Leo looked around at the Halloween party and nodded. This one was strictly for employees of Fantasy Events, a thank you for all of the hard work they'd put in that year, and so far everyone seemed to be having a good time. Almost all of his employees and their significant others had shown up. They were even in costume. Fantasy Events didn't do an office Christmas party. They usually didn't have the time, with all of the parties Fantasy Events coordinated around that holiday. So this was their yearly bash, and he made the most of it.
It was his favorite time of year, filled with everyone's fantasies. And as an added bonus it was the one day a year when he could go to the office without a shirt on and not get arrested for indecent exposure or sued for sexual harassment.
No children had been invited. This was an adult-only party, and it showed. A few people had definitely had too much to drink already, so he was glad he'd contracted rooms in the hotel for anyone who felt they couldn't drive home that night. Music played loudly, making conversation almost impossible. Couples danced together on the floor, laughing and talking. Little groups dotted the area around the dancers, enjoying the buffet dinner he'd had catered.
It was going well, other than one little thing. She wasn't there yet. Ruby Halloway, the woman who'd haunted his dreams for months. He turned, wondering where his personal siren was. The party had started over an hour ago, and Ruby and Mandy were nowhere in sight. He wondered if she'd decided to bail on Mandy. He hoped not. He was dying to see her in that red corset. He stifled a smile, remembering how she'd held it up to her chest, looking so uncertain. It had taken all of his willpower to stop himself from going to her then and there. He'd longed to soothe her but was afraid she'd once again disappear just like she always did.
It had taken years to find her. When he'd first come into the company, he'd caught the faint, elusive scent that so drew him now. Maybe if he hadn't been so busy learning the business and meeting with clients he might have put more effort into pursuing that scent and finding the woman who now held all of his attention, waking and dreaming. Instead he'd wasted all of that time. Oh, he'd hardly been celibate in the last five years. He'd dated plenty of women. Just none of them had been her. The one woman created by the universe just for him.
It wasn't until he'd already become CEO, taking over for the previous owner of the Washington, DC events' company, that he'd finally caught a glimpse of her. Ruby Halloway. He'd been walking down the hallway in Accounting, talking to her boss, when Leo stopped dead. She'd been bent over a drawer, pulling out a file. The tight denim had stretched across the most luscious ass it had ever been his pleasure to see. He'd longed to walk over, cup that ass, and claim the owner before she knew what hit her.
And then he'd caught her scent. He'd almost moaned at the savage rush of erotic heat. It was only his employee's nudges that had made him realize where he was. He'd immediately asked who the woman was.
She'd heard her name, started, and taken off for parts unknown before he could get an introduction. She'd been doing it ever since. As soon as she knew he was there, she either hid or left. It was driving him insane. He'd managed to hide his presence from her once or twice, and caught glimpses of the warm, funny woman she truly was. He'd finally called in the cavalry in the form of Mandy, who'd been delighted to set up her shy best friend.
He'd have made his move sooner if it hadn't been for Kaitlynn Malmayne and the negotiations with the Malmayne family. Hopefully she now understood that Leo was unavailable for anything she might want from him. He'd finally gotten Kaitlynn and her posse back on the plane to L.A. It was time, past time, to claim his woman.
Tonight he was going to do everything in his power to see to it that this time Ruby had no reason to run. He turned in place again, sighing in disappointment.
If I can find her, that is.
When he finally saw her, he nearly choked. The two women stood together, looking around. They'd obviously just arrived, and were checking the party out, seeing who was there. Mandy wore a white leather miniskirt, white satin corset, silver belt, and white choker with a silver charm dangling from it. Her thigh-high white leather boots had four-inch heels, making her already impressive height even more impressive. White strips of cloth dangled from two wires protruding from her back, and Leo figured they were meant to represent wings. A silver halo gleamed above the golden curls that drifted across her shoulders.
Peeking out from behind her white wings was the sexiest little devil Leo had ever seen.
She wore the same exact outfit Mandy did, but in red and black. Gleaming red satin cupped the smooth golden globes of her breasts. Red leather clung to her hips. Black thigh-high boots hugged those delicious legs. Tiny red horns peeked out from her reddish brown hair. A black bit of glass dangled from the red choker surrounding her slender throat. She looked terrified. He studied her face, feeling a sense of completion that never failed to stun him.
She was the most beautiful woman in the room.
Dark brown brows arched delicately over a pair of sherry eyes tipped with the darkest, longest lashes he'd ever seen. Her nose had a slight tilt at the end. She nibbled anxiously at her full bottom lip, her high cheekbones flushed with excitement and trepidation. Her eyes darted around the room, searching for something or someone.
Mandy pulled Ruby out from behind her and shoved her into the room with a grip that would do a cop proud. Ruby glared at her friend and wiggled, obviously trying to pull her arm free. That little jiggle did things for her body that had to be illegal in several states.
He suddenly wished his leather pants weren't quite so tight. His body saluted the little devil, straining against the leather. When she took a deep breath, those amazing breasts pushed up and out of the corset, forcing Leo to swallow a groan.
Damn. Talking Mandy into giving him a hand getting Ruby to relax had been seriously worth it. The woman who'd haunted his dreams for months looked incredible. Even under the shapeless clothes she wore to the office he'd known she was sweetly rounded, just the way he liked his women. Ruby had generous breasts that begged for a man's hands and mouth, hips you could hold on to while riding her to oblivion, and an ass he'd die to sink his teeth into. Voluptuous, that was the word. And her scent. That vanilla and peaches scent that drifted around her wherever she went. It was enough to drive him insane. Hell, he'd passed a bakery on his way home the other night and gotten hard just smelling the vanilla scents drifting out the door. If it hadn't been for the negotiations with the Malmaynes, he would have been after her a hell of a lot sooner. Escorting Kaitlynn around town and showing her the sights had bored the spit out of him. Kaitlynn's saccharine sweetness was like nails on a chalkboard, not that he'd tell the blonde princess that. And her sycophantic, selfish cousins were even worse.
If he had to even look at another leggy, flat-chested, half-starved, self-absorbed socialite he'd go stark raving mad.
Now he just had to convince his shy little devil to take a chance on him. He moved through the crowd, determined to claim her before anyone else could.
Ruby glared at Mandy, wondering if a jury would convict her if she killed her best friend. Mandy merely grinned and nudged her again, causing Ruby to lose her balance in those damned four-inch heels.
"Oh!" She squealed, preparing herself for a fall to the hard wooden floor.
Instead, she landed on a hard, bare chest. An incredibly hot bare chest. The best male chest she'd ever felt before in her life. She had to resist the urge to pet and stroke the rock hard muscles rippling under that silky skin.
"Sorry," she muttered, feeling herself turn red. She risked a peek up.
And up. The owner of the chest was tall. Her head barely topped his shoulders in her four inch heels. She nibbled again at her bottom lip, her eyes tracing their way up to the face above the chest.
Leo Dunne's green eyes twinkled down at her, his arms like steel bands around her waist. "Hello, Ruby." The satisfaction in his voice was strange. The deep, possessive rumble sent a shiver down her spine.
Her cheeks heated up when she realized just how close she was plastered to his body. She pushed against that smooth, hot flesh. He released her with flattering reluctance, his hands lingering on her hips even when she pushed back to a standing position.
"Um, hi." Ruby mentally winced at the lame reply and stared up into the amused, heated eyes of the CEO.
"Would you like to dance?" His hands flexed on her hips, holding her even more tightly. She got the distinct impression the question wasn't really a question.
"You almost have to," Mandy's amused voice came from her elbow. "The two of you match."
Ruby blinked and took a closer look at Leo's costume. He wore tight black leather pants, black leather boots with lots of shiny silver buckles, and not much else. A pair of red and black devil horns peeked out from his dark hair. In one ear a ruby stud gleamed.
Ruby shot one quick glare at Mandy. Somehow she wasn't buying her best friend's innocent act. Add in that Mandy knew all about her crush on Leo, and that she was close friends with the man's secretary, and she had to wonder if Mandy had somehow set her up to match the hunky CEO. "You know, I'm not sure I can dance in these boots," Ruby muttered. She wondered how quickly she could get away from Satan before she made a complete fool of herself and drooled all over him. She also wondered where his date was. If she was really lucky she'd be able to duck away before whatever blonde he was with saw them and ripped her hair out by the roots.
"Double-dog dare ya." Mandy chuckled wickedly.
Aw hell. Here we go again.
Ruby's spine straightened, her eyes snapping with annoyance and determination. She seized his hand and practically dragged him onto the dance floor. She might not be able to dance in those heels but she could sure as hell stomp in them.
He was grateful to his guardian angel back there, but what the hell was that all about?
She turned in his arms in the middle of the dance floor and slapped her hands onto his shoulders hard enough to make him wince. He tried to get her to move with him, but her body didn't bend. It was like dancing with an exotic piece of wood. Gorgeous but stiff.
"Relax, Ruby. I don't bite." Much, he thought.
She glared up at him. "Does your date?"
He smiled, slow and hungry. "I came alone."
If anything, his answer made her tense up more. The only good part of the dance was the way her satin-covered breasts kept brushing against his chest. He saw the way her nipples beaded and his erection grew even more painful behind the tight leather pants. Thanks to the fact that he was at least a foot taller than Ruby he could see all that wonderful cleavage the corset displayed to maximum advantage. He had a hard time keeping his eyes on her face; hell, a saint would have peeked. She tried to control her breathing, but he could tell she was just as aroused as he was.
And she was trying desperately to hide it.
The music shifted into something low and sultry, tempting him into holding her even closer. He leaned down towards her and whispered in her ear on impulse, his voice deliberately low. "Relax and dance with me. I double-dog dare you."
She jumped. "Relax and dance with me. I double-dog dare you."
She stared up at him and saw the sexy male satisfaction teasing the corners of his lips. His expression was still heated, drifting lazily from her face to her breasts, the dare he'd just issued vivid in his gaze. He didn't think she'd go through with it, and it showed. Warm curls of excitement unfurled deep in the pit of her stomach. Desire, so rarely aimed at her, held her in its arms. She felt an answering flame deep in the center of her being, challenging her to accept what he was so obviously offering.
For once, just this once, she was going to go with it, and to hell with the voices in her head telling her he was only playing with someone like her.
She allowed the desire she felt to unfurl deep within her. She felt it stretch itself, curling through her being like a sensuous cat, causing her nipples to tighten in anticipation. Her panties dampened in response to the heat in his eyes. Her muscles relaxed, caught up in the tingles moving through her whole body. She let her eyelids droop and looked up at him from beneath her lashes. "Like this?"
Was that sultry whisper my voice? The sane accountant part of her brain was shocked. The wicked little devil that danced in Leo's arms chortled gleefully as she let her inner sex kitten out to play.
She began to move to the music. Her hips began to sway, causing her stomach to caress his erection. Oh wow. Is that for me? The feel of his desire only heightened her own. Her breasts rubbed against his chest in a sultry invitation. Her arms reached up languidly to encircle his neck, her fingers tangling in his dark hair, she moved. She closed her eyes, the better to enjoy the music, her face tilted up to his in unconscious invitation. She licked her lips, leaving them wet and pouting and ripe.
"Damn." The curse was a husky groan, and her lips curved. One of his hands began stroking up and down her back, moving her body in time to his. She opened her eyes when his hand caressed her ass. His head was tilted down over hers possessively. His other hand kept her firmly up against him, his fingers splayed in her hair. His normal suave mask was gone, leaving behind the look of a hungry predator.
Holy shit. Her entire body was on fire. He moved one of her hands down to his chest, cradling it in his own. She couldn't help but caress him, opening her hand to feel the muscles undulating against her palm. Those hard planes and wicked muscles were covered in the finest, warmest silk she'd ever been privileged to touch. His hair was soft, cool to the touch, an erotic counterpoint to the strength in his back and neck. When she felt him bend down to her it didn't even occur to her to pull back. The thought of finally tasting his kiss was almost enough to bring her to her knees.
The first brush of his lips against hers was the most incredible thing she'd ever felt in her life. He kept the kisses light, fleeting, brushing at her mouth the way his cock brushed against her stomach, teasing her with what lay beneath both his lips and the leather. The hand caressing her ass was both possessive and gentle. She looked up at him, stunned at the ferocious desire he'd managed to pull from her with just a few touches. The desire stamped across his features brought her to her senses with a jolt.
What the hell am I doing? This is my boss!
With a gasp, she pulled away. "The dance is over." Turning on her heel, her cheeks heated with embarrassment, she practically ran off the dance floor and headed straight for the ladies' room.
She told herself it wasn't that she was hiding from Leo. After all, she had to do something about her wet panties or she was going to wind up staining her expensive leather skirt. Right?
Too bad I don't believe myself. She threw open the bathroom door and bolted inside like the little chicken she knew she was, grateful she hadn't broken her neck in her mad, stumbling, boots-from-hell dash across the room.