She woke alone, well rested and sore in unusual places and she wasted no time getting into the bathroom. Where she brushed her teeth, washed her face, and ran a comb through her hair. She may not rank Demi-Goddess, but at least she smelled nice. She exited the bathroom to find a shirtless, God holding a steaming porcelain cup. Wow. This really was Mount Olympus. “Good morning.” The shirtless wonder smiled and sauntered, “This is for you.”
Andie grabbed the cup and brought it to her mouth before she drooled from the blatant coffee porn, taking her first sip she upgraded from Mount Olympus to pure heaven.
“I was coming to wake you. Barker said you have a nine-thirty class on Tuesday.”
“Uh… that’s right. How’d he know?”
“I’ve no idea how Barker knows what he does.” One arm snaked around her waist, pulling her close,” She breathed in heat and spice warm lips nuzzled her hair aside, she almost dropped the cup, “Subversive butler spy techniques, most likely.” The words were murmured against the sensitive curve where her throat met her shoulder. How could he talk and nibble at the same time?
“Oh.” Some Demi-God super talent, most likely.
“I have to go out of town,” Nibble nibble lick. “for a couple of days.”
“Oh.” Sigh shiver sigh.
“Some details with a land deal need smoothing out.”
“Oh…” Sigh, “Kay.” Hah! There. Two syllables.
“You’ll still be here when I get back?”
If she hadn’t been standing so close she’d not have felt the sudden tension in his body.
Demi-Gods had insecurities, who knew?
Andie set the coffee down on the side table and lifted his head so they were eye to eye when she said, “Of course. It will take me that long to get the tree decorated.”
She felt more than saw the tension leave him, “I’m sorry I’ll miss it. I understand there’s wassail and Chex-mix involved.”
“How’d you… Barker again?”
“He is all-knowing.”
Turned out, while Damien’s actual person may have been absent for the rest of the week, he’d managed to make his presence known every day. Tuesday she’d arrived back at the penthouse to find two ovens instead of one.
When she’d asked Barker he’d merely said, “Mr. Drake had it installed.”
Wednesday, the kitchen island was loaded down with any and every gadget a baker could need want or wish she had, stand mixer, hand mixer, food processor, mixing bowls, measuring cups and a scale for weighing, rolling pins, pie weights, baking pans of every size and shape.
“What’s all this?”
Barker set her dinner of bow-tie pasta and asparagus in a light cream sauce, before her and said, “Miss Markham mentioned to Mr. Drake that you baked a great deal in December.”
Thursday, she arrived home to see Barker, the butler walk out of the butler’s pantry that had taken the place of the Nation’s biggest wine fridge.
“Mr. Drake thought you would prefer it to the wine cooler.”
Layla had been well on her way to a meltdown over that one, but Barker quickly pointed out the smaller wine cooler installed under the island.
“Oh. Okay then.” Layla sank to the floor to inventory of her choices while Andie inspected the pantry, correction, the fully stocked pantry. Shelving lined three of the walls and held everything from flour to rose oil to almond paste, even Fiori di Sicilia. It may not have been as large as the one at EverMay, but it had been stocked with everything she could possibly need.
Jose popped his head in beside her, grabbing a little packet off the shelf, “What the heck is Xantham gum?”
“It’s for gluten-free baking.”
Jose dropped the packet his face wreathed in horror, “You’re going gluten-free?”
“Oh, hell no!” Layla shot up from the floor, a wine bottle in each hand, and ready for a fight.
Andie’s eyes hit the ceiling, “No, I’m not going gluten-free, but there are times I bake for someone who can’t eat wheat.”
Jose retrieved the packet from the floor and tucked it back in place with a sheepish, “Oh.”
“Oh. Okay then.” Layla sank out of sight, muttering dire threats to anyone who tried to take away her bread and butter.
All in all a smooth week. The tree got decorated, Max turning out to be genuinely interested in the proper light stringing technique and proved an enormous help, like literally ENORMOUS. Layla, jolly with wassail, gorged on chex mix and even hung an ornament or three. Andie waited until her friend went to the kitchen to refill her wassail to pluck them off and hang them in proper places. Jose nodded approval. He didn’t hang ornaments, but he had great instincts about where they should go.
Things were downright merry until Saturday morning. Andie came down the stairs with THE BOOK in her hands, “Okay,” she said, laying it on the kitchen island, “Grandma Carolyn called.”
Layla made a blissed out hmmmm sound over her coffee cup.
Jose popped another bite of crumpet and marmalade in his mouth and swallowed, “How is she?”
“She broke her wrist.”
Layla’s coffee cup hit the table.“What? How?”
“A freaky accident with a grocery bag. The handles got caught on her wrist funny and the weight snapped the bone.”
Jose was putting his plate in the dishwasher, “We should go get her. I can take the crumpet to go.”
“Dad’s going to check on her tomorrow. It’s not her dominant hand and her maid is there today so she should be okay, but the thing is, she won’t be able to do any baking.”
“Oh, guess not,” Jose began then gasped, “No….oh…oh no. Oh honey, we can’t. I mean. Oh GOD. This is bad.”
Jose had figured it out.
“What? What’s wrong?” Layla asked.
“Nothing for you to worry about, hon.” Jose pulled on Layla until they were moving down the hall and out of earshot, “Let’s go unpack the bath things we bought yesterday.”
Thank-you Jose. The less Layla knew, the better.
“Is there anything I can do to help, Miss.” Barker came around the counter and looked down at the battered and precious book , “Ah, yes. How many?”
“A dozen of each.”
“Hmmm, perhaps if we started measuring out the dry ingredients. You should have enough flour, sugar and salt.”
“Yes, good idea.”
“And we can send an intern for the ingredients we don’t have here.”
“Oh, I don’t know, besides it’s Saturday.” Andie didn’t know what interns got up to, but fetching ingredients for the boss’s girlfriend didn’t seem right.
“They are in the office today. Mr. Drake is due back this afternoon and has a rather important meeting later today.”
“Oh.” Regular business hours must be a mortal thing.
“Miss, it will be fine.” Barker assured her, “Mr. Drake was quite clear, we were to help you with anything you might need.”
“Okay, I guess.”
“And this?” Abbot bent his head over the extensive list she’d made.
“Mixed peel.” Andie said, “You should find it in the produce section. I need two each of lemon peel, citron, and orange peel. The brazil nuts will be difficult to find already shelled you’ll have to get a bag in the shell. The molasses is the only thing where brand matters, not all are created equal. Are you sure this is okay?”
“Of course, don’t worry about it.” Abbot waved off her worry. He was bombtastic, insisting Andie bring her list down and discuss it with him so they could get everything exactly right, “My main squeeze is from Georgia.” He’d told her, “His mother makes them every year. I know the importance of a proper ingeredient.”
“Oh, and the butter,” Andie grabbed a pen and added it to the list. They had a hefty supply, but this would use it all, “If they can find Plugra that would be best. I’ll need salted and unsalted…”
Abbot’s phone rang, “Sorry.”
“Oh no, it’s fine.” Andie said, stepping away from his desk.
“Drake Properties… what? How… oh, hold on.” Abbot lowered the phone, “Layla wants to know how long the nuts need to boil?”
Oh no. “That’s bad.”
Abbot tapped the phone, “She’s on speaker.”
“Layla, get out of the kitchen.”
“I’m reading the cookie recipe,” Layla talked over her, “It says right here, boil…”
“Layla! Turn everything off and get out of the kitchen. No nut boiling.”
Abbot winced. “I should say not.”
“But it says boil till brown…”
“It’s broil, not boil.”
“Like a steak?” Layla snorted, “That can’t be right. It must be a typo.”
Abbot sent his phone the fish-eye, “Is she for real?”
“Oh yes.” And how. “Layla, we aren’t making cookies today. Turn everything off and get out of the kitchen.”
“Where is Barker?”
“He’s uh… busy.”
Dog-gone-it! She was too late. “What’s on fire?”
“Nnnnaaahhh-thing…not… nothing…really.” Layla’s pathetic denial came as the elevator spat forth Jose, frazzled, frenzied, and covered in flour, “Layla set the kitchen on fire.”
“Snitch!” Layla shouted, adding in a much smaller voice, “It was only a hand towel.”
Jose super-sniffed, “And Barker’s coat.”
“You set Barker on fire?”
“It’s fine. He’s fine. Once he got the coat off, and you know, ran water over it.”
She couldn’t shout, not in Damien’s office, but it was a near thing, “Layla!”
“The nuts weren’t getting brown….”
“I can’t imagine why,” Abbott deadpanned, “Drowning them in boiling water.”
“…but I found one of those little blow torches like the chefs on Food Network use….”
Oh no. Andie slapped her hand over the speaker, “Dammit, Jose, I thought we blocked the Food Network?”
Jose’s white dusted face was mournful, “We moved. New T.V. Sorry honey, I forgot.”
Oh boy. Andie rubbed her right temple where a throbbing had started. Layla couldn’t cook – at all. But unlike Jose who’s no clue came with no desire, Layla fantasized about being an Iron Chef without the know-how to pull off canned biscuits. Throw in a couple of episodes of “Chopped” and a Towering Inferno wasn’t far behind.
Andie lifted her hand to hear Layla’s explanation in progress. “….poured on the bourbon. Must have used too much….”
“You soaked the nuts in bourbon and hit them with a blow torch?” Okay, she was shouting, but since Abbot let loose a howl of laughter that bounced off the walls and the marble greek-key floor, she didn’t feel so bad.
“It was only a little one.” The fire-starter got all sulky.
Andie closed her eyes counted to ten and said very slowly, “Layla. Get. Out. Of. The. Kitchen.”
“I can do it. Just tell me where that broiler thingy is and I’ll toss the nuts in.”
Abbot lost it. Covering his mouth with both hands, he doubled over, shoulders shaking, choking chortles and sneaky snickers slipping up and out.
“Layla. Please, please, don’t do anything.”
“Fine. I’ll just sit here and do nothing.”
“Great. Perfect. Asweome-sauce.” Andie said, giving the list a final glance-over, “I’ve got to get back up there. Jose, I told you not to let her in the kitchen.”
Jose heaved a world-weary sigh, “We have to move the wine fridge. It’s a major problem.”
“I can hear you, you know.” Layla said. Abbot must have been too busy laughing to disconnect the call.
“Drake, what the devil’s going on…” A voice came from behind them and since none of them were Drake that must mean…. Andie spun around and there he was, all casually demi-god, sexy, leaning in the doorway to his conference room, arms crossed over his chest and smirking. Fudge. When did he get back?
“Hi!” When in doubt, go chipper.
“You’re back.” And state the obvious.
“I am. Got in a half hour ago. I was planning to surprise you for lunch. But I had a surprise visitor.” Damien’s eyes slid up in an Olympian eye roll.
“Drake, I insist on buying you and your lady lunch.” The same voice that had alerted her said, and darn it, she knew that voice. The man behind Damien dodged right and she caught a flash of blinding white over one broad shoulder. The Majority leader, again.
“Give me a minute.” The Demi shut the door on the Senator’s wide surprised mouth and sexy sauntered up to her, “So, I don’t need to call 911?”
“Not this time, but you might want to increase the fire insurance.”
“Noted. Abbot, you get that?’”
Abbot waved a hand and gasped, “Sure thing, boss.”
“What are you making?” Damien took the list from her hands, “Is the pantry not adequate?”
“Oh, no, it’s not that. The pantry is amazing, overflowing, really, but we’re making fruitcake.”
“Fruitcake?” Damien popped a brow, “Who eats fruitcake?”
“Thank-You!” Layla rose like a phoenix from alcohol-soaked ashes, “We should be making Mexican wedding cookies.”
Abbot stopped laughing, “Oooo, I love those.”
“Hah! See there! Where’s the broiler?”
Andie scowled Abbot’s way. “Don’t encourage her.”
“As to who eats fruitcake.” Andie addressed her beautifully baffled Demi-God, “Anyone lucky enough to receive one of my Grandmother’s. She makes them every year, but she broke her wrist and…”
“Carolyn?” Damien interrupted, “Is she all right? Does she need assistance?”
Lists and ingredients fell away as Andie noted the concern coloring Damien’s voice. He really meant that. She might have fallen a little in love with him right then, “She says she’s fine. Dad is planning on driving down tomorrow to check on her.”
“That’s good. She shouldn’t be alone.”
Oh. Wow. Andie blinked the stars from her eyes, she didn’t have time to go ga-ga, “I’m making the fruitcake this year.”
“I’m sending Paul to the store to pick everything up.” Abbot said, studying the list, “I should probably send an intern with him…”
There was banging and clanging from the phone and a triumphant, “Hah! Found it.”
Abbot double fish-eyed that one, “What the hell did she find?”
“No idea, but I know what it’s not.”
“Nut broiler?” Abbot guessed.
“You said it.”
Damien watched Andie get on the elevator, making a list of all the channels they needed to block.
“Abbot, where’s the jet?”
“It’s at Reagan.”
“Send it to Richmond and get Carolyn Chase on the phone.”
“See you wrap them in cheesecloth and douse them with whisky every other day or so. For a month.”
“Oh…oh…well no wonder people like them so much. I mean, all your relatives in the house…”
“You said it, sister.” Shelly popped the last of the light fruitcakes in one of the double ovens.
Footnote: Double ovens were awesome. Her friends were even awesome-er with a shot of awesome-sauce on the side. She’d called in reinforcements and the two had shown up with liquor bottles in both hands. Grandma Chase’s fruitcake had to be consumed as far away from open flame as humanly possible.
Layla and Jose were safely tucked into the dining room. Jose sliced cherries in half, a task that could not be done quickly no matter how skilled you were, and kept one eye Layla in case she made a break for the kitchen to grab the “nut broiler.” Layla cut cheesecloth squares and grumbled about cake nobody liked and cookies everybody loved. And Barker, Barker was everywhere. Whatever she needed, he had in her hands before she could ask. She needed someone to hold the bowl while she scraped out batter – he was there. She needed a spatula – it was in her hand. She needed greased and floured pans, they were set in front of her. And all the while he washed up the dishes as she finished with them drying them and placing them either in their place or in in her hand. Shelly had dubbed him, “Wonder Butler.”
And Max had been great for high-shelf reaching when he wasn’t staring at Marla. The poor man had been a blushing, mumbling mess ever since she’d taken off her coat. Marla had dropped a few pounds. Not many, and not from her “bountiful booty” as she called it, but her hourglass figure was looking especially shapely these days and she’d come straight from a meeting with her soon to be ex which explained the emerald green sheath dress, the two bloody Marys, and her questions to Max about contract killings on soon to be asshole ex-husbands.
“I picked that dress out of her.” Jose was all kinds of smug. “She fought me like a tigress, but in the end, my wisdom prevailed”
“You chose well.” Andie said, joining them in the dining room to measure out cherries. Marla always dressed well, but she’d somehow been hiding a seriously rockin’ bod. Jose wasn’t having that.
“Of course I did. Change her brown hair to red and she’s Joan straight out of Mad Men.”
“Poor guy. His tongue’s going to roll right out of his mouth.” Layla hissed, clamping her mouth shut when Marla approached, she was in charge of gathering ingredients.
“We’re on to dark fruit cake.” Marla rattled off the list. They had everything but the molasses. There had been a mix up earlier between mollassas and dark corn syrup. They were NOT one and the same.
“I’ll get it.” Max headed for the pantry.
“Oooo, we’re doing it in the dark.” Shelly laughed, measuring out black walnuts.
“Been there. Done that.” Marla snatched a walnut from the bag and popped it in her mouth, “Next time, I’m going for a lights on kind of guy.”
There was an almighty crash from the pantry. Andie kknew before she poked her head in the pantry. sure enough, poor Max was red-faced and standing in a puddle of sticky brown. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s fine. We can get another bottle of Molasses.” Andie assured him, watching the molasses spread all over the floor.
“Perhaps Amazon will deliver it, dear. It will save you a trip out.”
Andie spun around to see, “Grandma?”
“Hello sweetheart.” Grandmother Chase strode across the living area looking her usual flawless self. Her hair with a little more curl than usual, but her face was flawless her clothes pristine and her ballet flats shining as she handed her jacket off to Barker.
“What are you doing here?”
“Your young man made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.” She said, embracing Andie with a light kiss on the cheek, “He said either my broken wrist and I could fly to up DC or your mother and her essential oil blends could fly down to Richmond.”
Jose’s snuffed-out snort and Layla’s hastily cut off howl came from the dining room. Marla and Shelly both snickered, and there was a suspicious choking from inside the pantry. Even Barker’s stiff upper lip twitched.
Andie just fell a little more in love, “He didn’t.”
“He did. Your beau is quite the authoritarian.”
“Don’t I know it.” And this time honestly, she was happy as a pig in mud about it.
Andie stumbled up the stairs, utterly exhausted. Turned out they had a second bottle of molasses that had been there all along, hiding in the back of the pantry. Andie had thought all was well, but then her mother popped in for a surprise visit. Not so bad in and of itself, her Mom could be a laugh riot, but she and Grandmother Chase were like paper and matches. When Delilah discovered they were making fruitcakes, she kept insisting they “mix it up”, saying Grandmother Chase had no sense of adventure. Grandmother Chase, for her part, was not amused by her mother’s desire for fruitcake with pistachios, brazil nuts, and papaya. Barker saved the day, suggesting that he would assist Delilah in making her own avant guarde fruitcake.
And Jose, bless him, had gotten her Mom out of the house and to the art gallery for the Georgia O’keefe of penises. Shelly and Marla had tagged along for that one. Once the fruitcakes had been doused Layla packed up and escorted Grandmother Chase to EverMay, volunterring to stay with her to help out if she needed. A HUGE sacrifice as she’d be giving up Barker’s coffee.
And she was alone, and had only one more task before hitting the shower. She had to call Damien and thank him for getting her Grandmother to them safely. She dialed him as she opened up the linen closet to retrieve the proper shower essentials and found bath nirvana.
“Kitten?” The Demi’s voice in her ear. She tried to remember why she’d called him before she opened the door on an entire Jo Malone store. Her other vice, besides buttery, chocolate gooey goodness, bath stuff. She loved it. What girl didn’t? She could never afford Jo Malone, but she went into the store every time she passed it. She’d splurge on a candle and a shower gel twice a year and use them very sparingly and here there was EVERYTHING.
“Kitten?” The Demi again, urgent this time
“Um oh..hi..I’m sorry I didn’t think you’d answer.”
“We’re taking a break.”
“Oh,” She pulled her attention away from nirvana, “I wanted to thank you for bringing Grandma here.”
“It was nothing.”
“Oh no, it was something.” Her eyes wandered back to the shelves and shelves of Jo Malone. “I know how stubborn she can be. Your threat was masterful.” Every scent, every collection…everything… All of it brand spanking new. She peeled off her shirt and ripped off her jeans. Juggling her phone from one hand to the other until she was in bra and panties..
“Thank-you. I wonder what’s in Delilah’s oil blends?”
“Oh…” She froze bent over the tub her hand in the middle of turning on the faucet, “You don’t want to know.”
“Kitten is that water running?”
“Oh, yes, I’m running a bath.”
“A bath?” Andie. In a bath.
“Yes, there’s practically an entire Jo Malone store in your bathroom closet.”
“Really?” Slick soft wet skin….
“Yes, there are shower gels, and candles, and body lotions….”
“Uh…” Suds sliding over sweet curves
“Ooooh… and bath oil.”
“Bath” His voice cracked, he swallowed “Oil?” Pretty pink nipples peeking through foamy water
“I love bath oils.”
“Kitten, hold on a minute.”
He pushed the phone into his chest and walked back into the conference room, ignored the turned heads and the low grumbles, strode to the head of the table, grabbed his coat and his laptop, and headed out the door with a terse, “We’re done.”
Fuck it. This was a takeover, not a merger.
He put the phone back to his ear to hear excited rambling “Oh the Amber and Lavender smells nice and there’s body crème…. ”
He slapped the elevator button.
“I wonder why they don’t make bubble bath anymore….”
It was a twenty-minute drive.
“…..shower gels just aren’t as bubbly…”
How long did women soak in tubs? He’d never paid attention.
“…I like lots and lots of bubbles…”
Oh Holy Hell.
“….I could try using more, but this is so expensive ….and…”
“It’s fine.” He interrupted her torturous rambling monologue.
“Oh..I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were back. What?”.
“The shower gel, use as much as you want. Use the whole damn bottle.” Fuck. What was taking the elevator so long. He slapped the button again. If he asked to her to wait would that make him sound like a selfish prick? Probably.
“Ooooh even the rose is nice. Do you think I could use the bath oil for body oil….”
Oh, Sweet Fucking Mercy.
“Oh, no it has soap in it. I wonder if they make body oil?”
Shit, he’d get her body oil. He’d buy fucking Jo Malone if he had to, but right now he needed to buy time, “Uh Kitten, I need a favor. There are some papers in my desk I need faxed to my office.”
“Oh, okay sure, I’ll just throw on your robe in case Barker’s back. I don’t want to flash him.”
Holy Shit! She was naked. He slapped the elevator button half a dozen more times.
“This is so soft. Is it silk?”
Aaawww fuck. His teeth were sweating and his poor dick was trying to stab the “down” button from behind his zipper.
“Okay. I’m in your office.”
“Check the top the drawer on the left. There should be some….”
“Take out menus?”
Shit. Well, it would have to do, “How many?”
“Probably a dozen or so.”
A dozen front and back that should buy him ten minutes, “Good, that’s right. Yes, that’s it.”
“You want me to fax take-out menus to your office?” She sounded surprised, incredulous, but not suspicious.
“Uh, yes.” Shit, he was going to hell, “The hotel we’re… uh considering… designs for our uh…. take-out grill. The design people are there today and …those are some I’ve been collecting.” Damn, that was weak, but since all the blood was rushing to his dick….
“Oh all right. All of them.?”
“Yes front and back. And if you could, please watch and make sure they all go through. We have a new fax system and have had uh… trouble with it, and they’re waiting on the menus. The fax number is 555-8970…”
“555-8970 Okay got it.”
“Thanks.” He disconnected and paged Simon.
“We’re leaving. Check the traffic situation. I need the most expedient route to the Penthouse.”
Finally the elevator door opened. Stepping into it, he acknowledged that yes, he was going to hell and yes, he was a lying, sneaky bastard, but he was a desperate lying sneaky bastard with desperate dick. And desperate dicks called for desperate measures.
Ah, fuck she was gorgeous, what he could see of her through the bubbles. Damn, she must have used the whole bottle, possibly two. Bubbles rose up above the tub a good half a foot, flowed right over the side, and dripped onto the floor. She lay back up to her neck in frothy white foam, her eyes closed, her hair piled up in a sloppy bun, humming along with the sultry song coming through the sound system and damn Jose´’ was right, his kitten was completely tone deaf. Her happy little hums were all over the place – flat, sharp, off-key, you name it. And damn, but she was so adorably sexy.
“Enjoying the bath kitten?”
She must have been extremely relaxed, because she bolted upright with a shriek that would have done Jose´’ proud and then… disappeared.
SHIT! “Andie!” He shot forward and was halfway across the room when she popped back up. Sputtering, coughing, and covered in bubbles, arms flailing as she blindly reached for the towel hanging behind her. Her body twisting and with a short squeal, she started to go under again. He hooked his arm under her chest before her head went under. Struggling to keep them both upright, his shoes sliding on the wet floor, he gripped the lip of the tub with both hands.
“Don’t move.” He pushed his shoes off, socks giving him better traction on the slick tile, and reached behind her, grabbing her towel. Lifting his other hand from the tub, he went to grasp her waist. His hand slid right off.
He bit his cheek, holding the towel in front of her chest so she could take it easily. Her eyes shut tight to keep the soap out. At least, he assumed they were. All he could make out under all those bubbles were the spiky ends of her lashes, her chin, the tip of her nose, and a pink bow shaped shadow that was her mouth hiding under a thin layer of foam. With the peak of foam sitting atop her head, she looked like a snow-beast. A sexy, adorable snow-beast he wanted to kiss all over and fuck like a madman. Understanding that laughing would be counterproductive to his goal, he schooled his face into what he hoped was a neutral expression while she wiped the soap from her face. Only when he was looking down into big aqua eyes did he point out the obvious.
“I think you might have overdone it on the bath oil, kitten.”
She bit down on that plump bottom lip, her cheeks flaming, “I like a lot of bubbles.”
“So you said.” He bit down on his own lip to stifle the laughter rising in his chest, the grin he could do nothing about.
She blew a puff of air, “You’re laughing at me.”
“No, I’m not.” He shook his head, hoping like hell she couldn’t see his lips twitching.
Her narrowing eyes told him otherwise, “Yes, you are.”
“Kitten,” He did his best to look innocent, “How could I be laughing when I’m so obviously not.”
She humpff’d him, “You’re laughing on the inside.”
Hell yes, he was. He tried for a subject change, “Just how much bath oil did you use?”
“I have a system.” She lay back and closed her eyes, the peak of foam on her head sliding off and plopping to the floor.
“A system?” He encouraged. Drinking in the sight of her.
“You put the shower gel in first, while the water’s running.”
“Right.” All of that deliciously edible flesh wet and glistening in the light from over a dozen candles lit around the room.
“After you get plenty of bubbles you put in the oil.”
“Okay.” Little clusters of bubbles clinging in the most intriguing places.
“You have to do it that way because the oil will keep the shower gel from bubbling.”
“Uh-huh.” His eyes followed one little cluster slowly sliding down the valley between her breasts.
“But I’ve never done that with Jo Malone.”
“Right…” Sliding between those creamy swells he wanted to suck into his mouth.
“I think the shower gel had something in it that made the water soft, so when I added the oil it got um… slippery.”
“Makes sense.” It settled there, just above the water line.
“And you startled me. I didn’t expect you to be back so soon.”
“We finished early.” He got a teasing glimpse of rosy nipples as her breasts rose with her deep breath, only to disappear with her exhale. That lucky cluster of bubbles slid down and joined the rest of the foam barely hiding the sweet tips from him. He lowered his hand intending to break up those bubbles.
So intent on the task, it took a moment for her words to register.
“Well, go away.”
What…. Go… “Huh?” His eyes shot back to her face.
She opened one eye, lifted one foam covered hand and flicked her fingers at him. Suds flew off and hit him right in the chest, “Go away. I’m relaxing.”
His eyes went from the suds sliding down his shirt to the woman in the tub who’d just dismissed him. Dismissed him, “Kitten, I blew off thirteen angry executives and had Simon pushing eighty so I could see you covered in bubbles.”
His confession earned him that one eye opening again and half a snort.
Well, damn, he hadn’t seen this coming. He stood dumbfounded, his eyes traveling down all that silky wet skin. He wanted to nibble and kiss and suck and bite and lick, and damn he wanted to snuggle his dick up to her sweet ass that would be all slick with oil.
Sweet Jesus! His dick screamed at him to do something, but he couldn’t think with the blood pounding in his head and his dick throbbing in his pants. Then her hand came out of the water and adjusted the pillow more comfortably under her neck and the answer popped into his sex-addled brain.
Assuring his screaming dick that all was well, he moved to stand behind her. Making short work of his shirt, he tossed it across to wherever-the-hell and he didn’t give a fuck.
She must have heard the rustling of clothing her eyes popped open, looking straight up at him. Before she could mount a protest, he slipped his hands under her skull and began to work the tight muscles. She went from tense to sublime in seconds. Her eyes slid shut, her shoulders relaxed. Thank Fuck! Kitty had a weakness. He checked the water level to see if his added mass would cause an overflow, not that he cared.
“I risked life and limb to get here.” A little groan of pleasure when he hit a particularly tight knot, “You wouldn’t throw me out after all that, would you?” Her hands gripping the tub went lax, “You’ll let me stay?”
Her, “Mmm.’kay,” was barely audible.
It was so easy a better man would have possibly felt guilty, but he wasn’t a better man he was a desperate man with a desperate dick. He worked his fingers down her spine to her mid-back and pushed. Thanks to the abundance of bath oil, she slid forward. Her chin dropped to her chest. A small sound of protest when his hands left just long enough to shuck off the rest of his clothing.
She made a little squeak of surprise when he climbed into the tub, but he resumed the massage at her neck and her head dropped back down. He settled himself behind her in the fragrant water, sliding one arm around her waist to tug her back. He swore his cock let out a sigh of relief when he settled at lower back in the crease of her ass. He heard a feminine gasp, and felt a torturous little wriggle.
“Stay still, baby,” Pressing a kiss to her damp throat he set his hands to work on the muscles at her nape under her skull, like magic her head dropped forward, her breathing slowed, she went right back to relaxed, so she paid no attention when he slid his legs under her knees and opened her up, pinning her thighs to the side of the tub with his own. “How’s that?”
Another sleepy “Hmmm” and maybe a “good,” mumbled into the humid air. Pressing a kiss to her ear, he peeked over her shoulder. Awww fuck. Her breasts were raised out of the water. Mouthwatering, glistening with water droplets, one perfectly pink nipple erect and waiting for his mouth and the other hidden by a tiny bubble cluster clinging to the tip. His cock twitched again. Then his eyes traveled down. The bubbles were dispersing, giving teasing glimpses of flesh and a shadow of curls. Holy Shit, this was heaven and hell and damn, he needed to feel more of her, “Lay back, kitten.”
She did, without hesitation. Her back meeting his chest her head lolled to the side. He wrapped one arm around the front of her neck working the muscles on the opposite side. His other hand slid down and cupped a creamy breast. Brushing his thumb back and forth over her pebbled nipple, got him a husky moan and the subtle shifting of her body from relaxed to languid. Her breast swelling in his hand, the slight arching of her back, and her ass pressing back against his dick, his arms were filled with lush sensual woman.
His hand left her neck, and slid down to cup her other breast, teasing both of the nipples into hard little points. Sweet little whimpers came from the back of her throat, contented and frustrated at once, “You like that, baby?”
When she didn’t answer right away, he pinched, sharp and hard, her body jerked up, a groan rose in her, “I need an answer, Andie. You don’t want me to stop, do you?.” He wanted the words. Those breathy confessions of how he affected her.
“Yes, yes, I….. Oh..” Her back arched again when he pulled and twisted first one pouting bud and then the other. He worked the turgid points, alternating between rough pinching and whisper soft brushes. Her arms went around his neck, her hands tugging on his hair.
“So pretty, God Andie, your ass is heaven.” He breathed the words low into her throat, and surrendered, thrusting his cock into those restless little movements. “I should punish you for those agonizing twenty minutes I spent picturing you all hot and wet…”
She froze still as stone, her body rigid then bolted straight up so fast he barely got his head out of the way in time to avoid a bloody nose, “You…. you… Jerkwad!”
Jerkwad? Ah, she figured it out.
“You made all that up.” Oh, she was mad. Mad mad mad mad… Oh God… His fingers tugged and twisted her nipples already painfully sensitive.
Oh no. He would not distract her. Uh-uh. She grabbed both wrists, pulling his hands away. He went willingly but then slid both hands down to her abdomen, his fingertips brushing back and forth.
“Made what up, kitten?” Hot breath on her neck. His hands moving lower down her belly. Fluttering touches to the crease of her thigh.
“Ah…. um…. the menus..” If only her body would cooperate with her mad as fire mind, but it didn’t care a fig. Surrounded by hard, hot man, pulled against his chest, his erection a demanding presence right at the place where her back met her ass.
Stupid, slutty body.
Then his mouth touched that sensitive place behind her ear, devouring her with wet open mouth kisses, and her head dropped back on his shoulder
“Now why would I do that?” One warm hand returned to cup her breast, his thumb circling the nipple he’d teased into a hard-aching point. His other hand slid over her mound and…ah… what….. was… that … The outer lips of her sex were being pushed together so they squeezed and rolled over her clitoris. Dear Lord, how many sex-tricks did the man have. And …yes..that…. was… just…really…. very……distracting. She pushed against his hand, increasing the wonderful friction.
No, he would not get off the hook so easy. She was stronger than this – or maybe not, but she forced her hips down and focused the tiny part of her not drowning in sensation on forming words, “That’s what I want to know, why? Just what kind of kinky-kinkster, horse-shit game are you playing?” There. Ha! complete sentence…oh God…
Quick bursts of pleasure shot to her womb when the laughter rumbling through his chest jostled her on his hand.
“Kinky-kinkster horse-shit?” chuckling words tumbled against her throat.
“Don’t you dare laugh.” It just made her want to turn around and jump him.
“I can’t help it,” Laughing kisses skittered around the shell of her ear, “You’re funny.”
“I am not.” Jump him and rub all over him like a cat in heat. She realized her hips were moving again rolling in counterpoint to his skilled fingers. Her body flushed and heated, the water felt tepid on her skin.
“Yes, you are and you’re cute as fuck.” The hand massaging her labia lifted. A small whimper escaped before she could stop it,
“Ssh,” A nip of teeth on her ear, “I’ve got you.”
“I stood by the fax machine for ten minutes,” She bit down when he pulled her outer lips apart and slid one finger deep inside.
His low groan vibrated between them, “You’re very wet, kitten.”
“We’re in a tub of…. water.” Her breath hitched. His finger slowly slid from her, inner muscles clenching to hold him. Empty so empty
“Mh-hm, so we are.” He circled her entrance spreading the slick arousal, so different form the water on her most sensitive flesh.
Sublime emptiness had her head falling back on his shoulder. That finger circled the place she wanted him to fill then slid up and around the knot of nerves he’d teased. A figure eight. Around…up… around again, then dipping inside, gathering more evidence of his devastating effect on her and spreading it in the shape of infinity with infinite, excruciating care. Lots of sex tricks. Lots of really awesome sex..oh just yum…
“Ten minutes.” She rasped, “I was cold.”
“Poor kitten, ” Lips still brushing her nape, that finger dipped back inside and curled, stroking her in the place that made her squirm, “There, that’s better, hmm?”
Oh God yes, it was better. Her breath coming in ragged pants as that finger curled and stroked and tapped. Melting heat and aching pleasure spiked and bloomed in an ever-increasing tide. Her breasts grew heavy, she moved on his hand. Then – it was gone. His finger sliding from her with one last teasing twist to resume his torturous figure eight. Crying out at the loss, the melting emptiness gnawing at her, she rose to meet that finger in shameless greedy demand.
“I was afraid you’d be done before I could get here.” Husky words at her nape, “And I wouldn’t see you, like this. Wet, and slick, flushed and sweet, covered in bubbles.”
“So you lied to me?” She ignored the sizzling effect of those explicit words on her hopelessly melting girlie parts and spoke words of her own. And maybe they were a little breathy and yes that last one was more of a moan, but she had a point, dammit, and if only he would stop all that touching and rubbing and sliding she’d remember what that point was and oh god…
Her womb clamped down. He paused his figure drawing to flick the tiny piece of flesh that was ruling her entire existence. And she rethought that whole stopping thing, he shouldn’t stop, she’d die if he stopped…. and what the hell was she trying to say… and…
A quick pinch and another flick.
Somehow, she was able to stifle the needy whimpers that were building in her throat and struggled through her point, “Um… oh you could have just asked.”
“Yes, in hindsight, that does seem the better choice.” he agreed.
Unlike her halting rasps, his voice was smooth and even, dammit all. The hand at her breast absently brushing the bud back to an aching point, “The throbbing agony in my dick must have short circuited my brain. So you have no one to blame but yourself. All that talk of oil and bubbles.” His hand moved to her other breast giving it the same devastating attention, “Why don’t you get even by using my body for your sexual gratification.”
She would have snorted at that, but his finger slid back inside her and she groaned instead. Oh she was way way way too easy.
“Let’s see,” He tapped the place inside her as if drumming his finger on a desk, “You could fuck my fingers and come all over my hand.”
Oh, he was not a nice man.
“Or you could ride my thigh while I nibble your pretty breasts,” A second finger slid inside both tapping in a running motion on that sweet spot like a marathon runner on a treadmill.
No, he was not nice at all he was wicked and bad and…. oh god that felt good.
“Or you could slide that slick sweet heaven down on me and touch yourself while I’m buried deep.”
Oh sweet lord, a flood of arousal poured onto the fingers stroking her to insanity.
“Ah, you like that one.” A kiss to her nape, “Me too.”
Then his hand left her, he gripped her hips and she was lifted. She gripped the sides of the tub, water sloshed around them, “Up and around baby.” She rose on her knees lifted her calves and spun around till she was facing him, the oil in the tub making it easy.
And, oh that was just not fair. Adonis lay back against the tub. Hooded eyes molten, scorching her everywhere they touched, his silky hair damp curling at his neck, random water droplets gleaming in the hair dusting his perfect chest. He was every inch the sex god waiting to be worshiped by his willing supplicant.
It was the arrogance in that hooded gaze that had a wicked little notion twining through her mind. She had a few weapons of her own. Moving her knees to the outside of his legs so she straddled him, she reached down into the water and took him in her hand. With his responding hiss of pleasure licking across her skin. She held him at her cleft, using him to rub over the saturated folds. Teasing herself with the blunt head. And oh yes that was good, too.
“God, Andie” His eyes slid shut on a low groan, “I love that hot kiss.”
Did he now? She slid down till the blunt head was fully inside and held him there, her hands gripping the tub, she rocked on him, shallow pulses so the spongy ridge rubbed the mouth of her sex. She worked him over clenching and releasing her inner muscles.
“Sweet Fuck!” A harsh shout, his hands fisting on the sides of the tub, “Baby, what….”
She paused and peered at him with carefully innocent eyes, “Oh, am I hurting you? Should I stop?”
“NO!” He fell back against the tub with a groan, “Shit…fuck no…don’t …Aw….fuck..that’s so fucking good….”
Holding in her smile of triumph. She set about the business of getting even.
Holy Fuck, kitten was getting some payback, and damn had anything ever felt so good. Gritting his teeth against the searing sensation of her, hot and wet, squeezing his dick. His eyes filled with the sight of slick skin and soft curves, he lay back and resigned himself to enduring the torture he himself suggested.
The sensual creature fucked him, her head back, lips parted. One hand braced behind him on the tub the other sliding down her body in a sensual caress, pausing at her gorgeous breasts, she plumped and stroked, rubbing and plucking the pink nipples till they stood out pleading for his mouth. All the while lusty little moans and gasps fell from her damp lips. Lost in her own pleasure, she slid the hand lower beneath the water, and fuck it all, he couldn’t see. He grabbed the lever beside his head and yanked the drain open. The tub was so big there was a mechanism at each end. A fucking brilliant design he decided, as the water line began to slowly recede.
Ah shit, what it revealed centimeter by slow centimeter. Slick skin glistening while bubbles trailed down to places he was salivating to lick and suck and bite.
“Oh,” her head rolled back on her shoulders, her pink tongue coming out to wet her lips, “That’s…. good.”
Shit, shit, shit! He stared down at the rippling water, willing it gone when a brush to his dick had a stream of air hissing from his bellowing lungs. What the fuck? Another brush, another. His sluggish brain finally kicked in and he realized he was feeling the fleeting touch of her fingers as she rubbed that pretty little pearl and he couldn’t see a fucking thing. Then she slid the rest of the way down on him, slowly, so damn slowly, till he was deep inside and she was squeezing him and …”SHIT!”
The scrape of nails on the base of his cock sent his hips jacking up.
He raised lust-crazed eyes from the water to see a flushed, sexy, she-beast shooting daggers at him. The hand that had been pleasuring her and torturing him gripping the side of the tub, shimmering with sweet cream he was dying to suck into his mouth.
“Stay still, you!” Her very huffy words brought his eyes back to her very put out face, “It’s slippery in here and besides, you’re supposed to be still while I get even.”
Damn, she was cute. If his dick wasn’t about to break off, he’d be smiling, “Sorry, kitten. Please continue.”
She tossed her head, “And what’s up with the water?”
“It was getting cold.” Fuck, that was weak.
His kitten agreed her eyes hitting the ceiling, “Uh-huh” She then mumbled something about testosterone and men and stupidity and he thought he heard name, but then she started rocking on him in little rolling thrusts and his mind went blank.
The increasing speed of the frantic little flicks of her nails made his eyes cross as they traveled back down to the water line but, oh sweet fuck, the sight of her pretty breasts bouncing as she moved up and down on him stopped them cold.
That he had to touch. He pulled his hands from the tub, sliding them up slick skin. Her eyes flew open, he could see she was about to tell him hands off and hell no! He palmed her breasts, and a sultry moan slipped from her lips instead.
Plumping the perfect globes, he brushed his thumbs back and forth over her nipples. He wanted his mouth on those sweet little treats, “Come here, kitten.”
Her eyes opened, glazed and slumberous. Damn she was close, the frantic little flicks of her nails told him so. His mouth and his eyes engaged in a short tug of war. Did he want to suck or watch, but she made the decision for him when she leaned forward, her hand braced beside his head her sweet flesh in front of him, the pink buds hanging like ripe berries. He took them in his hands and tasted with his tongue. First one and then the other, alternating with quick licks and pinches of his fingers.
Her moans filled the air as she rocked on him, “Yes, oh god, please suck me, suck hard.” With breathless little pleading whimpers she pushed the creamy swells into his face, twisting on him in wild , greedy demand.
His own greed rose to meet her, his mouth latching on to her nipple sucking with the voracious hunger of the starving man he was and would always be, because he would never get enough of her. Moving one hand to grip her hip, he thrust up into the silken vice gripping him and she exploded around him. Liquid fire and pulsing frenzy, as she came all over him. Releasing her breast, he pulled her mouth to his. She opened for him, sucking and licking, her tongue dueling with his. He groaned into her mouth pumping into her slick heat. He was coming in seconds, violent bursts of ecstasy ripping down his spine filling her up, marking her, branding her.
He lifted his mouth just enough for the feral growl to fill the space between them, “Mine.”