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Hands On

Written by Clare Connelly

Chapter Four

I WATCH HER ARRIVE as I have every morning this week. It is not yet six o’clock and yet here she is. That same sensible bun in place, making my fingers itch to tangle into its neat structure and pull it apart, bit by bit. I have no idea how she does that. Does she pin it? Or is it secured with a hair tie?

I don’t remember Lucy ever doing anything elaborate with her hair.

I liked it loose.

I ache to reach my fingers into Gemma’s hair and unravel it from that style. I don’t even know how long her hair is, and that bothers me. Does it fall to her breasts? Lower? Would it be halfway down her back?

Great. Now I can see her naked back, her hair blonde against it, and my fingers are still in its lengths, twisting it.

What the hell am I doing?

My wife has died. I can’t be thinking about someone like this—especially not someone who’s just started working for me.

Someone who, as far as I can tell, has no idea that I spend most of the time we’re together mentally undressing her.

Fuck.

This is not okay. Not any part of it is okay. She pauses, only a few paces away from my window, but I am on the first floor, and unless she looks upwards I am safe to continue watching. She reaches for her handbag and pushes a hand into it.

Curiosity makes me lean further forward. Her fingers curl around her iPhone. She looks at the screen and I’m at just the right angle to see her grimace and hesitate, as though she’s thinking of not answering the call.

I’m instantly interested. I haven’t thought of her like this—as someone with a life of her own. Is she involved with anyone?

I look at her dispassionately, trying to separate the absurd film of desire that has settled in front of my eyes.

She is beautiful. Aloof and cold-seeming, but in a way that sure as hell makes me want to dislodge that. To find the heat that I’m sure must be pulsing beneath the surface.

She answers the phone; her expression is tight. Whoever is on the other end is doing most of the talking. Gemma is listening with a bemused expression on her face, and then she takes a few paces back, stopping near the oak tree at the middle of my drive. She puts a hand on her hip and the fabric of her dress pulls tighter, so that I can make out her silhouette easily.

Jesus.

This is not going to help.

I no longer need my imagination to furnish me with the shape of her figure; I can see it clearly. And while that’s going to add a degree of realism to my fantasies, it’s also going to make getting through the days a lot harder.

I know two things for certain in this moment.

Firstly, I shouldn’t have hired her. This kind of chemistry is going to backfire, badly.

Second? The only way to manage this is to scratch the itch. Elsewhere. It’s not Gemma I want—it’s sex. Right?

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Clare Connelly

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