Riley thought she'd hyperventilate when Beckett sent her off on her own. So much had taken place in the last hour. Her head spun with information overload. Now she had a list of things to get and a cameraman recording her every move.
She looked around to see what aisle she was in.
She scanned the sheet to see if there were any parts she needed in this aisle. Nothing, but she was close. There were items she could get in twenty. With renewed confidence she headed in the direction of aisle twenty. She wasn't going to let fear rule her. She was about to get a new kitchen, and she owed a great deal of thanks to Room Makeovers.
Her phone beeped, signaling a text message had arrived.
She cringed, remembering the day Terry sent the breakup message. Hopefully one day she wouldn't flinch whenever she received a text message.
Riley dug into her pocket for her phone. She pressed the touch screen and read the text.
We need superlube for our male and female universal fittings.
Were her eyes playing tricks on her or was Beckett sexting with her? She turned to see where the cameraman was and what he was doing.
He stood a few feet behind her, clearly not too interested in why she'd stopped or the message she'd received.
How should she answer him? Should she sext him back or act innocent? She mulled the choices over in her mind. She couldn't remember a time she'd sexted with anyone, and Beckett wasn't anyone. He was the host of a famous cable show, and he was interested in her.
Without a second thought she decided to give it right back to him.
Don't think you can get me wet enough? Tingling sensations coursed through her. A feeling of giddiness consumed her, and she giggled as she went back to the task at hand.
Flirting was something new to her. She hadn't felt desirable in a long, long time.
Riley entered aisle twenty and used the directions on her paper to find the first of the required materials. She located the handles for the cabinet doors.
As she looked over the array of handles, the feeling of being overwhelmed took over again. She looked at the paper for guidance, but it wasn't specific. The choice would be hers and hers alone. She decided on a brushed nickel design.
She turned to the camera guy.
"I think I'm going to need a cart or something to hold all this stuff."
He nodded, and as if someone had heard her from beyond, a woman appeared with a shopping cart.
"I think you might find this helpful while you're shopping."
Riley laughed nervously. Had she entered the twilight zone? Was she wired and didn't know it?
"How'd you... Never mind." She'd ask Beckett after.
Her phone beeped again.
Ummm, I don't have any doubt I could get u plenty wet w/o lube.
He wasn't kidding.
Her pussy grew moist. Her heart raced. She fanned her face with the paper. Oh my God. Oh my God. What do I say?
"Is there a problem?" Patrick asked.
Her head whipped to the side. He'd startled her.
"Umm, no. Just need to answer this. Everything's fine."
Was that a smirk on his face? Did he know something she didn't?
Riley decided not to answer the text right away. She'd let it sit while she thought about her response.
She filled the cart with all the handles and knobs she'd need. She pushed the cart, satisfied she could check the first item off the list. The next aisle on her list was not too far. Aisle twenty-three was where the cabinets were. The sheet said to just pick out the style and the crew would do the rest. That would be easy.
As she walked to her next destination, an idea popped into her mind. She pulled out her phone and texted Beckett again.
Do u want me to pick out the hose extender?
"Let's see what you think about that," she said quietly.
"Are you talking to me?"
Shit. She'd have to remember she was on camera. Everything she said and did was being filmed.
"Nope. I have a bad habit of talking to myself." It wasn't a lie. Sometimes she had full-fledged conversations with herself. It was a terrible habit that had started when she was a child and continued into adulthood. People likely thought she was crazy, and she even thought so from time to time. "Okay, but you need to focus on the fact that we're filming. You need to be aware."
She wanted to jump up and down and show everyone her excitement. This was her first time ever being on television.
"Sorry. I'll keep that in mind."
"I think we should have Beckett join us. You both can search for stuff together."
"No!" As soon as the word left her mouth, she regretted it. She'd be working side by side with Beckett for as long as it took to finish her kitchen. She couldn't refuse to shop with him.
"I mean, yes, but I'd like to do some of the shopping on my own first, okay?"
"How about I go film Beckett and leave you to pick out the cabinets. We'll come back in about fifteen minutes."
"I think that's a great idea."
Patrick walked away, and she sighed in relief. Would she get used to the cameras watching her every move? Maybe she could turn the tables on Beckett and see how he liked getting sexual innuendos while on camera. But first she had to figure out what style wood she wanted.
Beckett smiled when he saw Patrick coming his way.
"How's she doing?"
"Not bad. She keeps forgetting she's on camera, which is good, but it's also bad. She has a tendency to talk to herself. I'm not sure what you're saying to her in your texts, but she's turned red a few times."
Good. In all honesty, he hadn't meant anything sexual with the text. She'd misinterpreted the message. He'd been asking her to add a part to her list, and she'd taken it in a totally different direction. Not that he minded. Just the opposite. Her mistake was making this experience more fun than he'd anticipated.
He couldn't help but wonder if the feisty redhead would be as much of a spitfire in bed as she was out of it.
"Why do you immediately think I said something wrong?" He feigned innocence.
"You can't fool me, Beckett. I've worked with you long enough to know when you're crushing on someone, and I'd say you've been bitten by the Riley bug."
They shared a laugh.
"There's something about her I can't explain."
"Just be careful, dude. You know we're only in town for a short time. After here it's off to God knows where, and you're the one who always preaches the foolishness of being involved with someone, because of our jobs."
Patrick was right. They weren't going to be in town for too long. Once he completed her project, he'd be flying off to some new location ready to take on a new project with a new person. Beckett believed it wasn't fair to anyone to wait while they traveled the country for the show. Riley's kitchen would be a distant memory. Or would it? If her texts were any indication, he doubted he'd forget her anytime soon.
"How about we find Riley and get on with the show."
"Sounds like a plan to me."
Beckett and Patrick went in search of Riley. She was still in the cabinet section. Apparently the choices were plentiful, and she was having a hard time deciding on one.
"Need help?" Beckett asked, coming up behind her. She jumped.
"Geez, you scared the living daylights out of me."
"Sorry, I thought you'd hear us coming."
"I'm so confused on what to pick. There are too many styles, colors, sizes. How do people do this?"
"Let's try to narrow it down. Do you prefer darker or lighter wood?"
He watched as she tapped her finger against her lip. Kissable lips, he imagined. The urge to reach over and taste them became overpowering. He had to restrain himself. They were on camera. His boss would have a fit if he saw Beckett kissing the show's lucky homeowner prizewinner.
"I'm leaning more toward the lighter wood."
"Okay, that's a start. Do you want to have lots of fancy trim like this or simple like this one?" He pointed to the two very different styles, hoping she'd see where he was going with his questioning.
"I think I like the simpler one."
"Great. See we're weeding out what you don't like first. Before long you'll have your cabinets all picked out."
They continued the process of elimination until Riley finally settled on a style she liked.
"This is the one."
"Excellent choice." He meant it too. He liked her decision, and even though he hadn't seen the inside of her house, Beckett knew this style would suit her perfectly. "Now we need to make sure the handles and knobs you picked will work with these cabinets."
"I did it backwards didn't I?"
"No worries. If they don't work we'll go back and find ones that do."
They checked and sure enough they worked.
"Oh thank goodness," Riley said.
"See you're a pro."
"I have the superlube and the female fittings," she said. A wicked grin formed on her perfect face.
Beckett swallowed. She was going to be a challenge. He'd enjoy this project.
Riley drove her car back to her place, a parade of cars and vans behind her. She felt like the leader of a procession. It was all still so surreal in her mind. The cast and crew of Room Makeovers were coming to her house. Her house. Her friends and family were going to be shocked when they learned she'd been chosen to be on the show. They'd also be jealous. If the tables were turned, she'd feel the same way.
She couldn't help but think about Beckett and his sexy smile. She loved the way his lip curled at the corner and the twinkle in his smoky eyes whenever he stared at her for too long, which seemed to be every single time he looked at her. When they stood close, she inhaled a woodsy fragrance that set her libido into overdrive.
She hadn't felt that sexually charged around a man in a very long time. It had her questioning her feelings. Was she truly attracted to him or the television star persona? Him, she decided. Being starstruck had never been her thing.
Beckett was a jeans and T-shirt type, just like her. And he wore them well. All the hard work he did on the show was obvious from his bulging biceps and the way his pecs stood out. Riley had wanted to run her fingers through his wavy hair and drag him into a long, heated kiss whenever he stood next to her. Working side by side with him was going to be the most difficult task of her life to date, and those heated text messages! She couldn't help but wonder if they would lead to something sexual.
An uneasy feeling took over as she turned into the driveway and parked her car. What if Beckett did want to have sex with her? Would she be able to perform? Would she be good enough to please him? Apparently she wasn't satisfying enough for Terry. Oh why was she fretting over something that probably wouldn't happen?
She turned off the engine. The others found parking spots on the street while the van carrying all the supplies pulled in behind her.
Beckett was the first one out and at her car door before she had a chance to open it. He did the honors for her.
"Welcome home, Riley. This is the beginning of your new kitchen."
"I still can't believe this is happening. I feel like Cinderella going to the ball."
He offered her his hand.
"Your Prince Charming has arrived. Now if you'll lead me to the ballroom, the crew and I will take a short tour."
She accepted his hand and together they walked to the back of the house and entered her kitchen.
"I'll be damned. Did you do this to the cabinets?" He released her hand and ran his over the Formica countertop.
"Yeah," she said weakly. "I kinda took out my anger on the cabinets."
"Is there a name associated with the end of the sledgehammer?"
"Terry, my ex."
"Remind me never to piss you off, lady. I like my body in one piece." He turned, and she noticed he was grinning. He didn't consider her armed and dangerous or some crazy loon who'd gone berserk on her kitchen. As she looked around, it did remind her of something out of Fatal Attraction.
"He's been my ex for a long time. It was a project he promised we'd do. Seeing how I'm on vacation, I decided it was the right time to start the remodel." She laughed releasing the tension that had filled her.
"I'm glad you decided to take on this challenge today."
"It was overdue. Once I destroyed everything, I felt better."
"Okay, you've gotten over your anger. We've got all the new stuff, so it's time to begin tearing this stuff out and putting in the new."
"I can't thank you enough for picking me." She moved closer to him. She wanted to kiss him to say thanks, but wasn't sure if it was inappropriate. She decided it didn't matter. She kissed him on the cheek, catching him off guard.
"Oh," he said, stepping back.
"No, it's okay. I was surprised, that's all. I don't get kissed much on the show."
She regretted her decision immediately. It was out of line, and she realized that now.
"It's not to say I didn't like it, because if I didn't fear my camera crew would come busting in here at any moment, I'd have pulled you into a lip-lock you'd never forget." With that he turned and left her standing there, speechless.
Beckett returned moments later, and she still stood riveted to the spot. The idea of him grabbing her and dragging her to the floor filled her mind. Images of sex on the kitchen counter, or sex against the new cabinets began to plague her. They could christen her couch while they were at it. Riley knew she wouldn't mind getting hot and heavy with the sexy host anywhere in her house. Nix that; she'd get down and dirty with him everywhere. It pleased her to know she had sexual desires again. She hadn't thought about getting intimate with a man in a long time, thanks to Terry.
"Ready?" He clapped his hands together. "The crew is more than eager to start setting up the lights and equipment so we can begin filming."
"Let's do it. Where do we start?"
"We need to get you geared up for ripping out the cabinets. I'm thinking you'll need a mask to cover your mouth, some goggles, and gloves for your hands. You don't want to get splinters."
"Where do we get that stuff?"
"Outside in the large black truck. We have all sorts of supplies in there. You name it, we probably have it."
Condoms came to mind, but she refrained from asking. It didn't seem appropriate, but then again neither did the text messages they'd exchanged earlier.
It was because of the lack of sex in her life. Yes, that was her story, and she was sticking to it. That doubled with the sexual tension radiating from Beckett's body. Damn, she was screwed.