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  Excerpt: One Shot

  Rowan McBride

One Shot Copyright 2009 by Rowan McBride. All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced in whole or in part without author's permission.

I stared through the flawless floor-to-ceiling glass of my window, contemplating the nightscape stretched out below me. My office lights were off, but the streetlamps reflecting off the snow cast a cool, quiet illumination throughout the room.

It had been a while since I'd taken a moment to watch the city like this. I'd been so busy with work lately that I didn't have the energy to do anything but go home and crawl into bed as soon as I was done. Truthfully, today had been no different. Especially after giving that seminar.

I bit lightly on my thumbnail. I didn't want to go home and crawl into bed tonight. I wanted to…celebrate or something. Just didn't have anyone to call.

I considered picking up the phone and dialing Greg's number, but nixed the idea. Even if he did happen to be awake at this hour, I couldn't see myself gushing to him about how well my very first class had gone, how the students had practically begged me to add another one.

What was wrong with me? Greg was my friend, wasn't he? The closest thing I had, anyway.

Shit, that was a depressing thought. I liked Greg and everything, but I hadn't realized he was my entire social calendar. The company had moved me here five years ago, and I'd been stellar at my job. Tonight, though, I wondered if maybe I should have been aiming for something more.

"Mr. Carlyle."

I spun, my eyes rounding when I saw Riley standing just inside my door. "What are you doing here?"

He glanced around the dim office before letting his gaze settle on me. "Came to see you."

A tremor of unease went through me. Even in this light I could see those bright eyes.

And they were predatory.

"I-it's after midnight. How did you know I'd be here?"

He shrugged. "Wasn't hard to figure out. Middle of January, the books are about to close. There's only one place you'd be."

At work. Always at work. "Right," I said, running a hand through my hair. "How can I help you, Riley?"

Hands in his pockets, he approached, his stride easy, relaxed. "Great class today."

It was a struggle to hold my ground. I wanted to make a break for it. "Oh?"

He stopped a few feet away. "Everybody was talking about you afterward. What a good teacher you are. How smart you are. How confident. They couldn't stop."

My foot edged back as I pressed myself against the window behind me. My gaze darted to his broad shoulders, his chest, his long, long legs. "What was your question, Riley?"

"I didn't say I had a question. I said I came to see you."

My head shot up. "Why did you come to see me?"

His mouth crooked as he began to move toward me again. "Still not afraid of being molested here late at night?"

Riley's huge body loomed before mine, sending off waves of heat. His sheer size actually made my knees quake, but I forced myself to sound brave. "Of course not."

Those big hands left his pockets and braced themselves against the window on each side of me. He lowered his head, his eyes focused, his voice husky. "Maybe you should be."

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