Why was it taking so long to find the damned condom? Maybe he should learn to be tidy instead of cramming everything into a drawer and jamming it closed.

At last. The little foil packet was right at the back. Right at the bottom. And if it was out of date, he was going to implode with frustration. The whole of London would hear him scream.

His hands were shaking as he turned it over and found the all-important figures. 'Yes,' he breathed in relief.

'I hope that's a "yes" to what I think it is.'

He smiled wryly. 'Yes, I've found it. And, yes, it's within date. We're safe.'

'So you don't—?' She stopped, and shook her head, as if embarrassed that she'd started to ask.

Actually, he was flattered that she cared enough to want to know. 'I date. Sometimes I sleep with my dates, if there's mutual attraction. But there's been nobody permanent. Nobody long term. And there hasn't been anyone for a while. So, no, I don't usually carry a huge stock of condoms just on the off-chance some nurse will want to drape herself all over me.' He waited a beat. Yeah, he understood that flicker of jealousy. Only too well. It was knifing into him right now. 'You?'

'I date when my brothers bully me into it.'

And the rest of it? Was this 'bad girl Vicky'—the one lying naked in his bed with her hair spread over his pillow and giving him a come-hither look—someone that other people got to see?

It must have been written over his face, because she smiled bleakly. 'I haven't dated for a while. Can't remember the last time I slept with someone. And maybe this is a bad idea. Maybe I should go home.'

He sucked in a breath. 'No pressure, Vicky. If you want to go home, I won't stop you.' He'd spend the night almost howling in frustration, but he wasn't the sort of man who'd expect a sexual payment for dinner.

Though he wasn't going to let her go thinking he'd changed his mind about her. 'If you say no, I'll understand. But if it's a yes and you want to stay, I might have to do a cartwheel and whoop a bit.'

'A cartwheel?' Her mouth twitched. 'Right here?'

OK. So his flat was small and the bed took up most of the space in the room—nobody older than three years old could have done a cartwheel there. 'An imaginary cartwheel,' he amended.

'I have a better idea,' she said. 'A much, much better idea.'

His heart stopped at the look in her eyes. That sexy pout. That 'come here, baby' smile. 'What?'

'Let's go back to plan A. Where we were.'

'You're sure about this?'

'No,' she admitted, 'but I let my head rule me ninety-nine point nine per cent of the time. Maybe it's time I tried something different.'

'I promise you,' Jake said softly, 'you're not going to regret this.' Who cared if he was out of practice? He'd improvise. Explore. Find out just where and how she liked being touched. Licked. Nibbled.

He leaned over to kiss her. Instant fire. Wherever he touched her, his hands tingled. Wherever she touched him, his skin tingled. It was as if every nerve was flaring with light. And by the time he sheathed himself in a condom and slipped inside her, Jake's whole body felt ablaze with light and energy. Every kiss, every touch just turned up the voltage. White heat. As he lost himself in her, he looked into her eyes—and the same blazing wonder was reflected right back at him.

Paradise.

Vicky lay on her side, curled into Jake's body, her head pillowed on his shoulder. She had no idea what time it was, and she didn't care. Tonight her books could wait. Tomorrow could take care of itself. Right now, she was where she wanted to be. In Jake's bed. Wrapped in his arms. Skin to skin. Breathing in the clean, pure scent of his body.

He'd been a considerate lover. He'd made sure he'd found exactly where and how she liked to be touched. Kissed. Tasted. And although she wasn't a virgin, she might as well have been—tonight was like nothing else she'd ever experienced.

'OK?' he asked softly.

'Very OK.' She snuggled closer, not wanting to talk. Not wanting to break the spell. Not wanting to go back to real life.

'Good.' He stroked her hair. 'Stay with me tonight?'

Spend the night with him.

More love-making.

Oh, it was tempting. She wanted more, more, more of that rush of pleasure. As if someone had shrunk her to a centimetre high, balanced her on the cork of a champagne bottle, shaken the bottle and then just let the cork fly.

But, as she'd told him earlier, her head ruled for ninety-nine point nine per cent of the time. And spending the night with Jake Lewis would be the first step on a very slippery slope. A slope that would lead directly away from the peak of the career she wanted.

A step she wasn't ready to take. Might never be ready to take;

As if he'd guessed what she was thinking, he said softly, 'It's not part of a master plan to get you married, pregnant and working part time at the very most in a very junior role.'

Was she that obvious? 'Of course not.'


Tags: Kate Hardy Billionaire Romance
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