Holding on tighter, p.10
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       Holding on Tighter, p.10

         Part #12 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black

  ecstasy with him.

  Not bloody happening.

  With a curse, he nestled deep inside her pussy and went utterly still.

  Her eyes flared wide with shock, then panic. That beautiful begging he’d wanted from her once more returned.

  “Heath?” Her breath hitched.

  “Do you feel the burn?”

  She arched, struggled to writhe under him even as he held her still. “Yes.”

  It took every ounce of his restraint to slide back and in again with a slow stroke designed to kindle her senses, rather than plow deep and send her over the edge. “Want me to relieve your ache?”


  “You want to come?”

  She nodded frantically, eyes squeezing shut again. “Yes!”

  “Then look at me. Watch me while I fuck you.”

  For once, she gave into his demands, lashes lifting to reveal those startling green eyes. In reward, he ramped up the pace of his thrusts until tingles skittered over his skin and up his spine, until her little cries slid over his senses like a lick to his cock, until he saw her pupils dilate and her mouth fall open and ecstasy begin to transform her face.

  God, even in pleasure the woman looked fierce with a burning stare and gritted teeth. She was a warrior fighting for what was hers. Heath liked that. He loved watching the moment the full brunt of ecstasy rolled over her senses and crushed her mental armor. Finally, he glimpsed the vulnerable woman beneath.

  It set him off like nothing else.

  Heath rocketed inside her again, plagued by a need he didn’t understand to take her, affect her, mark her, own her. Make sure she only ever wanted him.

  Before he could tell himself how foolish and unrealistic that was, his pleasure catapulted up and orgasm roared through him. The overwhelming crest of sensation clawed through his gut, overtaking his system. She screamed again, clamping on him like a vise. Then he cried out in sublime ecstasy, knowing Jolie wasn’t the only one moved by this night.

  Even as satisfaction rolled heavy and languid through his body, Heath withdrew, rolled over, and stared at the ceiling, panting wildly. What the bloody hell had just happened? Despite the fact they no longer touched, he felt her keenly beside him. He knew what she smelled like, sounded like, looked and felt like when she climaxed. He didn’t know how he would ever stop wanting her again.

  “That was great,” she said, swallowing. “Thanks.”

  He turned to stare and found her face almost devoid of expression. She’d thanked him with all the passion of someone showing appreciation for a coworker who’d done her a favor.

  Did she actually think he believed her impassive shit? Or would accept it?

  “Yes, it was. Should I thank you as well?” He rolled onto his side and propped his head on his elbow to stare at her. “Should we have a meeting later and compare notes about how much we both enjoyed it? Perhaps analyze it for its merits and drawbacks and come up with an action plan on how to improve the next fuck?”

  “Don’t be ridiculous.” She rose and reached for her plain gray top.

  As if they were through for the night. Not even close.

  What she needed was a giant dose of intimacy. If she could erect her defenses moments after the orgasm ended, then he had to keep tearing them down. Tomorrow, she could go back to her bossy, charming self. But tonight, by god, she belonged to him.

  Heath leapt to his feet and stepped on the cami before she could reach it. “You promised me a whole night.”

  Finally, she turned to stare at him. “Surely you don’t mean . . . again?”

  “That’s precisely what I mean.” He tore off his condom and deposited it in the nearby bin. Then he grabbed her little gray cotton scrap and tossed it out of the room and down the hall before he shut the door and faced her. “I want to taste you. Right now. Fresh from the orgasm I gave you.” When she hesitated, he raised a brow. “It’s more personal, intimate that way. You’re not afraid?”

  Jolie looked terrified. But she lifted her chin and soldiered on. “Of course not. But we’ve kept the neighbors awake long enough and we both have a meeting in the morning.”

  “I don’t care about the neighbors or meetings right now. I care about getting between your legs.” He sauntered toward her, watching a fresh glow creep up her chest, pinken her cheeks. “I care about making you feel good. I care about being inside you and hearing you scream for me again.”

  He maneuvered her down to the bed, onto her back. When she lay blinking up at him, torn and aroused against her will, he fell to his knees and took her thighs in his hands, spreading them wider.

  “I don’t think—”

  “Precisely. Right now you shouldn’t think at all.” He couldn’t resist baiting her because he knew she would give in. “I’ll make that possible. C’mon, love. Give everything to me.”

  Chapter Six

  Rule for success number six:

  Get your head in the game.

  HER concentration was nil this morning. Whenever Heath spoke, Jolie remembered every dirty, amazing thing he’d said he would do to her body—just before he lived up to his word and performed way beyond her expectations. Despite the importance of this meeting, she could hardly think about anything else.

  For all the times she’d chastised her friends, her sister—especially her mom—for being too wrapped up in some guy, she was finally understanding how a man could wreak havoc on her concentration. And karma was paying her back in spades. When he said, “Lack of proper security protocols around all entrances and exits,” what Jolie somehow heard was Heath commanding her to take him deep again. As he demonstrated the proper use of the security card readers he advocated for the office suite, she zoned out to memories of him sliding his tongue through her sensitive folds before he settled on her clit and ate her to screaming climax.

  Damn it, she really needed to focus, but she couldn’t seem to stop squirming in her seat and reveling in the delicious soreness pervading her most intimate places. Could everyone else look at her and know that she’d spent the night with Heath buried inside her?

  “What do you think, Jolie?”

  Startled out of her thoughts, she peered down the table at Karis, who stared expectantly. When had she projected that mockup for Betti’s new website, complete with graphics, on the screen?

  Blinking and resolving to ignore the hot British sex god across the conference room, she focused on the image. Immediately, she spotted Karis’s handiwork in the visual elements. Slightly whimsical, a little bit retro, yet somehow cutting-edge and chic, the splash page dazzled.

  “It looks fantastic,” she praised, smiling at her sister. Then she noticed the girl’s dark smudges and drooping lids. “Are you all right? You don’t look like you slept much.”

  Karis blinked, her expression startled.

  Her sister couldn’t be surprised that she cared. But openly expressing concern during a business meeting was definitely unusual. At the office, Jolie focused hard on Betti and its problems, leaving her personal stuff—what little she had—at the door.

  “I’m fine.”

  But Karis wasn’t. Besides looking pale and tired, she seemed agitated. She glanced at Heath, then back Jolie’s way, her face now sharp with speculation.

  Jolie tried not to wince. Not once last night had she stopped to think that sleeping with the man Karis currently mooned over would hurt her sister. Remorse slashed her. Yes, Karis probably felt nothing more than a crush, and Heath wasn’t interested. It took two to tango, right? But she could have let the girl’s feelings wane before she jumped on the sexy Brit.

  Jolie bit back an apology. Now wasn’t the time or place. “Just checking.”

  Karis set her mouth in a flat line. “I’m guessing you got even less sleep than me.”

  She looked down at the papers in front of her so no one could see the blush heating her cheeks. “I never sleep much. Show me more of the site. You’ve done a great job with the home page. Do you have the fall collection ready
to display here?”

  Rohan jumped in to click the link, explain the coding, and talk through some options with her. After that, they slogged through Gerard’s accessories and Arthur’s financials while Jolie struggled to concentrate. She really should rethink the concept of the eight a.m. staff meeting.

  No, she should stop sleeping with the man she’d hired to keep her company safe and pay closer attention to the most important meeting of her career.

  When it was over, everyone began to gather their belongings and rise. Heath stared at her like a man with something to say. Jolie had to think about Karis first. Sisters before misters, and all that. She didn’t want a confrontation now. Honestly, she didn’t have time. But she’d never been one to push something uncomfortable off until tomorrow when she could tackle it today.

  “Heath, let’s talk more in depth about the security system this afternoon.” She glanced at her phone, shocked to discover that it was nearly noon. “I’m going to take my sister to lunch now.”

  He nodded. “One thirty, all right?”


  “See you then.” He sounded professional but his gaze lingered a fraction too long before he sauntered out of the conference room.

  Karis jammed her phone on top of her notebook and shoved the pen in the wire spiral before heading to the door with an exaggerated huff, glaring Jolie’s way. Poor Arthur watched, looking like he’d rather be killing a super mutant in the wasteland than watching this awkward exchange.

  “Wait!” She followed after her sister, who utterly ignored her. “Karis.”

  “I’m busy,” she called back over her slender shoulder.

  Arthur chose then to step in front of her. He adjusted his glasses and cleared his throat nervously. “Um, I know you asked me to wait until next week—”

  Karis was getting away, and Jolie didn’t want her leaving mad.

  “Sorry. Not now.” Then she darted after Karis, catching up to her in the hall and wrapping a gentle hand on her arm.

  Her sister jerked away. “What?”

  “Let’s go to lunch and try that new Indian place you’ve mentioned. My treat.”

  “Like I said, I’m busy.” Karis folded her arms across her slight chest.

  Jolie dropped her voice to a whisper. “If you want to talk about this, then come to lunch. I’m not discussing it in the office.”

  Her sister hesitated for such a long moment, Jolie expected her to refuse. Or worse, threaten to quit. The girl could be sweet and fun . . . and so damn impulsive.

  Thankfully, Karis sighed, her spine losing some of its starch. “Fine. I’ll get my purse.”

  Neither said a word in the car or as the hostess showed them to a table tucked into the corner of the cavernous restaurant. Dark and atmospheric rather than trendy, the place wasn’t particularly crowded.

  That would be a bonus today.

  The moment the waiter took their drink orders, Jolie glanced at the menu to confirm they had chicken tikka, then set it down to find Karis glaring at her.

  Jolie didn’t drag her feet. “Yes, I slept with him.”

  “You knew I liked him.” She looked both angry and hurt.

  “I did. And I handled it badly. I’m so sorry.” Jolie tried to say the next words gently but diplomacy really wasn’t her forte. “But your feelings . . . You know they aren’t reciprocated.”

  “Yeah,” Karis said glumly. “But that might have changed in time. You never know. Maybe he just needed to know me better. Now I have no chance. The way he looked at you during the meeting, like he couldn’t wait to strip you down and devour you—”

  “He didn’t,” Jolie protested. But she feared he actually had. The few times she’d dared to peer at him for more than a moment or two, his stare had darkened, lingered.

  She’d flushed hot every damn time.

  “Oh, please. It was so obvious. Everyone noticed.” Jolie grimaced but Karis kept on. “Even Gerard looked crushed. He really hoped Heath might swing both ways—”

  “I can wholeheartedly vouch for his heterosexuality.”

  “Yeah, my gaydar is pretty accurate and I told him Heath was straight as an arrow when he walked in on Monday morning. Gerard still didn’t want to believe me but he didn’t ask Heath out because of your policy forbidding dating among the staff. Remember that?”

  Jolie remembered when she feared office romances would be a distraction. Now she knew they were. “He’s a contractor, not an actual employee.”

  “Aren’t you splitting hairs?”

  Probably. So in addition to Karis thinking she was a man thief, now she sounded like a hypocrite. “You’re right. I really am sorry if I hurt you. That wasn’t my intention.”

  In the past, Jolie had chided women for their weaknesses when it came to men, but last night she’d become that bimbo willing to do something desperate and stupid to be with a hot guy. Damn it. How had she gotten so turned inside out by a stiff penis and her softening heart? She didn’t like it. Worse, she knew she should take a step back from him. But she wasn’t sure how. She’d never had to fight her feelings before.

  Was this desperate giddiness what her mother felt when she thought she was falling in love?

  “You seemed really off your game at the meeting this morning. Did he upset you? Hurt you?”

  The concern in her voice touched Jolie. She and Karis hadn’t been really close since they were kids. Back then, they’d banded together to survive a chaotic life with a fickle, almost gypsy mother. During college, Jolie had worked nonstop to afford her tuition and books. She’d scraped enough together to afford a crappy studio apartment she shared with a cash-strapped med student. It had been a tight squeeze that really only worked because Melanie had been gone more often than not. Jolie hadn’t visited her family a lot. In truth, she hadn’t wanted to. By the time she graduated—with honors—Karis was fifteen and headstrong and unwilling to listen to anything her big sister had to say. She’d hoped this job would make them closer . . . but that didn’t look promising now.

  If Jolie wanted that to change, she had to make it happen.

  “No. He didn’t hurt me.” She sipped her tea. “But I wish I could have a bottle of wine right now, KK, because he shocked the hell out of me.”

  Karis smiled a little at the childhood nickname. “Was he kinky?”


  “I’m surprised you didn’t shred him with your tongue.” She gasped. “Oh god. You let him boss you around?”

  Jolie squeezed her eyes shut. Was she actually talking to her sister about her sex life? “When everything he wants you to do gives you the most amazing orgasms, it’s not that difficult to comply.”

  It was only later that she’d had serious second thoughts about being so vulnerable to him. What was supposed to happen between them next? They hadn’t ended the night with promises, which was fine. But they also hadn’t started their morning by talking. Jolie had never before found herself in the position of caring if she had a tomorrow with a man.

  Her sister giggled. “Seriously? That good?”

  “Incredible.” Jolie covered her face with a hand and shook her head. “I sound like a starry-eyed girl.”

  Karis cocked her head. “Is that bad, to be human? To be a woman? I’ve often thought that, if we weren’t related, you would have drifted out of my life long ago because you’ve never let yourself care too much about anyone. Maybe he’s good for you.”

  “I’m pretty sure it was a one-night stand for him.” Jolie lifted one shoulder, refusing to want more. “Besides, it’s a really busy time for me. And hopefully, I’ll be even busier soon. If I get this financing from Gardner, I’ll be swamped with all the expansion tasks, including hiring additional stuff, overseeing a nationwide online marketing campaign, getting my suppliers ramped
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