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Authors: Brenda Jackson

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BOOK: Essence of Desire
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She did a few moments later and when their gazes met across the room, she smiled and he felt his entire lower extremities begin to throb. She was a very desirable woman. A woman he would have to keep his distance from for the rest of the night.

 
Six
 

“Ms. Miller, this is Hazel Norwood. Mr. Noble wanted me to inform you that he’ll be arriving in Summerlin on Friday and would like to meet you at the house so you can give him an updated tour of what’s been done. Will three in the afternoon be okay?”

Trying to ignore the loud noise of the workers behind her, Roxie said into her cell phone. “Yes, three on Friday will be fine.”

After ending the call she slipped her phone back into the belt clip at the waist of her jeans. She couldn’t help but smile. Robert was returning to Summerlin yet again.

It has been less than a week since his aunt’s party and she hadn’t been sure when she would see him again. After she had come out of the ladies room, he had kept his distance from her, although she had noticed him staring at her a few times. And each time she had felt a connection that had been so powerful, a pull that had been as potent as anything she’d ever been up against. There was no way he could not have felt it as well.

Considering that phenomenal kiss they had shared, she had hoped he would seek her out later that night after the party, and when he hadn’t, she’d known he was fighting it, and having misgivings about what had transpired between them.

If he was having second doubts then that was his business. She would have to step out on faith for the both of them. She had gone over in her mind countless times all the pros and cons of going through with her plans, and no matter how she looked at it, the pros outweighed the cons—for him as well as for her.

Straightening her back and squaring her shoulders she walked through the house, going from room to room thinking that this house was no longer the biggest makeover project of her life. Robert was.

***

 

There was a knock on Robert’s office door. “Yes?”

Simon stuck his head in. “You got a few moments?”

Robert leaned back in his chair. “Yes, come on in.” This was the first time the two had gotten a chance to speak without Kat around since the party Saturday night.

When Simon appeared nervous, Robert decided to put the man out of his misery. “You do know that I’m not my sister’s keeper, don’t you?”

He watched the man let out a relieved sigh. “That’s what Katherine said, but still, you’re her brother and you’re also my boss.”

“Yes,” Robert said, nodding slowly. “But I was your boss before the two of you officially met, and from what I understand, you two didn’t become involved until some time after I made you my VP, which means you didn’t use her as a way to get that promotion. And,” he decided to play his hunch and add. “She targeted you. You didn’t target her.”

Simon’s surprised expression was priceless when he asked. “She admitted to that?”

Robert chuckled. “No, she didn’t have to. I know my sister. If it’s something she wants, she’s going after it.” He paused and then said, “I’m sure you’re aware of that by now.”

Simon nodded. “Yes, I’m aware of that now.”

A few moments later after Simon had left his office, Robert got up from behind his desk, sauntered over to the window, and glanced out. It was a beautiful day outside and Interstate 4 had back-to-back traffic. He figured most of the cars were filled with families headed for Disney World or some other vacation spot Orlando had to offer. He was happy for them but already his mind was traveling to Summerlin, Tennessee and the woman he would be seeing there again later this week.

He couldn’t get the kiss they’d shared out of his mind. Ever since he began noticing the opposite sex he had prided himself on being in control of his mind and libido. There hadn’t been a woman alive that could make him lose his cool. At least that was the case until he’d confronted Roxie. The woman affected him like no other and the very thought was unsettling. He needed to take back control and continue on the path he’d laid out for himself.

When he saw her it would be business as usual. Roxie was a very desirable woman, he could admit to that and would always admit to it. She was also off limits. He knew it and she knew it as well.

He hoped that like him she had thought things through since Saturday night and had come to realize their actions had crossed over the boundaries of what was acceptable. Fairly certain that she had, he picked up the next document he needed to review and went back to work.

***

 

Roxie’s heart began pounding the moment she heard a car in the driveway and when a car door slammed shut, her pulse began racing.

Robert had arrived.

She glanced down at herself. She looked decent, adequately professional for an interior designer, although the fit of the skirt hugged her hips, and the length was a tad shorter than what she’d normally wear when meeting with a client. Her white blouse was cute enough and the style of the collar dipped almost provocatively to the curve of her breasts.

With her clipboard in her hand and a pair of sexy-looking sandals on her feet, she stood in the foyer ready for the doorbell to sound. Some would consider what she planned to do madness. She however, considered it the sanest thing she’d ever done. She hadn’t been interested in a man sexually since Darrin and Robert exuded so much raw masculinity that it unnerved her to think about it. And just the thought that he planned to put a cap on it, all that make-your-panties-wet sexiness, because of one woman, was just unacceptable.

Instead of ringing the doorbell, he knocked on the door and she wondered if he’d known she was close by. Inhaling deeply, she took the few steps to the door and as her hands shook slightly, she slowly opened it.

And there he was, standing there dressed in a dark suit, white shirt, and sharp tie and looking at her with those deep, dark eyes. Immediately, quicker than she could take her next breath, desire shot up her arm and she had to tighten her fingers on the clipboard to keep from dropping it.

She couldn’t help noticing how his gaze dipped low to her legs, seemed to roam over every single inch of them before traveling back up to her face to make eye contact with her again.

“Roxie.”

“Robert. How was your flight?” she asked, stepping aside to let him in.

“It was nice.” He seemed to hesitate a second before moving past her to stand in the center of the foyer. He glanced around. “Where are the workers?”

She swallowed; had figured he would ask that and had an answer ready for him. “They usually leave early on Friday.”

“Oh, I see.”

No, he really didn’t see, but he would, and soon.
“Where do you want us to start?”

He shot her a quick glance. “Excuse me?”

She couldn’t help but smile. “Which of the rooms do you want to tour first?”

His gaze roamed up and down her legs again. He loosened his tie somewhat, as if he suddenly felt a little warm and then said, “It doesn’t matter.”

“In that case we can start in the kitchen. That way you can see how they are coming along with installing the new cabinets. Please follow me.”

***

 

Robert felt his temperature starting to rise and wondered if the air conditioner was on the blink or if his body was just plain getting overheated. Probably the latter, he thought, following behind Roxie at what should have been a safe distance.

It would have been safe if his gaze wasn’t concentrating on the lushness of her backside as she walked, or the way her gorgeous legs looked in those high heel have-sex-with-me strappy sandals. He actually felt blood rush through his veins when she suddenly stopped and bent down to pick up a piece of paper off the floor.

Robert caught more than a glimpse of a creamy dark thigh. He could swear—on his mother’s grave had she not been alive—that Roxie deliberately flashed him and he saw a pair of red panties.

“So what do you think?”

That I’m in trouble.
But when he saw her glancing around the kitchen he knew they were thinking about two different things. Or were they? She had an innocent look on her face, but was it for real?

He followed her gaze around the room. If she could pretend, then so could he. “I think they’ve been busy and I like the way it looks. Removing that island makes it roomier,” he said.

“Yes, I think so as well,” she agreed. “And as you noticed, we’ve widened the opening from the kitchen to the dining room.”

No, he hadn’t noticed. He was too busy studying her chest. Did she or did she not have on a bra?

She moved into the dining room and he followed, once again enjoying the view from behind. “I told them you wanted this complete wall made of glass to get a better view of the courtyard. That will be one of the last things they’ll do for security reasons,” she was saying and he was barely listening.

He leaned against one of the column posts and pretended interest. What he was really thinking about was a way to cut this tour short and get the hell out of there.

“Now we can go upstairs to the bedrooms.”

He glanced over at her. Now for the moment of truth. Was she for real or not? He would definitely find out in a little while. “You lead. I follow,” he said.

“All right.”

She led the way out the dining room and passing through the living room, she started up the stairs. He decided to hang back a while, just to watch how her short skirt swished against her thighs with every upward step she took. When she was halfway up she noticed he wasn’t following and glanced over her shoulder.

“Coming?” she asked.

He thought that wasn’t a good question to ask him right about now; especially when it reminded him how long it had been since he’d come. “Sure,” he said moving up the stairs behind her.

By the time he reached the landing she had disappeared into one of the rooms. There were three guest bedrooms and a master bedroom suite. He figured she’d gone in one of the guest rooms first. He checked the first one he came to and she wasn’t there, so he called out to her. “Roxie?”

“Yes?”

“Where are you?”

“In the master bedroom.”

He moved around a slew of equipment the builders had used to install the new wood floors and began strolling toward the master bedroom. There were still a number of things that needed to be done, but so far he was pleased with how things were coming together.

He stepped into the master bedroom and saw this particular room didn’t look as chaotic as the others. When he still didn’t see Roxie he figured she probably needed to show him something in the connecting bath so he moved in that direction.

He walked into the bathroom and stood, stock-still. She had needed to show him something all right. She was there, casually leaning against the vanity and except for those have-sex-with-me strappy sandals on her feet, she was stark naked.

 
Seven
 

On some level Robert really wasn’t surprised to see her that way. And on another level, he was aroused as any one man could possibly get. At the moment his arousal was overtaking his degree of astonishment. He had expected her to try to seduce him subtly, and not hit him with a full-blown bombshell. And the way his sex was pressing against the zipper of his pants showed just how little control he had.

He crossed his arms over his chest. “Don’t you think we need to talk about this?”

“Sure, if you think we must. I’ll listen to whatever you have to say. In the meantime, could you help me take off my shoes?”

He glanced down at her feet and considered her request. But only after letting his gaze move from her feet, slowly up her leg and then upward to zero in on her feminine mound. And what a feminine mound it was. Luscious looking, puffy, like it could use a good beat down.

And she had a Brazilian wax job that was truly amazing to the point he had to fight from groaning aloud. How long had it been since he had a woman? Tasted one? But any woman wouldn’t do. He knew that now. If that had been the case he wouldn’t be in this predicament. For ten long months he had kept his libido under control and now it was falling apart. Thanks to Roxie.

“This is a deliberate setup,” he said, moving forward to stoop down in front of her. She lifted her feet to him and smiled. “Yes, it is.”

What could he say to that? He decided nothing, and went about removing her shoes while trying not to notice her scent, an enticing aroma that was making it hard for him to concentrate on what he was doing.

“You sure are taking a long time.”

What did she expect? He’d never been a rush man. When it came to a woman he took things as slowly as he took them seriously. By the time he made it inside a woman, the wait would have been worth it. And why was he thinking about getting inside of her? Planting himself inside her body pretty deep. Was it because he had shamelessly thought of doing that very thing since seeing her again?

He dropped the first shoe to the floor with a thump, and proceeded to remove the second. He studied her feet. They were small, pretty and sexy. Her toes were painted a bright red. The same color as her nails. The same color as the panties she’d taken off. Passion red.

BOOK: Essence of Desire
3.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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