Chapter Ten

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The goose bumps that rose on her arms warned Em that Joe was behind her a split second before he touched her shoulder.

But then his hand was on her, and she jumped, her chair skittering backward as her earbuds popped out. "Joe! You startled me."

"Obviously." His gaze traveled up and down her body, a combination of pleasure and puzzlement on his face. "I suppose I shouldn't think you're here on a Saturday because you couldn't bear to be parted from me."

"Not at all."

"You are a cruel woman, Em."

"Only to you," she said with a sweet smile.

"So what are you doing here?"

She tugged her sweater tighter around her, conscious of her casual clothing. But it was Saturday, and she figured it didn't matter what she wore. Besides, she was scheduled to work on Ben's garden project after. "I'm here to let in the workers who are painting the back offices."

"Ah, yes." Joe nodded, glancing at her legs again.

She knew she shouldn't have worn jeans-it wasn't proper, not even on the weekend. She scooted her chair under the desk. "What are you doing here?"

His brow arched. "I work here."

"Yes, but it's Saturday."

He smiled ruefully. "One of the perks of being a partner is that days don't matter. We work all the time."

"Oh," she said stupidly.

"Although perhaps this is the firm's way of incentivizing us. I wouldn't mind coming in on the weekend if you were what greeted me, Em Shepherd." He frowned suddenly. "You know, I have no idea if your name is Emma or Emily."

"It's not. Just plain Em." She grinned like she didn't have a care in the world and repeated the joking answer she'd learned to give as a teenager. "My parents were too lazy to give me more than two letters." Though it'd be more accurate to say they were too poor from spending their money on alcohol and drugs to afford a bigger name.

Joe studied her like he was trying to puzzle her out. The air between them changed, no longer light and bantering but heavier and more serious.

It made her uncomfortable, like they weren't on their normal footing.

Em cleared her throat. "Now that you've seen me, feel free to run along to your office and get to work."

"Ouch." He put a hand over his heart. "You wound me again, Em. Am I that unwelcome a sight?"

Actually, he looked delicious, like the confections in the window of the bakery she walked by every day. Just like with those desserts, she knew better than to give in to the temptation.

He leaned onto the top of the counter in front of her desk. "What are you thinking of that has your cheeks turning red?"

"Cake," she said, mostly truthful.

"Do you like sinful things, Em?"

She glanced at his lips. "I don't indulge."

"A pity." He stood straight. "I should return to my work, or I might be here all weekend."

She felt the words on the tip of her tongue, and she couldn't do anything to keep them in. "Would you like help?"

Before she could back out of the offer, he grinned in his predator way and said, "I'd love that."

What had she gotten herself into? Sighing, she placed a note for the workmen on her desk and then followed him to his office. She tried not to stare at his bum on the short walk down the hall.

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