Text Me, Maybe - Jolyse Barnett

Chapter One

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?

“Lexie, right?”

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.

Oh my.

“Point your toes forward. That’ll help your balance.”

She shifted.

“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