James knows he should stay away. He’s no good at long term, and that’s what a woman like Lyssa deserves. But as the two vie for the investor’s attention, he finds himself struggling to choose between the family business and the woman whose touch makes him burn with desire.
Lyssa lost track of time as she sat there. Finally, the doors to the front part of the office squeaked open and then closed.
“How’d it go?” she yelled through the open door of her private office.
The rough stride of footsteps sounded out along the wooden floor, and then a voice that was unmistakably not Nadia’s said, “How did what go?”
Lyssa gasped and shot out of her chair so fast she thought she might have given herself a case of whiplash.
“James!” No, she wasn’t just imagining his voice. He was here, in the flesh. The deliciously male flesh. “Wha-what are you doing here?”
He leaned against the doorway, somehow managing to suck up all the air in the room. His bright blue gaze took in the details of her small office. “Just thought I should check out the competition.”
His words made her cheeks grow hot. She knew her place was tiny, the location less than ideal, but it was cute and decorated with whatever accessories she’d been able to afford. And it was hers.
“I’m sure it’s nothing like your Manhattan empire,” Lyssa snapped.
When he nodded, her jaw tightened, but then he said, “No, it’s warm and inviting, not cold and clinical. My father always preferred steel and glass and contemporary designs, but that’s not exactly my taste. I much prefer the homier feel of your office.”
Oh. Her anger deflated.
She slowly sat back on her chair, grateful for the distance the desk put between her body and James’s hawkish gaze. “You seriously came all the way to Brooklyn just to check my office out? Why? You must know you’re going to win Martin’s investment.”
James let out a soft tsk and crossed the threshold. “You won’t get far with that attitude.”
Gritting her teeth, she forced herself to look him in the eye. “Come on, James, stop playing games with me.”
He shrugged and sat on the overstuffed mauve chair across from her desk. “What I said earlier was true. Martin generally invests in smaller local companies. It’s a matter of pride for him. When he started out, he was a one-man company and found it almost impossible to get others to invest in his dream. Now he searches out local talent with potential for growth.”
“Oh.” His words gave her hope. “Really?”
James eyed her appraisingly. “You should be very proud. If he’s taken an interest in you, it means you’re doing something right.”
His words sent an unexpected wave of pleasure through her. But then she thought of the other competition. “If that’s true, then Steve Peterson is a worthy adversary.”
He stared at her, nonplussed, and they both burst out laughing at the same time.
“Can’t expect him to get it right every time,” James quipped, but then he sobered. “In all seriousness, Steve’s company has seen a lot of growth over the past years, so I can understand why Martin would hear him out.”
Lyssa cocked a brow. “You’ve been doing your research.”
He gave her a slow nod. “That’s how I know your company is poised to explode sometime in the next few years, even without a cash influx from an investor.”
If only she could afford to wait that long.
“Martin is unnecessary,” James continued. “Especially considering he’ll take a percentage of ownership in exchange for his funds.”
Since confessing her family troubles to him was the last thing she planned to do, she forced a pleasant expression onto her face and rose to stalk toward the door. “I certainly appreciate the business advice, but you’ll understand if I rely on my own instincts when deciding what to do with my firm.”
When she motioned toward the exit, James took her not so subtle hint. He stood and adjusted the lapels on his jacket and, with a polite smile, headed toward the door. But he veered before crossing the threshold, heading instead toward her.
She backpedaled at the look of serious intent on his face. Her back hit a hard surface, and an instant later, his hands braced the wall on either side of her, effectively trapping her in.
“What are you—”
His head lowered to her ear. “I can’t stop thinking about last night.”
A rush of heat flooded her body.
“The feel of your skin,” he murmured, his hot breath kissing her ear. “Your mouthwatering taste.”
Her chest heaved at the imagery his words elicited. His arousing, masculine scent enveloped her, all but hijacking her senses. That must be why she just stood there, resting her head back against the wall, when she should be pushing him away.
“You can’t stop thinking about it either, can you?”
She summoned the courage to lift her hands to his chest. But instead of pushing him away, they just rested there, drinking in his heat. Traitorous hands.
“Stop,” she whispered.
Instead of obeying, he pressed a soft kiss to the pulse beating in her neck. His right hand moved off the wall and slid down the side of her body. She might as well have been naked. His molten touch seared through the thin fabric of her suit.
“James,” she pleaded. Her body refused to obey her commands. Instead of shoving him back, her fingers dug into his chest through his shirt.
“When I was inside you, all I could think about was how amazing you felt.” His hand trailed down to the hem of her skirt and then he was sliding the tight fabric upward, stopping only when it was high enough to reveal her black satin panties. “Like liquid fire, burning me up from the inside.”
Lyssa whimpered when his fingers stroked her through her underwear.
“Remember that, baby?” He nipped at her ear. “How it felt to have me inside you?”
How could she not, especially when her body was still sore from their lovemaking?
Two of his fingers slid beneath the scrap of satin and he let out a rough groan. His hips pressed into her side, giving her a hint of how hard he was beneath his suit.
“You were so wet,” he murmured, the pads of his fingers sliding along her moist folds. “Just like you are now.”
He was right. All it took was a few words about last night and she was dripping with desire for him.