That’s what she was feeling. Piles and buckets of it, raining down on her. Okay. Not on her -- on her laundry. Her dirty, scummy, photon-rich denim and cotton.
And the man across from her was her only ticket to salvation, or at least to clean laundry.
There just weren’t many options at twelve thirty in the morning.
The man was a god, sitting on his washing-machine throne, thumping it with strong calves encased in worn, “fuck me, I’m so soft your skin will love me” denim and very large steel-toed work boots.
He had sat there for the last half hour -- his bronzed hair gleaming in the garish fluorescent lights -- staring at one of the tumbling dryers.
Possibly furious, if his expression was any indication.
No one she wanted to mess with, even if the sight of those massive thighs and his hard-bodied chest made her heart stumble. He wasn’t for her. She needed to settle for a nice, slightly geeky guy who could understand her.
This wasn’t a guy she would find hanging around one of the Culvers physics labs anytime soon. Too bad. She could imagine doing wicked things to him up against those granite countertops. Warmth spread through her as she imagined wrapping her legs around those thighs and nibbling on that strong, muscular neck.
His skin would taste divine, the texture of muscles sliding and flexing under the velvet softness of his skin.
She glanced over at the triple loader. Her clothes. Focus on that or say good-bye to a clean wash.
The washer was filling up quickly.
Of course opening up the front loader to stop the cycle and flooding the dirty floor wasn’t an option. That experiment would have to wait for another day.
She’d have to take the first step. “Hey, excuse me.”
His legs stopped thumping against the washer and his head turned in her direction. Sharp gray eyes glared at her as if she’d interrupted something important.
His gaze flicked around the room for a second. When he looked back, his expression softened. He even managed a smile.
Small laugh lines crinkled around his eyes, making his whole face warm and inviting. In that moment, Molly knew if he ever pulled out the stops and used that hidden charm on her, she would be a goner.
He jumped down from the washer and grabbed a thermos sitting on the next washer over. “Yeah, what can I do for you?”
“Do you happen to have some extra laundry detergent? I ran out. Just one last load left.”
A grimace crossed his face as he drank the last of his cup. Slowly, as if he hadn’t a care in the world, he screwed the cup onto his thermos. He set it on the counter and grabbed a dainty white basket on the next washer. “Do you need softener?”
She was such a dunce. “Yeah, if you’ve got some.”
His arms flexed as he slid the basket under his arm and walked around the washers. This was ridiculous; she needed to get laid if the simple pleasure of watching a man cross the floor had her flushed with sexual need.
Laundry detergent, White Rain shampoo, and something indefinable invaded her space and filled her senses as he walked past her.
It was hard to stay put.
She closed her eyes, took in another deep breath, and repressed a moan. This was why women loved sweaty men. Pheromones trumped common sense every time.
Forcing her eyes open, she watched him move; the hard muscles flexing and bending to his will A shift of his basket and his eyes clashed with hers, darkening. With a slow perusal, he took in her lightly muscled legs, encased in short blue shorts. She mentally slapped herself, thinking of how opaque her white T-shirt must look. Her mama had told her that, even with small breasts, she should always wear a bra.
Nipples peaked, pebbling through her shirt, as he continued his inspection, gray eyes almost black. She breathed shallowly, trying to ignore the ache blooming deep inside.
Molly was past shielding herself; she wanted those eyes on her. Her lack of propriety would have had her mother screaming a blue streak. Taunting a man like that, walking out of the house looking like a slut.
God, he had to stop looking at her.
He finally jerked his gaze away from her body and leaned down to drop his basket, then pulled the detergent and softener from it, those lovely muscles moving deliciously under his tan.
He was so close, and those jeans hit him in all the right places. She had to watch every movement, mesmerized by the bending and flexing of his thighs as he placed the detergent into the washer.
He was done too soon. His strong hands worked efficiently, the muscles underneath moving like strings on a piano. Strong. Graceful. Just the idea of those strong digits strumming her body, gliding across her skin, made her hold her breath.
She needed to get ahold of herself -- and quick -- if she was going to look him in the eye. Her face was tight, the skin undoubtedly flushed and almost feverish and not just from the heat and stickiness of the Spin Wash. She was letting her imagination get away with her.
She was a cute little thing; he’d noticed her when she first walked in. He’d thought her a mouse with her eyes hidden by big glasses and a riot of curly brown hair. One good look at her, though, had him reacting.
Her body was nicely rounded and reminded him of Sherry Lee Jones’s in junior high. A petite cheerleader type with nice, powerful thighs, perky breasts, and a narrow waist. Totally the opposite of his ex-wife’s willowy beauty.
Her eyes were surprisingly doe-like behind the glasses, a warm, liquid brown that did strange things to his body. The flushed cheeks told him exactly what he was doing to her. And unlike Sherry Lee, this one looked smart.
He liked smart women, and the short view of her body he’d had as he walked the fifteen feet to the washer had been enough to get his own body primed.
The fact that she’d been watching his backside for the last three minutes as he’d filled the triple loader with detergent and fabric softener had just solidified his growing interest.
As he stood, he took in the distracted look on her face and smiled. Then she licked her lips, rasping that cupid bow of a mouth with her small pink tongue. The heavy-lidded gaze with which she met his told him all he needed to know.
He groaned, fighting the urge to drop the basket and back her up against a washer three feet away. Did her lips taste as good as they looked, sweet and just like cherries? Or maybe juicy with a hint of dark seduction like blackberries just at the peak of ripeness?
She leaned closer, and he smelled the sweet scent of shampoo and lavender. Something long dead inside him rumbled to life.
Something that told him he deserved to live one moment without worry -- one moment just for himself, without worries about his daughter or his ex-wife’s demands.
Just one moment when he could grasp for himself what he wanted and not what was expected or what was necessary. A moment where he didn’t have to worry about the repercussions or sit helplessly by as he watched his baby’s life spin out of control.
He wanted to take something for himself.
He wanted to take it now.
Just one moment where he could take control. Just one moment when he could taste what he’d been missing.
Molly was in agony. His body was so close his breath feathered her hair. So close, so warm. His eyes, dark and stormy, made her want more than she’d had before.
Heat cocooned them in steam, encasing them in the musky, aroused scent of male. They were standing so close; one step and his lips would be on hers, those callous hands rasping the skin of her arms.
With a sigh, Molly leaned in, meeting his lips in a soft kiss.
Barely a breath of a touch, the kiss electrified her.
A rumble came out of his chest, and hot hands grasped her arms, pulling her closer. The kiss deepened, his tongue stroking her lips for entry.
She sighed into his mouth, opening for him, and he took control of the kiss, exploring her mouth with a demanding tongue. His exploration reminded her of all the other places she wanted his tongue and hands.
Her breasts were heavy, nipples tight as she moved against him.
Darkness and silence suddenly engulfed them, the insistent buzz and sound of movement slowly dying all around them.
They tore apart, the washers and dryers silent. Their heavy breathing loud, echoing around the big room. An emergency light shone in the hallway, giving them just enough to illumination see each other.
“We’re all alone,” he said.
She ran her hands up along his arms, feeling adventurous and daring. “Yeah.”
“I’m not sure I can stop if we kiss like that again.”
Molly wasn’t letting him go. She pulled him closer, sliding the hard peaks of her nipples against his chest. “Kiss me, then.”
A growl of need escaped him as he jerked her close, grinding her hips against the hard ridge of his erection.
“It’s been a long time,” he whispered.
“I’m up for it.”