Wes Lowell snagged her wrist and held her firmly, preventing her from getting out of bed. She looked over her shoulder at him. His dark hair, rumpled from their vigorous sex, fell temptingly across his forehead. His gray eyes were more smoky than usual, which meant he was good for at least one more orgasm.
Her body responded with a flood of pheromones. She wanted him. He was sin and naughtiness rolled into one sexy package.
She straightened her spine and called on all her mental reserves so that she didn’t yield to the seductive pressure of his grip on her wrist and crawl back into his arms. “I can’t.”
It was tempting -- he
was tempting. A white sheet covered his lower body, but that meant his oh-so-appealing chest was bare, and she always loved the way that thin strand of dark hair arrowed down, disappearing into his groin.
She stopped herself from touching him. Temptation, she knew, started with a single step. Before long, you were committed, distracted from your work, answering to someone else, and you had to consider their opinions before making big decisions. No. Definitely not for her.
And definitely not with Wes Lowell, her friend and lover, sometimes coworker, an alpha male who was her equal professionally, intellectually, sexually.
And that was the real problem. She wanted him every bit as much as she wanted not to want him.
With any other man, she might have relented and given her driver the night off. With anyone else, staying would have meant nothing, and she’d have been able to keep an emotional distance. She’d get up in the morning, have breakfast and coffee, then smile and wave good-bye without looking back or even sparing a second thought for the man she’d slept with.
But Lowell was different. Every time she left his bed, it took hours for her to regain focus. She thought about him, mentally replaying their lovemaking. She’d be reading a report, crunching data, making risk assessments, when a thought of him with his tongue right there
on her clit would blindside her. Desire would swamp her.
Once, a few months ago, she’d had a moment of weakness. Late at night, restless and alone in her king-size bed, she’d reached for the phone to hear the gorgeously modulated tones of his voice as he whispered her name and told her what he wanted to do to her.
She’d resisted the impulse, but the fact she’d even had the weakness bothered her.
Despite her resolve to be strong, the bed had seemed larger than it ever had. A feeling of loneliness had crept over her, and she’d been aware of every noise in her ridiculously large downtown loft.
For all those reasons and a dozen more, Inamorata had to leave. “I’ve got a car waiting.” She pulled her wrist. “Duty calls.”
“Duty? Or are you running away again?”
Because the argument was familiar and way too freaking close to the truth, she gritted her teeth. “It’s late.”
“Two a.m.,” he said. “I’ll make sure you’re up in time to make it to work.”
“Let me go, Wes.”
He clenched his jaw and slowly released his grip.
She slipped from the bed and put several feet of safety between them before scooping her lacy black shelf bra from the hardwood floor. Half her clothes had ended up in an untidy pile on the floor, and the other half were strewn across the footboard.
She stood facing him as she did a reverse striptease. She took her time, wanting him to want her.
He propped a pillow behind his back and sat up. He watched her unblinkingly. There wasn’t anything about Wes Lowell that wasn’t intense, and she’d long ago gotten over the embarrassment of having him study her while she dressed, or undressed for that matter.
She pulled on her matching scrap of a thong and grinned when he gave an appreciative wolf whistle.
“No one would suspect the reserved and conservative Ms. Inamorata would wear that kind of underwear.”
“I’ve never heard you complain.”
“You never will.”
His voice reminded her of midnight and moonlight. It was dark and rich, and it sent a shiver through her body.
She started rolling a stocking up her leg, aware of the fact he hadn’t looked away.
She smoothed the silk into place and was reaching for the second stocking when a loud barking shattered the silence.
Lowell’s medium-sized mechanical dog raced into the room and skidded across the newly refinished floor in a cacophony of yelps and nips before crashing into a nightstand.
“Bentley!” Lowell warned. “Behave.”
The yipping contraption shook off the mishap and all but danced toward her. The mutt was as lovable as he was accident-prone, and far too many of his characteristics were reminiscent of his builder.
Bentley turned circles, snatched one of her stockings in his mechanical mouth, and then raced for the door.
“Did you pay him to do that?” she asked, stunned by the dog’s speed and daring.
“What can I say?” He shrugged. “Bentley doesn’t want you to leave either. He gets an extra-long battery charge tonight.”
She sighed. Even if she retrieved the stocking, it would be ruined. Thank goodness the bad-mannered mutt hadn’t stolen her shoes. Those nasty metal teeth would make the finest designer leather into a chew toy.
She removed the single stocking and rolled it into a ball.
“Sorry,” Lowell said.
“Really?” She raised her eyebrows. “I doubt it.”
She stuffed the lone stocking into her purse.
“A little cold tonight to have your legs bare,” he said.
“I’ll survive.” She wriggled into her skirt, then stepped into her high heels. She shrugged into her silk blouse and began buttoning from the bottom.
His gaze never left her.
Finally, reluctantly, she grabbed her leather bomber jacket from the bedpost.
“Let me.” He climbed from the bed in all his naked glory. A pillow fell to the floor beside them.
The sight of his body always amazed her, the rugged lines, the masculine sinews. Even though he was a self-proclaimed geek, his body was that of an athlete. He might have a scientific calculator in the nightstand, but he had push-up bars beneath the bed.
His cock was more than halfway hard, jutting toward her, despite the fact he’d come less than five minutes before.
She wished he’d stayed in bed. Right now, leaving was about self-preservation.
He helped her into the jacket and adjusted the lapels.
“Thank you,” she whispered, aware of his scent and the way he dominated her space. Breath strangled in her throat.
He secured both of her wrists behind her back with a single hand.
“Lowell...” Her heart raced. She needed to get away.
He exerted pressure, forcing her onto her tiptoes. “Open your mouth.”
“Open your mouth.
Confused, and more than a bit excited by his tone, she opened her mouth. His kiss wasn’t soft or sweet. It was brutal in its intensity as he staked a claim. He didn’t try to coax a response; he commanded it.
His kisses always left her breathless, yet the depth of this one was different.
He tasted of demand, spiced by power. If he’d been dangerous for her before, he was doubly so now.
She ached to wrap her hands around his neck, and she tried to pull away, but he held her wrists prisoner.
He’d always been a kind and considerate lover, but this... Wow.
His tongue went deeper in her mouth, and she was lost. Oh yes.
Yes. She wanted him. Yes, she desired him. Yes, she wanted to be in his bed and never leave.
His cock was fully hard, and it pressed against her stomach. She was turned on, and so was he. Her breaths came in struggled bursts, and all rational thought stopped.
Before she could figure out what he was doing, he ended the kiss and turned her around. Within seconds, he had her bent over the mattress. “Wes!”
He kept her wrists secured against her spine, and he dragged up her skirt, bunching it around her waist before stripping off her thong.
The cool Colorado night air crept across her exposed flesh.
“Lift your right foot.”
She surprised herself by obeying. There was something about his tone that took away her will.
He pulled the underwear away, then said, “Now lift your left foot.”
This time, she knew she couldn’t win. Instead of fighting it, she gave in.
He tossed aside the thong. “Lovely.”
She struggled futilely, knowing he was looking at her, seeing her vulnerability. She was smart enough to be scared.
“Spread your legs farther apart.”
She couldn’t believe this was happening. Outside of a club setting, she liked having the upper hand sexually, enjoyed setting the pace, being in charge. Until tonight, he’d seemed mostly content with that.
“Do I need to repeat myself?”