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Authors: M. S. Force

Rapturous

BOOK: Rapturous
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RAPTUROUS

Quantum Series, Book 4

By: M.S. Force

Published by HTJB, Inc.

Copyright 2016. HTJB, Inc.

Cover Design: Designing Women

Courtney Lopes and Ashley Lopez

E-book Layout by Holly Sullivan
 

E-book Formatting Fairies

ISBN:
978-1-942295-38-9

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share
this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text, please contact the author at
[email protected]
.

All characters
in this book are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination.

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The Quantum Series

 

Book 1:
Virtuous

Book 2:
Valorous

Book 3:
Victorious

Book 4:
Rapturous

Chapter 1

Camouflage
cleaned up at the Oscars, and Hayden Roth kissed me. I’m not sure which is a bigger deal. We’re surrounded by Oscar gold. Hayden won for Best Director, Flynn for Best Actor, Jasper for cinematography and all the Quantum principals for producing the year’s Best Picture. They’re euphoric as they celebrate
at one party after another. But all I can think about is that when Hayden won, he kissed me—and he kissed me like he meant it.

He kissed me the way I’ve wanted him to for almost as long as I’ve known him, which is going on ten years now. That’s how long I’ve wanted him. At times, and never more so than when he kissed me earlier, I’ve suspected he wants me, too, but neither of us has ever given
in to the attraction that simmers between us.

It could be because I work for Flynn, Hayden’s best friend and business partner, as well as Hayden and the other Quantum principals. Or maybe he thinks I’m too young for him, although six years isn’t that big of a deal. It’s not like I’m seventeen. I’m twenty-seven and fully grown, but I fear he thinks of me as the little girl I once was and not the
woman I’ve become.

Flynn’s wife, Natalie, puts her arm around my shoulders and gives me a squeeze. “Having fun?”

“Absolutely. You?”

“Best night ever. They’re so happy.”

“Flynn is flying high because you’re here, not because of the Oscars.” The two of them are wildly in love, and though I’m thrilled for my friend and boss, I’m envious, too. I want that. I want the connection they have, and
I want it with a man who is perpetually unavailable to me.
 

“I’m so glad he won,” Natalie says. “He deserves it.”

“Yes, he does.” Flynn’s fearless, gutsy performance as a severely injured veteran has been the talk of the award season this year, with a clean sweep at the Golden Globes, SAGs, BAFTAs and now the Oscars.
 

Hayden deserves a big chunk of the credit as the director who’d coaxed that
gutsy performance from his best friend. The two of them are gold together, as evidenced tonight and over the last couple of months.
 

We’re crammed into a booth at the Vanity Fair party. Hayden is on one side of me, Natalie on the other. The heat of his leg pressed against mine has my full attention, whereas Natalie’s leg on the other side doesn’t do a thing for me, as much as I adore her.

No,
Hayden is the one I want, in all his complicated, maddening, sexy, frustrating glory. It has occurred to me often during the years I’ve nursed this impossible crush that I could’ve chosen a far simpler man to worship from afar. I could’ve chosen a man who isn’t my boss’s best friend and business partner, two things that put me more or less off-limits to him. I could’ve chosen a man with fewer sharp
angles and rough edges.
 

I’m a smart woman, and I’m well aware this fixation I have on such a difficult man isn’t healthy for me. Tell that to the heart that does backflips and handsprings any time he’s in the room, let alone wedged up against me, radiating the kind of heat that has me fantasizing about being naked in a bed with him.
 

I don’t care if it’s not in my best interest to want him.
I don’t care that Flynn probably wouldn’t approve or that Hayden is more secretive than the CIA when it comes to his private life. I don’t care that my dad can’t stand him or that many of the people who work for him live in fear of his unpredictable rages. I don’t care that his family is one of Hollywood’s most dysfunctional—and that’s saying something in this town.
 

None of that matters. I want
him, and after the way he kissed me tonight, I’m on fire with desire and determination. Tonight is the night. When he takes me home later, I’m going to make my move and to hell with the fallout. I’m sick and tired of wishing for something and not doing a damned thing to get what I want. It’s time to put up or shut up.

I groan at my own cliché-ridden thoughts, but this situation has become one
giant, ridiculous cliché. If he doesn’t want me the way I want him, then why would he kiss me like a lover when he won the Oscar?

As if he can read my thoughts, Hayden turns away from the conversation he’s been having with Jasper to smile at me. Although, to call the subtle movement of his lips a smile is giving it far too much credit. It’s more like a cocky smirk than an actual smile.
 

“You
okay?” he asks, his usually cold blue eyes gone warm with what might be affection.

I have to resist the urge to sigh with the pleasure of having his undivided attention. “I am. You?”

“Never better,” he says with an honest, genuine smile, so rare and so fleeting that I wish I could get a photo of it before it disappears.
 

“I’m so thrilled for you guys. I know how hard you worked on
Camouflage
. You deserve all the awards and accolades.”

“Thank you. I’m rather thrilled myself.”

Hayden is a complicated mix of brilliant and moody, driven and ambitious, ruthless and loyal. To see euphoria creep into that mix of intense qualities fills me with an unreasonable amount of happiness on his behalf. He works so hard and rarely takes the time to enjoy his success.
 

In the tight confines of the
booth, he somehow manages to raise his arm and lay it across the back of the banquette. One small move, and that arm could be around me.

I squirm slightly, enough to press against him, jarring his arm. It falls to my shoulders, and I venture a glance at him, surprised to see heat and desire in his eyes that only add to my determination.

The poor bastard has no idea what he’s in for.
 

I’m dying a slow, miserable, painful death jammed into this fucking booth with Addie’s sweet body squeezed against me, my cock as hard as a freaking rock for her and not a goddamned thing I can do about it. I can’t believe I kissed her when my name was called earlier. I didn’t plan to do that. In fact, I actively planned
not
to do anything inappropriate where she’s concerned tonight.

Flynn asked
me to bring her as my date so she could share in the celebration we expected for
Camouflage.
I agreed because he’s right—she deserves to be here after the way she supported our entire team during the grueling shoot.
 

If I’m being honest, I wanted her here for me, too. I like to look at her. I love to breathe in her sexy, alluring scent and fantasize about burying my face in her thick blond hair
while I fuck her. I want to lose myself in her and never come up for air.

But I won’t. I won’t lay a finger on her, as much as it kills me to resist an urge that seems to multiply exponentially every time I’m around her.

I avoid complications the way some people avoid germs. Everything about my obsession with Addison York is complicated. Other than the fact that Flynn would fucking kill me if
I so much as look at her cross-eyed—and that’s not an insignificant
other than
—she deserves much better than me.
 

She should be cherished, not tied in my web of ropes and fucked to within an inch of her life, which is exactly what would happen if I ever let my inner beast run free with her. That’s
not
going to happen.
 

Now if only my fucking cock would get the message and stand the hell down,
I might actually be able to enjoy this incredible night. It’s not happening with her, no matter how badly I might wish otherwise. I repeat this refrain to myself over and over again, but when she snuggles into my embrace, laying her head on my chest, my cock tells me to fuck off.

I look to my left to find Flynn eyeing me with an astute look that tells me I’m not fooling him by trying to act like
I don’t care that Addie is lying all over me. I care. I fucking care way more than I should, and Flynn knows it, even if I’ve never fully owned up to his suspicions about my feelings for her.

He called me out on it recently, going so far as to insinuate that I’m in love with her. I did what I always do when my name and Addie’s are mentioned in the same sentence—I denied it. What else can I do?
Everyone loves Addie, and the last thing I need is my closest friends and business partners turning against me when I fuck things up and hurt her.

Because I would fuck it up—and I would hurt her. I have no doubt at all about that, which is one of the many reasons I keep my distance. Or I usually keep my distance. With her body pressed against mine, I allow my hand to curl around her shoulder,
enjoying the rare lack of distance.
 

BOOK: Rapturous
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