Read Blown away Online

Authors: Cheryl Douglas

Blown away (page 4)

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“Brent,” shesaid, skimming his cheek with her palm. “I can’t deny our physicalchemistry is off the charts, but you’re just about the last man inthe world I’d consider having a relationship with.”

She couldn’thave hurt him more if she’d stabbed him. Multi-million dollarbusiness mergers required him to perfect a poker face and it servedhim well. “You mind telling me why?”

“You don’t wantsomeone like me,” she said, setting her hand on his thigh. “Youwant the pretty little socialite content to let you call all theshots…” She flicked a glance to the limo driver. “In and out of thebedroom.”

“Is that whatthis is about?” He frowned. “Did I scare you the last time we weretogether?” That night flashed through his mind: his possessivedemands, the bindings… He cringed. “Look, I may have come on a bittoo strong...”

“I loved it,”she whispered. “I loved the way you made me feel.”

His bodyreacted as his mind remembered. “You mean you want that again?”

“I want you tobe who you are with me, Brent. I’m not trying to change you. I justwant you to understand you can’t change me either. We can have agreat time in the bedroom together, but I don’t see it extendingbeyond that. I’m sorry.”

He didn’t knowhow to react. He couldn’t bully her into wanting a relationship,but he couldn’t back off either. This was too important to him. Shewas too important to him. “If you want to set some ground rules, Ican live with that.”

She smiled.“No, you can’t.”

“Try me.”

“I don’t wantto be mutually exclusive. I’m free to have sex with other people,and so are you.”

He clenched hisjaw, trying to gauge whether she was baiting him. “Try again.”

She laughed.“See, I told you it would never work. Maybe you should just haveyour driver take me home.”

“No.”

“It’s not goingto work,” she said gently. She pressed the intercom button to reachthe driver.

Brent listenedto her give the driver her address. He couldn’t do anything tochange her mind. He had to come up with a game plan though, becauseletting her go wasn’t an option.

 

***

 

“Aren’t yougoing to invite me up for a nightcap?” Brent asked when theyreached her condo building.

She gestured tothe limo mini-bar. “You have more right here than I could everoffer you.”

“How about acoffee? I don’t have that, and I could really use one. I have a tonof work to do when I get home.”

Inviting him upwould be a mistake, she knew that, but Ava rarely let her headguide her in matters of the heart. “Fine, one coffee.”

When the driveropened the car door, Brent told him he would be back within thehour. “Take your time, sir,” he said, tipping his hat and smilingat Ava.

Brent guidedher to the front doors and waited while she passed her access cardthrough the slot. “Nice building,” he said quietly.

His deep voiceskittered over her skin, making her feel as though he’dcomplimented her instead of the bricks and mortar around them. “Ilike it.”

He pinned herwith his gaze as soon as they stepped into the elevator, and sheknew coffee was the last thing on his mind. Ava had to admit he wasan expert at getting what he wanted. The short ride to hereighth-floor apartment only served to heighten the sexual tension.His eyes roamed her body as though he was trying to sear throughher evening gown with his X-ray vision.

She gripped thebrass bar behind her. “You like what you see?” She knew the actionmade her breasts jut out, and she couldn’t suppress her smile whenhe took the bait. Watching a powerful man like Brent lose controlwas fun, and she knew from experience that only happened in oneplace: bed, the second before his body demanded he let go.

“I love what Isee,” he snarled. “But then you already know that, don’t you?” Hemoved closer and threaded his hands through her hair.

She watched hiseyes travel over her face. Air was trapped in her lungs as shetried to anticipate his next move. He was unpredictable, and thatunnerved her. He could press her into the wall and take what theyboth wanted, or he could bid her goodnight and find it somewhereelse just to prove a point.

“Tell me whatyou’re thinking,” he whispered.

His quietcommand surprised her. She’d expected him to take action, notspeak. “I was… uh… just wondering what you’re going to do.”

“What do youwant me to do?”

That was themillion-dollar question. Did she want him to stay and make love toher or leave her to try to forget him all over again? “I don’tknow.” Admitting her confusion was akin to admitting weakness, butshe wasn’t sharp enough to play games when her body battled herbrain for dominance.

He slipped thepearl-encrusted strap over her shoulder. “I know what I want. Iwant to kiss you…” He pressed his lips to her collarbone. “I wantto lick you…” His tongue glided over her shoulder. “I want to hearyou whisper my name the way you did all those years ago. You werecaught up in the wonder of what your body was capable of when youfinally let go and gave yourself to me.”

She shivered.His words floated through the air, hovering with unspoken promise.A stranger’s gorgeous face and hard body wouldn’t have tempted her.The memory of the way he’d made her feel was wearing her down. Thatone perfect night floated through her mind as ecstasy wrapped in aprotective bubble. He was offering it to her once more, and sheknew she wasn’t strong enough to resist.

Taking hishand, she guided him off the elevator to her suite at the end ofthe hall. Seconds ticked by and she knew she had time to change hermind, but she didn’t want to. She wanted him. Again. “I meant whatI said earlier,” she said quietly as she fit her key into thelock.

“So did I,” hemurmured as his lips grazed her neck.

He wasn’tbacking down, but neither was she. She wanted freedom. He wantedpossession. He wanted dominance. She wanted equality. The onlyquestion remaining was which one of them would be on top when thelights came on.

 

***

 

Brent’s hearthammered when Ava led him to her master suite. They didn’t wastetime with small talk; they didn’t have to. He would have time laterto learn her favorite food and color. That night was all aboutre-acquainting himself with her body and figuring out how toconvince her he deserved to have it every night for the next fortyor fifty years.

He closed thedoor and watched her slide the zipper down her back, step out ofher expensive evening gown, and lay it over a carved wood armchair.She stood wearing black stilettos and black, lacy undergarmentsthat made his fingers twitch with the urge to touch her.

“We’re going toplay a little game,” she said, pointing to a bench under thewindow. “I want you to sit down and watch me undress. You can look,but you can’t touch until I tell you to.”

“You can’t beserious.”

“I’m veryserious. Last time, I trusted you. This time, I’m asking you to letgo.”

“I can’t.” Justthe thought of surrendering control made him break out in asweat.

“Yes, you can.”Her hand glided down her silk-clad leg. “For me.”

Brentunderstood she was giving him an ultimatum. He either did what shewas asking or he risked losing what may be his only opportunity toright his only regret: giving up when he should have fought forher. He clenched his teeth. “Fine.”

When he startedto sit down, she said, “Not so fast.” She closed the distancebetween them, her eyes trapping him. She pushed his jacket over hisshoulders.

If Ava thoughthe would stand there idly while she undressed him, she was deludingherself. He would have her naked and on her back before she couldchastise him for breaking her rules.

“You’re evensexier now than you were then,” she whispered. “How is that evenpossible?”

Brentunderstood that feeling of disbelief. He was experiencing it too.How badly he’d wanted her ten years ago was nothing compared to howmuch he wanted her now. “Why the hell did you leave?” He hadn’tintended to ask since that question could halt their plans, but hehad to know.

“I had to.” Hereyes were wide and innocent. “I knew what you wanted and I knew Icouldn’t give it to you.”

“Why?” Hegripped her shoulders.

“Don’t touchme.”

“What?” Icyfear trickled through his veins. No way could she take him so faronly to send him back.

“Not until Itell you to.”

He’d never beena fan of delayed gratification, but he would concede, just once, tomake her happy. Letting his hands fall to his sides, he said, “Atleast answer my question. Why couldn’t you give me what I wanted?You must have sensed our connection was different… special.”Indescribablewas the word that always came to mind when hethought about his experience with Ava.

“I was young,”she said, sliding off his shirt. “But I wasn’t so naïve I didn’tunderstand what you were asking of me. Besides, I’d heard rumorsabout yourboundaries.”

He had beenclear with all of his girlfriends about what he would and wouldn’ttolerate. Excessive drinking, flirting with other guys, cheating,calling him out in public… were all deal breakers.

“I didn’t wantthat kind of relationship. I wasn’t ready for anythingserious.”

He wouldn’thave accepted anything less than all of her. “Ten years is a longtime. You’re telling me you’re still not ready for a seriousrelationship?” When she reached for his belt buckle, he knew heshould just shut up, but he couldn’t. He’d never been the kind ofman to settle for less than everything, especially when it wasfinally within his grasp.

“Not the kindyou’re talking about.”

His heartclenched. He’d spent the past ten years building an empire menenvied. There was little his money couldn’t buy, yet he stillcouldn’t have the one thing he wanted:Ava.“Then what kindof relationship are you offering?” He hated even consideringaccepting her terms. He was an all-or-nothing guy, but the thoughtof nothing of her was too terrifying to contemplate.

“I told you inthe car.” She inched his pants and boxer briefs down before pushinghim onto the bench to remove his shoes and socks.

He watched Avaon her knees and a fierce wave of possessiveness overcame him.“You’re not having sex with anyone else, Ava. Put that thought outyour head. Now.”

She looked upat him, her expression as determined as his. “Let’s get one thingstraight, Armstrong. I’m not one of your companies or youremployees. You don’t own me and you can’t dictate to me.” She stoodand put her hands on her hips. “Either you agree to my terms or youcan get the hell out before this goes any further.”

Brent felt sickwhen he thought about sleepless nights wondering where she was, whoshe was with, and why she’d declined when he asked her to spend theevening with him. Calling her only to have another man answer.Seeing flowers from someone else on her bedside table or a pictureof her on another man’s arm in the newspaper or on the Internet.He’d never fallen in love because he’d been desperately afraid hewould end up like his father: alone while another man walked awaywith his wife.

“Are you okay?”she asked, brushing back his hair. “You’re sweating. Brent, what isit? Aren’t you feeling well?”

He looked intoher eyes, forcing himself to swallow the fear. “Can I touch younow?”

She lookedconfused. “Yes.”

He wrapped hisarms around her waist and held her tight as he cushioned his headon her breasts. “I want to be with you.” Her conditions stillterrified him. If she wouldn’t follow his rules, how could he besure she wouldn’t leave him?

 

***

 

Ava didn’t knowwhat had happened to the ruthless businessman who ruled his empirewith an iron fist, but he wasn’t in her bed right now. In his placewas a man laced with panic. He was scared, but she couldn’t figureout what provoked his anxiety. He couldn’t be so invested inher…

She reachedinto her nightstand for protection and she saw his eyes darken whenhe spotted the half-empty box of condoms. “Is there a problem?”

The muscle inhis jaw twitched, and he closed his eyes. “No problem.”

She rolled thelatex over his hard shaft, her lips tipping up when he drew a deepbreath. He was under her control, and it must be killing him. “Kissme.”

Brent seizedthe back of the head, pulling her face toward his. “Let’s do thismy way. Please.”

His quiet pleaalmost broke her, but she knew if she gave in, he would bulldozeher orderly life and everyone in it. “No.” Instead of trying tocoerce her with words, he used his mouth to stoke the sparks of herdesire until it was a full blown firestorm. “You don’t play fair,Armstrong,” she panted, guiding his shaft inside her.

“Neither doyou.”

Ava eased himin slowly, enjoying his reaction while trying to regulate her own.If he knew she was as affected as he was, he would use it asleverage to gain the upper hand. “Open your eyes.”

He did as sheinstructed, but his eyes were cold and dark, as though he wastrying to prevent himself from succumbing to the pleasure. “I hatethis.”

“Then I’m notdoing it right,” she said, rolling her hips.

His handsfisted in the sheets. He was honoring her rule about not touchingher until she gave him permission. “Sweet Jesus.”

“How does thatfeel?” she asked, losing herself. The rules of the game shifted assoon as she’d surrounded him. Having his hands on her was the onlything that mattered anymore.

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