Promised, p.36
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       Promised, p.36

         Part #1 of One Night series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
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  My chair is slowly turned to face him, the remote control placed neatly on the table, and his palms slide under my thighs, pulling me to him until there are only a few inches between our faces. ‘When I watched you on Saturday night,’ he whispers in my face, ‘I was turned on, too.’

  An image of Miller reclined in this chair, short in hand, watching quietly as I drank, chatted and wandered around his club, invades my lust-filled mind. The mental visual makes the heat drop from my face, straight into my groin. I’m saturated, and he knows it. ‘Are you turned on now?’ I breathe, moving my face a little closer so our noses meet.

  ‘Find out for yourself.’ He pushes his lips to mine and rises, forcing my head to drop back to accommodate our kiss. His hands are braced on the arms of his office chair, caging me in, and the satisfied moan that seeps from his mouth into mine is the most pleasurable sound I’ve ever heard.

  I waste no time getting my hands on him. I blindly yank his belt undone while our mouths work each other frantically, the softly-softly approach a distant memory in this moment in time. He seems harassed and if I can fix it, then I will.

  ‘Just your hand,’ he mumbles desperately.

  I unzip his fly, unbutton him and slide my hand into his trousers, finding hard heat immediately.

  I grasp it loosely, and he gasps, prompting me to flick my eyes up. I’m looking into blinding blues as I pull a slow, smooth stroke, his parted lips letting his shallow pants warm my face. ‘Did you do this to yourself when you watched me?’ I ask quietly, his desperation powering me on, boosting my confidence.

  ‘I never do this to myself.’

  His response shocks me, making my rhythm falter. ‘Never?’

  ‘Never.’ His hips gently push forward.

  ‘Why not?’ I’m shocked to the core, and even though it sounds unbelievable, I believe him.

  ‘It doesn’t matter.’ He swoops down and takes my lips, halting any further questioning. I’m focusing on working him gently, but with his mouth action getting unusually firm, it seems to influence my hands too, the thrusts of my fist speeding up, coaxing continuous groans from him. ‘Keep it steady,’ he almost begs.

  Following his guidance, I slow my pace until I’m evenly gliding up and down his length.

  ‘Hmmmm, oh God.’ He tenses from top to toe, like he’s cautious, but he’s enjoying it. I can feel him pulsing under my palm, the heat building, his breath hitching further. Maintaining our deep kiss is easy. Holding back from pumping harder with my fist isn’t. My awareness of his building climax is driving my confidence, making my clenched hand ache from tensing to prevent the instinct to fly up and down his shaft.

  He bites my lip and pulls away, giving me a perfect view of his perfect face as I continue to work him. His hips are starting to thrust with my hand, and I can see the tensing of his arms braced on the chair. But his face is poker straight.

  ‘Good?’ I ask, wanting something more than his bodily reactions. I want the words he’s so good at during these moments.

  ‘You’ll never know.’ His head drops a little and small wheezing breaths start to puff from his lips. I take my spare hand and find the hem of his shirt, sliding my hand onto his stomach and feeling the contractions of his muscled abs. ‘Shit!’ he curses.

  I take his cue and squeeze harder, but then a loud knock at the door makes me jump, and I’m suddenly dropping him and flying back in my chair.

  He gasps. ‘Fucking hell, Livy!’

  ‘I’m sorry!’ I blurt, not knowing whether to resume my attention of Miller or hide under the desk.

  I can see the pain on his face as he pushes himself up from the chair and tries to get his laboured breathing under control. ‘Well, that’s just fucking perfect, isn’t it?’

  I press my lips together as I watch him quickly tuck himself away and refasten his trousers and belt. ‘I’m sorry,’ I repeat, not knowing what else to say. He’s still rock solid and it’s obvious through his trousers.

  ‘So you should be,’ he grumbles, and I lose my attempts to hold back my smile. ‘Look.’ He points to his groin and cocks his eyebrow when he catches my amusement. ‘I have a bit of a problem.’

  ‘You do,’ I agree, looking to one of his screens and seeing two people standing outside his office door, just as a knock sounds again. ‘Should I let them in?’

  ‘This is going to be agony.’ He adjusts himself on a groan. ‘Yes, please.’

  I jump up and leave Miller settling in his chair, finding my own hyped-up state easy to control with the distraction of Miller’s clear discomfort. Swinging the door open, I come face to face with a lovely looking woman, who immediately gives me the once-over on a frown.

  ‘You are?’ she says, waving to a man behind her with a camera.

  I step back to give her access before I’m barged from her path. ‘Livy,’ I say to myself because she has already passed me and is on her way to Miller’s desk, all smiley and gushy. I’m delighted when I see his mask slip right into place, his cool, business persona replacing his despairing pre-climax state.

  ‘Hi!’ she sings in his face, practically throwing herself over his desk to get to him. ‘Diana Low.’ She puts her hand out, but I can tell she’s dying to kiss him. ‘Wow, this place is just amazing!’

  ‘Thank you.’ Miller is as formal as ever, shaking her hand before indicating a chair opposite his desk and discreetly adjusting his groin area. ‘Can I get you a drink?’

  She parks her tight arse on the chair and lays her notepad on the table. I’m immediately picking up on the unease emanating from Miller as he looks at the pad. ‘Oooh, I’m not supposed to drink on the job, but you’re my last call of the day. I’ll have a martini on the rocks.’

  The photographer passes me, clearly exhausted.

  It’s only now I wonder if Miller actually wants me here for this, so I look over to him and gesture to the door, but he starts shaking his head, then nods towards the sofa as he takes Miss Low’s pad and hands it to her. He wants me to stay.

  I shut the door and watch the photographer take a seat beside the gregarious woman, dumping his camera on his lap.

  ‘Drink?’ Miller looks to the man, but I see his head shake from behind.

  ‘Nah, I’m cool.’

  ‘I’ll get the drinks,’ I pipe up, opening the door. ‘Martini and a Scotch?’

  ‘On the rocks!’ The woman swings around, giving me another once-over. ‘Make sure it’s on the rocks.’

  ‘Rocks,’ I confirm, looking to Miller, who nods his thanks. ‘I’ll be back.’ I slip out, grateful to be free from Diana Low’s irritating voice.

  I find the lights have been dimmed and the blue illuminations activated, restoring the bar to the glow I remember. With more than one bar to choose from, I finally plump for the one where Miller met Tony, making my way over and finding a young guy crouched behind, restocking the glass front fridges.

  ‘Hello,’ I say to get his attention. ‘Can I get a martini on the rocks and a Scotch straight?’

  ‘For Mr Hart?’

  I nod and he flies into action, pulling down a tumbler and giving it an extra polish before pouring a few inches and sliding it across the bar. ‘And a martini?’

  ‘Please.’

  While the barman prepares the drink, I stand feeling a little self-conscious, knowing I’m being regarded with interest by Tony. I look over and receive a small smile, but it’s a poor attempt to make me feel comfortable. His round face is thoughtful.

  ‘How’s it going down there?’ he asks, breaking the difficult silence.

  ‘I just left them to it,’ I answer politely and accept the martini.

  ‘Miller doesn’t appreciate fuss and attention.’

  I try to detect a double meaning to Tony’s abrupt declaration. ‘I know,’ I answer, because I suspect he’s implying that I don’t.

  ‘He’s happy in his own little organised world.’

  ‘I know,’ I repeat, turning to leave the discomfort of the conversation. He’s not be
ing particularly unfriendly, but I don’t like where this chat is heading.

  ‘He’s emotionally unavailable.’

  I stop and turn, watching the thoughtful look on his face for a few moments before I speak. ‘Is there a purpose to this?’ I ask outright, finding my annoyance advancing my poise. Miller has told me the very same thing, but I’m finding emotions in him. Maybe not the regular way, but they’re there.

  He smiles, and it’s a sincere smile, but it’s also a smile that suggests I’m blind, naive and way out of my depth. ‘A sweet thing like you shouldn’t be getting caught up in this world.’

  ‘What gives you the impression that I’m sweet?’ I ask, my annoyance growing. And what does he mean by ‘this world’? Clubs? Drinking? He shakes his head and returns to his paperwork, not giving me an answer to my question. ‘Tony, what do you mean?’

  ‘I mean . . .’ He pauses and sighs, looking up. ‘You’re a distraction that he could do without.’

  ‘A distraction?’

  ‘Yes. He needs to focus.’

  ‘On what?’ I ask.

  Tony lifts his stocky body from the barstool and gathers his papers, slipping his pen behind his ear and taking his bottle of beer. ‘This world,’ he says simply, turning and wandering across the club.

  I stand motionless as I watch the distance between us grow, feeling completely perplexed. Maybe distraction is exactly what Miller needs. He works hard, he’s stressed and he needs me to de-stress at the end of the day. I want to do that. I want to help him.

  Looking down into the two glasses I’m holding, I notice the heat of my palm around the martini glass has melted the ice somewhat, but I don’t replace it. Diana Low can have a martini on melted rocks. I head back to Miller’s office.

  His eyes are on the door as I enter, and Diana is pacing his office, doing an amazing job of swaying her arse, while the photographer just looks plain bored, slumped in his chair.

  I take Miller his Scotch, placing it in his hand, rather than on the desk, because I have no clue where on his desk I should put it. ‘Thank you,’ he almost sighs, patting his lap for me to take a seat. I’m a little stunned by his casual demand in a business meeting, but I don’t protest.

  I follow his cue and lower my bum to his knee and watch in silent amusement as Diana Low takes in the situation. I can’t help a little power play of my own, holding her martini out so she has to come to me to get it.

  As soon as the glass leaves my hand, Miller has his arm around my waist and tugs me back against his chest.

  Diana Low makes a terrible job of smiling warmly at me as she composes herself. ‘I guess I’ll need to change the title of my article.’

  ‘What was the title of your article, Miss Low?’ Miller asks coolly.

  ‘Well, it was “London’s most eligible bachelor opens London’s most prestigious club”.’

  Miller stiffens beneath me. ‘Yes.’ He downs the rest of his drink and positions the glass on his desk with utter accuracy. ‘Change it.’

  She gets all flustered and sits back down in the chair opposite Miller’s desk. London’s most eligible bachelor? Miller has confirmed, but it’s still nice to hear someone else acknowledge that he’s single. Or was.

  She frowns as she places her glass on Miller’s desk, making him stiffen and me stiffen as a result of Miller’s stiffness.

  ‘Would you mind?’ I move forward and reclaim the glass, pushing it back in her hand. ‘No coaster and the desk is very expensive.’

  She flicks her confusion to Miller’s empty tumbler that is on the desk without a coaster . . . but it’s in the right place. ‘Sorry,’ she replies, taking the glass.

  ‘No problem.’ I smile, making it as insincere as hers, feeling Miller squeeze his thanks.

  ‘So let’s finish up,’ she says, struggling to hold her glass while attempting to make notes on her pad. ‘On what basis do you approve membership to your club?’

  ‘Payment,’ Miller answers, short and tiredly, making me smile.

  ‘And how do potential members apply?’

  ‘They don’t.’

  She looks up again, confused. ‘So how do you obtain membership?’

  ‘You have to be nominated by an existing member.’

  ‘Doesn’t that limit your clientele?’ she asks.

  ‘Not at all. I already have over two thousand members and we opened less than a week ago. Now we have a waiting list.’

  ‘Oh.’ She looks disappointed, but then smiles suggestively and crosses her legs slowly. ‘And what would one need to do to skip the waiting list?’

  I screw my face up in disgust at her brashness, the shameless hussy. ‘Yes, what would one need to do, Miller?’ I ask, turning to look at him and pouting my lips.

  His eyes sparkle, the corners of his mouth lifting ever so slightly as he directs his gaze back to Diana Low. ‘Do you know any members, Miss Low?’

  She smiles brighter. ‘I know you.’

  I have to force the cough of shock back down my throat. Can she see me?

  ‘You don’t know me, Miss Low,’ Miller states, low and harsh. ‘Not many people do.’

  The photographer shifts uncomfortably in his seat and Diana Low reddens with embarrassment. I’m guessing she doesn’t get knocked back very often, and I’m wondering whether Miller should be so hostile when she’s going to be writing a piece on him and his new club. His words don’t have the same effect on me, though, because I do know him.

  ‘Photo!’ Diana shrieks, jumping up from her chair and placing her drink down again, obviously forgetting my previous request in her fluster.

  I quickly scoop it up before Miller starts twitching and stand to the side so the photographer can get what he needs. I watch as Miller stands and starts brushing down the creases in his suit, huffing and puffing to himself as he does. That’s my fault, distracting him from dragging out the ironing board so he can perfect his appearance, even though he really doesn’t need to. He always looks perfect.

  He casts an accusing gaze in my direction and mouths, ‘Your fault.’

  I break out in a big smile, shrugging and mouthing ‘sorry’ back.

  ‘Don’t be,’ he says aloud, ‘I’m not.’ He winks, nearly knocking me from my feet, before repositioning himself in his big chair, unfastening the button of his jacket and nodding to the photographer. ‘Ready when you are.’

  ‘Great.’ He prepares his camera and takes a few steps back. ‘We’ll leave the TV screens in place. I was thinking a few more things on your desk, though.’

  ‘Like what?’ Miller asks, horror beginning to surface at the potential of someone messing with his clear surface.

  ‘Some paperwork,’ he replies, taking Diana’s pad and positioning it to the left of Miller. ‘Perfect.’

  It’s not perfect at all. Even I can see it’s wonky, the edge of the paper not parallel to the edge of the desk, and Miller’s swift rearrangement of the pad confirms it. ‘Get on with it, then,’ he grunts, trying to relax back in his chair and failing. He’s fidgety.

  It seems like the photographer spends forever aiming and clicking at my poor Miller, who looks ready to explode with stress. He’s directed from one position to another, the guy rounds his desk and gets a shot of the TV monitors with Miller casually observing the screens, and then he asks him to sit on the edge of the desk, all casual with his ankles and arms crossed. It’s killing him, and the final straw comes when he’s asked to smile.

  He looks over at me in disbelief, like how dare they ask such a thing. ‘We’re done,’ he snaps irritably, buttoning up his jacket and collecting the pad that’s been poisoning the perfection of his desk for too long. ‘Thank you for your time.’ He shoves the pad at Diana Low and strides over to the door, swinging it open and gesturing for them to leave.

  Neither the journalist nor the photographer hangs around, both moving quickly across Miller’s office to the door. ‘Thank you.’ Diana stops short of the door and gazes up at Miller. ‘Hope to see you around.’

/>   I’m stunned and wondering if this is normal behaviour. She’s incorrigible. ‘Goodbye,’ Miller retorts with utter finality, sending the brash journalist on her way, just as another woman strides into his office.

  Miller’s business associate.

  Cassie.

  She appears to be in a fluster and out of breath, but it diminishes the second she claps eyes on Diana Low within touching distance of Miller. Cassie’s eyes narrow on the brash journalist. ‘I said he wasn’t available for interviews.’

  ‘Yes, I know.’ Diana isn’t perturbed by the hostility pouring from Cassie’s designer-adorned figure. ‘But you were clearly
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