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Takeshi answered Munin's greeting and bow with a slight nod. Julia, no biting! Takeshi stalked toward her and began circling her, testing her determination and she held her ground, head high and aura sharp with determination and he could feel the approval of his pack through the bonds so she leaned in close and gave her a gentle nip.

I can smell you Of course he could find her in an instant if he expanded his aura and searched for hers, but he didn't, to prolong their game he only used his normal senses, smell, sight, hearing and taste. Tracking someone who could turn into a bird wasn't easy, but fortunately he had plenty of experience from tracking Hugin and Munin, they had spent countless hours in the demon realm training. He slowly used his claws to remove her clothes and took what she offered so willingly, so wantonly, before sinking his fangs into her flesh to claim her for the pack.

As the black scales spread over her back he picked her up and carried her toward the house, their shredded clothes all but forgotten on the ground. It wasn't the nudity that was the issue though, she simply didn't want the girls to see all the cuts and bruises on Alice's body. Emelie knew that Alice had been more than willing to receive them, that she wanted them, but it was not suitable for the younger girls to see, they were too young to understand, so until they healed Alice would have to be covered.

Takeshi on the other hand had already healed from the marks Alice had put on him, but it would make the girls curious if he was naked and Alice wasn't. When Knight moved forward to welcome Alice to the pack he found his path blocked by a hissing Dan in his new form, wings flared and power crackling around him.

They need to do this. Dan is going to challenge Logan for the position of beta, he was always supposed to be my beta and now he realizes that and his instincts are telling him how to take the position. They both watched in silence as Dan challenged Knight, Takeshi only looked away for a moment to reassure Alice who was starting to feel nervous.

One sai was pressed against his throat and a second one was pierced through his arm between the elbow and the enchanted bracer, preventing the energy from flowing, and thus preventing his armor from forming. I believe he did something called Ride the Lightning, traveling along the conduit of his own power. I'm more impressed by those sai, those are true soul-blades, he created them himself from his own power. Then, as suddenly as it had started, the fight was over as Knight's energy receded and he tilted his head to the side in instinctive submission and Dan leaned in and sank his fangs into the mark that Takeshi had left when he first claimed Knight as his beta.

The power of the mark twisted and turned, part of it flowing into Dan and a fragment of Dan's own power replaced it, forever leaving a mark on Knight that would tell anyone who could sense it that he had submitted to Dan. Turning to face Takeshi, Dan bared his neck and waited, Takeshi could still reject him as beta, it wouldn't give Knight the position back though, merely leave the pack without a male beta. When Takeshi stepped closer Dan's wings crackled with nervous energy that didn't dissipate until fangs sank in deeply pouring more power into the pack mark.

Finally you are what you were always meant to be, my true beta. When they joined the others the twins instantly rushed to Dan's side, flooding him with their aura, seeking out the bond that was pack and imprinting themselves on their new beta, and him onto themselves. Knight on the other hand was ignored completely, he was currently Omega, the lowest of them all, beneath even the twins and he would remain there until he was acknowledged as being more.

Takeshi would leave it up to Dan to decide when, he knew that Dan would not leave Knight as omega, Dan was no fool and Takeshi new that he was aware of how valuable Knight's millennia of knowledge and wisdom was. I thought I would have to intentionally force myself to submit, not be forced to do so by instincts. He will no doubt prove to be a very good beta. And I leave it up to you to decide if and when he is allowed to step up again. Turning to the others Takeshi explained a bit about what it meant to be omega, and how instincts may react.

What it does mean though is that he will be last in line, for instance he will not eat anything beside what we offer him or what remains after we are done eating. Takeshi explained how an omega would be assigned the undesirable tasks, and would not be allowed to sleep close to the alpha pair, instead they would be relegated to the outermost edge of the group. In their case it probably wouldn't be all that noticeable, the main difference would be that Knight wouldn't take food without serving the others first, and asking permission to take the things he wanted, he would also not approach, or touch, the others, especially Takeshi and Emelie, without asking permission, and Dan would probably tell him off, making him back away from time to time.

During the explanation Knight was kneeling at the edge of the sitting area with his head bowed, waiting to be acknowledged. There were also five MiG's, a pair of F's and three F's, all courtesy of friends of their grateful arms-dealer and he smiled a predatory smile as they vanished from the edge of the screen. Angel was filtering the data from their screens in preparation for the exercise so that they would not know the exact locations of their opponents.

He allowed the beat of the music to pull him along, his heartbeat picking up as adrenaline surged through his body. Breaking at the max capacity of the agile aircraft would have caused a human pilot to black out but Takeshi took full advantage of his enhance physiology and Amanda's tight break told him she was doing the same.

The training wasn't just for the two of them, but for the five MiG pilot's as well as Dan and Amanda who were acting as ground control under Matthews's guidance with Angel watching and learning while she also controlled the swarm of Harpies. We may not be using live rounds, but the ground is still pretty damn hard! Using their bond instead of the radio to make sure Angel wasn't tapping into their communication was just one of the many methods they were using to gain an upper hand against the numerically superior opponent commanded by Angel.

Angel was allowed to use anything short of actively tampering with Takeshi's and Amanda's Valkyrie's in order to help the enemy defeat them. Focus your sensors and you should be able to see why the echo looks strange. Knowing what the trick is he left it to Amanda to figure out the details, it would help her spot similar tactics in the future.

And remember to look up. Amanda executed a sharp dive and moments later Angel announced kills on the raptor as well as both Harpies and all three crafts broke off to head back to base. And just as Takeshi had suspected a pair of of the MiG's came down sharp from above them, using the glare of the sun as cover and he squeezed the trigger for his quad Gatling guns and watched with satisfaction as the burst of tracer rounds cut the two attackers off and made them break their approach.

There was no kill announcement but smoke from the signal canisters told him that Angel had registered a few good hits and both planes broke off to return to base, unlike the previous ones though, they would be allowed to return to the fight after a suitable downtime to simulate their MiG's being repaired. And you, you're a monster!

But I have learned many things here and I will be honored to fly with you. Out of the pack-members present only himself and Emelie spoke Russian, and Emelie only did so thanks to her demonic abilities and while the Russian pilots and crew did speak some English none of them were very good so they had all agreed to stick with Russian and have Takeshi or Emelie translate whenever they wanted to make sure there were no misunderstandings.

They had spent a week training with the group of Russian pilots and Takeshi was very pleased with the results, Amanda had made great progress, she was nearly as good as he was himself, and the Russian pilots were also highly skilled, they only lost because they didn't have Takeshi's and Amanda's enhanced senses and durability. Having Angel help the Russian pilots coordinate their efforts along with the Harpy swarm had leveled the playing-field quite a bit though.

I was grateful to him for a lot of things, actually, but it was sometimes hard to balance that against my feelings of disloyalty. Excuse me a moment. I look forward to seeing you. Then he slid behind the wheel and drove me downtown. Stanton came in shortly after my arrival, looking dapper and distinguished.

His hair was pure white, his face lined but still very handsome. His eyes were the color of worn blue denim, and they were sharp with intelligence. I stood as he approached, and he bent to kiss my cheek. But my gray eyes came from my dad. Men like Gideon Cross. I picked up my fork and started in on a chicken, cranberry, walnut, and feta salad. It was delicious, and I was hungry. It took some time to calm her down and to assure her that I could make arrangements for you to pursue your interests in a safe manner.

The casualness of his reply, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, made me feel ill. My stomach churned, suddenly more interested in rejecting my lunch than digesting it. It had nothing to do with saving me money. But it also gives her peace of mind. To spy on her grown daughter?

Is she still seeing Dr. He coddled her. Indulged her. Spoiled her. And allowed her obsession with my safety to run wild. She feels guilty for not protecting you. We need to give her a little latitude. How could my mom invade my privacy like that? Why would she? She was driving herself crazy, and me along with her.

This will be much more convenient for you. I make my own decisions. And you. You need to eat. Clancy drove me back up to midtown, while I stewed in the backseat. She was so emotional and fragile, and she loved me to the point of being crazy about it. As Clancy pulled away from the curb, I stood on the crowded sidewalk and looked up and down the busy street for either a drugstore where I could get some chocolate or a cellular store where I could pick up a new phone.

I needed work to distract me from my crazy-ass family. I appreciated the added time the stop gave me to enjoy the comfort of dark chocolate and caramel melting over my tongue. The doors slid apart and revealed Gideon Cross talking with two other gentlemen. When was I going to become immune? He glanced over and his lips curved into a slow, heart-stopping smile when he saw me. Just my crappy luck. Stepping into the car, he lifted a hand to discourage them from following him. They blinked in surprise, glancing at me, then Cross, and then back again.

I stepped out, deciding it would be safer for my sanity to take a different car up. The doors shut and the elevator glided smoothly into motion. After dealing with Stanton, the last thing I needed was another domineering male trying to push me around.

Cross caught me by the upper arms and searched my face with that vivid blue gaze. Releasing me, he withdrew a lone key from his pocket and plugged it into the panel. Seeing him from behind was a revelation. His shoulders were nicely broad without being bulky, emphasizing his lean waist and long legs. The silky strands of hair falling over his collar tempted me to clench them and pull.

I wanted him to be as pissy as I was. His shirt and tie were both the same rich cerulean as his irises. I expect most women are. His ease and unconcern aggravated me further. Glad we got that cleared up. I forced myself not to move away or give him the satisfaction of seeing me intimidated. His thumb brushed over the corner of my mouth, then lifted to his own. But a thousand ways to make you come are.

Gearing for War

Let me show you. He withdrew the key from the panel and the doors opened. He was buzzed through the security door so quickly there was no need for him to break stride. The pretty redhead at the reception desk pushed hastily to her feet, about to impart some information until he shook his head impatiently. Her mouth snapped shut and she stared at me, her eyes wide, as we passed at a brisk pace.

He shrugged out of his jacket and hung it on a chrome coatrack. He was even yummier in just the vest. How strong his shoulders were. He gestured toward a black leather sofa. The sooner we work this out, the sooner we can both get back to business.

Now, sit down. He dropped me on my butt, then sat next to me. He contemplated me with narrowed eyes. So what do you want—exactly? Seduction, Eva? Do you want to be seduced? And, yes, tempted. It was hard not to be while faced with such a gorgeous, virile male so determined to get hot and sweaty with me. Still, the dismay won out. Why even call it a fuck? My awareness of him heightened to a physically painful degree.

His earthy amusement made him less sex god and more human. Flesh and blood. I pushed to my feet and backed out of reach. Friendly even. With mutual respect at the very least. You want me to blur that line. When he stepped close enough, it surrounded me, closing me in with him.

Everything outside that bubble ceased to exist, while inside it my entire body strained toward his. God, he smelled good. His powerful frame radiated heat and hunger, spurring my own wild desire for him.

I wanted him. But he was no good for me. Honestly, I could screw up my life on my own. He was as aroused as I was, his cock hard and thick against my lower back. I had almost no room to breathe. He stared, his gaze searingly intense. He groaned, tilted his head, and sealed his mouth over mine. I sighed and his tongue dipped inside, tasting me in long, leisurely licks.

I pulled on the silky strands, using them to direct his mouth over mine. He growled, deepening the kiss, stroking my tongue with lush slides of his own. He pushed away from the door. I kissed him back as if I could eat him alive. My skin was damp and too sensitive, my breasts heavy and tender.

My clit throbbed for attention, pounding along with my raging heartbeat. I was vaguely aware of movement, and then the couch was against my back. His breath hissed out when he reached the point where my garter clipped to the top of my silk stocking. He tore his gaze away from mine and looked down, pushing my skirt higher to bare me from the waist down. Abruptly, he yanked himself away, stumbling to his feet.

I lay there gasping and wet, so willing and ready. Someone was behind him. I had a nightmare vision in my head of what I must look like. And I was late getting back to work. Leave me alone. Then he pulled down my skirt, smoothing it with calm, expert hands. We reached the door at the same time, and when I crouched to fetch my purse, he lowered with me.

He caught my chin, forcing me to look at him. I was aroused and mad and thoroughly embarrassed.

I jerked my chin away. I want you so badly it hurts. In fact, the rawness of his hunger for me was a serious aphrodisiac. Clutching the strap of my purse, I stood on shaky legs. I needed to get away from him. And, when my workday was done, I needed to be alone with a big glass of wine. Cross stood with me. I set my hand over his and yanked on the handle, ducking under his arm to squeeze out the door. His secretary shoved quickly to his feet, gaping, as did the woman and two men who were waiting for Cross.

I heard him speak behind me. Not wanting to make a scene, I waited until we were by the elevators to pull away. He stood calmly and hit the call button. Tell me when, then. I shivered. Take a couple days to think. I had a late lunch with Mr. I just barely got back myself. My kickass Friday morning seemed to have happened days ago. But since I was still feeling shitty about my overly long lunch, I considered it penance and answered.

It drove me nuts and it also broke my heart. Thank you. Petersen say about you tracing my phone? Petersen knows I worry about you.

Is your boss treating you well? The good ones always are. I loved it when she was happy. I wished she were happy more often. And I know Cary will love it. My mother was rarely distracted for long. I answered with my usual greeting, but it lacked its usual punch. Still taste you. Nothing is coming to mind. But I do have some friendly advice. Go spend time with a woman who salivates at your feet and makes you feel like a god.

Fuck her until neither of you can walk. Dark and Dangerous for sure. In the interim, tell me what you do like. I have a date with my vibrator. Plus, I was having fun with him. What will it take to talk you into a threesome with B. Good night, Gideon. Grudgingly, I thought of Gideon Cross, who preferred to strip all intimacy out of the most intimate act I could imagine.

He was about my age, I guessed. Average height and nicely muscular. He had unruly blond hair, soft hazel eyes, and a nose that had clearly been broken at some point. I went to the wine fridge and pulled out a random bottle. Trey shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans and rocked back on his heels, talking quietly with Cary as I uncorked and poured.

Classes will resume a week from Monday. It never ceased to amaze me how much cooperation money could download.

Your driver has the schedule. See you then. Do you have time for pizza Wednesday night? Spill it, Eva. You looked stressed. How did you two meet? In an old-school way. He seemed great, and he obviously digs you. Is he studying photography?

But forget about Trey for a minute. Get it out. Never even crossed my mind. And meet with Dr. Turn it over to her shrink. Do you still love it? Come on, Eva. What happened? I wanted his take on it all. I lifted my head to look at him, and found him bright-eyed and biting his lip.

What are you thinking? Just tell him what you want. What did I want? Aside from the obvious?

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Boil it down. Even a guy I take home from a bar has more going for him than that. Come here often? What are you drinking? Like to dance? Do you work around here? I get it. Hit a bar. His clothes—black jeans and turtleneck—were more upscale, which intrigued me. What he handed me was a business card made from papyrus paper and printed with a gilded font that caught the light of the electric signage around us.

I made a mental note to hang on to it as a great piece of print advertising. Cary squinted down at the lettering, having a few more drinks in him than I did. The line to get in was long, extending down the street and around the corner. We were shown to a small seating area by the balcony and settled at a table hugged by two half-moon velvet sofas. Enjoy your evening. Hanging out with my best girl and crushing on a new hunk in my life.

Paired with black leather pants and spiked wristlets, it made him look sexy and wild. I tried to think of a way I could help. Two guys stopped by our table. I glanced at Cary, and then back at the guys.

See a Problem?

They looked like brothers and they were very attractive. Nice to meet you. I seriously thought about it. I watched them all go, my heart racing. My gaze slid over him. I loved the look on him and was attracted to the softness it gave him, even though I knew it was only an illusion.

He was a hard man in a lot of ways. That he wanted to skip past the getting-to-know-you stage and jump straight into bed? So damn sexy. Is that a general like of the overall package? Or just the clothes? Only the sweater? I looked away. It was a lot easier talking about masturbation over the phone. Doing it while squirming under that piercing blue stare was mortifying.

I glared at him, even though I was mad at myself for caring either way. I own this club, Eva. A pretty waitress set two pinkish-colored iced drinks in square tumblers on the table.

Two Stoli Elit and cranberries. Can I get you anything else? My nerves tingled. The working of his throat made me hot, but that was nothing compared to what the intensity of his stare did to me. All the chaotic emotion and energy that had been writhing around inside me abruptly became too much to contain. Shocked by the fury of my reaction, I wrenched away, gasping.

Gideon followed, nuzzling the side of my face, his lips brushing over my ear. Setting his drink down, he shifted on the sofa and drew a knee up onto the cushion between us so that he faced me directly. Your credit card popped and your drinks were recorded.

And Cary Taylor is listed on the rental agreement for your apartment. No way. My cell phone. My credit card. My fucking apartment. Between my mother and Gideon, I felt claustrophobic. I pounded it, draining the tumbler. My stomach churned for a moment, then settled. He took my glass and set it aside, then warmed my chilled hands with his. Yes, it is. My mom stalks me, too, and she sees a shrink.

Do you have a shrink? I could hear the blood rushing past my eardrums. Not for what you used it for! That has to violate some kind of privacy law. Is that so fucking hard for people to do nowadays? And he was crazy rich, which made even old, bald, and paunchy guys attractive. His gaze darted over my face. Because of me? I arranged it. So why do it? Why not wait until Monday lunch? A problem? I knew that was a lot of the appeal for him. Clearly, those were a sticking point with him. You separate it from friendship, work.

Okay, here are my thoughts. My job is priority number one and my personal life— as a single woman—is a close second. Have it with me. I shoved his shoulder. As bizarre as this conversation must be for him, Gideon was taking it seriously. I feel devalued. A sizzling, predatory glimmer sparked in his eyes as I bared my weakness for him. I need an equal exchange in my sexual relationships. Or to have the upper hand. Tell me how to get around it. What was that for? And incite.

In self-defense, I tugged my hand back to my lap.

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All right? His smile was like lightning in the darkness, blinding and beautiful and mysterious, and I wanted him so badly it was physically painful. His hands slid down to cup the backs of my thighs.

Squeezing gently, he tugged me just a little bit closer. His tongue wet his lips in an action so carnal and suggestive I could almost feel the caress on my skin.

An unwelcome ache developed in my chest and I rubbed at it. Because I wanted him enough to take a calculated risk and break my own rules. I took comfort in knowing he was breaking some of his own, too.

After a long, hot shower, I made my way into the living room and found Cary on the couch with his netbook, looking fresh and alert. He pointed at a box on the end table. As I studied the gift, I found it very apt. I was in uncharted territory that was both exciting and scary.

I glanced at Cary, who eyed the bottle dubiously. It tasted like sickly sweet cough syrup. My stomach quivered in distaste for a moment and then heated. I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and shoved the cork back into the empty bottle.

I already felt a little steadier. On the back Gideon had written Call me in bold slashing penmanship and jotted down a number. I took the card, curling my hand around it. His gift was proof that he was thinking about me. His tenacity and focus were seductive.

There was no denying I was in trouble where Gideon was concerned. I craved the way I felt when he touched me, and I loved the way he responded when I touched him back. No strings, no expectations, no responsibilities. Glancing at the clock, I saw it was ten thirty. Of the goddess persuasion. The doorman smiled as we stepped outside—me in heeled sandals and a maxi dress, and Cary in hip-hugging jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt.

Will you need a cab today? She enjoyed it so much I plan to make it a tradition. Crossing the entrance threshold was like taking a vacation on the far side of the world. Every arched doorway was framed by lushly vibrant striped silks, while jeweled pillows decorated elegant chaises and oversized armchairs.

Small decorative fountains added the sounds of running water, while stringed instrumental music was piped into the room via cleverly hidden speakers. Stanton, have you met Gideon Cross? He knew damn well my mom went nuts over any news about my romantic—and not-so-romantic, as the case may be— relationships.

My mother, who sat in the chair on the other side of me, leaned forward with her usual girlish excitement over a rich, handsome man. How could you not tell me something like that? Clearly the latter won out with you. By the time my massage appointment came around, I was in desperate need of one. I stretched out on the table and closed my eyes, preparing to take a catnap to get through the long night ahead.

I loved dressing up and looking pretty as much as the next girl, but charity functions were a lot of work. I sighed. Who was I fooling? Taking a deep breath, I consciously relaxed.

I made a mental note to call my dad when I got home and thought about how to send a thank-you note to Gideon for the hangover cure. I supposed I could e-mail him using the contact info on his business card, but that lacked class. Why not? The door opened and the masseuse came in. You ready? But I was getting there. I used the time alone to call Gideon.

How did he have my name and number in his contact list? Call the desk, Eva. Somewhat dazed, I went to the intercom and talked to the front desk, letting them know I was expecting him, and while I was talking, he walked into the lobby.

A few moments after that, he was at my door. It was then that I remembered I was dressed in only a thigh-length silk robe, and my face and hair were styled for the dinner. What kind of impression would he get from my appearance? I tightened the belt of my robe before I let him in. Gideon stood in the hallway for a long moment, his gaze raking me from my head down to my French-manicured toes. I was equally stunned by his appearance. The way he looked in worn jeans and a T-shirt made me want to undress him with my teeth.

Thanks to you. You look beautiful, Eva. Way too vulnerable. I checked, knowing your mother would be there. There was a dangerous purr to his voice that sent a shiver through me. I could feel the warmth of his big, hard body and smell the richly masculine scent of his skin.

I was falling under his spell, deeper with every minute that passed. His tongue did that slow, savoring licking that made me long to feel him doing the same between my legs. My hands went to his hair, sliding through it, tugging. When he wrapped his arms around me, I arched, curving into his hands. Oh, God. My gaze darted frantically to the clock on the cable box. His other hand continued to plump my breasts, making them heavy and unbearably sensitive. Plush and pink.

Bared to You : A Crossfire Novel

So soft. My back bowed as I clenched eagerly around him. How long has it been since the last time you were fucked? I had my thesis, then job hunting and moving. I was near mindless with the need for an orgasm. Gideon was breathing hard, too. For me. His hand at my breast moved to my cheek and brushed over it. I want you to feel my cum in you, so you think about how I looked and the sounds I made when I pumped it into you. In that moment he owned me.

And he knew it. Searing pleasure pulsed through me.

Through the roaring of blood in my ears, I thought I heard him speak hoarsely, but I lost the words when he hooked one of my legs over the back of the couch and covered my cleft with his mouth. Then his tongue speared into me and I bit my lip to bite back a scream. I came a second time, my body quaking violently, tender muscles tightening desperately around his decadent licking. His growl vibrated through me. I was boneless as he straightened my leg and still breathless when he pressed kisses up my belly to my breasts.

He licked each of my nipples, then hauled me up with his arms banded around my back. I hung lax and pliable in his grip while he took my mouth with suppressed violence, bruising my lips and betraying how close to the edge he was. He closed my robe, then stood, staring down at me. I caught you. I missed my father. Now his home in Oceanside was the entire country away.

But you need to make sure you have some downtime, too. Go out, be young, have fun. But not too much fun. Cary and I went clubbing, and I woke up with a mean hangover. As much as I miss SoCal, Manhattan is really awesome. Beautiful, charming, and obsessivecompulsive. I thought my dad might still love my mom. That was one of the reasons I never told him about what happened to me.

What are your plans for the rest of the weekend? Sleeping in late, hanging out in my pajamas all day, maybe some movies and food delivery of some sort. Be careful at work, okay? I worry about you, too. Bye, baby. You just got a new one when you moved. Be good. I sat for a few moments in the ensuing silence, feeling like everything was right in my world, which never lasted long.

I brooded on that for minute; then Cary cranked up Hinder on his bedroom stereo and that kicked my butt into gear. I hurried to my room to get ready for a night with Gideon. Dressed in his new Brioni tux, he was both debonair and dashing, and certain to attract attention.

It hung on one shoulder, cut diagonally across my cleavage, had ruching to the hip, and then split at my right upper thigh all the way down my leg. Otherwise, the back was bared to just above the crack of my butt in a racy V-cut. In his own way, Cary could give Gideon a run for his money. The intercom buzzed and I jumped, making me realize how nervous I was. I looked at Cary. They love me. And you landed him. Enjoy yourself. Pushing onto my tiptoes, I kissed his cheek. I love you.

Take your time. Oh, Gideon. The image broke my heart. His mother went on to marry Christopher Vidal, a music executive, and had two more children, Christopher Vidal Jr. I saw that my mom had been right—they were all brunettes. The woman who appeared with him most often bore the hallmarks of a Hispanic heritage. She was taller than me, willowy rather than curvy. I knew that all the answers I wanted were waiting for me in the next room. Leaving my bedroom, I took the hallway to the living room.

My heart rate kicked up. His gaze was unfocused and his mouth grim. His crossed arms betrayed an inherent unease, as if he were out of his element. He looked remote and removed, a man who was inherently alone. He sensed my presence, or maybe he felt my yearning. He pivoted, then went very still.

I took the opportunity to drink him in, my gaze sliding all over him. He looked every inch the powerful magnate. So sensually handsome my eyes burned just from looking at him. And the way he looked at me. He caught up my hand and lifted it to his mouth. His gaze was intense— intensely hot, intensely focused. I was instantly aroused. You look amazing. I tucked your gloss into your clutch. He pulled my hair out from underneath it and the feel of his hands at my neck so distracted me, I barely paid attention when Cary pushed my gloves into my hands.

The elevator ride to the lobby was an exercise in surviving acute sexual tension. Not that Cary seemed to notice. He was on my left with both hands in his pockets, whistling.

Gideon, on the other hand, was a tremendous force on the other side of me. My skin tingled from the magnetic pull between us, and my breath came short and fast. I was relieved when the doors opened and freed us from the enclosed space.

Two women stood waiting to get on. Their jaws dropped when they saw Gideon and Cary, and that lightened my mood and made me smile. In contrast, Gideon gave a curt nod and led me out with a hand at the small of my back, skin to skin.

The contact was electric, sending heat pouring through me. See you in a bit. I slid across the bench seat to the opposite side and adjusted my gown.

When Gideon settled beside me and the door shut, I became highly conscious of how good he smelled. I breathed him in, telling myself to relax and enjoy his company. I shoved my hands in his hair and kissed him back. I sucked on his tongue, having learned how much he liked it, having learned how much I liked it, how much it made me want to suck him elsewhere with the same eagerness.

His hands were sliding over my bare back and I moaned, feeling the prod of his erection against my hip. I shifted, moving to straddle him, shoving the skirt of my gown out of the way and making a mental note to thank my mom for the dress—which had such a convenient slit.

With my knees on either side of his hips, I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and deepened the kiss. I licked into his mouth, nibbled on his lower lip, stroked my tongue along his. Gideon gripped my waist and pushed me away. He leaned into the seat back, his neck arched to look up at my face, his chest heaving. Enjoying the hell out of you.

I want you, Gideon. We were only inches away from hundreds of people, but the dark glass concealed us and made me feel reckless. I wanted to please him. I wanted to know I was capable of reaching into Gideon Cross, and there was nothing to stop me but him. I rocked my hips against him, stroking myself with the hard length of his cock. His breath hissed out between clenched teeth.

I thought I might be slightly intoxicated, just from the enticing smell of his skin. He tensed. When he fell heavily into my palms, he groaned, the sound both pained and erotic. I squeezed him gently, my touch deliberately tender as I sized him with my hands. He was so hard, like stone, and hot. One of his thumbs slid beneath the edge of my panties, the pad sliding through the slickness of my desire. The abrupt sound and the violent action behind it spurred my desire to a fever pitch. The scent of our lust was heavy and humid in the air, a seductive mix of need and pheromones that awakened every cell in my body.

I closed my eyes, feeling too exposed. We were eye-to-eye, only inches apart, cocooned in a small space with the rest of the world streaming by around us. I took more of him, letting him slide deeper. I sucked in a deep breath, feeling exquisitely stretched. Everything in my core tightened and clenched, sucking him deeper. Opening my eyes, I looked at him from under heavy eyelids.

He was so beautiful sprawled beneath me in his elegant tuxedo, his powerful body straining with the primal need to mate. Sweat misted my skin. He was so deep I could hardly stand it, forcing me to shift from side to side, trying to ease the unexpected bite of discomfort.

It was rippling around him, squeezing, trembling on the verge of orgasm. Gideon cursed and gripped my hip with his free hand, urging me to lean backward as his chest heaved with frantic breaths. The position altered my descent and I opened, accepting all of him. Immediately his body temperature rose, his torso radiating sultry heat through his clothes.

Sweat dotted his upper lip. Leaning forward, I slid my tongue along the sculpted curve, collecting the saltiness with a low murmur of delight. His hips churned impatiently. I lifted carefully, sliding up a few inches before he stopped me with that ferocious grasp on my hip. I lowered, taking him into me again, feeling an oddly luscious soreness as he pushed just past my limits.

Our eyes locked on each other as the pleasure spread from the place where we connected. It struck me then that we were both fully clothed except for the most private and intimate parts of our bodies. I found that excruciatingly carnal, as were the sounds he made, as if the pleasure were as extreme for him as it was for me. I kissed him as I rocked my hips, riding the maddening circling of his thumb, feeling the orgasm building with every slide of his long, thick penis into my melting core.

I could focus on nothing but the driving urge to fuck, the ferocious need to ride his cock until the tension burst and set me free of this grinding hunger. As I tightened and shook, I realized I was going to come from that, just from the expert thrust of him inside me. Possessed by his stare, I moaned and came harder than I ever had, my body jerking with every pulse of pleasure. He hit the end of me with every deep thrust, battering into me. I could feel him growing harder and thicker.

I watched him avidly, needing to see it when he went over the edge for me. His eyes were wild with his need, losing their focus as his control frayed, his gorgeous face ravaged by the brutal race to climax. He shook as the orgasm tore into him, his features softening for an instant with an unexpected vulnerability. Cupping his face, I brushed my lips across his, comforting him as the forceful bursts of his gasping breaths struck my cheeks.

I knew just how he felt. Laid bare. He turned his head and kissed me softly, the strokes of his tongue into my mouth soothing my ragged emotions.

His mouth twitched. The way he studied me made my chest hurt. He looked stunned and.We were only inches away from hundreds of people, but the dark glass concealed us and made me feel reckless. Par for the course when dealing with Cross Industries. Knowing it was pointless to get riled up over old frustrations, I focused on getting to work as quickly as possible.

Gideon was a consummate orator, his vibrant baritone mesmerizing. He was just so there.