Mistletoe Not Required(9)

By: Anne Oliver

‘And what do you mean not good company? Ken’s waiting, stay right where you are, wherever it is, I’m coming to get you.’

‘No... I’m coming...’

And she was. Right now. Right here. Awareness narrowed down to a pinpoint of sparkling sensation and the hand holding her phone slid from her ear as the world receded like the tide before a tsunami.

She heard the disembodied moan—part plea, all pleasure—sprint up her throat as the crescendo peaked and rolled, sending her tumbling over the silvery crest and showering her body with gold.

A slow sigh escaped her lips. Sweet, sugar-coated bliss. Sagging against his hard-packed stomach and an impressive erection, she floated down, her feet still not quite touching the ground. She wasn’t exactly a virgin but no guy had ever done it for her the way he had. Now she understood how sinfully, devastatingly irresistible the right man’s touch could be.

On the downside, it reduced even the most rational, self-disciplined person to a quivering, mindless mass. It had changed a sane sensible woman with a mind and opinion of her own—and an ability to say no—to someone she didn’t recognise.

She flopped her head back against the wall and looked up at him, committing his face to memory, then kissed her fingers and pressed them to his lips. ‘Merry Christmas.’

From somewhere near her left elbow, she heard Brie’s voice. ‘Olivia, are you drunk?’

‘No.’ Just not herself. Without taking her eyes off him—the way a sailor wouldn’t take her eyes off an approaching storm front—she raised the phone to her ear. ‘Meet you on the driveway. Two minutes.’

She disconnected and began sidestepping along the wall. Away. Now she’d had a moment to come to her senses, all she wanted was to be by herself and think about what she’d done. What he’d done. Oh my God. Her inner muscles clenched in fond remembrance. Casual sex on a balcony was not who she was. She didn’t know what to say, so she went with, ‘Thanks.’

He caught her arm, his dark, almost familiar eyes a cool shade of cynical. ‘So that’s it? Thanks?’

‘Yes. What else do you want me to say?’

His nostrils flared and a muscle twitched along his jaw. ‘We haven’t finished.’

Oh. She couldn’t help it; her gaze flicked down between them and her whole body felt weak and fizzy at the tempting display of manly magnificence outlined in fine black fabric. Pity she wasn’t going to see it in all its glory. ‘Sorry. I am, truly.’ You’ll never know how much. ‘But my friend’s waiting.’

He remained where he was, expression dangerously impassive. ‘Better hurry, then. And watch your step.’

A shiver ran down her spine but she realised he hadn’t meant it as a threat but a warning to take care on the stairs. Hiding his annoyance that she was running off without so much as a name uttered between them. Or was he relieved, as she was, that this had just been a little harmless Christmas Eve flirtation? No, she very much doubted he felt relieved.

Coldplay started up again, making her jump. ‘Thirty seconds, Brie, and I’m there,’ she said to the phone. ‘Have you met up with Jett yet?’ She was proud of her casual question and breezy voice as she all but stumbled to the stairs, scrambling for the handrail and tripping over her feet on her way down, a pair of eyes following her every move. She could feel them, dark and intense down her spine.

‘Forget Jett,’ Brie told her in a tight-lipped voice. ‘He’s obviously forgotten me. He can damn well find his own way back.’

Olivia slowed her mad dash when she saw Brie pacing the circular drive beside their chauffeured car. But not soon enough, because Brie had caught sight of her first. One slim eyebrow hiked and a smile played around her lips. Taking in Olivia’s no-doubt ravished and guilty-as-sin appearance.

‘Let’s go,’ Olivia said, pulling her evening bag off her shoulder and crushing it between her fingers.

Brie didn’t move. ‘Sinner-Santa, Liv. You weren’t kidding after all.’

‘It’s Christmas.’ The car was idling, the door was open and Olivia moved fast. ‘What are we waiting for?’

‘Such a hurry.’ Brie stepped into her path, sharp eyes scanning Olivia’s bare feet. ‘Cinderella only lost one shoe.’

Oh. Crap. ‘Never mind.’ She darted around Brie, muttering, ‘Thanks, Ken,’ and sweeping past their driver as if the hounds of hell were about to catch up with her. ‘What’s a pair of shoes?’

She piled into the back seat, her pesky observant friend settled in beside her, and Ken closed the door. Brie pressed a button and the privacy screen rose. As the vehicle progressed sedately towards the gates she picked a feather off Olivia’s shoulder, held it up as evidence. ‘And where’s the rest of my boa?’

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