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What you need, p.14
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       What You Need, p.14

         Part #1 of Need You series by Lorelei James
 

  ‡

  Trust me.

  I was having a mild panic attack.

  First, in a case of nerves, I’d blurted out my misspent youth. Now I would look like an even bigger idiot because of course a classy man like him knew how to tango.

  Every episode I’d ever watched of Dancing with the Stars zipped through my mind and not a single movement stuck.

  Then we were on the dance floor and I was trapped.

  Brady clasped my right hand in his left. He flattened his palm against my lower spine and scooted in so we were chest to chest. “All you need to do is move with me, Lennox. There’s four beats. Slow¸ quick step, quick step, slow. Forward first, then back.”

  He rested the side of his jaw to my temple and urged me forward. I counted. Slow, quick, quick, slow. He turned us a quarter turn and again danced us forward and back.

  By about the fifth time, I didn’t need to count steps. The music and the dance steps made sense in a way I’d never put together before. We fell into a rhythm as if we’d been dancing together for years.

  I surrendered to the sultry beat of the music and the sensuous way Brady moved his body. The cashmere was buttery soft beneath my palm on his shoulder. The scent of his cologne became more noticeable as his skin warmed from exertion.

  When he stepped back and spun me out to the side and then back in, I didn’t miss a single beat.

  “See?” He breathed in my ear. “You’re a natural. God, woman, the way you move . . . it’s like making love to you fully clothed.”

  That might’ve been the single sexiest thing a man had ever said to me. And I knew he wasn’t lying; I could gauge my effect on him every time our pelvises touched.

  The next time he spun me, he stayed behind me, with both hands on my hips.

  I mimicked his side-to-side motion, still with the slow, quick, quick, slow steps as our bodies touched. Yes, we were grinding on each other, but it was a classier way to do it.

  “Put your arms above your head like you did on the bar top.”

  As soon as I did that, it changed the angle of my spine and shoulders.

  His left hand traveled up the outside of my body from the bend in my waist, over my rib cage, the outer swell of my breast, and slowly across my outstretched arm until his fingers circled my wrists. His lips grazed the slope of my shoulder as he flattened his palm on my abdomen.

  That’s when he started making small circles with his hips. His mouth migrated to my ear. “Bravo. We’re in perfect sync.”

  I tipped my head to the side, wanting to feel the soft press of his lips. Or even the light graze of his teeth.

  He growled in my ear. “Not going to let anyone see how you react when I bite the back of your neck. That’s for me alone.” He feathered a soft kiss over the shell of my ear. “You want that, don’t you? Your hands braced against something solid as I’m coming at you hard and fast from behind. Teasing you. Touching you. Sinking my teeth right here”—he flicked his tongue over the magic spot—“holding on to you as you come undone.”

  I just about had an orgasm. Right there in the middle of the damn dance floor of the hottest club in town.

  My head screamed for me to retreat.

  I lowered my arms and spun into him, trying to put a respectable distance between us.

  But Brady was having none of that. He brought me against his chest, in a modified version of how we’d started the dance.

  Neither of us said anything.

  I could feel his heart thundering against my ear. The cashmere was soft against my cheek.

  And I knew I should’ve disentangled from his arms when the song ended, but I didn’t. The next song was slow, and we swayed to the music until the deep thudding bass of a Keisha song had us breaking apart.

  But instead of taking me back to the table, Brady towed me around the corner that separated the lounge area from the VIP restrooms. He lowered his head, his focus entirely on my lips. “I’m taking that kiss now, Lennox.”

  The way he kissed me with restrained hunger had me throwing caution to the wind. He wanted me wild? He’d have to make me that way. But I was beginning to understand the gentleman needed permission to step outside the boundaries he was used to.

  I slid my hands up his chest and pushed him back.

  He locked his hot gaze to mine and waited.

  “Show me that wild man, Brady.”

  The gleam in his eyes made my entire body tingle. He crowded me against the wall. One hand fisted in my hair; the other gripped my hip. He shoved his knee between my thighs. He slammed his mouth down on mine the same time he pushed up so I was intimately pressed against his quad.

  This kiss was volcanic.

  Each hot stroke of his tongue sent a burst of liquid heat through me. Just when I thought he’d retreat, he retreated only far enough to take the kiss even deeper, so I felt his heat, his need, his overwhelming passion in every cell in my body. His grip on my hair kept my head right where he wanted it so he could plunder my mouth however he pleased. When I started to move my pelvis forward, trying to get more friction, his grip on my hip forced me to remain still. To let him set the pace.

  My whole life I’d avoided men with this powerful, raw sexuality. I chose men I could control and bend to my will. Although I’d goaded Brady into showing me this side of him, I expected to be able to control my reaction to him.

  Not so.

  Not at all.

  When he broke the seal of our lips and placed sucking kisses down the front of my throat, I tried to chase his mouth because I wasn’t nearly done kissing him.

  Brady just growled his displeasure and increased his hold on my hair.

  I’d never been so turned on in my life.

  He slid his hand up the outside of my torso to cup my breast. He squeezed gently and gooseflesh broke out as he swept his thumb over my hard nipple.

  I let my head fall back against the wall in total surrender.

  “That noise,” he rasped in my ear. “I can’t wait to hear that noise when you’re naked.”

  “Brady—”

  “Sweet Jesus, do I love the sexy, breathy way you say my name. Say it again,” he demanded.

  “Brady, please.”

  “Please what?”

  “Stop. If you keep touching me like that and murmuring in my ear, I’m afraid I’ll lose what little inhibitions I have left and I’ll let you nail me right here, right now.”

  He smiled against my throat. “I’m good with that. Except I’d turn you around and hike up your skirt so I could nibble, bite and lick your neck while I pounded into you.”

  Then he caught my moan in a kiss. He’d slowed the heat between us to simmer. But these soft-lipped, tender, sweet kisses were as addicting as the fiery ones.

  Keeping his gaze on mine as he teased my mouth, he said, “As much as I want you to come home with me tonight, I won’t pressure you. Especially if you’ve got things to do tomorrow, because I wouldn’t let you out of my bed until we left for work Monday morning.”

  “Thoughtful of you to give me a choice.”

  “You made that choice when you agreed to help me crack open the door to the cage to see if it houses a wild beast, baby.”

  I buried my face in his neck, unsure what to say.

  Brady released my hair and tenderly smoothed it back. “You want to have another drink and stick around and dance?”

  “No. You got us into the hottest club in the Cities. You get props for that. We couldn’t top that last dance and, frankly, I don’t want to try.”

  “Me neither.” He stepped back and ran a hand through his hair. “You ready to go?”

  “I left my purse at the table. I’ll grab it while you wait here.”

  He scowled. “I’ll come with you.”

  I pointedly looked at the rather large bulge below his belt. “Maybe give yourself a few minutes to calm down.”

  “Fine. I’ll meet you at the coat check.”

  The walk down the cold hallway would be good for h
im.

  No one had messed with my purse in the VIP section. I’d just retrieved it and slipped the slim strap over my shoulder when a woman around my age approached me.

  “You’re here with Brady?” she demanded.

  “Who?”

  “Don’t play stupid. He’s not exactly inconspicuous.”

  I’d give her that. “Yes, I’m here with him. Why?”

  She gestured to my clothing. “A slutty outfit like that won’t get you into the hallowed halls of the Lund estate to meet his family. And that is the ultimate goal for a cheap woman like you, isn’t it? You’ll let him maul you in public so you can get your hands on his family’s money and connections.”

  I gave her the same perusal she’d used on me. I could tell by the cut of her clothing it hadn’t come off the rack at Dayton’s. “Who are you?”

  “I’m a Lund family friend.”

  With designs on Brady, no doubt. I could snap this toothpick-shaped brunette like a twig. “A Lund family friend or Brady’s friend?”

  She shrugged. “One and the same. I’ve known Brady a long time and you’re not his type.”

  “Here’s where you tell me you’re his type?”

  “Of course I am. Now that I get a close-up look at you after everyone watched you dry humping him on the dance floor, I see your temporary appeal. But Brady is slumming with you. He’ll sow some oats, act wild and free, and when he tires of it he’ll be back at the country club to find a proper woman who wouldn’t embarrass him in front of his family and colleagues.”

  “It’s sweet of you to show such concern. Who may I tell him is keeping such close tabs on him?”

  “Persia.”

  “Like the country?” I said, and didn’t bother hiding my snicker. “Please tell me you have a sister named India and another one named Holland.”

  She huffed, turned and strode off.

  My amusement about the situation lessened the closer I got to the coat check. When I was in the moment with Brady—on the dance floor and then in the hallway—I hadn’t considered people would be watching us. Maybe taking pictures or videos of us. And while Brady was one of the more low-key members of the Lund family, he was still part of that upper echelon of society. And because of that, he could get away with taking a walk on the wild side with a woman from the wrong side of the tracks. For him it would be a momentary indiscretion. But for me . . . it had the potential to affect my career. If the society reporter found out who I was, and where I worked, it wouldn’t be the CFO in danger of losing his job—it’d be me.

  The thought of my life story being splashed across the local newspapers nearly had me hyperventilating.

  “Lennox?”

  I jumped and whirled around to face my date. “You scared me.”

  “I said your name twice. Is everything all right?” Brady held out my coat and helped me into it.

  “Yes. Thanks.”

  He slipped his hand into mine and led us out of the club.

  The line behind the velvet rope had gotten longer. I ducked my head so most of my hair obscured my face. But I needn’t have worried, because no one stopped us.

  He opened the car door for me. After he climbed in, he said, “Am I just taking you home?”

  “I think that’d be best. It’s late.”

  “No problem. But you still owe me dinner.”

  “I’m sure we’ll figure something out.”

  “That’s not very reassuring.”

  “Sorry.”

  The sharp angles of his face were even more noticeable in the glow of the dashboard lights. I forced myself to look out the window rather than continue to stare at him.

  We didn’t speak or even hold hands on the drive back to my place.

  He parked at the curb and cut the engine. “Did I say or do something wrong?”

  “No. It just got intense. I thought we’d better cool things down.” I reached for his hand. “I had a great time tonight, Brady.”

  “Me too. I’ll walk you to the door.”

  Outside on the sidewalk I shivered and he draped his arm over my shoulder.

  “So does ‘great time’ mean you think I have an inner wild man?”

  “Yes.”

  “Will you help me draw him out?”

  I sighed dramatically. “I suppose I can suffer groping sessions at hot nightclubs while I’m knocking back expensive drinks. Somehow I’ll muddle through.”

  He chuckled. “You are a little trouper.”

  “What’s next on your ‘wild man’ list? I draw the line at skydiving.”

  “I’ve already gone skydiving. Same for cliff jumping.”

  “Parasailing?”

  “Yes.”

  “Base jumping?”

  “No. But I was with Jensen when he did it. He’s into all that extreme sports stuff.”

  “Heli-skiing?”

  “Me? No. But I rode in the chopper and watched Jensen bail out.”

  I faced him. “Why did you ask me to help you? Sounds like you’ve already done all the really daring stuff.” Maybe being with a woman like me was a daring move for him.

  Brady framed my face in his hands. “Don’t you get it? None of that was me. I want to find my own thing.”

  I could believe that. So I kissed him.

  After we broke apart, he angled his head and swept his tongue over my lip ring. Then he grazed it with his teeth and tugged playfully. “Have a good day tomorrow and I’ll see you Monday.”

  *

  I wasn’t sure if running into Brady at work on Monday would be awkward.

  Mr. Lund, I mentally corrected.

  When I reached my desk, Sydney whistled. “Is that a new outfit?”

  “Actually, no. It’s an old one I found in the back of my closet and I worried it might be out of style.” I smoothed my hands over the slim-fitting moleskin skirt. The buckskin color paired well with the brown leather riding boots with a slight heel. The top was a deep pumpkin-colored, dolman sleeve sweater that fell to my hips. I’d cinched a belt, braided together with three hues of leather and three thin ropes in brown, dark green and burnt orange.

  “Old doesn’t matter when you wear it like that.” She fanned herself. “We’ll have to turn the heat down in here, because you are smoking in that outfit.”

  I loved Sydney’s enthusiasm. “Thanks. I’m just going to put away my lunch.”

  “Hurry. The meeting starts in five minutes.”

  Instead of taking the elevator, I cut down the two flights of stairs to the fourth floor. No one was in the break room, so I quickly stuffed my lunch on the bottom shelf and made it back in time to pour myself a big cup of coffee.

  Our department was comparatively small. Ten full-time office temps and Lola, our coordinator. On the days we didn’t have temp assignments—which was rare, since a company with over fifteen hundred employees in one building meant someone was always out sick, on vacation or taking a personal day—we worked in the Personnel department. Anita Mohr, the head of Personnel, was a complete hag. She was old, set in her ways and had no reason to
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