Read Blown away Online

Authors: Cheryl Douglas

Blown away (page 2)

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She looked himin the eye. “Do you have a girlfriend? Is that why you don’t wantto go through with this?”

He laughed. “Ido now.”

Ava frowned.“What do you mean?”

“Tonight isjust the beginning for us, Ava.”

 

***

 

Ava couldbarely breathe. Was Brent for real? He was asking her for some kindof commitment? They’d never even been on a date. Her mama would beso ashamed. She chewed her lip. “Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybewe should just forget this ever happened.”

“Impossible,”he said, flicking his tongue over the skin she’d pierced with herteeth. “Stop doing that. You’re marking this luscious mouth.”

She always bither lip when she was nervous and she’d be damned if she stoppedjust because he told her to. As though he sensed her withdrawal, hecrawled down her body and positioned his wide shoulders between herknees.

If she couldn’tbreathe before, she was about ready to pass out then. “Brent…” Herobjections were lost on a long, low moan. Oh, Lord, she really wasa slave to her body. Every thought she had about controlling menand premature commitments fled. The only thing that mattered wasthe way he made her feel: sinful. It felt too good to stop…ever.

“Incredible,”he whispered.

Wasn’t thatsupposed to be her line?She didn’t tell Brent she was closethat time. She allowed her body to speak for her. Her handsclenched in tight fists above her head, her legs trembled, her eyespinched shut, her heart hammered, and she couldn’t draw a breath.Surely he knew what he was doing to her. She only prayed he keptdoing it.

“That’s it,sweetness,” he whispered, kissing her thigh. “Let me have it. Now.”Was he finally giving her permission? Whether he was or not, herbody responded almost immediately. Her cries filled the room as hecontinued to stroke her to completion.

“Satisfied?” heasked, looking amused.

He really was asmug bastard, and so gorgeous it should be illegal. No wonder everywoman on campus wanted him.

“Gettingthere.” His ego was already big enough. She wouldn’t contribute tohis arrogance by heaping on the praise he expected. He already knewhe was an incredible lover. Women had probably been telling himthat for the past decade.

Brent reachedinto his pocket and withdrew protection. Of course he was prepared.He’d probably come to the party expecting to take some woman home.She’d made it easy for him. He didn’t even have to leave theparty.

Ava cringedwhen she thought about what he would think of her tomorrow. Goodthing she wouldn’t have to worry about facing him. He was in thelast year of his M.B.A. program, and tomorrow marked the first dayof their summer vacation. Ava and Tara had big plans for thesummer: trekking across Europe. But she so wanted to take thememory of one night with her fantasy guy with her.

He frowned whenhe looked at her wrists. “Do you need me to take those off?” Hereleased the hook. “Shit, they left a mark. I’m sorry, baby. Ididn’t mean to hurt you.” His eyes held hers as he pressed a kissto the subtle abrasions.

“It’s okay. I’mfine.” She was better than fine. She was practically vibrating withanticipation.

He kissed hertenderly and she wrapped her arms around his neck, grateful shecould finally touch him. Pulling back to look into her eyes, hewhispered, “You are so beautiful. God, I feel like I’ve beenwaiting for this forever.”

Ava knew thefeeling. She’d expected his skill and intensity, but she hadn’texpected his passion or possessiveness. He was unlike any man she’dever known, and she was suddenly grateful she would be thousands ofmiles away from him for the next four months. If she stayed inNashville, Brent Armstrong could easily become her vice.

He guided hisshaft to her entrance before kissing her again, presumably to relaxher. “I need you to trust me. I’ll take good care of you. Ipromise, sweetness.” She buried her face in his neck. When she felthim inch inside of her, her body tensed. “Baby, I want to make youfeel so good, but you need to let me in. Do you think you can dothat?” He pressed his lips to her cheek.

“I want to.”She dug her nails into his back. “But I’m scared.”

“It’s okay tobe scared,” he whispered. “You’ve waited a long time for this.” Heheld her face. “So have I. Believe me.”

Ava couldn’ttake time to analyze his meaning. She’d already decided she didn’twant to save herself any longer, and she wanted him to be herfirst. It was time. “Make love to me, Brent.” She bit her lip whenshe realized how he might perceive her words.

“I told you notto do that,” he said, a smile teasing his lips. “Just relax,sweetheart. We’ll take our time.”

True to hisword, he continued kissing her, distracting her from the pain,until he filled her completely. She could tell by his strainedexpression that remaining still, giving her a chance to adjust,cost him, and she felt a sense of overwhelming relief. He meantwhat he said. He wouldn’t hurt her.

“It’s okay,”she whispered. “I’m okay.” She slid her mouth to his shoulder,hoping she wouldn’t be compelled to sink her teeth into his fleshwhen he picked up the pace.

But he didn’tpick up his pace. He was slow and gentle, his eyes never leavinghers as he gauged her reaction. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Tears sprang toher eyes not because he was hurting her, but because she’d neverexpected him to try so hard to avoid hurting her. “Fine.”

He stilledsuddenly. “Why are you crying?’

“I’m sorry,”she sniffled, embarrassed. “I just didn’t expect to feel this way.It’s intense, but in a good way.”

He smiledbefore dropping a kiss on her lips. “I’m glad. It’s going to geteven better, you’ll see. God, Ava, I can’t wait to make love to youthe way I want to… no holds barred.”

She got thrillbumps just thinking about that. Too bad she wouldn’t be around longenough to enjoy an encore performance. She locked her ankles at hiswaist, drawing him deeper as she encouraged him to pick up thepace. She was more comfortable and less fearful, and she didn’twant him to hold back anymore. She wanted the full experience, thesame one he treated those others girls to. No, she wanted more. Shewanted the best of him. At least for tonight.

When she gother wish, Ava slipped into a trance as he kissed her neck. Her bodyresponded to his naturally, as though she’d been made for him.“Yes…” She was close again. She’d heard it was difficult for somewomen to orgasm during intercourse. Undoubtedly Brent’s skill wastaking her there. A wave of sadness washed over her as she wonderedif she would ever enjoy that experience again.

“Ahhhh…” Hethrew his head back, his jaw clenched tightly. “Baby, you feel soincredible.” He fixed her with those dark eyes. “You’re so perfectfor me.”

Those were thelast words Ava heard before she surrendered.

 

ChapterOne

Brent scowled when heopened his email and read his brother’s subject line:The GirlWhoGot Away.He didn’t have time for Keith’s games. Hehad a company to run and a hostile takeover to finalize.

He’d told hisboard of directors the takeover wasn’t a personal decision. It wasstrictly business, but those who knew Brent well knew he didn’t doanything without a good reason. The company in question belonged tothe man their mother had left them for almost thirty years ago.He’d been plotting the takeover for years, chipping away at thecompany, undercutting them at every turn, buying up as much stockas he could… He was already salivating over his impending victory.The old man’s son had taken over the company a few years ago, butthat didn’t dull Brent’s sense of revenge. That son was Brent’shalf-brother. The son his mother had chosen to raise.

Brent rifledthrough his business emails before curiosity got the better of himand he opened Keith’s message. There was a link to a datingwebsite.Must be a joke.His brother had a twisted sense ofhumor. Brent almost deleted it, but then his eyes scanned the name.Ava. He read the subject line again.The Girl Who Got Away.Could it be her?

If his brotherwas messing with him, Brent would have to kill him later. Or atleast rough him up. Keith, of all people, knew the lengths Brenthad gone to to find Ava. She was supposed to be in Europe for thesummer, but apparently she’d enjoyed it so much she decided tostay. She finished her undergraduate degree in Germany. He hadn’tseen or heard from her again. He rarely thought about her anymore.Business commanded all of his focus and attention.

When he clickedon the link and saw her face, his heart stuttered. She was evenmore stunning than he remembered. Her long blond hair fell in softwaves, blanketing her low-cut red sweater. Those big blue eyes, thesame eyes that still haunted him from time to time, beckoned tohim, as were the glossy full lips he could almost feel.

She wassupposed to be his. He’d made his intentions clear that night. Whenhe took her to bed, it was with the understanding he wasn’t lettingher go. His gut told him she was the one, but apparently herinstincts told her otherwise. She had deemed him the one thing he’dnever wanted to be: a regret.

Thinking abouthow he’d felt waking up to an empty bed only an hour after she’dfallen asleep in his arms still made him mad. The party had been infull swing, but Ava was nowhere to be found. He cornered her bestfriend and demanded answers. Tara hadn’t been very helpful. Shesaid her friend wasn’t feeling well and asked a sober girlfriend todrive her home.

Brent had feltpowerless. He had no phone number, no address, and her best friendrefused to give up the information he demanded. Keith finallytalked him down when he started causing a scene by telling him hecould track down Ava in the morning. Except the next morning, Avaboarded a plane to Europe, starting a whole new life withouthim.

Brent printedthe page and threw open his door, striding past his assistant.“Hold all my calls. I have to kill my brother.”

Amy rolled hereyes before turning her attention back to her computer monitor.“Again? What did he do this time?”

“He’s messingwith my personal life.”

“Such as itis,” she muttered and tried to hide her smile when he glared ather. “Maybe he’s just trying to help yougeta life.”

“I have a life.I’m out every night of the goddamn week, whether I want to be ornot.”

“Yeah, andyou’re always the life of the party, Armstrong.”

He didn’tattend those parties to socialize. He didn’t have time for fun. Hehad one goal: to go to sleep richer than he was when he woke up. Ifthe people he rubbed shoulders could help make that happen, hespared them precious time.

His hand wasalready on the doorknob to the outer office when Amy said, “Lesliecalled. She wanted to confirm your date for the children’s charitybenefit tonight.”

Brent groaned.He didn’t mind attending the event, but after three dates, Lesliewas already getting on his last nerve. She wrapped herself aroundhim like a barnacle at every event, and he despised her publicdisplays of affection. He wanted to be the one deciding when andwhere he touched a woman. And his desire to touch Leslie lessenedevery time he saw her. She’d propositioned him on their first date,a serious turn-off. That made him question how many men had comebefore him. He went for innocent women… ever since a sexy littleco-ed got under his skin. Which reminded him of his mission to killhis brother.

“I’ll be backin a minute,” he said over his shoulder. Keith’s office was rightacross the hall, so he didn’t have far to go. He waved off hisbrother’s assistant and stormed his inner office.

“Hey, come onin, bro. Don’t bother knocking or anything.” Keith grinned as hekicked his designer shoes up on his polished desk.

“I own thegoddamn building. I don’t have to knock.” Brent set the paperbearing Ava’s picture on the desk before thrusting a finger at it.“You care to explain this?”

Keith’s lipstwitched when he said, “So you do remember our friend Ava. Ithought you might.”

“A datingservice? What the hell is this about?”

Keith laced hishands behind his head and tipped his chair back. “She owns someupscale dating service here in Nashville. Caters to celebrities,actors, musicians, successful professionals.”

“How long haveyou known about this?”

“A couple ofmonths.”

The urge tothrottle him was great, but since they had a board meeting in halfan hour, Brent resisted the temptation. “And you’re just telling menow?”

Keith lifted ashoulder as he regarded his brother carefully. “You’ve been socaught up in this Dunlop acquisition, I didn’t think you’dcare.”

Brent hadn’tspoken about Ava in years. Not since her trail in Europe ran cold.Admitting he was still interested in a woman who wanted nothing todo with him was humiliating, especially when he usually had theopposite problem. Ever since he’d started making the list of thecountry’s wealthiest bachelors, gold diggers had lined with theirnets, hoping to be the one to snare him.

“I care,” hesaid. He paced the large office with long strides, his designershoes tapping out an impatient rhythm. “What do you know about her?Is she married? How did you find out she’s back in town? When didshe get back? Have you seen her?”

Keith laughedas he held his hand up. “Relax. One question at a time. I ran intoher at a charity thing last month. She attends lots of theseevents. Given her line of work, those are the people she socializeswith.”

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