The Tycoon's Secret Affair

By: Maya Banks

There was interest. Clear interest. She wasn’t a fool, nor did she indulge in silly games of false modesty.

She stared back, unable to wrest herself from the force of his gaze. Black. His eyes were as black as night. His hair was as dark, and his skin gleamed golden brown in the soft light of the torches. Firelight cast a sheen to his eyes, shiny onyx, glittering and proud.

His jawline was firm, set, a strong tilt that denoted his arrogance, a quality she was attracted to in men. For a long moment he returned her frank appraisal, and then his lips curved upward into a slight smile.

“A woman of few words I see.”

She shook herself and mentally scolded her tongue for knotting up so badly.

“I was deciding on whether to go out or not.”

He lifted one imperious brow, a gesture that seemed more challenging than questioning.

“But I can’t buy you a drink if you remain inside.”

She cocked her head to the side, allowing a tiny smile to relax the tension bubbling inside her. She wasn’t a stranger to sexual attraction, but she couldn’t remember the last time a man had affected her so strongly right off the bat.

Awareness sizzled between them, almost as if a fuse had been lit the moment he’d spoken. Would she accept the unspoken invitation in his eyes? Oh, she knew he’d asked to buy her a drink, but that wasn’t all he wanted. The question was whether she was bold enough to reach out and take the offer.

What could a single night hurt? She was extremely choosy in her partners. She hadn’t taken a lover in two years. She just hadn’t been interested until this dark-eyed stranger with his sensual smile and mocking arrogance came along. Oh yes, she wanted him. So much so that she vibrated with it.

“Are you here on holiday?” she asked as she peered up at him from underneath her lashes.

Again his lips quirked into a half smile. “In a manner of speaking.”

Relief scurried through her belly. No, one night wouldn’t hurt. He’d leave and go back to his world. Eventually she’d move on, and their paths would never cross again.

Tonight…tonight she was lonely, a feeling she didn’t often indulge in, even if she spent the majority of her time in isolation.

“I’d like a drink,” she said by way of agreement.

Something predatory sparked in his eyes. A glow that was gone almost as soon as it burst to life. His hand came up and cupped her elbow, his fingers splaying possessively over her skin.

She closed her eyes for a brief moment, enjoying the electric sensation that sizzled through her body the moment he touched her.

He led her from the protective awning of the hotel into the night air. Around them the warm glow of torches danced in time with the sweet sounds of jazz. The breeze coming off the water blew through her hair, and she inhaled deeply, enjoying the salt tang.

“Dance with me before we have that drink,” he murmured close to her ear.

Without waiting for her consent, he pulled her into his arms, his hips meeting hers as he cupped her body close.

They fit seamlessly, her flush against him, melting and flowing until she wasn’t sure where she ended and he began.

His cheek rested against the side of her head as his arms encircled her. Protective. Strong. She reached up, sliding her arms over his shoulders until they wrapped around his neck.

“You’re beautiful.”

His words flowed like warm honey over jaded ears. It wasn’t the most original line, but that was just it. Coming from him, it didn’t sound like a line, but rather an honest assessment, a sincere compliment, one that maybe he’d ordinarily be unwilling to give.

“So are you,” she whispered.

He chuckled, and his laughter vibrated over her sensitive skin. “Me beautiful? I’m unsure of whether to be flattered or offended.”

She snorted. “I know for a fact I’m not the only woman to have ever called you beautiful.”

“Do you now?”

His hands skimmed over her back, finding the flesh bared by the backless scoop of her dress. She sucked in her breath as his fingers burned her flesh.

“You feel it too,” he murmured.

She didn’t pretend not to know what he meant. The chemistry between them was combustible. Never before had she experienced anything like this, not that she’d tell him that.

Instead she nodded her agreement.

“Are we going to do anything about it?”

She leaned back and tilted her head to meet his eyes. “I’d like to think we are.”

“Direct. I like that in a woman.”

“I like that in a man.”

Amusement softened the intensity of his gaze, but she saw something else in his expression. Desire. He wanted her as badly as she wanted him.

“We could have that drink in my room.”

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