A/N: this chapter contains sexy bits. VERY sexy bits. You have been warned!

"Did anyone see you?" Emmie seized Ryker by the sleeve and dragged him inside her vestibule, quickly shutting the door behind him

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"Did anyone see you?" Emmie seized Ryker by the sleeve and dragged him inside her vestibule, quickly shutting the door behind him.

"The postman, an old lady walking her dog. Wait—is this a dirty game we're playing?" He clamped onto the arm she'd grabbed him with and moved in close to her. "Don't worry, your husband won't find out about us..." He raised an eyebrow. "Unless you want him to."

"My what? Oh, sweet Christmas, no I'm serious here, Ryker. Your sister is meeting friends tonight at Moon Beach Collective." She pointed to the wall on her right, beyond which lay the art gallery. "She could be there now."

"My sister is at home with the kids having the dinner Dan made for them, actually. That art thing never starts until after seven. Why are you so worked up? You can't be embarrassed of me... so what is it?"

"Well of course I'm embarrassed of you. I meet Trisha, she hires me, becomes my insta-friend, and then I go off and sleep with her brother the first day I lay eyes on him. And she knows... somehow she knows."

"Right, but so what if she does?" What was the big deal? They were two consenting adults. It seemed there could never be a time when Trish didn't interfere in his love life. Scratch that, this wasn't love. Sex life, then.

Scratch that. His sister was definitely not involved in his sex life. This had to stop now. "I don't usually keep things from Trish, but in this case..."

"It would be better if she didn't know. That's what I'm saying, Ryker. We want an uncomplicated relationship. If people know about it, especially your family, things will not remain uncomplicated. And that's not part of our agreement."

"I really should get this agreement in writing. You seem to keep rewording it."

"I do not. It's been solidly written in my mind since we agreed to it."

"The inside of your mind isn't exactly a spot I'm allowed access to."

"Just be glad I allow you access to the inside of other areas of me."

"Yes ma'am."

She pushed him off of her so they could maneuver the staircase. "Okay, now I am going to have to add something to our arrangement. Don't call me ma'am ever again. I'm only twenty-eight."

"Yes, miss."

"Better. Set the pizza on the table there." She eyed the box greedily. "I don't suppose it's deep dish."

"No, but it is clam free. That's got to count for something."

"Quite a lot, actually." She opened the box and they stood side by side for a moment, taking in that perfect combination of aromas: tomato sauce, yeast, and cheese.

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