Authors: Evelyn Adams
AROUND: WRAPPED AROUND YOU
A Contemporary Romance
FOR THE BILLIONAIRE’S PLEASURE
Copyright 2014 Evelyn Adams
All rights reserved
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JULIE SLID A TREMBLING FINGER across the screen of her phone, picked the message from the unfamiliar number and hit call. The phone rang twice before it was answered.
“Ms. Blake, it’s so nice of you to call.”
In the movies, the voice would have a foreign accent, be cultured or menacing, or at least have some distinguishing characteristic. This wasn’t the movies and the man’s voice on the other end of the line was unremarkable, only noticeable because of the lack of Southern drawl common in the Carolinas. That didn’t stop Julie’s heart from trying to beat its way out of her chest.
“I want to talk to my brother,” she said, clenching the phone in her hand and trying to keep the fear out of her voice.
“Of course you do. And I want my money.”
“I’m not going to talk to you until I know he’s okay.” She prayed she sounded steadier than she felt. She’d been shaking since she opened the message demanding one hundred thousand dollars in exchange for her brother’s safe return – the message she’d gotten when she’d been sleeping in Eric’s arms. She scrubbed the heel of her hand against her forehead and forced herself to push thoughts of Eric and their brief time together out of her mind. She’d walked away from him a decade ago and survived; she could do it again.
“I’m sorry, Julie. I’m so sorry.” Caleb’s familiar voice cut through her thoughts.
“Are you okay? Did they hurt you? My God Caleb, what did you get yourself into this time?”
“I’m okay. For now at least. I had everything under control. None of this was supposed to happen.”
“I imagine not,” said Julie, grateful that he still sounded like himself, a little shaken up but okay.
“The timing just got screwed up, and I was really counting on the deposit from the Smithfield job.”
“Don’t you fucking dare blame this mess on me, Caleb Blake, or I swear to God, I’ll walk away and leave you to deal with this shit on your own.” The temptation to do just that was palpable, a pull so strong she felt it in her solar plexus. Let her brother handle his own mess and go back to Eric and try to convince him to forgive her for the way she left him.
“No, no, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. Listen Julie, these guys mean business. I need you to do what they say or they’re gonna kill me.”
“I don’t know what to do. You know I don’t have that kind of money. I can pull some of it out of the business but…” She heard a scuffle and before she could finish her sentence, the owner of the unremarkable voice was back on the line.
“Your brother’s correct, Ms. Blake. If you don’t do what I say, we’ll kill him. It’s bad for business to leave loose ends.”
“I don’t have a hundred thousand dollars. I have no idea how to get my hands on that kind of money.” She ran through everything she and her father and brother owned, adding figures in her head. There wasn’t any money left from the sale of the farm. All of that had gone into her father’s care and into starting her brother’s tech security firm. She might be able to pull some money from the business but probably not more than twenty thousand. If she added in her meager life’s savings, she might be able to get the number up to twenty-five.
Oh God. She dropped her head in her hands, cursing her brother for getting her into this mess. At the same time fear that something would happen to him made her pulse race and her stomach hurt.
“I can give you twenty-five thousand, but that’s all I have. Honestly that’s all I have.”
“That’s a start.”
Julie let out the breath she’d been holding. “Okay. It will take me a couple of days to get the money together.”
“You have twenty-four hours. Don’t let me down. I don’t deal well with disappointment.”
She heard the smack of skin against skin followed by a low groan.
“Don’t hurt him!”
“That’s entirely up to you, Ms. Blake. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how bad it would be for your brother’s health if you involved the authorities. Oh and consider the twenty-five thousand payment on interest, not principal.”
Julie opened her mouth to protest but the line went dead in her hand.
Eric Auxtres scanned the buildings looking for 1412. It hadn’t taken him long to get Julie’s address but he’d had to wait a day to get things sorted out so that he could leave his restaurant for the hour and a half drive south to her apartment. Much of his staff was still on break for Christmas. He ran a skeleton crew until the day before New Year’s Eve, picking up the slack himself so his employees could spend extra time with their families.
It wasn’t a hardship for him. He usually spent the holidays alone anyway. Or he had until this year when Julie walked back into his life on Christmas Eve and stole his heart. They’d had an amazing day and a half together and then she’d run off in the middle of the night leaving a two word note behind.
Well, she might be sorry, but they sure as hell weren’t over. And he’d be damned if he’d let her walk away from him again. She’d left him ten years ago when they’d been young lovers. He was a grown man now, one used to going after and getting what he wanted. That drive helped make him a world-renowned chef, and it’s what would get Julie back where she belonged. In his arms and in his bed.
They belonged together, and Eric wasn’t giving up until she realized it, too.
The funny thing was, he thought she had realized it. Their last night together, when they made love it had been about so much more than the sex. He’d looked in her eyes as he moved inside her and seen the love he felt reflected there. And then he’d fallen asleep with Julie in his arms and woken up in an empty bed.
He gripped the steering wheel of his Jag, his knuckles going white from the effort it took to hold onto his temper. He was so frustrated; he almost missed the small 1412 over the door of the nondescript apartment building. Slamming on the brakes and ignoring the horn of the car behind him, he made the turn into the parking lot and swung his car into an open space. He strode into the lobby, grimacing at the lack of security in Julie’s building. Although it served his purpose, it made his jaw tighten to think that just anyone could walk into the building.
Eric glanced at the card in his hand one more time before tucking it in his pocket. Scanning the bank of mail slots, he found J. Blake on 8C. He punched the up button for the elevator, bouncing on the balls of his feet until the doors slid open. He managed to get a hold of himself enough to let the older couple out before he barreled past them into the car and hit the button for eight.
He didn’t know what possessed her to walk away again but he intended to kiss her until she came to her senses and then fuck her until she lost them again. What they had between them was too good to give up.
The doors slid open and he strode the short distance to apartment C, banging on the door with the side of his fist. He sensed movement behind the door a second before it opened and Julie stood in front of him looking pale and beautiful and scared.
“Did anyone see?” she asked, grabbing his arm, hauling him inside and slamming the door behind them. She slid the bolt home and fastened the chain before turning to face him. “Please tell me they didn’t see you. No one can know you’re connected to me, or this will never end.”
“What the fuck is going on?” Eric tried to grab her but she managed to step out of his reach.
She couldn’t risk him getting his hands on her. She was strung so tight, one touch and she was likely to dissolve in his arms.
“Cher,” he said, searching her face. “Something’s wrong. Tell me what it is.”
“It’s not your problem.” It was
problem. Everything her asshole brother did ended up being her problem. Except this time she didn’t think she could fix it. She glanced at the papers littering the table. Spreadsheets and discarded banks statements, all confirming her worst suspicions. She couldn’t pull twenty grand out of the business to give to the people holding her brother. He’d raided the accounts already. Whatever he’d gotten himself involved in had him running through cash like water. The only thing left was the few thousand she’d managed to put aside in her personal savings.
Letting out an exhausted sigh, she gathered her hair into a ponytail and twisted it into a careless knot on the back of her head, anchoring it in place with the pencil she’d been chewing. The movement made the tiny jeweled fish at her wrist flash and her heart clench. The bracelet was a Christmas present from Eric, and she probably could’ve pawned it for a few thousand dollars.
She wasn’t willing to do it, something that made her hate herself a little bit. Choosing jewelry over her brother. But God damn it, it wouldn’t be enough money to solve things and she just couldn’t bear to add it to the pile of things she was losing to her brother’s mess. It was bad enough that she’d lost the man who gave it to her; she didn’t want to lose the bracelet, too.
Except she hadn’t lost the man. He was standing in front of her with an expression that said she better start talking quick.
“Listen,” she said, trying to sound reasonable and not as panicked as she felt. “I’m sorry for the way I left. Really I am, but something came up that I have to take care of.” She put her hand up to stop him before he could interrupt. “I know it doesn’t make sense, but this is something I have to do by myself.” If only she had some idea of what she was supposed to do. “I can’t drag you into this.”
“Fuck, Julie. Drag me into what? And you’re damn right it doesn’t make any sense. I made love to you Christmas night and woke up to find you gone. You left me a fucking note.”
He said made love, not fucked, and his words left her so stunned; she froze, unable to step out of the way when he reached for her. His hands on her arms burned through the thin cotton of her long sleeved T-shirt, searing her with his touch. Her body remembered him, remembered the way he touched her, tasted her, made her come. And with everything going on, all the fear and worry, God help her, she wanted him.
“I’m not leaving, and I’m not letting you walk away either, not this time,” he said before his mouth crushed hers, stealing her breath, burning through her resistance.
Overwhelmed by his touch, her lips parted, and his tongue found hers, meeting her in a teasing tangling dance that stoked the fire of her desire. She wanted him, wanted this break from the anger and worry and soul wrenching fear. Eric hauled her against him, one hand cupping the back of her neck while his other hand held her ass, fitting her body into the hard length of his long thick cock.
“Fuck, Julie,” he said when he finally broke the kiss.
Reaching for the back of her head, he pulled the pencil from the twist, letting her hair tumble down. He slid his fingers into her dark locks and anchored her head in place, kissing her until she couldn’t breathe. She wrapped her arms around his neck, clinging to him as he moved them until she felt the wall against her back.
“Put your arms up, cher.”
She complied, raising her arms over her head, resting the backs of her hands against the wall. Eric skimmed her sides, sliding her T-shirt up over the swell of her breasts and off her body.
“Do not move,” he said, cupping her lace covered breast and running his thumb over her tight aching nipple.
Julie arched into his hands but kept her arms above her head while he reached under the delicate fabric to lift her breasts out of her bra. The bunched fabric and underwire held them out like an offering. Without preamble, Eric bent his head and suckled her, tugging her nipple with his mouth while his teeth scraped over her sensitive flesh. He sucked hard, pleasure and pain combining into desperate aching need, and her back bowed, pressing her closer to his mouth.
Eric alternated sucking on one nipple and then the other until her breath came in shallow gasps and her panties were so wet from her arousal she could feel it through it the thin cotton pj pants she wore. Reaching between their bodies, he popped the button on his jeans, freeing his erection. He gave her breast a long hard tug before he released her wet nipple to tighten in the cool air.
Shoving at the waistband of her pants, he pushed them down with her panties until they puddled on the floor around her feet. He hooked his hand behind her knee, opening her to him. Fisting his cock, he ran it along her slick seam, parting her swollen folds and teasing her throbbing clit. With one smooth stroke, he drove himself inside her, impaling her with his length, holding her in place against the wall as he thrust into her, over and over. Each stroke of his hard cock over her sensitive tissues dragged her climax closer until her body contracted, milking him and setting off his orgasm. He pulsed, spilling his seed against her womb, marking her as his.
“Now, cher,” he said when he had her nestled on his lap amid the papers and chaos. “Tell me what’s wrong so we can fix it together. Don’t lie to me or try to squirm away.” He gave her ass a smack and she yelped and wriggled, grinding herself against his thickening length. He couldn’t imagine ever getting enough of her, couldn’t imagine a time when he wouldn’t want to hold her, fuck her. She felt so right in his arms. “I’m not going anywhere.”
She buried her face against his neck with a sigh and although he loved that she felt like she could lean on him, the movement seemed so helpless and fragile, not at all like the Julie he knew. He tipped her face up, forcing her to meet his gaze, and his stomach tightened when he saw the unshed tears shining in her eyes.