Read an Excerpt
The steam swirling around Erica created a dreamlike atmosphere. The clouds obscured her vision, but she didn’t need to see clearly to know just who walked into the room behind her. For some elemental reason, she always knew when he was near. She felt his presence like an invisible force, an eddy that quickly towed her deeper then left his lingering existence in her own soul. She didn’t know if it was his scent or if he had a unique heat signature that allowed her to track him like the most sensitive of military ordinance.
She stood still near the corner of the small cubed space. Her breathing was almost as loud as the steam hissing out of the pipes. She felt every fibre of the soft terrycloth towel wrapped around her naked body. Her nipples strained against the threaded material, begging for his touch. Slick moisture gathered on her skin from both the steam and her own intense desire. A soft groan escaped her lips, and she tried to cover it with a soft cough, but apparently, he heard the sound anyway. His hands curved over her shoulders as he pulled her into his body. She felt every hard line and defined muscle of his broad chest against her back. His deep voice whispered seductively into her ear.
“It’s time to stop playing this game we’ve become so fond of, Erica. It’s been amusing, but now the rules are going to change. You’ll be mine before the day is out.”
“What rules do you speak of, Sir?” Her voice sounded strange to her ears, slightly elevated and whisper soft.
He bent his head, and a lock of his soft hair brushed her cheek. His hand trailed from her shoulder to graze the slope of her neck with one finger.
“You will follow my commands when and where I see fit. You will heed to my desires, and I will fulfil yours. I can tell this excites you. I feel your pulse rushing just under your skin. I hear your breathing get shallower.”
“Maybe it’s just from the workout and the steam congesting my lungs”
His finger moved further down to glance across her collarbone, down her chest and without any hesitation slipped beneath the towel to cup her left breast.
“Maybe, but if so, why is your nipple hard?”
The first intimate touch of his hand against her skin was pure sensation. All thoughts evaporated like the steam cocooning their bodies. She leaned back and put her head on his shoulder, exposing her neck in invitation. His fingers gently massaged her nipple, learning her texture and sensitivity. His palm cupped the underside of her breast.
His other hand came around and loosened the towel. As it fell to the damp floor beneath their feet, Erica gasped and started to bring her hands up to cover herself before she recognised that the increase in steam prevented him from seeing anything below her breasts. It was actually quite arousing knowing she was completely bare but still retaining the mysteries of her body. His hands skimmed down her sides, exploring the curves of her shape.
“Your skin is so soft, like satin. I’m dying to taste every single inch. Every soft curve and valley will know my touch.”
He spun her around and, cupping her breast, leaned down. Her nipple was sucked into the hot cavern of his mouth. An irrepressible groan left both their throats. His tongue rasped across the sensitive peak. Her other nipple was rolled between his fingers.
His hand glided down her back. Arching into the touch, she wordlessly showed him how incredible he felt on her skin.
“Just one little touch, my dear. I need just one touch burned into my memory until we meet again,” he insisted with a growl.
Slowly, his hand moved around to caress her rear then his fingers inched towards her aching, wet centre—
Erica’s eyes flew open as someone tapped her shoulder. She almost missed a step in her stride and had to correct her rhythm before she fell on her face like a moron in a YouTube video.
The music from her MP3 player was loud enough to drown out the noises of the gym around her, hence the escape into fantasy world. She looked to see who’d so rudely interrupted her erotic dream and saw the object of her fantasy staring back at her. Keeping her stride on the treadmill, she removed the ear bud from her canal and tried to play it cool.
“Can I help you, Mr. Shield?”
“I was just wondering how much longer you’re going to be? The other treadmill isn’t working, and I was hoping to get in a run before my meeting later this evening.”
Erica looked down at the digital output of the machine and noticed she had just crossed the four-mile mark.
Wow, time flies when you’re imaging your own erotic videos in your head.
Normally, she did five miles.
“Another few minutes, and it’s all yours”. She had to repress a groan when he flashed that hundred-watt smile he was so infamous for.
“I appreciate that. I’m going over to the bench press, but I’ll keep an eye out for when you’re done with your cool down.”
Oh Jesus, that man made her body ramp up better than any workout ever could. Even the sound of his name, Mark Shield, brought forth images of medieval knights protecting their ladies fair by sheer will and strength. Fanciful, she knew, but what did you want from a history major? The extent of her fantasies tonight must be a result of so many sleep-deprived and dateless nights. Her brain and hormones had finally gone haywire.
He was a partner at their firm Aspen Advertising and was known in the office for being the most eligible bachelor, but to everyone’s knowledge he’d never dated within the office. His powerful thirty-three year old build topped out at six foot two inches, his strength apparent in both the sharpness of his mind and physical presence. He carried himself with an animalistic grace. Erica had always likened him to a Bengal tiger, overtly refined but with an inner power one didn’t dare ignore. His features were so sharply honed that he couldn’t be considered pretty but rather striking. She’d noticed on more than one occasion that male and female clients had a hard time looking away. He had thick, dark hair. The top layers had a tendency to wave and fell softly over his forehead, and the bottom caressed his collar. He had the most expressive crystal green eyes, capable of instantly changing from intense determination to humour. Erica wondered what they would look like filled with desire.
Their Denver-based company specialised in outdoor sporting events and equipment manufacturers. Her position as vice-president of graphic imaging allowed her to work closely with Mark quite often. Many long evenings were spent in the boardroom, brainstorming for new campaigns.
She crossed her five-mile mark and started to reduce her pace to cool down her muscles. She glanced over at the bench press to see him smoothly raising the bar. His muscles contracted, and sweat glistened over his chest and abdomen. Her body temperature spiked, and her mouth was suddenly dry as she imagined that heavy body glistening from the exertion of driving his hips between her own. Looking her fill, she noticed his powerful legs, chiselled calves and thighs bulging with strength. As her gaze continued, she noticed that his thighs weren’t the only things with an impressive bulge.
Oh my god, the man can fill out a pair of shorts!
Looking back to the bar he effortlessly lifted over his head, she noticed no apparent strain on his face with the heavy weight. The number of weights added to the bar totalled about two hundred pounds. When she glanced into the mirror that ran the length of the wall, she noticed Mark could see her as well and had caught her staring. Damn! Oh well, there nothing wrong with a little healthy appreciation. He didn’t need to know that only a few minutes ago he was the star of her very own erotic dream.
She stepped off the treadmill to complete her stretches as he rose from the bench and walked in her direction. She did a series of yoga positions in front of the treadmill to stretch her hamstrings. Thinking he would step to her side and get on the machine, she moved into a forward bend. However, the gods were in a decidedly mischievous mood that evening. Mark turned around and stood just behind her when her butt was lifted right over the top of her head. When she gazed into the mirror across the room, she was surprised to find him doing a little healthy appreciation of his own. Way too many erotic images popped into her head with the two of them in this exact position. As quickly as possible, she moved into a lunge to get her ass away from his hips. Trying to pull her mind from thoughts of hot, sweaty gym sex, she looked into the mirrored wall across from them.
“It’s all yours. Watch the incline button, it was sticking a little bit.”
Mark stood behind her, riveted by the sight of her bending over. Logically, he knew she was stretching heated muscles, but that didn’t stop the rush of arousal through his system. He felt like he had been momentarily hypnotised and shook his head to clear the images running rampant through his brain—Erica’s ankles cuffed to a spreader bar, her wrists lashed together and anchored. Her pussy dripping wet as he stroked her with a massage glove or light flicks of a crop. Knowing his support strap wouldn’t conceal the beginning of his erection in jersey shorts, he stepped back and picked up a clean towel from the pile next to the treadmill. After counting to ten and getting his rebelling body under control, he turned to face her again and cleared his throat.
“Thanks for the warning. Are you going to be at the Yagoshi contract negotiations tomorrow?”
“Yes, I need to provide projected expenditures for my team’s portion of the proposed campaign.”
She moved back into a standing position and turned around to face him, eliminating the barrier of the mirror between their gazes. He thought he heard her ask who his meeting was with that night, but he had trouble forming coherent words. Finally, a clear thought presented.
“Chillings is sending over a team to discuss their new thermal coat line. We really want to land this account. If things progress as predicted, it will provide a large influx of revenue for the firm.”
He was babbling and knew it. Erica’s wide eyes sparkled with creative thoughts. She was a tireless worker, constantly utilising her unique talent to create compelling and imaginative campaigns for the company.
“That’s great. Good luck. Let me know how it turns out. Depending on the direction they want to go on the campaign, I already have some interesting ideas spinning in my head.”
He grinned and found himself unable to resist sliding his fingers down her face to release a lock that had come loose from her sleekly knotted hair. Her face was flushed from her workout, and her neck glistened with sweat above the neckline of her shirt. Taking a step back before things got out of hand, he positioned himself on the treadmill and started the belt.
She picked up her rucksack. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
Mark increased his pace as Erica practically ran out the door. His thighs burned and his lungs expanded with the exertion. Giving his head a recriminating shake, he replayed their interaction.
God, could I have been a bigger tool?
When he’d first come up to her on the treadmill, her eyes had been closed, and he’d been riveted by the dreamlike expression on her face—so much so that he made up a bogus excuse of the other machine not working just so he could talk to her. Her checking him out on the bench press had been a surprise. He thought that he’d seen a sharp pull of arousal in her expressive eyes, but flicker was gone before he had time to process it further.
They’d always had a completely professional relationship, but if he was honest, Erica Cross had been the star of more sexual fantasies than he would ever admit to another person. He had never approached her for anything social because, up until recently, she’d been a lower-level executive, and that was a big taboo for interoffice dating. Additionally, he didn’t like dating within the confines of the office. He felt it was dangerous to mix potential personal conflicts and professional responsibilities. However, when Erica had bent over, with her legs and ass sticking right into the air, his head had spun. He’d forced himself not to grab her hips to draw her closer. Her choice of nylon running shorts perfectly shaped her frame when she bent over and didn’t help his impulse.
Her workout clothes were nicely understated. So many women came to the gym dressed in designer outfits that were little more than sports bras and hip hugging boy shorts. He appreciated her T-shirt and full shorts combo. They allowed her the freedom of movement for her workout but didn’t advertise all her assets. It was more than obvious she worked out on a regular basis. Her endurance on the treadmill was impressive. Her physique reminded him of a swimmer, long limbs, sleek muscles, quiet graceful strength. Shaking his head again, he quickly glanced at the clock. If he was going to make it to this meeting on time, he needed to quit fantasising and finish his workout. Still, thinking back to the interchange, he realised that maybe she had been harbouring some quiet fantasies of her own. It was time to see where this attraction between them could go.