Holly's mouth went dry at the glimpse of the perfect male specimen in the open doorway of the room next to hers. A tall, Greek god from books she'd never read, this man possessed a head of thick dark hair (wet now from an obviously recent shower), a solid, nicely-muscled male chest topped with springy black curls, a flat abdomen and long, powerful legs. She felt a crushing disappointment at the sight of the white bath towel tied low over his hips, which was certain to be covering the most interesting part of his anatomy.
Warmth crept up her cheeks. He brought to mind rumpled beds, with both of them naked on top. She was about to turn away before she was caught drooling, when the god thundered.
"Hey, wait, take out my laundry while you're at it, will ya?"
His words were terribly mundane, though.
A pile of dripping clothes was dumped unceremoniously on top of the clean sheets she'd just fetched from the linen cabinet. Something wet and soft hit her in the face, then slid down to drop on top of the pile.
"Watch it!" She glanced down at the offending article of clothing and saw it was his boxers.
"Sorry, my shooting accuracy isn't what it used to be." He turned back into his room.
Anger sparked in her veins at his cavalier attitude. "Did you have to throw it? Couldn't you have just handed it to me?"
He turned, and she saw his mouth had tightened. "Imagine that, a servant with an attitude."
"Even servants deserve courtesy, because in the end analysis, servants just happen to be people you hired for domestic duties. Or are you in the habit of throwing files and folders at your employees in the office?" she asked, her sweet tone in contrast to the outrage boiling within her.
He ran a hand through his hair in a tired gesture. "Let's cut the crap, shall we? You go about your duties, I'll overlook your impertinence this time, and I'll still pay your salary at the end of the month."
Greek god or not, he needed to be taught a lesson on manners. Holly let go and all the things in her hands dropped to the floor. She lifted her chin in defiance.
"What the hell--" His eyes acquired a flinty look as he walked toward her.
She stood her ground, though her heart thundered.
He loomed over her. His voice was low and dangerous as he said, "Pick them up."
"Oops." She bared her teeth in a smile. "They became too heavy with your additions."
His eyes narrowed. "You're new here, aren't you? I haven't seen you before."
"Fancy that. You actually notice the mortals."
"Mortals?" He looked awestruck, then he threw back his head and laughed. It did wonderful things to make him seem more human. "What am I, a god?"
Why couldn't he have been dumb as an ox?
Holly caught herself staring at his bronzed upper body, which rippled with his laughter. Was it as warm and hard as it looked? She wanted to touch, to see for herself, to feel his muscles beneath her fingers. She wanted to be one of those fat drops of water glistening on his chest.
This was bad.
"And you're one of those lowly mortals?" He crowded her, stepping over the untidy heap on the floor and backing her until she hit the wall.
Her breath quickened, fear and excitement drugging her blood. Her eyes were huge as she stared up at him, and her heart beat fast.
"Am I Zeus then, with his myriad of lovers? Or Apollo, with a visage as bright as the sun?"
Of course, he'd have to refer to the Greek gods when there were Roman gods as well as Norse and Celtic--
He planted his hands beside each side of her head, effectively trapping her. He was big and male and overwhelming. And he smelled good. Too good. She held her breath and pushed hard against the wall, though she had nowhere to go. His tone was amused as he continued, "Or maybe war-hungry Ares, or--"
"How about Narcissus," she retorted, "who couldn't see past his own nose?"
His eyes glinted, and she was suddenly aware of the precariousness of her position. She should've been warned when his tone had turned low and dangerous, but no, she had to goad him further.
"Are you calling me vain and egotistical?"
"M-more of, self-self-centered."
He shifted and pressed the full length of his body against her. "I think I like you stammering and trembling and completely at my mercy."
Streams of liquid heat collided inside of her, emanating from each point of contact between her flesh and his. Every part of his body that touched hers was hard muscle, and something soft stirred against her belly. Her breath hitched.
She caught a fleeting glimpse of the same shock in his eyes, before it was concealed behind hooded lids. "If I were bigger than you, you'd be the one screaming for mercy."
"Such a quick tongue." His breath fanned her cheek. "I wonder, is it as sweet?"