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Authors: Kathleen Brooks

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BOOK: Fashioned for Power
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CHAPTER FIVE

 

“What do you mean she’s not in?” Finn said angrily to the doorman at Allegra’s condo.

“She left just a little while ago for a dinner meeting. I’m sorry, Mr. Williams. She’s not here, and I can’t let you in her condo to wait. You can wait in the lobby if you’d like,” the man said without a hint of remorse. Didn’t he know how desperate Finn was to see her?

Finn ran a hand over his short, neatly trimmed black hair and let out a long-suffering breath. The doorman’s face softened and he cleared his throat. “I don’t know how long she’ll be at François. Could be for another hour or two.”

Finn’s head shot up. “Thanks, man!” Finn shot from the lobby and whistled for the first taxi he could find. He had a woman to find . . .
his
woman.

 

Allegra got out of her private car and looked at the glowing restaurant. She couldn’t shake the feeling someone was watching her. Ever since her dream, she’d felt dirty. She looked around slowly and took in the streets of SoHo. The lights cast a yellow glow on the gray cement sidewalks. Shadows stretched liked fingers between the buildings, edging a step closer to the brightly lit restaurant.

Allegra blinked a couple of times. She would have sworn a shadow moved, but then the hair on the back of her neck stood up and she whipped around. Across the street—was that man watching her?

“OMG! We’re totally late,” Josh Rose yelled as he waved his hand at her. He and his partner, David Bell, got out of a car and hurried toward her. “I’m so sorry, we got stuck on site and didn’t realize how late it was. But the good news is the set looks amazing. The runway is beyond dramatic.”

David smiled at his more exuberant other half and leaned forward to kiss Allegra’s cheek. “It’s good to see you again. You’re going to love the show tomorrow.”

The shadows were forgotten in the bright light of Josh and David’s smiles. Allegra clasped their hands and walked with them into François for dinner. “I can’t wait to see it. I saw the mock-ups of the set, and they are breathtaking. Are you really having the models walk through a waterfall of crystals? Aren’t you worried they’ll fall?”

Allegra, Josh, and David sat down at the table and ordered a bottle of champagne. “Honey, I’ve had these girls practicing since we cast them last week. They know if they fall they won’t have a prayer of being picked up to walk at Milan or Paris. That will keep their stilettos sure and steady,” Josh told her with certainty.

“Well, I think the jewels theme is fantastic. Your clothes are amazing as always.” Allegra smiled as they toasted.

“What about your show?” David asked. “I saw it on the schedule. You’re hosting it on Wall Street?”

Allegra smiled. It had taken a lot to talk the city into allowing her to shut down a block of the street outside the business district. “It’s just a small show—simple elegance for working women during the day and party attire for night. It’s a small line, but a luxurious one. I have men lining the runway in business suits and briefcases. The women will strip off their jackets revealing outfits for nighttime attire. It should be perfect with the hustle and bustle of the town surrounding them.”

“Well, we will be there. Tomorrow afternoon, right?

“One o’clock.”

“Perfect. We’ll see your show, then go to ours that evening. What other shows are you going to?” David asked.

“I have six houses putting on shows. Montclaire, you guys, and Lux4U, to name a few. I finish up on Friday, and the Simpson Fashion party will be at the NITE club that evening.”

“Oh, I can’t wait. Isn’t that the club owned by that super-hot actor . . .?” Josh snapped his fingers trying to think of the name.

“Nate Reece,” David reminded him.

Allegra grinned and nodded. “He’s part owner, and he’ll be there.”

“Lawdy! If we could get him to appear in a Bellerose campaign . . .” Josh said wistfully.

“Why don’t you ask him when you see him at the party? We went to high school together.”

David leaned forward seriously. “Tell us everything we need to know to get him to agree.”

 

Finn leapt from the taxi and pushed past the line waiting for a table at François. The small restaurant was filled with people and he scanned the crowd, looking for Allegra.

“Can I help you, sir?” the maître d’ asked.

“Yes, I’m meeting Allegra Simpson here. I’m afraid I’m rather late.”

“Her party was only for three. Are you sure it was tonight?”

“Yes. I’m not eating. Just meeting her party before heading to another appointment,” Finn said in the most annoyed way he could. Growing up, his mother would have smacked the back of his head for talking like this. But being around powerful people had taught Finn a thing or two about bored annoyance. It seemed to make people feel more important.

“Of course. This way.” The maître d’ led him around the room to a table in the back. He saw her then, laughing with David and Josh.

Josh was the first to see him. “Finn! What a pleasant surprise. Have you decided to take us up on our offer to model for us?”

Finn relaxed. Dinner with David and Josh was way different from dinner with men more interested on hitting on her than on business. “Sorry, gentlemen. I’m here for Allegra.”

Allegra’s blue eyes widened as she looked silently at him. He could see the emotions running across her face—anger, hope, and something else that gave him the courage to reach out and take her hands in his.

“Allegra, I’ve been a complete fool. I know something has been wrong, and I was more worried about trying to impress you than doing what I should have done in the first place—be there for you. We started off as friends, but then it grew into something more. At least it did for me. Your presence lights my soul, and I can’t imagine not having you in my life. Please say you’ll forgive me. Please tell me I wasn’t imagining that you have feelings for me. And if I was, then forget this whole thing and take me as your friend. I'd rather have you in my life as a friend than to lose you completely.”

 

Sniff.
Josh dabbed his eyes and David smiled at Finn. Allegra didn’t move. She couldn’t. His words were floating around her head as if in a dream. As if it were a wonderful dream. Would it all end when she woke up?

“Is this a dream?”

Finn chuckled and brought her hands up to his lips for a soft kiss. “No. Please say you’ll give me a chance. I know I’m not part of the country club scene. I know I grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in Atlanta. I know they'll say I’m not good enough for you. But I will fight for your love every day. I will never stop trying to love you more.”

Allegra felt a tear silently escape and roll down her cheek before she threw her arms around Finn’s neck. “I’ve been so stupid, Finn. I’m so sorry. It’s me who needs to fight to deserve you.”

“Gentlemen, if you would excuse us. I’d like to take Allegra home,” Finn said, his eyes never leaving Allegra’s.

“By all means. We’ll see you tomorrow at your show. We’re so happy for you both,” David said as he and Josh hurried from the restaurant. By morning everyone would know about Finn’s romantic speech.

 

“You love me?” Allegra asked as soon as he closed the door to the private car. The privacy divider went up, and Finn kissed her in response to her question. His lips were soft and warm. His fingers threaded into her hair as he angled her head to kiss her more firmly. The kiss went from soft and gentle to hard and wild in a split second.

Tongues caressed, fingers gripped, and moans echoed in the back of the car. They kissed desperately, both knowing they had nearly missed their chance. Allegra’s head fell back as Finn tore his mouth from hers and trailed kisses down her neck. His hot lips burnt a path down to the V of her collarbone and nipped at her taunt nipple through her sweater.

Allegra pushed at his coat, desperate to see him. “Allegra,” Finn groaned. “We can’t.”

“Why not?” She gasped as she fought to undress him.

“Because we’re at your place. We have to get out of the car.”

Allegra pulled back quickly. “Why didn’t you say so? Hurry up. The faster we get upstairs, the faster I can have you naked.”

Finn tossed his head back and laughed. “It looks like someone has learned to speak her mind.”

Allegra bit down nervously on her lip. “Does that bother you?”

“Hell no.” Finn leaned forward, his lips brushing the sensitive shell of her ear as he whispered, “Tell me more of what you want me to do to you.”

Allegra’s face turned five shades of red. She couldn’t, could she? “I want you to . . .” Allegra paused.
Have sex with me?
That was kind of boring.
Make love to me?
He did say he loved me, but was that as sexy as something down and dirty like
bang me against a wall
? Ow, bang sounded like it would hurt.
Fuc—
oh no, a Southern lady couldn’t say that.
Umm, put your penis in my vagina?
No, too technical.
Let’s shag?
Too British.
Spread my dewy petals and spear me with your manroot?
No, too historical romance novel. Allegra was saved when the car door opened.

Finn stood and held out his hand for her. Fiddlesticks, she had to think of something sexy to say before they reached her condo.
I want to lick the ridges of your six-pack?
Ugh! Now she sounded like a poodle. This was horrible. Allegra felt her shoulders slump in defeat.

“Hey, are you okay? We don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to,” Finn said quietly as the doors to the elevator closed.

“It’s not that, it’s just . . . well, I’m not sexy. I can’t talk dirty. I don’t know how to twerk. And I don’t even own a vibrator. I’m a sexual dunce,” Allegra confessed. She was sure Finn would escort her off the elevator and then run for the stairs. What she didn’t expect was the wide grin on his face. “What?”

“Sweetheart, you’re delirious if you think you aren’t sexy. You’re breathtaking. Do you know how hard it is to control myself around you? Did you really think that when I make love to you I’d make you do a strip tease and pleasure yourself with a dildo? I’d be insulted. The only thing I want inside you is me.”

Allegra felt fire spread to her face and then shoot straight to her core. Vapors weren’t caused from the Southern heat. No, sexy gentlemen saying things like that caused vapors.

“Okay,” Allegra forced out as she stared at the growing erection in his pants. Yep, that’s what caused vapors all right.

 

Finn was having a very hard time not pushing Allegra against the wall of the elevator and having his way with her right then and there. He had to close his eyes and run baseball stats through his mind when she unconsciously licked her lips as she stared at his erection. Not sexy? This woman was the definition of sexy. Mostly because she didn’t try to be sexy.

The doors to the elevator slid quietly open, and she stepped out hesitantly. She eyed him as if she thought he’d bolt. Didn’t she know that no power in this world would drag him away from her tonight?

“Here.” Finn took the keys from her hand and unlocked the door.

This was the first time he’d been in the Simpsons’ New York condo. He glanced around at the living room surrounded on three sides by floor-to-ceiling windows. He saw a bit of the state-of-the-art kitchen and the hall leading to the bedrooms. No matter how much this penthouse cost, it made him feel comfortable. There were family pictures on the walls, not priceless works of art. Comfortable couches filled the living room. A pair of bunny slippers sat under a coffee table full of magazines.

Allegra set her purse down and moved to the large windows overlooking the city. They didn’t need to turn on a light; the glow of the city lit the room like a million candles. Finn shrugged out of his suit coat and tossed it over a chair. He slowly walked to where she stood nervously. He had every intention of showing Allegra just how sexy he found her.

He stopped behind her and gently laid his hand at the base of her neck. His thumb moved slowly up and down her soft skin; Allegra automatically tilted her head forward, enjoying his sensual neck massage. Finn had to concentrate on breathing. It would be so easy to forget. But as he took a step closer to her and felt the curve of her bottom brush against his thighs, he decided breathing was overrated.

Finn looked out the window at the luminous city below. Thousands of red and white car lights twinkled like stars below them. The soft curve of her neck drew his attention away from the city. He bent his head and lowered his lips to the back of her neck. She pushed against him instinctually, and Finn dropped his hands to grip her hips. His fingers flexed as he pulled her tightly against him. His lips moved from one spot to the next as he kissed his way down her neck.

Allegra moaned softly and Finn had to remind himself to take it slow. He reached for her sweater and slid his hands underneath it. His thumbs skimmed across her flat stomach, and Allegra pressed her bottom more firmly against his erection, causing it to jump in eager anticipation.

As he sucked in the delicate skin at the base of her neck, Finn explored her rib cage until his thumbs brushed the underside of her lace-covered breasts. God, they were perfect. His hands covered them, and he lightly squeezed them before running his thumbs over her pebbled nipples. Allegra tossed her head back against his shoulder as Finn teased her. He watched her face in the reflection of the windows. She may not realize it, but her closed eyes and her mouth slightly open in pleasure were the sexiest images he’d ever seen.

BOOK: Fashioned for Power
12.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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