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Unbuttoning the ceo, p.10

Unbuttoning the CEO, page 10

 part  #1 of  The Suits Undone Series

 

Unbuttoning the CEO
 


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  “Not a thing.”

  “Good.”

  She held his hands and he dropped back onto the couch when the edge brushed against the backs of his knees.

  Gracie padded away from him. She rustled in the kitchen. A utensil scraped against a plate. Sink water flowed. She banged a drawer shut. What the hell was she doing in there? A loud clatter followed several seconds of silence, suggesting she’d dropped something.

  “Everything all right?” he asked.

  She muttered, and then she said she was fine.

  Her footsteps drew near and he tensed, unsure what to expect.

  “I bought cupcakes,” she said.

  Ethan laughed. “Yeah?”

  “Several kinds. I wasn’t sure which you would like. I figured I could help you taste-test them.”

  “I’m ready.”

  “Okay. Here’s the first. Open up.”

  Ethan opened his mouth and moaned when the rich chocolate cake touched his tongue. “Oh, that’s good. The icing isn’t chocolate, though. Buttercream, right?”

  “How’d you know?”

  “That’s my favorite cupcake combination.”

  “Darn. I thought we’d be playing this out longer.”

  “No, no. Keep going.”

  “Okay. Here’s the second.”

  This time, too, the aroma of cocoa clued him in on the flavor. But this was different. Slightly bitter with a sour cream frosting. “Red velvet?”

  “Damn. You’re good at this. We can stop now.”

  “Put some of the cream cheese frosting on your finger.”

  “And do what?”

  “Put it in my mouth.”

  Silence.

  “Gracie? Isn’t this what you wanted?”

  “Yeah. I’m just not doing a very good job of it.”

  “Yes, you are. There’s nothing you have to achieve here. Just do what feels right to you. Whatever it is, I’ll like it.”

  Ethan opened his mouth and waited. One of Gracie’s slim digits moved in his mouth and he closed in on it, sucking the frosting off her finger as it retreated.

  Then she painted his lips with frosting and pressed her lips against his. “Oh, that is good.”

  “Anything else you’d like to do?”

  She didn’t answer, but her legs brushed his knees, and the scent of lilacs permeated the air. What was she planning? She placed her hands on his knees, her hair feathering the tops of his thighs. His shaft stiffened and rose to the occasion. Holy shit. It was official: This was the best birthday ever.

  Ethan’s heart hammered in his chest. He wiggled his fingers, wanting to touch her, wanting to wrap her hair around his hands and tug her mouth to his cock. But he wouldn’t. She controlled this moment. And damned if he didn’t like the power she held over him.

  Her hands, silky as always, spread his legs apart. She filled the empty space with her body. He wanted to see her on her knees, knew he would enjoy the picture she made. Without his sense of sight, his mind filled in the blanks, and the image he conjured made his cock hard.

  “Nic?”

  “Yeah?”

  “I’m pulling down the straps of my negligee.”

  He swallowed. The image in his head transformed into a masterpiece. “Can I touch?”

  She mumbled an unintelligible response.

  “What was that?” he asked.

  “I said yes.”

  Her voice glided over him, coaxed him to lean forward and reach out to her. Her breasts, round and heavy, filled his hands. His fingers circled over them, beginning with her nipples and moving outward. Her torso pressed against his knees, suggesting she was trying to move closer to his touch.

  “Can I lick?” he asked.

  “No.”

  Ethan lifted his hands. Had she changed her mind? Maybe she wasn’t satisfied with the way the events had unfolded. He opened his mouth. Before he could ask her whether something was wrong, she pressed two fingers against his lips. His stomach muscles contracted when those two fingers trailed down his chin and slid to his chest.

  Her soft whisper caressed his cock like a lullaby. “Tell me how you like it. Tell me how to please you.”

  Ethan began to speak, but the words lodged in his throat. He cleared it and tried again. “Hold the base of my cock. Squeeze it. But not too hard.”

  Her smooth hand wrapped around his erection. “Like this?”

  An electric shock zinged through his body, firing every synapse. Fuck, yes. “That’s perfect. Now move your hand up and down.”

  Gracie did as he asked. She applied just the right pressure. Her hand, delicate and soft, moved at just the right speed. Ethan fisted his hands and moaned. He couldn’t help it. Something about not seeing her compelled him to make his pleasure clear to her. “Ah, Gracie. That feels good.”

  Her hand left his shaft and a whoosh of air passed across his chest.

  “Are you leaving me?” he asked.

  “No. I’m getting a pillow.”

  Her arms brushed his legs, and her hand slid up and down his cock again. Ethan wanted to bury himself in her wet heat. Wanted to slide in to the hilt and fuck her senseless. But he held himself in check, waiting to see where she would go. He didn’t wait long. Her plump lips wrapped around the crown of his cock and sucked. Then she slid her tongue up and down his cock as she fondled his balls.

  Ethan didn’t see stars. He saw the entire solar system. “Fuck, fuck, fuck. It’s yours, baby. Take it all.”

  And she did.

  She took every inch of him, sliding and sucking as she moved from the base of his cock to the head. And she did it over and over again. Her hair brushed his stomach, and she raked her nails against his thighs. Ethan bent over and fisted her hair, rubbed her shoulders, reached for her breasts. He needed to do something. Something that would relieve the almost painful pressure that surrounded his cock. But he couldn’t see. And she wanted him this way.

  Maybe if he begged, she’d take pity on him. “Graciela. Please.”

  She pressed a kiss to his cock. “What do you need?”

  “I need you to ride me. Right now.”

  The rip of the condom packet made him woozy. Please, Gracie, hurry. Then her thighs landed outside his, and his cock strained to find her heat. Her hands pressed against his shoulders, and she nestled her face in the crook of his neck. He breathed in the flowery scent of her hair and prayed she’d ride him hard.

  He placed his hands around her waist and nudged her. “You’re torturing me, sweetheart. I need you.”

  “You’ve got me,” she said.

  Then she sank down. Hard. Ethan’s body warmed from his cock outward. Her slick walls teased and taunted. She pulled him in and held on tight, moaning her pleasure as he hummed his own. Every muscle in his body flexed in response to her movements. He grunted and groaned. Didn’t give a fuck what he looked like, either.

  “Too tight,” she breathed into his ear.

  He loosened his hold on her waist. “Kiss me, Gracie.”

  She leaned into him and placed her hands on the sides of his face. She explored his mouth, revered it, and when she came up for air, he panted. The pace of her breathing changed, grew shallow, needy, mirroring his own short breaths. He wasn’t the only one strung tight.

  “Gracie, I need you to fuck me. I need you to make me come, baby.”

  “I need it, too.”

  He searched for her clit. The minute he found it, Gracie cried out. “You’re burning, aren’t you, Gracie?”

  “Oh, God. Yes, yes, yes. Please keep doing that.”

  His fingers circled her clit as she rode his cock. He pressed his face against her chest, licked his way to one nipple, then the other. She whimpered. And the sound made him want to beat his fists against his chest in triumph. Surely, she would kill him. The strain he was putting on every part of his body couldn’t be healthy. He’d never recover. But fuck if he would tell her to stop.

  She placed her hands on his shoulders, and her nails scraped h
is skin. He welcomed the discomfort. Anything to take his mind off the torture of being on the edge for minutes more than any man should bear. She adjusted her legs and rode him fast. Ethan wanted to cry in relief. Instead, he chanted his approval. “Yes, baby. That’s it. That’s it.”

  On the verge of the orgasm to end all orgasms, he drove upward, seeking the right angle to bring them both to release. At this rate, he would come before her. And he wanted them to reach that summit together. He found her clit again and rubbed.

  “Oh, Nic. I’m going to come.”

  He wished he could block out the sound of her voice. Each time she shouted Nic’s name, Ethan jerked as though she’d delivered a physical blow. He didn’t deserve her pleasure, but he took it just the same.

  “Hang on, Gracie. Not yet.” He ripped off the scarf, needing to see her eyes when she came.

  She drew back. Her slack mouth and glazed eyes betrayed her confusion. “What is it?”

  “I don’t want it to end. Let’s slow it down.” She pulsed around him and he gritted his teeth. “Ride me slow, baby.”

  She leaned forward, pressing her breasts into his chest. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her fiercely. When they separated, she gulped in air and he rested his head on her shoulder. They remained still for several seconds, neither making a sound.

  Before he could ask whether something was wrong, Gracie ground her hips and lifted herself off him, using his shoulders for support. “Is this how you want it? Slow?”

  When she sank down, he choked out a curt “yes.”

  She continued to torture him several minutes more, whispering soft words of encouragement. Ethan couldn’t hold off anymore. His body vibrated and his erection pulsed. Gracie’s moans grew louder. She pressed deeper into his chest and angled her body, enabling her clit to rub against his pelvis each time she sank onto him.

  To his surprise, she shouted her release before him. At its pinnacle, her orgasm seemed to move through him, forcing its way out of her and sweeping over him in the aftermath. He bucked against her, grasping her waist and lifting her up and down his length, unable to decipher when her orgasm had ended and his had begun. A storm of sensation rocketed through him, bringing him pleasure beyond anything he’d ever experienced. He wasn’t sure he’d recover from this, from her.

  Later that night, after moving to her bedroom, they spooned in her bed, spent and lost in their own thoughts. Abruptly, she turned toward him. “What were you thinking about out there, when you were driving the course?”

  Ethan opened his eyes. He suspected she wouldn’t believe him, but he told her the truth anyway. “Nothing.”

  “Nothing?”

  “Absolutely nothing.”

  “Is that why you like to speed? Because it gives you a place where your mind shuts down?”

  He’d never thought about it in those terms. In a speeding car, his mind focused on remaining on the road, hugging the curves, and avoiding a crash. And he relished the time to get away from the shit that burdened him. Behind the wheel, he escaped his job and the infinite responsibilities that came with it. “You might be on to something. It’s therapeutic.”

  “Art is my therapy.”

  “How so?”

  “Growing up, whenever I had a problem, I’d find my way to a museum. I went to high school in Manhattan, so after school, I’d go to the Met, or to the Guggenheim. And I’d walk, and walk, and walk. Study paintings, even the ones that didn’t attract as much attention. There was something about seeing so much beauty, knowing it had been cultivated over years, an artist’s passion captured in a painting or sculpture. It calmed me. Not sure why.”

  “Yeah, maybe that’s what driving does for me. Sometimes my job can get overwhelming. And I don’t love it as much as I used to.”

  “Could you do something else?”

  Ethan couldn’t imagine doing anything else. “It’s not that easy, Graciela. I have a lot of people who depend on me. And what kind of person would I be if I hightailed it every time the job gets tough? My parents certainly didn’t have that option. And they did shift work in a canned foods factory.”

  “So speeding is your escape?” she asked.

  “Yeah, I guess. I take my frustration out on the road, which isn’t wise, I know, but maybe that’s why I do it.”

  He wanted to say more. To tell her that he hadn’t felt the need to speed since they’d started spending time together. She balanced him. Made him yearn for a quiet life—with her in it. But sharing these feelings wasn’t part of the bargain they’d reached, so he stuffed his soppy feelings away. “Thanks for making my birthday so special. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it with anyone else.”

  She blushed and dropped her face into the crook of her arm. “That’s a nice thing to say.”

  Ethan nuzzled her ear. “It’s true.”

  He stiffened when he realized the implication of his words. Each minute in Gracie’s presence made it more difficult to envision the inevitable end of their affair. He didn’t want to spend time with anyone else. She’d become his sanctuary. The place where he could be himself. The place where he could pretend there weren’t duties and responsibilities tugging him in too many directions.

  But Gracie didn’t want more. And given that he was keeping a significant part of himself hidden from her, he didn’t deserve more, either.

  Gracie snuggled into him. “It’s okay, Nic. I took it as a compliment, not as a profession of your love and undying commitment.”

  “That’s not what you want, right?”

  She hesitated. “Right.”

  “Same here.”

  Her eyes closed and a lazy smile spread across her face. He’d do anything to keep that satisfied look on her face. The thought of disappointing her weighed heavily on his chest. All he had to do was stick to the plan. Enjoy her now and leave her with pleasant memories of their time together. He prayed he wouldn’t screw up.

  CHAPTER ELEVEN

  The next morning, Gracie’s muscles ached. Everywhere. As she stretched, her core pulsed, still tender from Nic’s relentless attention. She’d grin and bear that particular soreness.

  Nic’s side of the bed was empty, but the aroma of coffee filled her nostrils.

  She sat up and readjusted the straps of her negligee, disappointed that she and Nic didn’t have time to talk more. He’d opened up to her last night, had shared his fears about the growing chasm between him and his family. They didn’t understand why he couldn’t visit more. He didn’t think they understood the pressure he was under. She’d suggested a surprise visit, when his schedule would allow, so it wouldn’t be inconvenient for him, and so they wouldn’t be disappointed if he had to cancel at the last minute. He’d told her he thought it was a good idea. And then his eyes had darkened, and there’d been no more talking after that.

  Gracie wished they could stay in bed all day, but she had an appointment to prepare for. She reached for her iPhone on the nightstand. The screen indicated that she’d missed a call. Several calls. From Brenda. Gracie’s heart pounded in her chest as she read the time: 9:42 a.m. She was late. Shit, shit, shit.

  Gracie sprang from the bed and whipped open her closet door, grabbing the first pair of pants she could find. She didn’t have to hear the message to know that Brenda was calling because she’d missed an appointment with the president of the Bentley Foundation.

  With one leg in her slacks, Gracie called Brenda. Her assistant picked up after the first ring.

  “Brenda. It’s Gracie. I know I’m late.”

  “Gracie, is everything okay? I was so worried.”

  “I’m fine. I . . . I overslept. I set the alarm, but it didn’t go off. Did Ms. Cantrell call?”

  “Yes. She was looking for you. She said you’d have to reschedule the appointment.”

  Gracie dropped to the bed with a groan. “Did she seem angry?”

  Brenda didn’t say anything.

  “Brenda, you there?”

  “Yeah, I’m here. No, she did
n’t seem angry. Just a bit annoyed. Impatient. This is not like you, Gracie. What’s going on?”

  “Nothing’s going on, Brenda. I overslept. Can you give me Ms. Cantrell’s number?”

  “Sure.”

  Gracie grabbed a pen and wrote the number down on the back of a receipt she’d found on her nightstand. “Okay, I’ll call right now. Wish me luck.”

  “Good luck,” Brenda said. Her voice, however, lacked any of the enthusiasm Gracie had come to associate with her assistant.

  Gracie lifted her sluggish butt off the bed and finished putting on her slacks. What a nightmare. There was no time for moping, though. She needed to fix this. Steeling herself for an unpleasant call and expecting to reach Belinda Cantrell’s assistant, she was surprised when Ms. Cantrell herself picked up the line.

  “Ms. Ramirez, I missed you this morning.” The woman’s brisk tone highlighted the fact that she was not amused.

  “Ms. Cantrell, I’m so sorry. I apologize. I overslept, and there’s no excuse for it. All I can ask is that you give me a chance. For the sake of LTN.”

  “Ms. Ramirez, the Bentley Foundation gets thousands of requests each year from organizations seeking its support. A select number of them are invited to make proposals. An even fewer number of those inquiries result in an interview. You missed yours. I’m not inclined to give you a second chance.”

  Gracie’s eyes watered. This couldn’t be happening. This was her shot to save LTN, and she’d wasted it—because she’d spent the evening with a man who admitted he wanted nothing more from her than a casual affair.

  The man in question chose that moment to walk into her bedroom with two steaming cups of coffee in his hands. She turned away from him and walked to the floor-to-ceiling window she’d always treasured. Today, however, she didn’t appreciate the light that filtered through it. The sun was too bright, like a beacon shining down on her and her unfortunate lapse in judgment.

  After taking a deep breath, she groveled. “Ms. Cantrell, I recognize that it was unprofessional of me to miss the appointment, but I can assure you nothing like this will ever happen again. I made a mistake. And I own up to it. I just need a second chance. I’ll make myself available whenever you need me.”

 
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