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Authors: Roni Loren

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary

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BOOK: Caught Up in You
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“No.” She tried to shake her head, but his fingers held her firm. “I was trying to
help.”

“I don’t need that kind of help, Kelsey,” he said harshly, her point apparently hitting
some spot he didn’t want poked. He released her chin. “My job is—”

“Everything,” she said, looking away. “I know. I didn’t mean to interrupt. I just
thought you could use a distraction, a break.”

He sighed, a sound of resigned frustration more than anger. “Kelsey.”

For some ridiculous reason she wanted to cry at the defeated way he said her name.
Her temper slid away from her, replaced by the perplexing need to make it okay. “I’m
sorry, sir. I tried to control things again. I’m sorry . . .”

Hands spanned the side of her head. “Shh, love. Please don’t get upset.”

She pressed her lips together, trying to fight back the knot developing in her throat.

His frown dipped deep, regret there in his eyes. “Yes, you did try to control things.
That
is
unacceptable. But hell, I didn’t need to be an asshole about it. Come ’ere.”

She sagged into his grip and met his gaze. His eyes said everything he hadn’t.
I’m sorry. It’ll be okay. I need you.
His lips met hers in a soft press, his hands sliding down to her neck. The tension
slowly unwound inside her belly as he sat on the floor and dragged her into his lap.
Her clamped nipples brushed against his bare chest, sending snaps of now pleasure-edged
pain through her. She breathed his name into their kiss.

His cock, growing hard again, pressed against the thin silk of her already soaked
panties. Her body trembled, need firing anew. She’d been riding on the edge so long,
any touch now ignited her. He broke away from the kiss with a panted breath and laid
back on the warm wood floor, propped on bent elbows and spread out like a delicious
buffet of man and muscle. “I want you, love. And since I’ve been a jerk, it’s ladies’
choice this time. Tell me how you want me to make you come.”

She briefly considered crawling up his body and straddling his face. The man was a
master with his mouth. But she knew nothing else was going to satisfy her at this
point except having him inside her. “I need you to fuck me.”

A feral look entered his gaze, and he reached beneath her thigh for his pocket. He
pulled the condom out, and she lifted up on her knees to give him room to unbutton
his pants and sheath himself. Before he even moved his hand out of the way, she was
lowering herself onto him, her folds slick and ready to accept him. She let out a
long sigh of satisfaction as he filled every space inside, and she sat fully against
his hips. God, each time felt like the first time with him, every nerve ending standing
at attention.

His eyes were closed in his own wave of enjoyment, but his smile was unrepentant.
“You’re going to have to do all the work in this position, love. I’m not accustomed
to being on the bottom.”

She lifted her hips in a slow drag and then plunged down again, shivering at the look
of ecstasy on his face. “I think I can handle it, sir.”

By the time she screamed out his name, sending them both into oblivion, the floor
was shiny with their sweat and the noonday sun beamed through the windows.

But as she lay across his chest afterward, their heavy breaths intermingling, she
was all too aware that being on top meant nothing. In those few hours of that Monday
morning, she realized exactly who had surrendered.

TWENTY

Kelsey lay stretched out in the late-afternoon sun as
content as a turtle on a log. The rays had heated her skin to the perfect warmth,
and the sound of the crashing waves smoothed out the anxieties knocking around in
her head. She gave a languid stretch and a yawn.

Kade shifted on the lounger next to her, turning onto his side and peering at her
through his dark sunglasses. He’d joined her about a half hour ago, but both of them
had been happy to keep each other silent company. He smirked as she lowered her arms
from her stretch.

“What?” she asked, glancing down at her tankini bathing suit. The top had ridden up
from her stretch, revealing a fresh expanse of skin.

He nodded at the faint finger-length bruises on her hip. “You’re suddenly making me
bereft that I decided to come on this vacation with my assistant and not a date.”

She laughed and tugged the bottom of the tank down again to hide the marks. “Well,
that’s your own fault. I see the submissives falling all over themselves at The Ranch
to get into your dungeon. I’m sure you would’ve had a harem of them to accompany you
if you’d asked.”

“Nah, no one’s really captured my interest in months. Well, at least no one who was
available. I seem to have a thing for wanting women who already have owners . . .
or husbands.” He sighed and rolled onto his back, his restlessness palpable. “Last
girl I thought could be the answer turned out to be Wyatt and Jace’s very married
sister. Either of them would probably punch me in the throat if they knew I’d made
a pass at her.”

“Ouch.”

“Yeah.”

She turned to face him, propping her head on her hand. “Your problem is you have a
hard-on for vanilla girls. You want an innocent who you can mold exactly how you like.”

He peeked over at her, his forehead lined with thought. “That’s what you think?”

She lifted her eyebrow in challenge. “I don’t think. I know. I’ve heard the subs whining
behind your back. Those beautiful, well-trained girls are willing to let you do anything
to them, and you’re not interested.”

“Fuck,” he said, turning his face toward the sky again. “You’re right. And isn’t that
just a fucking fantastic kink to have? Because how the hell am I supposed to find
that kind of woman? Date a bunch of vanilla girls and see who gets all soft-eyed when
I get rough? Good way to get a restraining order.”

She reached out and gave his hand a squeeze. “Maybe talk to Grant. He’s the one who
admits the newbies. Maybe he can connect you with a girl who’s curious but not experienced.”

He laced his fingers with hers and brought her hand to his mouth for a quick, friendly
kiss. “Thanks, dollface. Maybe I will.”

“Ahem.”

Kade released her hand, and Kelsey sat up to find Wyatt standing behind their lounge
chairs, jaw tight, eyes glaring in Kade’s direction. Kelsey offered a bright smile.
“Hey, you.”

“Am I interrupting?” Wyatt asked, his tone cool.

Kade turned in his chair, sitting upright and planting his feet in the sand. “Nah,
man. Your girl was just giving me sage advice about my piss poor dating life.” He
slapped the tops of this thighs and stood. “And now that I’m thoroughly depressed,
I think I’m going to go find Carmichael and see what he has to say about the hotel
deal.”

Wyatt crossed his arms, nodding. “Good luck with that.”

Kade sent Kelsey an
oops
look from behind Wyatt and then gave a little wave. “See y’all later.”

Wyatt waited until Kade was a good distance away before sitting on the lounger Kade
had vacated. He leveled a stare at her.

Oh, shit.

* * *

Wyatt was working damn hard to keep his expression
placid. The wave of
Mine!
that had flooded his system at the sight of Kade kissing Kelsey’s hand was strong
enough to make his hands vibrate. Pure adrenaline.

“How’d the meeting go?” Kelsey asked, her tone higher-pitched than normal.

“I’m about ninety-five percent sure she and her husband will go with A&A.”

Kelsey’s smile lit her face. “That’s fantastic.”

“Enjoyed your afternoon?”

She wet her lips. “Kade and I are friends, Wyatt. That’s it.”

He leaned back in the chair. “Did I suggest anything different?”

She crossed her arms over her chest, and he almost smiled at the petulant child expression
on her face. “No, but you might as well have drawn a circle around me in the sand
and mounted a
Keep Out
sign with the way you looked at Kade.”

He reached out and unfurled her arms, then brought both her hands to his mouth for
a kiss. “Seeing any man touch you makes me jealous and protective. I can’t help that.
It doesn’t mean I don’t trust you or that I suspect anything is going on.”

She blinked at him. “So you’re not mad?”

“Of course not. Plus, I think I used up my daily allotment of being an asshole this
morning.”

She laughed and lay back down in her lounger, facing him, “I’ll be on the lookout
tomorrow then.”

He let his eyes travel over her. Her curves were all glossy with sunscreen, and he
could see the barest of bruises peeking out near the bottom of her bathing suit. The
sight nearly had him climbing on top of her out here where anyone could see. But he
had to get shit off his chest first.

“I’m sorry for snapping at you earlier,” he said, peering over his shoulder to make
sure no one else on the beach was in earshot. “You deserved to be left kneeling and
wanting. That part I don’t apologize for. I’m your dom and you tried to control the
situation again. But what you said about work was right, and I shouldn’t have gotten
mean about it.”

“It’s all right,” she said softly. “It wasn’t my place to say anything. It’s your
business.”

He raked a hand through his hair, her understanding making him feel like even more
of a jackass. “It’s just, I don’t know how to turn it off. I’ve never not worked on
a Monday. Even when I had my appendix out, I held a conference call from the hospital
the next day.”

She frowned. “Why? Is your job that unforgiving?”

He released a breath. “No, but my dad once told me that being successful is all about
inertia, and I took it to heart.”

“Inertia?”

He stared out toward the dark blue waves and recited the law. “Yes. ‘A body moving
forward will continue in the same direction at a constant speed unless disturbed by
outside force.’ It’s a law in physics, but Dad applied it to life, meaning as long
as I kept moving forward with the same routine and intensity and didn’t let anything
distract me off that path, I’d reach whatever goal I had set for myself.”

“Oh.”

“The only time I let something move me off that path was in college. Mia.” He turned
to meet Kelsey’s eyes. “Suddenly, I was so far off course, I didn’t even know where
the path was anymore. I was okay with it at the time. It felt freeing—a rebellion
in the face of that tight hold I’d always kept on myself. But falling in love with
her and then losing her fucking destroyed me. The year afterward, I became someone
I didn’t even recognize. My grades slipped, my thesis went unfinished, and I didn’t
give a fuck about much of anything. I just wanted to be numb.”

“Been there,” Kelsey said quietly.

“And the only one who stepped in and snapped me out of it was my father. Jace couldn’t
do it. He was wrapped up in his own drama after Evan disappeared. So I leaned on my
dad like I never had before. He didn’t know why I was so fucked up all of a sudden
and didn’t ask. He just kicked my ass like a drill sergeant and put me back on the
trajectory I was originally on, one that would lead to success, to me eventually taking
over the company. He reestablished my inertia.” He took a deep breath and shook his
head, no longer able to look Kelsey’s way. “And since then I’m terrified of anything
that deviates from my routine, that distracts me. That question is always lingering
in my head: What if this move is the force that shoves me off course again? If I don’t
take care of my Monday-morning things on Monday and let myself indulge in the beautiful
woman sashaying around my kitchen, will everything fall apart?”

The question hung heavy between them, the space only filled with the roar of the ocean
and the distant sound of voices down the beach. He didn’t dare look at her. He knew
what he was saying sounded ridiculous and weak. Like a man living in fear. If she
rolled her eyes, he wouldn’t be able to bear it.

“Prom,” she said simply.

The word was so unexpected, he swung his head to look her way. “What?”

She turned in her chair to sit up and dug her toes into the sand, her gaze firmly
on her feet. “That’s the day I got knocked off my path, when I lost my inertia.”

He swallowed, wanting to ask questions, but giving her time to say what she needed
to say.

Her hands gripped the bottom of the lounger. “I lied to you in your movie room. I
used to be even more of a hopeless romantic than Brynn. All those eighties movies
she watched imprinted on my brain like some sort of disease, giving me hopes for things
I didn’t have, love I didn’t understand, and experiences I always wanted. I remember
watching
Pretty in Pink
and thinking,
Hey, that could be me
. Andie was poor, too, and she made her dress, went to the dance, and landed her Prince
Charming. She got to fall in love despite all the crap she had to go through.” She
gave a humorless laugh. “So ridiculous. I was hopeless
and
stupid.”

“Kelsey,” he said, his chest hurting for her.

But she didn’t stop. “When I was sixteen, I fell in love for the first time. Or at
least I thought that’s what it was. Brynn didn’t like the guy, and my mom told me
he was no good, but I wasn’t hearing any of it. When prom rolled around, he promised
he’d take me even though he’d already declared that prom was ‘retarded.’ And I didn’t
have the skill to make my dress, but I found a pretty black gown at the thrift store
and made it my own. Brynn did my hair and makeup, and I was so freaking excited I
could barely wait for the day.

“But when it rolled around, my boyfriend picked me up and told me there’d been a change
of plans. Instead of going to prom, he was taking me directly to an after party. Only
the party turned out to be at a dealer’s house. I woke up that morning thinking I’d
experience my first prom, but instead I got my first taste of cocaine and lost my
virginity. I don’t even remember having sex, I just woke up sore and bleeding.”

“Jesus.”

She raised her head, looking at him finally. “And no one could get me back on track
after that. Maybe your dad’s theory is true. Makes me wonder what my life would’ve
looked like if that night hadn’t changed everything. If I had told him to go to hell
and had gone to the dance alone.” She gave him a wan smile. “Maybe you’re right to
be scared of deviations. Maybe you shouldn’t have taken me here at all.”

“Baby,” he whispered, the pressure in his throat blocking anything louder. He reached
out for her hand, and she let him guide her onto his lounger with him. He lay on his
side and tucked her against him, his hand drifting up and down her arm. Something
hot and determined burned in his veins, and for once, it had nothing to do with her
body nestled against his. He kissed the curve of her neck. “There’s no one I want
here with me more than you.”

She sighed, sadness lining the soft sound.

“And I turned off my phone.”

“Hmm?” she said, obviously still lost in those bad memories.

“Every vacation I’ve ever taken since I’ve been an adult has been centered around
work. I’ve been on beautiful islands like this and never put a toe in the water because
I was tied to my phone and computer. Even when I was a kid, my father filled vacations
with lessons for us—skiing lessons, sailing lessons, you name it. I’m ready to change
that. So I turned off my phone. No more work calls for the rest of the week. Now I’m
all yours.”

She turned in his arms to face him, her curious gaze meeting his. “What do you propose
we do then?”

He kissed her nose. “Think you can teach me how to have fun, love?”

Her lips curved at that, some of the weight of their histories lifting and swirling
away in the breeze. “Absolutely. I know just the thing to start with.”

He smirked. “Should I have brought protection?”

She laughed and rolled off the lounger, grabbing his hand and tugging him upward.
“No, horny boy.” She bent over and grabbed two abandoned plastic cups. “Come on.”

“Where are we going?”

But she was already moving toward the water, so he followed. When she reached the
line where the wet sand transitioned to dry, she plopped down like a child and patted
the spot next to him. “Sit.”

Amused at her bossiness, he complied. “Yes, ma’am.”

She pushed a cup his way and laid a quick kiss on his lips before settling back in
her spot. “The key is mixing the right amount of water with the sand. With all your
math skills, I suspect you’ll be an excellent architect.”

“Architect?”

She grinned and scooped a pile of damp sand into her cup, packing it down. “Wyatt
Austin, we’re going to build ourselves a sandcastle.”

He stared at her for a moment, then laughed. She was serious. He grabbed his cup and
filled it with sand. “Well, okay, then.”

He plunked the packed sand down, creating the first tower.

Never before had he wanted to get something just right.

Because if anyone deserved the perfect fairy-tale castle, it was Kelsey.

BOOK: Caught Up in You
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