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The tantric principle, p.1
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       The Tantric Principle, p.1

           Jennifer Probst
 
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The Tantric Principle


  Chapter One

  "Breathe."

  The low, gravelly voice stirred in her ear, and strong hands grasped her hips with capable fingers and pushed. Bent over at the waist in a full yoga pose, her body sank down an inch. He hooked his bare feet around her ankles and leaned over her as if about to take her from behind.

  Arianna prayed for strength as her arms shook with the effort to hold the pose. Her spine automatically straightened, but he softened the movement further by gently placing both palms on her shoulders. Heat rushed through the thin material of her t-shirt and burned. With slow, conscious movements, he stroked down the length of her spine to settle at the small of her back.

  She kept her eyes closed, concentrated on breathing, and mercifully, felt him move away toward the next student.

  Arianna Devlin took a moment from her relaxed stance to curse fluently. Well-versed in standard truck driver language, she applied her skills with enthusiasm. Not that her yoga teacher would approve. And the whole damn time she listened to him counsel her, she imagined getting rid of the stress in bed.

  With him.

  Arianna smothered a groan and pushed her concentration back to the class. The whole thing was ridiculous. She was twenty-six years old and had a crush on her yoga teacher. The thought made her fight back a blush, then she tried to minimize the horror of the situation by creating a mental list. He had introduced her to an ancient technique that had changed her life.

  She was more relaxed, energized, and happy after practicing yoga for the last few months. She had transferred those emotions to him like a patient to a therapist, a college student to a professor. He opened her world and made it new. Naturally, she developed a crush on him. Made perfect sense.

  So why couldn't she just get over it?

  Arianna eased back onto the mat for final relaxation and cleared her mind. She let her annoying thoughts scatter and finally sank into a clear, peaceful state. By the time class ended, she felt a little bit more in control.

  A shadow fell over her purple mat and she looked up. The cause of her distress stood above her, a slight smile curving his lips as he stared down. Arianna gathered a tight hold on her composure as if approaching a business meeting, and eased gracefully to her feet.

  Her gaze swept his figure in a search for answers. He really wasn't her type. Arianna was always attracted to the men in power suits, with short hair and quick movements. She enjoyed the energy of business men and their ambitions.

  Grant Madison was completely different.

  He wore his inky black hair long, past his shoulders. Tonight, he held it back in a ponytail, which showed off an array of carved features that were anything but handsome. His nose was too long. His mouth too sensual. A slight shadow darkened his jaw, and Arianna knew he was the type to forget to shave, maybe for days. Fierce, black brows set off those piercing eyes, the color a rich deep brown that seemed fathomless, and his skin was olive, as if he was of Greek or Italian descent. He was tall, lean, and efficiently graceful. He rivaled an executive in a power suit, yet stood before her barefoot. Waves of tightly focused masculine energy hummed around him. She imagined his hot gaze locked on hers as he thrust himself deep inside her wet heat. Imagined him gloriously naked with sinewy arms holding her down and muscled thighs riding her like a stallion.

  Arianna shook her head and desperately strove for composure as he spoke.

  "I didn't get a chance to talk to you before class." His voice reminded her of rough nettle and smooth caramel, disturbing and soothing in one quick twist. "How are you doing?"

  "Good. I had a bitch of a week but I feel better now." Those dark eyes moved over her face as if drinking in every feature, as sensual a movement as his hands stroking her body "I'm glad. You're making incredible progress in class."

  "Thanks. I'm practicing at home now."

  "I can tell. Keep it up and I'll beg you to become one of my assistants. I'm in desperate need of good people."

  "I'd be happy to help. Wouldn't want to see you. . . needy." She cursed herself the moment the words left her lips.

  Immediately, the thread of fire that always pulsed between them crackled and lit like an electrical fuse underwater. Awareness flashed in those inky eyes. Almost as if he couldn't help himself, he moved an inch closer. The scent of musk and spice assaulted her senses. "I'm getting used to it."

  Her heartbeat thundered and her nipples pressed against the soft cotton in a demand to be freed. She knew the line and crossed it anyway. "Getting used to what?" His voice dropped to a husky murmur. "Feeling needy." Five months of wanting sizzled from his eyes, and Arianna finally knew the truth. He desired her. She almost wept in relief to know the fantasy wasn't entirely created in her head, then spotted the resolve in his face. He wasn't going to make a move. Ever. The gleam in those fathomless eyes was matched by the decision on his face regarding the rule he had created to make his business a success. No personal relationships between students and teachers. He may be tempted, he may want her, but he'd never act on those impulses because he loved his business more.

  Arianna was both bitterly disappointed and relieved. Somehow, she had a feeling Grant Madison would never be a man to have an affair with and walk away from. He seemed too. . .

  intense. Arianna had no time for getting moony over a man. She'd worked too hard for this promotion to get distracted.

  A moment passed. A heartbeat. A century. He cleared his throat and stepped back.

  Suddenly, Arianna was back in the yoga studio, surrounded by noisy students, talking to her teacher.

  She forced a polite smile and nodded. "See you Saturday."

  "Have a good night."

  He moved on then, to the next group, and she heard a young girl's clear laugh ring through the room at something he said. Arianna hurriedly rolled up her mat and dashed out of class, not taking time to chatter with any of her new friends. She raced to her car like aliens were on her heels and didn't feel safe until she locked herself in.

  She had to stop fantasizing about him. Tonight, she'd received her answer. Her practices were too important to give up, and she wasn't about to switch to another yoga studio when his philosophies matched hers. No, she'd pull herself together, embrace her newfound knowledge, and let him go.

  Arianna ignored the little voice in her head that screamed liar and pulled out of the parking lot.

  Grant Madison sat in his darkened studio and listened to the soothing flow of water over rocks as it streamed from his speakers. He was ready to lock up, but had come across a mini crisis that needed to be dealt with. One by one he had pulled all of his student files, and the only one remaining was the woman he needed to stay away from.

  Arianna Devlin.

  The dry statistics of her personnel profile rose up to mock him. She was anything but dry.

  From the moment he laid his gaze on her, his body warred with his mind, and he worried his body would soon become victor.

  Throughout the years, he'd been introduced to attractive students he had mild physical interest in. He appreciated beauty, but found himself quite picky about his mates. He'd learned not to listen entirely to his body, since many times his need for spirituality and sharp intelligence was not satisfied by a surface attraction. He also knew the danger in his profession for young women to develop crushes. After one disaster when he lost his business, he made a firm rule to never involve himself with his students in an intimate relationship.

  He'd never had a problem until Arianna.

  His thoughts grazed over their last meeting. For the first time, she'd allowed her feelings to show. Tempted to ignore the flare of lust in her sea-green eyes, he found he couldn't lie. So, he showed her his desire, and his intention not to satisfy it. Thank God, she seemed to
accept the decision and not push him. She was completely different from any other woman he'd met. The conversation took place without words, on a physical scale.

  Arianna was all physical. From the moment they met, her raw, confident energy attacked his senses as much as her body. Heavy, full breasts always pressed against those damn skimpy tops until he made excuses during class to get his hands on her. He'd only meant to correct her posture today, but when he viewed her gorgeous full ass held high in the air, he almost lost it.

  His heavy erection had been difficult to control as his hands coasted over her lush hips and long legs. The scents of vanilla and sandalwood clung to her skin and drove him mad. He imagined stripping off those clothes, parting her legs and thrusting deep inside her. Imagined her bottle-green eyes challenging him to take her hard, the swing of her cherry red hair as it slid past her jaw, the taste of her pouty lips, reminding him of black currant--tart and sweet in one juicy bite.

  He looked down at the manila folder and groaned. A big decision lay on the horizon, one that could change his path. His assistants could not help him with next week's workshop. He couldn't do it alone, and had exhausted calls in every avenue. August was a big month for vacations, so most of his back-ups were already away. The Boston conference couldn't be cancelled at this late date, and he needed a partner.

  Grant had a handful of students who qualified. But, none of them could leave for a full weekend. He needed someone who had shown capabilities in practice, and seriousness in studies.

  Unfortunately, there was only one student left with those qualities.

  Arianna Devlin.

  He tapped his fingers against the desk and thought hard. She might not be able to accompany him at the last minute. If she agreed, he needed to prep for the workshop, which would mean spending every spare moment in her company. He imagined them alone together.

  He shook his head and thought over all the options. He was a professional. He knew the risk of getting involved with a student, and his life did not include a short affair with a sexy woman who could bring chaos. No, he had made that decision when he lost everything. The thought of his past strengthened his resolve.

  He had too much to lose.

  Grant reached for the phone and dialed her number.

  "Aren't we working tonight?"

  Arianna looked up to see Tim Grayson in the doorway. She shot him a smile and finished packing up her briefcase. "Not tonight. I have to attend a workshop this weekend in Boston." He ignored her obvious attempt to rush out the door and made himself comfortable in the burgundy leather chair opposite her desk. "What type of workshop?"

  "Yoga."

  He gave a snort that was half laugh. "Yeah, right."

  She checked her cell phone one last time and tossed it in her bag. "Thanks for the support. At least I have a hobby outside of the office."

  "Yoga people can't make it in the real world. They don't understand deadlines." She laughed. Tim was like her in many ways, and their brief fling had been satisfying, but short. Neither of them had regretted giving in to their desire, but the passion quickly cooled after a weekend spent in bed. So they agreed to simply remain friends.

  Arianna had been relieved because their relationship at G&B Advertising was more important to her than a few orgasms. They were both on the fast circuit--long hours, dinner spent hunched over a computer, and brainstorming sessions with her creative team that ran late into the night. So far, she hadn't met a man who could compete with the adrenalin rush of scoring a big account. She'd always assumed the man she'd eventually fall in love with would have the same intensity toward his career. She respected businessmen and loved the sharp intelligence and social edge people in advertising possessed. It was cutthroat and for the young.

  The thought brought a smile to her lips. Enter her interest in yoga. Imagine her surprise when she realized her body was beginning to betray her. All the fast food and late nights had finally taken their toll. She'd felt brittle and bone weary. Her edge blurred and her mind had became fogged. The kickboxing and cardio only seemed to make things worse. One day she'd seen an advertisement in the paper about a local yoga studio offering free beginning classes.

  She'd gone and hoped for a miracle.

  And gotten it. Along with a sexy teacher who was beginning to drive her crazy.

  Arianna shook off her thoughts and re-focused on Tim. "Stop making fun of me. The asanas help me relax and focus better on work."

  "Ass what?"

  She laughed. "The postures. It' s a great workout. I finally have some arm muscles from all those push ups."

  Tim waved his hand in dismissal. "You need a burger and a roll in the hay." He waggled his eyebrow. "I'm free tonight if you want to use me."

  "No thanks. You'd fall madly in love with me again and we wouldn't be able to work on the Rosebud account."

  "That's why you should be working with me this weekend. Not running off to some guru camp to find inner peace."

  She made a face at his obvious displeasure and shooed him off the chair. "I promised I'd help my teacher out. I'll have my cell phone and be instantly reachable. Send me the print ad as soon as Mel finishes. On Monday I'll meet with the team and we'll go over our final pitch."

  "Yeah, no pressure." Tim rose and walked her out. "Don't get too relaxed out there and leave me stranded."

  "Have I ever?"

  He gave her a raunchy grin. "Nah, never. It's always been good for me." She laughed and locked up her office. As she drove home, she thought of spending the next two days with Grant. Alone. A delicious shiver slithered down her spine and pooled between her legs. She shifted in her seat at the throbbing ache and wondered how he would be in bed. She firmly stopped the thought. No sense in going there or she'd need her vibrator. Again.

  Boston was strictly business, just as he relayed. He needed someone to demonstrate the poses to the class and be a general errand girl. He'd offered to pay her but she laughed and requested a few free classes. Arianna assumed her teacher knew she didn't need his money. She wondered how much yoga teachers made, and then wondered if he had problems with women making more money. As a successful advertising executive, she'd made her way through the ranks, starting as an intern. A ruthless cunning and hunger for success finally placed her at the cusp of an account that could launch her into the big time. She'd been at G&B for ten years now, and no one had invaded her turf yet.

  She realized Grant Madison lived in a different world. He'd never understand why she had to work late on their anniversary, why stress made her curse like a truck driver, and why she didn't view the world through rainbow colored glasses. She'd made her own way with no help.

  No. Grant was definitely not the man for her.

  But, damn, what she would give for just one night with him to scratch her itch.

  Chapter Two

  "Are you ready for me?"

  Her breath hitched at his low throated question, his breath hot in her ear. Arianna managed a half-hearted nod and prayed the students couldn't tell her nipples had tightened under her skimpy lycra shirt.

  She felt his hands push into the small of her back to send her deeper into the Downward Dog position as he instructed the small group of students on the basic points of the posture. His fingers trailed down the backs of her thighs and kneaded a gentle pressure so her heels sunk deeply into the mat.

  Crap. She had to get out of here.

  Grant kept speaking in his soothing voice, while Arianna slowly went out of her mind.

  He had to get his hands off of her or she was going to explode. After a full day of having his fingers explore every intimate, clothed part of her body, she was ready to get naked and get serious.

  He patted her rear gently as if she was a horse and instructed her to ease back into Child's pose.

  She rested her forehead on the mat and mentally cursed him with her whole arsenal of weapons. And she had a lot of them.

  "Class dismissed. We'll see you tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. sharp." Arianna groa
ned with relief. Suddenly, he was beside her.

  "Are you okay? Sore?" he asked with concern as her groan rose to his ears.

  Arianna swore she'd become the Dali Lama himself if she could wrest all this sexual frustration and put it into her practices. Slowly, she raised her head and met his gaze. "No, I'm fine. Just letting out a little tension."

  His full lips quirked in a half smile. "You've done yoga for the last six hours. How could you be tense?"

  "Poor choice of words. Never mind."

  She stood up and wondered why she felt so cranky. This is what she wanted, hours of asana practice and him to stay away from her. She needed no complications in her life, and God knows, he would be one giant complication.

  Arianna knelt to roll up her mat and felt the power of his stare. She refused to look up.

  After a few moments, he walked away to chat with the other students as they left.

  She pulled her hair out of her ponytail holder and squeezed her fists over her eyes. Okay, she was going to act like a grown-up. Be polite, yet distant. Get a drink at the hotel bar, some food, and a good night's sleep. There wasn't too much to clean up so she'd sneak right out of here with the group and tell him she would meet him in the morning.

  "Let's get some dinner."

  She turned and faced him. God, he looked good. Inky strands of hair pulled back from his face. His features stark, slashed cheekbones, high dark brows, piercing eyes so deep they reminded her of polished onyx. His black yoga pants and tank showed off lean, hard muscles.

  She wondered how he moved in bed. If class was any indication, he knew every pulse point of pleasure in a woman's body and how to make her sing.

  "Maybe not such a good idea."

  He laughed. "How can you be cranky? You should be buzzed with energy after opening up all your chakras."

  "Maybe you opened up too many."

  He caught the undertones and acknowledged her temper with a nod of his head. Still, his gaze gleamed with humor. "Point taken. We'll eat and discuss it." Arianna lifted her eyebrow. "I didn't think discussion was an option."

  "I'm a civilized man. Discussion is always an option." He stopped the conversation by interlacing his fingers with hers and led her out of the studio. Arianna was too taken aback to protest as he guided her into the car and drove to the hotel.

 
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