Sarah is in Victoria to expand her father’s chain of wine bars into the Australian market. It’s a hectic job that leaves little time for a social life but that doesn’t mean she’s going to ignore her carnal needs entirely. She contacts an exclusive escort agent who promises to send her a man capable of fulfilling her every desire. David, the man who arrives, is nothing like the practiced lothario she expects, yet the night that ensues is more intensely passionate than any she’s experienced. Sarah is just starting to consider making David a kept man when she realizes the chilling truth.
David isn’t an escort at all. He’s a vineyard owner who’d planned to approach Sarah with a business proposition. She thinks he set her up but the truth is David barely expected to speak with Sarah, let alone sleep with her. It’s an honest case of mistaken identity that resulted in the best night of David’s life. And for David, one night of Sarah will never be enough.
Copyright © SAMI LEE, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
Sarah had no idea how she managed to reach the door of her room without stumbling. The air in the hallway grew thin, not full enough of oxygen to replenish her supply no matter how rapidly she drew it into her lungs. She hadn’t known what to expect. But she certainly hadn’t expected him.
He appeared to be like any other man. Broad shouldered and handsome in a dark suit, but by no means drop-dead gorgeous. His hair was chestnut brown and curly, the kind of hair that could never be tamed into a neat style. A recalcitrant curl looped over his forehead, drawing her attention to his dark irises, which were a deep, gentle brown that somehow inspired trust.
Sarah reminded herself she didn’t know David at all. Just because his eyes were nice, his appraisal of her physical attributes revealing in a way that made her heart skip, didn’t mean he was honest. It didn’t mean she could trust him.
“I’m sorry I arrived after you finished your drink,” David said. “If you’d prefer to go back downstairs, I’d be happy to buy you another.”
She should really admonish him, let him know making her wait wasn’t acceptable. But the way he’d acted downstairs, the haste with which he’d raced to stop the elevator’s ascent, made her think his tardiness wasn’t due to negligence. Who knew? There were accidents on the roads all the time, people had trouble starting their cars. She wondered briefly what sort of car an escort drove. Something expensive and European? Did David earn enough for that?
Probably not, if he was new at this. She wasn’t sure whether to believe that. It could be a line, used to put his “dates” at ease. Yet that unnerving instinct to place her faith in him rose within her again. It hadn’t sounded like a lie.
She said, “I think I’d rather you came inside now.”
She pushed open the door to the presidential suite and led him across the threshold.
Once inside, David let out a low whistle. “Nice digs.” She slanted him a glance and he appeared immediately contrite. “Sorry. I think I’m showing my working-class roots.”
A smile played with the corners of her mouth. “That’s perfectly all right. Did you grow up around here?”
He shook his head. “A tiny town outside Adelaide. You probably wouldn’t know it.”
“I grew up in New York but my father had houses in LA and London too.”
“Wow,” he said quietly. “Makes Murrumbungee sound like a speck of dust.”
Sarah frowned. She hadn’t meant to come across as pretentious about her cosmopolitan upbringing. Not sure how to smooth that over, she asked, “Would you like some champagne?”
“Only if you’re having some.”
Sarah strode to the ice bucket, which stood beside one of the two-seater red-and-gold brocade couches that served as the suite’s living room. The champagne came compliments of the hotel management, who’d apparently guessed who she was despite her using the assumed surname Harris upon check-in. Everyone had been very discreet however, leaving her blessedly free of sycophants or slick operators with business propositions they thought she wanted to hear.
As she began to remove the foil from the Cristal, David approached and took the bottle from her. “Allow me.”
His nearness caused her body to react as it had in the elevator. Her pulse rate increased, her heart thumping rapidly against her ribs. She didn’t think he wore cologne. He smelled faintly of rain and earth, the musky undertone something Sarah could only describe as man.
She closed her eyes, turning away so he wouldn’t see the acute yearning that must surely have flashed across her face. How long had passed since she’d been close enough to a man to notice his innate scent? Much, much too long if she’d been reduced to hiring company. To paying for sex.
What on earth was she doing? Was she really this deprived? This lonely?
Yes, Sarah, you are both those things—desperately so.
The champagne cork made a muted pop as David worked it from the neck of the bottle with quiet skill. She was glad he hadn’t made a show of the task, spilling half the quality wine in the process. He wasn’t the boastful or flashy type, and Sarah was glad. He was so…nice. Certainly not the kind of male predator Sarah usually met in her social circle.
“Here you are.”
Sarah turned and accepted the half-filled crystal flute he proffered.
He lifted one dark brow. “A toast?”
Sarah gently touched the rim of her glass to his, showing him an ironic smile. “To taking risks.”
David understood the significance. He smiled with much the same ruefulness. “Here, here.”
They both took a sip of the champagne, the synchronized act conveying a sense of intimacy. Sarah wanted to do intimate things with David, was beginning to want it so badly the taste of it overtook that of the Cristal. Thank God he’s so attractive.
Her blood gave another rushing pulse through her veins. She lowered the glass and licked a droplet of champagne from the corner of her mouth. David’s regard focused on the action, his eyelids easing down halfway over those beautiful espresso eyes. He let out a breath that stuttered past his lips. There was no mistaking it.
He wanted her. And it wasn’t all an act.
Sarah’s nipples peaked, protruding against the lace of her bra. David’s perusal slid from her face to her chest. His breath stuttered again as he looked his fill, his attention increasing her awareness of her own body, flaring her response to rampant life. Her breasts tingled and grew heavy, their crests turning to solid, distended pebbles that David must be able to see against the fine black wool of her dress.
David’s attention snapped back to her face. He stood taller, appeared to shake himself. His voice was brusque. “Perhaps we should get down to business.”
Sarah whirled away as if he’d slapped her. Of course, they weren’t here on a date. She ought to stop gawking at him as if she were Lois Lane and he Superman. Pathetic, Sarah. She’d paid him. He was in effect working for her. She really ought to start acting like what she was—the one in charge.
The dampness at her center increased at the thought, causing the coolness in her blood to warm once again. Yes, she ought to take control of this situation, demand what she wanted. That was a role she was used to, at least professionally. In sexual terms, she’d always allowed men to take the lead but tonight could be different. She’d ordered a service. It was up to her to ensure she got exactly what she’d paid for.
“I’m sorry,” David said, the hint of impatience gone. “That was rude of me. I’m not handling this well.”
“It’s all right. I appreciate that you’re not the type to play games.”
It was true. This would be so much easier if she approached the situation as she should have from the very beginning—like a business transaction. She took another sip of her champagne, studying him over the rim of her flute. The crystal caught the ambient lighting in the room and turned it to bursts of color.
He was genuinely appealing. She didn’t even care that he hadn’t shaved before meeting her. The fine shadow of stubble gracing his jaw and upper lip was raw and sexy, another reminder that this man wasn’t like the impeccably groomed men of wealth and influence she usually encountered. The way he met her appraisal without shying away made liquid excitement infuse her.
At length, he asked, “What’s going through your mind about me, Sarah?”
Sarah held her breath and plunged in. “I suppose I’m wondering how long it’s going to take for you to kiss me.”
To say that was the last thing David had expected to hear would have understated his shock dramatically.
Kiss Sarah? He’d been thinking of little else since he first slipped into the lift. Had his interest been that obvious? How bloody embarrassing. Heat flushed his face. It intensified when Sarah laughed. “You’re a very intriguing man, David.”
“The sentiment is mutual, Miss Harr—”
She held up a hand to halt the formality. “Don’t you dare start calling me that now.”
That was a fair request, considering she’d already worked out he’d been undressing her in his mind since the second he laid eyes on her. David considered apologizing again but he was beginning to sound ridiculous. The adage his mother taught him had served him well throughout his life. Honesty is the best policy. “I’d be lying if I said I don’t find you extremely attractive, Sarah.”
She smiled. “I’d hate for you to tell a lie.”
David responded to the curve of her lips in kind. “You won’t hold the fact I’m acting like a tongue-tied adolescent against me, will you?”
“Why would I? It’s very cute.”
David’s heart gave a solid thump because she’d labeled him cute. Get a grip, Genero. “And you must be used to men falling all over you. You’re handling me so well.”
Interest flared in her eyes and David wondered if “handling me” was the right term to use. The images it conjured made the already significant issue he was dealing with in his trousers worse. Sarah’s fingers were long and tapered as they held the champagne flute, her fingernails French tipped and shiny white. David couldn’t help but imagine those pretty hands stroking up and down his cock, fondling his balls.
“What I’m not used to,” she said, “is reticent men.”
“Meaning?” David choked the query out, still distracted by the thought of her toying with his dick.
“When I said I wondered when you were going to kiss me, I never said I didn’t want you to.”
For the second time in as many minutes, Sarah had managed to shock David dumb. She didn’t shy away but let him see the desire, the amusement, behind her bold stare. Then she took a single step forward and turned her face, proffering her cheek.
The wild pounding of David’s heart slowed—a little. Was this some American custom he’d never heard of? People in France kissed each other on the cheek all the time, even the blokes. So maybe filthy-rich heiresses from New York did it too.
Well, he didn’t want to be culturally insensitive. Yeah, that’s why you’re going to kiss her. Poor excuse or not, David was willing to latch on to it. Anything to get closer to her, even for the briefest time.
He took a step forward and bent his head. Reacting on instinct, he placed a hand on her elbow. Through the wool dress her flesh warmed his palm. The fragrant waft of designer perfume teased his senses as he leaned into her. David couldn’t distinguish one perfume from another but he did know Sarah’s chosen fragrance was intoxicating.
As his cheek brushed hers, he heard the scrape of his stubble abrading her smooth skin and cursed that he hadn’t had a chance to shave. Sarah didn’t draw away from the roughness, instead pressing her cheek closer. Her hand rose to lay across his chest and David’s heartbeat accelerated in response. She must have felt it knocking fiercely against her palm because her hand flexed, those long fingers curling against his flesh and fisting his shirt in the process.
This was supposed to be a perfunctory brush of cheeks but it was fast becoming so much more and David was within inches of making a complete fool of himself. If she leaned any closer to him she’d soon discover what should have been a polite, businesslike gesture had given him the hard-on from Hades. And he hadn’t even pressed his lips to her skin.
So do it. Kiss her cheek like she’s your grandmother and let her go as quickly as you can.
David tilted his head, brushing his lips over her cheek. He got a tantalizing sense of how good she’d taste if he had the freedom to sample more of her, and he couldn’t prevent a groan from rumbling deep down in his throat.
Sarah answered it with a silken purr before sinking closer to him, like a vine wilting in the sun. Her body bowed and melted, her breasts pressing to his chest. Her nipples poked through her underwear and thick wool dress, which only made him aware of how stiff and distended they must be. As stiff and distended as his dick was. Almost.
David struggled to maintain his sense of decency as the soft crush of her body made everything inside him respond with animalistic enthusiasm. He made to draw away but she turned her face so their lips met before he could avoid the contact.
She parted her lips against him, brushing her mouth from side to side until David groaned and pulled her closer, lost. Suddenly he was kissing her, full and robust on the mouth, tasting the champagne on her tongue and the forbidden nature of what he was doing. All of it made his head spin and thoughts of his uncle’s beloved vineyard spiral away like readily discarded flotsam.
What am I doing? He was quite possibly ruining everything. Would Sarah Harrington do business with him after he kissed her like this?