I was out of the car before he had a chance to finish his sentence.

Standing on the curb waiting to cross, it occurred to me that I didn’t have a clue what point there would be to going inside. What was I planning on doing? Was I buying something or just torturing myself?

I stepped into the store and stopped in front of a long table covered with frilly lingerie. The floors were a warm honey wood, the ceilings littered with long cylindrical light fixtures, clustered into groups throughout the large room. The dim lighting cast the entire space in a soft intimate glow, illuminating the tables and racks of expensive lingerie. Something about the delicate lace and satin brought on that all-too-familiar desire for her.

Running my fingers along a table set near the front of the store, I became aware that I had already garnered the attention of the sales staff. A tall blonde walked toward me.

“Welcome to La Perla,” she said, looking me up and down like a lion eyeing a steak. It occurred to me that a woman in this business would know how much I paid for my suit, and that my cuff links were real diamonds. Her eyes practically turned into flashing dollar signs. “Is there something I can help you find today? Maybe a gift for your wife? Your girlfriend perhaps?” she added, a hint of flirtation in her voice.

“No, thank you,” I answered, suddenly feeling ridiculous for even being here. “I’m just looking.”

“Well, if you change your mind, let me know,” she said with a wink, before turning and making her way back to the sales counter. I watched her walk away and was immediately disgusted that I hadn’t even considered getting her number. Fuck. I wasn’t a total manwhore, but a beautiful woman in a lingerie store, of all places, had just flirted with me and it hadn’t even occurred to me to flirt back. Christ. What the hell was wrong with me?

I was just about to turn and leave when something caught my eye. I let my fingers run across the black lace garter belt hanging on a rack. I hadn’t realized women really wore these outside of Playboy photo shoots until I’d started working with her. I remembered a meeting our first month working together. She had crossed her legs beneath the table and shifted in just the right way that her skirt rode up, revealing the delicate white strap attached to her stockings. It was the first time I’d seen evidence of her penchant for lingerie, but it wasn’t the first time I’d had to spend the lunch hour beating off in my office thinking about her.

I turned, startled to hear a familiar voice behind me.

But I’d never really seen her like this before. She looked stylish as always, but completely casual. She was wearing dark fitted jeans and a red tank top. Her hair was in a sexy ponytail, and without makeup or the glasses she sometimes wore around the office, she didn’t look much older than twenty.

“What the hell are you doing here?” she asked, her fake smile slipping from her face.

“How is that any of your business?”

“Just curious. You don’t have enough of my underwear that you have to start a collection of your own?” She glared at me, motioning to the garter belt still in my hands.

I let go of it quickly. “No, no, I—”

“What exactly do you do with them, anyway? Do you have them tucked away somewhere like little mementos of your conquests?” She folded her arms across her chest, causing her br**sts to push together. My eyes fell straight to her cle**age and my dick stirred in my pants.

“Jesus,” I said, shaking my head. “Why do you have to be such a bitch all the time?” I could feel the adrenaline trickling into my veins, feel my muscles tensing as I literally shook with lust and rage.

“I guess you just bring out the best in me,” she said. She was leaning forward, her chest nearly touching mine. Looking around, I noticed we were drawing attention from the other people in the store.

“Look,” I said, trying to compose myself. “How about you calm down and lower your voice.” I knew I had to get out of here soon, before something happened. For some sick reason, fighting with this woman always ended with her panties in my pocket. “What are you doing here anyway? Why aren’t you at work?”

She rolled her eyes. “I’ve been working for you for almost a year, so you’d think you’d remember that I check in with my advisor every other week. I just finished and wanted to do some shopping. Maybe you need to put an ankle bracelet on me so you can creepily stalk me full time. Though, hey, you managed to find me here without one.”

I glared at her, struggling to find something to say. “You’re always so f**king pissy with me.”

“Come with me,” she said, and grabbed hold of my arm, dragging me to the back of the store. She pulled me around a corner and into a dressing room. She had obviously been here awhile; there were piles of lingerie on the chairs and hangers full of unidentifiable scraps of lace. Music was being piped through overhead speakers, and I was glad I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping my voice down as I strangled her.

Closing the large mirrored door opposite a silk-covered chaise, she stood with her eyes locked on mine. “Did you follow me here?”

“Why the hell would I do that?”

“So you just happened to be browsing around a women’s lingerie store. Just some pervy thing you do in your spare time?”

“You know, it’s a good thing you’ve got that big dick to make up for that mouth of yours.”