But he refused to use that as an excuse. The paper had been close to completion when he was called in. People burning to death always took precedence over a paper. By the time he got home this morning, he had been too bleary-eyed to think, so he’d crashed for a few hours. He had finished the paper when he got up that afternoon.
He knew she wouldn’t have them graded by the end of the day. She zipped her jacket in one smooth motion. Tugging at the strap to her bag, she tipped it from the chair to thump on the floor. He winced as she lifted the strap over her head to settle on her opposite shoulder. Poor woman was going to be grading papers when she should be spending time with her family. Or her boyfriend. Someone as beautiful and intelligent as Mia had to be taken. That was why he’d asked Oasis for a look-alike. Even if she was single, there was no way in hell Mia was interested in him. He wasn’t close to being her type. That didn’t stop him from dreaming about the possibilities.
She flipped her head back, jutting out her chin and setting her ponytail in motion. “I didn’t make a mistake.” Spots of anger stained her cheeks.
Kaelen leaned forward to hide the growing problem in his pants. He caught a whiff of spring freshness mixed with feminine heat, and he had to fight the urge to bury his face in her neck and inhale. “I didn’t say you did.”
“No, but you want me to take the heat so you can get away with turning in a late paper. He knows you weren’t in class. I could lose my job for that.”
He wanted to lay her across the desk, lift her dress, and paddle her until she begged for release. It had absolutely nothing to do with the paper or the don’t-fuck-with-me-attitude he found infinitely attractive and everything to do with the fantasies he had about her almost every night. In thirty-six hours, he would have approximately what he wanted. That gift certificate for Oasis had seemed like a joke at first.
Now, looking forward to paddling the ass of a woman who was supposed to look a lot like Mia kept him from acting on that impulse. Standing this close, he realized how short she was. He had nearly a foot on her. If he pulled her close, she could rest her cheek against his chest, and he could rest his chin on the top of her head. He could push her back a little and kiss her forehead. He could push her back a little more, tip up her chin, and taste those rosy lips.
Shaking the fanciful thoughts away, he forced himself to look in her eyes. She inhaled sharply, her eyes widened, and she seemed somehow softer. “You won’t lose your job for this. He won’t even know.”
The shock fell away, and that glazed look, a bit of passion unleashed, faded. He longed to grip her tightly and force her to stay where he wanted while he finally sampled her kiss. Would she respond by letting loose that passion, or would she kick him in the nuts?
“I’ll know.” She looked him up and down, not quite hiding the shades of hurt he hadn’t intended to make her feel.
Damn. He’d never get it right when it came to Mia. If she looked at him with longing and vulnerability just once, he would be putty in her hands. He’d completely forget about the damn paper as he drowned in her bliss.
The door slammed shut behind her. He leaned against her desk and clenched his fists around nothingness.
Mia sat in the used Malibu she had managed to buy her sophomore year of college and stared at the cabin in front of her. The vinyl siding made it look a little more modern. She hoped it would be warm inside.
The cabin wasn’t in the UP, but it was less than an hour from the airport near school. Though she hadn’t expected it, the package from Oasis had included a plane ticket and two nights at a time-share in the Bahamas. When she returned late Sunday night, she wouldn’t be far from home.
For the bargain-basement price she paid to make this fantasy happen, she would be surprised if the inside had modern plumbing. This was not one of their more expensive packages.
The shiver that ran up her spine when she climbed out of her car had nothing to do with the near-freezing temperatures and everything to do with nerves and anticipation. In her entire life, she’d never done anything remotely risky, and now she was about to let a stranger spank and fuck her. And then there was some secretary-slut fantasy of his that would round out their time in the cabin. She’d agreed to be his sex slave for most of the day. Eight hours. Just another day at the office, and then she would be off to enjoy a relaxing day and a half in the sun.
Since she would only be at the cabin until five, and it was barely eight now, she elected to leave her suitcase in the car. Oasis had sent an outfit with the welcome package that reiterated all the rules and guidelines to which she’d agreed.