Emily remained silent, her attention blatantly fixed on his lower body, her lip caught between her teeth. A flush stained her cheeks and if he didn't miss his guess, given the slight smile teasing at the corners of her mouth, raunchy thoughts filled her mind.
The blood immediately left his head and rushed south, his cock rising to the occasion and letting him know it was taking notice. Crap, he'd be in deep trouble here if he didn't get his mind-and hers if he was reading her right-off the sexual and onto the mundane.
"Um, Emily, the room. Remember? I still need a bed for the night." Great, why did I have to mention bed ?
Emily gave him one last lingering look before she spun about and strutted down the hallway.
"There are only the two bedrooms and a bathroom up here and this bedroom I've turned into my office." She paused at the entrance to a small room.
Nicholas glanced inside. The room was totally disorganized, papers lying everywhere. On the desk. On top of the computer. All over the floor. Had someone broken in here as well? Or was this the way she normally worked?
Suddenly, he heard it. A slight noise. A rustle. A scratchy sound like someone dragging something along the wooden floor. And it was coming from the other side of the large desk.
He motioned to Emily to be quiet, slid his hand under the back of his jacket and drew the standard issue Glock 17 from the pancake holster attached to his belt. All his protective instincts rose to the fore. A rush of adrenaline invaded his system. It sharpened his senses and focused his mind. Cautious, breath held, he crept toward the end of the desk.
"That's Ria, my cat. You won't need the gun. She's really very sweet. Well, most of the time."
When Emily stepped up behind him and popped her head around his arm, Nicholas jerked in reaction. Taking a deep breath, he loosened his grip on his weapon and stared.
A jet-black cat with the most amazing yellow eyes squatted among broken shards of pottery. An errant thought, that the cat was very like her mistress, flitted though his mind. He quickly dismissed it as he realized how silly he must look, standing there holding a gun on a cat. He tucked the weapon away, bent down and extended his hand.
"Look like she's knocked a pot off your desk." He tried to pick up a piece of the broken pottery, only to have the cat snake out a paw, claws extended, and smack him on the wrist. Blood welled immediately from the scratch. A loud hiss issued from the animal's mouth. Nicholas glared at the cat, but the bloody thing simply bared its teeth at him, its mouth curled back in what looked like a sneer.
"Oh, she knocked that off a few weeks ago. That's how I found the papyrus. A friend on an archaeological dig in Egypt sent the pot to me. The papyrus was hidden inside."
"Why haven't you picked the broken bits up? If you walk on them with bare feet, you'll cut yourself to pieces."
"Ria won't let me. For some reason she took an instant dislike to the pot. I've never seen her hiss at anything like that before. It's a marriage pot. History shows the ancient Egyptians filled them with scented massage oils used to anoint the bride in a mating ceremony. The old folklore says if you introduce one of those into your household, your days are numbered, you'll soon be mated for life."
Emily chuckled. "Maybe Ria is worried I'll get hitched and won't have time for her. Cats are very territorial. She knocked the pot flying as soon as I set it on the desk. Now she won't let me touch it."
"Why not clean it up when she's out in the garden?"
She shrugged. "Why bother? It'll only upset Ria. If she wants to stand guard over a busted pot, who am I to say she shouldn't? It's lucky she didn't rip the papyrus to shreds."
Nicholas closed his eyes, shook his head and prayed for patience. "Where's the papyrus now? Somewhere safe, I hope?"
"Oh, perfectly safe." Emily reached inside the front of her shirt and extracted a folded plastic sleeve containing the ancient scrap of writing material from her bra. "No one would think of looking for it here."
He groaned. No one but this woman would hide a priceless object in her underwear.
"Nicholas, are you all right? You've gone quite red in the face. Perhaps I should show you where you're sleeping. Maybe you need to have a lie-down."
She led the way into the other bedroom. A large four-poster bed dominated the room, flanked by two small bedside tables. A lacy cover and embroidered throw cushions, as well as the lace curtains hanging from the canopy of the bed, turned the whole room into a scene for seduction.
French doors framed by the same lacy fabric opened out onto a covered balcony. A cheval mirror stood to one side and an antique rocking chair, piled high with fluffy cushions, held pride of place near the open doors.
He ran his hand through his hair. Lord, she'd be the death of him. She'd gone out and left these unlocked, too. Shaking his head in disbelief, he turned again to face the bed.
"Ah, Emily, there's only one bed. Where am I supposed to sleep?"
Emily beamed at him. "Oh, I've thought about that. If you'd been a man, I mean a straight man, we'd have a problem. As it is, we don't have to worry."
"What do you mean by that?" A feeling of dread settled inside him.
"Well, you're too big for my little couch and I know for a fact I can't sleep on it. Seeing as how you're.you know.gay, I thought we could both share the room. It'll be like having a sleep-over."
Oh, for fuck's sake, she expects me to sleep with her ? He found himself wildly attracted to the biggest kook he'd ever met and now he had to sleep with her?
With a silent curse, he struggled to damp down the surge of anticipation rippling through his body. He couldn't believe how hard it was to discipline himself, to clear his mind of the vivid mental pictures of himself and the crazy professor cuddled up together in that bed. Come to think of it, that wasn't the only thing that was hard.
He groaned at life's little irony. Here he was, with a woman who looked like an Egyptian goddess and he was supposed to pretend she didn't turn him on. Nicholas Farley, the heartthrob of the agency, the man who never had a problem with women. A man for whom self-control had never been an issue. And now his body was betraying him and he couldn't do a damn thing about it.
He was supposed to be gay.