Big Man

By: Penny Wylder

Prologue





The sound of the ax hitting wood stops me as I walk across the yard with the bottles of water I just grabbed from the kitchen. I should just keep walking, get back to the fence I’m working on, but I can’t help it. It’s a reflex by now. I glance toward the sound, and my whole body tenses when I spot him.

Grant Werther. A whole lot bigger now than the scrawny teenager who used to chase me around this yard. There’s growing up well and then there’s growing up into the most irresistible man I’ve ever seen swing an ax.

I watch him pause to wipe sweat from his brow. Then, while I’m still standing here, halfway out of the house, totally exposed if he turns around, he tugs his shirt off over his head.

Fuck.

Sweat glistens along his perfectly-cut chest and abs. His biceps are as thick as my thighs, and I can’t help thinking, as I watch him lift and ready the ax to swing, how easily he could toss me around a bedroom. I imagine having those big, strong hands around my waist, picking me up. Pinning me against the wall of the room I slept in alone last night because he insisted on sleeping in his truck. Because he doesn’t want to be here any more than I do.

Because he doesn’t remember me. Not the way I remember him.

He’s filled out, yes, but he’s also gotten arrogant, judgmental. He thinks I’m too good for this town just because I wanted to get out of it as fast as humanly possible.

He’s the last person here I ought to be fantasizing about.

But he swings that ax, digs it deep into the dead tree he’s chopping down in the middle of my property—our property, as it turns out—and I cannot stop my damn brain. It’s straight off into fantasyland. If Grant is this big all over, just imagine what’s in those jeans of his…

I imagine him bending me over right here in the grass and fucking me, hard and raw, the way this country man likes it. My clit throbs at the thought. Fucking hell. I can’t even cross the lawn these days without getting wet.

I tear my eyes from him and stride across the grass toward my destination. But I’m only halfway there when I hear him clear his throat.

I glance over, find him smirking at me. He moves toward me across the lawn, and it’s all I can do to keep my eyes fixed on his face, not wandering over his half-naked body.

“You drinking both of those?” he asks.

I glance down at my hands and realize I’m gripping both water bottles extra hard now. I’d planned on it, but… I extend one to him with a shrug. “Yours now,” I say.

“Thank you kindly,” he says, only a hint of sarcasm in that response. His hand brushes mine as he takes the bottle, lingering just longer than is normal. With him standing this close, I catch his scent, maddening, overpowering, and it makes me want to throw myself at him. Let him take me however he wants me.

To judge by the way his gaze drips over my body, lingering on my chest, he’s thinking the same thing. But he just cracks open the bottle and takes a long drink, still eying me as he does.

When he straightens once more, he throws me one last smirk. “Best keep working on that fence,” he says. “Staring at me all day isn’t going to fix it any faster. Unless, that is, you’d prefer a more… hands-on distraction.”

My cheeks flash red hot, and I storm away without a response. Mostly because I don’t trust myself to retort with my throat as tight as it is. But when I glance over my shoulder, I find he’s the one watching me now, eyes on my backside. And he looks every bit as interested as I feel.

Dammit. I’m in trouble now.





1





Sasha Bluebell





The letter arrives at the worst possible time.

I’m currently between clients, juggling freelance jobs from my last company, where I was their head paralegal consultant until I had enough of their bullshit pseudo-assignments and quit to pursue my own thing. But it’s been slow-going in the freelance world, and it’s taken me a while to build up a private client base. Originally I took on a couple of gigs for my old firm on a case-by-case basis. Now they’ve flooded me with so many that it feels like I’m full-time again, minus the healthcare benefits.

Not that I can complain about the money. That, at least, has been more than decent.

Still, my schedule is a wreck. So much a wreck, that when the letter first arrives, I don’t even notice it in my inbox for a week straight. When I do, I take one glance at the cover letter and find myself wincing, wanting to shove it straight back under the stack of unread incoming mail that awaits me on my desk. The longer I can prolong this, the better. Because I don’t want to confront any of the emotions that rise up when I read that first line.

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