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Authors: Brenda Jackson

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Essence of Desire (7 page)

BOOK: Essence of Desire
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Roxie kept moving toward Kat, determined to find out why Robert had decided to live a boring life.

***

 

“You don’t know?” Kat asked her in surprise when they were able to find a private place to talk.

Roxie shook her head. “No. Until I saw Robert a few weeks ago, I hadn’t seen him in five years, not since Colt’s wedding. So tell me. When did he stop being himself?”

Kat smiled. “By being himself you mean thinking he was God’s gift to women?”

Roxie returned the smile. “Sort of, but not always. He did have an arrogance about him. But I’d grown to like his arrogance; although I will admit when I was in my teens I did find it disgusting. But when I got older I saw that was how he operates. He’s self-assured. Confident. Together.”

Kat nodded. “I’m not supposed to know but I detected something was wrong and was able to get it out of Simon.”

She glanced around to make sure they still had the ladies room to themselves. She then said. “There was a woman who broke him down.”

Roxie swallowed. “Why? Was she a woman that he fell in love with?”

Kat snorted and then shook her head. “Not hardly. She was someone who tried setting him up for a sexual harassment lawsuit but he was too smart for that. She still threatened to bring a sexual harassment charge against him anyway, although he wasn’t involved with her in any way. She tried resorting to blackmail, knowing he would do whatever needed to be done to protect his business name.”

Roxie swallowed. “Did she succeed in making the charges stick?”

“No, he hired a team of the best attorneys and she was forced to drop the charges. But she did manage to do one thing.”

“What?”

“Make him see how one woman’s lies could ruin everything for him. What she tried to do literally shocked him into doing something I thought I’d never see happen. And for someone like him, who has a history when it comes to women, it was unimaginable.”

“What?”

Kat glanced around to make sure they were still alone again. “Make a decision to do without sex for as long as he can hold out, and from what I understand, for him it’s been a while, almost a year.”

***

 

Kat had returned to Simon and Roxie was stuck near the punch bowl talking to Robert Noble Senior. He was telling her about the economy like she wasn’t aware of it already, which was fine since her mind wasn’t really on what he was saying, although she would nod and smile on cue.

She glanced across the room at Robert. He was talking to her brother. She couldn’t help but study him, thinking how much of a hunk he’d been as a teenager and how much of a hunk he still was now. He was older, more mature. But now when she saw him, instead of seeing the bad boy, sexy rogue who embraced life and the women in it, he appeared to be a straitlaced, wealthy businessman who wanted to be all work and no play. She wanted him to have fun. Enjoy life. Not be dull.

She wanted the old Robert back.

Roxie could now admit the main reason his antics with other women had bothered her was because she’d known she could never be one of those women. He treated her with affection, not with hot and heavy passion. She knew she could never experience how it would be to have his all-consuming attention, even for a short while.

She accepted that she was still attracted to him in a big way. She would even go further than that and admit a part of her still loved him the same way her heart had loved him years ago, but now with a lot more maturity. She was now seeing him through different eyes and had a feeling he’d begun seeing her through different eyes as well. But would he ever admit it? Would he ever do anything about it? Probably not.

That only meant one thing. It was up to her to go after what she wanted. And what she wanted more than anything was to bring the bad boy, sexy rogue back.

She turned back to Mr. Noble. Her father at some point had joined them. The discussion had moved away from the economy and was now about the city’s mayor, who was evidently neither of their most favorite people.

“Ready for me to rescue you?”

She smiled at the warm breath so close to her ear. “Yes, I’d certainly appreciate it.”

“No problem.” He then said in a voice to be heard by their fathers. “Excuse us. I’m stealing Roxie for a moment. We need to step outside and talk business for a minute.”

Both men barely glanced in their directions as they nodded before resuming their conversation. “Thanks,” she whispered as Robert led her through double French doors to the outside patio. But he didn’t stop there. Taking her hand in his they continued walking toward the huge water fountain in the center of the courtyard. It was then that she figured what he was doing. Escaping.

She arched an eyebrow. “What happened, the kitchen got too hot for you back there with all those overeager women vying for your attention?”

When they stopped walking he leaned against the brick rail. “Yes, something like that.”

“Why? Don’t tell me you’re not at the top of your game. You can handle them.”

“Yes, but I don’t want to handle them.”

A fierce sense of over protectiveness engulfed her, welled up deep in her chest. She didn’t think the day would ever come when he would be avoiding the attention of women. Colt’s announcement that he was going to settle down and get married had been a shocker and had everyone wanting to meet the woman who had cast a spell on him. Cinnamon was beautiful in her own right, intelligent and successful, but he had dated other women with those attributes before, so she had wondered what had made Cinnamon so special. The moment she’d seen them together, she had known. Cinnamon was what Colt had needed even when he hadn’t known he’d needed it.

Could she become what Robert needed now when his life was in such a fix? When he was willing to give up the one thing he’d always enjoyed? Sex. And what made her so sure she could be the one to bring him around?

There was only one way to find out.

“Let’s walk some more,” she suggested. And really wasn’t surprised when he took her hand and they began a slow stroll farther away from where the partygoers were.

“So, why didn’t you bring a date?” he asked when they were far enough away where she doubted others would venture. They were standing in a secluded section of the courtyard, surrounded by overhanging trees and large flowering plants. She knew it was similar to what he had in mind for his place.

“I don’t date. I’ve been too busy,” she responded. Although it was true, it was basically the same response he’d given her earlier. “But then you should know that since you’re the one keeping me busy.”

He chuckled. “Are you complaining?”

“About job security? Do I look crazy?” Even in the semi-darkness she could see into his eyes. She couldn’t help but notice the unabashed male appreciation in them.

“No, I don’t think you look crazy. I think you look nice. There’s just something about a woman in red.”

Yes, she realized with a heart that was pounding in her chest. There was also something about a man wearing black. “I think it has something to do with passion,” she said, holding his gaze.

“Passion?”

“Yes. Red represents passion. It’s one of those laws of attraction. Men are attracted to women in red. Red is supposed to make a woman more sexually desirable. I’m surprised you don’t know that.”

“I’m sure I did at some point, but like I told you earlier tonight, my days of being a stud are over.”

We’ll see about that
, she thought. At that moment she was faced with the moment of truth. Was she bold enough to make the first move or would she seduce him into making it? Heck, what the hell.

She glanced around, just to make sure they were absolutely alone and then she turned in his arms and placed her hands on his chest. Her limbs were weak with uncertainly but she intended to get a kiss out of him tonight. A real kiss and not one of those brotherly pecks.

“Ready to go back inside?” he asked. His voice, she noted, had gone low and husky. “Not yet,” was her quick comeback.

She took a step closer and trembled when he smoothed his hands down her back and shifted his stance so the lower half of her fit snug against him. It was then that she felt it. His erection. Engorged. Hard. Solid as a rock. Fire that had been simmering in the background, suddenly blazed up in her body like a torch. This was the first time in over two years that she suddenly felt absolutely, undeniably hot for a man. And she meant hot to the point where she would do just about anything to cool off. Even stripping off her clothes sounded like a pretty good idea about now.

“You sure?” he asked.

“About what?”
Stripping off her clothes or going back inside?

He clarified when he said. “Are you sure you’re not ready to go back inside?” His voice now sounded sexually strained.

“Yes, especially not now,” she said sliding her body even closer to his. His erection felt good pressed against her and for a moment she thought she felt it vibrating. Or maybe it was her feminine muscles throbbing.

“Being out here alone with you might not be a good idea,” he murmured, leaning down close to her ear. “I haven’t slept with a woman in a while and I’m kind of horny.”

She chuckled softly. “Now isn’t that a coincidence. I haven’t slept with a man in a while and I’m kind of horny myself.”

“You certain of that?” he asked.

“Positive.”

“Good.”

And then he lowered his mouth to hers. The moment their lips touched, she groaned on a breathless sigh and he entered his tongue into her mouth. Once their tongues began mingling, he kissed her with a hunger that she felt all the way to her toes. She’d often overheard—from her girlfriends’ older sisters—that Robert could kiss to the point where he could make you lose your identity, make you forget your address, make you wonder what day it was.

They hadn’t lied.

Pleasure, as intense as it could get, was consuming her mind just from his kiss. She didn’t want to wonder what would happen if he ever got the notion to go inside of her body. How would it feel to have his manly, thick and hard body part penetrating her?

“This is crazy,” he said, breaking the kiss somewhat, but still, greedily licking and nipping at her lips.

“But needed. We’re both horny, remember,” she reminded him.

“Yeah, right.” And then he was kissing her again, thoroughly, deeply. Her senses were being overloaded with pleasure to the point where she was breathless, achy. Feeling druggy.

“Make me stop,” he begged, breaking off the kiss and licking her lips again.

“No,” she said.
I’ve wanted to experience this for a long time. You were to have been my first,
she thought, but didn’t say.

“Your call.”

He then kissed her again and would have kept kissing her if he hadn’t heard someone call out their names. Kat.

When Robert lifted his head and looked down into Roxie’s eyes, he saw no more regret in hers than he knew was in his. They’d not gotten all they wanted, but for tonight it was enough.

“That’s Kat. She’s looking for us. Must be time to cut the cake,” he said, gently brushing her cheek with the back of his hand.

“Do you have a hanky?” she asked him quietly.

“Yes.” He reached inside his jacket’s inner pocket, pulled it out and handed it to her. She used it to wipe around his lips. Evidently he was wearing some of her lipstick.

She handed the handkerchief back to him. “Just needed to destroy the evidence.”

When Kat called out their names again, he called out responding to his sister saying. “We’re coming. Hold your horses.”

Roxie straightened her blouse and licked her lips. “How do I look?” she asked him.

He smiled. “Sexy.”

“Good answer.”

And then he led her back to where the sound of his sister’s voice had come from.

***

 

Kat’s eyes didn’t miss anything and Roxie knew it would be a waste of time to say they had taken a stroll to get some fresh air.

“The folks are looking for you, Robert,” she said.

And when he nodded and proceeded to open the door while holding on to Roxie’s hand, Kat stepped in and said. “I think you need to leave Roxie with me for a second to do a little damage control. For some reason she looks as if she’s been thoroughly kissed.”

Robert’s gaze left his sister and moved to Roxie’s face. Evidently the truth of Kat’s words could be clearly seen in the patio lights. “All right.”

He looked at Roxie and smiled before going inside, leaving her with Kat.

***

 

“We thought we were going to have to send out a posse for you and Roxie,” Colt said chuckling. “The two of you must have had a lot to talk about.”

If only you knew.
“We did.” In all honesty, he wasn’t surprised that he and Roxie had kissed the way they had. He felt this surge of electricity whenever she was near him. Colt then brought him up to date on a number of their friends from college but he kept watching the area where the ladies room was located, waiting for Roxie to reappear.

BOOK: Essence of Desire
12.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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