The Pool Boy (A Romance Novella)

By: Penny Wylder


“But,” he says, “You may have a promising career in over-watering flowers.”

I look down, and see there’s a puddle of water around the base of the camellia I’m watering. I quickly point the hose in a different direction. “I swear, I’m not usually bad at this.”

“Don’t worry,” James says. “I was in your garden—I’ve seen what you can do.”

I smile at him. “Good. But next time you want to go in my garden you have to ask permission.”

“I will. I think I’d like to explore it further.” He winks at me. I didn’t realize winks could be so sexy. “I promise to be careful and not deflower any of your plants.”

My mouth goes dry as I realize: he’s flirting with me. Oh. My. God. I’ve never been good at flirting, but his words have my imagination spinning and the reply is easy. “Sometimes a little deflowering is healthy.”

“I can’t argue with that.”

I feel my body heat up, and I have to move away from him. I finish watering the circle of flower beds, and then grab the second bag of soil. I join James on the ground and dive into filling the beds. It’s hot, and soon I’m sweating, my arms covered in dirt. James is sweating too, and I’m desperately trying not to imagine him without his shirt on, sweating and glorious. The work is good, and the silence comfortable. I keep sneaking glances at him out of the corner my eye because I can’t help it. I’m pretty sure he knows it too.

He pauses to get more soil from his bag and adds, “I wouldn’t have thought you were the kind of girl to get dirty.” The way his fingers form the soil around the plants has me imagining his fingers doing other things. To me.

“I—” I look over at him, and he’s closer than I realized. So close that I can see his eyes are a rich coffee brown and there are crinkles around them as he smiles. His eyes move down to my mouth, and I realize I’m thinking about him kissing me. And what I imagine is being kissed like I’ve never been kissed before, right here on the ground, his arms pulling me tightly against his hard body, and now I’m staring at him again. “I like getting dirty,” I murmur. “Dirty is good.”

His lips curl into a teasing smile. “I guess we’ll have to save that for another time, then.” He gestures to the ground. “We’re finished.”

I hadn’t even realized that we’d made it all the way around the circle. “I guess we are. What do you have left to do?”

James picks up both the bags of soil. “Clean the pool. Saved it for last.”

“Great,” I say, “I’ll see you over there.”

He laughs. “It’s kind of a one person job, though I appreciate the offer.”

I turn and give him my best flirtatious smile. “You’re going to clean the pool. I’m going to use it.”





3





James





I watch Vera walk toward the house, and I’m absolutely sure there’s a swing in her hips that wasn’t there before.

Damn, I’m in trouble.

When Mike asked me to fill in for him this week he told me the client’s daughter was hot. I’m going to kill him when I see him next, because she’s way more than hot. She’s got curves no amount of clothing is going to hide, and I’ve been half hard since the moment she ran up totally intent on ripping me a new one.

I take the bags of soil back to the utility shed, thinking about the way she let her hands get dirty. I’ve met plenty of girls like her—rich and spoiled and totally privileged. But most of them are too worried about looking good to do any kind of work. Vera surprised me, but she was still planning on busting me for working in her garden. Until she saw me.

I relive the way her eyes travelled all over me, and…I have to think about anything but that in order to keep my body in control.

Then there’s the fact that she wants to be a humanitarian. It’s something else I wouldn’t have pegged her for. I like the contradictions I’m finding even though I just met her. The image of her sweating in the sun and inches away from me comes back. I was seconds away from kissing her. I would have pushed her down into the flowers. I would have kissed her breathless before slowly finding out the dimensions of each and every one of her curves. I let myself imagine everything.

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