Heat Exchange

By: Deana Farrady

"Well, that's not good," Janey muttered to herself. She crouched down and peered into one of the totes. There were no perishables, of course, but the clients would be short of dinnerware for their luncheon. She nibbled her lip, then reached for her own phone.

A few minutes later, she was reassured that her head assistant would take care of matters in her absence and make a special trip down to the van for the supplies Janey had been fetching. Janey had warned Leese to take the stairs just in case. With three staffers freely roaming, the boss getting stuck in an elevator was a minor inconvenience and shouldn't mean any disastrous delays. Now all she had to do was deal with being in a confined space for at least one hour with a stranger.

She glanced up at the ceiling and at the walls. It wasn't a tiny elevator, but it wasn't one of those huge deals either. The building was hardly a modern office tower.

"Are you claustrophobic?"

Janey looked at the man, startled to find him looking at her. He was leaning against the back of the elevator casually.

"Me?" she said. His eyebrows arched upward and she flushed, realizing what a ridiculous question that was. "Oh. Uh, no. I'm fine. Not claustrophobic. How about you?"

He shook his head and glanced back down at his phone. Naturally it was one of those jobs from which he could have his choice of watching videos, running an office, and planning world domination. Janey's phone was a reject from one of her friends from the era when phones were still more phone than computer.

She looked away politely. After about ten minutes, though, her gaze wandered back to him. He was still interacting with his mobile and ignoring her.

"I've never been stuck on an elevator before for longer than a couple of minutes," she blurted. "Have you?'

There was a delay before he looked up. When he did, his eyes surveyed her from top to bottom in a lightning-quick look that Janey told herself was a simple reminder to himself of where he was—not the kind of once-over that a guy gives a girl he's attracted to. That didn't stop it from making her spine stiffen and her skin feel suddenly sensitized. "Yeah, once or twice," he drawled in that smooth timbre. "There's nothing to worry about. It might get a little warm in here, but there's enough air even if we're in here till evening."

"Till evening?" Janey had been okay before at the idea of an hour, but now she started to panic. "Maybe we should try to pry open the doors and climb out, like in the movies."

Again his brows rose and amusement lit his eyes. "Maybe we shouldn't."

That amused expression did something to her. Her breath caught and she felt her nipples tighten beneath the jacket of her suit. It was a warm day in early September and the elevator suddenly felt stiflingly hot.

The effect only went one way, apparently. The man's attention returned to his phone. Janey wasn't surprised. While she'd never had such a strong and immediately sexual response to a guy before, the man's own reaction was just business as usual as far as her life went.

Maybe she should just go ahead and get her name changed to Janey Ho-Hum, she thought idly.

She fanned herself discreetly with her hand. She gazed around again. Elevators were very empty places. The only thing interesting was in the top corner of the elevator, a tiny round object.

"I wonder if that's a camera," she said aloud.

This time his reluctance to look up was obvious. Janey flushed. She hadn't really been talking to him. Exactly. But there was no need to make her feel like she was intruding. She wasn't exactly here voluntarily.

"Yes, it is," he said without bothering to glance up at the ceiling.

"Amazing that in a building this old there's that kind of technology. And look at this panel. You wonder if we could go flying like in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. That was a fun book." Why couldn't she stop chattering? Maybe she was more panicked than she realized.

Or maybe being stuck in an elevator with a delectable male hottie who wasn't the slightest impressed with her nonhottie self right after being rejected by a far less appealing guy by email was beginning to take its toll. Janey felt those tears well up in her eyes again.

She turned away from the man quickly, facing the doors, and crossed her arms over her chest.

Top Books