Page 11 of Corrupted

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“If you’re tired, you could sit down, and I can finish this for us. It won’t be as good as yours, but...”

Our eyes meet, and heat arcs between us. He steps back, distancing himself even more, but I catch the want in his eyes. Okay, so he clearly feels this pull between us every bit as much as I do, but isn’t about to act on it. No worries, Cason. I’m not either.

Wait, why the hell not?

We’re not college kids anymore. We’re both consenting adults. Maybe having sex with him will get him out of my system once and for all, and put my heart back where it belongs.

The rules are clear. He’s not allowed to seduce me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t seduce him. Yeah, he hates me, and thinks I hate him, too. But unlike him, I don’t hold hate in my heart. Regret, however, that’s a different story. I’ll always regret what I did to him, the hurt he continues to hold close, and the future we no longer have. But tonight, I believe it’s time to start anew. We have two long weeks together and let’s face it, he only has so many clothes in need of ironing.

I run my tongue over my bottom lip. “If you’ll excuse me for a minute.” I find my purse, pull out the tube of lipstick and swipe it over my lips. I recap the tube, and slowly lift my lids. But I didn’t need to look up to know Cason is watching me, his sole focus on my mouth. His entire body is stiff, his chest rising and falling a little faster as his nostrils flare.

“My lips were a little dry,” I explain. “I needed to moisten them.”

His low growl punctures the night and rumbles around me, and smoke rises from the pan behind him. I point at the stove, as a little thrill goes through me. Jennie was right. This color is like an aphrodisiac.

“The onions,” I say. “I think they’re burning.”

He blinks once, then twice, and I’m about to repeat myself when he snaps out of whatever trance he was in. “Right,” he says.

He turns, and my gaze drops to take in his perfect backside hugged so nicely in those dress pants. Back in college he was more of a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy, and I have to admit he’s grown up and filled out rather nicely. I take a moment to admire the man he’s become, his body thicker now, his muscles fuller and taut. While he was always a great-looking guy, the put-together man before me is just that—a man. One who has awakened every inch of my body, and I can’t help but think we should finish what we never had the chance to start.

I step beside him, and reach for the wine. I splash a little more into our stemware, and take a sip. I’m a lightweight, but the buzz is a welcome reprieve from the stress of the night, and gives me a burst of courage. I step a bit closer, and his muscles ripple. Looking around him, I inhale, but it’s the warm scent of his skin, so arousing and familiar, that I take into my lungs.

“Smells great,” I say as he tosses the fish into the white sauce.

“Almost done,” he grumbles, his voice an octave

deeper. I let it wrap around me, let it slide over my body and stroke all my needy places.

“Oh, and here I thought we were just getting started.”

His eyes jerk to mine and I blink innocently. “What do you mean?”

“Getting started, you know, on me being your companion, doing what you need me to do for the next two weeks,” I say, and he doesn’t move. I’m not even sure he’s breathing and I can’t help but wonder what’s going through his head. Is he picturing me on my knees before him, taking him into my hands and mouth? Holy, that hot image sends heat straight to the quivering spot between my legs, and a little moan catches in my throat.

“Can you...uh,” he begins, his eyes dilating, his arousal evident in the swelling of his pants.

“Can I what?”

He clears his throat, the muscles along his jaw rippling. My God, if he keeps clenching like that something is going to snap out of place.

“Grab the plates,” he bites out.

Disappointment settles in my core, but the night is still young. “Sure.”

I set the plates out, and stand back and sip my wine as he finishes making our dinner. He divvies up the pasta and seafood, and steam rises from the plates as he makes his way to the table.

“Maybe we could eat outside. It’s such a beautiful night. We should totally take advantage of this unusual heat, don’t you think?”

His eyes meet mine, and hold for a long time. He’s a smart guy, one of the smartest I know, and yeah, he’s well aware of the heat I’m referring to. He’s fighting it, but I’m not a girl to go down easily—so to speak. Does he remember my inner determination? If so, is he regretting this situation, bemoaning the sizable amount of money he dropped on a girl who might take him down before he gets his payback?

“Yeah, outside is a good idea,” he says. He hands me my plate and gathers our utensils. I follow him out back and gasp when I see the view from his deck. In the distance, Christmas lights in the downtown core illuminate the dark sky, and warmth moves through me.

“My God this place is gorgeous.” I set my plate on the table and walk to the railing. Gorgeous. Romantic. The perfect place for a seduction. “Look at all the colorful lights.”

“Yeah, gorgeous.” I turn to find him staring at me. He tears his gaze away and sits.

“Are you going to stay here for the holidays?” I ask, and press my back against the rail.

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