The Billionaire's Embrace Page 4

“What about you?” Carter asked. “Or should I not ask?”

I had told him that my dad was an alcoholic, and Carter wasn’t an idiot; he knew how to read between the lines. “My family never did much,” I said, and left it at that. He didn’t need to hear all about my dysfunctional childhood.

We rode the rest of the way to his building in silence, my head pillowed on his shoulder, his hand resting on my hip. I was warm and content. My arousal had banked to a pleasant glow in my abdomen that I knew would flare to life again as soon as we were in his bedroom. Carter had that effect on me. A single look, a touch, and I was ready to go belly-up for him and beg for more.

The car slowed and came to a stop. I heard the driver open his door and get out of the car. “We’re here,” Carter said. “Are you ready?”

“Ready for what?” I asked. I wanted to see what he would say.

“Whatever I want to do to you,” he said, and I was: I was so ready.

“Let’s go inside,” I said.

Chapter 2

As soon as we were in the elevator, he crushed me against the paneled wall and kissed me. I wrapped my arms around his neck, enjoying the hard press of his body against mine. He was lean and firm with muscle, and cliché as it was, feeling the strength of his body made me feel safe.

“I have been thinking about this,” he said, “every day, every hour since the last time I had you in my bed.”

I swallowed. “Me too,” I said, and it was the truth.

He reached down and grasped the hem of my dress, and peeled it over my head.

The elevator dinged, and the doors slid open.

He tossed my dress into his apartment. It landed on the soft rug in the foyer. I looked at it, the silk crumpled in a sad heap, and then stepped out of the elevator.

Carter followed, and the elevator doors closed behind him. “Do you remember your safeword?” he asked me.

I nodded. I hoped I wouldn’t have to use it tonight. I hadn’t enjoyed it much the one time I did, and I didn’t think Carter enjoyed it either. But he knew, I thought, that he had pushed me too far, and I didn’t think he was any more eager to repeat the experience than I was.

“Go sit on the couch and wait for me,” he said. I bent to pick up my dress, not wanting it to get wrinkled, but he said, “Leave it,” and I did. I wasn’t willing to disobey a direct order.

The apartment was dark, lit only by the usual orange glow of the city sky. I walked into the living room, moving carefully in my high heels, and came to a stop, trying to remember where the sofa was.

Behind me, I heard Carter set down his keys, and then a lamp clicked on, bathing the room in warm yellow light. I took the last few steps toward the sofa and sat down, feeling my pulse beat rapidly in the hollow of my throat. I crossed my legs and then uncrossed them again, folding my hands together in my lap. How was one supposed to sit, wearing nothing but a bra and panties in a billionaire’s apartment?

Carter moved around the room, placing his wallet and phone on the desk, draping his coat over a chair, turning on a few more lamps. He took his time and ignored me completely as he performed his getting-home ritual, and I sat and watched him, skin prickling, waiting for whatever would come next. His show of disinterest heightened the anticipation I was already feeling. I didn’t know when he would turn the laser focus of his gaze on me, but I knew from experience that it would be like staring into the sun.

He moved behind me and placed his hands on my bare shoulders, stroking his fingers lightly against my collarbones. I shivered at the sensation. He trailed one hand down my bra strap and along the lacy edge of the cup, down to the small satin bow resting between my breasts. “Very nice,” he said.

“It’s the only underwear I have that matches,” I said.

“I wasn’t talking about your bra,” he said. “I’m more interested in what’s beneath it. Why don’t you take that off and let me have a look at you?”

I didn’t know why I felt nervous. It wasn’t like he’d never seen me naked before. He had touched me everywhere, watched me come; there weren’t going to be any surprises. He wouldn’t watch me take off my bra and suddenly decide that my breasts were too lumpy for him to want anything to do with. But even still, my heart was in my mouth as I raised my hands behind my back and unclasped my bra.

Part of it was that I couldn’t see his face. I was so used to reading his expressions—the quirk of his mouth, the way his eyelids lowered—that not being able to see him had me feeling a little off-kilter. I wanted to be able to see how he reacted.

Maybe he was doing it on purpose. Maybe he wanted me to be uncomfortable.

I slid my bra straps down my arms and tossed the lacy fabric onto the coffee table.

My nipples, exposed to the cool air, promptly tightened into hard nubs.

“Gorgeous,” Carter murmured, and slid his hands down over my breasts.

I arched into his touch. His palms were callused at the base of his fingers, and the way they scratched at my skin made every nerve light up. I wanted him. I never knew my body could feel like this, that I could want someone so fully, every molecule of my being crying out to feel him pressed against me.

He pinched at my nipples, not hard, but enough to make me squirm against the sofa. I had been ready for this since we got into his car. I didn’t want to wait any longer, but I knew that if I said anything, Carter would make me wait twice as long. He was like that.

“What should I do with you tonight, Regan?” he asked me. His hands slid down to trace light patterns against the sensitive undersides of my breasts. “You obviously have something in mind. Women don’t wear matching underwear unless they’re planning to show it to someone.”

He was right about that, and I wondered how he knew. I was surprised that he had ever seen underwear that didn’t match. I would have thought that he mainly had sex with women who did everything in their power to keep him enthralled. I was certainly doing my best. He wasn’t going to see my panties with the elastic fraying along the leg holes.

I was babbling again. At least it wasn’t out loud. “Do you mean your underwear don’t match?” I asked.

He chuckled. “Who says I’m wearing any?”

I felt my eyes widen. So he was—did he mean he was naked, under those expensive wool trousers? That he’d sat there all through dinner...

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