"You wouldn't happen to be free this weekend, would you, Doug?"
"Why? Do you want to get together and go over the design for the brochures?"
No. She wanted to get together and go over every inch of his body. With her tongue.
"No, I had something else in mind. Why don't you sit down? I was kind of hoping for a small favor, a weekend of your time. I..." she paused, trying to put her situation into words that wouldn't have him running in the other direction. "I mentioned that my sister is getting married this weekend. I told my mother I would bring my fiance, which creates a little problem for me."
Doug took a seat chair across from her desk, leaning forward and propping his elbows on his knees. The stripes in his tie matched his eyes. "What's the problem with your fiance?"
She sucked in a gulp of air. Calm and relaxed, Rachel. Don't get worked up about it. You can do this. Of course she could do it. If she didn't look at him.
As the marketing director, she ran the entire marketing department of a large real estate company. If she couldn't sell Doug on her idea, she might as well retire now.
"I don't exactly have one." She rested her hands on top of her desk and pasted on her best professional smile. "I now need to find someone to feign, only for the weekend, to be my intended, otherwise it will ruin the whole event for my mother."
He frowned. "And telling her the truth never crossed your mind?"
If it were really that simple she never would have invented the fiance in the first place. "You don't know my mother."
He offered her a tight smile, but didn't laugh or get up and leave. She took that as her cue to go forward with her plea. "This is where you come in."
"Let me get this straight. You want me to go with you to this wedding, for a whole weekend, and pretend to be your fiance?"
"That about sums it up."
He laughed. The jerk. "You're serious about this?"
"Very serious. Think of it as a mini-vacation. It'll be a lot of fun." Her voice broke on the last word. "We get along great, and I think you'd be perfect to help me out with my...problem."
"How do you figure?"
Her face flamed. It was simple, really, but oh-so-complex at the same time. He hadn't grown up in her house. He wouldn't understand. Learning about her family's...quirks really had to be a hands-on experience.
"Neither one of us is interested in pursuing anything more than a weekend of pretend engagement. Don't worry about public displays of affection. My family knows that I'm against them, so you're safe in that respect. All you'll have to do is look good and make a little idle chitchat."
She sucked in another big gulp of air. Air filled with Doug's clean, spicy, masculine scent. A little while flag rose inside her head as she recognized his cologne. One that made her go weak in the knees when worn by a normal man. When worn by a demigod like him, it hit her a little higher than her knees, dampening her panties and making her wish she'd packed a vibrator in her briefcase.
And if she didn't get a grip, like five minutes ago, he might call the mental hospital and tell them he'd found their escaped mental patient.
She took a pen and a pad of paper from her desk drawer and set it in front of him, drawing inspiration from all the sales seminars she'd sat through. "Why don't you write down your address so I know where to pick you up? Is Friday at five-thirty good for you?"
He sat back in his chair and crossed his legs. His eyes darkened to a moss-green and seemed to bore right through her. Something low in her stomach trembled and her nipples peaked against the satin cups of her bra. After this meeting, she might have to go on blood pressure medication.
A hint of a smile danced at the corners of his lips. "You seem to be forgetting something. I haven't said yes yet."
"Huh?" Her hopes fell out of the sky and rocketed to the ground, dying a fiery death.
"I didn't say I'd go with you." The husky tone of his voice was enough to send her body into a lust-induced state of shock. Why did all the good ones have to be married or gay?
"Oh. Okay. The details are negotiable, I guess. Do you want something more in the way of compensation?"
A slow, dangerous smile spread across his face. And then he did the last thing she expected. He winked. If she wasn't worried about retaliation from some big guy named Brett, she might have jumped over her desk and attacked him.
"First of all, relax. You're getting ahead of yourself." He smoothed his tie down his chest. Her gaze followed the movement. "I don't care about compensation. This isn't some business deal, Rachel. It would be a favor, for a friend, on my own time. I don't mind helping my friends, as long as they ask properly."
She dragged her gaze away from his black dress shirt, and the hard lines of his chest underneath. "I'm not following."
"Ask me nicely."
His demanding tone pushed away the sensual fog in her brain. He had to be kidding. Ask nicely? What was this, kindergarten? "You want me to say please?"
"That would be the general idea."
She bit back a groan. She wanted a fiance for the weekend, not a date with Miss Manners. "Doug, would you please do me the honor of being my fiance for the weekend? It would mean so much to me, you being my friend and all."
"Thank you." Something that looked like--but could absolutely not be--lust passed across his gaze.
She squirmed in her seat. Why did he have to look at her like that? It was like dangling a piece of triple chocolate cake in front of a diabetic. She couldn't taste him, but right about now she'd give her left arm for a just little nibble.
Doug pushed himself up from the chair and leaned across her desk, his face inches from hers. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as her gaze fixed on his mouth. Her face lifted, her lips tingling in anticipation of the contact.
"Did you hear me, Rachel?" His quiet, smooth tone slid over her skin like melted butter, making her ache inside.
She ripped her gaze away and flopped back into her chair. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. How was she supposed to get through a weekend when she couldn't manage ten minutes? "I'm sorry. I must have missed it. Would you mind repeating it?"