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Excerpt for His Under Contract

Since he’s gone, I turn on the radio, turning it to a pop station. I’m pulling out the pan for his eggs and turning on the burner, swinging my ass with the music, when suddenly it’s cut off.

          Straightening in surprise, I look up to see Ethan staring at me in annoyance. “You’re early.” I accuse.

          “I strained a muscle. I had to cut my workout short. I’m going to spend time in the tub to work out the pain, until it’s time for breakfast.” His forehead is creased, the pain clear on his face.

          “If it’s a strain, the tub won’t really help. I can rub it out for you. My mom did it for my dad then when she got arthritis I did it for him and my oldest brother when he went too hard on the weights.” He looks like he’s about to refuse. I want to smack him. “It will take ten minutes for me to rub out, or a few days of pain.” I’m staring at a point above his head. Holy shit, if I thought he looked good in the plain undershirt with tattoos almost to his wrists, now, with the shirt almost clear from sweat and clinging to his muscled tattooed chest, I’m doing that thing again. Damn him. I’m wet, there, again.

          “Fine, let me shower off this sweat. Give me five minutes.”

          My legs wobble as he leaves. I lean on the counter for support. Most days he moved so quickly I had barely gotten a look at the knife with blood on his right forearm, today I saw the gavel with the wooden holder on his left arm. Who the fuck knew I had a thing for muscled, tattooed, asshole, manwhores?

          I’m sure it’s been five minutes, I have no real idea as I’ve been dreaming about what he looks like without his shirt on. I go into my room to grab my almond oil before going to his room. Knocking lightly on the half-opened door, I see he is lying face down. A little sigh comes out at not seeing his chest. Fuck, is he ripped, his back is a mass of muscle with the scales of justice large on his back. Across the bottom of his back is a wolf lying down with its head up. It feels like it’s looking right at me. I see the White Sox logo up his right side, but say nothing. Along his left side is a large, intricate tattoo of Don Quixote, with a small windmill at his feet.

          Start talking, my mind screams, stop staring. “What movement were you doing when you injured it?” Okay, good, I don’t sound as breathless as I feel.

          “Bench press. My spotter looked away for three seconds. I tipped it to one side. He had to pull it off me.”

          “What were you pressing?”

          “Two hundred.” He sighs as I squeeze a dime size puddle of oil into my palm. I can see the injured muscle glowing a vibrant red.

          Damn, it took my brother years to press that. “You know this is going to hurt like hell. I’m sorry, but then it should only be mildly annoying.”

          “I’ll deal.” He says into the black silky comforter.

          For a moment I freeze, it’s been over five years since I did this, please don’t let me hurt him. Pressing into the muscle with the ball of my palms I circle. I watch him push his face into the comforter and know he’s hiding a moan of pain. “I never would have figured you for a tattoo person. I thought all lawyers were supposed to be stuffed shirts.”

          “Mainly got them to hide the fucked up ones I got in juvie with pen ink. They looked like shit. I thought about trying to get them removed then said fuck it, and decided to cover up the bad ones instead. Along the way I saw some I liked so I added them.”

          “I got one tattoo, and then was so terrified my parents would find, out I never got another one.” I admit.

          “Let me guess, a butterfly?”

          “Ughh, no! I should press down harder for that. How is it feeling?”

          “You’re working out the right place, it’s still pretty sore.”

          “Okay then, round two.” I begin again with my palms, adding a little more pressure and circle the muscle.

          “A heart?”

          “I find that offensive.”

          “Hello Kitty?”

          “Okay, I’m going to stop if you keep insulting me.”

          He chuckles, and oh, my god, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him laugh before. It comes deep from his chest yet is still somehow melodic. I think I could become addicted to that laugh. “Is it a cartoon character? Give me a hint here.”

          “No, it’s not a cartoon and I don’t have to give you a hint.”

          The sigh comes out of him long and loud. “Damn that feels good.”

          “Told you, I had a lot of practice. Take something over-the-counter for it and sleep on your other shoulder tonight. I would lay off the chest workouts for at least a week, too soon and you might tear something. I should have your breakfast ready to go on time while you get dressed.” I say as I climb off the bed. Ethan sits up and I almost walk into the wall. His chest is a masterpiece, Lady Justice is massive over his chest with the sword in her hand, and down low on each hip is a one hundred dollar bill. Turning blindly, I powerwalk down the hall. Holy fucking shit, his body is sin.

          The only way I get through the next few minutes is by concentrating on everything I do without thinking of anything else. He’s waiting for his breakfast but says not a word as I bring it through. It’s on time, he had come in a few minutes early and was engrossed in the Tribune.

          There isn’t another word from him until he leaves with his shake in his hand. “Thanks again for the massage, it really helped.”

          I only nod, speech is still too hard for me.

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