A few hours later, just as Mia was about to sit for dinner, or an extremely late breakfast considering she’d been asleep most of the day, a knock on the door stopped her mid wine pouring.

She wasn’t expecting anyone, but every once in a while one of the neighbors would drop by asking for a cup of sugar or milk. Out of habit, Mia looked through the peephole, taking a step back and blinking at the periwinkle door before looking again to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating.

With her best frown plastered onto her face, she opened the door, greeted by a freshly shaven Wyatt casually leaning on the frame, his expression taking on a smugness that made Mia want to smack him as he scanned her head to toe.

“Good morning,” he greeted, his gaze still roaming her body with increasing heat.

“How do you know where I live?”

“Giles told me.”

“Why?” she asked, though, considering the way he was looking at her, she was quickly losing interest in why he was there and becoming more occupied with thoughts of what they could do once he was inside her flat.

“Because he can’t retain information for shit?” Wyatt shrugged, unbuttoning his trench coat while waltzing into Mia’s apartment uninvited, looking around as he made himself comfortable.

Mia closed the door behind him and locked it, for safety, she told herself, not to keep Wyatt inside. “No, Wyatt, why are you here?”

“Oh, are you avoiding me?” Mia could sense a tone of worry, indicating the idea didn’t sit well with him. Something about that knowledge thrilled her. Both the idea that he’d spent the day bothered and that he made an extra effort to come see her were equally exciting to Mia.

“No, I was very tired.” At her words, his all-too smug grin was back, and Mia huffed out a huge sigh, as if resigning herself to the fact he probably wouldn’t be leaving any time soon. She wanted to seem as if the only reason she wasn’t protesting was that she couldn’t be bothered to argue with him right now. “Are you hungry? I made fish and chips.”

“Sure.” He followed her to the kitchen area, eyes taking in everything as they crossed the living room, the open floor plan allowing him to take in the entire living space.

Mia threw a glance over her shoulder, amused at the almost child-like curiosity Wyatt was exhibiting. “Like what you see, Doctor Jenkins?”

Wyatt laughed, turning his gaze to her with a warm smile. “I do. It’s very homey and somehow very you.”

“I should hope, considering it is mine.” Mia pulled out an extra plate and poured Wyatt a glass of wine.

“Really?” She nodded, handing him his drink.

“My father left it to me when he died, I’ve been living here since I came to Oxford when I was seventeen.”

“Was your father British?” Wyatt asked, taking the glass of wine she offered and lifting it to his mouth, again skipping the basic etiquette of saluting. Mia decided enough was enough.

“No, and also…” she lifted her glass in his direction, not bothering to hide her annoyance.

“Jenkins don’t toast.”

“Why not?” Mia asked, still irritated, but now also curious.

“My mom is very accident prone, and after a glass of beer magically exploded in her hand when she toasted it and she had to get six stitches, it’s been sort of a big no-no in our house.”

Part of her was surprised at how easily Wyatt was sharing personal information about his family, especially with her. It wasn’t as if they were two friends chatting, they were rivals who happened to engage in one night of epic sex. Of course, people like Wyatt Jenkins would easily talk about their family, they were picture perfect.

Whatever the reason for Wyatt’s ease around the subject, Mia was startled to find that she wanted to hear more. “So, you don’t toast because your mother is a klutz?”

“Pretty much, yeah.” He laughed again, lightly clinking his glass against hers. “There. I wouldn’t want to offend your culture.”

“And no one ended up in the hospital!” Mia took a sip, hiding a smile that was fighting to emerge. This was new, talking to Wyatt like a person without feeling like she needed to be defensive. Or wanting to stab him.

“Yet,” he said with a ridiculously sexy smile. Setting his wine on the table Wyatt gestured at the oven. “Shall we eat?”

The meal continued the trend by being surprisingly comfortable. They talked about high school, their work before Wyatt came to Oxford, even about the hub. There was no bickering or fighting, no clash of wills and the exhausting anger they always seemed to bring out in each other.

“How did you end up in social genomics?” Wyatt asked, his large eyes never leaving hers. It was an innocent and requisite question, but it carried too much weight for Mia to be entirely forthcoming. Unlike Wyatt, she didn’t grow up in a scientific house that exposed her to genetics at a young age or enabled her imagination to spark with physics theories disguised as comic book storylines.

“I started with social medicine when I first came to Oxford and one of my courses was with Herbert, he took me under his wing and introduced me to social genomics, and I fell in love with the field.”

“As simple as that?” Wyatt raised an eyebrow and Mia shrugged.

“Not everything in life needs to be complicated, Wyatt.” She knew that wasn’t true, and judging by Wyatt’s sardonic smile, he wasn’t sold on the notion either.

“Are you done?” He indicated her plate and Mia nodded.

Wyatt cleared the dishes and took them to the sink, rolling his sleeves up to his elbows before going about the task of washing them. It was positively unexpected, this civilized side, and Mia wondered what he was hoping to gain by showing it as she sat there, watching his muscles flex and drinking her wine while enjoying the view.

They spent a few minutes in amicable silence, the sound of running water the only thing breaking it, until Wyatt cleared his throat.

“So, I have a proposition.” He was looking intently at the plate he was scrubbing, placing it on the drying rack next to the rest of the dishes before turning to Mia.

“The real reason you came over?” she speculated, her gaze hungrily scanning his broad form as he approached her, sliding between her chair and the small dining table, and leaning back, arms crossed over his chest and his crotch level with her face.

Mia was tempted to reach out, loosen his belt and free his cock, take it into her mouth and have a repeat performance of the previous night, but Wyatt was going to have to ask for it.

“I came over because I was bothered by the idea that our little tryst last night had you going into hiding, but I admit I had more than one reason.” Wyatt stretched out his hand, hooking a finger under Mia’s chin and tipping her head up as his thumb traced her bottom lip. His smoldering russet eyes set her body aflame, his voice dropping an octave as the air between them became heavy. “I woke up and you were gone. I wasn’t nearly done with you.”

“What if I was done with you?” she countered playfully.

“I don’t believe that for a second,” he answered, sporting his infuriatingly sexy half-grin as his thumb kept rubbing over her lip. “And I have zero inhibitions about bending you over the table to check how wet your panties are just to prove my point.”

Mia knew he would do it, and part of her wanted to goad him until he made good on the tempting threat, but she also knew Wyatt was right. If they were going to take this beyond one night it had to be hashed out, no room for interpretation or confusion.

“What is it you propose, labête?” She bit back a moan at the way his pupils dilated when she called him that. He truly was a beast, undeniable feral power and appeal. Mia was finding it increasingly difficult to ignore the growing bulge in front of her or the neediness pooling between her thighs.

“I want to fuck you, Mia.” His hand slid to her throat, thumb tracing the throbbing vein in her neck. “And it seems you want it just as much.”

“I can’t deny you’re more pleasant to be around when you want something other than to get me out of the way.”

“Funny, I was about to say the same thing.”

Mia could sense the slight bitterness in his voice, and she couldn’t hold it against him. She’d been much more dedicated to the task of getting rid of Wyatt than the other way around.

“What are your terms?” she asked, needing to steer away from the guilt simmering inside her.

“I want a carte blanche,” Wyatt answered, his eyes full of fire. “Let me do anything I want to you.”

Mia sniggered and shook her head, catching his wrist and pulling his hand away from her throat. “And I’m supposed to lay back and take it like a good girl?”

“No. Force me to work for it, Mia.” His eyes flared and he flipped the position of their hands, pulling Mia against his chest where his heart beat fast and strong against her palm. “I want to have to seduce you, I want to earn every sweet moan, every orgasm. I want to go to battle with you and break you.”

“What if I break you first?” Mia knew she was talking a big game for someone who was rapidly becoming a hot quivering mess under the untamed hunger in Wyatt’s gaze, but she couldn’t help herself.

“I think no matter who ends up with the upper hand, we both win.” His logic was sound, though even if it weren’t, his low, husky voice trickling down her spine with a pleasant tingle marked the end of the conversation as far as Mia was concerned.

She pushed up to her toes, pressing her lips against his as a way to seal the deal. There was a sliver of recognition that this may be a terrible idea, but it was a lost fight. Whatever it was that drew them together, it was too strong for logic to ward off.

Mia decided to embrace it and enjoy it while it lasted.