Some Like It Spicy
It was well past ten when Ashton finally left the studio. Everyone had been exhausted, and as each chef had finished his or her interviews, first from Sally, and then by the police, they'd headed back to the brownstone. Ashton had been the unlucky last person up, so she was the last to leave. Sally offered to have the van drop her back at the brownstone, but Ashton declined. The temperature outside was a lovely seventy-eight degrees, and she'd been stuck indoors all day. She had just stepped onto the sidewalk when she heard her name called. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw Ty jogging to her. "You're not walking home by yourself, are you?" he asked. "It's only two and a half blocks."
"That's more than enough time for something to happen. "I'm sure I'll be fine." "I have a car and a driver. Let me take you back to the brownstone. "No, thanks. I need the fresh air." She picked up her tired feet and started down the street. He fell into step beside her. "I'll walk with you, then." "You don't have—”
He cut her off. "I'm not letting you walk alone," he said She fell silent. "Aren't you going to apologize for the mushroom bath you gave me?" he asked a half block later. She swung her head toward him. "Me apologize? You started it." He shrugged sheepishly. "So I did. But you fell on me." "Somebody pushed me!" "Sure they did." He chuckled. "They did!" she exclaimed. "It had nothing to do with wanting to rub yourself all over me?" "Oh, my God." She sighed. "You have the biggest ego I've ever seen, and I once interned for Gordon Ramsey. I fell on you because I was pushed. I wasn't trying to tease you or feel you up or do anything else your giant head comes up with." He grabbed her arm. "Then you weren't going to kiss me?" She froze. "No." "Liar." She tilted her head at the brownstone behind them. "This is me. Good night." He wouldn't let go. "It's okay to admit it. You were going to kiss me." "No," she denied. She knew her cheeks had turned a humiliating red, but she couldn't let him win. "Believe me, when I want to do something, I do it." "Oh, really?" His eyebrow raised. "Absolutely." "If we're playing by those rules…" And before she knew what was happening, he grasped her face between his palms and covered her lips with his. The kiss was brief; just warm, soft lips against hers. Then, he lifted his mouth the merest inch and looked into her eyes, questioning. She gave him her answer. Parting her lips, she raised herself on the balls of her feet and locked her mouth against him. All the anticipation, the attraction between them, exploded. Their mouths and tongues melded. Ty moved his hands from her jaw to her shoulders and back up to her neck, as if he couldn't touch her enough. Her hands were just as active. They ran up his strong, muscular biceps, down his washboard abs, and around his waist to his back. Her fingers found the bottom edge of his dress shirt and crawled beneath to touch his hot skin. She felt drunk off his taste. If she could’ve found a way to bottle and sell it, she'd be the richest woman alive. When his lips traveled her jawline and met the pulsing point at her neck—a particularly sensitive spot for her—her knees almost buckled. A car alarm piercing the silent night startled them apart. And just like that, Ashton remembered where she was and whom she was with. "That shouldn't have happened." Her voice sounded annoyingly shaky. Ty looked as dazed as she felt. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down before he answered. "You're right. This is a mistake." They stared at each other, as if they each expected something more to be said. But finally, Ashton broke the silence. "I should go in. Good night." "Good night, Ashton." She turned away before she said or did anything else stupid.