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What you need, p.16
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       What You Need, p.16

         Part #1 of Need You series by Lorelei James
 

  He grinned and kissed me again.

  Two knocks sounded and the door opened behind us. I jumped.

  Brady put his hand on my shoulder as if to keep me in place and pushed himself upright. “Yes, Jenna?”

  “I’m leaving for the day, sir. Answering service is on and the doors will be locked behind me.”

  “Thank you. Have a good evening and I’ll see you tomorrow.” The door closed with a soft click.

  I covered my face with my hands and groaned.

  “What’s wrong?”

  “Seriously?” I looked at him. “You aren’t the least bit bothered that she caught us making out?”

  “She’ll likely give me props tomorrow, since that’s the first time I’ve been in this situation.”

  I wanted to believe him. But honestly, he was too good looking to me for it to be true. Wasn’t he aware that most of the women who worked for Lund Industries swooned over him and were scared of him in equal measure?

  Brady tugged me to my feet. “Besides, I told her that we’re involved.”

  “You did?”

  “Yes. I needed her to know that if you came up here or called she was to let you in and put you through immediately.” He brushed his mouth across mine. “Which didn’t happen the past two days, much to my disappointment, forcing me to demand a meeting with you.”

  “That’s probably the only way you’ll get me up here, Mr. Lund.”

  “I’ll remember that,” he murmured, and gave me another barely-there kiss.

  “So I’ll see you tomorrow.”

  “Count on it. Oh, and I expect we’ll have dinner tomorrow night. After.”

  My brain immediately added we have sex to the word after. I ignored my body chiming in with a loud Hooray! and asked, “After what?”

  “It’s a surprise.”

  “Have I mentioned I hate surprises?”

  “No.” He feathered his lips down my jaw. “Remember when you said I had to meet you halfway? That I had to come up with some wild things I wanted to try on my own?”

  “Yes.”

  “I came up with one.” He sounded so proud of himself.

  It made me happy that, even though his family had pushed this change thing on him, he’d started to embrace it on his own terms. “I can’t wait to see what it is.”

  He kissed my forehead. “I still have work to catch up on. So I’ll walk you to the door.”

  *

  The next day after work I had a sense of déjà vu. Jenna greeted me, and I waited until she okayed me to enter the inner sanctum of the CFO’s domain. I walked into Brady’s office. “Okay, spill it, Lund. What’s your secret wild adventure tonight?”

  Brady grinned wickedly. “We’re hitting a tattoo parlor. I’m bringing you with me to whisper all sorts of dirty distractions into my ear to take my mind off the pain.”

  I rolled my eyes at his usage of tattoo parlor. “I hope you’re not choosing something weird just to prove you’re edgy.”

  “Define weird.”

  “Getting an actual brand.”

  His eyes widened. “Such as a hot branding iron seared onto my skin, like with livestock?”

  “Yeah.”

  “I’ll pass on that one.”

  “Good.” I glanced down at his crotch. “I won’t stick around if you choose to get a barber pole tattooed on your . . . well, pole.”

  “To be honest, I’m a little scared that you know about that kind of tat.” He paused. “You’ve seen that?”

  “No, I’ve seen a couple of different guys who had something similar done. It wasn’t like I dated these dudes; they just felt the need to drop their pants and show me their ink. A friend of mine swore she dated a guy who had his lollipop inked like one of those rainbow-swirl suckers.”

  “Not touching that one. But rest assured, no dick tats. No branding. No piercing.” His gaze dropped to my mouth. “Even though I have a new appreciation for them.”

  Of course he did. “Where did you decide to go?”

  “Zorn.”

  “You mean Zorn’s?”

  “Yes. Zorn is doing the tat.”

  “Zorn himself?”

  Brady frowned. “Why? Is there more than one Zorn?”

  “No, that’s what I’m saying. You’re having the Zorn do your ink?”

  “Yes. He did the design too.”

  That must’ve cost him a fortune. Then again, money wasn’t an issue for Brady Lund.

  He stroked my cheek. “I’ve wanted to do this for years, Lennox. Being with you just provided the prompt that was already there.”

  “You’re sure?”

  “Positive.”

  “Then let’s go.”

  Chapter Twelve

  Brady

  ‡

  “Remember,” Lennox warned me, “the phrase ‘tattoo parlor’ is as antiquated as the phrase ‘secretarial pool.’”

  “Good to know.”

  “You’ve got the design?” she prompted.

  I picked up her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist. “I think you’re more nervous about this tattoo than I am.”

  She huffed out a breath. “Of course I am.”

  “Why?”

  “I’m afraid this is an impulsive decision you’ll regret.”

  “Do you regret any of your tats?”

  “Just the one on my ass,” she muttered.

  “Are you trying to get me hard? Because imagining you naked does have that effect on me¸ Lennox.”

  She blushed. I loved seeing that rosy flush on her cheeks.

  I opted to parallel park. I’d rather passersby gawked at my car out in the open instead of leaving it to chance in a parking garage.

  Lennox got out of the car before I could help her out.

  Immediately two guys around my age stopped to check out my car. “Dude. Is that a Maybach?”

  “Yes.” I’d ordered it the year I was named CFO. I had to call it an investment to justify the expense, but it was cool as hell to drive such a rare car.

  “What’s it got in it?” the surfer-looking dude asked.

  “V-twelve.”

  “Holy shit.” Then he looked me over. “You a politician or something?”

  “Actually, I’m a spy with British intelligence.”

  His red-rimmed eyes lit up. “Like James Bond?”

  “Exactly.” I slid an arm around Lennox’s waist. “So if you’ll excuse me, I don’t want to be late for my appointment.”

  “No problem.” As they strolled away, I heard him say, “The chick he’s with could totally be a Bond girl.”

  “See? That’s the ultimate evaluation of your hotness.”

  She sighed. “From two stoners.” She stopped and got in my face. “How many cars do you own?”

  “Several. Why? We’re not going to get into an argument about the differences in our current financial situations, are we?”

  “No.” She started to say something but stopped herself. Then she threaded her fingers through mine and tugged me toward the front door of Zorn’s.

  The reception area looked like an upscale salon. Instead of pictures of hair, there were pictures of tattoos and designs. The receptionist sported a head of vibrant blue hair in addition to sleeves on both arms. She was pierced everywhere: lips, ears, nose—even her dimples were dotted with stars. I tried not to stare at the diamond stud piercing below the hollow of her throat, but I couldn’t help but wonder how one got pierced there.

  Her gaze moved between me and Lennox. “Something I can help you with?”

  “Brady Lund. I have an appointment with Zorn.”

  She finally smiled. “Lovely to meet you, Mr. Lund. I’m Tawny.” She offered her hand.

  When I shook it, I felt the cool press of metal since she had rings on every finger.

  “Before we head back to Zorn’s station, I want to go over the charges with you, so you don’t suffer from sticker shock.”

  Then she went into a spiel about Zorn’s qualifications, awards and all t
hat crap that justified the six-thousand-dollar price tag for a custom image and for Zorn to tattoo me personally.

  “Any questions?”

  “None right now, thank you.”

  She placed her hand on my forearm and squeezed. “You’ll have to ditch the suit jacket so I can gauge how tight your shirt is.”

  “Excuse me?” Lennox said.

  “If your shirt is loose enough, you can leave it on,” Tawny said to me, ignoring Lennox completely.

  I shrugged out of my suit jacket and handed it to her, watching as she hung it up. I unbuttoned the shirt cuffs and rolled up the left side first to the bend in my elbow.

  Tawny returned and ran her hand down the outside of my arm. “This fits you to perfection, but I’m afraid it might cut off blood flow, so it’ll have to come off.”

  “Then I’ll be the one to remove it.” Lennox moved in so close our thighs brushed. Then she began to unbutton my shirt.

  The act of her undressing me as her right put Tawny in her place and she backed off.

  “How do you not roast every day?” she murmured when she saw that I wore a thin V-neck T-shirt beneath my dress shirt.

  “I’m used to it.”

  She locked her gaze to mine and the lust in her eyes knocked me back a step. “You have so many outer layers, Brady. Is that intentional? What I’ll find underneath is better than the outer wrapping?”

  What a loaded question.

  After she got all the buttons undone, she flattened her palms on my abdomen and floated her hands up my torso with deliberate provocation. When she squeezed my pecs and feathered her thumbs across my nipples, I released a low warning growl that had her gaze snapping back to mine.

  “Not. Here,” I said with a rough edge.

  But my warning didn’t deter her. She pressed her lips to my chest where the vee of my T-shirt ended. She slipped her fingers beneath the open collar on each side of my shoulders and pushed the dress shirt down my arms. After she’d removed my shirt, she held it out for Tawny to take, without looking away from me.

  Such a sexy show of possession.

  So I returned the favor. I brought my hand across the front of her throat and held her in place. I leaned in. “I think she gets it now, Lennox.”

  “What makes you think that was for her?”

  I kissed her. Not with the passion she expected, but with tenderness.

  “If you two are done marking your territory,” a male voice said dryly, “there’s a tattoo I’d like to get started on.”

  I glanced at the guy leaning on the doorjamb. He wasn’t the bearded biker-looking dude I’d expected. He was taller than my six feet, two inches. His dark hair was parted in the center of his scalp and hung past his shoulders. He wore a YO, BITCH T-shirt and I smiled at the Breaking Bad reference.

  He started toward me, his hand outstretched. “I’m Zorn.”

  “Brady Lund. I appreciate you fitting me in this week. I understand you’re usually booked weeks in advance.”

  “Months, actually. But I had a client cancel due to a family emergency. And your design concept intrigued me.”

  Lennox offered her hand. “I’m Lennox, Brady’s girlfriend.”

  Zorn’s gaze moved over her. “Where are you inked, babe? Tramp stamp?”

  “And this.” She gave him her back and lifted her hair with one hand as she pulled her shirt down with the other.

  “Nice. Who did that?”

  “Pixie. She owns Pixie’s Skin Pixels in Kansas City. Do you know her?”

  “I haven’t met her in person, but I’ve seen a few designs here and there.” Zorn ran his fingers across the design and I clenched my jaw to keep from telling him to get his hands off her. “The ink needs refreshed. If you’re not going back to Pixie to have her do it, that’s a service we provide.”

  “Thanks. I noticed the one on my arm needs a touch-up too.”

  Zorn looked at me again. “Is she coming back with you?”

  “Yes.”

  “Cool. Get something to drink, babe, ’cause this is gonna take a while.”

  *

  The pain associated with getting a tattoo wasn’t as bad as having to sit still in the chair for four hours.

  Since the tat was on the inside of my left forearm, I had the ability to adjust the chair from a sitting to a reclining position. For the first hour I sat upright and talked with Lennox about the “getting to know you” stuff we’d skipped. Then the next hour Zorn and I talked. He was an interesting guy. He’d put his art degree to good use in a field where he actually made a great living. Once he learned I was in finance, he picked my brain about investments. Some of my colleagues in the investment world played their strategies so close to the vest you’d think they were guarding the secrets of the universe. But I was more of the mind-set that all businesses needed professional advice from time to time and I was more than happy to pay it forward.

  After Zorn took a quick break, he resumed inking the design and I dozed off during hour three. When I woke up, I heard the buzz buzz buzz of another tattoo machine and looked over to see Lennox in the chair next to mine. I lifted a brow at her.

  “Just getting the ink refreshed. I figured since I’d be rubbing gel on you, you could return the favor.”

  “As long as you’re here, maybe you oughta get the one on your ass touched up too.”

  “Brady!”

  “Just trying to be helpful, baby.”

  Zorn laughed.

  “You know, that is a great idea, baby,” she said in that sexy tone that always got me hard—even when she was being sarcastic. “We’ll stick around after Zorn is done with yours. I’m sure it won’t bother you at all when you see Zorn’s hands all over my bare butt. Because one ass pretty much looks like the next one, huh, Zorn?”

  “Not even fucking close, babe,” Zorn said. “Some asses are a joy to work on.”

  A joy? Oh, hell no. “I changed my mind. The tattoo on your butt is just fine the way it is.”

  Lennox smirked. “I thought you might say that.”

  Zorn laughed again. “Now you two play nice—you’re blowing my concentration.”

 
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