My arm shackles her waist, holding her close, and she buries her face in my neck, using me as the leverage to lift and push, lift and push against my pumping, the only sound in the room is the rasps of our breathing. And I revel in the way her weight is heavy on my body, burning my thighs, the way her soft curves meld to mine. My coldness is consumed by her heat. There’s no room for anything but her and me, and the craving for satisfaction. There is no guilt, no heartache, no thinking. Just her soft moans, her panting. Her pleasure.

We build into a faster pace, a frenzy of need, the thrum of desire turning into a pounding of our bodies against the other, an urgency that demands an answer. “Lean back,” I command. “Ride me.”

She clings to my shoulders, her hair wild, her expression panicked. “I’ll fall.”

“Trust me,” I say. “I won’t let you fall.”

Our eyes collide on my words and my demand lingers between us. Trust me. “I won’t let you fall.”

She stares at me a moment longer and nods, leaning back, clasping my arms. I thrust hard into her, and her breasts sway erotically with the action. Over and over I pull her down against me, deeper, harder. I lose time, when I never lose time. There is just the pump and thrust, the need. And when her sex clenches my cock, spasming, milking me, she takes me over the edge with her. Holding her to me, I shudder with the release and she leans forward, sinking against my chest, pressing her full weight into me. My legs weaken and I turn, settling onto the couch but my hand stays on her back, telling her that I’m not ready to let her go. Not even close.

I’m about to declare as much, when the hotel room phone rings. She jumps as if startled and leans back. “Who can that be?”

I shift our weight, flattening her on her back on the couch, regretfully pulling out of her in the process of settling over her. Grabbing my cell phone from the coffee table, I confirm the midnight hour and the absence of any missed calls that I might have been too distracted to receive.

“Aren’t you going to get the phone?” she asks.

I set my phone back on the table, focusing fully on her. “The last time I did that, you ran out of the door while I was still naked.”

“I didn’t run.”

“No one escapes that fast without running. Both literally and figuratively.”

The phone stops ringing. “That could have been important.” She reaches for my phone where I set it down and looks at the time. “Mark, it’s the middle of the night. It has to be important.”

“Anything important would come to my cell phone.” I sit up and pull her with me. “I’m going to clean up. Why don’t you find the room service menu? I need to shake the scotch before we review the files and I can’t get out of my meeting in the morning.”

A meeting in which I sign the final papers on the sale of the club. I thought I’d never let go; now I can’t wait to get rid of it. I stand up and snatch Crystal’s skirt, announcing, “Insurance so you can’t run again.”

She crinkles her nose at me, curling her legs to her chest. “That’s not fair. It’s cold in here.”

Without thought, I reach for my shirt and offer it to her. Her lips part in surprise and she stares at it. I stare, too, not sure what made me make such an intimate gesture—or why it bothers me that she’s hesitating.

I toss it on the couch. “Or you can use the hotel robe in the closet. Your choice.” I sound hard. I feel out of control.

There’s a knock on the door and Crystal’s eyes go wide. “Something’s wrong.” She grabs the shirt and quickly shoves her arms inside, yanking her skirt from my hand.

I grab her arm. “Don’t even think about running off.”

She looks stunned by my hard insistence, but whatever just happened with my shirt wasn’t small. It was a big complication, and I need to deal with whatever this woman is doing to me. I need to get myself back in control. “We have business to finish.”

I’m not leaving,” she assures me. “Mark, get the door.”

I release her, reaching for my pants and making a path to the trashcan by the desk to dispose of the condom before I flip on a light, and pull on my pants. Another knock sounds and I cross the room, entering the narrow hallway. “Who is it?” I call out.

“Blake.”

The private eye Chris Merit convinced me to hire. His showing up at my door at midnight confirms Crystal’s words. Something’s wrong. I open the door to find Blake alone, his long hair half in and half out of the tie at the nape of his neck, his features drawn with exhaustion.

“The hotel was trying to warn you that the press found you. Most likely a staff leak.”

“Fuck,” I murmur, scrubbing the back of my neck.

“My exact sentiments,” Blake agrees, “but a leak is a risk at any hotel. We could move to a private residence, but it has its own share of security risks. I say hunker down and deal with this location.”

I give a sharp nod. “We’ll stay.”

“Good choice. The hotel rang Crystal’s room. She didn’t answer. We don’t want to risk her leaving the room early without warning. Do you want to wake her up, or me?”

“I’ll let her know.” I narrow my eyes at him, aware of the tension radiating off of him and crashing into me. “What else?”

He scrubs a hand down his face. “I should come inside.”

My jaw clenches. “Just tell me.”

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