His pale eyes narrowed just a fraction at me. “You were wrong. There isn’t any point in trying to put you through your set routine today. You can’t even lift that twenty-pound dumbbell up past your waist.”
I went to heft the weight up to show him that he was wrong and ended up yelping in pain and dropping the heavy metal back on the floor with a loud thud. He had to jump back a step to avoid getting his toes crushed as I let out a litany of swear words and reached up to cradle my screaming shoulder. I swore again as he gave me an “I told you so” look and bent to pick up the weight I couldn’t lift like it was a feather. He walked over to put it on the rack and came back with his arms crossed over his chest.
I thought there might be a level of awkwardness between us after his kiss-and-run, but he was so overly irritated that I had overworked myself that there didn’t seem to but much room for anything else to work between us at the moment.
“Hey, I’m sorry, okay. This whole ‘being half of what I used to be’ is taking some getting used to, and I really never have told Ari no before.”
He sighed and released his arms so that he could shove his hands through his hair. I watched the way the motion lifted the edge of his shirt up over the top of his black pants. He even had a dusting of freckles that zigzagged below his belly button. I wanted to see how far down they went. I wanted to know so badly it made my mouth water and my fingers curl into my palms with the effort it took to keep my hands to myself.
“I’m upset that you are hurting. I get that you’re frustrated, that you would love to see immediate results and get back to work, but that isn’t how these kinds of injuries work. I don’t like to see anyone in pain when it can be avoided.” He let his arms fall and caught me looking at him with what I’m sure was a fairly predatory gleam in my eye. I wanted it to be my turn to pounce. “Since you can’t do any work with the weights¸ let’s take a different route today. How about an hour of hot yoga and then a deep tissue massage?”
I grunted and climbed to my feet so that we were standing face to face and almost touching. “Can I say yes to one and no to the other?” I’d never done yoga a day in my life and what the hell was hot yoga? It sounded dumb and uncomfortable. I couldn’t see any logical reason to sweat my ass off.
“No.” His tone was flat and the expression on his face left little room for argument. “If you want to stay with the program, then don’t hurt yourself on your off days. We have to work around your stubbornness.” The corner of his mouth kicked up in a grin that made me suck in a sharp breath. “And don’t think you’re too tough for yoga. It’s taken down bigger and badder men than you, Officer Voss.”
I rolled my shoulder and winced as lightning bolts of pain shot down my entire back. “All right. Let’s get it over with, so we can move on to the massage part. Are you the one handling that as well?” Please say yes, please say yes. The refrain rattled around inside my head along with images of him standing over me with oil-slick hands as he rubbed out all the knots and kinks in my injured shoulder. I could so work with that.
He didn’t answer my question as he motioned for me to follow him out of the main area we had been using for the physical therapy session and took me past his office and down a set of stairs that emptied into a big, empty room that was obviously used for classes and group activities. He shut the door, fiddled with the controls on the wall which made the room immediately jump up in temperature, and suddenly I felt like I was walking through a muggy swamp and not standing in a gym. I tugged at the collar of my shirt as Lando walked over and pulled the shades on the massive windows that looked out into the rest of the gym down below. He smirked at me as he effectively cocooned us in the room that was rapidly heating up. He handed me a couple of mats that felt like they were made of rubber and told me to lay them out on the floor a few feet apart from one another.
“Since I want you to actually give this an honest shot we’ll keep it private, so it’s just you and me. Give me ten minutes to go change into gym clothes.”
I scowled a little and tugged at the fabric of my T-shirt that was already starting to stick to my chest. “I’m going to melt if you take any longer than that.”
“Good. Maybe if I make you uncomfortable enough, you’ll remember to take it easy on yourself. I’ll be right back.”
He went back up the set of stairs that had led us into the room and since there was only a narrow bench along one wall to sit on I flopped down on the mat on the floor and stared up at the ceiling. Getting up from this position with my bum leg was going to be a bitch. I scowled at the thought and only lasted another minute before I had to peel my shirt off.
It was hotter than hell in the room and every second that passed, it felt like it was getting hotter. If I wasn’t worried that it would send Lando running and totally cross the boundaries between personal and professional, I would’ve stripped my lightweight sweats off as well and done the damn yoga in my underwear. It would be way more interesting that way.
I was chuckling to myself at the thought when I heard him making his way back across the room. I lifted my head up from the floor to watch his approach and almost swallowed my tongue. He wasn’t in his underwear¸ but he might as well have been. All he was wearing was a pair of loose, black basketball shorts and lots of naked skin. Pretty, pale, freckled skin. I liked it. I liked him and I wanted to touch him. The long and lean lines of muscles that flexed as he made his way over to me and took a seat on the mat next to mine were mesmerizing. I was in good shape, cut and defined better than most of the guys I worked with on the force, but this guy was perfect. He looked like the sculptures the ancients used to carve out of marble when they were depicting what the perfect male form should be. It was distracting to say the least, and I missed that he was talking to me because I was gawking at him like a love-struck teenager.