Michael quickly glanced over at the rest of the group. Three men, his future employees, lounged on a big flat rock engaged in their own animated discussions. He followed her through the trees and after about thirty feet, they emerged on another smooth rock face that did, in fact, have a sweeping view of the mountain.
“Wow,” he said.
“Yeah, it’s beautiful. I come up here a lot.” She turned, offering him the straw from her hydration pack. “Drink this.”
The straw rested near her face so he hesitated, feeling a sudden wave of irritating pre-pubescent shyness surge through his body. She rolled her eyes and removed the clip, which stretched it an extra few inches in his direction. “Do you want me to take off the whole pack so you can wear it, since it appears we’re going to be sharing it today?”
Michael was embarrassed about neglecting to bring his own water, but he was thirsty and glad that she hadn’t called attention to his lack of preparation in front of his future employees. He leaned in to drink, and a passing breeze wafted across her skin toward him. Her neck was only a few inches away and she smelled faintly of cinnamon as he suckled the straw from her pack, feeling the cool water wash over his tongue and slide down his parched throat.
“Well don’t drink it all. What were you thinking anyway, coming up here with no water?” She asked suddenly, causing him to lean back in surprise
Michael wasn’t sure how to respond but before he could form any words, she had already disappeared through the trees to rejoin the group, and left him standing alone and still thirsty. He rushed to keep up, glad to have the view of her figure a few feet in front of him to keep his eyes steady.
Here is the blurb for the story:
Elle Thompson was raised in Denver. She gardens. She paints. She knows how to avoid cougar attacks. Real ones.
The only cougars that Michael Williams usually worries about are the ones that wear leopard print leggings on 5th Avenue.
But, when Michael’s acquisition firm sets its sights on her family’s business, his tidy life goes awry. As his life unravels, so do all of his pre-conceived notions of love, and what a perfect partner should be.