Deanna Jewel
                 Romance Author

Romance author of fictional time travel, paranormal, contemporary, and motivational books.

     “My condo is in the next tower over.”

     “What? Right here in the Ritz? And you’re just now letting me know?”

     Cody’s cheeks heated this time and he was glad they only had candlelight. Women never made him blush. “I don’t tell many people where I live. Brandon doesn’t even know.” He reached across the table with an open palm, hoping he wouldn’t appear forward, but he wasn’t ready to let her go back to her room yet. “Besides, we promised Brandon they could be alone for a few hours. They’re doing things I’m not ready to do to you yet.”

     Monica narrowed her eyes and wet her lips, a move that tugged at his groin. “Not even if I begged?”

     Thoughts of everything he’d like to do to Monica raced through his mind, but even by his standards, it was too soon. Getting the film completed had taken all of his time, which is why he’d not been with a woman in months. Now he could take time off before the sequel would begin and this sexy woman fit the bill. Perhaps, she more than fit the bill. Can I stick to my guns if she begged to be in my bed? Nope! He took in a deep breath. “No, not even if you begged. Simple conversation is all I offer tonight. I have coffee if that would be better, rather than more alcohol.”

     “You’re serious, aren’t you?”

     He couldn’t hold back a slight grin. “I am. I’m not into one-night stands and the day after tomorrow, you will be packing to leave LA. I guard my heart better than that.”

     Monica finished her drink and set her glass down, pushing it to the edge of the table for the waitress. “Then I’m game. Just talking, I promise.”

     Cody settled the bill to his monthly tab he kept here and walked out with Monica. He held her hand as he led the way over to his condo tower and up the elevator. When they stopped, he took her hand again and walked down the short hall to his door.

     She leaned against the door frame while he unlocked it. “This is really convenient for you with the stars staying in the same place. I like that you keep this a secret. Mums the word.” She slowly stepped inside, looked around, and then went to look out the window at the city lights below, a view he also cherished and the reason he purchased the condo.

     The dim lights showed him the outline of her body as she investigated his place. He refused to go against his morals, so he hoped having her here didn’t tempt him too bad.

     Or did it? Was it a mistake to bring her here? “I have club soda or tonic water. Which would you prefer?”

     “Club soda on the rocks, please…since I can’t have you.”

     She made him smile so easily. This woman would be nice to have around more often with her sense of humor. He made their drinks and took them over to the leather love seat where she had gotten comfortable. Funny she’d chosen to sit there rather than the longer sofa. Her stocking feet rested on the ottoman and he clenched his teeth. He found that way too sexy when women tossed off their heels.

I can do this.

      Monica took her drink and their fingers touched, quickening his pulse. Cody set his drink down and removed his jacket before sitting with Monica. With a click of the remote, quiet music surrounded them. There was no choice but to sit close to her on the shorter love seat. He liked choices, but there was a distraction near him tonight which left him little choice…taking her to his bed for a one-night stand was not an option. For some reason, this woman was special…a beautiful woman who pinned her hair up when he liked it down.

     Could I change that?

     Maybe.

     Her soft voice brought him back into the conversation. “So, tell me what you do to relax. Do you go to the gym, do you run, do you surf, are you a fisherman?”

     “I enjoy deep sea fishing, but don’t do it often enough. My boat doesn’t get used enough either. If you ever find your way back here, we could take a cruise.”

     She nodded, but didn’t appear surprised. “I would like that. I’ve never been deep sea fishing. Going that far out into the ocean doesn’t appeal to me. I do enjoy a good run though.”

     “Then we have a few things in common.” Cody listened to her talk of Pittsburgh, he told her a bit of his background and time passed between them. Before he realized it, she’d snuggled closer to him and when he turned to talk with her, parted lips were all he saw.

     Would they be as soft as they looked?

     She reached for him and her fingers slipped behind his neck to pull him in for a kiss. They each held their glasses yet, but when her tongue slipped in to touch his, a fire ignited when he least expected.

     A moment shared, a gentle kiss, and she pulled away. The smoldering lust in her eyes surprised him because it wasn’t usually the woman who made the first move, but he liked it.

     Monica set her empty glass on the end table. “I’m sorry. You didn’t want me to beg. You promised to be a gentleman and I’m crossing the line.”

     Cody set his glass aside and chose to go with what she wanted to do. He wasn’t into disappointing a woman. Carefully, he tugged at her pinned up hair and when she pulled a few clips, it cascaded over her shoulders. The silky auburn strands fell through his fingers and he cupped the back of her head, pulling her in for another kiss. Fingers tugged at the buttons on his shirt and his mind struggled with his morals here as her tongue tangled with his.

     When he released her from the kiss, she rested her head beneath his chin, giving him time to consider what might happen next.  Warm fingers touched his chest where she’d undone two buttons. Cody caressed her arm as he held her close, breathing in her scent that had teased him for days. The soft romantic music only lent to the situation he knew was inevitable…can I truly resist her?

     She kept her head resting on his chest and her nails teased through his shirt. “There are other ways to pleasure each other beside the sexual act of making love…if that is what you’re trying to avoid tonight.”

     He toyed with her hair between his fingers, his imagination running rampant, envisioning her in his bed, free of clothing, begging him to join her. “You’re not making this easy for me. You can’t get me hooked on you, and then walk 2600 miles away. How am I going to cope?”

     Monica laughed and looked up at him. “You’re such a tease. Do you think you haven’t tempted me this week? Showing up at the pool shirtless? I didn’t ignore that you know.”

     He got lost in her eyes. “Men don’t tease women.”

     She laughed out loud. A sound he locked into his memory bank for when she was gone.

     “Whispering in my ear for days, putting your arm around me each time you did so? Wearing that stunning cologne? Giving me a wink across a crowded room?”

     Cody held her tighter as she laughed. “Guilty as charged. I didn’t think you’d notice.”

     She trailed her nails over the shirt on his bicep. “Should I give you a detailed report of how my body reacted each time our gazes met across the room, or when you sat close to me in the car? Things happen to a woman when you sexually tease her.” She raised her head again and her eyes were those of an angel.

     “Then I would be rude by leaving those needs unsatisfied.”

     Her gaze settled on his lips. “You would be and I’d hate that.”

     Unable to avoid her advances any longer, Cody cupped her face in his hands and kissed her. He tried his damnedest to be gentle, but when he brushed her tongue with his and she leaned into him, he allowed her to push him back against the arm of the love seat. His intentions had started out good, but Monica had other plans and ended up stretched out over his body.

     When he moved his hands to her hips so she didn’t end up landing them on the floor, her dress had shifted and his fingertips caressed her thighs. Silky nylons enraged his senses and her dress moved higher. His fingers kneaded her cheeks that fit into his hands perfectly as he brought her hips tight against his. It’d been too damn long since he allowed himself to be distracted by a woman, but this one had gotten under his skin. Her scent had made him think of stripping her naked.

     Their kiss ended when she raised up to look at him, hunger evident in her eyes, and him still gripping her ass in his hands. She slipped through his fingers and over the side of the sofa to kneel beside him, her fingers tugging his shirt from his slacks. He grabbed her hands when she began to undo his belt and she looked up at him. Cody pulled one of her hands to his mouth and kissed her fingers, but was at a loss for words.

     “I think we’d be more comfortable in your room, but if you’d rather stay out here…”

     “You sure make it hard on a man.”

     Her hand moved over the taut length of him as he tried to stick to his morals. “I think that was my goal. How else will we know whether we’re compatible or not?”

     Cody stood, helped her up and led the way to his room down the dim hallway. A small lamp in his room would provide enough light for them to see as he stopped at the edge of his bed. Again, he took her face in his hands and looked down at her. “You are a beautiful woman and have pushed my limits tonight, which I’ve avoided all week. While I’d love nothing better than to bury myself deep within you, that will not happen tonight. I’m in charge and plan to pleasure you until you scream and have no more energy left in your limbs. Like a rag doll, you won’t move the rest of the night.” Cody unbuttoned the rest of his shirt, tossed it onto a chair and sat on his bed.

     “I’d love to watch you undress for me.”

     That’s all the encouragement she needed. Slowly pulling her dress over her head, Monica tossed it on top of his shirt. Even in the dim light and shadows, he could make out the curves of her body. Next her pantyhose came off and she stood in her bra and panties. He loved a woman in a skimpy thong and push-up bra. Her breasts nearly spilled over the top and she stepped between his thighs. He couldn’t resist placing a kiss at the top of her cleavage.

     Reaching behind her, Cody unhooked her bra and pulled it from her shoulders. Full breasts hung before him, as he’d envisioned throughout the day. “You are beautiful.” He slid from the bed, pulled back the covers and turned to pick her up in his arms. Carefully laying her on the bed, she scooted to make room for him, all the while watching his fingers undo his belt and slacks.

     Her lips parted.

     He promised himself to stick to his guns, no matter how bad he wanted to make love to her tonight. There were other ways of pleasure and he would make sure she’d never forget their time together…in case he never saw her again.

     He prayed that would never happen.