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Throb, Page 1

Olivia R. Burton




  Published by Evernight Publishing ® at Smashwords

  www.evernightpublishing.com

  Copyright© 2016 Olivia R. Burton

  ISBN: 978-1-77233-807-2

  Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

  Editor: Kerry Genova

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.

  This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  DEDICATION

  This short is for fellow author Naomi Clark as thanks for teaching me the term ‘boy bags’ to refer to testicles.

  THROB

  A Preternatural PNW novel, 2

  Olivia R. Burton

  Copyright © 2016

  “But it’s Valentine’s Day!”

  “It’s also a work day,” Veruca explained, gently sweeping Finn’s hand away from the clasp on her pants, and going back to tying her tie. “Just because you want to have a lot of sex doesn’t mean the government’s declared today a national holiday.”

  “It’s not just about sex,” Finn insisted, trying for her pants once again. He didn’t have any on; the least she could do was match his level of nudity. “I’m hoping we’ll eat chocolates and cuddle, too.”

  “Even so, the government doesn’t believe that’s enough of a reason to close the banks and give executives the day off.”

  “Clearly the government’s never had sex with Finn Doyle.”

  “I’m sure you’ve slept with someone in one branch or another. You don’t exactly get names and job titles when you’re really on a roll.”

  Finn screwed up his face, making it clear he was thinking hard about his past partners. Veruca used the distraction as an excuse to step around him and move to the corner of her closet that held her many shoes. She’d chosen a deep burgundy pantsuit and bright scarlet tie in honor the holiday, both of which highlighted her dark hair and lovely Latin features. Finn knew her well enough to get that just because she had to stand around a boardroom full of lecturing, besuited managers and heads of sales didn’t mean she couldn’t look snazzy doing it.

  Finally fully dressed and ready, she turned to Finn, angling her foot so he could admire the shoes she’d picked.

  “Good?”

  “You’ve never looked hotter,” Finn said in his enticing Irish accent, grinning and raking his eyes over her as if his gaze alone could strip her and transport her back out into the bedroom. “Well, maybe when you’re fresh from a shower. Or stretched out under me in bed. Or in the morning in just a shirt, cooking … I can’t actually choose when you’re not hot, really. I may need to investigate your hotness on a tactical level to really make a decision.”

  “Later, darling. I will be home before dinner. Don’t try to cook,” she warned, poking him in the chest just hard enough that he took it as a chance to stumble back and act mortally wounded by the insult.

  “It’s Valentine’s and you won’t even let me play housewife and cook you a gourmet meal?”

  “Don’t blame your inability to cook a gourmet meal on me, Mr. Burns-Everything.”

  “I’m getting better!”

  She left him in the closet, sputtering through a list of things he hadn’t burned in the last few months. He had to keep cutting off mid-dish when he realized he had indeed ruined some part of every meal. Finally, he caught up with her slipping on her coat by the door.

  “Can I at least order you something? A delicious pasta dish? Some chocolate ice cream and expensive champagne to wash it all down? Maybe see if they’ll throw in some fuzzy handcuffs just for fun.”

  “If you can find a restaurant that has fuzzy handcuffs, be my guest. I doubt they give them away with packs of crayons and kids’ menus, though.” Veruca leaned up, kissed him, and then darted out the door before he could get his hand under her shirt to unclasp her bra. It wouldn’t have been the first time he’d sent her out to the car to realize his sticky fingers had been busy.

  ****

  Finn had no idea how to pass the time with Veruca gone.

  Sure, she had no shortage of toys on her private island, in her beautiful home. There was a fully loaded gym, a heated indoor swimming pool that looked out on the chilly winter scenery, an ornate, luxurious theater that would easily seat forty, and boats docked in floating garages that he was allowed to take out on the water whenever he wished.

  He’d only ruined one or two things in each place, so he hadn’t yet been banned from any though he certainly wasn’t going to risk another boat crash, so fun runs out on the water were out.

  Veruca had thoughtfully stocked her digital library with as many old movies as she could find, and Finn had gone through most of them. There were a few that he enjoyed enough to watch over and over, but it seemed against the spirit of the day to sit alone watching movies when he had a loved one coming home in just a few hours.

  Deciding he’d fancy the place up, Finn settled into the office, pulling up as many lists of “DIY Valentine’s decorations” as he possibly could. He lost three hours, fell down a Pinterest hole of kids’ Hanukkah projects (he wasn’t sure how), and ended up with a half-dozen ideas that he figured he was reasonably capable of pulling off in the six hours he had left before Veruca got home.

  His stomach grumbled angrily when he pulled the craft paper box out of its closet, though, and he abandoned his first project to go make something to eat.

  ****

  Veruca laughed politely at Tim’s budget joke, hoping discreetly checking her smart watch to see what alert had popped up wouldn’t be read as boredom by anyone who might have noticed. Instead of a stock alert or business email, she found a text from Finn: a picture of a heart fashioned out of crudely chopped red pepper. His naked penis was visible along the edge of the frame and Veruca found herself snorting quietly, knowing he’d aimed the camera that way quite deliberately.

  Then, hoping he would put some pants on before trying to cook—or, rather, that he wouldn’t try to cook at all—she lifted her gaze back to Tim’s presentation about the Savannah property. It was one of the smaller boutique hotels that charged an arm and leg but got mostly honeymooning couples and those aiming for a romantic getaway. His talk of how much they were spending on package items such as roses, bubbly, and chocolates made Veruca think of Finn again. She wanted to believe he was keeping himself busy in a way that wasn’t threat to the structural stability of the house or any of her boats and briefly considered contacting him asking that he stick to raw foods while she was gone.

  As soon as a break was called, she grabbed her phone from her bag, asked her assistant to set up her computer for her presentation, and slipped out to send him a message.

  ****

  Finn was full of leftovers, happily humming along to Dean Martin, and wiggling as he finished the thirty-seventh link in his chain of pink, red, white, and blue paper. He’d been unable to find purple paper, and the blue made the chain look a little more Independence than Valentine’s, but he figured Veruca would be fine with it. The gesture was personal and he planned to distract her enough with sex that a few shades off indigo wouldn’t matter anyway.

  His talent as a Sexual Dynamo Heartthrob—the title he’d begged to get on a business card but hadn’t been to allowed to order—wouldn’t go to waste just because he was a little to the left on the color scale.

  There were only a few hours left until she’d get home, and he’d done most of what he wanted to. Paper hearts were plastered all over the walls, he’d covered the bedroom floor in petals of the pr
ettiest flowers he’d found growing around the island, and ordered food. He was willing to chance another boat crash to drive over to the small town across the water and pick it up, getting home with just enough time to put on a nice suit and set the table.

  He’d managed to give his testicles a paper cut playing horseshoe with his penis and the loops of his paper chain and didn’t want to endanger himself further by trying to cook.

  Once the chain was taped up across the kitchen doorway, he’d throw on some warm clothes and head out to the garage.

  It only took him fifteen minutes to find the tape, and most of that time was spent getting distracted by the decorative mirror in the office and dancing seductively with his own reflection. The song that popped up on the playlist was a delightful instrumental that lent itself perfectly to Finn making up his own lyrics and singing them to his spectacular face between kissy sounds.

  Deciding Veruca needed to be witness to his naked, musical genius, he abandoned the search for the tape just as he found the drawer in which it was stashed, and rushed out to find his phone.

  ****

  The meeting was almost over, Veruca thought happily as she glanced at the time in the corner of the projected display. She had her computer up, charts and graphs stacked atop each other in a pile of seemingly disparate windows that she knew only she could navigate through. She’d had her assistant open everything in a certain order, planning her speech down to the last pixel, ending with the announcement of a new location opening at the end of the summer.

  “And now, unless there are any questions, I’ve got some exciting news!”

  Less than a second before she clicked the final graph, an alert bell rang out through her speakers, the focus wobbled, and she looked up to find that her timing had saved a room full of exhausted sales managers and executives from seeing Finn’s wiggling manhood.

  The graph was a small one, however, and Finn had sent his video in the largest resolution possible, so they saw the rest of him. He appeared to be frozen mid-dance, his attractive mouth open wide in what she hoped was song and not some sort of announcement of ecstasy.

  The graph also hid his dominant hand, leaving its purpose up to one’s own imagination.

  This hadn’t been the exciting news she’d planned to share with the group, but she got a couple of impressed, “oohs” from the crowd nonetheless. After a quiet moment in which everyone took some time to either ogle Finn’s pasty white abs and mussed hair, or politely look away and clear their throats, Veruca let out a low laugh.

  “Well. As exciting as that may be to some of us, it wasn’t what I had in mind to share. I’ll be sure not to leave my e-mail up during the next meeting. What I wanted to say was that, at the end of summer, we’ve got another location coming!” Pausing, Veruca ran her gaze over her subordinates, catching a mouth twitch from at least three of them, letting her know she wasn’t the only one who’d kept the obvious joke to herself. “Yes, those of you who like the warmer climates may consider putting in for a transfer, as we’ll be opening a small B&B just outside of Las Vegas.”

  ****

  Finn didn’t want to risk setting out the good plates, so he went with the everyday dinnerware. He’d managed to go the whole day without screwing anything up and it seemed like tempting fate to go rooting around in storage in an attempt to carry expensive glass—ceramic? Clay? He wasn’t sure what plates were made of, now he thought of it—up to the kitchen and out to the dinner table. Lighting the candles around the living room had been adventure enough, and he’d singed his fingers twice.

  He looked damned good in a black suit with a baby pink bow tie and shiny shoes, though, and Veruca would be home any moment, tired from a long day of boring meetings full of stuffy shirts. She’d be ready to be wined and dined and…

  A few moments passed as the pasta steamed inside its foil package and Finn tried to think of a way to rhyme getting laid with dined, but nothing came to him.

  Giving up, he went back to humming along to Paul Anka, wiggling happily as he filled the plates with food and tried to make everything look pretty and romantic. He considered garnishing with more pepper hearts, but he’d eaten all the red ones with hummus while trying to decide what to eat for lunch and he didn’t think yellow hearts worked quite as well for the holiday.

  Veruca would get the picture, though, he knew. He’d never met anyone who got him quite as well as she did. He probably could have used broccoli and she’d have understood what he was aiming for.

  Grinning giddily as he checked the time, he rushed the plates out to the table, risked his fingers to light the tapers in the centerpiece, and raced back into the kitchen for the wine and glasses. Veruca opened the front door just as he’d set down the glasses and he looked up to see her across the house.

  “My love!”

  “I see the house is safe,” she said with a smile, unwrapping her scarf to drape it over the coat rack with her jacket. “And you haven’t burned down either.”

  “Yeah, no, everything’s great. Nothing to report. I mean, there was an incident with a paper chain, but it’s hardly worth mentioning.”

  “Dinner looks amazing. Did you get those fuzzy handcuffs?”

  Finn opened his mouth to joke that he’d remembered he already owned some, but his brain jumped in before he had a chance to realize what it was telling him to say.

  “Sixty-nined!”

  “Pardon?” Veruca asked, looking only slightly confused by his outburst. “Is that the plan for later?”

  “No, no,” Finn said, before reconsidering. “I mean, yes, definitely. But no, I was—it doesn’t matter. How was your meeting, my love?”

  “Fairly uneventful,” she said, idly reaching up to tug at his bow tie as if it needed tightening. Finn knew she just liked the excuse to be close, so he set down the unopened wine bottle and wrapped his arms around her. Still focused on his tie, she smiled. “There was a distraction as I announced the Vegas location, though.”

  “Did someone’s IRA plummet in value and set the whole place on its ear?”

  “Your e-mail popped up on the screen for the whole room to see.” She lifted her gaze to meet his. “The only thing covering your manhood was the chart pertaining to the most recent quarterly ADR.”

  “It was a really long chart, then, eh?”

  “There was hardly any rise to the X axis at all, actually.”

  “Well, that can’t be right. When it comes to my manhood, there’s always a rise.”

  “Even now?” Veruca said, lowering her hand as if she would check. Against the urging of his hormones, Finn caught her hand, backed up, and lifted her arm to turn her into a twirl before aiming her at the chair in front of her plate.

  “For now, we’ve got a piping hot dinner to enjoy. Then we’ll see where the night takes us. We can talk DAR and mess with my axis all you want.”

  “Daughters of the American Revolution?” Veruca asked, settling in and letting him slide her chair under the table like a gentleman.

  “Is that a request for an orgy?” Finn asked, hustling around to get the wine and opener. “Because it doesn’t have to be just daughters, you know. We can have some sons in there as well.”

  “That’s what D.A.R. stands”—Veruca shook her head—“Never mind. What have we for dinner, darling?”

  ****

  Finn hadn’t skimped on the meal, which pleased Veruca. Everything about Finn pleased her, really. Sure, he’d spent a load of her money and probably dented up one of her smaller speedboats bringing the food home, but that didn’t matter. He wasn’t greedy, he wasn’t mean, and he truly loved her. She’d come across a great many people in her life, whole groups of whom had less power than Finn had in his little pinky, and yet he was the generous one.

  If it hadn’t been for her, he’d have spent barely anything on the meal at all, probably content with grazing in the kitchen for whatever looked vaguely edible and crunched between his teeth. She’d found him munching on potpourri once though she wasn’t ent
irely sure that hadn’t been a joke.

  She smiled at him across the table, enjoying the lines of his face, the slope of his shoulder, and the shadows that draped across the skin of his throat beneath his open collar. It was high time she get her hands on him and show him how much she appreciated all that he’d done while she was gone.

  There were questions to be asked about the Fourth of July paper chain that had come unstuck and plummeted to the kitchen tile, but they could wait.

  “I missed you today, darling,” Veruca said, leaving her shoes under the table as she circled around to stand next to him and caress his face gently. “Even when you embarrassed yourself in a room full of executives.”

  “Hardly embarrassing,” Finn insisted, turning in his chair to better face her. “I was incredible.”

  “I guess I can’t disagree there. I heard a few oohs and aahs at the look of you. Not just women, either. You have wide-range appeal.”

  “You’re all I want to appeal to anymore.”

  “Well, that’s simply not true,” Veruca said, leaning down to kiss him softly. “But I appreciate the sentiment.”

  Finn smiled against her lips, kissed her sweetly, and then reached around to guide her down to sit in his lap. It was a tight squeeze between him and the table, but Veruca had never minded being pressed against her beautiful Irishman. They stayed close like that for a bit, Finn rubbing his hand up and down Veruca’s arm, his other twining into her bound hair.

  She knew he’d be content with that if things ended there. Finn had come into her life like a storm that continued to rage in her heart. There wasn’t a moment of any day where she didn’t ache for him in some small way. Occasionally that ache manifested in a desire so tenacious she’d go from simply admiring him to tearing at his clothes and ordering his hands upon her. Finn was always happy, eager, and ready to oblige, no matter what she demanded of him.