Text Me, Maybe
New to the Big Apple, the last thing Lexie Bloom needs is to fall for two guys at once. Especially when she can’t have either. One is her personal trainer, an Adonis way out of her league. The other? A Brit Lit professor her svelte boss insists she woo for her—via text message, no less. Little does she know, the two are the same man…
Matthew Hennessey is intrigued by his shy new client at the gym. But before he gets the chance to ask her out, he discovers she’s the one crafting the flirty texts sent to him by a woman who wouldn’t know Lord Byron from Lady Gaga. To get to know her better, he allows Lexie to play her role. She may have given up on the idea of romance, but Matthew’s bound and determined to show her love is alive and well in New York City.
Enjoy an Excerpt
Alexandra Bloom tugged her sweatshirt down over her hips and whistled under her breath. Wow. Her new firm’s fitness center was unlike any she’d ever seen, with its high ceilings, gleaming oak floors, and killer view of the East Side. She should’ve known. This was Park Avenue in Manhattan, not Broad Street in Philly. For some reason, when her coworkers had suggested this place, she’d pictured a gray, musty gym with cement block walls.
Nope. Nothing like Rocky or anything familiar back in rural Pennsylvania. And the music? The frenetic techno beat vibrating the soles of her new cross-trainers was nothing like the Top 40 or the twang of country she was used to.
Stop. So what? It’s different, but New York’s where I need to be.
Sucking in a deep breath, she squared her shoulders and strode to the little weight room off the main gym. One impromptu warm-up and downed bottle of water later, there was still no sign of the personal trainer she’d been told to expect. Maybe she should get started? There was a straight bar already loaded near the back wall.
Twenty-five pounds. Hmm…a packed suitcase weighs more.
Crouching next to the bar, she reached out and wrapped her fingers around the cold metal, about shoulder-width apart. Okay. That looked right. Now what?
“Want a spotter?”
Huh? She rocked back on her heels and peered through the chunk of hair escaping her ponytail. “Oh…”
Inches away, black bike shorts molded muscular thighs and—
The owner of the impressive bulge cleared his throat.
Cheeks burning, she scrambled to her feet.
A powder blue shirt hugged six-pack abs, and a massive, sculpted chest and shoulders filled her world.
Well, well, well. Tell me you’re my trainer…
Her gaze fell to the embroidered name on his shirt then lifted to meet his eyes. He was Thor with darker, shorter hair, and he was looking right at her.
“Hey.” He tilted his head. “First time?”
Not Thor. Matthew. My trainer? Someone pinch me quick.
“Hi,” she breathed. Where had that sexy, kitten voice come from? And why couldn’t she stop smiling?
She nodded, unable to get her brain to coordinate with her mouth, and all said mouth wanted to do was latch onto that delicious skin where his neck met his shoulder.
Stepping back, she caught a glimpse of his backside in one of the mirrors. Sheer, chiseled perfection.
Cancel my order. No pinch necessary. I like this dream.
His gaze fixed on her sweatshirt logo. “Leland University?”
“Graduated four years ago.” She stifled a groan. Ugh, there was that phone-sex voice coming out of her again. “You?”
“NYU. Ten years. Noticed you’ve got a good grip. Want to give it a shot?”
After scanning the trainer’s assets one more time, she rubbed sweaty palms on the front of her yoga pants and grinned. Why not take advantage of his, um, expertise? “Yep. That’s why I’m here.”
“Great. Let’s start with a simple set of squats, then.”
A girl could get lost in those hazel eyes and that toe-curling smile. She hesitated, her bravado slipping. He was a man, not a boy pretending to be one.
“No worries. I’m a professional.”
Right. This is exercise, nothing more.
Lexie nodded and stepped back around the bar, then crouched next to it, her knees shaking.
“Grab with both hands like before,” he instructed as he slid behind her, his heat closing in.
Together, they lifted the bar over her head and rose as one to a standing position.
A tingling warmth spread between her legs like delicious wildfire… She felt restless. Wanton. Womanly. Maybe if she leaned back—
Strong fingers slid beneath her sweatshirt and gripped her waist. “Whoa.”
She gasped, his searing touch compounding her inability to think. And, apparently, to balance…
“See why I need to be so close? Don’t want you falling backward.” His deep voice rasped against her ear, mint tickling her nose.
Her breath exited in a dazed whoosh, her nerve endings on high alert and focused on the twin points of contact where his hands had settled on either side of her waist.
“Point your toes forward. That’ll help your balance.”
“Wonderful,” he whispered. “Now we’ll rest the bar on your shoulders…hold on…stand tall. Got it?”
She gripped the bar tight, her palms slick. Damn. She was trying so hard to concentrate, but Mr. Hard Body wasn’t making that an easy feat. He sparked her imagination, not to mention her libido. If only she could stop imagining his rock hard thighs and strong, capable hands assisting her with far more intimate, satisfying exercises than squats. “I’m not sure,” she said.
“Watch.” He shifted her toward the closest mirror, lifted the bar from her shoulders, and moved beside her to demonstrate.
Now, that’s an eye-opener.
Where he was all angles, she was all curves. Being so close to a man who was the picture of fitness, when she was, well, more of a work-in-progress…it definitely inspired her to buy into the benefits of exercise.
For prurient, hedonistic reasons.
Like marathon sessions in the bedroom, perhaps?
“Okay. Now you do it.” He returned the straight bar to her shoulders. “Ready?”
His question pulled her out of the uncharacteristic, shallow-end-of-the-pool musings. “Yep.” It wasn’t so awful just standing with the weight on her back.
“I’m right here. Don’t worry. Unless you want to go with lighter weights?”
She lifted her chin and eyed his reflection behind hers in the mirror. The dare in his tone, combined with her sudden desire to succeed at all costs, spurred her on. “I’m good.”
“Okay then, show me a squat.” A smile entered his husky voice. “Remember, take a deep breath, brace your body, and pretend like you’re sitting down. Don’t let go of that breath until you’re finishing standing back up. One smooth movement. Use the power in your core and legs, not your back.”
“But…how do I know when to stand back up?”
Matthew put his hand on her hip. “You feel this? The crease in your hip? Once this goes past your knees—we call that breaking parallel—that’s when.”
Crease? What about the fire from your touch?
Lexie glanced back, her long ponytail swishing across his broad chest. “Don’t know if I can do that.” He was too close, and she was way too wobbly.
“Don’t worry.” His voice dropped a notch. “It’s my job to protect your bottom from the hard floor.”
My bottom? Well, since you put it that way.
“Good to know.” Refusing to consider how ridiculous she looked while bending into the butt-sticking-out-position, she focused on the movement and the count. Nothing personal going on here. No siree, Bob.
Although, it felt pretty damned personal when the backs of her thighs brushed against the warm, sculpted tops of his, and her bottom nestled onto his pelvis.
She gasped, lurching forward.
“Gotcha.” He grunted, then steadied her so their private parts regained a respectable few inches between each other. “Another?”
With his help, she repeated the sequence three more times. And holy crap, he was right. Balancing the weight on her back was all about aligning the bar with her body. “There.” He took the weight from her, and she turned around as he set the bar on the floor with a soft thump.
“You’re a natural. Awesome job.”
“Really? Thanks.” She tilted her head. Maybe she could follow through on her fitness goals with a cheerleader like him.
“We still on for tonight?”
At the sound of another woman’s voice, she spun toward the door to find a petite blonde staring at them.
“Sure,” Matthew responded. “Seven?”
“Meet you at the bench press,” the blonde promised.
Resisting the sudden, irrational urge to run over and slam the door behind his other client, Lexie escaped to the corner for her water bottle, yanked on the spout and tipped her head back. Damn. Empty. Unlike her mind, which was filled with crazy thoughts like he’s mine and you can’t have him.
WTF is that about?
She snorted in self-disgust and fiddled with the bottle until, slowly, sanity returned.
She met his hooded gaze, only to have that tingling anticipation sweep through her once again, like when she sat center seat in Orchestra Row J and the curtains were about to open.
“You did great for a first-timer.” Matthew pulled a business card from his shirt’s tech pocket. “I’m here weekday evenings, five to nine. If you’re interested.”
If? Have you looked in one of the hundred mirrors in this place?
She traced the card’s perimeter with her index finger. “Matthew Hennessey, Manager.” She smiled and nodded. He’d always be mighty Thor to her.
“So, let’s discuss goals.” He placed his hands on his hips, a man secure in his surroundings.
She bit her bottom lip and allowed herself to enjoy the view. Bold might be fun. “I hear J&C has an annual fundraiser.”
He nodded. “May seventh. Great event.”
Lexie fiddled with the strap of her bag. “And there’s a fun run, too.” She snorted. “Quite the oxymoron, if you ask me.”
“The 5K?” His eyes crinkled. “That’s my baby.”
Oops. How fast can I back-peddle?
“I mean, it’s not like I don’t want to participate. The fundraiser is for a wonderful cause. It’s just I’d really prefer not to faint or finish last.”
He folded his arms and nodded. “Reasonable. Want to start now?”
He smiled and pointed at a door she hadn’t noticed earlier. “If this time-slot works, I’d suggest you grab it before it’s taken.”
Are you taken? Her eyes fell to his hands. No rings.
He ushered her inside a cramped office. “We can set up your personal fitness regimen.”
“Let’s do it.” Geez, she needed to pay attention or she might accidentally agree to extra fees or illicit acts. She couldn’t afford either, no matter how much his hotness inspired decadent images of the latter.
“Thanks.” Determined to keep her lust on a leash, Lexie squeezed past him. He was so close. So big. So primal.
Primal? A true tell that I watched way too many nature shows as a kid.
She sank onto the chair and waited. Staring at Matthew Hennessey could easily become her new guilty pleasure, replacing her current fascination with pinning hot wet guy photos on her private Pinterest board. She shifted on the metal seat and folded her hands.
“We’ll fill this baby out, then head back to the gym in a few.” He set a clipboard on the small table between them and leaned over it, pen in hand. “How active are you?”
“Have to sit a lot for work,” she hedged.
“And what about fun?”
I know what I’d like to do— Lexie cleared her throat. “I read and write, watch TV and movies.” Crap. No wonder her inner Naughty Girl kept chiming in. She could use a little variety in her day.
Better yet, her night.
Matthew waited, pen poised as if expecting more details. When they didn’t come, he checked off a box.
She leaned forward.
Sedentary? That sounds so…lazy.
Well, she was there now, not just for the race, but for herself. The only reasonable choice was to bare her anti-fitness soul for him to scrutinize and reshape.
If only he’d mold her like clay. Get her wet, use his hands—
Am I crazy? So what if he’s perfect from his pecs to his penmanship? I know better.
She peeked at the man next to her and sighed. Maybe if it had been only one stupid jerk—or even three—that had cheated on her, she might give love another try. But considering her track record with men was beginning to rival that of her mother’s, she wasn’t about to risk an organ as delicate as her heart ever again.
No matter how much Naughty Girl might beg.