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Authors: Annette Broadrick

Provocative Peril (9 page)

BOOK: Provocative Peril
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I feel like I'm trying to seduce Bambi!
Clay thought with disgust. It was at this point that the band finished their song and announced a twenty-minute break.

"Do you still want to leave?" he asked.

Her eyes seemed to fill her face as her gaze searched his face for some clue as to what he was thinking. "Are you ready?"

"Uh, yes, you could say that."

Clay pulled Carolyn into the curve of his arm and began the long walk back to their room. The cool air helped, and Clay took several deep breaths. Why did he feel so damned nervous? It was what she wanted, wasn't it? And he certainly wasn't going to find it difficult to make love to her. Facing his thoughts caused a surge of emotion to well up within him, and his arm tightened around her.

Clay opened the door, ushering her in ahead of him. "Would you care for a glass of wine?" he asked as he shrugged out of his jacket.

She felt so uncertain. She'd never tried to picture the exact scene. He was going to make love to her. Or at least she thought he was. And that was what she wanted, wasn't it? Wasn't it?

He turned around and saw her standing in the middle of the room, looking worried. Why not? From all indications, she'd never found herself in this situation before. For a moment his mind flashed the question,
Why Me?
He mentally shrugged.
Because I want her. If it's experience she's looking for, I can give it to her.

Clay crossed the room and took her hand, tugging her gently toward the sofa. He sat down, pulling her into his lap. He felt her stiffen. "Hey, you aren't afraid of me, are you?"

She stared into the blue depths of his eyes. "Should I be?"

He smiled. "Of course not. I don't intend to do anything you don't want me to." He could feel her relax. He pulled her closer, where she rested against his chest.

He began to trace along her jawline with soft, quick kisses that caused a ripple of feeling to flow down her neck and arm, her skin sensitive to each light whisper and touch. His hand slid behind her neck and idly unfastened the only hook that held her dress in place. The gold material slithered to her waist.

She wasn't prepared for his swift pace. This was where the movies she generally watched faded and the scene ended. Her whole body felt hot, flushed with embarrassment and something else.

Still kissing her, Clay seemed unaware of the activities of his hands as they soothed and gentled. He could feel her pulse beating frantically at the base of her throat. He felt as though he'd captured another wild bird that fluttered frantically in his arms. Only this little wild bird he intended to tame, however long it took.

His mouth settled on hers with practiced ease, his kisses no longer gentle. There was a possessiveness, a fierce intention that was unstated, but very real.

As his hands explored her his mouth left hers, and he lowered his head to her bare breasts. Perfectly shaped, they filled his hands, and he felt the tension continuing to build within him as he refused to quicken the pace.

When his lips found the tip of her breast, Carolyn let out a soft cry. She was shaking with reaction, bewildered by her responses to him. Her fingers found the buttons of his shirt and shakily unfastened them until she found the broad chest that so fascinated her. The soft golden curls rippled under her fingers, and she thought she might faint with the intensity of feeling he was evoking within her.

Clay forgot his plan, forgot everything but the wonderful feeling of this woman in his arms. He was discovering that even the imaginings of his restless nights weren't equal to the actual touch, taste and feel of her. His hand found the center opening of her skirt and began to inch up her thigh.


"What is it, love?"

"What are we doing? I can't ... we shouldn't ..."

His head lifted and he looked into her face. Her lips were slightly swollen from his kisses and her eyes shone. Soft color filled her cheeks and he was overwhelmed by his love for her.

His love for her! The paralyzing thought stunned him for a moment, then he jerked his hand from beneath her dress. Hastily refastening her top, he slid her off his knees and stood up, not saying a word. He knew he had to get away from her.


He started toward the sliding glass door, then stopped and turned around. "Go on to bed, Carolyn. I'm going to take a walk. I'll see you in the morning."

"What's wrong?"

"Just leave it, okay? Everything's fine. I'll talk to you later."

She sat where he left her on the sofa and watched him stride rapidly away into the darkness. Bewildered at her actions as well as his, she slowly got up and climbed the stairs. How would she ever be able to face him again?

As Clay left the resort, the moon peeked through clouds, showing him the path to the beach. He discovered that his shirt was open, and he buttoned it as he strode along. The beach curved before him in an arc, ending at a jumble of massive boulders some distance away. Clay walked slowly, trying to sort through his swarming thoughts, trying to remember why he'd ever offered to share his vacation time and space with another person.

A picture of Carolyn laughing up at him crossed his mind. That's why. Her smile and that captivating laugh had managed to mesmerize him. He didn't like it. Not one damn bit. His stomach churned as he recalled the way she had looked up at him a few minutes ago, as though she were aware of his plotting and planning all day and were asking for mercy.

It had hit him as he'd gazed into her flushed face that he could overcome her hesitancy, could seduce her, just as he planned. It also hit him that he'd never be able to share her once she became his. He loved her, and it was eating him alive. He was the first to admit that he seldom had honorable intentions, but with Carolyn, that's all that seemed to fill his head.

However, she'd made it clear that she wasn't interested in a relationship lasting any longer than her vacation. So what could he do about it?

He stopped walking and looked around. The boulders loomed before him, effectively blocking his path. He turned around and saw the far-off lights of the resort winking at him. A few hardy stars attempted to respond to the earthly lights with similar sparkle, but the clouds moving in effectively doused their attempts.

It was time to go back. He hoped that Carolyn would be asleep and he wouldn't have to deal with his feelings for her any more that night. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he walked slowly back up the beach.

Chapter 7

The delicious aroma of frying bacon and fresh coffee drifted to the loft, where it teased at Carolyn's subconscious. Her lashes fluttered open, and she lay there a moment, unmoving. The sound of humming and the soft thud of the refrigerator door indicated that Clay was there.

Her stomach quivered at the thought. She wasn't ready to face him.
If I'd taken a course on sophistication in college, I would have flunked,
she decided with grim humor.
That was certainly more than a kiss between friends last night. Even I know that.
So she could get up and try to make the best of it, or cower in her bed for the remainder of her vacation.

She was surprised to discover how long it took to convince herself that cowering was not a viable option. Refusing to admit that she was a coward, she marched determinedly into the bathroom, took a cold shower as punishment for some offense that was vague, even to her, and after donning her red jogging suit and matching shoes, she forced herself down the stairs.

She tried to think of something original to say, something that would set a light tone. "Good morning," she managed. Everyone knew she was without creativity.

Clay glanced around, then continued to watch the bacon frying in the pan. "You think so? You obviously haven't looked outside this morning." He deftly lifted the bacon from the pan and cracked two eggs to fry in its place.

Carolyn glanced toward the glass wall and watched the rain as it dashed against the glass, hissing and spitting like a convention of angry cats.

"It doesn't matter. There's always something to do here, I've found." Then she blushed at the interpretation he might put on her innocent comment.

Clay placed two full plates on the counter and joined her without answering. It was just as well. She was surprised to discover an appetite and made no more effort to carry on a conversation.

Neither did he.

When she finished, she had no desire to linger at the bar, sipping coffee. Instead, she rinsed her dishes at the sink, placed them in the dishwasher and quietly excused herself. She wasn't even sure he heard her.

So that was the way he wanted it. He was obviously embarrassed about last night, and so was going to pretend it hadn't happened, which was fine with her. She admitted to a feeling of disappointment intermingled with relief. Admittedly, she was positive she wanted Clay Kenniwick to introduce her to and instruct her in the mysteries of lovemaking, but she wasn't sorry when it didn't happen. Maybe she wasn't meant to know that part of life. Maybe she was meant to be a single businesswoman, too involved with her profession to become involved with anyone. Especially Clay Kenniwick. What had she been thinking of? The man probably didn't have a regular job. What would have happened if, after spending a few days with her, he had decided to follow her to Portland, expecting her to support him?

No, thanks. She'd had a narrow escape, and she was grateful that he had called a halt the night before. She wasn't at all sure she could have.
At least I know I'm not frigid!
Her hours of restless tossing had convinced her that her body was definitely aware that there was something she was missing.
And I'll keep on missing it, thank you very much.

It was late afternoon before Carolyn returned to the room. She'd forced herself to stay busy all day with swimming, tennis, and racquet ball, throwing herself into each sport with an athlete's zeal, until all she wanted to do was collapse on her bed for a nice, long nap.

She let herself into the room, mentally reviewing her wardrobe for something to wear for dinner with Brad. She started toward the stairs, then came to an abrupt halt.

Clay stood in front of the glass door with his arms around a tall, slender blonde. He was smiling as he touched his lips to hers. Carolyn must have made some sound to penetrate their preoccupation with each other because Clay turned his head and saw her. When her presence registered, his face flooded with color. "Oh, hi, Carolyn. I didn't hear you come in."


The blond woman turned, and Carolyn gave a start of recognition. Although she couldn't remember her name, Carolyn knew she'd seen her on more than one television program. She was stunned to find her with Clay.

"Carolyn, I want you to meet Selena Stanford—"

Of course. She recognized the name at once.

"—a colleague of mine—"

Right. You two must have a great deal to collaborate on.

"Selena, this is Carolyn Kenniwick, my, uh—er— my cousin, who's staying with me."

"Cousin!" Both women echoed the word with varying degrees of amazement.

Clay was having trouble with his color. He went from dark red to pale.

"Yes, well, I'm really pleased to have you two meet," he continued doggedly. "Selena can only stay a couple of days. She's busy shooting a new series. I thought she could benefit from a change of scenery. So I invited her to stay with us for the weekend."

"You mean she's going to be staying in this room?" Carolyn asked with a panicked note of disbelief, looking at the sofa as though it had betrayed her.

"There aren't any extra rooms available, Carolyn, you know that."

Selena watched the interchange with interest. She could see that Carolyn was at a loss for words. It was obvious that she had no idea how Clay felt about her. Selena found the situation even more amusing than she had when Clay first mentioned it. She was going to enjoy watching this match develop. "I'm really sorry to crowd in on you this way, Carolyn. I wasn't aware of the sleeping arrangements when he invited me."

I just bet you weren't.

"Clay did mention something about a roll-away, which will be fine with me," Selena continued agreeably.

Carolyn stared at her. Selena was smiling at her with a very kind expression. Maybe that was the expression she used for all her lover's relatives!

Drawing a deep breath, Carolyn tried to come to grips with the feelings tearing through her. She hoped never again to suffer the pain she'd felt when she first saw Selena in Clay's arms. Seeing him dancing with other women at the resort was nothing like finding him making love to one!

Now I understand his attitude last night and this morning. At least he's managed to retain some decency. If he was expecting his mistress for the weekend, he wouldn't want to get involved with someone like me.

"I'm sorry for bursting in like that. I wasn't aware that Clay had invited anyone to stay with us, but of course he's free to do whatever he wants." She attempted a smile that was almost successful. "I'll be leaving just as soon as I change. Brad's waiting for me.

"Brad?" A definitely hard note edged Clay's question.

BOOK: Provocative Peril
7.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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