I need you always, p.1

I Need You Always, page 1

 part  #1 of  Need Series

 

I Need You Always
 


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I Need You Always


  I Need You Always—Need #1

  Copyright 2015 by Cynthia P. O’Neill. All rights reserved.

  First Print Edition: March 2015

  Formatting: Champagne Formats

  Editing: Stacy Nickelson

  Cover Photo:Eric Battershell Photography

  Cover Models:Assad-Lawrence Hadi Shalhoub and Riley Ferguson

  Cover Designer: Randy Potvin of RP Designs

  No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.

  Table of Contents

  Other Books

  Dedication

  Song Playlist

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  I Need You Now—Need #2

  Acknowledgements

  About the Author

  Other Books

  A Learning Series

  Learning to Trust

  Learning to Let Go

  Learning to Love Again

  Remembrance Series

  I Remember

  Loving You

  This book is dedicated to my husband who has encouraged me to push my writing to its limits and never complaining about takeout food when I’ve been on deadlines. You have inspired me to follow my passion and in turn helped create a few of the character traits found in my book.

  Song Playlist

  I Need You Always—Need # 1

  The songs can be found out on Spotify:

  https://play.spotify.com/user/12132158436/playlist/78JdvUcht3PAEGyqLDWdAP

  “I Found You”—The Wanted

  “Really Don’t Care”—Demi Lovato

  “Gotta Be Somebody”—Nickelback

  “Love Runs Out”—One Republic

  “We Own The Night”—The Wanted

  “I Want You”—Savage Garden

  “Wannabe”—Spice Girls

  “Strip Me”—Natasha Bedingfeld

  “If I Lose Myself”—One Republic

  “Let Me Be The One”—Expose

  “My Passion”—Akcent

  “I Lived”—One Republic

  “Never Been In Love”—Cobra Starship

  One Month Earlier . . .

  I LOOKED DOWN AT my watch and noted that I was five minutes late to our 10 AM meeting. The glass walls of his office showed him pacing the floor. He was already ticked and I would probably piss him off even more with my attire, but I wasn’t about to be uncomfortable and jet-lagged when going into a discussion with him. He’d have the upper hand for sure.

  His secretary, Marjorie, looked up from her desk and gave me a half-smile, letting me know how I thought it’d be. “Be sure to tell Mr. Prescott about your latest score yesterday and the pricing. That should help to diffuse things.” I nodded, hoping her strategy would work.

  I stopped short of walking into the office and decided I should give a courtesy knock. Dad stopped mid stride, “Where the hell have you been, Dane? I only have thirty minutes to talk with you and you’ve already wasted five of them.”

  He suggested I close the door and took a seat in one of the chairs in front of his desk and motioned for me to do the same. This didn’t bode well; usually our talks had a desk between us, when it came to business. Anytime the personal space was taken away, it meant something serious was about to go down and I had nowhere to run.

  His hand came up to clasp one of my shoulders, giving it a squeeze. “How did Italy go?” Thankfully he was starting with an easy discussion.

  “Italy was good, beautiful as always. I didn’t get in until three this morning, thanks to weather conditions over the Atlantic, so sorry if I’m running a little late.” Italy always felt like my home away from home, since we had relatives there, where I could be myself and let my hair down, literally. “The new vineyard is quite impressive in size and quality of their wines. They have some nice Pinot Grigio and Merlots ready and are offering them at very competitive prices to gain market perspective. If we have the right campaign to our buyers, we stand to make a killing with the sales.”

  He nodded. “I didn’t realize you’d gotten in so late, otherwise I would’ve scheduled this meeting for this afternoon. At least that explains your appearance. Did you bring back any samples and where do we stand on a contract with Votellici Vineyards?”

  Dad was nothing but blunt at times. My family and I didn’t always agree on how I should present myself. He wanted me at the company working alongside him, stuck behind a desk and wearing a damn suit all the time, which was not going to happen anytime soon, nor would I cut my hair. I liked having hair down to my shoulders and highlighted, but my parents felt it would look more “appropriate” if it were cut short with the natural coloring of my dark mahogany stand out, an Italian gene from my mother’s side of the family. Somehow my dad missed getting the Italian hair gene and favored his mother with a light brown hair.

  “Let’s cut to the chase and stop picking on how I look.” I didn’t know what he was griping about since I did make concessions of dress pants and a crisp white Armani oxford shirt. I did have to admit I rolled the sleeves up to see if I could get a rise out of him and I did.

  He leaned back in his chair with one hand on his chin. “Your sister needs to cut back on her work hours, since her and Jackson are expecting.”

  I jumped a bit at the revelation. “Gabriella’s pregnant?”

  “If you spent more time at home, and here in the office, rather then gallivanting all over the world and partying it up with the latest fling, you’d know these things. She’s already seven months along, so I need you to start spending a little more time in the office to learn the ropes and less time flying off to who knows where. It’s time to take some responsibility, Dane.”

  Crap, there was the “R” word. I knew the talk would shift, but wasn’t expecting to be blindsided with the news that I’d be an uncle in a couple months.

  “I do take work seriously. Who do you think helped bring in the 40% jump in sales last quarter with the new products?” I was on a roll here, so I might as well hit while the iron was hot, “Plus, you should know that I’ve been seeing someone seriously for the past two months.”

  Dad leaned forward with his arms on his knees. “You have the buying and selling side, of our business, but you know nothing about the marketing and business aspects to help run this company. One day I’d like to retire and know I’ve left the company in good hands, so I can spend more time with your mother and take her on some of the trips she’s longed to go on.”

  He definitely wasn’t going to stop until I conceded to coming in. Plus
, throwing the mom card in there . . . good way to drive it home dad! “Fine, what do I need to do?”

  A smile spread slowly across his face. He knew he’d won. “Gabriella and Rafe started out working with the interns and learning the very basics of the business and have built from there. They’re good at certain aspects of the business, but I need one of my kids to know the whole company inside and out. You have the foresight to guide this company and they can support your efforts.”

  My breath faltered as I felt the walls closing in on me. “You’re joking, right? I’m not working as an intern for this company.”

  Dad looked at his watch and stood up from the chair. “Follow me. We need to make this quick.”

  We’d taken the elevator to the fifth floor and stepped out into the entry level marketing and statistical analysis area. Where the hell was he taking me?!

  We didn’t move far from the elevators when he pointed to a group of people, divided into two groups, surrounding the conference table in deep discussion. One thing about dad, he liked to see what people were up to and had most of the interior walls converted to modern day glass; that could haze to obscurity when needed. He liked to be able to see and hear what was going on in the company. “They’re the latest interns, top of their class, from the local university. They have less than two months, before they graduate, but I could put you with them. It’s one of the best crash courses to get you up to speed. ”

  I shook my head and stepped back. “No deal.”

  “You have to start somewhere, Dane, and work your way up within the company to learn all the internal parts. I should’ve done this a long time ago, but knew you’d never agree to it. I never should’ve let you have your way.” He wrapped his arm around my shoulder, to hold me in place as he explained. “The young man over in the right corner, trying to control the group, is Conner. He’s top of the interns with tons of new ideas about online sales and marketing. The young lady he’s arguing with is Robin. She’s swift on the advertising aspects. Then there’s Marissa, who’s sitting quietly by Robin’s side. Her skills in statistical analysis and understanding market trends is astounding. I’ve never seen anyone learn as fast as she has. We have to challenge her daily, if only we could get her to come out of her shell and come up with some ideas we could use for Sales and Marketing, she’d definitely be hired.”

  I gave them all the once over and thought Robin was cute, but something about Marissa kept gnawing at me. I’d never seen anyone avoid eye contact before, then she looked up and our eyes locked. I caught myself half smiling and feeling my dick spring to life, before she broke the gaze dropping papers on the floor. She was a bit plain, dark hair to her shoulders, wearing little to no makeup, but her demeanor reminded me of Gabriella when she was a teenager. She was so intimidated by everyone, that I worked with sis on talking with others and within months she went from wall flower to wild child. It took running into Jackson to calm her down. I wonder if Marissa would be the same way? She looks like she could have a tiger hidden underneath her exterior. I wonder if she’s got a sexy body she’s trying to hide? Stop thinking with your dick, Dane, you have Tiffany now.

  Dad guided us back into the elevator. “So you’ve been seeing someone for two months, huh? If you’re serious about this girl, then why haven’t we met her?”

  “Tiffany’s been busy.” Why did I allow myself to be backed into a corner today? Duh! You haven’t slept and your defenses are down.

  “So tell me about her.”

  I readied myself with honest responses. “We met at one of my kink parties. She came as a guest to one of my friends. I’ve met a few of her acquaintances and we’ve been to each other’s houses. She works as a receptionist to an insurance company and, yes, she’s told me she loves me.”

  His eyes seemed to be alight with amusement. Leaning in toward me, he asked, “So why can’t she take time out of her calendar to meet your family?”

  I knew he was trying to rile me. “I know what you’re trying to do dad and it won’t work. She’s not some floozy trying to sink her teeth into me.” Why couldn’t he just trust my judgment in women? Look at your past record, asshole, you tend to attract those wanting a good roll in the hay and plenty spent on them.

  We arrived back at dad’s office, as he sits back in the seat across from me. “Fine, I believe you, but I’d like to know when Tiffany tells you she loves you? Is it when you treat her to a night out on the town, buy her expensive items, is it when you’re in bed together or does she tell you willingly, whenever the mood strikes?”

  Damn him! I punched my fist into the arm of the chair and decided I’d leave before things got too heated. “I’m out of here!”

  Dad grabbed me by the arm and held firm, despite my efforts to shake him off. “I’m not trying to spoil any romantic interests you have son. Just know that because of who you are and the Prescott name, you’ll have people try to warm up to you for the money. I only have your best interest at heart. I want you to find the happiness you deserve with a woman who’ll always be there for you.”

  How could he know that these were the very issues that prevented me from moving any further with Tiffany? I had mentioned meeting my family numerous times, only to be met with resistance. I suggested we try living together, but she quickly dismissed it. Even talking on the phone had become somewhat of a challenge.

  “I need to run, dad. I’ll drop a few bottles of wine off with mom on the way back home and, if you approve, I’ll have the contracts to you in a couple of days.” I took a deep breathe in. “I’ll take a look at my schedule and see what I can do about spending more time here. I know I have a few more trips lined up over the next couple of weeks. After that if you want me to come in, I will, but not as an intern.”

  A smile warmed his face. “That sounds like a good plan, son. Take the rest of the day to rest and we’ll talk this weekend.”

  I took the elevator down and tried stifling a yawn, wishing it would hurry up so I could get back home and sleep. It seemed to take forever. I was growing frustrated when Marissa stepped on. “Have a nice lunch. I’ll bring you back a latte.”

  Her voice sounded like an angel. I nodded her way and saw her rich cappuccino colored eyes sparkle before she looked down at the floor. She’s definitely shy and her clothes are way too big for her body. My mind began conjuring up all the different ways she might look under her garments. Stop thinking about her like that, she looks too pure for you. I kept my head forward and my hands in my pocket, trying to hide the bulge in my pants. Why was she having such an effect on me?

  I heard her stifle a cry and looked over to see a few tears running down her face. I inched closer to her. “Are you alright?”

  Her head shook and her shoulders shrugged giving me mixed signals. I reached out to hold her hand. “You’re too pretty to be crying, bella.”

  Her eyes lifted slightly to mine. Her voice was shaky and filled with emotion. “You really think so?”

  “Would you believe me if I told you I’ve longed to kiss your lips since the moment you stepped on this elevator?”

  Her eyes looked surprised. “You do?”

  I could see her heartbeat at the pulse point of her neck, driving me closer to her. I had to taste her lips, to know her, even for just a moment. What the hell was with this compelling draw to her? “I’m finding it impossible to resist you, bella. Tell me to stop and I will.”

  She leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes as my lips hovered above hers. I nipped the edges of her mouth, testing the waters to see if I’d be allowed one kiss, when her hands grabbed hold of my shirt drawing me closer as our lips fused with one another with searing heat radiating off of them.

  I reached out my hand to hit the stop button on the elevator; not wanting anyone to intrude on our private moment. Her grip on my clothes tightened and her breathing increased, as the elevator came to a slow halt. “Shh. I won’t harm you, little one. I just don’t want this kiss to end, not yet.”

  My tongue tr
aced her bottom lip and I slowly sucked it into my mouth, causing her to gasp and taking my invitation to taste the sinfulness of her mouth. My tongue plunged deep inside to find her meeting me stroke for stroke. Her hands came up around my neck to try and fist my hair, but I had better ideas. I took hold of both her hands in one of my own and held them high above her head as my other hand grabbed a handful of her hair tilting her head back to deepen our kiss.

  Marissa’s moans of pleasure and the scent of her arousal was nearly my undoing. It took all of my control not to press myself against her so she could feel what she does to me. But, I knew we needed to get the elevator started soon or security would be ringing the phone to see if everyone was okay and I didn’t want to give away who I was, not yet anyway.

  I pulled back gently, releasing her hands and watching her struggle to catch her breath, holding onto her until she retained her balance. The back of my knuckles grazed across the soft flesh of her cheek. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have kissed you, but wanted to do something to cheer you up and maybe bring a smile to your face, instead of tears.”

  One hand went up to her mouth, holding onto her lips. A shy smile spread across her lips as her face flushed. “No one’s ever kissed me like that.”

  I was afraid I was about to be backhanded, but instead received, “I don’t know who you are, but thank you. You just helped me make an important decision today.”

  What decision? Come on, tell me. Give me one word of encouragement and I’ll dump my girlfriend for you. I couldn’t speak what I was thinking. I was always loyal and monogamous in my relationships with women, but could I really call what Tiffany and I have a relationship. She never responded to a kiss the way Marissa just did. A shot of electricity shot through me as we kissed; her body molding perfectly to mine.

  The elevator opened at the lobby and I motioned for her to go first. The natural sunlight spilling in through the front windows highlighted every one of her hidden curves through the fabric. She was built like an Italian goddess, small but curvaceous, unlike Tiffany who was pencil thin and plastic.

 
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