Joey couldnt stand the man. She couldnt stand the way he talked. She definitely hated the way he dressed. She loathed the way he always questioned her opinion. But nothing irritated her more than the fact she wanted him in bed, preferably beneath her.
She glanced out of the corner of her eye at the object of her thoughts, Heath Campbell. Even the quick look sent a shaft of heat spiraling through her veins, warming her blood. He wasnt her type at all, but even just the thought of him would have her quivering with need. It made no sense shed be attracted to him. Even now, he was irritating her and he wasnt even conscious. From the moment they found their seats, hed stretched out in his beside her on the plane and passed out within five minutes of taking off.
How he fit his six-foot-four-inch frame into the coach class seat, let alone slept, she didnt know. But there he slept, as if he were floating on a cloud and he didnt have a care in the world. It irritated her that he could just collapse as if he didnt worry about how the week would go. Of course, he didnt care, as long as they got the job done. He wasnt attracted to her...which just pissed her off even more. Joey wasnt used to a man ignoring her, especially since shed dreamed of him every night.
She wanted to wake him up, just so she could pick a fight with him. It would at least give her some satisfaction...although it would do nothing to ease the fine layer of sexual tension shed been fighting since shed met Heath. A full week in Florida working with him was going to suck, and not in a good way. When Liam had informed her she would be working her first on-site consulting job, shed been so thrilled. Then, Liam dropped the bomb. Heath would be her trainer. The man who was convinced she didnt have a brain in her head.
She looked at him again and sighed. She needed to have some sex, get the man off her mind. Finding a man usually wouldnt be a problem. Joey knew she was attractive. Almost six feet tall with a head of curly blonde hair, and the legs of a Vegas showgirl made her irresistible to most men. She usually had her pick of dates. It was just the fate of good genesthanks to her gorgeous mother. But any man who had approached her in the last few months had left her cold, bored. They didnt even leave her with a small spark of interest. Any time a man even showed a bit of interest in her, she couldnt help but think what it would be like to have Heath respond to her that way.
She couldnt help the small sigh of aggravation. She had to be some kind of freak. Why would she fall for a man who had little to no respect for her? Freak. That had to be the reason. Oh, he was attractive. She glanced at him again. Very attractive. Okay, he was mouth-watering, hormone-dancing fantasy.
Heath wasnt one of her pretty boys, as Marlow called Joeys dates. Until Heath, Joey had been attracted to men who could easily grace the cover of any male magazine. She liked them lean like swimmers, and charming. Heath was neither of these. He was built like a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. For the first time, shed felt tiny next to a man, and for good reason. Six foot four, chestnut brown hair and hazel eyes that changed with his moods, he was a big-boned man with a square jaw and a boorish personality. But every now and then, she would see him smile. Just a small curve of his lips, and she melted like ice cream on the pavement in July.
She frowned and looked out the window. At some point, she needed a man. Because if she didnt get one, she really didnt want to think of the consequences of going two months without sex and being cooped up with Heath. It had been hard enough not to lean over and take a big ol bite of him. It didnt matter that she didnt like him, or that they were completely wrong for each other. All that did matter was that every night she dreamed about him touching her, undressing her, slipping inside her body...
Dammit, she had to stop. She rubbed her temples. They were all wrong for each other. And since Marlow had married Liam, Joey had started thinking about finding a man for more than a few laughs. Heath would not be that man, and she needed to find someone she knew there might be at least a chance of something else.
The plane hit a bit of turbulence, rattling the glasses and disturbing most of the occupants. Not Heath. He shifted his weight, curling closer to her, and laid his head on her shoulder. Instantly, every nerve ending in her body went on alert, tingling with awareness as the scent of his bayberry cologne and his body heat wrapped around her. Her heartbeat increased. Oh, gawd, not good at all.
She shrugged her shoulder, trying to dislodge him. He snuggled closer and placed his hand on her belly. Every hormone in her body jumped to attention. The muscles beneath his hand bunched and tightened. Heat curled in her stomach and then slid to between her legs. She shifted her legs and realized her panties were already damp with her arousal.
She drew in a shuddering breath and moved her shoulder again, but his hand skimmed up her body to cup her breast. His large palm caressed the underside of her breast, then his thumb grazed across the already hardened nipple. She licked her dry lips and took another deep breath.
His name came out in a breathless, husky whisper. He snored louder, his thumb still rubbing her nipple.
Hmmm, you smell nice, baby. His breath was hot against her neck. Why dont we just spend all day in bed?
His lips brushed the sensitive skin just below her ear. She felt it all the way to her toes. So, not good. She wanted this, wanted to feel his rock-hard body against hers. She needed space.
Heathcliff Grayson Campbell, wake up this instant!
Several of the passengers looked in their direction as heat crept up her neck and into her face. Heath slowly lifted his head away. Cool air replaced his body heat.
What? he asked, wiping the sleep from his eyes. What the hell is the matter with you?
She swallowedhard, then cleared her throat. You had your hand on my breast.
He didnt even look at her. I did not, he said while stretching.
Yes, you did. And although Im not opposed to most good-looking men putting their hands on my breast, I do have a problem with my boss doing it.
He grunted while he rolled his shoulders, but said nothing else. And that was just like him. Grunt, sigh, grunt. He never answered any challenge she threw at him.
Irritation inched along her spine. She crossed her arms over still aching breasts and looked out the window at the wing of the airplane. Her whole body tingled, yearned. She wanted more than just a feel up. She needed a full-blown crazy night of sex that left her limp and worked Heath out of her system.
It was going to be a very long week.
Heath shifted in the tiny coach seat, trying to ease the ache in his balls. The action gave him no relief. Instead, the material rubbed against his erection and heightened his arousal. Damn. He could barely think straight, his thoughts still on how perfect her breast felt in his hand. Every drop of blood had slid from his head to his dick, once again making him look like a fool in front of Joey. The same woman who had slid into his dreams and kept him from getting any restful sleep for the past year.
Thats why hed passed out the moment he sat down. His sleep had suffered for weeks, getting worse the more they had worked together. Damn Liam for ordering him on this trip. When his brother had said it was Heaths job to give Joey the proper training, the image of her tied up while he made her come again and again had left him at a loss for words. Images had bombarded him, her on his bed, bent over, and receiving a spanking. It had been so vivid he could imagine the tiny little gasp of pleasure each time the flat of his hand met the luscious flesh of her ass. By the time Heath had brought himself back to reality, Liam had been staring at him as if hed lost his mind. He had...thanks to Ms. Josephina Vernon.
He looked over at her and inwardly groaned. Men probably begged her to have sex. He wouldnt doubt she could easily have a different man every night. All that wavy blonde hair, and those eyes. The woman had the eyes of aged whiskey. There were times he would lose his train of thought when she focused her attention on him. That hadnt happened since hed been in middle school. Another thing was her height. He looked down on most women because of his height, but with Joey, he was almost eye to eye, especially when she wore one of her pairs of fuck-me heels. He knew she worked out, but most of what appealed to him wasnt that she was athletic. There was something so warm and welcoming about her, all those curves, that great intoxicating laugh...except for him. Whenever she looked at him, it was if she had just sucked a lemon. And that of course made him crazy.
He scrubbed his hand over his face, trying to pull himself out of his thoughts. Instead, he could still smell her there. Soft, musky, sensual. The dream he'd been having came back full force, her soft breast beneath his palm, the taste of her flesh on his lips...
His pants drew tighter over his erection as another rush of blood shot straight to his cock. Damn. He shifted, his size twelves bumping into her feet. She sighed, rolled her eyes, and shifted her feet over. That smart-ass attitude should piss him off, but all it did was turn him on even more. He liked a sub with a little fire, and he was sure Joey would make the best of subs in that area. She was the kind of woman who was used to getting her way, calling all the shots. He could only imagine the pleasure of bringing her under his control, making her understand what pleasure she could gain from giving him that control.
He had to do something, say something to get past the embarrassing situation.
She didnt look at him, just noddedonce. Apparently, that wasnt going to go far.
I wasnt thinking about you.
Everything about her stilled, which really gained his attention. The woman was usually in constant motion. Slowly, she turned to face him, a look of irritation and something he would normally have said hurt flashing in her eyes. But as soon as he saw it, it disappeared. She quickly turned away and resumed her watch out the window, which couldnt be that interesting. It was dark out, but now, he didnt know what to say. They just needed to move past this, and apparently talking about it wasnt working so he decided to change the subject.
Every day was a trial of control. The woman got under his skin, itching, and scratching, and drove him nuts. By the end of the day, he was amazed he could function because any time he spent in her presence meant he had no blood in his brain.
Have they served dinner yet? he asked.
She shook her head but said nothing. Crap, now he had offended her in some way. Okay, maybe putting his hand on her breast and saying he was thinking of someone else wasnt the smartest thing to do, but now it was too late. Hed just make himself look like a fool. This was going to be a shit job, he just knew it. Every day hed have to work in tandem with her, teaching her how to function at an on-site consulting job. And there was a pool...so he was sure shed be using it. Hell, hed heard Marlow and Joey talking about it yesterday, and just the thought of a few pieces of spandex barely covering her...shit.
And, to prove just how insane he was, hed packed his own trunks knowing she was planning to go to the pool.
He was a masochist, no doubt about it.
The sultry Florida air slapped Joey the moment she stepped out of the Ft. Myers airport. She squinted at the bright sunlight and dug out her sunglasses. The damp heat curled around her, robbing her of breath. Great. Her hair would be huge by the time they reached the rental car. It was bad enough in the spring in Texas, this week it would take all her expertise not to have the typical big Texas hair.
We have about a two-hour trip to La Boca Vista, Heath said, without looking behind him. The man was walking around as if the heat didnt bother him one bit. And it probably didnt, because he wasnt human. That might explain the way he was. He was some kind of alien dropped into the Campbell family and they had adopted him.
So, its out in the boonies?
Theyd reached the car, a very boring sedanprobably his choiceand he punched the button to pop the trunk. He picked up his suitcase and then took hers from her. If you mean it isnt in the middle of a huge city, then no. It is sort of out of the way. One of its charms, and one of the things we need to discuss with the owners.
He didnt rise to the bait. What good was it trying to fight with someone when they just ignored her? Can we pick up something to eat?
He stopped and looked at her across the top of the car. His hazel eyes narrowed and he frowned. And, idiot that she was, she felt a roll of heat that had nothing to do with the temperature tumble through her. God, her whole body was tingling. When he looked annoyed with her, it turned her on. Hell, who was she fooling? All he had to do was stand there and she wanted to jump his bones.
We just ate.
That was almost an hour ago. And I need something to drink. She waved a hand in front of her face. I cant take this heat here.
Aww, Ms. Vernon, I was certain this was right up your alley.
The tone of his voice irritated the hell out of her every time he used it: sarcastic with just an edge of condemnation to it and a small dose of flirtation. He always seemed to know just which buttons to push to piss her off. She didnt know how he did, because he didnt know her that well at all. But every time he did irritate her, there was another facet to it. He looked down on her. And why the fact he didnt accept her, for whatever reason, mattered to her, she didnt know. It was damn aggravating to realize for the first time in years, a mans opinion was important. It just wasnt something she was equipped to handle, especially out in the jungle heat of south Florida.
Without another word, she opened the door and slid onto the seat. The heat outside of the car had been bad, this could kill her.
Do you need me to read the map? she asked, knowing full well he would never accept her help.
No. The car has GPS, so we should be fine.
He pulled off his suit jacket. As he stretched, his white shirt tightened, clearly defining his chest muscles. Damn, he was big. She licked her lips thinking of running her hand across his chest, and then down past his abs...
Dammit, there she went again. She hurried and buckled her seat belt, trying to ignore her hormones popping all over the place. She drew in a deep breath and tried to get her body under control. That did not one bit of good. The scent of his cologne intensified in the heat inside the car. The heat sliding through her balled up in her stomach and then sank lower to between her legs. She shifted in her seat, trying to ease the tension. Her panties rubbed against her clit and she bit back a groan. She wanted him now, needed him now. She couldnt imagine that she would be able to get him to do anything in the car, he was so big. But, knowing Heath, he would definitely figure out a way to make it work. Just the thought sent a shiver through her body. Her nipples tightened painfully against the lace of her bra. She curled her fingers into the palm of her hand in order to resist brushing them over her nipples to reduce some of the need coursing through her.
Lord, this was going to be one long trip.
When they were finally on the road, she settled back in her seat and closed her eyes. The overly cool air of the cars AC washed over her heated skin and she shivered. If she could sleep for a bit, maybe she wouldnt be so cranky.
Heath pulled over to the side of the road to look at the map again. The GPS had cut out on him about an hour ago, he assumed because of the approaching storm. It was late, already getting dark, and he had no freaking idea where they were.
As he unfolded the map, Joey shifted in her seat. Shed been asleep from the moment hed hit the road and she hadnt moved much at all. Apparently, the stopping of the car pulled her out of slumber. As she woke, she stretched her arms over her head and hummed. The sound of it sank into his bones, and sent a vibration up his spine. Her breasts pressed against the fabric of her blouse, her hardened nipples clearly outlined. Instantly, the blood rushed to his groin. The sudden pressure caused him to tighten his hands on the map and he almost tore it in two.
Where are we? Her voice was husky from sleep. He swallowed. Damn, he wanted to hear that voice in the morning as she woke beside him. He was pretty sure that Joey would be fun to wake up in bed next to.
He cleared his throat. Not sure. I followed the directions, but we seem to be in the middle of nowhere.
She rubbed her eyes, and then looked around. Wow, you aint kidding.
Heath grimaced. The two-lane highway was deserted. Pine trees and brush lined both sides. The clouds blocked out much of the moonlight. It cast the scene with an eerie quality. Of course, from the sound of thunder, they should be in the middle of a downpour at any moment.
He studied the map and realized hed followed the directions correctly. He had a sinking feeling about this assignment. It started the day Liam told him Joey was going with him on the trip.
Refolding the map, he said, Well, it seems I was following directions just fine. The owner said they were sort of secluded.
One perfectly sculpted eyebrow rose but she didnt say anything. He knew what she was thinking, because the same thoughts were going through his head. This was not looking like the best of assignments. Liam had handled all the preliminary meetings except the last one. Heath had the data, but he seriously hadnt expected the trip there to resemble a scene out of Deliverance.
He pulled back up onto the highway and continued down the road. Fifteen minutes later, the heavens opened up and a torrent of rain hit them. Even with the wipers on high, he could barely keep the rain off the windshield. The lightning grew in frequency while hail bounced off the hood of the car.
You know, Im not the most optimistic person, thats Marlows job, but this is not looking good, Heath.
He glanced at her. There was an underlying thread of fear in her voice. The need to soothe her rose so fast, he couldnt bat it away.
Come on, Joey, it will only take a few more minutes and well be there.
She looked out the window, drew in a deep breath and sat up straighter. If it takes longer than that, youre turning this car around and heading back to Ft. Myers. I dont want to become a gators midnight snack.
He fought the urge to chuckle. Before he could respond, a stream of light broke through the trees. Looks like we wont have that problem.
The leather seat crunched as she sat forward to peer out the windshield. He drove around a curve, careful of the rising water on both sides of the road. As they rounded the bend, the resort came into view.
It wasnt a five star hotel, not yet, but it did have potential. The white stucco building stood out amongst the tall pine trees and muddy mess of the front driveway. As soon as he parked the car, a short, wiry man ran out to them. His wide, heavily lined face was split into a smile. He was dressed in a yellow rain slicker and held an umbrella.
Mr. Campbell? Heath nodded. Oh, good. We were getting a little worried about you. That road can get covered with water pretty quickly. Im Harry Sanders. Welcome to La Boca Vista.
Harry had his hand on the door handle, but Heath stopped him. Ms. Vernon needs that more than I do.
His rheumy eyes shifted to Joey and then widened. Without another word, he hurried around the front of the car, slipping a bit in the mud, and opened Joeys door. She stepped out of the car. Heath had to smother a laugh when he watched the other man swallow visibly. She stood at least two inches taller than Harry, even as she sank in the mud.
Excuse me. He could hear her husky voice even over the rain pounding on the car roof.
Oh...oh. Sorry. Harry stepped back and trailed after her, another convert to her cult. The woman collected them with just a smile and a walk. He should know. Shed been driving him crazy for about a year.
He stepped out of the car, the cold, heavy rain making it hard to even stand up straight. Slamming the car door, he jogged to the front entrance of the hotel. He slipped a couple times, almost embarrassing himself by falling flat on his face. Thankfully, he made it to the door soaking wet, but with mud only on his pants and shoes. The moment he walked through the door, the cool air washed over him. He shuddered as a chill inched down his spine.
Damn, it must be no more than sixty degrees in this place.
With his wet clothes clinging to his skin, he strode forward. Joey stood frowning at the desk clerk and Harry. Barely wet with only her shoes muddy, Heath had no idea why the woman had a reason to be pissed. He had been driving for the past few hours, while she slept and was dry.
She turned and crossed her arms beneath her breasts.
There seems to be a problem.
Whats wrong now? Dont they have a suite for you? He didnt even bother to hide his sarcasm. The woman was high maintenance. It was one of the reasons he didnt want her on this trip. The other had to do with the fact that even now, wet, pissed and just in a nasty enough mood to shoot someone, hed be happy to have her flat on her back beneath him.
She shook her head, her curls sliding over her shoulders. Oh, no. They have a suite. The honeymoon suite, in fact, but there is one little, tiny problem.
He was tired, hungry, and so freaking cold, he was ready to scream. Drawing in a deep breath, he calmed himself down. It wouldnt be very professional to be a raving lunatic in front of the staff the day they arrived. As soon as he had his temper under control, he asked, What the hells the problem?
Well, dear heart, its the only room left.