Authors: Shawna Delacorte
“A penny for your thoughts.” He leaned his head over her shoulder and placed a tender kiss on her cheek. “You looked like you were a million miles away. Anything you'd care to share?”
She placed her hands on top of his, the physical contact completing the feeling of comfort and caring that radiated from him. “My mind was kind of wanderingâ¦just thinking about what mightâ” She cut off her own words. She had said more than she intended.
“About what mightâ¦?” He turned her around until she faced him. He placed his fingertips under her chin and lifted until he could look into her eyes. The wariness and uncertainty of the night before had vanished. He tried to read her thoughts, determine what had been going through her mind. He didn't want to make another mistake by taking too much for granted. But that did not stop the heated desire pushing at his consciousness, reminding him how much he wanted her.
“Were you thinking about what might have happened if things had moved to their logical conclusion last night?” He ran his fingers through her silky hair, caressed her shoulders, then held her close.
“Angieâ¦” He felt her arms encircle his waist. He pulled her body tighter against his. “I want so much to make love to you, but I don't want to rush things.” He kissed her tenderly. “I want it to be something you want as much as I do.”
“What about Mac?” She wasn't sure why those words had escaped her mouth, but they had. It was testimony to her ingrained concern about her brother's opinion, but at what cost?
A slight grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. “I like Mac very much, but he's not my type. He's not the one I want to make love to.” The grin disappeared and his expression became very serious. “Mac is your brother and he's my business partner and best friend, but this doesn't involve him. This is something between you and me and no one else.”
“You're right.” She had allowed her fears to dictate to her last night when they were in the hot tub. She would not make the same mistake tonight. A moment of doubt tried to cloud her thoughts. At least she hoped her decision wasn't going to turn out to be a mistake. She reached her face up to his until their lips touched.
The moment her mouth came in contact with his a jolt of electricity surged through his body. His hand slid down her back and came to rest on the curve of her bottom. He snuggled her hips up against his as his tongue meshed with hers. He reveled in the sensuality of the texture. If he lived to be a hundred years old he would never have enough of her taste.
Ty scooped her up in his arms and carried her across the house to his bedroom. He placed her on his king-size bed, then quickly kicked off his shoes. He yanked off his sweater and tossed it on the chair. Then he was next to her, stroking her hair and placing soft kisses on her face. “Are you sure you're okay with this? I don't want to cause you any problems or make you feel like you were being coerced into something you didn't really want.”
“Yesâ¦I'm sure.” And she was. No feelings of guilt and no doubts. She wiggled her feet out of her shoes and let them drop to the floor. It felt right. Making love with Tyler Farrell was exactly what she wanted. A glimmer of a thought tried to pierce her consciousness,
asking her how much more she wanted, but she refused to acknowledge the concern.
A moment later she found herself enfolded in Ty's arms. His mouth captured hers in an incendiary kiss, demanding from her yet giving everything all at the same time. She lost herself in his tantalizing touch and earth-moving kisses. Her ragged breathing matched the pounding of her heart. The heat flowed through her veins touching every part of her body.
If his kisses were a portent of what making love with Ty would be like, then she knew she was about to experience something very profound and special. She welcomed his tongue as it twined with hers. She ran her hands across the bare skin of his back, his well-muscled torso rippling beneath her fingers.
Her touch was so light that it almost tickled before fanning the flames of his desires. She was so exquisite, so breathtakingâ¦so perfect. His chest heaved with his labored breathing. He ran his fingers through her hair as his kiss deepened, then he slipped his hands under her shirt. He wanted the barrier of her clothes out of the way. He craved the feel of her bare skin against his, to be able to touch her everywhere, to know every intimate place, to know what excited her. He wanted to both experience and share her pleasure.
His hardened arousal strained against the front of his jeans. As much as he wanted to divest himself of the rest of his clothes, he didn't want to let go of her, to break that physical contact that so inflamed his senses. He pulled her shirt over her head and tossed it on the chair with his sweater. When he reached for the waistband of his jeans, his fingers met hers. His words came out in a husky whisper.
“Need to get these offâ¦and your clothesâ¦”
Her words were equally ragged. “Yesâ¦I'll do this.”
Each quickly removed their own remaining pieces of clothing, then fell back on the bed into each other's arms. Ty ran his hands down the length of her torso, reveling in the creamy smoothness of her skin. With all the women he had made love to over the years, never had he experienced anything quite like the sensation of her bare body pressed against his. He wanted all of her and he wanted it right now. And at the same time he also wanted to take it slow and make the evening last forever.
Again his tongue twined with hers as he cupped the fullness of her breast in his hand. Her tautly puckered nipple pressed into his palm. He smothered her face with feverish kisses, tasting her skin as he moved down her body. He teased her other nipple with his tongue before drawing it into his mouth. No one had ever excited him the way she did. Just touching her sent waves of yearning crashing through his body.
He trailed his fingers across her abdomen, then through the downy softness nestled at the apex of her thighs. He inserted his finger into the moist heat. Her quick intake of breath and soft moan of delight fueled his desires. His pulse raced. His mouth captured hers with a demanding fervor.
Angie's mind swirled in a sensual fog of euphoria. His mouth gave as much as it demanded. His body shuddered as she stroked his hardness, then wrapped her hand around his manhood. He pressed his hand against her intimate core, his fingers working magic. Levels of pleasure built one on top of the other deep inside her until they reached a crescendo peak. The
convulsions reached out to every part of her body, filling her with total ecstasy.
He knew he could not wait any longer. He saw the passion that covered her features and glowed in the depths of her eyes. It matched the desire burning inside him. With a slightly trembling hand he reached for the drawer of the nightstand and took out the condom packet. A minute later he nestled his body between her legs, his hardened arousal slowly penetrating the core of her heat.
A searing jolt of pure rapture swept through his body as the folds of her femininity closed in around his manhood, encasing him in a tight cocoon. The sensation had his senses reeling, leaving him nearly breathless. He gulped in a lungful of air and set a slow rhythm that quickly escalated as his excitement grew.
Angie tightened her arms and legs around his body. She had never experienced anything like the passion of Tyler Farrell. Every place he touched her left her craving more of his magic. She arched her hips upward to meet each of his downward thrusts. Their bodies moved in unity, each so attuned to the other. It was as if they had been making love together for all their adult lives. She had never felt so at one with another human being. Every movementâ¦every breathâ¦every conscious moment flowed and swirled into an ethereal oneness that left her wanting more and more.
The pace quickened as did her heartbeat and breathing. Wave after wave of euphoria rippled through her, then a sizzling arc of electricity shot through her body. Her head jerked back into the pillow as the final rapture convulsed deep inside her. She clung to him as if he were the center of her life, the main focus around which her very existence revolved.
Ty's heart pounded in his chest. The moment she tightened her arms around him he shuddered with release, the hard spasms moving up into his chest and down through his thighs. He held her tightly until the spasms subsided and he had regained some control of his ragged breathing. If only he could force some sort of control over his emotions, to be able to think of it as just another night of passionate fun and games with a very willing and sexy partner. But as much as he wanted to be able to do that, he couldn't. There was no way he could think of Angie in the same category as any of the other women he had ever dated.
There was something so very special about her. It was the same something that frightened him so much. He placed a soft kiss on her forehead, hoping it would somehow calm the inner anxiety that threatened to take over.
He stroked her hair, kissed her forehead again and continued to hold her in his embrace. The physical aspects of their lovemaking may have quieted, but the emotional turmoil had just begun. It twisted inside him, telling him exactly what he didn't want to knowâthat he was more than just physically involved with her. But how much more? It was a question that scared him. What would she be expecting from him? What kind of relationship did she think they had? And equally important, what was he willing to give? It was a question that preyed on his mind, one for which he did not have an answerâ¦yet.
An answer he wasn't sure he was ready to find.
y dropped another kiss on Angie's forehead. “Are you okay?” He tried to control the emotion in his voice, but without much success. “Is there anything I can get for you?”
She snuggled into his embrace. “I'm fine.” Fine? She was more than fine. She had certainly made love before. She was far from promiscuous, but she had experienced more partners than just her ex-fiancÃ©. But nowhere in her life had she encountered anything like the pure heated sexual magnetism of Tyler Farrell.
Before that night she had only suspected she might be falling in love with him. Now that uncertainty was rapidly fading to be replaced by emotions she could no longer deny but was not ready to fully accept. She remained still with her eyes closed as she savored the comfort of his arms and the warm glow of contentment. She tried to keep the smile from turning the corners
of her mouth as she allowed thoughts of what the future held.
Suddenly her warm glow grew dim as a cloud of doubt appeared on the horizon. The dark cloud tried to invade her euphoria. She didn't have the slightest idea what Ty felt or what he wanted. Was she nothing more than just another of the many women he dated? Just another conquest, as Mac had tried to tell her?
She fought off the potentially crippling doubt by reminding herself of her original goal and plan. She was not looking for a relationship. She had other things she wanted to do with her life first. And even if she was looking for a relationship, did she really think a man like Tyler Farrell would be the type to make a commitment?
She reaffirmed her determination to pursue her goal. She wanted to earn Mac's approval and his respect for her abilities as an adult. She wanted to secure her own future through her own efforts without Mac giving her a job just because she asked. It was very important to her to be able to stand on her own feet and earn her own way. She remained in Ty's arms, lost in her own thoughts about what the future held and where she was going. A future that may or may not include Tyler Farrell.
She turned to glance at the clock on the nightstand. It was still early. It had been only a little after seven o'clock when they had made their way to the bedroom.
“Is something wrong?” He immediately sat up, drawing her body tightly to him. His gaze quickly shot around the room, trying to find what had grabbed her attention. “What do you need? What can I do?” They were questions that had a far deeper meaning than what the present circumstances would dictate. Making love
to Angie had a far greater impact on him than he had ever imagined it could. And it had left him reeling with uncertainty and confusion. If only he could figure out where they stood, what the future held and what he wanted.
“I was just wondering what time it was.”
He sank back into the warmth of the bed, taking her with him. He stroked her hair and reveled in the tender closeness. Exactly what were his true feelings toward her? It was a loaded question, one with an answer that scared him right down to his toes. A committed relationship was not for him. He had watched his parents' marriage disintegrate into bitter arguments and at best nothing more than strained attempts to politely tolerate each other. He had been that route with his own marriage. There was no way he would ever allow himself to be suckered into a commitment to a relationship again, regardless of how attractive it might seem at the moment. If what two people had was right, it didn't require words of commitment.
Yet he couldn't imagine his life without Angie being a part of it. And it was that knowledge that tore at him, leaving him without a clear-cut path to follow or any solution for his inner turmoil.
And then there was Mac. He couldn't get the image of Mac's look of disapproval out of his mind. Did Mac truly believe that he wasn't good enough for Angie? If so, what did that say about their friendship and business partnership? It left him as much in the dark about how to approach things with Mac as it did in trying to figure out what he and Angie had together.
Ty placed a soft kiss on Angie's cheek. “It's still early and I owe you a dinner. Would you like to go to the pub as we originally plannedâ” he pulled her
body tighter against his “âor would you like to stay here and take your chances on what's in my refrigerator?”
“I'd just as soon stay here, if that's all right with you.”
“Me, too.” He reluctantly released her from his embrace. “Let me see if I can find something comfortable for you to put on while we putter around the kitchen.”
Ty climbed out of bed, disappeared into his bathroom, then returned a couple of minutes later. He pulled on a pair of sweatpants, then grabbed a large football jersey from a dresser drawer and handed it to her. “Hereâ¦try this.”
She pulled the jersey on over her head, then slid out of bed. When she stood up the jersey came halfway down her thighs. “Yes, this will be fine.”
He started to turn toward the door, but quickly whirled around and grabbed her in his arms. The spontaneous gesture was partly a need to reestablish physical contact and partly a desire to share the lingering warmth of their lovemaking that continued to permeate the air. Is this how it was going to be? His life wouldn't be complete unless he could hold herâ¦touch herâ¦be with her?
He lowered his mouth to hers in a tender and loving kiss, far different from the frenzied urgency of earlier. It contained warmth and caring, the type of closeness that had a feeling of permanency about it. The sensation was wonderful and comfortable. But was it too comfortable? It was a serious dilemma, one that he knew could cost him many sleepless nights and would not be easily resolved.
Angie wound her arms around his waist. He made her feel so special. It was a feeling she didn't want to
ever lose. But at what cost? A little shudder of apprehension swept through her. What had she gotten herself into? What happened to her decision to not become involved with anyone?
Ty's kiss deepened, sweeping away all her doubts and concerns in a heated heartbeat. He pulled her body tightly against his, then skimmed his hands under the bottom of the football jersey and up the smooth skin of her thighs. He cupped the roundness of her bare bottom and pulled her hips against his. His rapidly hardening manhood pressed against her, igniting her own simmering desires. Dinner be damnedâ¦she wanted Tyler Farrell. He was all the sustenance she needed.
He scooped her up in his arms. A moment later they sank back into the softness of his king-size bed. Arms and legs tangled together. Mouths and tongues teased and tasted. The passion they had earlier shared burst once again into an all-consuming flame.
Ty arrived for work early the next morning. He had never felt as light of step or happy with life in general. His only regret was that Angie had not been able to spend the entire night at his house. They had agreed that it would not be a wise thing to do. He had reluctantly taken her back to Mac's house about two o'clock that morning. Even though he had not gotten more than a few hours of sleep, he felt terrific.
As soon as he turned down the hall he spotted Mac leaning against the doorjamb of his office. The expression on Mac's face struck him as intense and odd, not the usual look that said his mind was a million miles away working on some design problem.
Ty extended a pleasant smile. “Good morning, Mac.
Bright, beautiful sunny day out there and all's right with the world. How's the design project coming along?”
“I'm almost done with it. Just another day or two at the most.” Mac shifted his weight from one foot to the other, his awkward manner testifying to his discomfort. “Do you have a minute, Ty? There's something we need to talk about.”
Ty furrowed his brow in momentary confusion. Something was definitely bothering Mac. Could it be a business problem he wasn't aware of? Trouble with a vendor or a client? “Sure, Mac.”
The two men entered Mac's office with Mac closing the door behind them.
Ty cocked his head and shot his partner a questioning look. “What's up? Is there a problem?” He watched as Mac nervously rearranged the items on his desk. A sinking feeling settled inside him, a sensation that told him this was something personal rather than business. And that could only mean one thingâAngie. His mind filled with hundreds of images of her and memories of a night of passion he knew he would never be able to duplicate with anyone elseânor did he have any desire to try. Whether he wanted it or not, she had become as much a part of his life as breathing.
Ty attempted to make light of what he suspected was about to be an unpleasant situation. He forced what he hoped sounded like a casual laugh. “Are we on the verge of bankruptcy? Have all our employees decided to go out on strike? I didn't notice any picket signs when I came in.” The discomfort welled inside him and his words carried an edge of irritation. “Whatever it is, Mac, don't keep me in suspense. Just say it.”
“Yesâ¦all right.” Mac nervously cleared his throat. “It'sâ¦uhâ¦it's about Angie.”
Something in Mac's tone of voice grabbed Ty's attention. He straightened as a cold fear shot through his body. “Is she all right? Did something happen to her?”
“No, nothing like that.”
Ty eyed him cautiously, not sure he really wanted to hear what Mac had to say. “Then what?”
“Well, as you know this design project has had me chained to my office for the past couple of weeks, even before Angie arrived.” Mac took a swallow from his coffee cup. “And I know I asked you if you would mind entertaining her that first day she was in town.”
take her off my hands
was the way you phrased it.”
“Uhâ¦yes, wellâ¦I know how busy you are and I've been concerned about how much of your time Angie has taken up. Soâ¦I just wanted to let you know that you don't need to entertain her any longer. I'm close enough to completion on the design that I can have dinner with her in the evenings, so you don't need to put your own social life on hold any longer. I can take it from here and you can return to your many lady friends.” Mac extended a smile, but it looked more nervous than sincere.
Ty bristled inside at the barely veiled insinuation that Mac was unhappy with how much time he and Angie had been spending together. He also didn't like the reference Mac had made to his
many lady friends
as if he was a blatant womanizer. It sounded as if Mac didn't want him to see Angie anymore. It was the moment he had been concerned about. Was he going to have to make a choice between his feelings for Angie and his personal and business relationship with Mac?
Would he have to sacrifice his relationship with Angie in order to preserve the company?
The dilemma presented itself as a double-edged sword. If he was forced to make a decision it wouldn't matter which side he chose because either way he would lose something special and important to him. He took a calming breath. Maybe it was his own fears that were directing his thoughts. He didn't want to jump to a wrong conclusion about what Mac really meant.
He drew in another steadying breath, held it for a moment, then slowly exhaled. He leveled a serious look at Mac and carefully measured his words. “What exactly are you saying? Are you telling me you don't want me to see Angie anymore? Have you even bothered to discuss this with her or are you making this decision for her according to what you think she should be doing?”
“Be reasonable, Ty. Angie is a young and very impressionable girl. She's not at all the type of woman you usually go out with, not experienced enough to travel in your league. You do have to admit that you have a rather casual attitude toward the women you date. I don't believe Angie can handle that type of aâ¦wellâ¦that type of a no-strings-attached casual situation.”
Ty fought to keep the anger out of his voice. “Open your eyes and look around. Angie is not that little girl you lived with before you went away to college. She's an intelligent, mature woman capable of making her own decisions. If she wants your advice, I'm sure she'll ask you for it.”
Mac's expression turned very serious, his intense gaze almost becoming an adversarial glare. “I don't want her to be an innocent pawn in one of your
only fun and games
interludes. I don't want to see her get hurt.”
Ty returned Mac's pointed attitude with one of his own. “Are you telling me I'm not good enough to go out with your sister? Are you telling me I have to stop seeing her and if I don't there will be consequences for me to deal with? I want to know exactly what you're trying to say so that there won't be any mistake or misunderstanding between us.”
“I'm just saying that Angie is a young, inexperienced girl. Her emotions and feelings could be easily hurt, even if that wasn't your intention. Iâ¦uhâ¦” Mac glanced down, uneasiness and a hint of uncertainty covering his features. “I don't know what has gone on between you and Angie, but I don't want to see her hurt because you've made her think you're offering her a relationship with a future when all you're really offering her is a one-night stand. She's already been hurt by one broken engagement.”
Mac's words caught Ty off guard. “Broken engagement? I didn't know she'd been engaged.”
“Yes, she was engaged for a while to a man from Portlandâ¦Caufield Woodrow III.”
“She told me the engagement was off, but I don't know what happened or why. I don't know which one of them broke it off. She didn't volunteer the information and I didn't ask her. I don't want her to be hurt again by something she thinks is real when it's nothing more than another of your flings.”
A whole new level of discomfort pushed at Ty. He wanted out of the conversation and definitely wanted out of Mac's office. There was too much whirling around in his head. He blurted out the first thing that
came to his mind. “To tell you the truth, Macâ¦I don't see where it's anyone's business what has happened between Angie and me and that includes you. You may be her brother, but she's definitely an adult and does not need to answer to you or get your permission for anything. If she wants to see me, it's her choice and her decision.”