Lust surrounded them, but she was determined to change all that lust into love. More than anything, she wanted to believe that she could.
“Need my help, Channing?”
She blinked upon realizing that she’d been standing there staring at him like a dimwit. She had wanted to change into new underwear, a special pair just right for the heat building between them. Suddenly, she could see him kneeling before her and easing her panties down her legs, helping her into a new, lacy pair. She opened her mouth to tell him that she didn’t need his help but then decided it was time she tested his control.
“If you like.”
She saw the heat that flared in his eyes. “Yes, I would definitely like.”
Channing nodded before continuing to her bedroom, and he followed. She moved to the dresser and pulled out a pair of black lace panties. She held up several. She knew that was his preference.
A smile curved his lips.
She closed the drawer and brought the pair of undies to him. He took them from her fingers and slowly knelt down in front of her. Reaching out, he ran his calloused hands up her dress and between her legs. The contact with her skin had blood rushing through her veins.
Channing met the dark, heavy-lidded eyes gazing up at her, saw how his control was being stretched. His jaw clenched tight, and his nostrils flared while he eased her plain panties down her legs. She could hear the intensity of his breathing, and her breasts felt tight. When her panties were down to her knees, his hand paused, and then heated fingers inched back up between her legs to caress the folds of her womanhood. She drew in a quick breath when he slid two fingers inside of her.
“Zane…” His name eased from her lips. An intense desire stirred in the pit of her stomach when he stroked her. Automatically, her inner muscles clenched as his fingers gave her a sensuous workout. Then, as if he’d merely wanted to remind her of what gifted fingers he had, he withdrew his touch. She watched as he took those same fingers, wet with her moisture from her body, and inserted them into his mouth. He sucked hard, as if relishing the taste of her nectar.
Watching him made her weak in the knees, but before she could sink to the floor, he returned his hand to her thighs to complete the task of removing her panties. He was slow, taking his time, and the feel of the skimpy fabric easing down her legs set off primitive urges within her. The eyes staring up at her held such a fierce hunger in their dark depths that she felt drawn to him more than ever before.
“You can step out of them now.”
His words floated up to her, and she lifted her legs to step out of her panties. Her breath lodged in her throat when he took the fresh pair from her and slid them up her legs. He rubbed his face against her thighs before inhaling deeply.
“I’m convinced I’m addicted to this,” he said. “It always amazed me how wet you can get for me,” he said, his dark eyes glinting with heated lust.
It always amazed her, as well. When he lifted her dress and took his hot tongue and drew a circle around her navel before pulling her panties the rest of the way up, she swore she felt the floor shake beneath her feet.
Sensations swamped her. When he stood and gave her backside a playful smack, those sensations vibrated something fierce, sending tremors running through her.
“Anything else you need help with before we leave?”
She took a step back and eased down her dress. “No, that’s it. I would not have wanted to change my underwear if you hadn’t kissed me the way you did.”
He chuckled. “Do you want me to promise not to kiss you again?”
She thought about his question and immediately knew the answer. “No, that’s not what I want.”
Zane stared at her intently, and she felt his uncensored look. “Good, because I doubt I could do that, anyway.” He reached out and took her hand. “Come on, baby, let’s go.”
* * *
Sipping the beer Morris Holder had given him, Zane thought the same thing now that he had thought last year when he, Derringer and Jason had met with the man. This was a pretty nice spread. But as far as he was concerned, nothing was more beautiful than Westmoreland land, and he had a special affection for Zane’s Hideout. His spread was the best with the lake and the mountains surrounding it. Now that Bailey’s spread was next to his, he wondered if Ramsey and Dillon meant to punish him when they’d given her that parcel. Lord, help him. At least it was still undeveloped land, and Bailey wasn’t showing any interest in building anything on it.
Instead of taking the interstate, he had driven the scenic route to Richmond, making various stops along the way and enjoying lunch at a café in Jamestown. What would normally have taken two hours had taken more than three, but he hadn’t wanted to hurry. He preferred spending quality time with Channing.
Turning his thoughts back to Morris, Zane took another sip of beer. A self-made billionaire at fifty-eight, Morris was in great physical shape. He had his own workout room with every piece of exercise equipment imaginable. And then there was his stable of horses, which Zane knew Morris rode often.
Zane moved his gaze to the view of the meadows, and his stomach clenched when he saw Channing. She was walking beside Morris’s wife, Lisa. Lisa was a beauty in her own right, but no one, he thought, was more beautiful than Channing. He loved her yellow sundress. It looked damn good on her. Sexy.
“Channing’s a nice woman, Zane.”
He glanced back at Morris. “Thanks.”
“Any plans for the future?”
Zane wasn’t surprised by the man’s question. The last time he was here, Morris had been a bachelor for more than twenty years, and Lisa had been his live-in lover. Now the two were married. “Yes, I plan to marry her as soon as I can convince her that I love her.”
Morris nodded. “Good luck, and don’t give up. I woke up one morning and decided I had been a single man long enough. Over breakfast, I asked Lisa to marry me. For the longest time, she thought I wasn’t serious because I’d never mentioned marriage before. There was the issue of the twenty-five-year difference in our ages. That issue used to concern me, but on that morning, it no longer did. Age is nothing more than a number, and I refused to go another day without making plans for a future with the woman I loved and cared about most.”
Zane nodded and took another sip of beer. “She didn’t have a problem with your sudden change of heart?”
He chuckled. “Not sure she had a problem with it, but she was skeptical at first. The subject of marriage had never come up between us, so I think she thought I was dying or something. Convincing her that I wasn’t was hard, but I did it.”
Morris took a sip of his own beer and then added, “Women don’t understand that men might be slow, but when we make up our minds about something, that’s it.”
Zane released a deep breath. “Yeah, that’s it.”
But it seemed he was having a harder time convincing Channing than Morris had convincing Lisa. A small smile stretched across his mouth. He wouldn’t give up.
Morris stood. “Lisa and I would certainly love it if you and Channing stayed and had dinner with us.”
Zane stood as well, an appreciative smile touched his lips. “Thanks for the invite, but Channing and I have made dinner plans already.”
What he wasn’t saying was that he couldn’t wait to get back to Channing’s grandparents’ home to be alone with her.
* * *
“I like Lisa. Did you know she used to be a pharmacist? That’s how she and Morris met,” Channing said. “He happened to drop by the drugstore where she was working one day.”
She and Zane had left Richmond and were on their way back to Virginia Beach. While Zane and Morris had talked business, she and Lisa had gotten to know each other, and Lisa had given Channing a tour of their beautiful ranch. Lisa had also told her about the twenty-five-year age difference between her and Morris.
Channing had been surprised when Lisa had said she and Morris had been married only a little more than a year after being lovers for five years. Five years! It was hard to believe that Lisa had been willing to wait five years for Morris’s affections. Channing had bolted from Zane after nine months, telling herself that had been long enough.
“Yes, Lisa is a nice person, and Morris did mention how they met.”
Channing’s gaze shifted to look out the car window. Lisa and Morris’s story was something Channing couldn’t get out of her mind. She shifted her gaze back to Zane. He was hot, and she could feel the heat radiating from his body to hers. His eyes, hidden behind his sunglasses, were on the road, which was fine since she wanted to watch him.
There was no way she could have remained Zane’s lover for five years without knowing for certain how he felt about her. Her makeup was totally different from Lisa’s. Her parents and grandparents had always claimed she had a low tolerance for some things, that she lacked patience. She wondered if her impatience had worked against her where Zane was concerned.