Fit To Be Tied
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by Kate Willoughby
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Ten years ago, Sadie thought Max was a scrawny, hopeless nerd. She even said so to his face in front of the student body. Today, Max is still a little nerdy but in a "My, Clark Kent, what broad shoulders you have!" way. And when she ends up as his temporary house guest, she discovers a lot more about the new him. He's amusingly fastidious, independently wealthy, and most importantly, able to make her wet with little more than a commanding stare. There's just one thing she still needs to find out: what the heck is behind that black door--his bedroom door--the one he asked her not to open?
eBook Publisher: Atlantic Bridge/Liquid Silver Books, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: December 2010
9 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [132 KB]
Reading time: 80-112 min.
When Sadie Corbett saw the man leading the museum's insect demonstration, she realized immediately that the universe was giving her a chance to balance the cosmic scales. The hairs on the back of her neck were never wrong, and every one of them had snapped to attention when she recognized Maxwell Brody.
"As you can see," he said, a giant, brightly colored grasshopper crawling on his hand, "the Melanoplus differentialis has enormous hind legs. This enables it to jump up to twenty times the length of its own body."
As Sadie drew near, she noticed Max had changed quite a bit in the ten years since high school. His old eyeglasses were history. His shoulders were broader, his body more muscular. Gone, too, were the Spiderman tees and unkempt hair. Today he wore a polo shirt and chinos with his brown hair cropped short, and although a crowded key chain still hung from his belt loop, he had pretty much transformed from gawky geek to yummy intellectual.
His light brown eyes widened as he noticed her. She cocked a hip and flashed a smile even though she was grubby. Dirt smudged her knees and her blonde hair lay matted on her forehead from the straw hat she'd been wearing outside, but that couldn't be helped.
"It's me," she mouthed. "Sadie Corbett! Remember?"
He blinked at her with an inscrutable expression on his face, but she knew he'd recognized her.
As he put the grasshopper away in a plastic container, she wiggled her way up through the other people until she was right next to him, so close that she could see the dark stubble on his cheeks. That was when she noticed he was a lot taller, too. Her head only barely reached his shoulder. He must have had a late growth spurt after she'd moved away.
"Now," he said, giving her a sidelong glance, "let's look at Gromphadorhina portentosa, the giant hissing cockroach."
"Oh, God," said one mom with a sick look on her face.
Sadie watched wide-eyed as Max brought out a beetle the size of a small pancake.
"Where I come from you step on dose tings," a man remarked, and to Sadie's delight the insect hissed, as if in answer. Everyone laughed.
Max allowed a few of the kids to hold and pet the cockroach, then amid protests, he put it away, the demo obviously over. As people asked some final parting questions, Sadie decided she sort of missed his eyeglasses. They'd made him look sexy. Even so, he still had that professorial appeal. Although Sadie loved men in general, she'd always been a little partial to guys who looked studious and controlled in public, but whom she suspected were tigers in bed when unleashed. That had certainly been the case with Max when they'd shared that one hot time in the back of his car. What he'd lacked in experience, he'd made up for with enthusiasm.
She looked at his mouth and remembered what it had felt like clamped onto her nipple, licking any skin that had been showing, devouring her as if she was his one and only chance for sexual fulfillment. Sadie smiled wistfully. Too bad she'd acted like a bitch. When she fell in briefly with that one group of girls, she'd been so full of herself, wielding her feminine wiles like knives. The four of them had routinely leveled boys with razor-sharp put-downs. She wasn't proud of her behavior back then and recognized that meeting Max again now was an opportunity for her to atone, even if it was just an apology for her cruel words.
"I should have known you'd end up working with insects," Sadie remarked after the last hangers-on wandered away. She crouched to get a better look inside the various containers on his cart. "I remember that elaborate bug report you gave in biology, and your nose was always in some sort of comic book. You do remember me, don't you?" she asked, giving him one of her most impish smiles.
"Sadie," he said, meeting her gaze squarely, "I could never forget you." His eyes seemed to bore right into her bones. Yowsa.
She squared her shoulders. Time to pay the piper. "The more important question is, can you forgive me?"
Max blinked at her.
Well, she'd made her bed and if groveling was required, she'd damn well do it.
"I want to apologize for the way I treated you in high school. I was a queen bitch to you and I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to rip me a new one, even now after all these years."
"Oh." He shrugged. "I have to admit, I really hated you for a long time."
She nodded. "Hey, I hated me, too, actually."
His mouth twitched, like a smile was checking out the property but wasn't sure yet if it wanted to move in. "I got over it. No hard feelings."
"You mean it? You're not just saying that?"
"I never say anything I don't mean." He delivered this line so earnestly. This man had developed confidence since she'd last seen him. She wondered, self-consciously, whether he was noticing any changes in her.
"How have you been?" he asked. "What have you been up to?"
"I've been living the life of a nomad, traveling from state to state doing whatever job comes my way." As the daughter of a career Navy man, she came by her wanderlust honestly. "Right now I'm here in L.A. to work on the big butterfly thing again."
Max nodded. "The Butterfly Extravaganza. I've heard about it. I started working here just after last year's exhibit closed. What are you doing for it?"
"My friend Becky supervises the garden design and I'm helping her. It's my second time doing it."
Max toed the wheel lock on the rolling cart and said, "So, you're involved with the gardens. That explains the dirt."
"Oh, but you know me," she said. "I'm always willing to get down and dirty."
Max raised an eyebrow at her, Spock-like. She almost expected him to state blandly, "Most illogical." Instead, his eyes roved over her, slowly, like a caress.
"I remember," he said, and those two words sent a shiver of lust through her that was part memory and part wishful thinking.
"So," she said, following him into the back hallway. "How much do you know about tarantulas?"
"Quite a bit. My thesis was on the quantitative and qualitative variation of spider venoms. And I collect them, too."
"Venoms or spiders?"
"No, like pets," he said, putting the demonstration insects away on the shelves. "What's your interest in tarantulas? Did you find one in your house or something?"
"No. Actually, I bought one. It's for my next job. I'm going to be a bug wrangler."
"A bug wrangler. I'm supposed to supervise a tarantula crawling on someone's head for a movie."
"How in the world did you get a job like that?"
She closed the drawer she'd been looking in. "As usual, the job found me. A couple of weeks ago I ran into someone I worked with once and I mentioned I was doing this butterfly thing. She assumed I was more involved with the insects than with the gardening and asked if I knew anything about tarantulas." Sadie leaned against the wall, arms crossed. "So, I said I did, just for the hell of it. The job didn't sound too difficult. It's one scene. Their normal bug guy had a scheduling conflict."
Sadie frowned. "The trouble is, I bought a tarantula at the pet store but he's sick. He won't eat any of the crickets I gave him. In fact, the crickets seem to be nibbling on him. I'm probably going to wake up tomorrow and find him flat on his back."
"Hmm. That's not outside the realm of possibility. That's the normal molting position, which is probably all that's wrong with him. I'd have to look at him to make sure."
"Oh, Max, could you? Can you look at him after work? I'm staying at my friend Becky's house and she doesn't live very far from here. Please? It could be a matter of life and death! I'd owe you big time."
Max gave her an odd look. His dark eyes narrowed slightly, but he nodded. "Okay. I'll stop by later tonight."
"Oh, thanks, Max! You're the best!"
Sadie grabbed him by the shoulders and kissed him on the cheek. The stubble of his five o'clock shadow was rough against her lips and she smelled an aftershave that had almost worn off. Feeling flirty, she lingered a little longer than the situation warranted, and let her breasts brush against his chest. That brief contact made her nipples tighten, and her clit gave a little twitch. Yeah, he still did it for her. He was so sexy it wasn't funny.
Unfortunately, Max seemed unaffected. But not for long, she decided. Not if she had anything to do about it.