Bound For The Holidays
Ties That Bind, Book 1
by Mackenzie McKade
eBook ISBN: 978-1-59998-387-5
Print ISBN: 978-1-60504-298-5
Angela Clarke finds herself bound for the holidays, literally. Not by one, but two gorgeous men—a powerful executive and one sexy cowboy.
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Angela Clarke blinked hard. The owner of Silk Sheets magazinedid not just ask how good she was in the layout position.
Of course, the crowd’s loud laughter and the music didn’t help her hearing. The employees of Silk Sheets were celebrating Christmas at the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale. Ryan Tyler had reserved the ballroom, served a four-course meal, hired a band and had a full service bar to entertain his staff. They were a rowdy bunch, eating, drinking and dancing at the company’s expense.
The man in question leaned casually against the bar next to where Angela sat on a stool. An ebony curl fell across Ryan’s broad forehead giving him that sexy, bad boy look. He radiated sexual heat.
Damn. You’re good-looking.
She sucked in a breath and held it, trying to withhold her immediate response, Hell yeah, I’m good in the layout position and I’d be happy to show you. But his woodsy cologne was playing havoc with her senses. She clenched her jaw to keep the words from spilling out her mouth.
The bartender pushed another cosmopolitan in front of her, but she ignored him. Was her new boss making a pass or was it wishful thinking on her part?
Perhaps Angie just heard what she wanted to—an invitation into his bed.
She mentally shook the thought away, remembering her ever-blunt father’s words, “Dipping one’s pen in company ink is never wise, Angela. Keep your legs crossed and your mind on business.”
She hadn’t been the kind of child who listened to her father’s advice, so why start now?
It was two days before Christmas and she was desperate.
The idea of spending Christmas alone with her tabby cat, Kitty, was not her idea of a good time. Her mother and father were basking in Hawaii for the holidays, while her two brothers had decided a skiing trip to Colorado sounded more fun than spending Christmas with their big sister in the deserts of Arizona.
Dark eyelashes hooded Ryan Tyler’s sensual blue eyes. He cocked a brow, reminding her that he had asked that question—about being good in the layout position.
Fighting to keep a calm mien and obliterate the naughty thoughts swirling in her head, she attempted an unassuming smile that didn’t quite feel right.
Truth was, she had it bad for the boss. From the first time he walked into the boardroom and took her hand in his, she immediately fell in lust, trapped in a state of hopeless intoxication.
The small blue Christmas lights that trimmed the ornamental copper railing above the bar didn’t help. The soft, erotic hue added to the sexual hunger tightening her nipples as they rubbed against the clingy black evening dress she wore.
With a slow, drawn out glide, she crossed one leg over the other. The hem of her dress rose to display a hint of her garter belt fastened to black thigh-high nylons.
His gaze stroked her legs, thoroughly.
Yowza! The heat in Angie’s body erupted into a fireball. She resisted a show of her feminine satisfaction, thinking it wise to make sure she understood his non-verbal actions correctly.
“Excuse me? Could you repeat that?” she asked breezily.
With a drop-dead gorgeous smile, he studied her. Desire dampened her panties. His dimples were too much to resist. But it was the fire simmering in his eyes that put her into meltdown.
Angie wanted this man. Fuck the consequences.
She’d find another job in a heartbeat, but never another man who made her nerve endings explode with white-hot sensation.
He moved a little closer as the noise in the room elevated. “Just how good are you at layouts, positioning art and text?”
Dammit. He wanted to talk business.
A moment of disappointment swamped her, until his gaze caressed her breasts, making her nipples harden to aching peaks. That “come-here-baby” expression, masculine and sexy, made her think of hot, sweaty bodies tangled in silk sheets.
She raised her martini glass, trying to retain eye contact and a suave appearance, when what she really wanted to do was undress him. Peel that light gray Armani suit right off his firm physique, before tasting every inch of his body. Instead, she raised her glass higher and proceeded to cram the straw up her nose.
Heat crawled across her face. Talk about a moment killer. She expected laughter, instead he moved closer.
Inconspicuously as possible, she turned the glass and sipped her cosmopolitan. The tart taste of cranberry juice and lime touched her lips, wetting her now dry throat.
“Layouts?” She cleared her throat. “I’m the best.” He took another step forward. Her rising arousal lowered her voice when she spoke again. “That’s why you hired me, Mr. Tyler.”
He sat his nearly empty beer bottle on the bar top. It wobbled and fell to its side.
It was true. The magazine had sent one after another of their headhunters in an attempt to seduce her from their competitor. The last job offer had clinched the deal. Ryan Tyler was paying out his nose for her expertise.
He reached for a napkin and gently brushed against her hand. Raw sensations sparked up her arm. “Ryan,” he said, holding her gaze with his, as he intentionally bumped her hand once more before cleaning up the small beer spill.
The scent of his cologne, earthy and warm, subtly wrapped around her with his closeness. Her tongue made a slow path across her dry lips. She raised a brow in question.
The man’s eyes dilated. “My name’s Ryan—” Her gaze focused on his delicious lips as they moved. Damn, but she wanted to touch them with her own, feel their softness next to hers. “—Angie,” he finished on a note of heat and promise.
Oh yeah. He was interested.
A night with the King of Sexy Magazines would be her Christmas present to herself. She couldn’t think of anything she wanted more than to feel his naked body pressed to hers. The thought of his cock parting her pussy and pushing deep inside her almost made her moan aloud. It certainly left her wet and wanting.
Her thoughts were ripped away from her when the Senior Editor, Manny Garcia said, “Hell of a party, boss.”
Ryan took a step backward and accepted Manny’s outstretched hand and shook it. “Glad you’re having fun.”
The Hispanic man raised his beer into the air and laughed. “Sure am. Hey, I wanted to talk to you about the Krueger account.”
“No business tonight. Angie and I were just heading for the dance floor.”
Surprise made her eyes widen, quickly replaced with a soft smile of anticipation. A slow dance had just begun. In seconds she would be in his arms.
He held out his hand and she placed hers in his. Just the thought of touching him made her stomach clench with desire. For a moment she felt locked in his gaze, then oddly, he put a little distance between them by taking a step backward. That’s when she looked about the room. It felt like all eyes were on them.
Rumors would be flying by the end of the evening. And they’d probably be right if she had anything to do with how this night would pan out.
Her right hand clasped in his left, he placed his other hand firmly at the small of her back, setting fireworks off in her head. That particular area had always been an erogenous zone for her. With the slightest pressure he commanded her, guiding her across the floor.
He held her close, but not too close for those interested eyes that followed them as they danced. On a turn she swung into him, their bodies pressed tight for only a moment and then too quickly it was gone.
She wanted more bumping and grinding—preferably alone and without clothes.
It was a ridiculous thought, but it felt right in his arms. Who was this man she would willingly give control to? He moved so skillfully. Where he led, she would follow.
“You okay with this?” he asked, drawing her gaze to his.
Huh? What was he talking about?
“The fact that everyone in the company is staring at us, wondering if I’ll take you home tonight.” His voice took on a sexy, mysterious quality that smoothed across her skin like silk.
Excitement raced through her veins. “Let them talk.” She flashed him a coy grin.
The pressure of his hand on the small of her back firmed. He drew her hard against him, chest to chest, hips to hips. His knee slipped between her thighs as they whirled around and around to the music.
She felt lightheaded when he put a more appropriate distance between them. Her mind—her body—was spinning and it wasn’t the two drinks she had. The man intoxicated her.
“Should we give them something real to talk about?” He paused momentarily, before he asked, “Come home with me, Angie.”
She missed a step. Her mind as well as her heart stilled. This time she knew she heard him correctly. Tonight she would be lost in one hot executive’s arms.
Merry Christmas, Angie.
Ryan felt perched on the razor edge of anticipation. This woman turned his head like no other had. He never fraternized with his employees, and now he had propositioned one.
Not a wise move.
It had the makings of disaster. That was until she demurely said, “I’d like that.” Her eyelids slid half-mast as she peered up at him through feathered lashes. Desire flickered in her blue depths.
His cock sprang alive, swelling against her belly. Her fingernails bit into his shoulders. He felt her inhale and the tremor that followed. He couldn’t wait to strip her out of that little black dress, pluck the snaps of her garters and kiss every inch of her satiny skin.
As they twirled, his cheek found hers. Cheek to cheek, he inhaled her light perfume, sweet with a hint of citrus. “We can’t leave immediately,” he whispered. “I need to keep up an appearance for at least an hour or so. Mingle. Is that okay with you?”
“I understand,” she murmured, sliding seductively against his bulge so that it grew even more prominent.
He released a soft, low groan. “Baby, don’t do that unless you want me to take you here on the dance floor.”
Her light laughter was bewitching. She teased him once again, by moving her hips across his.
“Witch,” he muttered playfully. “Would you like an audience?”
Her eyes brightened. “No,” she said, but her body language said differently, as she brushed against him once more.
Oh yeah! No doubt she would be a hell-cat in bed. He might even be able to introduce her to a few of his toys and other things he enjoyed. Like tying her to his bed, or maybe a little whip and chain play. He had all night to discover what turned Angela Clarke on.
The thought sent a rush of blood to fill his balls with a pulsing ache. He couldn’t wait to be alone with her. A more immediate problem was how to contend with his raging hard-on.
Step by step, he guided her in the direction of the restrooms. After the music ended he would make his escape, ease his rising hormones. Then make merry with his employees, until it was time to leave.
The song came to an end. He squeezed her hand gently. “Excuse me for a minute.”
He hated to leave her standing alone, but he knew he wouldn’t last long—not in his aroused state. Quickly, he moved toward the sign that designated restrooms. As he pushed the door opened, he was thankful that no one was about. Without delay he strolled into a stall and locked the door.
The material of his pants was stretched taut over his hips. He wouldn’t make it through the night in this condition, not to mention how embarrassing it would be if he came before pleasuring Angie first.
With trembling hands, he slid his zipper down and released his cock. It sprang forth, eager for attention. He released the breath he held and wrapped his fingers around his shaft. With slow, measured pumps from the base to tip, he thought of Angie, remembering her beaded nipples pressed against her clingy dress. How would those nipples feel and taste in his mouth?
He didn’t think it was possible but his cock grew firmer, his balls drew close to his body.
A slight tingle made his grip tighten and his rhythm increase.
Harder and faster, he thrust his hips forward, pushing his engorged erection through his fingers. He leaned his free hand against the wall and threw back his head as fire licked his sensitive organ.
Fuck! This felt good. Nothing in comparison to how it would feel when Angie went down on her knees, her beautiful mouth sucking his cock, the caress of her tongue, the warmth and moisture of her wet cavern.
Out of nowhere his climax slammed into him, rocking him back on his heels. A tremor shook him as he forced himself to remain silent and upright. With unsteady strokes, he continued to pump his hand, up and down, until all his semen spilled into the commode.
Heart pounding, breathless, he gave himself a shake and eased himself back into his pants. With short, quick movements he tucked his shirt into his slacks. The door creaked, heavy footsteps sounded across the floor. Zipper in place, he flushed the toilet, unlocked the door and strolled toward the sink.
Manny grinned over his shoulder, as he relieved himself in one of the urinals against the wall. “Enjoying yourself, boss?”
“What?” Ryan asked, as he pushed his hands beneath the automated faucet and activated the water.
“The party? You enjoying yourself?” The grin plastered across Manny’s face was easy to read. It wasn’t the party the man spoke of, but one particular woman.
Ryan pulled a paper towel from the holder, dried his hands and threw the wipe away. “Sure. I hope you are too.” He was halfway out the door when Manny spoke again, but Ryan ignored him.
The scent of alcohol rose in the air along with an array of perfumes and cologne. Laughter filled the air and the band began another slow tune. He scanned the crowd, immediately finding Angie speaking to Joyce, a fellow editor and the gossipmonger of the group. Joyce was animated, her hands moving as she talked. Her gaze darted from him to Angie, as if she were looking for signs that they were a couple.
Betty Hodges, his secretary for the past three years passed by him, giving him a gentle nod. He pulled the aging woman into his arms. “Betty, what do you say I take you for a spin around the floor?”
She swatted him on the chest. A charming blush radiated across her wrinkled face. “What the devil has gotten into you tonight?”
It was true. He felt happy and excited about the prospects of his night with Angie. His cock stirred to life again and he thought it wise to refocus his attention somewhere else.
“Christmas spirit.” He grabbed her hand and led her out on the floor. He gave her a spin, before pulling her into his arms.
The first thing he noticed was how differently Angie and Betty felt in his arms. Angie had felt right, an extension to his body. The second was the musky perfume Betty wore that made his nose tickle. Angie’s had stroked his with a hand of desire.
The older woman moved in and out of his arms easily. Her brown eyes sparkled, a dreamy expression filling them with moisture. Did she think of her husband, who had passed away several years ago? Had she enjoyed dancing much like Ryan’s mother did?
Ryan knew that in established relationships romance, and in particularly dancing, died over time with men, but not women. He could make his mother smile every time by dancing her around the kitchen.
Too bad he wouldn’t make it home for Christmas. Home was Manhattan. One thing he wouldn’t miss this year was the snow, but missing his mother’s pumpkin pie was a tragedy. And then there was his brother’s first child, a son.
His thoughts were interrupted when Betty asked, “How come you’re spending time with this old woman instead of that pretty little thing you were dancing with before?”
He kissed her lightly on the cheek. “Because no one can hold a candle to you, Betty. Where did you learn to dance like this?”
Her face beamed as he spun her around and back. “Jerry taught me. We use to go dancing every weekend. Well, until his knees gave out. Arthritis.” She grew quiet.
Holidays were hard on people who had lost loved ones and were alone.
The dance ended, and he led Betty off the floor.
She pivoted toward him. “Thank you, Ryan.” Appreciation shone in her moist eyes. “I’m leaving now.”
“I don’t see well at night.” She gave him a big hug. “Merry Christmas. I’ll see you next year.”
He watched her retrieve her sweater and exit, before he turned to the bar and ordered a glass of Chivas Regal. He put the cool glass to his lips and sipped. The scotch was smooth, the burn welcome.
“Do you have a pen?” he asked the bartender. Without a word, the tall man behind the bar reached beneath the counter and set one before Ryan. He pulled one of his business cards out of his coat pocket and quickly wrote down his cell number. He laid the pen on the bar top, slipping the card into his pocket, before he finished his drink.
He talked with a few more people throughout the night, danced a couple of times, even once more with Angie, making plans for the night. Before they parted, he pressed his business card into her palm.
“I’ll leave first,” he whispered. “Give me ten or fifteen minutes and then call me. We’ll meet up down the street and you can follow me home. I’m not too far from here.”
She appeared a little hesitant, but finally she said, “Okay.”
He left her and walked toward the stage and climbed the stairs. The party had been scheduled from six to eleven o’clock. It was now ten-thirty.
“Would you mind if I made an announcement?” he asked the band leader.
“Sure.” The man handed him the microphone.
“I hope everyone is having a great time.” Ryan’s voice echoed through the speakers. His words were met with a roar of applause. “I want to thank everyone for a successful year. The bar will be open for another half hour. But I’ll be leaving as I have company coming over tomorrow.”
Well shit. The words came automatically because they were true. His long-time friend from Texas was to arrive tomorrow and he’d nearly forgotten, he was so bewitched by Angie.
Then a smile crept across his face. He had shared many a woman with Wade.
“Merry Christmas,” he yelled to the crowd. As he stepped off the stage, he wondered if Angie would be interested in a threesome. That was, after he’d had his fill of his little blonde angel tonight.
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