The whole novella can be read in one go by following the links, starting here. I'm also hoping to get it into all the regular outlets (as a freebie) soon.
In the meantime, enjoy the last bite-size piece of Tom before he slips into another story…
The Prelude to Attraction (Part 11)
I round the corner and stop short of the entrance to the institute, just to take it all in. The Germans really know what they’re doing with their architecture—this place is breathtaking. I cut through the car park and file into the building behind a group of people my age. They’re obviously from all over the place, all chattering away in a colorful jumble of pseudo-English.
There’s a leggy blonde girl near the front of the pack, and she shoots me a loaded stare before disappearing up the stairs. I feel like taking her aside and telling her that I’m spoken for, and the inanity of that idea almost makes me laugh out loud. Because who am I kidding? I haven’t even properly met the woman I’m supposedly saving myself for, and she may well fall very short of the pedestal I’m putting her on. Besides, it’s not like I haven’t kept up a steady diet of meaningless encounters in the last few months. There’s no reason a tall blonde German girl can’t help me maintain the tradition.
I turn my attention to the receptionist, who greets me in a thick accent and nods brusquely when I give her my name.
“Frau Dr Ramsey is expecting you,” she says, and sends me on my way.
I take the stairs to blow off the last trace of nerves coursing through my system, and round the corner into my new lab with as much confidence as I can muster.
I’m early, but what am I going to do— wait downstairs?
No. I walk in, and introduce myself to the first person I see: a timid-looking redhead sitting at a desk with a stack of articles and a laptop in front of her.
“Hi, I’m Tom,” I say. “I’m the new guy.”
The girl peers up at me and looks like she might want to vomit on my shoes. I step back instinctively, and consider asking her if she needs my help.
And that’s when I hear it. The rhythmic click of heels as she strides toward me.
I turn around, and fall for her all over again.
Her hair is a perfect mess, and she’s dressed like she has a team of tailors locked up at home, in a red top that shows off those fantastic arms, and a gray skirt that hugs her hips the way I want to. I almost ask her to turn around and walk away from me again, just so I can check out her ass in that skirt.
Somehow I manage to drag my eyes up to her face, and I’m more than happy to see a flicker of interest burning behind her professional facade. She looks like she’s been thrown just a little off balance, and the effect is intoxicating.
I want to throw her all the way off balance. In fact, I want to throw her down right here and now and get her good and naked. I’m silently willing Red to slink away somewhere, so I can get better acquainted with the beautiful Dr Ramsey. I bet I could have those clothes off in ten seconds flat. I briefly try to imagine what she might be wearing underneath them, but stop short, struck down with the clear and present threat of getting a boner on the first day of my new job.
She recovers herself just in time to pull up in front of me, and extends her hand, saying, “Kate Ramsey. Pleased to meet you.”
The accent itself is nearly my undoing. Her voice sounds like it was programmed for talking dirty, and I feel like anything and everything she ever says will run through an innuendo loop buried somewhere in my brain.
This is not a very good way of starting a professional relationship.
I gather all my best intentions and return her handshake, but the words that come out of my mouth next run dangerously close to how I’m actually feeling.
“Believe me, the pleasure is mine,” I say, and mentally kick myself for being such a sleaze.
I may as well have said, “Likewise, Dr Ramsey. By the way, have you met my cock? It’s currently your biggest fan.”
What a fucking creep.
But she’s all business as she rattles out something about the lab not being ready for my arrival. To be honest, I’m so lost in the gorgeous rhythm of her voice that I barely pay any attention at all. So when she stops talking, I fill in the silence with yet another ode to creepiness.
“That’s no problem, Kate,” I say, holding her gaze. “I’ll be happy wherever you put me.”
And at first I hate myself for not screening my thoughts before I voice them, but then her reaction has me feeling something else entirely. Her eyes glaze over a little and her beautiful mouth drops open a fraction, almost as if she’s gasping for air.
I like that look. I want more of it.
But all that can come later, I decide. Right now I want to find my equilibrium with her, and settle into this new trajectory that I’ve embarked on. I want to make my home here in this city, in this lab. And I want to kickstart all the amazing things I’ve envisioned myself accomplishing with this incredible woman.
Because something tells me my instincts are spot on here.
Something tells me this is our beginning.