Naughty Nights in the Millionaire's Mansion. Robyn Grady
fresh ocean breeze.
He rested his hip against the table edge. ‘Did any sailors try to resist?’
‘One. He’d heard about the sirens hypnotic deadly powers. He had his crew tie him to the mast of his ship so he wasn’t able to steer her towards tragedy. But when he saw the beautiful siren on the shore, and heard her song, he begged to be cut free.’
His gaze skimmed her delicate jaw. ‘Who won?’
She laughed. ‘Depends if you were the siren or the sailor.’
His return smile faded as his gaze drifted to her mouth. Those pink, full, tempting lips. Another few inches and he could taste them. Explore them. Of course this instant attraction could merely be backlash from shunning the dating scene long enough. Vanessa was attractive, intelligent, not to mention incredibly sexy.
Best of all, she was independently minded. A strong but companionable woman. His kind of woman.
He broke the trance and bent to sweep the box off the floor. ‘Have you had your business long?’
Her smile wavered and she shrugged. ‘Sure. Aside from being evicted in two weeks from the store I adore and needing to find a new place with rent that’s anywhere within my budget. I have an appointment with my bank manager tomorrow and—’ She stopped and released a self-deprecating sigh. ‘Now that was too much information.’
His gut turned to ice as a withering feeling sank through his middle, but Mitch managed a thin smile in return. ‘Not too much information at all.’
Rather, just enough. Barring an earthquake in central Sydney or the acting President suddenly losing all faith in his protégé, two weeks from tomorrow Mitch would claim the head chair of the family company, as per his late father’s will. If anyone could organise finance, the soon-to-be President of Stuart Investments and Loans certainly could.
But, realistically, he and Vanessa Craig were little more than acquaintances. Despite the lure of smouldering embers, he wouldn’t ignore the warning signs. Eviction. Financial disaster. Before him stood a time bomb about to explode, which translated into a loss for his company should he choose to invest, not to mention a hit to his personal armoury if he allowed himself to become any more intrigued. God knew, he had enough to worry about without taking on new risks.
He held the box against his ribs and glanced around. ‘Well, that seems to be it,’ he announced cheerily. ‘How much do I owe you?’
Reading his terminating social cue, her smile wavered and her gaze flicked away. ‘No charge.’
‘There must be some difference between the two tanks.’
‘All part of the service.’ She nodded at her card on the table. ‘And if you need any help in the next few days, you know where to find—’
‘Absolutely.’ He snatched up the card with his free hand as if to confirm his commitment. ‘I’ll see you out.’
A moment later, he swung open his front door and faced the sunset’s dying colours, deepest crimson and streaks of gold bleeding across the eucalypt hills in the west.
‘Goodnight, Mr Stuart.’ She gave him her signature salute. ‘Good luck.’
‘Yep. Thanks. You too.’
She’d need it.
When the door closed, he emptied his lungs, tossed her business card on the hallstand and made a vow. If he had any more problems with Kami, he’d call a fish expert; Yellow Pages were bound to list them. The best way not to get burned was to stay away from the fire, no matter how attractive the flames of that fire might be.
But as he strode towards the living room, a tantalising image swam up to taunt him…those heavenly hips, that amazing T-shirt, her hypnotic voice and come-hither smile.
Damp broke out on his hairline and he wheeled back around. Grabbing the card, he looked at it hard and tore it clean down the middle.
Beautiful sirens. Sailors sinking with their ships. The only rocks he wanted to see were the ones clinking in his pre-dinner Scotch while he pored over those figures for tomorrow’s late meeting.
He settled down to that drink and his work, with the new tank and its occupant on a side table nearby. He was trying to banish Vanessa Craig and her lips to the furthermost corners of his mind when the doorbell rang.
He slammed down his glass. What now?
A moment later he swung open the door and his heart hit his throat.
‘Me again.’ An apologetic but upbeat Vanessa Craig curled some hair behind her ear. ‘I got down the street before realising I forgot to collect the smaller tank. I bet you don’t want it clogging up your gorgeous home—’
Her words ran dry at the same time her face fell. Her gaze had drifted behind him, to the hallstand at his back.
To the torn business card.
As his insides wrenched into a guilty knot, she blinked several times, then her mouth quivered with a lame smile—a vain attempt to cover her hurt. ‘Gee, I didn’t realise I’d made such a sterling impression.’
He ran a hand through his hair. Hell.
‘It’s not how it looks.’
Her laugh was short. ‘It looks like you can’t bear to see my name.’
He groaned. She had it completely wrong, but he couldn’t tell her that. He couldn’t begin to explain.
Her chin angled up. ‘Whatever your opinion of my service today, you’re one hundred per cent entitled to it. The customer’s always right. Always.’ She forced a brave smile, then turned on her heel.
‘Even when the customer screws up,’ he said, ‘because he’s attracted to the lady in charge?’
She turned back, her jaw hanging. ‘What did you say?’
He gripped both sides of the door jamb and admitted what must be obvious. ‘I’m attracted to you.’
She shook her head, puzzled. ‘So you don’t want to contact me again?’
She was right. His reasoning was flawed, particularly now she was back, with her lips so near and his elevated testosterone levels demanding to know what the hell he was waiting for.
He held his breath.
What was he waiting for?
His hands left the jamb and found her upper arms. Drawing her close—with that maddening logo pressed against his chest—he dropped his mouth over hers.
Her body stiffened and her fists came up, two small rocks pushing against his collarbone. But he didn’t release her…truth tell, he couldn’t. The heat combusting between their bodies had fused them together; she was glued to him as much as he was to her.
As his mouth opened, her lips parted and the kiss evolved and deepened, growing beyond spur-of-the-moment into something-special. His hold on her arms eased; as if a crutch were removed, she leant against his length. Taking the cue, his tongue performed a lazy sweep against hers, and again. Her relaxed fists began kneading his shirt.
When a compliant mew vibrated in her throat, he imagined slipping that T-shirt over her head and running his hands over the sweetest heaven on earth. His blood felt on fire. Every red-hot ion ready to ignite. God help him, he didn’t want to stop.
The kiss broke gradually, reluctantly, the caress growing strong again before, hot lava flowing through his veins, he finally eased off.
Her eyes were closed, her breathing ragged. Out of breath himself, he murmured against her warm soft lips, ‘Now do you see?’
Her eyelids flickered and her focus sharpened. ‘You