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Griffin Cain certainly knew how to make love to a woman.
This was not the first time that thought had flittered through Sydney Edward's mind. Indeed, it wasn't even the first time today she'd thought it. Oh, the things he did to her bodythe decadent, sinful, exquisite things he did.
But that was Griffin all over. Decadent. Sinful. Exquisite.
And so completely, totally opposite from her. Even nowfour months into their clandestine relationshipshe could hardly believe the things he did to her. The things she let him do to her. No, to be fair, the things she begged him to do.
Begged. Her, Sydney Edwards.
The most staid, conservative, responsible person she knew. And she was putty in his hands. One of which was, even now, tracing enticing swirls across her naked hip.
"I should go," she muttered, attempting to roll away from him.
"No." The sound that emanated from Griffin's throat was low and possessive, more of a growl than a word. His hand slipped over her hip to rest low on her belly as he pulled her back against him. "Not yet."
"I'm already late for work." But even she didn't believe her protestations. Not when his fingers were slipping down into the curls between her legs. Not when her back was automatically arching so that the moist center of her desire tilted toward him.
"Then be late," he grumbled, nipping at her shoulder with his teeth.
They had had sex twice last night and once already this morning. Normally, she didn't stay over at his condo. So, normally, she was back at home, showered and de-Griffined, long before she had a chance to be late for work.
But Griffin had just returned from an overseas trip the night before. He'd had a different trip just prior to that one. In short, lately he'd been gone entirely too much for her taste.
Not that she needed him.
Not that she even really missed him.
It was just that. .well, she craved his touch. Which was not at all the same thing as missing him.
Sydney knew that her relationship with Griffin was odd. Contrary to her very nature, even.
They spent very little time together outside of bed. In bed, he lavished her body with attention. So much so that she might have worried she'd become addicted to his touchif she was the kind of person who allowed herself the weakness of having addictions.
Besides, she was twenty-seven. She was young and healthy. It would be unnatural for her not to be attracted to someone like Griffin. She wasn't the least bit worried that she might become too attached. After all, this was Griffin Cain. Charming playboy. Office flirt. The heir to one-third of the Cain fortune. All in all, an unlikely match for her.
So she wasn't worried that, last night, as soon as she'd gotten his text that he'd landed at Houston International Airport, she'd climbed out of bed and come straight to his downtown condo to meet him. And it had been late. So of course she'd bent her personal rule about staying over. No one wanted to drive home at three in the morning.
And she wasn't even particularly worried about her inability to muster anxiety about being late to work.
Still, she tried to fool him, even if she couldn't fool herself.
"It's all well and good for you to be late to work. You're Griffin Cain. Your family owns the company. People will forgive you anything."
"And I just got in from Norway."
"I thought it was Sweden." As if it made a difference. He was always getting back from some exotic location or heading off to some other.
"Your boss isn't even coming in today," Griffin murmured.
His fingers found the nub of her desire, stroking her in a way that made her tremble and ache all over again.
The rational part of her brain lodged a vain protest. She should be stronger than this. She should have some shred of willpower where he was concerned. But she wasn't and she didn't.
Besides, once more wouldn't hurt.
The heat of his erection stroked her moist folds. He was so close. All she had to do was rotate her hips and wiggle to accommodate him from behind. He'd take her fast and hard. One movement from her and they could both have what they needed.
She arched her back, ready to give herself over to her desire, but instead, he rolled her over onto her back. He pinned both her hands over her head with one hand and stroked her folds with the other, making her arch and moan.
"Open your eyes." The gentle tone of his voice didn't make it any less of a command.
She kept her eyes firmly closed, willing his fingers to move more quickly, to push her over the edge.
But he stilled. She knew he was teasing her until she gave him what he wanted. She rocked her hips, bumping against his hand and against the length of his erection. Digging her heels into the mattress, she pushed her hips up, wanting to drive him in.
"Open your eyes," he said again, somehow touching her, teasing her, yet staying out of reach.
She gritted her teeth as she opened her eyes. She wanted to glare at him for forcing her hand, but sexual desire made her languid and weak. Her protestation came out as a groan of satisfaction.
Griffin leaned over her, his usually relaxed smile stretched into a grimace of restraint. He'd teased her, but it had cost him. He was torturing himself, too. It made her smile, that fierce expressionknowing how hard it was for him to restrain himself.
He muttered a curse and plunged into her. She met his every thrust, her gaze on his the whole time, until she felt his control shatter and his own eyes closed. Only then did she let her climax wash over her.
His body was hot and heavy on hers, but the sensation was not unpleasant. She was satisfied. Not just her body but her pride. She may need him, but he needed her just as badly.
He rolled off her and this time, when he pulled her against him, she didn't resist. He was right. Her boss, Dalton Cain, wasn't coming in today. He had had nothing on the schedule today anyway, no meetings to move around, no appointments to jostle. For once, her plate was blessedly bare. No one would miss her.
Even though she was late for work already, even though she still needed to shower and eat before heading in, she let herself fall asleep. Partly because she was exhausted and sated as she rarely had been and partly because her realization brought her a sort of peace.
Griffin should have been exhausted, but he wasn't. Just as he should no longer have the energy to desire Sydney, but he did.
Despite his fatigue, Griffin couldn't sleep. He was still on Norway time. Or was it Sweden? He'd traveled so much recently, he barely knew where he was or where he'd been.
So he did what he always did when he couldn't sleep. He turned on the TV and poured himself a bowl of cereal. The marshmallows in his Lucky Charms were just starting to soften when the doorbell rang. For the life of him, he couldn't guess who it might be.
He opened the door to see his brother, Dalton, standing in the hall. Dalton, who normally looked like he'd wandered straight out of a Brooks Brothers' ad, was dressed in a slightly wrinkled shirt and jeans. Jeans, for Christ's sake. Griffin hadn't even been sure Dalton owned jeans. But there he was. And the poor guy looked worn-out. Like the past few days had beaten the crap out of him and left him in an alley somewhere.
Unsure how else to greet his brother, Griffin said, "Hey, you're up early."
Dalton's gaze drifted from Griffin's bare feet to the pajama bottoms he'd pulled on not five minutes ago before finally landing the cereal bowl on the table in front of the TV.
"I'm not up early," Dalton said drily. "It's nearly noon."
Nearly noon. Crap, he really had kept Sydney here way longer than he should have.
At the thought of Sydney, Griffin's gaze jerked to Dalton. Dalton was her boss. Andas far as they knewDalton didn't know that his brother and his assistant were sleeping together. Griffin didn't think that Dalton would mind, but hell, what did he know?
Feigning casual, Griffin leaned back to glance at the clock on the TV, then he scoffed. "It's 11:05 a.m. That's not nearly noon. And I just got back from the Middle East last night." Or was it Norway? Or Sweden? Crap.
He could only hope that because he didn't remember where he'd been, Dalton didn't, either. Swedenor Norwayfirst for a meeting with Bergen Petro and then down to Yemen for another meeting. No more than a day for each of those trips. Then he'd taken two personal days for a long weekend down to Rwanda. No one from Cain Enterprises knew about Rwanda, but for him it had been the most important part of the trip.
He was secretly involved with an international aid organization called Hope2O. He'd been in Rwanda on behalf of Hope2O working to set up a water district there.
He traveled all over the world for his job. Of course, no one at Cain Enterprises knew he worked with Hope2O. The Cains were allowed to donate to certain charitable organizations, but the family members rarely came into contact with actual poverty. That kind of dirty work was beneath them. To the Cains, compassion was weakness. He didn't want anyone in the familynot even his brotherto know just how "weak" he was.
He walked back toward the sofa. "Hey, you want something to eat?"
"No, thank you." Dalton shut the door and followed him in. "You want some coffee?" Griffin asked. "Yes. Please."
Griffin headed for the coffeemaker. Though his condo boasted a gourmet kitchen, mostly it went unused. It was galley-style, open to the living room, outfitted in honed black granite and hickory cabinetry. His housekeeper kept it stocked with the essentials. Coffee, cereal, fresh milk, cold cuts and bread.
He punched a few buttons on his Saeco Espresso machine and let it work its magic. It made a single, perfect cup of coffee at a time, but it was damn slow.
Glancing out into the living room, he saw that Dalton had his elbows propped on his knees and his head in his hands. The guy looked whippedwhich was something Griffin would never have thought possible.
Dalton had spent his entire life dancing to their father's tune, and until today, Griffin would have sworn he was fine with it.
Cooper was the opposite. He was Hollister's illegitimate son. He had almost nothing to do with the family at all.
The closest he himself had come to bowing to Hollister's will was accepting the job he currently held at Cain Enterprises. Because Cain Enterprisesa conglomerate of oil, land development and bankingoperated mostly in the United States, there wasn't a lot of international marketing to do. It was a cush job. One that Hollister had created solely to lure Griffin to work for him. Hollister liked having his sons firmly under his control. Griffin liked the fat paycheck and the international travel. And he'd never once envied Dalton his position as heir to the family business.
Dalton was the company leader, Cooper was the family outsider and Griffin was just the guy who met everyone's lowest expectations. Until recently, everyone had been happy with that.
A little more than a week ago, Hollisterwho was practically on his death bedhad called them all to his side. Apparently news of his impending demise had reached the outside world. Some lover he'd scorned long ago had sent him a nasty anonymous letter informing him that he had a daughter he'd never known. The woman who'd written the letter wanted him to die knowing he'd never find the girl.
A letter like that wasn't something Hollister would take lying down. So, he'd issued a challenge: whichever of his sons found the missing heiress would inherit all of Hollister's wealth. If no one found her, all his money and his share of Cain Enterprises would revert to the state.
Yeah, Griffin was pissed off that their father was trying to manipulate them all like this, but he wasn't particularly worried. The way he saw it, Dalton was highly motivated to find the heiress. He had the most to lose.
If Dalton's weary appearance now was any indication, the search for their long-lost sister was not going well.
As far as Griffin knew, Dalton had been working full-time the past week to try to find the heiress. That was why he'd texted Sydney that he wouldn't be coming in today. Ah, crap.
For the first time since Dalton showed up on his doorstep, Griffin considered how Sydney would react if she realized her boss was there. Though they'd been together for four months now, she'd insisted they keep their relationship a secret.
Especially from Dalton.
And here he was about to serve Dalton coffee. As if the machine could read his mind and make coffee, it emitted a series of seductive beeps to indicate Dalton's drink was ready.
Griffin came out of the kitchen and set a mug on the table in front of Dalton. "So," he said, clapping his hands together to hide his nerves. "What brings big brother D to my humble abode in the middle of the day?"
Jesus. Big brother D? Why had he said that? He sounded like a jerk. Thankfully, Dalton didn't seem to notice.
Dalton reached for the coffee. "I think the real question is why you're not at work in the middle of the day."
"Hey, jet lag's a bitch." Suddenly it occurred to him that as long as Sydney didn't come out of the bedroom, he had no reason to be nervous. It wasn't as if Dalton would wander in there on his own. Griffin purposefully stretched his mouth into a salacious grin, just to make sure Dalton knew he wouldn't be welcomed into the condo's private quarters.
As if on cue the shower cranked on in the other room.
"Oh," Dalton said, finally putting together what should have been perfectly obvious.
Griffin glanced at the bedroom door and then back at Dal-ton. This was the moment of truth.
Sydney took quick, efficient showers. She was efficient about everything except sex. Five minutes max. Another two to dress. Which meant in seven minutes or less, she'd wander out of his bedroom with damp hair, dressed in clothes that had spent the night crumpled on the floor.
Then, one of two things would happen. Dalton would be cool with it, and Sydney would realize their being together just wasn't that big a deal. Or she would freak. And that would mean the end of their relationship. No more enthusiastic welcomes home. No more warm body beside him in bed. No more mindblowing sex. He wasn't willing to give up any of those things.
When he noticed Dalton looking at him, he forced a smile. "Give me a second, will you?" Dalton nodded. "Take your time."
Griffin crossed the bedroom, made a quick detour through the closet to change clothes and grabbed his keys before heading for the bathroom. Sydney had the hot water cranked all the way up, and steam churned out of the glass-brick shower. The wavy glass distorted the killer curves she normally kept hidden beneath conservative clothes. She wasn't the kind of woman who showed off her body, but she didn't seem to mind being naked, either. He loved watching her shower. Unfortunately, this time it couldn't end with them going back to bed.
Still he couldn't resist propping his shoulder against the doorway of the walk-in shower and enjoying the open sensuality of her movements and the heavy, relaxed, deep breaths she took as she scraped her nails over her scalp. She gave her hair a final rinse and turned off the faucet, reaching for a towel.
As she dabbed the towel over her face, she realized he was watching, and her lips tipped upward in a smile. "Stop it. You know I have to get to work."