Wyatt was starting to think that Mia really was a witch. Something about the fragrance of her body lotion was addictive, the way it gave out a gentle cloud of sweet pear aroma that penetrated even the heavy scent of sex in the air.

He pressed his nose into the soft skin of her back, inhaling before planting a kiss there, then another one a bit higher, and another even higher, his lips marking a trail to her neck.

“That was good,” he said, still sprinkling tender kisses over her shoulder, hugging her from behind.

“Too good.” Her hand stretched back to tangle in his hair, bringing his exploring lips to hers. “No one should be that talented at fucking.”

Wyatt couldn’t stop a burst of laughter, leaning over Mia and meetingher indigo gaze.

“I told you, Prickly Pear, hate is a strong fuel.”

“So, you’re saying it’s chemistry, not you?” She raised a skeptical eyebrow. “How unexpectedly modest.”

“You have me all wrong you know.”

“I have you right where I want you, Doctor Jenkins.” She turned away from him and snuggled deeper into his chest.

Wyatt tried to shake off disappointment at Mia’s easy disregard of his statement. She probably thought he was joking, but the truth was he hated how little Mia thought of him. Probably because, on a professional level, he had her on a high pedestal.

Mia was focused, driven, and innovative. Every moment he spent with her, his opinion of her rose. She intrigued him on so many levels, even the parts of her that spit fire and venom at him. Wyatt liked that his family name didn’t impress her, but he wished she regarded him as an equal rather than a nuisance. Still, he was glad she’d willingly accepted his offer and that he had Mia all to himself for the time being.

Mia sighed in content when Wyatt tightened his hold, wiggling a foot between his ankles to tangle their legs and looking at him with wicked amusement. “For the record, I won this round.”

“I told you, the beauty of this arrangement is that, even when one of us wins a battle, we both win the war.” He nuzzled her neck, breathing her in. “The collateral damage of our combat but a small death.”

Mia laughed softly at his reference to the French metaphor for an orgasm. “I dare say more than one.”

“I like fucking at your house, better than at mine.” He liked being surrounded by things that were so distinctively her.

“Your bed is bigger.” She wasn’t wrong about Wyatt’s king size bed being larger than her queen, but the way Mia snuggled in close, Wyatt failed to see how that was going to be an issue.

“We need to make a few rules,” Wyatt said, thinking of how to approach the delicate subject of exactly what he wanted to do to her under their arrangement. “Maybe a safe word.”

Mia wiggled out of his hold and turned to face him with a curious gaze. “What for? If I tell you to stop, won’t you?”

“Of course, but these games, they can get out of hand, cross a line, get too much. Or maybe one of us meets someone and wants to stop or gets bored.” With every word he felt growing dread at any of those scenarios coming true. “We need something to signal it’s more than a momentary pause, that it’s over for good.”

“Agastopia,” Mia replied after a moment. “It means admiration of a particular part of someone’s body.”

“I know what it means.” Wyatt chuckled at how appropriate her choice was. “That’s a good word.”

“Thank you.” Mia flashed him a sassy smile. “Now that we have a safe word, mind telling me the real reason why I need it?”

“What would be the fun in that?” Mia rolled her eyes and threw herself back in the pillows.

“No gags or blindfolds.”

“Obviously.” Wyatt traced her collarbone with a light touch. “I want to see in your eyes the moment you cave under the pleasure, hear when you finally give in and beg.”

“I don’t like being tied down, either.” She paused, probably waiting for Wyatt’s response, but he just nodded. He was mildly disappointed, but it wasn’t a deal breaker. Restraints were fun, but they weren’t what he had in mind when he asked Mia for a safe word. “I don’t mind if you restrain me with your hands, but no accessories.”

“Okay,” Wyatt answered, smiling at her reassuringly. “Anything else?”

“The rules,” she reminded him. “What about those?”

“Total separation between work and our private lives, the hub stays professional.”

“Agreed.” Mia gazed at the ceiling for a few seconds before turning her gaze to Wyatt. “And no talking about personal stuff. Just because we’re screwing doesn’t mean we’re friends.”

Wyatt stared at her for a few moments, trying to see something, anything, in her closed off expression that would tip him off as to why Mia would stonewall him like that, before sighing. “If that’s what you want.”

“I want orgasms and the position I deserved to get in the first place.”

“Well,” he placed a palm on her knee and slowly dragged it up her thigh, “one of those I’m more than happy to provide.”



“Mia?” Giles’ concerned voice broke Mia out of her daze. She blinked a couple of times before remembering what he asked and quickly checked her notes.

“The tray marked red needs to go to sequencing, and the one marked in blue to Amika in the clinical lab.”

“All right,” Giles said slowly, still gazing at her with concern. “Are you alright?”

“Yes, just tired,” Mia reassured him. “I was up late.”

“Reading the new John Hopkins paper?” Giles let out a low whistle that meant he was impressed by whatever he had read. “It was wicked interesting.”

“I haven’t gotten around to it yet,” Mia answered, staring intently at the sheet of paper attached to the clipboard in her hand. She’d been waiting for this specific article to come out for ages, constantly telling every willing listener how they simply must read it, had even marked it in her calendar, then proceeded to completely forget about it.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Giles asked again. “You seem out of sorts.”

She was about to answer when a voice from behind her spoke. “You do seem a bit out of focus, Doctor Bissonnette.” Mia spun on her heels, grip tight on her clipboard and eyes narrowing at Wyatt, daring him to dish out the innuendo laced taunt she knew was coming. “You should call it an early day, go home and straight to bed.”

Wait for me there, was said with his eyes. Wyatt presented a stoic exterior, but Mia was quickly learning it was a well-honed professional persona that was hiding a raging fire, one she had been willingly consumed by every night for the last two weeks.

“You know, you’re right.” She tapped her clipboard with her pen, eyes never leaving Wyatt’s. “I should go home, lock the doors, get a good night’s sleep.”

Wyatt’s brow arched and he was clearly fighting the upward tug of his lips at her goading response, but Mia wasn’t done. If Wyatt thought he could use sleep deprivation and physical gratification to break her resolve and accept his presence in her lab, he had another thing coming.

Also, Mia was still in the dark as to why she would need a safe word. Wyatt was a ferocious lover, but nothing he did ventured beyond rough fucking and orgasm denial. It was only a matter of pushing him hard enough, though, and Mia was up for the task.

“But I’m not leaving until I’m done with this batch, and that could take a while.” Mia turned her clipboard to Wyatt, showing him all the boxes that had yet to be ticked off. “If you want to help, you could grab me a cup of coffee from the shop outside.”

Giles froze with the red tray in his hand, eyes wide as they bounced between her and Wyatt. Mia knew she was pushing the boundaries of Wyatt’s patience, sending him on a coffee run as if he were some low-level grad, and the dangerous flame that flickered in his eyes sent a hot thrill through her body.

He was back to amicable in a heartbeat, but Mia sensed she’d be paying for her impertinence later tonight.

“One cinnamon mocha coming right up,” Wyatt said in a light tone and an easy smile, turning his gaze to Giles. “Double shot cappuccino?”

“Err…” Giles seemed mortified, whether at Wyatt offering to get him coffee or remembering his preferred brew, Mia didn’t know, but it was amusing, nonetheless.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Wyatt laughed as he backed out of the lab. “I expect a full report on the initial findings no later than Friday, Doctor Bissonnette.”

“Of course,” Mia answered, wondering if her punishment was going to involve Wyatt keeping her awake through Friday.

“Um, Doctor Jenkins?” Giles said from behind Mia, finally finding his voice. “You’ve got donor meetings in London the entire of next week. You’re leaving Friday morning, remember?”

Wyatt grimaced, and Mia took a few steps closer to him. “It’s alright, I’ll hold down the fort while you’re gone.”

“Will you, now?”

“Yes.” She took another step, close enough so only Wyatt could hear her when she whispered. “I’ll manage just fine without you for a week.”

Mia was met by a scorching gaze, her insides melting into a puddle under it.

“Want to bet on it?” he asked in a low voice, the tips of his fingers grazing hers.

“What do I get when I win?”

Wyatt’s lips stretched into a lazy grin. “I’ll go get you that coffee now.”

Mia watched Wyatt’s broad back and shoulders as he turned away, thinking that this may be one bet she’d enjoy losing.