She’d been careful not to ask for promises Zephyr might break, or make commitments she wasn’t ready for.

But she’d come to realize over the past six weeks—while subsisting on phone calls, texts, instant messaging and e-mail—that emotions didn’t abide by agreements, verbal or otherwise. That refusing to make a vow didn’t stop her heart from craving the security that promise implied. Nor did it stop her from living like she’d made her own promises.


She’d missed Zephyr more than she’d thought possible and wanted nothing more right now than to wrap herself up in him and soak in his essence.

He seemed to want the same thing. He hadn’t stopped touching her since they left the airport. He’d laid his hand over hers between gear changes in the car and he’d kept his arm around her waist all the way to the room.

He opened the door with a flourish. “Here we are.”

The suite reflected the minimalist décor from downstairs, but its spaciousness spoke of the ultimate in luxury. “This place is bigger than my apartment.”

“My closet is bigger than your flat,” he said, sounding unimpressed.

She grimaced at the truth of his words, but the curve of her lips morphed into a smile from the heat burning in his brown eyes.

From the feel of his arousal when he’d first hugged and kissed her hello, and the sexual need intensifying his features then and now, she expected to be taken against the door with a minimum of foreplay.

But that didn’t happen. He set her cases aside and then lifted her right into his arms, high against his chest, in a move that made her feel cherished rather than just wanted.

She quickly banished that thought even as her gasp of surprise escaped her. “Going he-man on me?”

“Spoiling you more like.”

“Oh, really? I could get used to this,” she teased.

He didn’t bother with a reply, but didn’t look too fazed at the prospect. So not good for the odd blips of emotion that had been pestering her lately. But that was one thing she could say about Zephyr Nikos, whether it be in his role as friend, boss or bed partner, the man did not stint on his generosity.

Despite his obvious desire, rather than showing mass amounts of impatience, he laid her gently on the big bed and seemed determined to reacquaint himself with every facet of her body. He drove her crazy with reticence while pumping her for information on her time away from him.

After he asked yet another question about her experience in the Midwest decorating the interior for a new office building, she laughed. “We spoke every day, Zephyr. I can’t think of anything I didn’t already tell you.”

The gorgeous tycoon actually looked like he might be blushing, his dark eyes reflecting chagrin. “I was just curious.”

“You know what I do on a job. I’ve done it for Stamos and Nikos Enterprises often enough.”

“Did you like the Midwest better than Seattle?” he asked with what she thought was entirely mistimed curiosity.

“Are you kidding?”

His expression said clearly he wasn’t.

“I love Seattle. The energy in the city is amazing.” And he was there.

“That’s good to know.”

Suddenly, all his questions started to make sense. “You heard.”

Chapter Two

ZEPHYR tried to look innocent.

“How? Who told you?”

“Does it matter? Information is more lucrative than platinum in my business.”

“Did you seriously think Pearson Property Developments could offer me a better situation than your company already has done?”

“Money isn’t your only consideration, it isn’t even your main one, or you would have accepted my job offer by now.”

It was true. She would make a lot more money working for him as an employee whose overheads were absorbed by the company rather than as a fledgling design business that sucked up the vast majority of the not-insubstantial fees charged to her clients.

“So, you thought I might like the Midwest enough to take Pearson’s job offer?” She couldn’t imagine it and disbelief colored her voice.

“They didn’t just offer you a job.”

“No, they also offered a contract for several projects they have in the pipeline over the next two years.” While still leaving her an independent operator, the offer would provide the kind of security most up-and-coming designers dreamed about.

If living in a landlocked state without a single authentic Vietnamese or Thai restaurant was what she wanted. It wasn’t. She was too fond of the diversified and active culture of Seattle.

“I’ve gotten too spoiled to big-city living. The only Thai restaurant I found was run by a man named Arnie who thinks a good curry comes with corn-on-the-cob.”

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