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Beautiful distraction, p.37
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       Beautiful Distraction, p.37

           J. C. Reed

  Placing the wine bottle and glasses on the table next to a set of cutlery and the two plates, I sat down on the chair opposite from Jett. My gaze shifted around, looking at anything but him.

  “Are you cold? If you are, I can bring you a sweater or we can eat inside.” The concern in his voice made me peer up in surprise.

  “I’m fine.”

  He regarded me for a moment, as though not quite believing me. The candlelight reflected in his eyes and made them shimmer like gemstones. In the soft light, his skin had a golden glow to it and his stubble was more pronounced, giving him a dark and menacing flair. I had never liked stubble on a man, but I found it sexy on him. It suited his character—rough but at the same time soft, strange but also familiar. He looks so yummy, I wanted to bury myself in his strong arms. I ignored the urge to lean over the table and draw his face to mine to feel the scratchy sensation on my skin.

  “Wine?” His voice broke the silence, jerking me out of my thoughts.

  I smiled hesitantly and reached for the half-full glass.

  “To us,” Jett said, chinking our glasses, his gaze never leaving mine.

  Swallowing hard, I nodded because something in his tone—maybe the slightest hint of a promise—ignited a raging fire in me.

  I took a sip of the delicious wine, then another, to calm my suddenly racing heart. It didn’t really help, so I focused on the contents of my plate, all the while keeping the conversation light and casual.

  “Did you find anything in the Lucazzone file?” he asked me, handing me a basket of bread as I tucked into my spare ribs.

  I shook my head and finished chewing before answering. “No, but there’s something I meant to ask you. How many times have you and your lawyers looked through it?”

  He shrugged, signaling that either he didn’t care or he couldn’t be bothered counting.

  “Exactly,” I mumbled under my breath.

  He gave me a strange look. “I brought it so you could take a look at it. I thought getting a fresh opinion wouldn’t hurt.”

  “Look, I—” I put my cutlery down and hesitated as I prepared my words carefully so he wouldn’t think I was lecturing him. We might share sizzling sexual chemistry, but Jett was still my boss. As most of them come, they tend to have an oversized ego and an unwillingness to take ‘no’ or ‘not possible’ for an answer. “I can see the potential of this estate, but with the taxes and everything else in order, there’s no way you’ll get it unless the old man sells or you turn him in.”

  Jett’s gaze darkened and his jaw set. “Your second option is a no go.”


  “Because.” He drew a sharp breath and averted his gaze.

  “Why?” I prompted, leaning forward.

  “Who would want to buy a holiday home built on a murderer’s estate?” His words made sense and yet…

  “See, that’s another point that’s been bugging me. The offer price is way too high. Add it to the costs of lawyers, taxes, building, and decorating, and you’ll end up with a ginormous asking price no buyer will want to pay.”

  “You’d be surprised to find out what rich people are willing to pay for a bit of privacy.” He leaned back and smiled cockily. I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t reply because he was the rich guy and probably knew better than I did. Still, his words didn’t manage to convince me.

  I raised my hands in mock surrender. “Fair enough. All I’m saying is that if you want that estate, you’ve got to go to the police.”

  He shook his head vehemently. “Not going to happen, Brooke. So find something else.”

  “You’re killing me.” I let out an exasperated sigh and leaned against the back of my chair, my fingers tapping lightly against my almost-empty wine glass. The guy was as stubborn as a mule. Working for someone as determined as Jett wasn’t going to be easy, but I had never backed down from a challenge. Even if it meant working my ass off knowing it was a dead end. “Right now I’ve no idea where else to look. Alessandro’s on his deathbed. Why don’t you just wait until he—” I had asked that same question only a day ago. However, I figured I had nothing to lose by starting one last persuasion attempt. “Once the estate is in the hands of charities, you’ll be able to entice them with a much lower offer. You could save money, which would result in a higher profit for your company.”

  “It could take years. Besides, they might decide to sell to someone else.”

  “There is no one else,” I said. Jett’s silence made me look up in doubt. “Is there?” He remained tight-lipped, but the dark shadow clouding his features said more than a thousand words.

  There was.

  “I didn’t want to tell you.” His tone softened.

  “Why not?”

  “Because I didn’t want to get you involved.” He shrugged, as though it didn’t matter, but I could tell from his dark expression whatever he wasn’t telling me bothered him a great deal.

  “You didn’t want me to get involved in what? In my job?” I laughed, even though I felt like strangling him. “How am I supposed to do my job when you’re detaining vital information from me?”

  “You don’t understand, Brooke. They’re dangerous.” His voice came so low for a moment I wasn’t sure I heard him right. The meaning of his words slowly sank in, causing an involuntary shudder to run down my spine. I thought I had landed a relatively safe job: meet up with prospective clients, rent or sell their properties, cash the check, done. Okay, Mayfield Properties was playing on a higher scale, meaning they did a bit more than that, but still. I had no idea how or why the people I might meet could constitute any danger to me. It surely didn’t say in my work contract.

  “What kind of people are we talking about?” I asked carefully.

  He winced. “Let’s just say—not the kind you want to meet.”

  And then it dawned on me. In a twisted way he was trying to protect me, while letting me do my job. “Is that why you went to today’s meeting alone?” His expression remained dark and impenetrable. Blank. But I didn’t need his confirmation to know. “Oh.”

  Holy cow, no wonder they paid me so much. I was basically rubbing shoulders with the local thug, or worse.

  Well, sort of.

  Jett brushed his fingers through his hair and closed his eyes for a few seconds during which we remained silent. A strong tension hung in the air and mirrored in his face. He seemed torn, though I had no idea about what.

  “You should tell me everything. As your employee, I have a right to know,” I said eventually.

  “No, Brooke.” Short and to the point. Adamant. This was the Jett I had glimpsed through his business correspondence. This was the Jett I had feared I’d meet one day. The hard lines around his mouth deepened, just like the determination in his eyes. I was seeing a new side of him but, unfortunately, it didn’t lessen my attraction to him. In fact, I found myself wanting to throw myself into his arms and let him take me places I had never frequented. Instead, I groaned and shot him the dirtiest look I could muster.

  The corners of his lips jerked and his frown smoothed, but his tone remained hard as steel. “You’re safe with me and I’ll keep you that way. I won’t get you involved in this crap, no matter how hard you push, beg, glare, or otherwise.”


  He had obviously never seen me in investigative mode.

  My intuition told me there was more to this estate than Jett let on. How was I supposed to find a loophole with more mystery than an Agatha Christie murder mystery, particularly when the information he gave me barely scratched the surface?

  I crossed my arms over my chest and regarded his beautiful face. “Is that why you tore out the last page? Because you didn’t want me to see what’s on it?”

  For a second I thought I saw a spark of fear in his eyes, and then it disappeared just as quickly, leaving nothing but a blank expression behind. Damn him and his ability to bluff. I wished I could control my face like that. All other human beings would negate the claim vehemently, which in itsel
f would be proof they were lying. Just not Jett. He simply remained silent while staring me down, unblinking, unmoving, unwavering, unwilling to put himself into any position, be it to his or my advantage.

  I could definitely learn a thing or two from this guy.

  “Fine. Don’t answer.” I grabbed my fork and began shifting my food around my plate.

  “Let’s finish up, baby,” Jett said, his tone changing from cold marble to smooth velvet and sweet honey. “I think you’re ready for your surprise.”


  What surprise could Jett possibly have in store for me? I mused over the question as I forced myself to finish my dinner, even though a hundred fluttering butterflies seemed to have taken shelter inside my stomach. He steered our conversation back to the house, local history and what not, but I couldn’t force myself to pay attention to his effortless chatter. My sudden nervousness kept pushing my thoughts in one direction only. I didn’t know what to expect and, being a planner all the way, I didn’t like the feeling one bit. Surprises for me were like…opening Pandora’s box. You never know what’s inside until it hits you.

  “Finished?” Jett stood and began to clear the plates, not waiting for my answer.

  “Yeah, let me help you.” I jumped to my feet and reached out for the empty wine glasses. He placed a warm hand on my arm, stopping me.

  “Wait for me in the living room.” His tone left no room for discussion. I didn’t want to be one of those women who follow a man’s every command, and yet I found myself doing as he bid. Yet again. The thought that he was my boss consoled me for all of five seconds, and then doubts began to crawl back into my head.

  Jett had entered my life a few days ago, and already I barely recognized myself. This wasn’t the responsible woman who once swore she’d never again let a guy gain the upper hand over her—in body, mind, or otherwise. And yet here I was, wanting Jett to take control, waiting for him to decide which way to go. I scolded myself for being so weak, but I couldn’t help it. Something had changed inside me, maybe because deep down I knew Jett was different and he wouldn’t hurt me the way others had.

  His footsteps thudded on the marble floor. A moment later he appeared in the doorway holding a huge crystal bowl with what looked like a strawberry sundae topped with chocolate sauce in one hand, and two dessert spoons in the other.

  “Strawberry cake’s my favorite. How did you know?” My dark thoughts instantly forgotten, I made room on the couch and watched him slump down next to me, the chocolate sauce missing the white leather by half an inch.

  “Whoa, careful. The chocolate’s running.” I pointed at the thin rivulet of brown, sweet stuff trickling down the side of the bowl. Jett held the crystal up.

  “Lick it.”


  I almost choked on my breath. “What?”

  “I said, lick it.”

  Jett’s eyes bore into mine with such intensity it made my insides quiver. I leaned forward and, dipping my head to the side, I touched my mouth against the cold glass, tasting the drop of sweet chocolate that slipped into my mouth. His gaze remained glued on me, his green eyes clouded by desire. I came up again and bit my lip hard, anticipating his reaction.

  He dipped a dessert spoon into the chocolate-covered whipped cream and held it up to me. This time I didn’t need his command to tell me what to do. I sucked it into my mouth and let out a soft moan. Partly because it really was the best sundae I ever had. And partly because I instinctively knew Jett would like it. He put the dessert bowl down and reached over to brush his thumb over my lips, scorching them with his touch.

  “You have a talented little mouth. Want to go to bed, beautiful?” I shuddered at the need in Jett’s voice. No man had ever made the word ‘beautiful’ sound sexier. The way he said it made me feel special…and wanted. Nodding slowly, I sat up and climbed on top of him. His lips found my earlobe, his tongue flicking over my neck as his exploring hands reached down to cup my breasts.

  “I like to make you come. It’s my new favorite hobby,” he whispered in my ear, lifting me up in one quick motion and only put me down again when we reached his bedroom.

  Sitting on his bed, I only now noticed the mirror on the ceiling, reflecting our every move as he shrugged out of his jeans and shirt, revealing a lean body with taut skin and strong muscles. My fingers itched to touch his flat muscles and the dark trail of hair stretching down his abdomen toward the waistband of his shorts. He towered over me like no other man had before, and that excited me and made me want to see whether I could force him into surrender.

  Jett sat down, pulling me onto his lap.

  “Let me get rid of this.” I fumbled with the side zipper of my skirt but he pushed my hands away, a wicked grin playing on his lips.

  “I’ll do it. It’ll be my pleasure.”

  He pushed me onto my back and removed my top, and then my skirt, his eyes never leaving my body as his hands caressed it in long and delicate strokes.

  “Is this my surprise?” I whispered. “Please let it be.”

  “Maybe.” His lazy grin showed me just how much my question pleased him. “Are you sure about this? Because there’s no backing out once we start.”

  Was I?

  Hell, yes.

  I wanted him now.

  He was still staring at me, waiting for an answer. I nodded.

  “Come here, pretty,” Jett whispered a moment before our mouths connected in a hungry kiss that sent shivers of pleasure through me. His taste was indescribable—sweet and rich like wine, dripping with his intoxicating passion for me, and he wasn’t afraid to show it. In some way, it turned me on more than his expert hands massaging every sensitive spot of my body. His tongue dipped into the inside of my mouth, twining and sucking as his hips rubbed against mine.

  A warm sensation rushed through my abdomen. My muscles began to tighten in that electrifying kind of way that told me just how much I wanted this man. My body trembled in his arms and my breasts strained to be released from their confinement. As though feeling my sudden urgency, Jett reached around to unfasten my bra, releasing my breasts into his waiting hands. Stifling a moan, I tossed my head back, my body tensing beneath the pressure of his hot lips on my nipple.

  “You’re so hot I could do this forever.” He began to suck and flick his tongue in equal measures, sending jolts of fire down my spine, over and over again, until I lost all sense of reasoning.


  My head jerked back against the pillow and my hips shot up, grinding against his crotch. He was hard beneath his shorts. I could feel his generous length sliding down my abdomen. My hands slid inside the waistband of his shorts and pulled down, revealing what I had been dying to see since the morning I woke up with him in my bed.

  My gaze trailed down the muscles of his chest, past his abdomen, to his shaft. My senses reeled as my mouth went dry.

  He was already hard for me, the tip slick with moisture.

  I gazed up into his moss-green eyes now hooded with anticipation. He wedged his weight between my waiting thighs and entered me in one push, my soft flesh tightening around his thick shaft. I let out a deep moan and clutched at his shoulders, grinding my hips against his in the need for more. For a moment the pleasure consumed me, and I let out a deep moan, wondering whether a single thrust from him would be enough to send me over the edge. As though sensing my thoughts, Jett’s lips jerked up and he stopped moving. I quivered against his chest, shuddering with the effort to hold back.

  “Jett.” My hungry eyes met his again as I chanted his name, my cry for more burning on my lips, unspoken.

  “You’ll have to say what you want,” he whispered. His eyes shimmered with fortitude, challenging me.

  Two could play this game.

  I slowly shook my head.

  “No?” He grinned. “As you will, Ms. Stewart.”

  Cupping my buttocks, he forced his shaft deeper inside me, filling every inch. I threw my head back with a cry. A soft tremble r
ocked my body, signalling my need for release. But, damn, I wouldn’t beg. In fact, I’d make him pay for his impudence and make him beg me.

  “You’ll have to do better than that,” I whispered through gritted teeth.

  His eyes darkened with need, taking me up on the challenge. Slowly, he pulled back and blasted into me, rotating his pelvis in the process so he’d stroke against my clit. A whip of passion rushed up my spine like fire and erupted in another strangled cry.

  I was so damn near and yet so far away.

  Something about his naughty smile told me he could keep this up all day. He might have the willpower, but I didn’t.

  I squirmed under him to better accommodate him inside me. The movement sent another jolt of pleasure through me, making me wince from the sheer torture. “Oh, for crying out loud just do me,” I whispered, barely able to contain the need in my voice.

  He laughed. “You forgot to say please.” His gaze bore into me with such intensity I felt him inside my core. His hands reached to cup my buttock and then he began to move hard and fast.

  I felt orgasms rippling through both of us. A moment later, hot moisture spilled deep inside me and his satisfied moan echoed within my own cry. The room seemed to spin as one wave of ecstasy after another washed over me. Eventually, Jett rolled us to the side and he wrapped his arm around me, pulling me closer. Still breathing hard, I snuggled against his broad chest, marvelling at how delicious his skin felt beneath my open palms. I touched the roughness of his stubble and gently rubbed my fingertips against it, the way I had been dreaming of doing ever since meeting him.

  “Take tomorrow morning off,” Jett said.

  “Why?” I sat up to regard him, relishing the remnants of two orgasms in a day. The prospect of staying just a little bit longer in his arms delighted me.

  As he placed a soft kiss on my forehead, I tried to come up with a witty line; something to make him smile and maybe even kick a tiny dent into that ginormous confidence of his, but as usual in his presence my mind remained surprisingly blank.

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