Authors: Sabrina York
Pushing Her Buttons
Every single day, he’s there. Waiting. Watching her. Closed in with her for a hundred stories as they ride the elevator to their floor. And every single day, for a hundred floors, Samantha simmers with banked lust. She wants him—her mysterious neighbor who seems to get off on tempting her. Whose eyes promise the kind of kinky domination she’s too afraid to give in to. And then just when she thinks she’s safe, just when she’s convinced she can resist his allure, he steps up his relentless pursuit. The passion that flares between them burns so hot and so bright it could consume them both. But that’s just on the way up. Who knows what will happen when they’re going down.
Pushing Her Buttons
For Carmen Cook, who inspires me to be naughtier.
In 2011, I entered this story in the Celtic Hearts
Novellas Need Love, Too!
contest. It won first place in the erotica category and was selected for the 2011 Distinguished Novella Award. I would like to thank the coordinators and first-round judges of that lovely contest as well as the final judges, Kelli Collins and Heather Osborne—who, I might add, have excellent taste. Thanks also to Carrie Jackson for embracing this novella and helping make it the best it can be.
I so appreciate Cerise DeLand, Melissa Schroeder, Delilah Devlin and Scarlett Sanderson, who continue to encourage and support my career. And of course, a heartfelt thanks to all my friends at the Greater Seattle RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, Passionate Ink and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. And a big shout out to the wonderful folks at Artitudes Design, who made my website sparkle. Literally. It sparkles.
I almost got off the elevator when he stepped on, that slick sophisticated creature oozing with masculinity, the man who haunted my dreams. He could turn me into a bundle of jangled, weeping nerves with a look.
So I didn’t look.
This took some effort.
I wanted to, was drawn to the energy, the intensity, the heat rolling off him in waves. Instead I diligently studied the sleek chrome of the elevator doors as they slid silently shut.
We were alone, together, in a box. Again. For a hundred floors.
“Going up?” His voice was a slithering snake, raspy, undulating and smooth.
I nodded. A short, curt dip of my head.
From the corner of my eye, I watched as he pressed the button for our floor. His thumb was long and blunt. He did it slowly, caressing the face. As though making a promise.
And all the while, he stared at me. Tracking my every reaction. Taking in the rise of my breast, the quick dash of my tongue on suddenly dry lips, the quiver of a lash.
This unrelenting attention made my skin prickle, my nipples swell.
I riffled in my purse for a stick of gum. There was no gum but I riffled anyway.
Honestly. How long could an elevator ride last? I focused on the lights of the header, ignoring his presence. Desperately trying to, at least, as his searing gaze lingered and stroked.
I was managing quite well, thank you very much.
Until he did it.
He made a noise I couldn’t ignore. It was something feral, between a grunt and a moan. A sound a lion might make, unconsciously, distractedly, upon sighting a particularly juicy gazelle. Or a female in heat.
a female in heat.
More than one man had commented on my frigidity. The idiots. My coolness was merely a reflection of their ineptitude.
This man was probably not inept. A frightening truth for someone like me.
The sound, the growl, the urgent hungry groan, washed through me in a vibrating bass.
I punched the button for our floor several times in succession. It was a tell and I knew it, but I couldn’t help myself. Panic rose in my throat as the heat he sent off swirled around me, sank in and settled in my belly.
His interest in me had never been a secret. He’d tried flirting and sweet talk, he’d asked me out more than once but I always shot him down. I knew what kind of man he was. He had that vibe, that look, that alluring menace.
what he was, for God’s sake. I could smell it, feel it, taste it. I’d been there before and sworn I’d never go there again.
Any woman with a pulse would think him attractive, what with that sable hair flopping onto his forehead, that square dented chin, that boyish insouciance belied by a satyr’s smirk. And, ah. Those deep-brown eyes ringed with sinful sooty lashes. Those exquisitely molded lips. That hard athlete’s physique.
But not every woman would notice the simmering passion, the sultry sadism that called to a woman like me. Telegraphed in secret code. Tapping. Tapping on my nerves.
I did not want a man like that. Not anymore. A man like that would eat me alive.
Against my will, I caught a glimpse of his chiseled reflection in the chrome. He’d opened his suit jacket and tucked his fingers into the front pockets of his slacks. He leaned like a lazy panther against the mirrored wall and tipped his head back, studying the ceiling. His long legs were crossed at the ankles, showcasing immaculate Ferragamos gleaming with a high gloss. A crooked grin tugged at his luscious lips.
Mercy. Those lips.
Heat sizzled through me as I imagined those lips
, sucking, nuzzling, nipping.
But that would never happen. He was not my type and I was not his. I wasn’t.
I told myself to look away but I didn’t do it quickly enough.
He straightened as we neared our floor. Adjusted his jacket. Shook out his pants. Raked his thick dark curls…
And caught my gaze in the mirror. Caught me staring hungrily.
Horrified by this wash of vulnerability, I turned my head. Our eyes locked again but this time directly, intimately, across the car. Tangled, tied.
His body stiffened, nostrils flared, pupils dilated. He leaned slightly, almost imperceptibly, toward me. His scent, his aura intensified. He held me immobile by the sheer power of his intent.
And then he licked his lips.
Something within me liquefied. My knees went weak and I nearly dropped my briefcase. Who knows what would have happed, what could have happened, if the elevator hadn’t opened at just that moment?
The welcome ding snapped me out of this lazy, hazy daze. I clutched my briefcase to my chest and rushed through the doors almost before they were open, doing a determined power walk to my penthouse.
He followed, slowly stalking. I didn’t hesitate. I waved my keycard over the lock and slipped inside. To safety.
I tried not to look back. Really. I did. It was only a quick glance but the sight of him standing next to his double-doored entrance, pinning me with a heavy-lidded gaze, rocketed through me like a fist to my solar plexus. There was heat in his eyes. And hunger. And certainty.
I shut the door, shutting him out. Shutting
out. He wasn’t my type. I wasn’t his.
A man like that could destroy the woman I was, melt the mask I had worked so hard to forge. I refused to think about him. I refused to want him.
I didn’t sleep all night.
He lounged, as he always did for our interminable ride, against the mirrored wall. He crossed one leg over the other and looped his arms over his chest. He surveyed my date—a long, lazy inspection. When he completed his appraisal, taking note of everything from the weak chin to the slightly scuffed loafers, he glanced at me, a grin tweaking his sinful lips.
And then he lifted a mocking brow as though to say, “Really?”
I turned to my date, Roger—or whatever his name was—and tugged on his tie. Surprised, bemused, he bent his head. I kissed his ass off.
I was still kissing him when the elevator dinged and the doors slid open. I kept kissing him, hoping my neighbor would take the hint and leave us in lip-locking peace.
I hoped in vain.
When I surfaced from the long, lingering kiss, which had been rather like licking a large-mouth bass, he was still there, propping the door open with an immaculately clad foot and watching with an amused expression.
“After you,” he said in a deep voice that sent rivulets of delight dancing to my cunt.
His words, as all his actions, seemed to carry weight, like they staggered under multiple meanings.
were hardly bedroom words but he said them like that, filling my mind with visions of a couple—who looked remarkably like us—tangled in silken sheets.
“Come, come!” she cries in desperation. “Ah,” he murmurs, “after you.”
Huffing in disgust, I collected my prop—whatever his name was—and stormed to my penthouse. Waving my key a little more frantically than I needed to, I pushed through the door and dragged my date into the living room.
I didn’t want him there, sitting on my white leather couches or drinking my Cristal from my crystal, but he had to stay for a while. My neighbor might still be lurking in the hall. I couldn’t face the humiliation of his mocking smile.
So I let what’s-his-name stay. I let him kiss me and fondle me and drizzle me with sticky adoration. I let him fuck me. And I tried not to think about how it moved me less than a murmured, impersonal, “After you.”
The Next Friday
I started adjusting my schedule at work to avoid running into him on the elevator. Preparing for the merger helped immensely. Our company had just been gobbled up by a multinational owned by a reclusive billionaire—the usual drill. This guy had a history of taking jobs in the mailroom or the parking garage of companies he wanted to acquire to make sure it was a good deal. He got away with it because he guarded his privacy so jealously that very few people actually knew what he looked like.
Preparing for the merger meant long tedious meetings and interminable days filled with paperwork and positioning. It meant adjusting my schedule and working late. Going in early. It meant avoiding
on the elevator. So I embraced it.
And it worked. For a while. About a week. But then suddenly he found me again.
I was returning from a grueling day in the salt mines. My dogs were barking in my Jimmy Choos, my back hurt from sitting in meetings all day long and I was beat. What I really wanted was a glass of wine and a hot, hot bath.
The last thing I wanted to deal with was
for a hundred floors.
But this time it was worse.
This time he had a floozy with him.
“Floozy” being the term I use for a woman wearing too much makeup and too little clothing.
Of course, the undulating didn’t help deter the stereotype.
I would never have stepped on the elevator if I’d seen them. In fact, I’d taken to peering around the corner like a timid little mouse to make sure the coast was clear.
And it had been. With a sigh of relief, I’d stepped into the elevator and pushed the button for my floor. But just as the doors started to slide shut, a large hand stopped them.
I bit my lip to hold back a curse.
Where the hell had he come from? Where the hell had
He held open the door and ushered his floozy inside. I ignored them both. I ignored the annoying lurch in my belly as well. I didn’t care that he had a floozy. I didn’t. He was not my type.
It was like a mantra in my head. I hoped if I repeated it often enough, I would come to believe it.
As the elevator silently shushed its way up to the exclusive suites in the ether, I stared at the chrome, at the vague reflection of their bodies twining.
I tapped my toe and glared at the lights—moving, as they were, all too slowly.
He kissed her neck. An annoying sucking noise made me inadvertently glance in their direction. And immediately wish I hadn’t.
He buried his nose deeper and she rubbed against him like a cat.
Forcing my attention away, I glared at their reflections instead.
And then my heart stuttered, my lungs seized. Because in that distorted image, his hand skated up her torso like a heat-seeking missile. He cupped her breast as casually as if he were cupping her elbow. Circled her nipple. Pinched. She sobbed and rubbed her legs together.
He chuckled and whispered something into her ear. She froze. Shuddered.
I wasn’t watching.
I didn’t want to watch.
I certainly didn’t notice from the corner of my eye that his other hand had drifted down her back, over her silk-clad buttocks to her bare thighs.
I didn’t notice him drifting up again, under her short skirt and into darkness. I didn’t. I refused to acknowledge a sudden scalding vision.
His fingers. On
But my body wept.
She didn’t squeal when he touched her, when he did whatever it was he was doing down there. But only because her lips were pressed together so tight they were white. Her nostrils flared. Her nipples pebbled. Her knees trembled.
He held her up. With his fingers.
Wherever they were.
He worked at her, coaxing moans and mewls.
And while he worked at her, he watched me not watching him in the chrome.
It didn’t arouse me to witness this naked seduction. That was not cream easing from my lips to dampen my inner thighs. The pulse, the hard, fast, insistent pulse between my legs was not because I was imagining him doing secret furtive things to me.
Dear God. Please end this torture.
I nearly collapsed with relief when the elevator dinged.
Somehow—I really cannot fathom how—he got to the door before me and blocked the way. He glanced at me, making sure our eye contact was definitive. His expression went firm, determined. I thought I saw a flash, a brief hint of uncertainty, of hesitation, but surely I was mistaken. Whatever it had been, it quickly firmed to resolve.
And then he made an abrupt gesture to his companion.
She paled. Her lashes flickered as she glanced at me and then back at him. He didn’t make the gesture, the command, again. He merely raised a brow.
With a whimper, she slowly rolled up her skirt, exposing her cunt, her ass. Right there. In front of me. She wore nothing beneath that dress, most likely at his command.
“Good girl,” he said but his focus was fixed on me. “Good girl.” He led her then toward his apartment; she followed him like an obedient hound.
I was still standing in the elevator, swallowing the pool of drool in my mouth, when they reached his door. He waved his key and the door opened. As she entered his apartment, passed him at the portal, he palmed her ass. She quivered at his touch. Her arousal was palpable, even from a distance.