More than want you, p.13
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       More Than Want You, p.13
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         Part #1 of More Than Words series by Shayla Black

  I pull back. I try to be all suave about it, lean back in my chair like I didn’t want to jump on her all along.

  Not sure she’s buying it when she leans back and crosses her arms over her chest pensively.

  “Yeah. Whatever,” I flip back at her.

  Keeley sends me a skeptical glance but lets it go. “So what’s next? How do you make me into Griff’s fantasy girl?”

  I’m happy to be back on conversationally easier ground. “I’ve made you some appointments next week. My brother can be an SOB pig but he loves a lady. Polished in public, slutastic in private. I also called a former client of mine. Clarisse has trained pageant contestants. Don’t give me that face.”

  That only makes Keeley’s expression stormier. “I am not going to look like a mannequin in sequins.”

  “You’re not,” I rush to agree. “But she’s also a body language coach. She’ll teach you to sit, stand, walk, and talk all while flirting in the subtlest way. Griff eats that shit up. After that, you’ve got a full two days at the spa. In the meantime, my sister is learning his schedule. We’ll figure out a time, a place, and a look that’s just right for the occasion. Then we’ll go in.”

  “And when do you start teaching me about business and what to do so that I can eventually buy my own B and B?”

  I pause. It’s a fair question. Besides, keeping my end of the bargain will enable me to spend more time with Keeley.

  “Saturday. I’m dropping by to preview a place in Kahakuloa for another client. After that, I should be free for the rest of the day. I know some houses for sale not far from there that might be good properties for your purpose. Why don’t we walk some of them, talk about the pros and cons, what to look for and what to run away from, how you’d utilize them to your maximum benefit…that kind of thing.”

  “That would be great.” Her warm smile returns.

  Every time I see that expression, I relax and simply enjoy her beauty. And of course, I have to smile back.

  “It’s a date, then.”

  Her smile falls. “It’s not. We’re business partners. We’re giving each other something we want so we can get ahead. Once Griff trusts me, I’m going to do my best to help you repair your relationship with your brother. But you and I are not dating. We’re not having sex. We’re not anything.”

  My immediate reaction is to be pissed off. My head knows that’s the deal we struck. The rest of me isn’t accepting it.

  “Figure of speech.” I shrug by way of apology.

  But deep down…yeah, put me in the stupid column. I’m still determined to have my cake and eat it, too. I will have this woman again. I’ll spend day and night working for it until I earn her.

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  Saturday morning rolls around. After a contentious staff meeting with Rob and Britta the day before where they finally admit I’m right—well, that Keeley is right—about the Stowe heirs and their emotional detachment from their late mother’s estate, I’m happy to avoid the office for a couple of days.

  Following a light breakfast my luscious houseguest insists on cooking, she contorts herself on the lanai in a way that makes me scratch my head. Then we leave. She walks beside me, toward my car. Her small denim shorts cup her ass, and I can’t stop myself from glancing down at her behind. Damn… She doesn’t seem to notice my ogling since she’s focused on our day.

  As we walk, her fingers brush mine, and I clench my fists to stop myself from reaching over. Rob asked me yesterday what I wanted more, to keep Griff from landing the Stowe estate or dance the horizontal mambo with Keeley again. He wouldn’t take both for an answer. If I had to choose? A few days ago, the answer was simple. The moment my marketing assistant confronted me I felt less certain.

  That confuses the shit out of me.

  I sidestep Keeley and press the fob to unlock the car and open her door. I stand close. She has to brush past me to ease in. As I feel her breasts on my chest, she looks up at me, steadies herself with a hand on my shoulder. I get hard in an instant. I can’t look away.

  “Excuse me,” she murmurs, sliding her fingertips down my arm as she sinks into her seat. Then looks up at me with big blue eyes.

  I start to sweat.

  After blowing out a breath as I round the back of the car and adjust my straining fly, I fold myself into the driver’s seat and we head out.

  “Are you making any progress at the office about how best to approach the Stowes?”

  I’m grateful for something else to think about besides her exposed thigh and the hint of cleavage framed by the buttons of her black blouse. I jerk my eyes back to the open road. “Some. We keep trying to come up with ideas that will respect their feelings about the estate while still showcasing its features. I guess Susan Stowe didn’t throw parties, but it would be a great place for gatherings since it’s on four acres and a lot of that land is a wide greenbelt overlooking the ocean. There are multiple pools, a massive kitchen, eight bedrooms. There’s even a detached ohana, so it would be great for honeymooners or spa stuff.”

  “A what?”

  “Ohana. On the mainland, it’s usually called a cabana or mother-in-law suite.”

  “Oh… In Arizona, we call it a casita. But I get it. How do you tell these two siblings that their mom had an amazing house that will net them a fortune without making them feel stupid for not glorifying a place they resent? That’s the question.”

  “Yeah, and if we don’t make a big deal out of the property, how do we get them top dollar for it? If they give me the listing, that will be my responsibility.” I feel like I’ve wrapped my brain around this delicate dance for days and I’ve still got no moves. “I just need to keep working on that. How did your meeting with Clarisse go the last couple of days? You learn about the body language of flirting?”

  She crosses her right leg over her left, sleek thighs rubbing together. I notice she’s wearing some killer heels. High. Black. Slender. One tiny strap wraps around her ankle, emphasizing how delicate she is. Absently, she swishes her foot back and forth to the rhythm of the song playing on the radio in the background. Then she takes a deep breath. It thrusts her breasts out.

  I must be hard up if her merely breathing is flipping my switch.

  With a toss of her long, bright hair, she turns to me. Her lips are slightly parted. She’s wearing a shimmery, sheer gloss that makes it impossible not to look at her mouth. When her tongue peeks out nervously, it’s all I can do not to groan.

  “I don’t know.” She flips a coy glance over to me, then glances down at my crotch. “It seemed like a bunch of BS to me, but I think it’s working on you.”

  Wait. She’s been giving me some act?

  “I’m horny in general,” I protest.

  “Hmm.” She pauses thoughtfully over my words. “Maybe I didn’t learn as well as I thought, then. I’ll try harder.”

  She leans in, elbows braced on the console as she lifts her fingertips to brush a soft line over her exposed skin, tracing the line of her collarbones then down, so freaking close to her shadowed, sugary cleavage. I want my hands there. My mouth pressed to her skin. My tongue laving that same path.

  Why didn’t I drink her in the night I had her on the beach? She was open. She wanted me. But I was stupid and chose the quick fuck. I missed out on all the details that are driving me insane now. I really want a do-over. Or a do-again-and-again.

  I bite back a curse and try to focus on the traffic as we make our way east along the coast. She drags the toe of her strappy sandal up the side of her calf, jerking my attention back to her killer legs. I imagine my hands sliding between her thighs to touch her wet folds, then my head between them so I can taste her. After she’s screamed her throat raw and is convinced she’s sated, then I’ll slide my hips between her legs and fill her pussy with every inch—

  “Maxon?” she murmurs. It’s breathy, like she’s beginning to feel aroused.

  I glance at her face. She purses her lips just slightly, as if she’s deep in thought. Bu
t her cheeks are flushed. When she lifts her gaze to mine, I can’t look away. Are her pupils dilated?

  “Yeah,” I choke out, gripping the steering wheel in a fight for control.

  Suddenly, she tosses her head back and laughs. “Gotcha! My body language is totally turning you on. You ought to see your face. If I encouraged you, I think you might actually pull over, come across the console, and try to strip me naked.”

  My cock thinks that’s a great idea. I don’t want to give her the satisfaction of admitting she’s right. And giving her that kind of power over me isn’t smart.

  “All right. You learned well,” I concede.

  I should probably shut my mouth, but she has to know she’s capable if she’s going to use these maneuvers on Griff. God, I don’t want to think about that. At least I don’t have to look at it.

  Keeley gives me a giddy clap. “I had you going.”

  She still does.

  “Don’t do that again unless you mean it.”

  As we roll to a red light, I zip a hot stare across the space between us. My eye fuck must have some impact on her because her breath catches.

  “What do you mean?”

  “Tease me again, and I’ll have you in my bed, stripped down, and taking the pleasure I give you so fast you’ll be dizzy, sunshine.”

  Neither of us moves or speaks for a long minute. Is she reconsidering her no-sex policy? I’m praying to any god I think may help me get laid when I hear an impatient honking behind me.

  I jolt. The light has turned green. Keeley is now leaning away, arms crossed over her chest and staring out the windshield.

  The moment is gone.

  I curse under my breath as I step on the gas. The car lurches forward. The rest of the ride is silent.

  After another strained ten minutes, we reach the house I’m previewing for an overseas client. He’s a Chinese banker looking for a place to entertain clients supposedly. I don’t really care if he uses this as a party hotspot or a love shack. He wants a luxury waterfront showplace, so I’ll find him one.

  When we reach the house, I stop the car in front of a plantation-style estate. On the first level, a lush lawn leads to a huge stone patio, which gives way to wide wooden stairs. At the top, benches line the lanai, along with lush plants and a couple of cozy rockers. A beautiful dining room table sits squarely under the shade of the patio roof with a swaying ceiling fan providing an extra nudge for the gentle trade winds licking across my skin. The view of the ocean is full frontal and 180 degrees.

  I don’t see doors at the threshold of the house. Instead, the opening has been widened to accommodate a floor-to-ceiling accordion glass door. The effect brings the outdoors inside, right into the adjacent, open-concept living room.

  In keeping with custom, we kick off our shoes before we head inside. Two huge bamboo sofas with thick tropical-print cushions sit perpendicular to the entrance. A matching block table separates them. At the apex, a wide chair designed for reading the day away while overlooking the palm-tree-and-Pacific heaven has been positioned like a throne. Every wall is white, except one covered in well-stocked bookshelves. Skylights abound. Ceiling fans turn in lazy circles, dangling on downrods from the soaring ceilings above.

  A simple wooden guitar hangs on the wall beside a hall tree on our way to the adjacent bar area. The little space is kitschy. The cabinets are bamboo. Someone hung a grass skirt as a border with old forty-fives of Elvis tracks as decor. But somehow it doesn’t look old or dated. Surprisingly, it’s neutral and functional.

  On the far wall, the kitchen gleams white with a few rustic exceptions. There’s a wooden island, a giant eat-in kitchen with an old-fashioned oval table, but a sleekly modern hooded stove, double ovens, and clean white subway tile lining the walls.

  The place oozes charm.

  “It’s…amazing.” Keeley looks around, completely wide-eyed, blinking, oohing and aahing, brushing her hands along every surface.

  She’s in love.

  I don’t blame her. Besides being beautiful, the house is cozy. A person could live here, relax here, while away their days in sheer bliss.

  “If your client doesn’t buy this, he’s crazy. If I had the money, I absolutely would.”

  I shrug. “I think he’s looking for something more modern. Something he can show off, rather than a place where he can hide away.”

  I snap off a few pictures of the view, the dining, entertaining, and kitchen spaces.

  “You done in here?” she asks.

  “Yeah.” Is she suddenly in a hurry?

  “Good.” She grabs my hands. “Let’s go see the rest.”

  I laugh as she tugs me back into the entertainment space, then through wide double doors and into an airy bedroom. More white. More plantation-cottage vibe. Flowing white drapes flap in the breeze as they frame the open French doors. Other than flowered prints on the bed in neutrals, the room is soft and simple and comfortable. Multiple windows overlook the green expanse of grass and the ocean beyond.

  A door at the back of the room leads to a bathroom with double sinks framed in marble and open shelving in the cabinets beneath, punctuated with bamboo baskets instead of drawers. Double mirrors, hanging pendant lights, and a bright atmosphere add the perfect touches. I like it.

  Around a corner, I find a softly shadowed hallway, a huge closet, a king-size soaker tub, then another doorway. When I push it open, I find a giant walk-in indoor/outdoor shower made of gray lava rock. The walls on three sides protect anyone from seeing in, but whoever built this place was smart enough to cut an open window with a direct view of the palms and the ocean. There’s even a pedestal for bath items. Five shower heads line one wall that must be six feet long. A whole football team could probably shower in here at once and never touch.

  “Oh, my gosh…” Keeley’s bare feet patter along the stone floor as she drinks it all in. “Can I just die here? This is…”

  “Stunning,” I finish for her.

  “Yeah. But not stuffy. Why would anyone sell this place?”

  I shrug. “Hawaii is more of a destination than a residence for some people. They buy a house, thinking they’ll come here more often than they do. A few years slide by. They realize they’re paying taxes, maintenance, whatever…and just not finding the time or energy to come here enough to justify the money.”

  “That’s crazy. If this place was mine, I’d forget ever going back to Phoenix. I’d live here and never leave.”

  I see what she means. It’s secluded. Quiet. A stroll in gives me a sense that I should relax more, worry less, share this world with someone important. I glance Keeley’s way.

  Dangerous train of thought…

  “Well, we can’t stay,” I remind her as I grab snapshots of this bedroom and bathroom area. “Let’s see about the rest.”

  On the other side of the main living area is another bedroom, similar in size and color to the first. This one is set up as a children’s room with two double beds, a big TV, and a pair of comfy chairs with a library of books and DVDs. The bathroom is smaller but stylish. More than adequate for a guest or two.

  “So cute,” she remarks. “If I’d had this bedroom growing up…” With a shake of her head, she glances out over the expanse of the ocean. “I would never have sneaked out and found trouble.”

  “You were a bad girl?” That surprises me.

  “Terrible,” she assures. “When I was thirteen, my best friend, Betsy, and I toilet-papered the house of the cute boy down the street, then we took his bike, which he’d left on his front porch, for a joyride all the way to the end of the block.”

  “Did you return it?”

  “We did,” she concedes with a teasing grin. “But it was almost midnight.”

  “Scandalous.” I shake my head as if I’m very disappointed.

  “Totally. I followed that up at fifteen by sneaking out to study with some kids in my biology class at the all-night pancake house down the road.”

  “You were worried about your g
rade?”

  “No. There was another cute boy. He dared me to sneak out my window.”

  I pause. If I dare her to lose those shorts and muss up one of these beds with me…

  “Whatever you’re thinking, the answer is no.” She shakes her head.

 
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