Every thought turned to how strong he was. How much I’d like to see all those muscles without a shirt in the way.
Once he’d counted off twenty-five, he stood and, as if he’d been reading my mind, peeled off his shirt.
I stared. Not subtly, either. Nope, totally unabashed, taking in every dip and groove of his sweat-glistened skin.
“Since we’re playing dirty,” he said, shooting his wadded shirt over to his bag. He grabbed my hand. “Last machine. I’m not sure you can handle it, though.”
“I’m not sure you can handle it.” As far as comebacks went, not my best, but I mentioned he was shirtless and crazy ripped, right?
He sat down on the leg machine, the one where the seat reclined at a forty-five-degree angle, and then he lifted the weighted bar that rested at shin-height with his legs.
He reached for my hand, and since I’d already talked trash, I took it, even though I was starting to think I wouldn’t be able to handle it. He pulled me toward him, and I had no choice but to run my shins into the weights or to straddle the machine. I chose straddling, but kept space between us like I had earlier.
My heart hammered against my rib cage, beating in time with his leg lifts, the steady clink of the weights filling the air. Ryder’s eyes remained locked on mine, and energy crackled in the air between us. He sat up enough to run his hands up my thighs.
A dart of heat shot through my core, and my breath lodged in my throat. Ryder’s fingertips skimmed the skin between my pants and shirt and desire danced across my nerve endings. Still our eyes remained fixed on each other, and I wasn’t sure I was taking in oxygen anymore.
A distant part of me whispered that if I didn’t stop this…whatever we were doing, I’d be in trouble. But fighting my attraction to him was exhausting and the ache that’d formed between my thighs grew more persistent, drowning out silly things like common sense.
I leaned over like I had before, my hands braced on either side of him. He lifted the weights again, and then he brushed his lips against mine. Just a quick slide of soft lips.
My throat went completely dry. I pressed my palm flat against his stomach and slowly slid it up, feeling his firm chest and the hammering of his heart, which echoed mine.
Ryder gripped my hips and pulled me down to sit on his lap, eradicating the space between us. He lifted the weights with his legs a few more times, each rep bumping me tighter to him. Friction was definitely happening, and with each lift, it became clearer and clearer how much it was affecting him as well.
The tiniest whimper escaped my lips and he raised an eyebrow that added even more smugness to the curve of his tempting mouth.
Two could play dirty. So I sank farther into his lap and he groaned.
Of course, all it did was give me dirty thoughts and turn me on that much more.
He lifted his legs two more times, the movement shaky. He slowly ran his fingertips up my arm, across my collarbone, up my neck, and then he reached back and tugged my hair free of its ponytail.
He drove his hand into my hair, cupped the back of my head, and for one torturous moment, time stopped, both of us suspended right there on edge of crossing lines.
Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.