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Eliza May Brown

“They say you shouldn’t swim for a half-hour after eating,” I said. “I hope that doesn’t apply to baths, too.”

The dog cheerfully followed me through my room and into the bathroom. He started to look alarmed when I closed the door, and he whined pitifully when I ran the water in the tub.

He didn’t struggle when I scooped him up in my arms but he gave me a pitiful look when I put him in the water. He cried as if I was killing him as I scrubbed and lathered and rinsed, then repeated. I used Seth’s big, fluffy towels to buff his short hair dry.

The dog wriggled joyfully as I rubbed him, his tongue and his tail flapping as his paws scrabbled on the tile floor.

The bathroom door opened and the dog squirted out of my grip and ran for freedom, nearly bowling into Seth. I landed on my fanny in an awkward lump, looking up the long, lean length of man towering over me.

The man put his hands on his hips. “What was that?” he asked. “You didn’t have a dog in your bag, did you?”

I was as wet and scraggly as the dog. I pushed a sodden lump of hair out of my face. “Umm,” I said eloquently.

Seth hunkered down. The movement sent all kinds of interesting ripples and bulges shifting under his tee shirt and jeans. My mouth went dry. I wanted to lean away from him and jump him at the same time and, for the moment, I was paralyzed by indecision.

His mouth quirked and he reached for me, lifting me into his arms and standing in one smooth motion. Before I could say or do anything, he dumped me in the tub and turned on the shower.

I laughed. I couldn’t help myself. I was fully dressed, covered in dirt and dog hair, and the handsomest man in the universe had decided to bathe me.

We didn’t hear the pitter-patter of little paws in time.

The dog hit Seth above the knees, flinging him into me, then followed us into the shower. As I staggered under Seth’s weight the dog jumped out and ran off again.

Seth was almost as soaked as I was. His wet shirt molded itself to every line and curve of his incredible body as he pressed against me.

I wasn’t holding him up. He’d broken his own fall and his hands were braced on either side of me. My cheek fit perfectly into the curve of his neck and I inhaled the scent of him, warm and masculine, and my knees buckled. His arms slid around my waist to hold me up, to hold me harder.

My vision of us together slammed through me, vibrating through me until I trembled against him. I knew the feel of him, knew how he would feel inside of me, and the knowledge and anticipation overwhelmed me.