The warmth of Thanksgiving gives a dedicated reporter and a powerful businessman a chance to count their blessings in this tender, sensual novella from Lisa Renee Jones.
Kali Miller has spent three years reporting fluff stories for a small-town Texas paper, waiting for the opportunity to pen the article that will launch her career to new heights. That dream has never felt further away when she suddenly finds herself out of work, forced to take a job as an executive secretary at a Las Vegas casino. But that’s exactly where Kali meets the subject of what will surely be a shocking exposé: her boss, Damion Ward, the casino’s arrogant and undeniably sexy CEO.
Watching Damion make his cold, calculating business maneuvers, Kali is positive she’s doing the right thing. But after Damion invites her to help him plan a Thanksgiving charity event, Kali begins to see another side of the man. And when she surrenders to the exhilarating tension that’s been simmering between them since day one, Kali becomes part of her own story, which she hopes will have a happy ending.
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Lisa Renee Jones Play with Me Copyright 2014
“We need to talk,” he says, as if this is a casual event requiring nothing more than a chat, as if I’m not being treated like a felon.
“Talk?” I demand, all the emotions of hours of confinement rising up in me to near bursting. “We needed to talk seven hours ago. Now? Now we don’t need to talk.”
He steps forward, crowding me, forcing me to give him space or let him become a part of mine. I have a rare violent urge to shove him, but I retreat into the room instead. He steps closer and kicks the door shut behind him, and damn him, that delicious scent of him tickles my nose, and the teasing eruption of sensations in my body only serves to make me more angry. I don’t want to feel the way he makes me feel. I don’t want him to be the one man who sparks something in me that no one else does.
“I couldn’t call,” he has the audacity to say. “Just like I couldn’t tell you I knew we had a security breach when you told me what the computer was doing in my office.”
“So you knew what was happening and didn’t tell me?”
“There’s a procedure to—”
“I don’t give a damn about procedures, Mr. CEO, especially from the one who sets the rules I’ve suffered with.” The edginess in me results in me poking my finger at his chest, heat dashing up my arm. “Just tell me one thing. Am I free to leave?”
He looks down at my finger and then his gaze lifts, but there is no anger in his face. There is something else, something I can’t identify. “I got you cleared, but—”
Relief is instant, and I cut him off. “That’s all the talking you need to do.” I try to turn away, intending to gather my things, but he shackles my wrist, more heat ripping up my arm and over my chest.
“Let go,” I snarl, hating a man I barely know who has put me through hell. It’s like I’m a masochist. Why else would I be drawn to yet another powerful asshole?
His lips thin, and I wish I didn’t notice how sensual and perfect they are. “We have to talk.”
“No,” I assure him. “We do not.”
“We’re going to talk.”
“You aren’t my boss anymore, which translates to the end of all conversation.”
His eyes glint hard steel. “What does that mean, I’m not your boss anymore?”
“I quit. Find someone else to treat like crap.”
“I had no choice—”
“There’s always a choice. I just want out of here.”
“You’ll regret this later.”
“I’ll take that risk.”
“You’ve had a rough twenty-four hours, Ms. Miller. You aren’t thinking straight.”
I all but growl at him. “Let me guess. I’m a woman and my emotions must be controlling me.”
“Because you’re human.”
“Why do you even care if I stay?” I demand, and I don’t know how or why, but the air around us shifts and thickens.
“Because I do.”
“You don’t even know me.”
“I want to know you.”
I swallow hard. “Well, I’m sure you’ll know every piece of my DNA after seven hours of being trapped here. Goal achieved.”
“Stop with the Ms. Miller. I’m not your damn employee anymore. Let go of me.”
He doesn’t let go. His gaze flickers to my mouth, then lifts. “I won’t let you quit.”
“Call Natalie. I’m sure she’ll come back.”
He tugs me close, his hard body aligned with mine, and I can barely breathe. “What do you know of Ms. Duncan?”
“If you mean Natalie, she was in HR when I was.”
“There were circumstances.”
“Yeah. I get that. Believe me, I get it.”
“No. You don’t. She has nothing to do with you or us.”
Us? What does he mean, us? And why is my hand on his chest? Why can’t I move it? “I’m done. Let me go.”
“You won’t change your mind about quitting?”
His fingers tangle into my hair, dragging me closer. “Then why would I let you go?”
Both of my hands have now found the wall of his chest, and I intend to push him away, but I just . . . don’t. “What are you doing?”
“What do you think I’m doing? Finding out if you taste as good as I think you do.” And then his lips are on mine, his tongue licking seductively into my mouth, sending erotic sensations spiraling through my body. I tell myself this is insanity. To push away. We barely know each other. I don’t even like him. Except I know it’s a lie. I know that in the short time we’ve known each other, every shared moment, every mutual look, every touch and tangled word exchange, has been leading to this.
Another lick of his tongue and I am unable to hold back a moan or the desperate need to be closer to him. I arch forward, desperate to feel him against me. Desperate to have him naked and touching me. Me touching him. Desperate to be naked and have him inside me. He is a drug, a wicked, wonderful drug that will finally be the end of my sanity if I allow him to be.
That idea sends a burst of panic and adrenaline through me, and I shove at his chest. “Stop. We can’t.”
His mouth leaves mine, and I am one part relief, one part painful need to pull him back. “Why?” he demands, and his voice is rough, affected.
“You’re my boss.”
“Right. Which means I leave now.”
“You want to leave?”
His eyes darken to deep pools of green fire and stormy torment, telling me he knows this is a mistake. He knows. I know. Why are we still here? “Tell me you really mean that and I’ll let you go,” he vows. “But just know this: If you stay, I absolutely will fuck you senseless and then do it again.”
“I . . . you . . . we can’t . . .”
“We can. I’m going to kiss you now, Kali.”
“Kali?” I whisper, unbelievably aroused by my name on his lips.
“Yes. Kali.” And then he is kissing me, his tongue caressing into my mouth, seeming to touch every intimate part of my body, stroking deep, and burning through me. Sensations roll through me, teasing my senses, torturing me with how much I want him and how wrong I know this is. But then his hand caresses my backside, pulling me closer, hard against his hips, his thick erection pressed to my belly, and I can’t remember why exactly it’s wrong. I am lost. Lost in him. Lost in what I feel, and I don’t want to let anything else in. Not the past. Not the last few hours. I don’t care anymore.
I wrap my arms around his neck, crushing my breasts to his chest, and gasp as he tears his mouth from mine. Then he is staring at me, searching my face for something I don’t understand. And I don’t know what he sees, or what he finds, but his eyes soften, and he strokes the hair from my face. “I was right. One kiss isn’t even close to enough.” His mouth comes down on mine again, and my fingers curl into the fabric of his shirt, holding on to him, willing him not to stop. This time the kiss is deeper, a dark demand that I answer willingly, eagerly, my tongue stroking against his.
Suddenly his fingers wrap my waist and he lifts me, setting me down on the wooden dining room table, spreading my legs to step between them.
“What are you doing?”
He reaches up and tugs on the front zipper of my dress. “Undressing you.”
A moment of clarity comes to me, and I grab his hand. “You need to know this changes nothing. I’m still furious about today. I don’t even know if I like you.”
“But you want me. That’s a start.”
He tugs on my zipper and I don’t stop him, my hands going to the table, trying to stabilize myself, though I’m not sure that is possible. This man is shoving my bra down and ravishing my breasts with a hot inspection that makes my sex clench and my thighs ache.
“I . . .” I pant, and forget what I was going to say. He’s cupping my breasts, pressing them together, and stroking my nipples with his thumbs.
“I don’t know.”
He nudges me backward. “Let me try to figure it out,” he offers, lowering his head, his dark hair tickling my chin, his tongue flicking against my nipple, sending darts of pleasure through me.
I squeeze my eyes shut, fighting for sanity, but his mouth closes down over one of my nipples, sucking deeply, and I am arching my back, offering myself to him. Silently begging him for more. It’s just been so long, I tell myself. So very long since someone touched me like this. So long since I felt like a woman. This isn’t me radiating toward men who like to hurt me. This isn’t me torturing myself. It’s him torturing me in all the right ways.
My hands go to his hair, but he slips away, going down on a knee and caressing my dress up my thighs. “Now I’m going to officially apologize for what happened today,” he vows
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists.
Watch the video on casting for the INSIDE TV Show:
Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.
Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.