Unconsciously nestling her body into his, she smiled, clearly pleased. “True, but I didn’t know I’d have the luxury to do so with this job.”
He just grinned and shrugged.
She laughed. “Don’t fool yourself into believing I’m not aware you have your own agenda here. One that includes judicious amounts of time between the sheets. You’re a manipulator, you know that?”
She knew him well. “Is this a bad thing?”
“In this case?” She shook her head, her bright blue eyes going heavy-lidded. “No. Definitely no.”
That’s what he appreciated so much about her. Piper Madison was a gem among women, his very own polished diamond that did not require the setting of a relationship to shine. Unlike Neo’s less worldly Cass, Piper had no illusions of love and romance. She enjoyed his body as he found pleasure in hers. No morass of untidy emotions to navigate, which was a very good thing.
Because unlike Neo, Zephyr had no love to give. “Let’s get your case and we’ll head to the hotel. It is a spa-resort.”
“Scoping out the competition, are we?”
“Naturally.” He gave in to the desire that had been riding him since her arrival and kissed her. And then he kissed her again for good measure. She tasted as sweet and arousing as always.
Eyes glowing with pleasure, she said, “Only, situated in the city, it can’t hope to offer what we, I mean Stamos and Nikos Enterprises, will.”
“There would be no point in developing a new property if we couldn’t bring something to the table no one else has already offered.”
Her azure gaze slid to his lips and stayed there for several seconds, and then she blinked at him with unfocused eyes before seeming to remember what he’d said and smiling wryly. “Always the overachiever.”
“And you are not?”
“Hey, there’s more than one reason you and I are such good friends.”
“More than this, you mean.” He rubbed himself against her subtly.
She gasped and stepped back. “You are dangerous.” Letting her gaze drop to what he hoped his suit jacket hid from others’ gazes, she winked. “I think getting to the hotel is a definite necessity.”
“Are you tired?” he asked, tongue in cheek. “Need a lie down?”
“Get my case, Zephyr.” She gave him a look that said she knew exactly what kind of lie down he had in mind and she wasn’t necessarily averse.
“Don’t start in with the Greek endearments unless you want spontaneous combustion right here,” she warned.
“But I like living on the edge.”
She gave a significant look to the baggage rolling by on the carousel.
He turned smartly and started looking for the zebra-print luggage he had bought her after she complained about how her black suitcase looked like everyone else’s in the airport. She’d laughed at the loud black-and-white print on the cases, but she used it.
She’d only brought one midsize case and her carry-on, so they were out of the airport and in the car he’d rented for the week a few minutes later.
“Mmm…nice. Definitely a step up from the Mercedes,” she said, rubbing the leather upholstery in the fire-engine-red Ferrari convertible.
“Don’t knock my car. It has heated seats and those come in handy in Seattle’s colder winters. And a convertible would hardly be practical in such a wet city.” But he was glad she liked the Ferrari. He’d wanted to spoil her a little, since she was always so determined not to spoil herself.
“There is that.” She brushed her hand along the ceiling. “Are you going to lower the soft-top?”
“Of course.” He pressed a button and the roof slowly disappeared.
Once the process had completed, he put the powerful car into gear and backed out of his VIP parking spot. With wellpracticed movements in cutthroat driving, he maneuvered them through Athens toward their hotel. He swerved around a taxi that had stopped in a no-parking zone and then accelerated through a light turning red.
She put her head back and laughed out loud. “Oh, I like this. We really have two days for you and me to play, and nothing else?”
“Thank you, Zephyr.” She brushed a hand down his thigh.
Pleasure at both the touch and the gratitude he heard in her voice filled him. With an independent woman like Piper, it had been a risk to schedule vacation time for her without her knowledge. Even if he called it locale research. He was glad the risk had paid off. “What are friends for?”
“Is that all we are? Just friends?” she asked, not sounding particularly concerned.