Her Sexy Side|
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Copyright ©2013 Ayla Ruse
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"Normally I wouldn't notify you, Mr. Winters," Kiera Long explained. The drop-dead gorgeous man sitting in an extra-small chair across from her tapped his fingers on his folder and nodded.
"I understand," he agreed. "You know you can call me Max. You've been my son's teacher for a year now."
Kiera wobbled a smile but ignored his offer of informality. Yes, his son was in her first-grade classroom, but her overriding attraction to the widower meant she kept her lips sealed when it came to anything informal with Mr. Winters. Casual acquaintances with handsome men left her with a bad habit of being tongue-tied and clumsy. "Ah, okay. As I was saying, I should have handed this paper to the principal, after which she would contact you directly, but I know Raymond, and I know he's only being a little boy and copying his father --"
"Since I'm an artist."
"Right. I've tried to speak with him about his drawings, but I'm falling on deaf ears. I don't want to see him asked to leave the school, so I'm hoping you can say something to him?"
"Don't worry, Ms. Long. I usually watch over his drawings anyway. This one slipped by me. It won't happen again."
Kiera pushed his son's sketch across the table. A colorful drawing of ninja horses and dogs kicking the butts of a motley group of cats glared at them from the tabletop. The scene even came complete with weapons and cartooned "POWs" and "UGHs" for speech. It was funny, actually, and pure boy, but their school had strict policies about anything even hinting at violence. When Mr. Winters -- Max -- took the paper, their hands brushed and Kiera snatched her fingers away, the sensation not unlike an electrical shock.
He watched her, she noticed, as he slipped his son's drawing into his own folder. He looked like he wanted to say something, but his phone rang, and he dropped his gaze.
He looked at the display and grimaced. "I'm sorry, but I need to take this. It'll only be a minute."
She nodded, stood and walked back to her desk. She should have told him their meeting was finished and he could leave, but she didn't want to end their conversation. This wasn't the first time she'd been alone in a conference with him, but as it was now near the end of the school year, she knew it'd probably be the last.
Jeez, aren't you a wreck? she mocked herself. Even knowing nothing would come of her attraction, she enjoyed her tame fantasies of the two of them spending hours talking. And maybe kissing. And maybe something more.
Max Winters' voice rose, and Kiera looked blindly at the papers on her desk, doing her best to ignore the frustration in his voice.
"No, Larry, that's not enough time. I don't care --"
Kiera held her breath.
"Fine," he growled. "No, you don't have to go that route again. I understand. I'll have you the layout in one week."
Kiera heard the beep of the phone turning off, and imagined if Max had been on an old-fashioned phone, she'd hear the receiver slamming down into the cradle. The drawbacks of technology.
"I'm sorry about that," he said, causing her to look his way. "That was one of my business contacts. I didn't mean to raise my voice."
"No problem," she told him.
"So, is there anything else you want to talk about?" he asked. Kiera blushed furiously. His tone had dropped, and she had a feeling he wasn't asking about his son at that moment. Why she had that feeling, she couldn't say. She wasn't experienced when it came to flirting, and she didn't want to read anything into his words that wasn't there.
"Um, no. That's all. I'm sure you'll clear this up with Raymond. Thanks for coming in."
He held out his hand, and when Kiera stepped forward for the handshake, she tripped and knocked his folder right out of his hand. Papers flew everywhere, and Kiera bit her lip at her clumsiness.
"I am so sorry, Mr. Winters," she exclaimed, crouching to pick up the scattered contents.
He did the same thing, snatching papers and shoving them into the folder without the care she imagined an artist would feel for his work.
"That's okay," he said quickly, grabbing papers from her hands. "I think I've got them all. My fault. And don't worry -- I'll talk to Raymond. You won't see anything improper from him again in school. Take care."
Kiera, sitting on her knees, looked surprised at the turnaround in Max Winters. He seemed in a hurry all of a sudden and embarrassed. Or he was mad? She had such a hard time reading people.
Dang it, she wished she weren't so backward when it came to handsome men. Especially in the package of Max Winters. He stood tall, lean, sported dark hair that fell down over the nape of his neck, ending in a slight curl her fingers itched to touch. His deep-chocolate-colored eyes seemed to mesmerize her, and that was what caused her to lose her cool around him. At least, that was the excuse she always gave herself.
What would it be like to be unafraid to open up? To risk telling him she'd like to see him sometime, outside of school? If he wasn't interested, at least then she'd know and move on. And if he was interested in seeing her, she'd be a very happy woman.
Her thoughts turned to this fantasy and, as always, she wondered what it would be like to go out and be crazy, not conservative. What would it feel like to wear revealing clothes, to have men look her over, to feel a pair of strong arms hold her tight -- someone she was actually attracted to. Someone like Max Winters.
Unfortunately, God gave her the gift of sensible conversation with below-average men. This meant her only dates had been with run-of-the-mill, stoic males. One day... one day she'd take that risk and bring out the rebellious woman inside her. If only for a little while. Yes, she loved her secure and dull world, but sometimes she wanted to be daring; she wanted to go out on a limb and be wild.
She sighed, thinking again of Max. Did he like daring women? He was a father, so it was doubtful. He'd want to be with someone he loved, wouldn't he? Did she love him?
She thought of her fantasies again. Nah. Not love. She was in lust.
She tested the word with a whisper. "Lust." What a decadent word. Even saying it felt provocative. She imagined Max Winters' face if she said she was in lust with him, then she laughed. He'd probably laugh right along with her. Or look at her weird.
"Oh, well," she muttered, stuffing her fantasy back into that particular overflowing compartment. She shifted in order to rise to her feet then noticed something lying under her desk.
"Looks like you left something behind," she said to the empty classroom, picking up the paper and seeing immediately it was full of pencil sketches. Upon further study, however, she plopped her butt down on the floor and let her jaw drop.
The pictures were of her. Very provocative, very detailed drawings of her in little to no clothing.