Ignited by Passion, page 19
She could hear him chuckle on the other end. “K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen? I’ve heard of the place, but have never eaten there. I’m going to take your word that I won’t be disappointed,” he said.
She grinned. “Trust me, you won’t be.”
“How long will it take for you to get ready?”
“I just got out of the shower so it won’t take me long to slip into something.”
It was close to forty-five minutes before Jayla appeared in the lobby.
But the moment she walked off the elevator, Storm knew she had been well worth the wait. His chest grew tight as he watched her walk toward him, thinking she looked absolutely incredible.
He’d known he was in trouble when she had mentioned on the phone that she had just gotten out of the shower. Immediately, visions of her naked had swam his mind, which was a lot better than any live scene he had witnessed at that club earlier.
Common sense told him to pull himself together and remember who she was. But at the moment, all his senses, common or otherwise, were being shot to hell with every step she took toward him. He stood practically unmoving as he watched her, enraptured, while hot desire surged through his bloodstream.
She was dressed in a short dress that totally flowed over her figure, emphasizing the gorgeous shape of her body as well as her long beautiful legs. His gaze lowered slightly to those legs. It had been hard to keep his eyes off them this morning, and it seemed this evening wouldn’t be any different. She had the kind of legs any man would just love to caress and have wrapped around him.
He drew in a deep breath, not wanting to think such thoughts but discovering he was hard-pressed to stop them from coming. Whether he liked it or not, he was undeniably attracted to Jayla Cole.
“Sorry I kept you waiting,” Jayla said when she came to a stop in front of Storm.
“You were worth the wait. Ready to go?”
They took a cab over to the restaurant and Storm was glad he’d gotten the hotel to make reservations for him. The place was packed. “Something smells delicious,” he whispered to Jayla as a waiter showed them to their table.
“Everything in here is delicious,” she said smiling.
Including you, Storm was tempted to say. He wondered how he could assume that when he’d never tasted her, but he just knew that she would taste delicious.
The waiter presented them with menus. “Just coffee for me now and I’ll wait for later to order dessert,” she said handing the menu back to their waiter.
Storm glanced over at her. “Since you’re familiar with this place, what do you suggest?”
Jayla caressed her upper lip with the tip of her tongue as if in deep thought. “Umm, I’ll have to recommend Chef Paul’s Duck & Shrimp Dulac. I had it the last time I was here and it was totally magnificent.”
Storm nodded and returned the menu to the waiter. “Then that’s what I’ll have and I’d like a bottle of sparkling mineral water.”
“Great choice, sir,” the waiter said before walking off.
Storm leaned back in his chair. “So, do you return to work on Monday?”
Jayla shook her head. “No, I won’t officially return to work until a week from Monday. Then on Tuesday of that same week, I have a meeting with a Dr. Tara Westmoreland. Is she a family member of yours?”
Storm smiled. “Yes, Tara is my sister-in-law. She and my brother Thorn tied the knot a few months back. Why would you need to meet with Tara? She’s a pediatrician and you don’t have a child.”
Not yet, Jayla thought to herself. “The reason I’m meeting with Dr. Westmoreland is for business reasons—in fact, we’re doing lunch. The company I work for, Sala Indus tries, is picking up the tab for the caterers the night that the Kids’ World calendar is unveiled at a charity ball, and Dr. Westmoreland is on the committee. It will be a huge event, and we expect well over a thousand people to attend.”
“I understand the ball will be next month,” he said, after the waiter had returned with their drinks.
“Yes, the second weekend in October, in fact. And I understand your brother Thorn is Mr. July.”
“Yes, he is.” Storm couldn’t forget how Tara had been given the unlucky task of persuading Thorn to pose as Mr. July. Doing so hadn’t been easy, but things had worked out in the end, including Thorn’s realizing that he loved Tara and the two of them getting married. Kids’ World was a foundation that gave terminally ill children the chance to make their ultimate dream—a visit to any place in the world—come true. All proceeds for the foundation came from money raised through numerous charity events.
“I understand the calendar turned out wonderfully and the sale of them will be a huge success,” Jayla said smiling, interrupting his thoughts. She gazed across the table at him for a second, then said. “Tell me about your family.”
Storm raised a brow after taking a sip of his water. “Why?”
She smiled. “Because I was an only child and whenever you mention your siblings or your cousins I can tell you all share a special closeness. It was lonely growing up without sisters or brothers and I’ve already made up my mind to have a large family.”
Storm chuckled. “How large?”
“At least two, possibly three, maybe even four.”
Storm nodded. He wanted a large family as well. “The Westmoreland family is a big one and we’re all very close. It started out with my grandparents who had three sons, one of which was my father. My parents had six kids, all boys until Delaney came along. Dare is the oldest, then Thorn, Stone, Chase and me. As you know, Chase is my twin brother. My father’s twin brother’s name is James and he and his wife Sarah also had six kids, but all of them were boys—Jared, Spencer, Durango, Ian, Quade and Reggie. My father’s youngest brother, Uncle Corey, never married, so it was assumed he’d never fathered any kids, but we discovered differently a few months ago.”
Jayla placed her coffee cup down, curious. “Really?”
“His sons, who never knew he was their father, just like he never knew he had sons, had an investigator track him down. Uncle Corey is a retired park ranger in Montana and that’s where they found him.”
Jayla was fascinated with the story Storm was sharing with her. “But how did he not know that he was a father?”
“It seems a former girlfriend found out she was pregnant after they’d broken up and never bothered telling him. Unknown to Uncle Corey, the woman gave birth to trip lets.”
“Yes, triplets. Multiple births are common in our family. Like me and Chase, Ian and Quade, and my father and Uncle James are fraternal twins.”
Jayla inhaled, trying to absorb all this. “And your uncle’s former girlfriend had triplets?”
“Yes, the first in the Westmoreland family. It seems that she told them their father had died when they were born and only revealed the truth on her deathbed. Although Uncle Corey never married the woman, she had moved out west to Texas and had taken his last name, so fortunately, her kids were born as Westmorelands.”
“So your Uncle Corey has three sons he didn’t know a thing about?”
“No, two sons and one daughter.” He shook his head, chuckling. “And all this time we all thought Delaney was the only girl in the Westmoreland family in two generations. Last month Uncle Corey suprised us and got married!”
They suspended conversation when the waiter brought out Storm’s food. Storm surprised Jayla when he handed her a fork. “There’s too much here for one person. Share it with me.”
She glanced at his plate. He did have a lot and it looked delicious. “Umm, maybe, I’ll just take a few bites,” she said taking the fork from him.
And she did. The picture of them sharing a meal played out a rather cozy and intimate scene in her mind, one she tried to ignore. She licked her lips after they had finished. The food had tasted great. “Now you’re going to have to help me eat that cheesecake.”
His words triggered a flutter in the pit of her stomach. There was no doubt in her mind that Storm Westmoreland could handle anything. And he did. They finished off the strawberry cheesecake in no time.
Storm checked his watch after he signed the check for their bill. “It’s still early. How would you like to go dancing?”
His words echoed through Jayla’s mind. She knew the smart thing to do would be to tell him no, but for some reason, she didn’t want to think smart. She didn’t want to think at all. She was in the company of a very handsome man and she was in no hurry for them to part ways.
She met his gaze. “I’d love going dancing with you, Storm.”
The club that had come highly recommend from one of the waiters at K-Paul’s was dark, rather small, and crowded. Storm and Jayla were lucky to find an empty table inside Café Basil, which had a reputation of being the undisputed king of nightlife in the French Quarter.
Storm doubted that another couple could fit on the dance floor. Already, the place was jam-packed, but he was determined that they would squeeze in somehow. There was no way he would leave this place tonight without molding Jayla’s body to his and holding her in his arms.
He glanced across the table at her, barely able to make out her features in the dimly lit room. Her body was swaying to the sound of the jazz band that was playing and as he watched her, he had to restrain the emotions that were pulsing inside of him.
He had been with numerous women before and each one had met his specific qualifications—whatever they’d been at the time. And every single one of them had known the score. He promised nothing other than a good time in bed. He wasn’t interested in satisfying emotional needs, just physical ones. But there was something about Jayla that was pulling at him. The pull was definitely sexual, but there was something about it that was emotional, too.
And Storm Westmoreland didn’t do anything with women that hinted of the emotional so why was he here, bursting at the seams to take Jayla into his arms on that dance floor?
Before he could ponder that question, the tune that was playing stopped and another started. Some of the dancers went back to their seats, clearing the way for others to take their turn. “This is our number,” he said to Jayla, standing and reaching out for her hand.
She smiled and placed her hand in his. Immediately, he felt a tug in his gut that he tried ignoring as he led her onto the dance floor. He took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly the moment she came into his arms and molded her body to his.
“I like holding you,” he said truthfully into her ear moments later, wanting her to hear his words over the sound of the band.
She leaned back and searched his face a moment before asking, “Do you?”
She smiled and he thought it was the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen on a woman and felt good that his words had brought a smile to her lips. Speaking of lips…
His gaze shifted to her mouth and he couldn’t help but take in their proximity to his. All he had to do was inch a little closer and—
“You smell good, Storm.”
He inhaled deeply and slowly shook his head. She could say the damnedest things at times. They should be concentrating on small talk that was socially acceptable for platonic friends and not the sultry murmurings of lovers. “Thanks, but you shouldn’t say that to me.”
“Why not? If you can tell me that you like holding me, then I should be able to tell you that I think you smell good.”
His hands were around her waist, holding her tight, and her arms were draped about his neck. The music playing was slow and their bodies were barely moving. He knew it and she knew it, as well. He was also certain that she was aware that he was aroused. With her body so close to his, there was no way that she didn’t know it.
He wanted her to feel all of him and pulled her closer into his arms. Automatically, she placed her head against his chest and he closed his eyes as they swayed to the sound of the music. If she thought he smelled good, then he thought likewise about her. The scent of her perfume was intoxicating, seductive and a total turn-on. Moments later, the music faded and they stopped dancing, but he refused to release her. He needed to continue to hold her in his arms.
Jayla lifted her face and met Storm’s gaze. The look in his eyes was intense and purely sexual. “I should try and continue to fight this,” he said as if the words were being forced from him. She could clearly understand what he meant.
She did. “Don’t fight it,” she said softly.
He narrowed his eyes at her. “You’re not helping matters, Jayla.” His words were a low growl in her ear.
She narrowed her eyes right back at him. “Why should I?”
He stared at her for a long time. Then he glanced around. It seemed they were the center of attention. He looked back at her. “But you deserve more than just—”
“A one-night stand? Shouldn’t I be the one to make that decision, Storm? I’m twenty-six-years old. I work and pay my own bills. I’m a woman, not a child, and it’s time you realized that.”
He stared at her for a long moment, then said, “I just did.” He tightened his hand on hers and tugged her along with him out of the club.
“Where are we going?” Jayla asked, almost out of breath as she tried keeping up with Storm’s long strides as he tried hailing a cab.
“Back to the hotel.”
A few moments later, Storm cursed. There were few cabs around and the ones he saw were already occupied. He glanced across the street and saw a parked horse-drawn coach. Evidently, someone had used it for a wedding and it reminded him of the coach that might be used as a prop in Cinderella. “Come on,” he said, keeping a firm hold on Jayla’s hand.
They quickly crossed the street and approached the driver, who was holding the reins to keep the horses from prancing. “We need a ride back to the Sheraton Hotel on Canal,” Storm said, nearly out of breath.
The old man raised a bushy brow. “My rates are by the hour.”
“Fine, just get us there quick and in one piece.”
The driver nodded his head, indicating that he understood. Storm then turned and opened the carriage door. When Jayla lifted her leg to climb inside, Storm swept her into his arms and placed her inside on the seat. He then climbed in and shut the door.
As the coach lurched forward, anticipation and sexual desire the likes he had never known before gripped him and he could think of only one thing that could relax him.
He paused, wondering if he had lost his mind and then quickly decided that he had. There wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. He would worry about the consequences of his actions tomorrow. He was too far gone tonight.
He glanced over at Jayla where she sat on the other side of the seat. The interior lighting provided him with barely enough illumination to see her features, but he heard her breathing and it was coming out as erratic as his own.
“Come here, Jayla.”
She met his gaze before sliding across the seat to him. He curved his hand about her neck and drew her to him. Leaning forward, he captured the lips he had been dying to taste for over ten years. He took possession and staked his claim. He couldn’t help himself.
He felt the shiver that flowed from her body to his when she surrendered her tongue to his. He took his time to savor what she offered, relentlessly mating his mouth with hers as he tried to satisfy what seemed to be an endless hunger. Her taste was like a drug and he felt himself getting addicted to it as his controls were pushed to the limit, wanting more and determined to get it. He lapped up every moan she made while glorying in the feel of her kissing him back.
He deepened the kiss and she proved that she could handle him, tongue for tongue, lick for lick, stroke for stroke. It seemed that he had also tapped a hunger inside of her that she hadn’t fed in a while. He intensified the kiss, knowing she wanted him as much as he wanted her.
They felt a jolt when the coach came to a stop and they broke of
Knowing the decision was hers, he leaned over and placed a kiss on her lips. “What do you want, Jayla?” he asked, his breath hot and ragged against her ear. He hoped and prayed that she wanted the same thing that he did.
He watched as a smile touched her lips. She then reached out to run her hand down his chest, past his waist to settle firmly on his arousal that was pressing hard through his pants.
He swallowed hard, almost forgetting to breathe. His mind was suddenly filled with scenes of all the things he wanted to do to her.
She met his gaze and in a soft voice whispered, “I want you to make love to me, Storm.”
Storm’s knuckles gently brushed across Jayla’s cheeks just moments before his mouth descended on hers. The words she’d just spoken were what he wanted to hear, and at that moment he needed to taste her again.
He was swamped with conflicting emotions. A part of him wanted to pull back, unable to forget she was Adam’s daughter, but then another part of him accepted and acknowledged what she’d said was true. She was old enough to make her own decisions. Even Adam had pretty much conceded that before he’d died.
He slowly, reluctantly, broke off the kiss and took a deep breath. Her eyes glinted with intense desire and he was suddenly filled with a dangerously high degree of anticipation to give her everything she wanted and needed. Without saying a word, he took her hand. Together, they got out of the coach and went into the hotel. The walk across the lobby to the elevator seemed endless, and all Storm could think about was what he would do to her once they were alone. That short dress she was wearing had driven him crazy all night. More than once, his gaze had been drawn to her bare legs, legs he wanted wrapped around him while they made love.
“My room or yours?” he asked, moments before the elevator door swooshed open before them.
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