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Hot buttered rum standal.., p.16
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       Hot Buttered Rum: Standalone Romance (Silk Stocking Inn Book 4), p.16

           Tess Oliver
 

  I walked over to the table and placed my hands on top of the chair as I admired the pretty place settings that had been laid right next to each other. There were only two. It seemed there had never been any indication of a third.

  “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say our hostess might just have looked for an excuse to leave us alone tonight.” I turned back to Grayson.

  He was leaned casually against the buffet, with his feet crossed in front of him. He’d already poured himself a glass of whiskey. He took a drink, all the while staring at me with a dark intensity that made my knees wobble.

  “Shall we sit?” My voice cracked. “I think I could use some wine.”

  I pulled out the chair as he walked to the table. He set his highball glass down next to a plate. He took hold of my hand. His dark lashes shaded the deep blue of his eyes as he dropped his gaze to my legs. “Since we are completely alone, I say this dinner will be a whole lot more enjoyable if you slide your panties off first.”

  I bit my lip, holding back the smile that badly wanted to break through. He was terrific at making bold suggestions, and damn, if I didn’t just want to bend to his will immediately.

  “But you said you were hungry.” My voice sounded a little shaky.

  “I am.”

  I scooted back a step as his heavy lids lifted. He looked at me as if he would take me right there on Coco’s lovely table.

  “Didn’t say we weren’t going to eat. I just want you to take off your panties first.”

  “I don’t know. It seems like such a formal dining room and the antique dishes—”

  “Darlin’, it wasn’t a damn suggestion. Or maybe you need some help.”

  “No,” I said abruptly. “You already shredded one pair, and Coco gave me these.”

  He shrugged. The casual gesture always reminded me of just how broad his shoulders were. “Your choice then. Either way, they’re coming off.”

  I reached under the dress and shimmied out of the panties. They pooled around my feet, and I stepped out of them. I lifted them and twirled them around on my finger. “Satisfied, sir?”

  “No, but getting there.”

  He turned the chairs at an angle so that they were nearly facing each other but still close enough to the table to eat. He waved his hand in front of the chair, motioning for me to sit. He picked up his drink and watched me over the rim of his glass as I circled in front of the chair and sat.

  I primly pulled the hem of the dress down as far it would go. Even with a dress on, I felt near to naked being without panties.

  He sat down with far less manners. He reached to the platter and served each of us some meat and potatoes. The chair creaked beneath him as he pushed his long legs out so that they were on each side of my chair. He leaned forward. Before I could stop him, he had the hem of the dress shoved up far enough to expose my naked pussy. He nodded, obviously pleased with himself.

  “So, I’m to sit here half naked while I eat pot roast?”

  “Looks that way. I want to stare at desert while I’m eating my meal. But there’s one more thing.” He leaned back against his chair and moved a big foot between my bare feet. He nudged my feet apart, exposing me even more. Suddenly, the delicious dinner was the last thing on my mind. From the look in his eyes, pot roast wasn’t first and forefront either.

  It was nearly impossible to control the tremble in my hands as I picked up the fork. Grayson, on the other hand, had no problem at all. He took a forkful, pushed it into his mouth and sat back to chew. He watched me, his gaze shifting from my mouth to my pussy and back again.

  I pretended nonchalance and stabbed a piece of pot roast. It was delicious and as tender as butter, but I found it hard to concentrate on chewing and swallowing. I was no longer flustered by him staring at me, quite exposed, as I ate. His lingering gaze had sent so much heat through me, all I could think about was his touch.

  “You look as if you could use some wine, V.P..” He seemed to take extra pleasure in calling me by my business title as if he was reminding me of my executive status one moment, and reminding me, the next moment, that, in this scenario, he was completely in charge. I found myself more than willing to be his subordinate. This man, with the navy blue eyes and incredible shoulders, could boss me from here to damn eternity, and I’d bend to every demand. It was freeing to give up control for a change.

  Grayson leaned forward and reached for the wine. He poured me a glass. As I reached for it, the hem of my dress slipped back down, covering me some. I wrapped my fingers around the glass.

  He didn’t release it right away. “Fix the dress first,” he ordered.

  I reached down and slid the hem back, slowly, giving him just enough of a view, in my opinion. He waited, still holding the glass.

  I pushed the dress up farther, exposing myself completely. He tilted his head to the side to let me know he still wasn’t satisfied. I scooted my feet apart, even farther than they’d been. I added a chin lift to show him I was ready for whatever he had in mind. I only hoped he would put me out of my misery soon and take me, somewhere, anywhere.

  He leaned back to watch me sip the wine. We each ate a few more bites under an incredibly hot layer of tension. It was a meal I would never forget, stuck in the middle of a weekend that was equally unforgettable. Surely, the strange weekend and the reality that I was in a place where no one knew me was making it easier to go along with this erotic game. Still, the longer I thought about it the more I realized that it was my attractive dinner partner and not the unusual setting and my anonymity that had tamped down my inhibitions. I was having a damn good time with Grayson, and I didn’t want it to end.

  Grayson dropped his fork rather loudly on the plate, apparently to signal he was done. He sat back and gazed at me as I finished mine. I could hardly take another bite with him staring at me as if I truly was dessert.

  The oven timer went off and startled me. “The pie. We can’t let it burn. Coco worked so hard on it.”

  He moved his feet from either side of my chair. I pushed my dress down and stood up. I motioned my head toward the kitchen. “I’ll just go pull it out.”

  The incredible fragrance of cinnamon and apple permeated every corner of Coco’s vast kitchen. I grabbed the potholders and pulled the bubbly pie out, placing it on the kitchen island to cool.

  I stopped to fluff up my already mussed up hair and pinched my cheeks. It was a habit of mine, but for this particular occasion, it was a waste of time. Grayson had no interest in the color on my face this evening. He was far more focused on other parts. That thought sent another rush of heat between my legs.

  I took a deep breath and returned to the dining room. Grayson’s chair was empty. My eyes swept around the room. Footsteps plodded behind me. His warm breath tickled my neck as his arms circled around me. He was naked. “Can’t wait another damn minute for dessert,” he growled against my ear.

  “The pie is too hot.”

  “When it comes to dessert, there is no such thing as too hot.”

  I spun around in his arms and smiled up at him. “You’re good,” I quipped.

  “Yep. I’ve got some brains hidden beneath all this brawn.” His mouth came down over mine, and his cock pressed urgently against my belly.

  He roughly lifted my dress up above my waist. Then he reached down and cupped his large hands around my ass.

  I reached to lift off the dress, but he stopped me. His hands flew to the buttons that ran down the front of the bodice. The spaghetti thin straps hadn’t allowed for a bra beneath. In seconds, he had the panels of the dress parted and my breasts exposed. My nipples hardened as he gazed appreciatively at my body.

  “I want you just like this,” he muttered as he turned me around so my back was against the wall. He stood in front of me looking nothing short of breathtaking, completely naked and
his cock erect and already sheathed in a condom. It was all I could do to keep from sinking to the floor in a puddle of desire.

  My fingers tangled in his hair as he lowered his mouth over my breast. I held his face closer as his tongue drew tantalizing circles around my nipple. I closed my eyes to relish the feel of his kisses. I could still see the flickering light of the candles on the table. The torrid heat coming from his body was making me dizzy.

  Grayson lifted his mouth from my breast. He smacked his palms on the wall behind me and pressed his forehead against mine. “I’ve never wanted anyone as badly as I want you, Jessi.”

  His words nearly finished turning my already shaky knees to jelly. I allowed myself a moment to believe it was true, that he wanted me like no other, but in the throes of passion, it was easy to get lost in the moment.

  With a sensual, almost primal groan, Grayson wrapped his hands around my ass and lifted me, pressing my back hard against the textured wallpaper. My arms circled his neck and my legs wrapped around his waist. Before I could take in a solid breath, he pushed his cock inside of me.

  I gripped him tightly with my arms and legs as he ground into me. We were connected and holding each other as if we would never let go. And I didn’t ever want to let go. I could have stayed wrapped around him, with his strong arms holding me and his cock filling me forever.

  His mouth covered mine. I was lost in a kind of oblivion where the only places that existed were the places where Grayson was touching me. Everything else fell away. We were standing in the middle of nowhere clenched together as if our lives depended on it.

  “Grayson,” I whispered, “don’t let go. Don’t ever let go.”

  “Never, Jessi. Never.”

  He lifted me higher and held me against him as he rocked hard against me. The wall behind me vibrated, and the wall sconces shook.

  “Yes, yes, Grayson,” I heard my voice but had no recollection of speaking. My full focus was on the wild pulse between my legs that started timidly, teasingly and then rippled through my entire body as my pussy tightened around him.

  “Fuck yeah, darlin’, that’s right. Come hard for me.”

  I was close to tears, overwhelmed with emotion and a sense of just what I’d been missing all this time. “Oh, Grayson,” the words bubbled from my mouth. I was pudding in his arms, nearly exhausted from the physical force of it all.

  His fingers gripped me tighter. He thrust himself into me, deeper and harder with each movement of his hips. I held onto his neck for support as he moved so frantically now I was sure we’d put a crack in the plaster wall.

  A low groan of release rolled up from his chest, and his head drew back as he pumped his cock into me one last time.

  We held each other like that, as if nothing would ever pry us apart, until our breathing slowed and the room around us seemed to stop spinning. Then, with a gentleness contradictory to the way he’d just slammed into me, he kissed me. It was a soft but deeply tender kiss that reached inside of my chest and circled my heart. I wasn’t completely sure how he had done it, but in just twenty-four hours, Grayson had me completely mesmerized.

  In the end, it was a clap of window rattling thunder that popped us from the satiated trance we’d both fallen into. I startled in his arms, and he squeezed them tighter around me. “I take it you’re not a fan of thunder.”

  I lowered my feet to the floor. “Not normally. But I’m a big girl now, so I can handle it.”

  A gust of wind sprayed heavy raindrops against the window, causing me to move back into his arms. “That doesn’t sound like just any old thunderstorm out there.”

  Lightning lit the room with blinding whiteness. Then we were dropped back into the dim candlelight. Thunder followed, vibrating the windows and doors. I took a steadying breath. Another eruption of wind whistled around the old house, making enough of a ghostly sound to give me gooseflesh. Rain pattered on the roof like millions of tiny horse hooves.

  Grayson walked over to his clothes and got dressed. “I need to go check that the tarp I placed on the roof is holding. Otherwise, Coco’s attic will be flooded.”

  I wrapped my arms around myself for warmth and to calm my nerves. I hurried to the table and reached under the chair for my panties. “I’ll clean up the dishes. Pie is ready when you return.”

  “Sounds good.” He yanked out a chair and pulled on his shoes.

  Another streak of lightning and round of thunder sent me scurrying to his side.

  He smiled, reached up and pulled me into his lap. “I think I found the one thing that makes this very confident vice president vulnerable. Thunder. Who would have guessed it.”

  “Really?” I lifted a brow. “You think you’ve found the one thing that leaves me defenseless?” I kissed his neck. “Then, sir, you haven’t been paying attention.”

  Chapter 15

  Somehow watching the storm rage on through the pretty lacy curtains over the kitchen window made it a bit less terrifying. It seemed the wind, rain and lightning would never let up.

  Grayson had pulled on a yellow rain slicker and hat and had trudged out into the chaos. Twice I’d made him promise me that he wouldn’t climb up on the roof.

  I finished drying the last plate and carried the stack of dishes to the cupboards. The antique clock, a blue and white porcelain beauty, clicked loudly, reminding me that Grayson had been gone a long time.

  I stared down at my dress and bare feet. Both completely impractical for venturing out on a night like this. And I wasn’t sure just how brave I was feeling. Then it occurred to me that something might have happened to Grayson. It was pretty wild outside.

  I walked to the back door and stepped out on the stoop. Rain and wind pelted me as I squinted through the misty darkness hoping to spot the yellow rain slicker. “Grayson!” I yelled, but the storm was too loud.

  Another icy gust of wind sent the tree tops bending low, and my heart raced as I thought about the pine tree crashing through our kitchen window. I was shivering with cold by the time I stepped back inside.

  There was no sign of Grayson anywhere. I raced to the stairs and climbed back up to the bedroom. I pushed aside the curtains and kneeled on the window seat, hoping to get a better view of the yard. It was futile. Each time I was sure I spotted something in the yard, rain would spray the window and my view would be obliterated.

  It had been far too long for checking that a tarp was still fastened securely, even if he’d had to do some retying. I hurried over to the hiking boots that Coco had left for me. I pulled them on. I had no coat or rain slicker, but with any luck, I’d find Grayson long before I froze to death. My heart was sputtering with the fear that he might be hurt.

  I hurried back down the stairs and hoped to hell that I would find him just walking in the door. But the bottom floor was quiet. There was no sign of him. I scurried to the entryway closet to search for something that might provide some protection from the cold rain. There were several coats, but they all looked vintage as if they’d been hanging there since the house was built. Rain would surely ruin them. I was going to have to brave the weather in my cotton dress.

  I opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch. It was facing at just the right angle to avoid the onslaught of the wind propelled rain. The lightning and thunder had slowed to a dull roar, but the wind and rain forged on in near hurricane fashion.

  The dress whipped around my bare legs, instantly numbing them with cold. I looked frantically around, but there was no sign of Grayson. I lowered my face and headed out from under the protection of the porch. It took the relentless downpour no time at all to soak my dress. Instead of swirling around my legs, the calico fabric clung to me like plastic wrap. I could hardly open my eyes wide enough to see, but the gravel trail leading to the side of the house glowed gray white in the otherwise pitch black yard. I needed to get to the plac
e where I’d last seen Grayson working on the roof.

  My feet stayed on the path, but the wind managed to push a shrub hard enough at me that its pointy branch scratched my leg. I felt warm blood mix with the otherwise glacial water pelting my skin.

  I lifted my arm to shield my face and trudged forward. Grayson’s ladder was lying next to the side of the house. I lifted my face and squinted up to the roof. The tarp fluttered in the wind but stayed tethered to the roof. There was no sign of Grayson.

  I looked around the yard. I’d been standing in that spot just this morning, but on a night like this, the entire place, old house included, looked unfamiliar and uninviting. I was standing out in a deluge searching for a man who was technically a stranger, a stranger who I might never see again after tonight. Yet my heart ached to see him, to know that he was safe.

  I really had left myself vulnerable. This whole weekend could be chalked up as a terrible mistake. I had no phone, no way to reach anyone. If Grayson had been hurt, what would I do? I had no idea where Coco was or when she’d be home. I had no idea where I was and my friends and family had no idea either.

  My throat tightened and unhelpful tears clouded my vision even more. I decided to circle the entire house one time. If Grayson needed help, I couldn’t just leave him out there on his own. I moved too abruptly to the left and smacked my knee hard on a bench. I managed to keep myself from falling face first by catching the dress on the same damn bench. I stumbled forward and heard the distinctive rip of fabric as I tromped ahead, determined to make my way to the backside of the house. The gravel path had different plans. A steady river of water gushing from the down spout on the rain gutter had carved a deep ditch, a deep ditch that my boots had no trouble finding. I slammed down hard on my knees.

  The tears flowed faster as I pushed to standing on aching legs. Blood trickled from my knees, reminding me of my roller skating days as a little girl. I was going to be showing up for my first day as vice president of the company with bandages plastered across both knees.

 
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