Undercover Billionaire Boss: A BWWM Contemporary Romance, page 9
“You’re welcome, that’s what friends are for, right?”
Raina gave him a small smile, swallowing uncomfortably, her heartbeat slowing down.
“Tell you what? Why don’t you go soak up in the bath and I’ll see to the kids. I’m not promising a gourmet dinner like you can make, but I can do meat and potatoes.”
Raina hesitated, then nodded once more. His eyes were warm and she saw only care and concern in them.
“OK, I’ll take you up on your offer. Thanks again.”
As Christopher had said, the boiled potatoes were nothing to write home about, but that didn’t matter, and Raina polished her plate. It felt so good to have someone take care of her for a change. After her bath and an hour relaxing upstairs, she felt better equipped to handle the rest of the evening.
“Aunty, did you find someone for Father’s Day?” Crystal asked, tugging on her sleeve.
Crap. Raina’s heart skipped a beat. It had completely escaped her mind and if she remembered correctly, the day was tomorrow. But she had promised the kids. Crap.
Maybe Kelly’s brother was still willing to … Her train of thought was interrupted by Christopher’s words.
“Well—if you don’t have anyone, I could do it if that’s OK with you? I’m sure I can rustle up a decent suit.” Christopher offered. He was leaning back in his chair, handsome as ever, watching her with a cocked head and friendly eyes.
“No … no … thank you, but we couldn’t impose on you like that.” Raina started to say, but the children had other ideas.
“Yes! Christopher, please do!” The three of them yelled. The girls were jumping up and down, grabbing Christopher’s arms, almost knocking him from his chair.
They all looked at her for a decision. She had no choice; she couldn’t let them down. Besides, what was the other option at this hour? She nodded, though she wasn’t happy with the idea.
Her little family was beginning to rely on Christopher too much. What would happen when he had to leave? She dreaded the disappointment and hurt the kids would face.
“Then it’s settled.” Christopher said. “I’m happy to do it. I would do anything to make you—them—happy.”
Raina felt his eyes on her, the heat behind them and the warmth behind his words, but she felt the heat rising to her face as she took in what he said. She glanced at her feet, shuffling them a bit.
“Okay. Okay.” She looked up at him to find him still intent upon her. “Thank you.”
“Anything you need. You only have to ask.” Christopher’s voice was velvet, and though the children were jumping and dancing around the table, in that moment Raina felt as though the rest of the world fell away and it was just the two of them.
His words seemed to hang heavy between them, and as she tucked the kids into bed later that evening she was still turning them over in her mind.
“You don’t have to go to the school, you know. It’s my responsibility.”
“You have a lot of responsibilities.”
Raina nodded. “I guess.”
They were sitting across from each other with cups of decaf coffee. Raina pulled her knees up to her chest and shivered. She didn’t want to talk about her responsibilities at the moment; she wanted to forget them.
“The weight of the world is on your shoulders tonight.” Christopher commented. It was a statement of fact, not a question.
Raina shrugged, giving him a tight smile. She brought the cup to her lips and drank deeply.
“A problem shared is a problem half solved....”
Raina half snorted in laughter and derision. “Well in that case, have you heard of any job openings?” Immediately she regretted her words.
“Why?” Christopher sat up, suddenly very concerned. “Are you thinking of leaving Del Mar? It would be terrible without you. You keep the place running.”
“Hardly,” She shook her head, brushing aside the compliment, “but I am glad there’s someone who sees it that way.”
Knowing she had said too much, she clammed up after that and refused to give in to Christopher’s probing. She turned the conversation to lighter topics and soon they were laughing like old friends. Telling him her problems would not solve them. Besides as much as she liked him, she wasn’t sure she could trust him not to tell anyone. It was just safer if only she and Kelly knew.
The following morning, she saw the kids off to school with the promise that Christopher would show up at the school at nine in the morning. Nervously, she hoped that he would not forget his promise to her and the kids. They had had so many disappointments in their lives already. Still, Christopher had proven reliable thus far.
She returned to the house to do a little cleaning before heading to work. While she was at the hotel, Raina couldn’t seem to concentrate on her work as she shuffled papers without really taking in what they contained.
She could only relax when Christopher returned. The plan had been to come in to work and then excuse himself for an hour or two to go to the school. She hadn’t seen him at all and had resisted the urge to go off in search of him. Time ticked away slowly and every minute seemed to drag on. At half past ten, she looked up when she heard a soft knock at her door. It was Christopher and he gave her thumbs up.
Raina felt ashamed of herself at her first thought. He was dressed in his usual attire of jeans and a shirt which had seen better days. She had hoped he would have smartened himself for the occasion.
“How did it go?” she said.
“It went very well. The kids are doing well and they were proud to introduce me as their ‘Uncle Chris.’ " he said with a grin that melted her heart.
“Uncle Chris, huh?” Raina said, matching his grin with her own. “Thank you so much, I can’t tell enough—"
“Yeah, you already did. You’re welcome. Gotta go, I have tons to do.” Christopher brushed aside her thanks. He shot her a grin that caused a slight dimple to appear in his left cheek, and Raina almost melted. He gave her a quick wave and left.
The relief that Raina felt was huge, though it would be recapped in the evening when she heard the kids’ account of how the morning went. Now she had one less thing to worry about. She spent the rest of the day jumpy, expecting to see Roger’s smirking face at any moment. However, much to her surprise, he never showed up.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop was pure torture. She certainly didn’t think Roger was just going to forget about what happened in her office the other day. Still, as the clock showed the hour for her day to end, Raina gave a little prayer of thanks that she hadn’t had to deal with him that particular day.
Returning home, Raina followed her usual routine of a quick shower and a change of clothes and then made a snack for the kids. She knew most working mothers usually had a sitter to watch over the kids after school for an hour or so, or sent them to daycare. But after losing their parents so abruptly, Raina hadn’t wanted to introduce another person into their lives or create instability.
She was bone tired, but the shower took care of that and she felt refreshed. The sound of the wheels of the bus crunching against the gravel on the side of the road alerted her to the kids’ homecoming. Eager to hear how the day went, Raina hurried out to meet them at the front door.
Their smiling faces and excited chatter warmed her heart and reassured her that all had gone well.
“Aunty Raina, you should have seen Uncle Chris, he was great. All the teachers loved him.” Crystal said. “My friends thought he was the handsomest uncle they had ever met.” She covered her mouth and giggled
“He dressed up too, in a real serious suit and shoes. He looked like a movie star.” Chantal sighed, and Raina suspected that her niece had developed as much of a crush on Christopher as she had.
She was so relieved and glad the day had gone well.
“What about you, Jeremiah?” Raina probed.
“Is … is Uncle Chris going to be our Uncle forever?” He looked down at his feet and shuffled.
Raina was momenta
“Ummmm …” Raina bit her lip, realizing suddenly that in bringing Christopher to the house she had done just what she hadn’t wanted to do; introduce a stranger into their lives who might just cause them all more disappointment.
She quickly changed the topic, unsure as to how to answer her nephew. “Who wants cookies?”
“Me!” “Me!” “Me!” The excited shouts came in unison. She did not often allow sweets, but she would have done anything to change the topic.
She ushered them in to the dining room and listened to their chit chat about their day.
Today, even Chantal was more forthcoming which made Raina wonder if the absence of a man in their lives had affected them more than she had imagined.
An hour later, Christopher walked in and the kids were all over him. He had his own front door key now, and though Raina knew it was a risk, her instincts told her that she could trust him.
The kids rushed to greet him and they wrapped their arms around his legs. He laughed, “Whoa! Whoa! You’ll knock me over!”
“Yea!” They screamed and proceeded to try to tackle him.
Raina only watched the domestic scene unfold, her heart both full of joy and heavy with trepidation.
“No it’s alright. Come on guys; let ‘Uncle’ Chris have a rest. He’s had a long day.”
“I’m fine, and I had a great time. Your kids are doing really well at school. Their teachers said so.” Christopher announced.
Raina started at that—that possessive “your,” he had used. But yes, she realized more and more every day that the kids were indeed “hers.”
She smiled as she readied dinner and listened to the chatter coming from the dining room. This, she thought to herself, was what a home should sound like.
Later, after the kids had gone off to bed, Raina and Christopher sat together on the couch having their customary cup of coffee.
“I probably should have bought you a bottle of wine or something as a thank you gift.” Raina commented. She bit her lip and smiled, looking down, a lock of hair falling over her face. “You really made their day.”
“Nah, this is perfect. The best part of my day.” Christopher said, stretching out his legs in front.
“I do thank you. A lot.”
Their eyes met across the couch and Christopher’s eyes locked onto hers. She felt her breath quicken and a shiver run through her body.
The scene appeared so intimate, Raina thought. They could easily have passed for husband and wife winding down their day. She broke the tension by looking away quickly as she stood up.
“More coffee?” Her calm and cheerful voice belied her inner turmoil.
Those were the kind of thoughts that could lead to heartbreak. But, God, he was attractive, even with his ugly cap and old shirt. He could probably clean up really well, she thought with an inward smile. She poured each of them another cup of the hot liquid and turned the conversation toward the topic she had long been curious about.
“What happened to bring you to maintenance work, Christopher? I know you haven’t always been a maintenance man. Not that there’s something wrong with that.” Raina hastily added. She didn’t want him to think she judged him for his line of work. It was good, honest, hard work, and he was a reliable worker.
He was silent for a moment until she feared that she had offended him.
“You’re right there.” He paused, and she could almost see the wheels turning in his mind as he chose his words carefully. “I wasn’t always a maintenance man. I was recently in a situation where lost a good deal of money.” he said with a tight smile. “So, I needed to regroup and figure out what to do about it. That led me to the Del Mar.”
“I’m so sorry.” Raina said sympathetically. She noted that he had not really told her more than she already knew, but she also sensed he did not want to discuss it, and she respected that.
His information brought closer home her own precarious situation right now. She was at risk of losing everything that she thought of as security. Her job. Her house. Her safety. She longed to know more about him, ask him more questions, but she decided to let it go when she saw that he had said as much as he planned to say.
“It’s alright. Things happen for a reason. Think of it this way, if that hadn’t happened, I would never have met you.”
He turned his eyes to look at her and Raina’s heart jumped. His look held so much, more than he was saying. She licked her lips and found herself lacking something to say. Again, the moment lingered and she felt the heat from his gaze suffuse her body.
To break the tension, she tried making a little joke. “I would think you’d be more excited about rubbing elbows with the famous guests of the hotel than you would about knowing me.” She let out a small laugh.
He gave a small half-smile, acknowledging her effort, but the intensity of his attention on her didn’t lessen.
“Raina McMillan, I’m certain that you’re the most beautiful person—inside as well as outside—that I have ever met.” His voice was deep, and husky, and she heard longing behind it. Longing that shocked and surprised her.
Raina’s lips parted in disbelief. This wasn’t what she had expected.
“Say something?” he coaxed gently.
What could she say?
I think about you all the time?
You look like a Greek God in those jeans and that T-shirt?
Do you want me as much as I want you?
And a million other things she would never permit herself to say.
She looked at Christopher again, knowing her deep brown eyes mirrored his own longing and betrayed her inner most thoughts. But no. She knew they were thoughts she could never permit herself to act on.
Raina, tried to gather her senses, clearing her throat to rebuff him and then … Christopher leaned forward.
He kissed her like he was a man dying of thirst in the desert and she was water from the freshest well. His desire was strong, insistent, and overwhelming.
His arms pulled her to him, enveloping her hard against his broad, muscular chest.
Christian kissed her greedily, loving the feel of her full lips on his and her sweet scent. He ran his hands over her face, hardly daring to believe that this moment was real. She tasted sweeter than he could ever have imagined. He wrapped his hand around her waist and pulled her hips closer to him, his lips never leaving hers as he continued to devour her.
After her initial shock, she responded to him in kind, her hands running frantically over her body, as though this was the first and last time she would ever touch a man. Her lips parted beneath his tender onslaught and he felt her melt against him.
Finally, unable to bear the barrier between them as they sat side by side on the couch, he lifted her easily and deposited her on his lap. All the while her eyes were tightly shut.
He devoured her mouth again, and teased her tongue with his. She let out a small groan, which fueled Christian’s own fire, and he felt his erection pushing hard against his jeans.
She pushed herself closer to him, her legs astride his. She was dressed in a short, green-patterned skirt, which now rode up her thighs and revealed her beautiful dark skin, so smooth against his palms.
Christian ran both of his hands along her thighs, all the way to the top, where his fingers came in contact with her silk panties.
Still kissing her and holding on to his sanity by a thin thread, one of Christian’s hand inched its way to her blouse and slowly, he opened her blouse.
Raina shrugged out of it, helping him as he divested her of the expensive garment. He stopped kissing briefly her to admire her breasts, letting out an audible groan before burying his face between them and raining kisses over them.
Working fast, Christian unhooked her bra, a
Her fingers ran over his hair and she held his head to her chest. He did not need further urging.
“Oh, Christopher,” Raina moaned.
“You’re so damned beautiful Raina,” he groaned. “Do you have any idea how much?”
She opened her eyes then, the desire in them making the depth of their color even more pronounced. Heat flowed from her eyes, begging him to take her, and his own body exploded with lust.
“Shall we go upstairs?” he said, giving her an opportunity to make the decision on how far she wanted it to go.
She contemplated his words for a millisecond, then she kissed him passionately. She got off his lap and he fought the urge to pull her down on top of him again. He watched in fascination as she strolled out, walking comfortably half dressed. Not many women could look as good as she did without even trying. He picked up her bra and blouse and followed her up the stairs.
She passed two bedrooms and the bathroom before reaching her own. He entered close behind her and pulled her almost roughly to him. They kissed wildly, hands running all over each other, their breaths coming out in quick gasps. He ran his hands under her skirt, the curves of her thighs and buttocks driving him close to the edge of losing control completely. God, she was sexy!
Her skin, her lips—everywhere he licked tasted exquisite. He felt her trembling in his arms and he took a step back to help her remove the rest of her clothes. She stood in front of him completely naked and he inhaled deeply.
She was exquisite.
She moved to cover herself and he sensed her confidence waning as he stared longingly at her. He closed the distance between them quickly, and whispered in her ear, his hot breath warm against her neck.
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