With her New Year’s adventure behind her, Alexa slid back into her committed relationship with work. She walked into her gym three weeks later early enough to get in a workout before heading to her office.
After attacking the rowing machine, the treadmill, and the shower, she stopped at the front desk and greeted her receptionist, Holly Lawrence, with an endorphin-fueled smile.
“Let me know when the guy from Bass and Carmichael gets here.”
Holly looked up from her computer screen and tucked a lock of bright, bottle-red hair behind her ear. “Ten a.m., right?”
“Yes. Some guy named Graham Ryan. He’s one of the partners.”
“I’m going to miss Michael. I can’t believe he sold the building so quick. Did you even know it was for sale?”
“No. He didn’t even warn any of us. Before Christmas, he sent all the tenants an email saying he’d sold the entire parcel to this other real estate company. I just hope the new owners don’t screw up our expansion. Michael assures me that the new company is well-established and flush with cash, so they can handle anything. But already, they’ve ignored some electrical things we need.”
Alexa and Melissa partnered up for more than parties. Together, they were turning Starlight Fitness into Starlight Fitness & Spa—leasing and transforming the space next to Alexa’s gym. Melissa, a massage therapist, would run the massage and aesthetician services while Alexa managed the fitness and personal training business.
“You’d think a big developer like that would be able to handle something that basic.”
The lack of response from her new landlord threaded her tone with exasperation. She hoped the ownership change wouldn’t stall their plans to open the spa by July 1.
“Anyway, I’ll be in my office waiting.”
“I’ll buzz you as soon as he gets here.”
Alexa strode past the rows of emptying cardio equipment. Her customers arrived in predictable tides. The five a.m. crowd rolled out as the six a.m. clients flooded in. Now, at just past seven, the gym population dropped until the smaller wave of stay-at-home parents came in after dropping kids off at school.
She pushed the door to her small office open and put her gym bag on the credenza sitting between two narrow windows in the corners. Planted at her desk for the next couple hours, she reviewed the week’s personnel schedule and other regular tasks, keeping an eye the clock.
By ten fifteen, Alexa wondered if the guy would show. She rang Holly.
“Still a no show, Alexa. I swear as soon as he gets here…Oh, there’s a guy coming in. Wow. He’s hot. Gotta go.”
Alexa didn’t care how hot the guy was. She prayed for competent and amenable.
Bubbles of laughter floated down the hall, and Holly strolled in with a man trailing behind her. Alexa couldn’t see him, but the receptionist stopped in the doorway and wiggled her eyebrows.
Alexa jumped up and walked to the door, preparing her most congenial smile.
“This is Graham Ryan. The new landlord. Mr. Ryan, this is the owner, Alexa Stevens.” Holly’s tone was bright as she stepped aside.
Dear God. Possibly Ryan.
Flames of embarrassment licked at Alexa’s face, but didn’t melt her frozen smile. “Thanks for bringing him back, Holly. If you could get back to the front…”
The desk clerk backed away, leaving them to stare at each other. Her X-ray imagination saw him as he was on New Year’s Day—sensual cords of muscle and a saluting cock. Her surging pulse beat in her ears and in her core.
Alexa blinked away the vision of him naked and focused on his luxe-labelled, but unremarkable, blue oxford shirt and navy slacks.
Never mind the wavy chestnut hair, the gold-brown eyes, the strong cheekbones, and the square jaw. Never mind that he looked as if he’d been drawn in a comic book. Never mind the slanted smile that had once hovered between her thighs.
“You found your way home. Good.” Graham punctuated his words with a verbal jab.
Her throat seized, and Alexa forced a breath to speak. “Yes. I did.”
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