I hadn’t thought about Connor in years. There were times the feel of his hand smacking my ass consumed my dreams. I had pushed those dreams aside. Oh yeah, no time for that nonsense. Yup, everything was tickety-boo, that is until my boss, Vice President of Editorial, Kevin Jordan, introduced me to the new Senior Vice President of Operations as one of Magnum International’s star performers. I went rigid with shock.
Standing right in front of me was the drop-dead gorgeous Connor McClane, impeccable in a custom made, black-silk suit, gray, button-down shirt, and black tie setting off his striking, angular features—trés chic. I yearned to reach out and stroke that suit.
Forget the suit, stroke him.
Seriously, my heart went into arrhythmia. Cardiac arrest was imminent, and I wasn’t sure if it was seeing him again after all these years or how gorgeous he looked.
His left eyebrow shot up and a charming smile spread from a pair of exquisite lips right through the rich velvet of his gray-green eyes.
“Star performer, eh? I’ll have to keep my eye on you.”
He shook my hand. His gaze caressed my body briefly before he turned his attention to the others in the group.
I saw a flash of recognition and longing jolt through him, but perhaps I read into it. I stood speechless as I stared after the man I’d loved, and left, in our youth. He hadn’t changed. Yes, there were subtle differences, but the fine hair on his arms still started in the same place on his wrist. His hair still had the silky curls I wanted to run through my fingers, and the sound of his voice still made me feel like I was taking a bath in warm toffee.
I couldn’t tear my eyes from him. I was fascinated by the way he motivated and managed the executive group and painted his vision for future growth with a fluid grace and ease. He wasn’t outgoing although he could be quite animated when in the spotlight, but he was absolutely stunning with a magnetic personality.
The women on the team each tried their hand at engaging his attention, and I worked hard to control the annoyance shooting through me when they fawned over him. He stood back and watched. Although never impolite, it was evident he rejected their advances. He still seemed to prefer his own company. I relaxed a little; I had no right to be tense.
Looks like he’s still as hard to get to know as he ever was.
Red-hot lust shot through my core every time I glanced his way, and I found it hard to focus. My attraction to him was as strong as it had been twenty years ago—maybe stronger, and it scared me. I took care to match his professional courtesy during any interaction.
Note to self: watch it, Katherine.
Exhausted from the effort of trying to appear nonchalant all day, I opted out of dinner and dancing with the group—a political faux pas, no doubt, but necessary. I’m an introvert at heart, and I detested having someone dictate how I spend my social time. I needed a few minutes away from the social roller coaster of the executive team meetings, so I decided to grab a drink at the hotel bar. Although not the smartest thing to do, I ordered a Long Island Iced Tea instead of my usual red wine. I needed a release from the pent-up energy driving me, source unknown.
Okay, yes, that’s a big fat whopper. Connor was the source, as much as I hated to admit it, and seeing him again had sent me for a major loop. I sat at a small table in a dark corner of the room where I could watch the dancers unobserved.
A bolt of electricity raced up my spine, as if the ions rearranged themselves in the wake of a shooting star. I looked up and recognized Connor’s cat-like grace as he strolled over to the bar.
He ordered a drink, and I struggled to keep the intensity from my gaze so I wouldn’t attract his attention. A stunning blonde approached him, stood on tiptoe, and whispered in his ear. His smile was a mixture of humor and cynicism, but he bent to listen. The old irrational possessiveness came flooding back like it was yesterday. If he’s going to be with anybody, it should be me.
His reply made the blonde tip back her head and toss her hair. She said something else to him, and he shook his head. I almost heard Blondie’s “humph” before she flounced off. He smiled to himself, scanning the room before settling on one of the bar stools. I quickly looked down at my table and sank further into the darkness of the corner booth, watching him out of the corner of my eye.
I signaled the waiter and ordered another “tea,” intentionally oblivious to the effect the blend of triple sec, light rum, gin, vodka and tequila was having on me. When I reached for my wallet to pay for the drink, the server said, “It’s already taken care of.”
“By me. May I?” Connor gestured toward the chair opposite me.
“I guess so. I mean, sure.”
I took another mouthful of my drink. Jeez, Katherine, could you be any more articulate? I blushed at my inability to think of something witty or clever to say. Try as I might, witty repartee always occurred to me after-the-fact.
“It’s been a long time.” I wanted to kick myself.
Connor held my eyes for a long moment and smiled.
“You left me without a word,” he said.
Intense. Always to the point. My turn.
“And you never came after me,” I retorted. Came after me? Where did that come from?
“If you’d wanted to be there, you would have stayed.”
I couldn’t stop staring. He truly was exquisite. Those mercurial eyes gazed steadily back. The half-smile that made a flutter of sunshine spread throughout my loins came and went. He undressed me with those penetrating eyes. I took another gulp of my drink.
More staring. It would appear he was still comfortable with silence. I most definitely was not, at least not with him. After what seemed like a lifetime, one in which I had more to drink, I looked at my watch and gasped.
“Oh my God. I’ve got to go. I’m giving a presentation in the morning.”
As we got up to leave, I stumbled. Oh shit, I’m drunk. And there sat Mister Calm-Cool-and-Collected acting as if he’d been drinking his beloved Pepsi.
Connor smiled, cupped my elbow, and walked with me to my room. As we rode up the elevator, I fought the desire to reach up and kiss those luscious lips, afraid of rejection. I fumbled with the key card. He reached over, took the card, and slid it through the lock.
I froze. Every nerve in my body tingled. He pushed open the door and gave me the key. Those intense eyes undressed me. I broke eye contact and walked into the room. When the door closed behind me, I released the breath I hadn’t realized I held. When I turned to bolt the door, Connor leaned against it, watching me.
“Let me see you.” He spoke in a voice quiet with command.
Ignoring the dampness between my legs, I made a pact with myself—I was not going to allow this to happen.
“Connor, I’m not…We’re not…I mean…It’s been years since…”
I took a deep, calming breath. Twit. Here I was acting like the young woman I’d been on our first date, right down to the wetness spreading between my legs.
“Let me see you,” he repeated.
“Um, give me a minute.” I fled to the bathroom. Get it together, girlfriend.
I splashed cold water over my burning face in a vain attempt to sober up. I looked at the wide, brown eyes staring back at me in the mirror until calm settled over me. What to do? Should I send him packing? Did I even want to? Wow, wait a minute. Give your head a shake. Of course, I should stand up to him.
“Let me see you.” The words brushed through me washing away logical thought.
I kicked off my sandals and took an eternity washing my face and brushing my teeth, my mind at war with the sexual hunger burning through me. Part of me hoped Connor would get sick of waiting and leave. Part of me raced with excitement at the certainty of his command of himself and the situation. I straightened up with new resolve. If Connor was still there, I would ask him to leave.
He sat in the corner, hands steepled under his chin, and looked at me. Under his scrutiny, I instantly became a schoolgirl again, a child who had disobeyed. He shook his head slightly and with effortless grace, stood facing me.
“Come here.” His voice was quiet yet full of command.
As if hypnotized, I moved in front of him. The tips of his fingers traced my bare arms. Goose bumps immediately sprang to the surface and sexual electricity jolted through me. I lowered my head. He reached under my chin and forced me to look up, challenging me to react. He edged down the zipper of my little black dress and let it fall to the floor. Suddenly, nothing else existed outside my need to give myself to him, to have him take me, now.
The heat emanated from him as his fingers outlined the curve of my breasts. I shivered. How I loved his hands. His touch reminded me of the thing I craved. Thoughts that filled so many sleepless nights. Thoughts that I avoided admitting to myself—to surrender to his will.
He hooked his index fingers in the band of my bikini briefs and drew them down my legs, waiting until I stepped out of them. I did, like an obedient child wanting to please him.
Now I was naked and more than a bit self-conscious. I reached out to unbutton his shirt. He pushed my arms down to my sides, encouraging a passive acceptance of his control. I complied, allowing him to focus his attention on my breasts while I tried not to think about how I looked standing there. He played with each, first with nimble fingers and then with his lips. I couldn’t stop the moan of pleasure escaping as more moisture build between my legs.
“Lay down and spread wide for me. Don’t move. Don’t speak.”
I started to protest. He put a finger over my lips and led me to the bed. I should object, but couldn’t. I closed my eyes and waited. That was the moment I surrendered myself to him, and I liked it.
“Watch me,” he said. Again, his voice insisted he be obeyed.
I watched him undress. He had a splendid body, all smooth lines and sinew. I swear Michelangelo used him as the model for David, right down to the spring of brown curls framing the sculpted lines of his face. His engorged cock sprang to attention when it escaped from the prison of his pants.
Naked, he straddled me and pushed my arms up over my head. I closed my eyes.
“Look at me. I want you to watch me watching you,” he said.
Holding both hands above my head with one hand, he reached down with the other and pulled my nether lips apart and thrust in straight to the hilt and rode me. He took his time, gliding his heat out inch by inch to the tip before burying it deep within me again and again. Each stroke fanned the flames of my passion.
Each time my eyes started to close, he reminded me to watch him. Each command, like each thrust, drove me nearer to a frenzy so powerful I wanted to scream. Nothing else existed except his body moving in mine. For what seemed like an eternity, he fucked me. I lay spread and captive to his will.
When I struggled with the need to come, he tightened his grip and continued his languid ride. He seemed to take pleasure in teasing me to distraction. Finally, he increased the tempo of his thrusts, and together our bodies convulsed in explosive orgasms with an intensity-blocking awareness.
Without a word, he slid out of me, got dressed, and left.
Some things never change.
I lay alone, relaxing in the afterglow except for a few unexpected quivers running through me. That was the Connor I remembered. Not so much the way he dominated sexually, but the obvious control and emotional distance he maintained. He was a man women wouldn’t or couldn’t say no to. It wasn’t that you ever felt forced or intimidated. It was more the realization that if you resisted, he would only smile and walk away, leaving you wondering about what could have been.
He never kissed me.
His was an overwhelming sexual need that exposed every dark fantasy you tried so hard to hide. If I was honest with myself, it was a need I knew too well. One I avoided my whole life. My feelings for Connor threatened to break down my defenses, and that scared me more than I cared to admit. Sex was not the problem. It was those same secret fantasies, late at night, touching myself, that both tortured and excited me beyond reason.
I stumbled to the bathroom. The disarray of loose black curls framing my face mirrored my chaotic thoughts.
I can’t believe I did it again. Yet if there were a next time, I would do anything he asked of me. What the fuck was wrong with me? I was usually so decisive, so in control of my world.
I’d sworn I’d never be anyone’s plaything again. Yet Connor drew me to him, like the proverbial moth to a flame. Just the thought of him brought a warm flush of desire to my core. I shook my head and put the evening’s events down to the stupidity of an alcohol-fueled moment of weakness.
After all, it was only sex, right?
Wrong. I hadn’t experienced such intensity since the first and last time I’d been with Connor.