Authors: Jami Davenport
glanced over her shoulder, biting on that plump, pink lower lip, and he suppressed a groan, as his dick shot to rock-hard attention. Thank God her eyes didn’t waver from his face, or she’d see the evidence of his arousal bulging inside the soft fabric of his sweats.
After a long
, painful silence, she nodded. “Okay.”
He released his breath in a rush.
“What kind of food do you like?”
“I’ll eat anything, but I love a good steak.”
He found himself grinning like a high school boy who’d snagged a date to the prom with the head cheerleader. “Steak, it is. I know just the place. Best steaks around. What time can I pick you up?”
When I’m done for the day, I’ll go home and change and meet you back here about six?”
, she didn’t want him to see where she lived. Well, okay, he was good with that.
She went back to work, and
Branson left for the gym to work out, because he hadn’t a clue what else to do with himself. Regardless, he stepped a little lighter and looked forward to the evening.
Maybe his life was looking up.
Sarah stared in the mirror at her makeup job. Less is more, so she wiped off the bulk of it
for the third time and started over. Carol, her sister, watched from the doorway. She wished she’d go away and leave Sarah with her fantasy.
“So who’s the hot date
“No one you’ve met.” Her hands shook thinking about the hot hunk she’d been crushing on ever since she’d gone to work for him three years,
two months, and nine days ago.
He’d never know
that the bulk of those beatings she’d suffered at the hands of her former boyfriend happened because of his intense jealousy and suspicion over her working for a football player. Not just any player, but a man voted one of the top ten sexiest players in football. Sometimes, she swore Mike beat her just to make sure she wouldn’t be attractive to Branson. She’d wanted out of the relationship almost as soon as she got into it, but it’d been harder to break away than she’d ever imagined. When Mike was charged with armed assault, attempted murder, and possession and distribution of an illegal substance, they put him away for a long time and set Sarah free before she became the man’s next victim. She spent the next several months building herself up in all the places Mike had broken her down. The old doubts and fears still crept in from time to time, but she fought them, winning each battle, and intent on winning the war.
he was a new person now and going to dinner with the hottest man ever. And sweet, too, not that she’d been a good judge of male character over the years, with one bad boyfriend after another. But she’d worked on herself these past several months, determined not to fall into another bad situation again.
“I’m glad to see you finally dating after that asshole.”
“It’s not really a date.”
“Then what is it?”
She turned to Carol, unable to stop the smile spreading across her face. “My boss is treating me to dinner as a reward for all the good work I’ve done.”
“Your boss? As in Branson Bullock?”
Her sister’s eyebrow shot upward, and she shook her head as if in disbelief.
“One and the same.”
Sarah grinned and twirled around in her best sundress, a flirty little halter-dress in a bright Hawaiian print with a mid-thigh skirt and a v-neckline that showed a hint of cleavage without being tacky. The dress hugged her curves in a flattering way. “How do I look?”
“Fantastic.” Her sister sobered slightly. “This is more than just a dinner out for you. Be careful. You fall too hard and too fast. It blinds you to the truth of a situation.”
“I promise. Besides, he’s a good man. Nothing like Mike or any of the losers that used to hang around.”
“You are one lucky lady. First
, you get to work for him, now he’s taking you to dinner. Just be careful. Don’t read any more into it than there is.” Carol lectured her, as she often loved to do. Her sister had gone back to school and gotten her LPN, refusing to succumb to the poverty around them. In a way, she was Sarah’s heroine.
I keep pinching myself. I know he doesn’t mean anything by it, but a girl can have her fantasy.”
“Just like Cinderella.”
“Only there are no happily-ever-after’s and Prince Charming is an urban myth.” Sarah went back to her makeup, digging through the bag for just the right color of lipstick. Dammit, she wanted that fantasy, myth or not.
“Sis, you’ve got that right. Men are pigs
. Some just hide it better than others.”
“I’m sure there have to be
a few good men out there somewhere. Branson’s always been polite to me, never rude, and he pays generously.”
“Watch out for him. He’s a player.”
“Would one night with Branson be such a bad idea?” Sarah paused and studied her sister in the mirror.
“Are you kidding me? I’d be all over that.”
Carol laughed and hugged Sarah’s shoulders.
“But I work for him
. One night in bed isn’t work losing my job over.”
“Maybe he’d give you a raise for other duties as performed.”
“Oh, great, prostitute myself.” Sarah laughed, surprising herself. “Fantasies are fine. Reality stays out of his pants and strictly business. I’m looking, but I am not touching.”
“Suit yourself. For the record, I think you’re crazy to turn him down if he offers
, just don’t fall any deeper in love with him, because he’s not the marrying type.”
Sarah didn’t answer as she
reapplied her mascara. Despite her brave words, she wasn’t sure she’d say no to the man either, nor could she keep her heart out of it because it’d already been involved with this man since the minute she met him.
Branson smiled across the table at Sarah
, who sat stiffly in her chair. Her hands trembled as she held the menu. Realizing he’d noticed, she placed the open menu on the table and ducked her head. Her nervousness touched him, and he reached a hand out to stroke her fingers. She didn’t have the soft hands of most women he dated. Hers were rough and calloused from hard work and cleaning supplies. He liked how real she was, how strong, despite how tiny. He engulfed one of her small hands in his big paw, fascinated by how slender her fingers were. The simple act of holding her hand in his shot desire to his groin and caught him off-guard again.
Had he always had the hots for this woman
, but suppressed it with football and meaningless dalliances? He wasn’t sure, but something about her felt so right, so perfect. Or was it his panic at losing football that caused him to see things that weren’t there and latch onto the first solid thing he could find? He didn’t know, but he was damn well going to spend time figuring it out.
“No reason to be nervous. It’s just me. Besides
, you look fucking fantastic. Every guy in this room wishes he were me.”
She gaped at him with wide eyes, her cheeks coloring a deep red. “They do not.”
Branson squeezed her hand. “You’re beautiful. Don’t you know that?”
“I—I’m not.” Sarah tugged on her hand, but he held tight, loving her warmth.
Branson’s smile spread further across his face. “But you are.”
“This isn’t a date, Branson.”
God, he loved it when she said his name, all soft, sweet, and sexy as hell. “It is now,” he announced. “And you’re mine. At least for tonight.” Where the hell those words came from he didn’t know, but he’d be damned if he’d take them back.
We’re on a date, and I’m yours?” she spoke softly.
“And I’m all yours tonight, baby. This is your night. Your wish is my command. Nothing is out of the question. You want to go dancing?
Take a midnight cruise? Walk the waterfront? You name it.” He’d just transformed a friendly dinner with an employee to something more, and he didn’t regret it one bit.
“No one’s ever done something like this for me before.”
He could see her battling with her old programming of unworthiness.
“Then go with it. Let’s have some fun. We could both use a night out where we’re only limited by our imaginations.”
“I’ve never been on a boat, on the bay or anywhere else.” She spoke hesitantly, as if he might retract the offer any second.
“Done. Let me make a few calls.”
She nodded, her eyes lighting up. God, making her happy made him happy. As soon as they ordered, he excused himself to use his cell out in the entryway and called in a few favors to arrange a private sunset cruise for two. Of course, money talked, too, and he had plenty of that.
He’d crossed over an
invisible line and wasn’t the least bit unhappy about it. He had to taste her, kiss every inch of her naked body, and sink his cock deep inside her sweet body before the night ended. Being a decent judge of character, he was pretty certain she wanted him as much as he wanted her. He saw it in the way she gazed at him through lowered lashes with heat illuminating her deep brown eyes, the way her breath hitched when he took her hand, and the rapid rise and fall of those beautiful breasts when he’d guided her to their table. And he couldn’t come up with one damn reason why they shouldn’t both get their way.
Branson returned to the table, smug in the knowledge he’d arranged a romantic evening she’d never forget, not just to woo her into bed, but to see her eyes light up with wonder and happiness.
He savored the red wine he’d ordered and watched her over the rim of his glass. S
he’d gone shy on him, which gave him the perfect reason to feel her small hand in his once again. Hey, he was an opportunist and proud of it, especially when it came to her.
As they finished
their main course and waited for dessert, he slid his chair around the small table to sit thigh-to-thigh with her, something he should’ve done an hour ago if he’d been thinking clearly, but around her, his practiced seduction techniques struck him as shallow and self-serving. With Sarah, it was all about being real and genuine, not deceptive and manipulative.
He wanted her. Fucking badly wanted her.
And she deserved to hear it from his own lips.
* * * *
Dinner passed too quickly yet not quickly enough, which pretty much summed up the confusion banging around in Sarah’s brain. She wanted Branson, and he telegraphed pretty clearly that he wanted her. She hadn’t been with a man in a year, hadn’t wanted a man. Sex with Mike had been all about dominance and pain. Pretty much all the men she’d slept with, not that there had been a lot, had been all about themselves and their pleasure and to hell with hers.
Would Branson be like that? Or would he be the man she wrote about in her journals
, who’d take her softly and gently, soaring her to heights beyond her imagination. Then he’d take her hard and rough, and she’d want it as badly as he did. They’d get to know each other’s bodies late into the night until they both fell into a contented sleep in each other’s arms.
slid his chair next to hers just as the waiter delivered their chocolate decadent brownie delight. His strong, muscled thigh, almost as big around as her waist, rubbed against her leg. He rested a large hand on her bare knee, stroking the skin on the inside of her knee in slow, sensual circles.
She brought a forkful of warm brow
nie to her mouth, savoring it while she savored his touch on her leg.
“This is awesome.” She smiled at him, her heart lighter than air, because tonight she was a fairy princess and her fantasy didn’t have to end at midnight.
“You’re awesome, honey.” His breath tickled her ear, and he smelled of rich chocolate and virile man. “Fucking awesome, and I bet you taste better than this dessert.”
Not certain whether he referred to tasting her lips or another very aroused spot on her body,
she decided to be a glutton and order one of each, please. She turned slightly so that their noses bumped, and his lips brushed across hers sending delicious shivers through her.
You do,” he whispered.
“I do what?” she muttered dreamily, her eyes drifting shut.
“Taste better than this dessert. I want to sample every square inch of your sweet skin. I want to kiss you senseless. I want to slide my tongue along your slit and lap up your juices.”
“Don’t sound so shocked, honey. You want me, too. Admit it.” He growled the pure growl of an alpha male claiming his woman.
For the night at least. And she’d take that, even if it was all she had, because one night with him justified years of heartbreak. Not that he’d knowingly break her heart, but he’d move on. They all did, one way or another, at least with the few she’d actually wanted to stay.
“I want you, too,” she replied in a breathy whisper that so did not sound like her
, but some movie starlet from the classics.
“Are you going to eat that? If not, let’s get to hell out of here.”