Excerpt from PATIENCE.
He turned, drilling his steel-gray eyes into mine. "You regret last night, don't you?"
"Last night..." I bit down on my burgeoning smile. "Well, I've certainly done smarter things than seduce a co-worker."
"The way I see it, I seduced you."
"Such is my skill, young man." I couldn't suppress my smile this time. "No, it wasn't my smartest move, but I certainly don't regret it. Anyway, I thought you boys compartmentalized everything."
He slipped his hand onto my thigh. "How can I when you're right here?"
I bit my lip and squeezed my legs together. "Stop..." It was barely a whisper, not convincing at all. He had such big hands they were impossible to ignore. Especially sliding up my leg like that.
I clamped my hand over his. "No, Edan. We have to get back to the office. We have another pitch tomorrow."
He dug his fingers in, a needless show of strength. With a puff of disgust he pulled back and turned away. "Fine. Then maybe tomorrow you'll let me drive." He shucked out another mint and ground it to death.
"Oh, act your fucking age, Edan." Jesus. I sound like I'm his mother. I started the car and mashed out my frustration on the gas pedal.
We drove back in man-made silence. Before I'd even turned off the engine Edan had his door open, ready to storm upstairs and broadcast our failure. To distance himself from the stink of it. I curled my fingers around his arm.
He pulled loose from my tenuous grasp and flounced out of the car. I turned off the engine and rushed after him, my clattering heels echoing off the concrete ceiling of the parking garage.
The touch of my hand on his shoulder seemed to calm him a little. He stopped and let me turn him around. I felt like his mother again as I pressed him back against the wall. In my heels I was almost eye-to-eye with him. Or would be, if he'd look at me.
"You still have so much to learn, boy."
"Don't call me boy. I'm 24 years old."
"In every way possible."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing. Look, we need to present a united front. Yes, we probably lost the pitch. But those people up there rely on me, and now you, to bring business in. They need to believe in us."
"Then untie the apron strings! Let me take more control."
I rested my hand against his chest. Even through the thick wool of his suit, I fancied I could feel the heat of his skin, and I nearly lost my train of thought. "This is not the time for that discussion, Edan."
"It never is."
"Stop. I mean it, this is not the time. We need to radiate calm, give off a positive vibe. Can you do that?"
He shook his head and puffed out a resigned chuckle. Finally his cool eyes met mine. "Maybe. What's it worth to you?"
The warmth of his hand was all too real as he cupped the fullness of my breast through my blouse. I'd been so focused on his eyes I hadn't seen him move. My breath tripped up as he squeezed my hardening nipple.
"Edan..." The simple urgency of my own voice sounded like a betrayal. With my hand over his I rested my head on his chest, just to take the weight off my untrustworthy knees. With my eyes closed and the heat of his body against me it was easy to forget he was born the year I finished school.
Suddenly he was all hands and breath, all heat and muscle, and lord, did it feel good. I clutched at his belt for balance and he pushed his mouth onto mine.