The rings and rings, and I’m rehearsing what I’ll say to his voice mail when Marcus picks up.
“Good morning, Kitten.” His voice is thick with sleep. Somehow, over the weekend, I’d already forgotten how deep it is, and his baritone seems to vibrate right through to my core, distracting me with thoughts of the molded biceps and abs that go with it.
“Can’t go there,” I mutter.
“What was that?”
Shit, did I say that out loud? I hit my forehead with the palm of my hand. “I need your help, Hollingsworth,” I say in a low voice. “You’re not going to believe what’s happened to me this morning.”
“Good morning, Marcus. I’m sorry to wake you, Marcus. How was the rest of your weekend, Marcus?” he replies.
“Oh, for crying out loud, it’s nine a.m. on a Monday, Marcus. Most of us are up and running by now.” I freeze. “Wait, is the starlet of the week there?”
“Are you all groggy because you’ve got a woman there with you?”
“Do you honestly think I’d take a call from another woman if I had one here with me?” He actually sounds offended. “Unlike some people, I have manners,”
Okay, this conversation is getting off track. “Look, Hollingsworth, I need your help.”
“Oh, goodie.” He yawns. “Okay, Kitten. What’s up?”
“I just got asked to serve on a committee.”
“You woke me up to tell me you’re serving on a committee.” It’s not a question so much as an expression of profound resignation.
“It’s a big deal. Kind of like a promotion with more work and no extra money.”
“Sounds like just what you need. Maybe it’ll keep you out of trouble.”
“What I need is your help. You’re good at stuff like this. Plus, Logan was flirting with me. For real. I think. I need you to tell me what to do.”
“The only part of this conversation I understand is that you need my help with something, so let me ask you: what are you going to do for me in return?”
I bite my lip. I’d been kind of hoping he’d just help me because he’s nice, but that may be asking too much. “Um … not turn you in to Cassandra?”
“That one doesn’t work anymore. You turn me in, she slaps you with a five-hundred-dollar fine,” he points out evenly. “And you definitely don’t get my help. What else have you got?”
I rack my brains trying to think what I can offer him, but short of hard, cold cash, I can’t think of anything. And I’m running low on cash. “Oh crap, I don’t know, Hollingsworth. Are you going to make me beg?” This is followed by a long silence. “Are you still there?”
“Mm …” His voice sounds thick now with something besides sleep. “Just picturing you on your knees in front of me.”