Tracey Marigold looked at the stack of invoices in front of her. Today was delivery day. She knew Sam, her regular UPS driver, would be there at any time with her weekly packages. Selling ‘Magnifique’ cosmetics had turned into a full time job for her. The demand had risen over the last year and now she couldn’t get her products in fast enough. Her delivery schedule had quickly changed from once a month to once a week. It was amazing.
Tracey’s house was the last stop on Sam’s route. At five-thirty on the dot her doorbell rang. Smiling as she stood from her desk, she went to answer the door.
“Hey, Sam, come on in,” she welcomed immediately before actually looking outside her door. The routine was so normal that she didn’t think anyone other than Sam was out there. The appearance of an extra driver startled her and she took a step back. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you had a partner today, Sam.”
A partner indeed! The man was a sun-kissed Adonis. He was tall with tanned skin and long hair pulled into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. His shirt looked two sizes too small with enough buttons undone to leave nothing to the imagination. Even his shorts were a bit short, but he had the sexiest legs Tracey had ever set eyes on. Speaking of eyes, his were a piercing green that cut right through her.
“Miss Tracey,” Sam interrupted her lustful daydream of taking the dark stranger to her bedroom and doing naughty things to him. “This is Carlos Garcia. He’s going to be my replacement, so I’m showing him the route.”
Tracey suddenly snapped completely out of her trance, hoping Carlos didn’t notice her glassy eyes and drooling. “You’re what? Where are you going?” The shock was evident in her face and tone. She noticed Carlos smile at how flustered she had become.
“I’m retiring. Carlos will take over the route starting next week.” Sam shoved his hands in his pockets as he spoke. There was a combination of disappointment and relief in his eyes.
“Oh, Sam, I’m going to miss you.” Tracey was being sincere, but she was also considering how distracting it would be to see tall, dark and sexy every week. She shuddered at the thought.
“I’ll be leaving you in good hands, Miss Tracey.” Sam patted Carlos on the shoulder. “He’s a quick learner and much stronger than I am,” he chuckled as he squeezed the protruding muscles on the man’s arm. Sam’s fingers barely fit around the massive expanse.
Tracey wanted to crawl under a rock and die. Carlos sent strange quivers through her entire body. She couldn’t explain what it was, but she knew she liked it. “I’m sure he’ll do fine. I mean– he has you to show him the ropes.”
“Well, Miss Tracey, I promise to live up to Sam’s standards.” Carlos gave her another flashy smile and winked.
Dear God, his voice carried right through her. His voice was deep and had a subtle Spanish accent. It made him seem even more exotic to her. Tracey could feel herself melting.
“Don’t worry, Carlos, I’m sure you’ll do great.” Turning away quickly before her face turned a bright red, she showed Carlos the way to her home-office so he could put down her boxes. She and Sam had developed a relationship and since she was his last stop for the evening, he didn’t mind bringing her packages in. Besides, those boxes were always too heavy and she usually had a cold drink waiting for him as well. Sam always seemed to appreciate the gesture.
Keeping her nerves and lust at bay, Tracey went through all the motions of a usual delivery day. There was no need to let on that she had the hots for the new United Package Service guy. He was just another guy dropping off her packages. Yeah, that was it. As long as she kept repeating that to herself there was a slight possibility she would actually believe it… or maybe not. Keep your cool, Tracey, keep your cool. Talking to herself was not usually a good sign, but in this case it was almost necessary.
The men placed her boxes in a pile inside the office and then drank the cold lemonade. Tracey told Sam once again how she was going to miss having him around, but that she was sure Carlos would be a good replacement. If nothing else he would definitely be good to look at.
Sam and Carlos said their good-byes, leaving Tracey with naughty little mental images as she closed the door and tried to get back to her invoices. It was an impossible task at that point. Carlos had invaded her thoughts once again. Realizing that no work would get done that evening, she closed the file and went upstairs to her bedroom.
A long hot shower seemed like the best solution. It had been a long day of non-stop calls. Tracey stripped out of her clothes and walked into the bathroom. Once in the large, dimly lit space, she changed her mind and filled her jetted tub instead. She ran the hot water and pressed the button for the powerful jets.
Easing into the tub, she closed her eyes and drifted off into total relaxation. Seconds later, there was Carlos invading her dreams.
* * *
The dream of Carlos continued to wreak havoc on Tracey’s mind and body. She just couldn’t get him out of her thoughts. The week flew by and before she knew it, it was Friday again. The UPS delivery was inevitable. Sitting at her desk as usual, she caught her reflection in the monitor. Holy shit, I look awful. I can’t answer the door looking like this.
Her appearance had never bothered her before, but now that it was Carlos making the deliveries, she wanted to look more presentable. Darting to her bedroom across the hall from the office, she stripped out of her t-shirt and shorts. She stepped into her walk-in closet and rummaged through her clothes, but nothing seemed to catch her eye. One was too much, the other not enough. She didn’t want it to be obvious that she had dressed up for him. Standing in the middle of her messy closet, hands on hip, she let out a sigh of frustration. What the hell am I doing?
Tracey finally decided on her slightly too-tight hip hugger jeans and a skintight, v-neck, cotton, lavender colored top. Looking in the full-length mirror, she nearly screamed at the condition of her hair. Her long, fiery red locks were in shambles. Grabbing a hair tie, she pulled it all back into a neat ponytail at the nape of her neck. That was as good as it was going to get so she forced herself back into her office and attempted to work. She was NOT waiting for the doorbell to ring, she sternly informed herself, trying to focus on her work.
Twenty minutes later the doorbell finally rang and Tracey’s heart nearly leapt out of her chest. Her hands shook and her nerves were shot to hell. Standing slowly from her leather chair, she headed toward the front door to let Carlos in with her boxes. As she approached the door, she could see his large frame shadowed through the glass. Her pulse raced at the sight of him.
As she opened the door, she mustered the best smile she could, despite her nervousness. “Hey there.”
“Good evening, Miss Tracey. May I come in?” Carlos’ deep sultry accent floated in the very air surrounding her.
“Of course,” she stepped aside to allow him entry. He walked past her and smiled. She caught him staring at her nearly painted on top. It almost made her a little self-conscious, but flattered at the same time. She followed him into the office as he set her boxes down beside the desk. “Thanks.”
“No need, Miss Tracey. It’s my pleasure.” The words dripped out of his mouth like honey. His bright smile added to the lust that swept through her.
She took a deep breath and hoped he didn’t notice her sudden lack of oxygen. “You can just call me Tracey.”
“Okay,” his smile grew wider, showing off his pearly white teeth and full lips.
“You must be tired and thirsty. I should still have some lemonade if you’re interested.” Tracey turned to walk toward the kitchen with Carlos following close behind. They reached the kitchen and she offered him a stool at the counter.
Turning to the fridge and opening it, she groaned, “Damn, I’m out of lemonade. Sorry.”
“Actually,” he leaned forward and peeked around her into the open fridge. “You got any beer in there?”
“Yeah, but aren’t you still on duty?” There was an alarm sounding in the back of her head. Danger, danger, bad boy alert! Tracey did a good job of ignoring it. She’d always had a thing for the bad boys. All she wanted to know now was if he had a tattoo on that fine ass and a shiny Harley.
Carlos’s lips curled into an almost evil smirk. “One won’t hurt, unless you’re going to try to get me drunk.” He winked and threw that bedroom smile her way again. It was killing her.
Giving in to his hot body and sexy glance, she passed him a bottle of beer. “You didn’t get it from me if you get in trouble.”
He winked and raised the bottle to her in a toast, “But trouble is my middle name.” Chugging down every drop, he rose from the stool and placed the empty bottle on the counter. “I have to get back to the office to turn in the truck.” He walked around the counter and towards the front door. “Thanks for the beer.” He stopped and spun to face her, “And by the way, that top looks good on you.”
She felt her face flush a bright red, “Thanks.”
She closed the door behind him and thought for sure she was going to pass out. It did feel good to get a compliment though. At least he noticed. Not all men do that. It was actually refreshing.
* * *
The following week crept by. Tracey found herself counting the days until the next delivery. There was just something about Carlos that made her wild. She couldn’t keep her mind off him and on her work. He was present in all her dreams, day and night. Leaving the office and walking toward the bedroom, she decided a nap was definitely in order. The lack of sleep was wreaking havoc on her tired body.
Slipping between the silky emerald sheets, she drifted right off to sleep and found dreamland waiting for her…
“Shit!” In an effort to make her dream a reality, Tracey had managed to fall out of bed, waking herself too abruptly.
She sat herself up on the floor and had to laugh. The fact that she had fallen off the bed because she was dreaming was nothing short of hilarious. Shaking her head, she lifted herself up and onto the edge of the mattress.
“I’ve got to do something about these dreams,” she mumbled to herself.
* * *
It was obvious to Tracey that she needed to take action, but she wanted to be sure it wasn’t a one-way street. Since she was a creative woman, she knew she could figure out whether or not Carlos was at all attracted to her. Once she knew that answer, she could make her move without being completely embarrassed. The plan had to be flawless and inconspicuous.
Friday rolled back around and Tracey was ready to put her plan into action. She already had cold beer in the fridge and was wearing a thin white blouse unbuttoned to her cleavage. Wearing a lacey push up bra, she had more on display than usual. She knew she was cheating a little, but she had to get the big guns if she was going to reel him in. There was really no need to throw herself at the man. Just a little encouragement was all she figured he would need.
The doorbell rang right on time. As soon as she heard it, her heart leapt and her nerves went into overdrive. Luckily she had poured herself a glass of liquid courage. Taking the last sip, she walked to the door.
Tracey opened the door to find her Latin God standing there, out of uniform, and his tan that seemed a little darker than usual. She was speechless and knew Carlos must have noticed.
His smile grew wider. “I see you started the party without me today.” Carlos pointed to her empty goblet as he spoke.
She looked down at her hand and shook her head. Without realizing it, she’d absently brought her glass with her, still clutching it like a talisman in her hand. She had forgotten to leave it in the kitchen on her way to the door.
“It’s been a long week,” she offered with a weak smile.
“Well, I only have one box for you today.” He held the small package up for her to see.
Tracey tilted her head to the side. “It was a strangely slow order week.” She stared at Carlos with a puzzled expression, wanting to know why he was out of uniform.
Carlos must have noticed her puzzled look because he gave her a wide smile in response. “Is there something wrong?”
“I was just wondering why you’re not in your regular uniform.” She tried to peek around him to see if the big green truck was there, but it wasn’t. In its place was a big black SUV. It was definitely not the usual UPS truck.
Carlos gave her a hearty chuckle. “I can explain once I get this box to your office,” he gave her a wink as his lips curled into what looked like a smirk. “May I come in even though I’m not in my UPS shirt and shorts?”
Her heart pounded in her chest. “Of course you can.” Tracey stepped aside so he could get by. As he passed her, his arm lightly brushed her arm. It sent a bolt of lightning straight through her.
Tracey was still shocked in the hallway when Carlos emerged from the office. “Got any more of that wine you were drinking?”
Looking at him with a blank stare, she was almost frozen in her spot. It was as though she was mesmerized by him all over again.
“Umm, yeah, sure. I should still have some in the kitchen.” Offering him a stool, she took out another wineglass and poured them each some wine. Tracey sat on the stool across from him. “So, what’s the story?” She asked as she took a sip, gazing into his piercing green eyes over the rim of her glass.
“You cut right to the chase don’t you?” He took a sip of his wine as well. “Mmm, that’s good.”
He paused to lick his lips, sending a shiver down Tracey’s spine.
“I was actually off today. I decided it was too nice a day to be driving that truck, so I went to the beach instead.” His expression was serious as he took another sip of his wine.
“So how did you get my package to deliver?” Tracey was intrigued and totally turned on by his initiative.
“I know the guy that loads the trucks. I asked him to set it aside so I could bring it to you myself.” He leaned forward over the counter on his elbows. “I hope you don’t mind that I wanted to see you.”
Holy shit! He wanted to see me. Tracey subconsciously bit her lower lip. She noticed the corner of Carlos’s mouth turn up into what looked like a snarl. It was the sexiest thing she had ever seen.
“I don’t mind at all. I’m flattered, actually.”
“I spent the day wondering what you were wearing today.” His tone had lowered to a soft melodic baritone. It beckoned to her, called her name.
She felt her face flush and her throat go dry. The flirting was what she hoped for and now she was frozen again. Taking a deep breath, she threw caution to the wind and went with her hormones instead.
“So did I choose wisely?” she asked as she sat up straight on the stool to show off her barely-there white blouse.
“You certainly did.” His voice rumbled in his chest as he spoke.
She took another brave leap as his eyes nearly penetrated through her. “Was there anything else you were wondering?”
He took a long sip of his wine, as though giving himself time to come up with the perfect answer to her question. He placed the half empty glass in front of him and curled his lips in that smirk that drove her wild. “I think I like this new Tracey, cutting right to the chase.”
She smiled back, but she felt her cheeks flush at the same time. “New driver, new rules.”
“Fair enough.” He took in a breath. “I was wondering if there was a chance that maybe you felt the electricity between us I felt the moment I walked into your house that first day with Sam.” He reached across the counter to move a stray curl of red hair from her eyes, moving it behind her ear.
His fingertips sent shocks through her. She licked her lips as she caught her breath. “I thought it was just me.”
“Oh, it wasn’t just you, but it took me a little time to figure it out for sure,” laughing at himself as he continued, “that and I was nervous to say anything.”
He was nervous, Lord I’m shaking over here. “I’ glad you got the nerve to ask because I don’t know that I could have been brave enough to do it.” She took a sip of wine, hoping it would help calm her nerves a little. “So, what do we do now?”
“Now,” his smile got bigger and more confident right before her eyes, “we paint this town red and see where it leads us. No sense in wasting this hot little number you threw on.”
“Was I that obvious?”
“A little, but it’s that last piece I needed to get the nerve to even talk to you about any of this, and I know the perfect place to take you for dinner and a little fun.” He took her hand in his, turned it and kissed her palm. “You know you want to say yes.”
The gesture was so unexpected that Tracey lost all senses and thought she would die right there. “You win.”