back the shiver coursing down her spine by staring at the family motto above the mantel in a large Victorian sampler.
To those whom much is given, much is expected.
“Oh God, he just stood up.” Rita sounded like she might be salivating. “I swear, Trish, if you’re not going to at least proposition him, I am.”
“I can’t proposition him. He works for me. It would be sexual harassment.”
And he might say no.
“Technically, you’re not his boss, the estate is.”
“And now that every other member of my family is dead with the sole exception of one dowager aunt in Boca Raton, the estate is me,” Patricia said more coolly than she felt. Thoughts of Ryan heated her well enough that even her status as the only remaining Whitmer in Whitmer, Ohio, couldn’t cool her completely. It only added to the general tumult.
“Pish-tosh. Semantics. Besides, you’re a beautiful blonde babe. I don’t think he’d cry harassment too fast.” Rita combed a lock of wild dark hair off her face and arranged her lips into a sexy pout that brought most men to their knees. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Patricia had reached up to touch her honey-blonde hair to make sure it was still in place. She heard the door to the patio click, and her throat closed. Rita had shown herself willing to try anything. That spirit had carried her through medical school and internship and was now carrying her across the patio flagstones.
Patricia leaped up and raced for the door in time to see Rita saunter over to the reflecting pool where Ryan was kneeling, studying the rest of the lily pots. Unable to speak, Patricia drifted through the door and stood holding it open with one hand, wishing she could hide behind the clematis climbing the back of the house and watch Rita’s technique. She might learn something.
“Well, hello,” Rita purred.
Ryan focused on her, his dark eyes hooded as usual and the hard planes of his face displaying no emotion. Other than a grimace when battling a difficult tree root, Patricia had not seen an expression on his face in the three months since she’d arrived back home. It left him looking like a beautiful, menacing statue, which only made him more enticing.
“Is there something I can help you with?” His heavy, growling tone made Patricia’s body clench with hopeless anticipation.
“Actually, yes.” Rita smiled, twisting a lock of hair around her finger while licking her lips. “I just wanted to tell you that you have an exceptional body.”
Patricia’s face heated. If she had spontaneously combusted at that moment, she wouldn’t have noticed the change in temperature. Ryan rose from his kneeling position. He stared down at Rita with the same blank expression. The sun limned his black hair with gold, giving him a halo Patricia didn’t believe he could deserve with a body like that. A trickle of sweat ran down the side of his face. Would he let her lick it away?
“You see, I’m a doctor, and I’ve studied these things,” Rita continued.
Patricia clenched her teeth. She’d heard this line so many times throughout med school that she wondered why she didn’t burst out laughing. Then she remembered. She wasn’t laughing because Rita was being embarrassing this time to the mind-bendingly sexy gardener.
“Is there something I can help you with?” Ryan repeated with an edge of annoyance in his tone. His expression remained impassive.
“I was hoping you’d allow me to study your anatomy a little more in depth to further my education.” Rita favored him with her most seductive smile. She reached out, laying one finger on his chest, tracing it down his sternum.
Patricia wanted to pant. She imagined the way Ryan’s smooth, sun-browned skin would feel under her finger—the tautness of his muscles. If she’d only had the courage to proposition him. She could taste his sunbrowned skin as she sank to her knees in front of him, reaching for the button of his jeans.
“No, ma’am. Thank you.” He brushed Rita away with the back of his hand as if he were flicking off an insect and turned toward the wheelbarrow. Lifting the handles with his big, callused hands, he pushed it away without another word. He didn’t even glance at Patricia standing in the music room door.
Patricia fled back to the settee before Rita caught her gawping.
Rita sighed and flounced back inside. “Damn. That didn’t go as planned. Now I’m all hot and bothered with no place to go.” She dropped into the chair flanking the couch and ignored her drink.
“You should apologize to him.” Patricia picked up her lemonade and studied the surface for telltale signs of her trembling hands. Her ice had melted, so the clinking wouldn’t give her away. Rita wasn’t the only one hot and bothered by the exchange.
“He loved it. My brother says men love to be propositioned. That’s why they do it to us.” Rita picked up her glass. “Kind of a twisted ‘do unto others’ thing.”
Patricia settled back on the couch. Rita had managed to get further with Ryan in one day than she had in three months. All she’d accomplished so far was one short conversation about the rose garden, and she hadn’t been all that articulate. Her tongue had tangled between what she’d wanted to do and what she should say. Her only other major contact had been in June, when her remote for the front gates had failed and she’d had to get him out of bed to open them for her. She’d been so discombobulated by the sight of his sleep-tousled hair and boxer shorts she’d nearly crashed into the gate with her car.
“Did you get a look at his package?” Rita asked. “You know, I think I burned my finger when I touched him.” She studied her finger as if she expected to see a blister.
“Maybe you should have Dr. Scalia look at it,” Patricia said.
“Oh, Trish, you are brilliant. Bruce is the go-to guy, isn’t he? You don’t mind if I run away, do you?” Rita had discarded her glass and reached the hall door before she’d finished her question.
“I don’t mind.” Patricia followed Rita to the door.
Rita was in her car and zipping down the driveway before Patricia could remind her they had planned to have lunch. She returned to the music room to gather up their glasses, wondering if maybe she could use the need to apologize as an excuse to talk to the gardener. This way she could rehearse what she needed to say and get it out of her mouth in one piece. It might even turn into a conversation. She bit her lip, almost daring to hope he might join her for lunch.
* * * *
Ryan cleaned and put away the tools, careful not to break them or break anything else with them. The desire to throw the shovel into the neat shelves of terra-cotta pots had nearly overwhelmed him when he came back. That little bitch propositioning him like a piece of meat. Like she was better than him because she was a doctor and he was just the caretaker. And the Princess standing at the door with that superior gleam in her almond-shaped eyes. She was even worse.
He’d dubbed her the Princess back in June when she’d rattled him out of bed to open the gate because she didn’t know how. No
Sorry to get you up so early
. Not even a
Please open the gate for me
. As he recalled, which he did with perfect clarity, she had said,
“Gate won’t open. I’m late.”
Like it was his fault the battery in her opener had died the same morning she couldn’t get her succulent ass out of bed on time.
The day he had tried to talk to her about the rose garden hadn’t been any better. In fact both conversations had consisted of crisp, cool orders from that sweet, lush mouth while she looked at him like she couldn’t wait to be far away. He couldn’t believe he’d spent most of last winter and early spring getting the grounds ready for her. Did she think he planted all those annuals every year for giggles? He’d even dragged the big pots out of the barn at the back of the estate and arranged them along the patio so she would have a nice view out the back of the house.