He just earned points for that admission.
“And now that you’ve confirmed that you want them to keep the bakery, I know my decision to sell to you was the right one.” I’m guessing I just earned points as well.
“I want to take care of her, that’s all,” I say, stunned that I’d even admit such a thing to her father. But it’s true. I want to provide her with what she wants, what she needs. There’s something about her that makes me want to give her everything.
“That’s an admirable trait,” he says carefully.
Damn. I didn’t mean to turn the conversation in this direction, but I guess I can’t help it. Marina has slowly seeped into my world, and I can’t imagine her out of it. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t say anything about me giving the bakery to Marina just yet,” I say, because damn it, I want to be the one to tell her. “I want it to be a surprise.”
“Of course. I completely understand.” The smile on his face is small but there. “She’ll be thrilled.”
Hell, let’s hope so.
“I MISSED YOU today.” I snuggled closer to Gage, feeling like the clingy, simpering girlfriend, but for once I didn’t care. I did miss him. I hate it when he goes to the city for business. I hate it worse when he’s gone for a few days at a time, though that hasn’t happened often. I love having him close.
Like right now, the both of us are nak*d in bed after an extremely sweaty bout of reunion sex. So we were apart for less than twenty-four hours; it’s still considered reunion sex in my book.
Sighing, I turn my head and kiss his chest. Feeling his still-thundering heart beneath my lips. I’ve got it so bad for this man, it’s ridiculous.
“I missed you too,” he says, his deep voice gravelly. He’s trailing his fingers up and down my arm, his touch soothing. Arousing. Closing my eyes, I get lost in the moment. Being with Gage helps me forget all my troubles. My nagging mother, my failing business, all of it slips away until I can only focus on Gage and how good he makes me feel.
“How was San Francisco?” We hadn’t bothered with the preliminaries when I’d shown up on his doorstep not quite an hour ago. He’d taken my hand, dragged me inside, and proceeded to strip me of my clothing and kiss every bare inch of my skin.
“It was . . . fine.”
Hmm. I glance up at him to see his eyes are closed, his brow furrowed. I wonder if he’s keeping something from me.
“Who’d you meet with?”
“Investors. No one important,” he answers quickly. Tipping his head, he kisses my forehead, his lips lingering, making my eyes shut again. “I don’t want to talk about business.”
He’s definitely hiding something. But what? I don’t get it. Maybe he had a bad day and doesn’t want to focus on it. Maybe he’s in secret negotiations with someone and doesn’t trust me enough to let me know what’s going on.
Ouch. That hurts far more than I care to admit. I know we haven’t been seeing each other very long, but I’ve become closer to Gage than any other human being on the planet. I didn’t think this was possible. When I first learned of him, I hated him on sight, and I didn’t even know him.
Now I’m falling for him. Scary.
“You should come with me sometime.” When I don’t say anything he continues. “To San Francisco. We can stay a few nights at the apartment I keep there.”
“And what? Never leave the bed?” I tease.
He chuckles, then kisses my forehead again. “I could take you out.”
“Maybe I don’t want to go out.” I tip my head back so I can see his handsome face. “Maybe I like keeping you all to myself.”
Leaning in, he kisses me, soft and damp. “I like keeping you to myself, too.”
“See? We don’t need to go anywhere. We don’t even have to leave this bed. We could stay here forever,” I say.
He moves so fast I burst out laughing. He’s over me, his h*ps pressed to mine, his growing erection nudging against my belly. Just like that he wants me.
And just like that, I want him too.
“Didn’t we already do this?” I murmur before he kisses me deeply. Our tongues tangle, my brain empties, and I’m done with thinking. Talking.
All I can do is feel.
Feel his mouth on mine, already familiar yet delicious. The velvety glide of his tongue, the way his hands roam my body, the thrust of his c*ck against my belly reminding me he wants me. Again.
It’s a heady, exhilarating sensation, knowing how much power I wield over Gage Emerson. He wants me always.
I feel the same way.
“You’re probably tired,” he whispers against my lips, one large hand cupping my breast, his thumb playing with my nipple.
I arch into his palm. “It’s still early.”
“And sore,” he continues, rearing up so he’s on his knees between my spread legs. He grips the base of his erection and brushes the head against my sex, making me gasp. “I sort of lost control with you earlier.”
He’d pounded inside of me hard. My orgasm had been intense. But like the greedy woman I am, I want another one.
“I liked it,” I murmur, reaching out so I can touch him. I race my hands over his chest, down his stomach, until I’m touching his c*ck and making him groan. “Grab a condom, Gage.”
He wastes no time, reaching for the stash he keeps in his bedside table and tearing one open. I watch in fascination as he rolls it on, loving how he moves, how he handles himself. He’s a beautiful, sexy man and my heart literally fills with happiness knowing he’s my man.
“I wanna make this last,” he whispers, sounding a little desperate as he grabs hold of my h*ps and flips us over so now I’m the one on top of him. “Give me a show, baby.”
Smiling, I lower myself on him, until he’s completely imbedded inside of me. He settles his hands on my waist, holding me there, his eyes glowing with some sort of unfamiliar emotion that makes my heart race.
He’s looking at me like he can’t get enough of me. And that’s scary. Exciting.
Slowly, I start to move, trying to prolong it but already feeling anxious. He grips my ass, lifts up so he can take a nipple in his mouth and suck it, and I groan, tossing my head back as I slip my hands into his hair and hold him to me.
“You’re beautiful,” he whispers against my skin. “So goddamn beautiful I can’t believe you’re mine.”
I feel the same way. The same exact way. I know my parents don’t necessarily approve of us together. I know the way we met was sort of unusual. I didn’t like him very much. I don’t think he liked me either.
But the connection between us can’t be denied. We’re in so deep I don’t think I ever want it to end. And I never think that way. I don’t think Gage does either.
He leans back against the pillows, the satisfied smirk on his face downright arrogant as he watches me ride him. I increase my pace, gather my hair up in my hands and hold it there, sitting up straight so he can get that show he wants. Thrusting my chest out, I let go of my hair, shivering as the strands slide all over my br**sts, tickling my hard, still-damp n**ples. I shift forward, taking his c*ck deeper inside my body, and the agonized groan that leaves him makes me laugh.
“You’re wicked,” he murmurs, slipping a hand between our bodies so he can stroke my cl*t with his index finger.
It’s my turn to gasp. “So are you.”
“I want to watch you come.” His touch firms, and I move faster, my entire body tingling with my impending orgasm. “Reach for it, baby.”
Funny thing is I don’t have to reach for it. He makes it so easy. His assured touch, the way he talks to me, looks at me: all of it sends me straight over the edge and into orgasmic bliss.
“Yeah, that’s it,” he says as I start to tremble, a little whimper escaping me. “Come for me, Marina.”
I do. My entire body stills above his as my cli**x takes over. I moan his name, reaching out so I can grip his shoulders hard, and then he’s coming as well, whispering my name against my hair as I collapse on top of him, the both of us shaking in each other’s arms.
“Damn, woman,” he mutters seconds, maybe minutes later, his hands gripping my butt once more, holding me close. Like he never wants to let me go.
“I know,” I whisper, pressing my lips against his neck, tasting his delicious salty skin. “I feel the same way.”
God. It would be so easy to fall in love with this man.
In fact, I think I’m already close to being there.
A LOT CAN change in a few weeks; heck, even a month. I was single and lonely, working my butt off day in and day out with little reward beyond growing a relationship with my aunt, which I cherish, but still. I’d watched the business I love slowly start to fail and it was eating at my very soul. The disappointment from my family—my ever-traveling, too-busy father and overprotective mother—was growing harder and harder to bear.
I had no friends. Many of them had moved away. Or I had no time to spend with the few friends I had.
Life had kind of sucked. I latched onto the fact that Gage Emerson was trying to buy out my family and ruin our lives. I went to that stupid little event more in the hopes of talking to him rather than conducting business, which had been my original intent. Maybe sling an insult or three at him, too, and then walk out, satisfied that I’d let the guy trying to take away my family legacy know I was onto him.
Well. We got the insult-slinging part right, at least.
Everything is completely different now. I have a friend, one I spend a lot of time with. Ivy Emerson and I made good on that San Francisco shopping trip and went last week. She helped me try on a ton of clothes, things I would never have looked twice at. I ended up buying a few things, not wanting to go beyond my self-imposed budget. She helped with that.
She helps with a lot of things.
Archer and I finalized the deal and Aunt Gina’s desserts are in his hotel restaurants. Gina’s thrilled. Archer’s taken her completely under his wing. I’ll be lucky to keep her with me at the bakery, what with the way he coddles her. I think Archer wants to steal her away from me.
My dad is still traveling a lot for business. My mom is still overprotective. I can’t change them, I just have to learn how to live with them.
And then there’s Gage.
I still can’t quite define what’s happening between us, but we’re definitely . . . involved. I can’t get enough of him. It seems he can’t get enough of me either.
My entire life has changed for the better. A lot of it I owe to Gage. The very man who I believed was my enemy. He’s introduced me to my newest friend. He helped me put together a business deal with Archer, his best friend. And he’s made me . . .
Fall completely in love with him.
Just thinking about it makes me want to both jump for joy and throw up.
Especially now, what with the headache I have going on. I don’t know what caused it, but I had to leave the bakery to take a little break. I couldn’t deal.