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Pursuit of Love
By Doreen Rainey
ARABESQUE BOOKSCopyright © 2005 Doreen Rainey
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHer lips parted slightly as she exhaled a slow, sensuous sigh. Desperately trying to curtail the scream that threatened to escape, she lightly bit down on her bottom lip. If the golden touch of his hands could be bottled and sold, there was no doubt in her mind that she stood to make a small fortune. The power of his touch had the ability to make her forget her own name.
As he gently massaged her breasts, her nipples stretched the thin silk material of her white, lacy negligee. The warming sensation of pure satisfaction slowly trickled from the top of her head, down her spinal cord, through her legs, to finally settle on the heels of her feet. But as magically as his hands performed, they only accounted for half her pleasure.
Nothing could compare to his magnificent, amazing tongue. That one body part could easily be declared a lethal weapon. She was not sure where he had learned such remarkable techniques, but men around the world could learn a thing or two from him. Starting with small, circular motions around her ears, he whispered words of love and affection as he continued down her neck. Between his tongue and the touch of his hand, it was possible that this was the day that she would be driven insane.
Licking, sucking, and gently pinching, he continued his methodical assault, moving lower and lower. His descent remained unhurried and focused, sending her into a spiral of anticipated uncontrollable pleasure. When the magic tongue circled her navel, the tickling sensation made her fully arch her back, not wanting to miss the slice of heaven he was giving to her.
As he continued his teasing plunge, the expectation of what was to come nearly drove her body wild in ways she'd never deemed possible. Her palms were sweaty, her legs became rubber, and her breathing was so erratic she found herself gulping for air. Finally, the warmth of his breath caressed her most private part and she stopped breathing altogether. Eager for the gratification only he could provide, she clenched the covers on each side of her and closed her eyes to accept every ounce of pure bliss he so freely gave. Just when she couldn't take another second, he stuck out his tongue and ...
Danielle Olivia Kennedy sat straight up and her eyes popped wide open. Glancing from left to right, she frantically touched each side of her. Nothing. No one. The empty space in the bed confirmed it. She was alone. The darkened room was eerily silent except for the dramatic heaves in her chest as she tried to catch her breath.
Placing her hand across her heart, she felt it pounding at triple speed. Small beads of sweat formed on her brow and she focused on slowing down her breathing and reducing her heart rate. Once she regained some semblance of control, she shifted uncomfortably in her bed, realizing there were other moist areas of her body besides the sweat on her forehead.
Hugging herself, she didn't need to close her eyes for the image of him to come into focus. She easily recalled everything about him. The face. The body. The hands. The tongue.
Usually, her dreams faded from memory when a new day dawned. But tonight, every single, minute detail remained vividly clear. With the emotional, sensual feelings that the dream evoked, the longing and need it conjured up should have carried over into her waking hours. Instead, she felt nothing but annoyance and agitation.
Throwing the covers back, she stomped across the room, not bothering to put on a robe over her silk shorts and camisole top. Sliding her feet into her slippers, she fussed and cursed under her breath. What is wrong with me? He's only been back in my life for two weeks. Two weeks! How could he have crept into my subconscious? Invaded my dreams? Taken over my nights?
Softening her steps once she started down the hallway, she tiptoed down the flight of stairs to avoid waking her sister, who was sleeping just a few short feet away. Using her hands as a guide in the dark, she reached the first floor, turned the corner, and headed toward the back of the house. Passing the living room, dining room, and a home office, she stepped onto the tiled floor and flipped the light switch in the kitchen.
Adjusting her vision to the bright, glaring light, she rubbed her temples to massage away the beginning of a headache. Opening the cabinet above the sink, she reached for a glass and filled it with water from the cooler in the corner. Hoping to quench her thirst, she took less than a minute to empty the glass. Quickly refilling, she started gulping down water again. Feeling as if she'd run a marathon, she poured herself a third glass of water and wondered if anything besides him could extinguish the flames burning inside her.
"What's wrong, Danielle? What are you doing up?" Tanya said. "It's almost three o'clock in the morning."
Surprised by the sound, Danielle jumped, spilling some of the water down her nightshirt. "Damn," she said, grabbing a few paper towels and dabbing the front of her top. "Sorry, sis, did I wake you?"
Tightening the belt on her robe, Tanya Kennedy stood in the doorway, watching her baby sister dab the water as if her life depended on it. She'd been sound asleep when she heard noises in the kitchen; the fact that the burglar alarm did not go off meant it could only be Danielle. "Don't worry about me. The better question is, what's going on with you?"
Finishing the rest of her water, Danielle set the glass in the sink. "I couldn't sleep."
Opening the refrigerator, Tanya grabbed some grapes and took a seat in one of the chairs surrounding the wooden table. "That much is obvious. The question is why."
Danielle tossed the soaked paper towels in the trash and shrugged. How could she explain that erotic dreams had driven her out of her own bed?
"Nervous about tomorrow?" Tanya asked, when Danielle didn't say anything.
Nervous. That one word couldn't even begin to describe the emotions she was feeling in anticipation of her upcoming lunch appointment. Fear. Panic. Dread. Scared beyond belief. What happened later on that day would have a lasting effect on the rest of her life.
Whatever the result, she just hoped she could accept it. The bottom line was that she'd done all she could. Given it everything she had. The outcome was completely out of her hands. But tomorrow's event wasn't what drove her from her bed in the middle of the night.
Hazel eyes. Smooth almond skin. Strong arms. Muscular legs. Killer abs. Amazing hands. Fantastic tongue. That's what sent her running into the kitchen hoping to find something that would cool her body. That was a fact she wasn't ready to admit to anyone-even her sister. If Tanya thought that her appointment tomorrow was the reason, then so be it. "I guess so."
Pulling several grapes off the stem, Tanya popped a couple in her mouth. "Try not to worry. You said yourself you nailed the screen test. They'd be foolish not to want you."
"Well, in case you didn't know, the industry is made up of fools," Danielle said, breaking off a bunch for herself.
Removing the scarf on her head that was beginning to come undone, Tanya set it to the side and her cinnamon hair began to unwrap, resting loosely on her shoulder. "And when did you become so cynical? If I remember correctly, you never doubted yourself-or your ability to get what you wanted."
Danielle agreed 100 percent. Over the years, she'd had to fight hard for everything she wanted. The problem was that she also fought everybody to get it. Taking a seat on the opposite side of the table, she said, "We've seen how far that got me."
The sarcastic comment didn't need an explanation and Tanya hoped to reassure her sister and give her a vote of confidence. "That was a long time ago."
"Some people never forget," Danielle answered quietly.
Studying her sister's expression, Tanya couldn't believe that Danielle actually questioned whether she could achieve her goal. The realization threw her off. This was the fist time Tanya recalled Danielle worrying about her ability to handle a situation. Danielle always got what she wanted. "I'm sure things will work out."
Rising, Danielle threw the empty grape stems in the trash and headed back to her room. Stopping just short of the door, she turned back to face her sister. "I hope you're right. Because if they don't, I have nothing left."
Tanya watched her sister disappear down the hallway. When Danielle had arrived almost two weeks ago, Tanya never doubted whether she would get this role. Danielle had experienced a rough time lately, but Tanya had never known her baby sister not to bounce back. She had an innate ability to fight to make things go her way. Sometimes the attitude that came along with that personality trait turned people off, but surely she could recover from that.
But listening to her now, Tanya started to have second thoughts. If things didn't work out for her sister, was she going to be able to handle it?
Sliding back under the covers, Danielle glanced at the clock on the nightstand. Almost four A.M. Punching her pillow, she lay down and forced her eyes shut, willing her body to fall asleep. Since she had arrived at her sister's house, her nights had followed the same pattern: dreaming of him. Based on experience with the Dream, it would be at least another hour before her body returned to normal. That was how much time she needed for the tingling, warm, erotic sensation to filter its way out of her body.
As she straddled his body, her brown eyes stared down at him, full of passion and power. The flickering lights from the candles scattered throughout the room reflected off her glistening body, eliciting a shimmer from her bronze skin. The sweet aroma of vanilla wafted through the air, mixed with the natural scent that distinctly belonged to her. Her dark brown hair, barely grazing the tips of her shoulders, was pushed back off her face and a little sweat moistened her skin, giving her a sexy glow.
Her eyes hypnotized him as they stared at his, filled with longing and adoration. With her riding him to a rhythm created just for the two of them, their bodies melded together like the perfect pieces of a puzzle. Her fingers, expertly massaging his chest, sent ripples of raw, sensuous pleasure throughout his entire being.
His heart raced at breakneck speed as she breathlessly whispered words of endearment. Accustomed to being in a position of power, he was rendered powerless by her ability to give him exactly what he needed ... craved ... desired. Her perfect face, her amazing body, and her captivating expression of pleasure blended together to send him into a state of euphoria. Just when he thought he couldn't take it any longer, his body constricted and he screamed her name in all-consuming satisfaction.
The screech of the alarm invaded his mind and Xavier Johnston practically jumped out of the bed, tangling himself in the covers. Several seconds passed as he frantically glanced around the room, trying to get his bearings. Then it hit him. He'd been dreaming-again. Pounding the button to shut off the maddening buzz from the alarm, he flopped back down on the pillows, running his hands across his face. He felt his heartbeat at every pulse point on his body; his blood pressure had to be pushing the limits.
"This has got to stop," he said to the empty room. His breathing, labored and deep, sounded as if he'd just run a race. Lifting the sheet, he peeked underneath. The hardness staring back at him made it quite obvious how real the dream seemed to be.
Throwing back the covers, he grabbed his sweats off the back of the chair and his sneakers from the closet. Hopefully, he could work off some of the tension that had built up inside of him. Tension that hadn't been there until she walked back into his life-just two short weeks ago.
An hour later, Xavier stood in the center of the double-sized shower stall, allowing the water to pelt his body with optimum pressure from the six shower heads positioned at various parts of his body. The three-mile run, which was designed to help him relax and push her out of his system, failed miserably. Glancing down, he realized he was no better off now than he was when he had snapped out of the dream. Her legs. Her breasts. Her beautiful face. The alluring eyes. They were like snapshots that kept replaying over and over again.
Closing his eyes, he determined to concentrate on other things. If he could just focus on something else, he could get her completely out of his mind. It shouldn't be too hard. There was a long list of topics that he could focus his attention on. The slew of business meetings he had this week. The dinner he had planned with his brother tomorrow night. Taxes that he needed to file. A visit to the dentist he needed to schedule. Anything was better than thinking about her. This was exactly what he needed to put her out of his mind. Out of his dreams. Opening his eyes, he gazed downward and cursed. It just wasn't working.
Every night he closed his eyes, and every night she showed up, making it impossible to sleep through the night. Every time he crawled under the covers, it only took a few minutes for her to make her appearance. How could it keep happening?
Seven hours. That's how much time he'd spent in her presence the past two weeks. That didn't even equal a full workday. But it was just enough to set his entire being off balance. His mind wandered during meetings throughout the day, causing his colleagues to have to repeat themselves. At night, his body betrayed him. His behavior mirrored an inexperienced teenager consumed by a lack of self-control. The entire situation seemed ridiculous. At thirty-two years old, he was far removed from his high school days.
Searching his mind, he tried to recall the last time a woman had affected him this way. Was he fifteen? Seventeen? Nineteen? Suddenly, the woman's face came to him-and that released another slew of expletives. It was the last time he was with her-two years ago.
Moving so that he was fully under the spray of the water, he turned the knobs to change the temperature to ice-cold. This physical and mental reaction to her was the last thing he wanted. He didn't need another round with her. She was arrogant, egotistical, conceited, bigheaded, overconfident, full of herself, vain, smug, snobbish and an all-around pain in his derriere. She defined complicated. Epitomized complex. Characterized difficult. And the last thing he needed at this point in his life was a complicated, complex, difficult person. A professional relationship with her was barely conceivable. But a personal relationship? That would be like shooting himself in the foot.
Turning off the water, he stepped out of the shower with renewed confidence in his ability to get her out of his thoughts.
Excerpted from Pursuit of Love by Doreen Rainey Copyright © 2005 by Doreen Rainey. Excerpted by permission.
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