When You're Mine (The Gallaghers) by Layla Hagen



“I will. See you around. Take care.” I emphasized the last two words.

Her eyes widened, and she nodded almost imperceptibly before leaving with my sister.

I looked after her until they left the room. Her ass looked delicious in those tight pants. The curve of her neck was beckoning me. Damn. I was determined to push today’s incident to the back of my mind, no matter how hot Mel looked in her workout outfit and how much my protective instincts were demanding I check on her later.





Chapter Two




Mel

Isabelle's program consisted of a Pilates routine that started with quick exercises designed to replace a cardio workout before moving on to standard floor-mat exercises. I led her from the reception and break area down a narrow corridor to a small studio where we held private sessions.

It was a small room with mirrors on three sides and a hardwood floor. The fourth wall was a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the Hudson River. Genesis was hands down the fanciest gym I’d ever worked at. It was all hardwood floors and elegant spotlights. The entrance area and the break room had leather seats, and there was a generous employee-only spa area in the locker room. I loved it. It was very spacious, so even though we had a record number of new sign-ups in June, it never felt crowded. The season of the bikini body had officially started, and everyone wanted to get in shape.

"Should you be working so soon after the car accident?" Isabelle asked as we placed two mats on the floor.

Three weeks ago, I had the scare of my life. I took a cab because I was late to work, and we were hit sideways by a driver who went through a red light. Thankfully I wasn’t gravely injured, but the cabbie did spend a week in the hospital.

"Yes, I'm excellent. Don't worry. My doctor said I could go back to work and do my usual schedule."

"I was worried about you," she said, making my heart happy. In the two months since I'd begun training with Isabelle, she had become more like a friend.

"Sometimes I still wake up at night reliving those two seconds before the impact." I shuddered at the memory. I’d been in shock for the first two days, and after that, I was grateful I hadn’t been hurt. If I was honest, the accident helped me see certain things differently and perhaps not take anything for granted, like the fact that I was alive and healthy. That I was living in a beautiful city. And that I had my dad close, and his condition was stable. For these things and many others, I was thankful. I did wish a day would come when I wouldn’t worry about his health all the time, but we were blessed as it was.

I was determined to enjoy life more and also not to repeat some of my past mistakes. At twenty-seven, I’d made quite a few, especially in the dating department. My ex, Elliot, turned out to be nothing like he seemed. We were together for three years, and during that time, I helped him with his business. But when I ran out of money and needed his support, he showed his true colors. I broke up with him more than a year ago, and since then I’ve dated casually. But none of the guys I’d gone out with wanted anything resembling a relationship. So I was done dating any guy who was just looking for sexy fun and no strings.

After the warmup, I said, “Okay, we’re starting with core now—abs and back muscles too, as they all support one another. As usual, I’ll guide you through the movements, even though you know them, so you don't accidentally forget to tuck in your tummy or not curve your back and you hurt yourself. Okay?"

"Sure. You know, I always appreciate it that you also do the exercises with me and don’t just give me instructions."

"Yeah. That's the only way I can work, because if I'm doing the exercises, I know what the intensity level is, and I can adjust that. But don't worry, I'll keep an eye on you, and I'll make sure you do everything correctly." I only did mat exercises, though. When I was with clients who only did weight training, I only watched and corrected their posture.

"You've been my trainer for two months, and I've never left here injured. I trust you."

"Oh, that's good to know. Does that mean you won’t give me a hard time when I make you do some extra exercises?" I said with a grin.

“You’re mean,” Isabelle said, grinning right back.

I took great pride in my job. I loved being a fitness trainer, and I considered myself lucky to be working at Genesis. It was one of the most sought-after gyms to work at in New York because it offered complete privacy, attracting high-paying prestigious clients—and the salary was excellent. I was very fortunate when they hired me two years ago. I recruited a full client list, and all were happy with me and their results, so management was delighted. They also were very thoughtful after my accident, giving me two weeks off with full pay! It was a family-run business with two locations in the city and took really good care of their employees and customers.