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Unbuttoning the ceo, p.12

Unbuttoning the CEO, page 12

 part  #1 of  The Suits Undone Series

 

Unbuttoning the CEO
 


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  Nic’s nimble fingers unbuttoned her blouse, and her red satin bra peeked out from the blouse’s center. Nic simply stared. She held her breath, wanting him to part the material and reveal her to him. But he did nothing. For a few seconds, her confusion paralyzed her. Then she remembered. Ah. Right. This was her show.

  Gracie removed her blouse, hitting her elbow on the window in the process. “Ouch,” she said.

  He clamped down on his bottom lip, stifling a laugh, she was sure, and then he gave her a wry grin. “That bed probably seems more appealing right now, huh?”

  She shushed him and lowered the straps of her bra. “Do you want to see them or not?”

  “Oh, yes, I’d like to see them.”

  “Then no more smart comments, Mr. Hill.”

  Nic’s gaze held hers. His green eyes darkened. She was so close she could see when his pupils contracted. She lowered the cups of her bra and her breasts bounced out. “Lick them. Please.”

  Nic’s nostrils flared. Then his head descended to her torso. He drew one nipple into his mouth and licked it in lazy circles. Gracie whimpered. It couldn’t be helped. The sound filled the car despite her best effort to stifle it.

  The whimper served as Nic’s catalyst. After that, his rapid ministrations threatened to overwhelm her. He nipped and sucked on her nipples as his hands outlined the shape of her breasts. And he didn’t stop. Over and over, he nipped, sucked, and kneaded. Gracie shamelessly gyrated on his thigh all the while. Exquisite.

  Gracie arched her back and breathed in the scent of their arousal. It was everywhere. She reached for his hard length and held it in her hand. When she slid her hand from the base of his cock to its crown, he stopped moving. She moved her index finger across the crown and slid down to the base. She moved to his ear. “I want this inside me. Now.”

  He turned his head toward her and captured her mouth. “Take it,” he said against it.

  “Condom,” she said.

  He reached in his back pocket and handed her the foil packet.

  “You want me to do the honors?” she asked.

  “It’s your show, remember?”

  She opened the packet and rolled the condom down his length. Nic’s head hit the headrest. The corded muscles of his neck strained against his smooth skin. She leaned in and sucked on the expanse of skin at his throat. His large hands caressed her back, soothing her despite the flurry of need that wove its way through her.

  She couldn’t wait any longer. Lifting herself from his thighs, she centered his cock at her entrance. Then she pushed down, reveling in the tight fit. Inch by inch, she took him in. And with each inch, her muscles tightened against him. The friction nearly shattered her.

  Nic leaned forward and rested his forehead against the crook of her neck. “Ah, Gracie. It feels incredible. Don’t stop, baby.”

  When she’d taken all of him, she settled in for a long ride. Nic’s hands moved from her waist to her backside, kneading the warm flesh. As Gracie rocked into him, Nic met her with his own forceful thrusts. He used his hands to lift her ass, increasing the friction as she slid up and down his cock. Just as she’d planned, Gracie lost herself in the moment.

  * * *

  Ethan squeezed his eyes shut and gritted his teeth. He expected to explode any minute. But he had to hold on. Had to give Gracie the escape she needed. He opened his eyes and absorbed the image of her rocking into him.

  A fine sheen of perspiration covered her skin. Her eyes, glazed and unfocused, drew him in. Her breath hitched, and she began to chant. “Yes, yes, yes. Oh. Right there. Right . . . there.”

  He reached between them and found her clitoris. Her lips parted. Her eyes, heavy with desire, closed. He stroked her in circles as she continued to ride him.

  Hoping to get a better angle, he shifted in the seat and yelped when the seat belt release dug into his hip. “Never again will I let you choose where we hook up.”

  Her brown eyes widened, and her pupils dilated. “Hook up. Such a perfect description.”

  She was in a mood, and he wanted to make her come so hard she’d snap out of it. Ethan quickened his thrusts and applied even more pressure to her clit. Gracie’s head fell back, and her hair tickled his thighs. “Yes, yes, yes,” she cried.

  Then her face fell forward. She leaned into him and bit his shoulder. The unexpected sensation threw him. Turned him on in a way that was wholly unfamiliar. “Fuck, yes. Gracie. Bite me, baby. Do what you need.”

  She sucked on his shoulder instead. He almost stopped when he felt wetness on his shoulders. Was she crying? “What is it?” he asked.

  She lifted her head. Her brown eyes seemed to turn black. “Don’t stop. Not now.”

  Seconds later, they came together. His orgasm ripped through his body as she trembled against him, their moans rising and falling until finally an eerie silence remained.

  She collapsed against his chest, and he tightened his hold on her waist. The musky air reminded him of the small space and the impromptu nature of this coupling. He didn’t know what had brought this on, but he knew with certainty that he’d just experienced one of the most explosive orgasms in all his years. And she didn’t even know his real name.

  Ethan struggled to reach into his back pocket. “Here,” he said as he handed her a handkerchief.

  Gracie raised her torso but didn’t meet his stare. She took the handkerchief and wiped between her legs. She refused to meet his gaze as she refastened her bra and buttoned her blouse. In silence, she exited the car, kerchief still in hand, and reentered the car on the driver’s side. He watched her as she tossed the kerchief on the backseat and retrieved his jacket. Then she handed his jacket to him. Staring straight ahead, she asked, “Do you need a ride somewhere, or did you bring your car?”

  Ethan chewed on the inside of his mouth as he righted his clothing. She’d given him the best orgasm of his life, and he wasn’t sure he had the strength to leave her car. But he would. Because she obviously wanted him gone.

  Maybe she was pissed about the money. “Gracie, if I offended you by sending you the money, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. It was something I’ve always wanted to do, so I figured I might as well pay for it. We haven’t known each other very long, and that gift was extravagant.”

  His words cemented the tension in her features. Then, as quickly as her face had tightened, it relaxed, revealing a woman in calm repose. Women. They were inscrutable. Every single one of them.

  She inserted a key into the ignition and started the car. “It’s okay, Nic. I understand why you sent the money. Ride or not?”

  “No ride. I’ll catch a cab.”

  “Okay, great. I have to catch an early train in the morning, so . . .”

  “Right. Have a good weekend in New York.” He got out of the car and watched her drive away as soon as he’d shut the door.

  Then he scratched his head. What the fuck had just happened?

  CHAPTER THIRTEEN

  Gracie wore dark sunglasses during the three-hour train ride to New York. They hid the ginormous bags under her eyes. As if that weren’t enough, the headache of the century blasted her temples, and the young man who’d squeezed his way into the window seat wouldn’t shut up.

  His wrinkled jeans and sweater showed his unfamiliarity with a clothes dryer. And she spied the bag of dirty laundry he’d stuffed into the overhead compartment. College student. Definitely.

  “So,” he continued. “I’m meeting a few buddies in New York this weekend. It’s going to be bananas.”

  Gracie yawned. “Right.”

  When her cell phone rang, Gracie grabbed it like it was a life preserver. “Hello?”

  “Hey, Graciela,” her sister said.

  “Hi, Karen. Everything okay?”

  “Yes. I just called to warn you. Papi’s in a mood.”

  “What now?”

  “He called me last night. Oh, Gracie. It was torture.” Karen mimicked her father’s voice. “Ay, mis hijas. My daughters don’t call. No one ch
ecks on us. They don’t visit. Is this any way to treat your parents?”

  Gracie grimaced. This was a recurring theme in the Ramirez household. “Thanks for the heads-up.”

  “Oh, and he asked me about you. Wanted intel on whether you were dating anyone. I told him no. Is that okay?”

  An image of last night’s rendezvous with Nic flashed across her droopy eyelids. “No, that’s fine. I’m not dating anyone.”

  An unfamiliar silence settled between them. After several seconds, Karen broke it. “Gracie, what’s going on?”

  Gracie wanted to say something, but the words refused to leave her mouth. What could she tell Karen? That she’d agreed to have casual sex with a man? That, despite her best intentions, she wished for more? How could she expect Karen to understand when she didn’t understand it herself? “Nothing’s going on, sweetie. I’m busy. And I’m going to be stuck with Papi for the weekend.”

  “Oh, no. You’re heading to New York this weekend?”

  “On the train as we speak. I’ll be there in time for lunch.”

  “Good luck. I told Mom and Dad I’d see them for Christmas. That should hold him off for a month.”

  Gracie smirked. “Doubt it. But I’m rooting for you anyway. Bye, sweetie.”

  “Adios,” Karen said.

  Gracie disconnected the call and shoved her phone in her purse. After last night’s debacle, she questioned whether she could continue her arrangement with Nic. Her plan to reestablish the casual connection between them had gone awry. All she’d managed to do was reinforce her suspicion that a casual affair wasn’t in her repertoire. She didn’t know how to be intimate with someone and remain detached. Yesterday, she’d taken detachment to a dismal level, and had treated Nic poorly in the process.

  The young man next to her cleared his throat. “Papi. Is that your dad?”

  Gracie turned to him and lowered her sunglasses to the bridge of her nose. “Seriously?”

  He shrugged his shoulders. “Just trying to pass the time. Want to talk about it?”

  “Thanks, but no.”

  Oddly, she wanted to talk to Nic. He deserved an apology for the dismal way she’d treated him last night. If their roles had been reversed, she would have flattened him with a righteous kick to his groin. Even hours later, her cheeks warmed at the memory of her behavior.

  She’d proposed the casual arrangement without much thought. Then she’d convinced herself a no-strings affair would be ideal for her purposes. LTN deserved her undivided attention, she’s reasoned, and a serious relationship would distract her. Unfortunately, Nic proved to be a distraction despite their unspoken agreement not to involve their hearts.

  Gracie took off her jacket and draped it over her body like a blanket. When in angst, she slept. She settled into her seat, aiming for a nap. With her father’s mood in mind, she decided a nap would give her the mental fortification she’d need to get through the weekend. When the weekend was over, she’d decide how to handle her relationship with Nic. Or she’d hibernate for the winter and reemerge in the spring. Yes. That sounded like the perfect plan.

  * * *

  When Gracie’s father opened the door of her childhood home, he greeted her with a wide grin. “Graciela, come in, come in. I was worried you wouldn’t be here in time for lunch.”

  Gracie’s stomach rumbled as she slipped out of her jacket. “Made it just in time.” She rubbed her hands together and sniffed the air. A familiar and comforting mix of garlic, onion, and coriander filled her nostrils. “Is that arroz con pollo?”

  Her father nodded. Then he placed Gracie’s jacket on a hanger and stuffed it into the hall closet. “It is.”

  Gracie closed her eyes and pretended to swoon. Her mother’s traditional rice with chicken dish was the stuff of legend. “I’ll go help.”

  Her father shuffled after her. “Before you do, go ahead and freshen up. We’ll be eating soon.”

  Gracie’s confident stride faltered, and she spun around. “Papi, are we expecting someone?”

  Her father smiled. “Your mother and I invited Daniel. He should be here any minute. He’s in New York for the weekend. We thought it would be nice to see him, and we thought you two might like to see each other, too.”

  Gracie swallowed and clenched her fists. She should have known her father was up to something. The scoundrel wanted grandbabies, and he wouldn’t get them if Gracie didn’t marry someone soon. “Daniel’s here for the weekend,” she said. “Quite a coincidence, wouldn’t you say?”

  Her father scratched the back of his head and refused to meet her hard gaze. “I might have mentioned that you’d be here.”

  Gracie’s ears burned at the thought that her dad had tried to play matchmaker. “Papi, just stop. Daniel and I aren’t going to fall in love and get married. You’re wasting your time.”

  Her father crossed his arms, a sure sign he was prepared to duke it out. “Graciela, he’s a good man. He’s smart, makes good money, and he likes you. What’s wrong with dating him? Maybe you’d grow to love him.”

  Gracie pursed her lips. “I’d have to learn to like him first.”

  “Be nice, Graciela. We taught you better than that.”

  “Sorry, you’re right. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m not interested in Daniel.”

  “Well, you need to get interested in someone soon, Graciela. You’re not getting younger. And you’re spending too much time on work. You need balance.”

  “For goodness’ sake, Papi. I’m twenty-seven, hardly a candidate for a nursing home. And there’s nothing wrong with focusing on work.”

  “Work isn’t going to keep you warm at night.”

  “And a cheating husband isn’t going to keep me warm at night, either.”

  “Enough,” her father said. The sharp edge to his voice was followed by a deep sigh. “There are good men out there. Men who don’t lie. Men who don’t cheat. You’re looking at one right now. If you don’t want to date Daniel, fine. I can’t make you. But don’t swear off men because you’re so focused on your career. You’ll only be hurting yourself in the end.”

  Then he turned and trudged up the stairs. She refused to go after him. First off, she didn’t avoid men. Exhibit A, in the form of a sexy computer consultant with piercing green eyes, came to mind. And her preoccupation with work warranted praise, not censure. This constant push and pull between them exhausted her. Was it any wonder she didn’t visit more often?

  She waltzed into the kitchen, acting as if that uncomfortable exchange with her father hadn’t happened. Her mother, lovely as ever, danced to the salsa music playing from a small radio on the kitchen counter. Lydia Ramirez wore slacks and a billowy top that didn’t mesh with the soiled kitchen towel draped over her shoulder or the sauce-splattered oven mitts covering her hands. Gracie imagined her mother had gotten dressed for brunch in Manhattan, thought better of it, and decided to cook instead.

  She planted a kiss on her mother’s cheek. “Hola, Mami.”

  “Hi, Graciela. Giving your father a hard time as usual.”

  “You heard?”

  “I hear everything, sweetheart.”

  “Well, then you know why I gave him a hard time. He won’t quit meddling.”

  Her mother laughed as she stirred the pot of rice and chicken. “That’s what fathers do, Graciela. Mothers, too. But your father’s so good at it, I let him do it all on his own.”

  Gracie groaned. “Tell me you don’t approve of his plan to get me hitched to Daniel.”

  “I don’t approve, but there’s no point in saying so. Daniel’s not the man for you. I know it. You know it. Your father will know it, too. Eventually. Just get through the lunch.”

  Gracie riffled through the utensil drawer, found a spoon, and sidled up to the steaming pot. “Taste, please?”

  “Just one, and then please finish fixing the table,” her mother said.

  Gracie scooped a spoonful of the dish and placed it in her mouth. The dish packed just enough heat to make
her tongue tingle. “So good,” she murmured as she placed the spoon in the sink.

  The doorbell rang. Gracie’s raised her head to the ceiling and let out an exaggerated groan. Her mother, meanwhile, flitted around the kitchen as though she hadn’t heard the doorbell at all.

  “I guess I’ll get it,” Gracie said.

  She stomped to the door and flung it open. “Fancy meeting you here, Daniel. What brings you to town?”

  Daniel ignored her sarcasm. “Hi, Graciela. As always, it’s a pleasure.” He held a bouquet of fall flowers in his hand.

  Gracie reached for them. “You shouldn’t have.”

  Daniel swatted her hand away and grinned. “I didn’t. These are for your mother.”

  Gracie closed her mouth and ushered him in. “Can I get your jacket?”

  “Yes, thanks.”

  As she took his jacket, Gracie’s father sauntered down the stairs. “Daniel, so good to see you.”

  “Hector, likewise. How are the Giants treating you this season?”

  “Same as always, Daniel. Always so close. Just enough to make an old man hope, but not enough to make me win the pool at the job.”

  Daniel pulled his phone from his back pocket. “I went to Cozumel a few weeks ago. Deep-sea diving like you wouldn’t believe. Let me show you pictures.”

  Daniel and her father viewed pictures on Daniel’s phone as they made their way to the couch. Gracie watched them interact as she hung his jacket on a hook in the hall. If she were the kind of woman who put her father’s wishes above her own needs, she and Daniel would have dated years ago. But Daniel didn’t steal her breath when he walked into a room. She didn’t squirm when his heated gaze roved over her body. And she didn’t look forward to seeing him, if only for a few minutes during the week. No, she reserved those reactions for Nic.

  Her mother breezed into the living room. “Hi, Daniel.”

  As usual, Daniel charmed her mother with his wide smile. “Hi, Mrs. Ramirez.” He made a dramatic show of presenting her with the bouquet.

 
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