Stolen the billionaire d.., p.10
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       The Billionaire Deception, p.10

         Part #1 of Stolen series by Holly Rayner
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  After our dinner that night Seth walked me back to my car. In the dimly lit parking garage he leaned past me to open the door and I thought he was going to kiss me. Shamefully, I have to admit that I was horribly disappointed when he didn’t. He did run the back of his hand along the side of my face again just before I got in. That simple touch in and of itself started a fire raging in the pit of my stomach. I got in the car and drove home, trying to remember what I was doing here. If I’d had too much trouble grasping it, Grant was there for me when I got home and I told him, as always.

  “Hey doll face. Where ya been until ten o’clock on a school night?”

  “Ha ha! You’re hilarious,” I told him. “I worked until late and then I had dinner.”

  “With?”

  “With what?”

  “With whom?”

  “Is it whom? I would have gone with who.”

  “That’s because you were a business major. It’s all numbers, no English.”

  “Look whom is talking,” I said with a smile.

  “Knock off the Laurel and Hardy routine and answer the question.”

  “I had dinner with my boss,” I said. “It was strictly professional.”

  “Really?”

  “Really,” I said.

  “Hmm, then why did you hem and haw and blush, and why is your hair all down and pretty around your shoulders? You never wear it like that in a professional capacity.”

  I yawned and said, “Oh wow, look how late it’s getting. I should get to bed.”

  When I reached the hallway he said, “Erin.” I stopped and turned around to face him. He had his serious face on now. He was no longer playing as he said, “You’re going to get hurt.”

  I know he loves me, but I didn’t want him taking away my happiness tonight.

  “How do you know that, Grant?”

  “Because this is about family, baby. You want revenge for yours and he will undoubtedly be willing to go to great lengths to protect his. Family is one of those things that have torn couples apart for centuries. Please be careful.”

  “I am being careful,” I lied. I had completely let my guard down tonight and had not once considered the fact that I intended to destroy everything that Seth held dear. I went back over to where Grant was standing and he opened his arms. I folded myself into them and as he hugged me I said, “I’m trying so hard not to feel anything for him.”

  “Sometimes chemistry, or love, or whatever you want to call it, can’t be overridden.”

  I pulled back and looked at him and said, “So then what do I do?”

  He wiped the loose curls off my forehead and looked into my eyes and said, “You have to decide which one you want more because I’m afraid that you can’t have both.”

  I went to bed that night with Grant’s words ringing in my head and Seth’s gentle touch resonating in my heart. Grant was right, it was doubtful I could have this man if I also chose to destroy his family. But how could I give up something I’d virtually lived for over the past eleven years? The warm, cozy feeling I had left Seth with that night morphed into a pounding headache and very little sleep. I went to work the next morning resolving to keep my distance from Seth. I think he is genuinely a good man and my attraction to him was strong, but I owed it to my father to take back what he had intended to be mine. I couldn’t do that if I was emotionally involved with the enemy.

  Several hours after I had that thought, I was sitting at my desk pouring over some documents that Harlan wanted my opinion on when there was a knock on my half closed door. Without waiting for an invitation, it was pushed open and Seth appeared.

  “Good morning,” he said, with that smile that drove me wild.

  “Good morning,” I said, returning his smile. I tried to make mine less enthusiastic, but my body reacted in strange ways when he was around.

  Seth came in and closed the door behind him. I expected him to have a seat in the chair on the other side of my desk. Instead, he came around to where I was sitting and took me by the hands, pulling me to my feet. I was standing with my head tilted back, looking up at him wondering what in God’s name he was doing. He didn’t make me wait long to find out.

  “I barely slept at all last night,” he said. “I kept thinking about our dinner and walking you back to your car and the one thing I should have done, but didn’t.”

  I was pretty sure I knew what he was talking about, but just because I’m a glutton for punishment I said, “What was that?”

  Still holding onto my hands, he swung me around like we were dancing. My back was facing the wall and Seth’s chest was at my eye level. He bent his head down so that we were eye to eye and then he said, “I should have kissed you, Erin. I’m going to kiss you right now to make up for it, as long as you don’t object.”

  I thought about objecting, I really did. The words ran themselves across my brain but for some reason they didn’t reach my tongue or my lips. I was strangely okay with that. The only thing I wanted on my tongue or my lips at that moment were his tongue and his lips, so instead of speaking I tilted my head back further. Seth took a step forward and with his arm wrapped around my waist, he pressed my body against the wall. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and that fire he’d lit in my belly the night before was now burning hot in my chest. He leaned down and swiped his lips across mine. It was like he was testing me out to see if I was going to object. When I didn’t he brought them down again, this time to cover mine and I heard myself moan slightly as my lips fell open. He slid his hot tongue in between them and found mine. I felt his hand slide down and grip my backside and lift me up off my feet while we kissed. I was completely engulfed by this man I purported to hate and I loved it.

  After several minutes he broke the kiss. We were staring at each other and panting, both of us wondering what the hell we were doing making out at work like a couple of teenagers no doubt. I thought he was going to pull back, but instead he took out the comb I had holding my hair up at the back and let it spill down across my shoulders. Then he wrapped his hand up in my curls and used them to position my head where he wanted it, and he kissed me again. The first kiss had been passionate; this one was erotic. By the time we came up for air again I was so satiated I felt like I’d had sex. As I struggled once more to catch my breath he said, “Wow. I knew I’d missed out by not kissing you last night but damned if I knew how much until now.” My plans to avoid or ignore were gone, just like that. I was staring at him, still trying to slow my breathing a full minute later. He finally grinned at me and said, “Are you okay?” I nodded. “Are you upset with me for kissing you here at work?” I shook my head. “Are you mad at me for disturbing your neat little bun?” I laughed.

  “No,” I said at last. “None of the above. That was just…”

  “The best kiss you ever had?”

  Definitely. “I was going to say, unexpected.”

  “Sometimes unexpected makes it sexier, don’t you think?” I could hear talking in the hall outside my door and suddenly remembered where I was at. I stepped around him and started twisting my hair back up into its bun. He watched me with those cool blue eyes and once I was satisfied that my hair was back in place he said, “I like you Erin, a lot. I’d like to see you, socially.”

  I sat down behind the desk and said, “I’m just not sure that’s such a good idea, Seth.”

  “Why?”

  “Because of work, of course.” I wasn’t lying. It was all about work. He just didn’t know the depths of my intentions. “It’s not really appropriate, I guess is the word.”

  He moved back around to the other side of my desk and sat down in the chair there. He gave me a serious look.

  “Do you like me, Erin?”

  “Of course I do, but…”

  “Are you attracted to me?”

  “Obviously I am, but…”

  “Do you want what you do for a living and what others think of you to dictate your life?”

  It always had. “No of course I do
n’t, but…”

  “Then there are no buts.”

  I laughed. He was at least not going to hear one out that was for sure. “What about the other executives? What about the employees? What is everyone going to think?”

  “I don’t care,” he said, simply.

  “Have you dated other employees here?” I’m not sure why I asked him that, it just came out. I had wondered about it. He seemed like a player to me, although I had no direct evidence of that.

  He leaned forward onto the desk and said, “No Erin. I don’t date women who are employed by the company. At least I didn’t, until now.”

  “Why would you change the way you do things all of a sudden?”

  “Because I can’t stop thinking about you.”

  “That’s it?” I said, with a little smile. “That’s all it takes to change your convictions?”

  He laughed, “It wasn’t a conviction. It was a rule that I followed in order to protect myself and the company. I don’t want to be accused of sexual harassment someday and risk everything my father has worked for being taken away.” As soon as he said that my mind froze on that single sentence, “Everything my father worked for.”

  “What makes you think I won’t take that from you?” I asked him, dead serious.

  “I could be wrong, but I just don’t see you as that type. Besides, some people are worth the risk. I’ve never been so infatuated with a woman in such a short time. I have to explore that… if you’ll let me.”

  The ice packed around my heart with the Hunters’ name engraved on it began to melt. I knew I was in big trouble but there was a part of me that still wanted to say getting close to him could be about helping my cause and if he ended up collateral damage then so be it. There was another part of me, an even bigger part that had no desire whatsoever to hurt this man. Everything I wanted to do to him and with him was just the opposite of hurt.

  “So?” he said, after I had obviously been lost in my head for way too long.

  Impulsively I said, “Do you ride horses?”

  With a little confused chuckle he said, “Excuse me?”

  “Do you ride?”

  “Um… yeah, I mean of course I have… it’s been a while. Why?”

  “I thought since tomorrow was Saturday and it was my turn to pick the date, I would take you horseback riding.”

  “Your turn?” he said, with a slow smile. “I guess that means we’re dating then?”

  “We’ll see how you do on a horse first,” I told him. “I’ll pick you up at nine a.m. Just write down your address for me. Then, you will need to leave my office. I have a ton of work to do and my boss is a tyrant.”

  Seth picked up a pen and wrote down an address on one of my new business cards. He winked at me before he left the office. It never failed to amaze me how incredibly sexy I found his arrogance sometimes.

  ~

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  ~

 
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