The Marriage Contract(7)

By: Kat Cantrell

There was no light where his baby’s mother was concerned. She’d brought her feminine scent and shiny dark hair into his house and put a stamp of permanence all over everything.

Did she know that he’d made a huge concession when he’d asked her to stay with him? This was his domain, his sanctuary, and he’d let her invade it, sucking up all the space while she was at it. Only for Conner would he have done this.

This, of course, looked an awful lot like he was hiding in his workshop. But he couldn’t be in the main part of the house and walk around with the semi-erection McKenna gave him by simply laughing. Or looking at him. Or breathing. It was absurd. He’d been around women before. Gorgeous women who liked his money enough to put up with his idiosyncrasies. None of them had ever invoked such a driving need.

He tried to pretend he was simply working. After all, he often holed up in his workshop for days until Mrs. Elliot reminded him that he couldn’t live on the Red Bull and Snickers that he kept in the corner refrigerator.

But there was a difference between hiding and holing up and he wasn’t confused about which one he was doing. Apparently he was the only one who was clear on it, though, because the next time he glanced up from the robot hand he was rewiring, there she stood.

“Busy?” she called in her husky voice that hit with a solid thwang he felt in his gut.

“Ms. Moore,” he muttered in acknowledgment. “This is my workshop.”

“I know.” Her brows quirked as she glanced around with unveiled curiosity. “Mrs. Elliot told me this was where I could find you. Also, we share a child. I think it’s okay if you call me McKenna.”

But she clearly didn’t know “workshop” equaled off-limits, private, no girls allowed. He should post a sign.

“McKenna, then.” He shouldn’t be talking to her. Encouraging her. But he couldn’t stop looking at her. She was gorgeous in a fierce, elemental way that coursed through him every time he got anywhere near her.

And when he stumbled over her breast-feeding? God, that was the worst. Or the best, depending on your viewpoint.

She was at her sexiest when she was nurturing their child. If he’d known he’d suddenly be ten times more drawn to her when she exuded all that maternal radiance, he’d never have invited her to live here.

Of course, he hadn’t really had much of a choice there, had he?

Obviously hiding out wasn’t the answer. Like always, raw need welled up as he watched her explore his workshop, peering into bins and tracing the lines of the hand-drawn gears posted to a light board near the south wall.

“This is a very impressive setup,” she commented as she finished a round of his cavernous workspace.

Her gaze zipped to the two generators housed at the back and then lit on him as he stood behind the enormous workstation spread out over a mobile desk on wheels where he did all of his computation. He’d built the computer himself from components and there wasn’t another like it in the world.

“It’s where I make stuff,” he told her simply because there was no way to explain that this was where he brought to life the contents of his brain. He saw something in his head then he built it. He’d been doing that since he was four. Now he got paid millions and millions of dollars for each and every design, which he only cared about because it enabled him to keep doing it.

“I can see that. It’s kind of sexy. Very Dr. Frankenstein.”

Had she just called him sexy? In the same breath as comparing him to Frankenstein? “Uh... I’ve always thought of myself as more like Iron Man.”

She laughed. “Except Tony Stark is a lot more personable and dresses better.”

Desmond glanced down at his slacks. “What’s wrong with the way I dress?”

Certainly that was the only part of her assessment he could disagree with—he was by no stretch personable and Iron Man did have a certain flair that Desmond could never claim.

“Nothing,” she shot back with a grin. “You just don’t look like a billionaire playboy who does weapons deals with shady Middle Eastern figures. Frankenstein, on the other hand, was a doctor like you and all he wanted to do was build something meaningful out of the pieces he had available.”

She picked up the robot hand he’d been about to solder for emphasis.

Speechless, he stared at her slender fingers wrapped around his creation-in-progress and tried like hell to figure out how she’d tapped into his psyche so easily. Fascinating. So few people thought of him as a doctor. He didn’t even see himself as one, despite the fact that he could stick PhD after his name all day long if he wanted to.

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