Shana Mine Excerpt

©2012 Marilyn Lee

All rights reserved

 

The next morning, just before nine, I waited in the corridor outside Taylor Raymond’s office. Jasmin said he usually spent a few hours there on Saturday mornings catching up on paperwork.

When I heard the elevator door open, I turned to see a tall, well-built man coming down the hallway towards me. I’m five-nine and love to display my legs whenever I can by wearing heels. I didn’t get to do that often since even three-inch heels would make me taller than a man of average height.

The man heading towards me had to be at least six feet and two inches tall of pure, sexy hunk. His sleek, dark hair was pulled back from his handsome face. His dark eyes seemed to reach out to pull me into their depths. And he stalked rather than walked down the hall with all the confidence of a man certain of his appeal to the opposite sex. But I knew he’d look just as charismatic on a big horse with his hair hanging past his magnificent shoulders.

Taylor Raymond. Oh Lord. Jasmin must have taken complete leave of every one of her senses. What woman worth the name would ever consider walking away from him? Thoughts of hot, raw sex filled my head and made it difficult not to allow my gaze to fall below his waist.

He wore jeans and a pullover that highlighted his long legs and his very well-defined upper body. Damn. I wanted to strip naked and offer myself as his sex slave—forever.

Stop it! There will be no gawking, girl. None. Give him the bad news and take your horny behind back to the hotel and pray you run into Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome from the restaurant.

Taking a deep breath, I pasted a smile on my face and he stopped in front of me. “Taylor Raymond?”

He nodded, his dark eyes making a swift inspection of my body before locking his gaze on mine.

I extended my hand.

He inhaled slowly. “And you’re Shana Morgan.”

Surprised, I nodded, allowing my hand to drop to my side. How the hell did he know who I was? If Jas had called him and told him I was coming, why ask me to come at all? “Ah…yes. I am.”

“Jasmin’s best friend.”

“That’s me.” I extended my hand again.

He took it and held it clasped between both of his while he stared at me.

A shiver of desire shot through me at the contact and I could neither muster the will to remove my hand from his or to look away from his dark, seductive gaze.

“Why are you here instead of her?”

“She regrets that she couldn’t come so she asked me to.”

“I kind of figured she wasn’t coming when she didn’t show up three days ago and failed to take my calls.”

Oh hell. She hadn’t said a damned thing about ignoring his calls. “I came in her place.”

“So I see.” He arched a brow. “Judging by the solemn look on your lovely face, you’re here as the bearer of what’s supposed to be bad news.”

The compliment, spoken in his deep, honeyed voice thrilled me. While I knew most men found me attractive, not many men considered me lovely—at least not when compared to Jasmin who would probably be as stunning at eighty as she was now.

Supposed to be bad news? I frowned—unsure what to make of that remark.

He took a key out of his pocket. “You’d better come into the office. My secretary doesn’t work on Saturdays so we can talk.”

Talking wasn’t at the top of my list of things I’d like to do with him, but I smiled and nodded.

He ushered me into his office and pointed towards a loveseat along one wall before walking to a small re­frigerator in one corner. “Would you like some juice or do you want me to make coffee?” he asked, standing in front of the open door.

“Thanks, but I’m fine.”

He closed the door of the refrigerator and crossed the room to the loveseat. Instead of sitting beside me, which I both wanted and feared, he stood over me in silence.

I took a deep breath before I took the jeweler’s box holding the tennis bracelet out of my shoulder bag and held it out to him.

He made no effort to speak or to take it.

Great. He was going to make this difficult. “I’m sorry but I don’t know of an easy way to say this except to come right out with it.”

“Go right ahead then.”

“Jasmin is out of the country doing a photo shoot. Although she really likes you, now is just not the time for a serious relationship. So she asked me to bring this back to you and explain.”

“Explain that she was more than a little drunk when she accepted it?” He sat beside me but made no effort to take the box. “What happened? Did she sober up and decide my job isn’t high-powered enough for her?”

“Oh no!” I placed a hand on his arm. “Jasmin isn’t like that.”

He gave me a cool stare. “Isn’t she?”

“No! She’s not. I told you her reason for not being here.”

“If that were her only reason, why is she returning the bracelet? Why didn’t she at least give me the consideration of calling herself? Why send you to kick my ass to the curb?”

Although he looked and sounded annoyed, I could detect no evidence that his heart was broken. “That’s not why I came. She asked and I agreed to come because we both wanted to make this as easy for you as possible.”

“Guess what? Having you here does absolutely nothing to soothe what you both probably consider my battered emotions.”

Well damn. Wasn’t he the charming one? “Look, I know this isn’t easy for you.”

“But?”

But it was almost impossible to think straight with him sitting so close. “But as you must know, you’re handsome and…well put…together. You’re not going to have any problems finding another woman…eager to help you get over her.”

He turned his head to look at me.

I stared back, wondering what he’d look like with his long, dark brown hair spilling over those broad shoulders. Imagining them bare and accessible to touch and caress, aroused me. I looked at his mouth and longed to lean forward and kiss him until he couldn’t breathe.

Feeling my cheeks heat up, I pushed the jeweler’s box in his hands and quickly rose. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to make this easier for you.”

He inhaled softly and lowered his lashes. “Oh hell.” He looked down.

I’d done as Jasmin had asked me to do. So I was perfectly justified in just walking out and leaving him to recover in private. Curling my right hand into a fist to keep from caressing his hair, I walked across the carpet.

At the door, I turned for one last look and found him staring at me with an inscrutable look in his eyes. What was he thinking? What was he feeling? Why the hell should you care? Leave before you do something you can’t undo. There was something about him I couldn’t resist. Something that made it impossible to leave.

“Don’t go,” he said.

“I have to.”

“No. You don’t.” He extended a hand.

I walked to the loveseat and knelt at his side. When I placed my hand on his hard thigh, I intended to offer him comfort. But a jolt of passion shot through me at the contact. I knew he felt it too, because his head jerked up and he stared at me.

Meeting a look in his eyes that blazed with desire, I bit my lip. What are you doing? “I have to go.”

“You say that as if you think I’m actually going to let you go.”

“What?”

He caressed my cheek, brushing his fingers against my lips.

I couldn’t stop myself from turning my face into his palm and wishing I was kissing his mouth.

He reached for my hand. “I know you’ve done what she wanted you to and you want to leave.”

I’d never wanted to stay anywhere more.

He squeezed my hand gently. “I know this is unpleasant for you, but if you really want to make this easier for me, please stay.”

If I did, God only knew what would happen. I shook my head. “I really have to go.”

He slipped off the loveseat and onto his knees in front of me.

Oh no. Don’t.

His big, warm hands cupped my face. “I need you to stay with me now. Just for a little while. Please.”

You can’t—not the way you’re feeling. “Why?”

He stroked his hands down from my cheeks to my neck. “Because I don’t want to be alone.”

I met his gaze again, saw his desire, and felt my own welling. I totally wanted to stay but if Jasmin decided to reclaim him after I’d slept with him, our relationship might suffer.

He bent his head.

Although I longed to feel his mouth on mine, I shook my head and quickly rose, my heart pounding. “I have to go.” Before I surrender to you. I rushed towards the door.

He followed me and placed his palm against the closed door. “Where are you staying?” He asked the question with his lips close to my ear.

I leaned my forehead against the door, closing my eyes. If you tell him that, you might as well stay because you know what’s going to happen.

“Where are you staying, Shana?”

Moistening my lips, I murmured the name of my hotel.

He inhaled softly and pressed his warm lips against the side of my neck.

 

Shana Mine Now available from Marilyn Lee Unleashed