[Siren Classic: Erotic Historical Romance]
Corey learned at a young age that there were many reasons not to trust men. Most are only after her family's money, and she's become leery of their ultimate motives. Two years ago, she met Reese, who is wealthy in his own right. But their meeting went poorly, and he left with the impression that she was a bored socialite with no ambitions.
Now her father's gambling has put her beloved grandfather's business in jeopardy. The only way to save her grandfather from ruin is to accept a business deal, which joins her and Reese in an arranged two-year marriage. Falling in love with him isn't in her plan.
What Corey doesn't know is that Reese was given a choice, and he chose the deal because of his feelings for her. Now all he has to do is persuade her that their relationship goes beyond finances. Will they acknowledge the true love and respect that develops with time?
A Siren Erotic Romance
Slowly, the words settled around the room. Standing, she walked to her father, and paused several feet in front of him. “You son of a bitch,” she said quietly, slapping him squarely across the cheek.
When Matt raised his hand to hit her back, Reese was on his feet, tugging Corey back by her shoulders out of Matt’s reach.
“Don’t do it, don’t even think of doing it,” Reese told him. Turning to Corey, for the first time he saw her eyes fill with tears. His only satisfaction was the palm print her hand had left on Matthew Duncan’s cheek.
“That’s all I had left of her, and you sold it. When were you going to tell me?”
“I wasn’t. Besides, you never wore it. What good did it do any of us just sitting in a vault?”
“It wasn’t yours to sell. It was all I had left.”
“Don’t be such a sentimental fool, Delia. She’s dead and buried fifteen years now, let it go,” he said with disgust.
“That’s enough,” Charles said quietly.
“I agree.” Nevin added. “Corey, I’m sorry, but even if you sold your home and still had the necklace to auction, it wouldn’t be enough. Charles and I have come to a different arrangement. Please, both of you sit so we can talk.”
Waiting until they did just that, Reese watched his grandfather closely. Suddenly the room was closing in on him.
“My grandson turned thirty last year and apparently has no designs on settling down. I, on the other hand, would like to see him settled and happy. As well as having a great-grandchild or two to spoil. The deal is simple. I will cover the leveraged amount. Reese and Corey will marry.” Reese let out a surprised gasp at the ease his grandfather said the words. “I’ve set up a new consulting office. You two will run it together. The company will be split between the two of you, fifty-fifty. For the next two years, you’ll both be responsible for it. It wouldn’t hurt in the meantime to start a family. After the two years, we can bring in a management team or you both can decide to stay on. Either way, Charles’s company remains intact, and Matthew isn’t hurt.” He pushed back in his seat, hesitating only a second before adding, “And I get what I want, Reese settled in the family business.”
Reese was stunned into silence. He and Corey both started to object loudly for several minutes, each one’s voice shouting over the other’s to be heard. Finally, they dissolved into laughter.
Reese recovered first. “Nevin, you old coot. You need a hobby, maybe golf. You obviously have too much time on your hands to concoct this kind of a scheme.”
“I agree. I’m not sure what your motivation is, but for a minute I can tell you both, I was starting to believe you really thought to manipulate us into a marriage.” It took a few seconds for Corey to look around the room and realize it wasn’t a joke. Both Nevin and Charles were very serious. Matt refused to look at her.
Reese knew the basic story. Corey had always been disappointed by her father’s actions. It hadn’t helped that he had been drunk and driving the car that had taken her mother’s life. Matt had walked away with just a few scratches while her mother had died. She had been just eight when the accident happened, too young to realize what the whispers really meant. Reese understood the whispers and knew at this age so did she.
Reese’s mind spun. Nevin was serious. He actually wanted him to marry this girl and start a family. He must be going crazy. To marry now, just when he had the most important task of his career to complete was ludicrous.
“Now don’t you two go off half-cocked. It’s really a wonderful idea,” Nevin began. “Reese, you’ve had ten years to roam and enjoy your freedom. I didn’t stop you when you went into those hellholes of war to take your photographs. But, the war is over and it’s time you took responsibility…”
Corey interrupted him. “Excuse me, Nevin, but I must have heard wrong. Let’s just clarify something. You and Charles want me to marry Reese and start a family. You both get great-grandchildren and we start a new acquisitions consulting company. Is that about it?” Nevin nodded. Corey stood and paced the length of the office several times. Reese was thankful she’d interrupted. If she refused, he’d be off the hook.
“What about love? What about like? What about our own private plans for the future? How do you know that Reese isn’t involved with someone, or me, for that matter? And just what acquisitions are we supposed to consult on?” Her frustrations were vivid in her voice. “And why are Reese and I being punished to help Matthew? He made this mess, why shouldn’t he pay the price? And just what will his price be, Charles? Does he get to walk away free and clear?”
“Neither of you are romantically involved at the moment,” Nevin said. He nodded toward Charles. “Besides, marriages have been arranged for centuries. They’re the ones that usually last.” He hesitated before adding, “This isn’t a punishment, just a sound business investment. Everyone gets what they want from the deal.”
“Oh, yes, Nevin. Let’s not let a little thing like love or respect cloud the issue. And how many children am I supposed to bear, two, three, twelve?” Corey picked up a heavy crystal ashtray and moved it from one hand to the other, feeling the weight of it in her hands.
Reese watched as she toyed with it, finally releasing a breath when she put it back down on the mahogany desk. “Reese, what are they holding over you to force your hand?”
Tonight, she slipped out of the lounging pajamas she had on, pants first, falling to her ankles. She teased him about being a sissy in the cold night air while she stepped out of the pants. Reassuring him that it was heated, she slowly unbuttoned the length of the top, turning her back to him and letting it drop from her shoulders. He watched as she tucked her hair under a rubber bathing cap. With one stretch, she was under the water, surfacing on the other end.
Corey watched him strip from the opposite end of the pool. His body was beyond excited, his cock full and heavy with anticipation making him think of strange and wonderful things to do with it. After he slid into the warm water, he surfaced near her. In one long stroke she was in his arms, hers resting on his shoulders to keep them from going under as they explored each other’s mouths. Long and agonizingly slow, Reese loved Corey in the deep end of the pool, feeling the texture of her skin in the chlorinated water. Her hands ran all over him, testing and feeling.
Reese maneuvered her toward the ladder, bravely going first to grab the warm terry cloth robes. He struggled into one while Corey took a few last laps. Meeting her at the stairs, he wrapped her in a robe, tying the belt snuggly around her middle. She tugged off the cap, letting her hair fall around her shoulders while she toweled her neck. He hoped she knew what he was thinking. Tossing aside the towel, she laid back on one of the lounge chairs.
He saw her and smiled. “You read my mind, Cordelia,” Reese told her as he went to her, fitting himself beside her.
Resting her head against him, she let her fingers trace lazy patterns on his damp chest, swirling amongst the dark waves that centered there. She’d been here before, or almost, he realized. How stupid her blatant attempt had been all those years back. Tonight was different. His ring on her finger decreed it. As if reading her mind, he took her hand, kissing her palm before turning her under him. As he pulled open the belt on her robe, her bared breasts came into his view, and his mouth found what he longed for.
Tonight he knew Corey wouldn’t stop. She’d called his bluff too many times, and he was beginning to understand how her mind worked. In the last weeks since they’d begun “married” life, she’d never backed away from his advances. Her sly smile told him she wouldn’t tonight. It made him want to give her everything he could and want her to give what came naturally. His touch turned her liquid inside he knew, his fingers dancing along her lower lips as he suckled her breasts.
“I feel warm inside,” she said, moving with his hand. “As if I just finished a brandy.” As his touch increased, she heated, holding his head against her breast as he teased her with his teeth and fingers. “Reese…”
“Later Corey, I’ve been dreaming about this for two years.” He slipped further down the lounge, leaving a trail of kisses as he went. She was warm and wanting, driving him harder to please her. As his lips found her hardened nipple, his fingers danced over her, just missing the evasive touch she longed for. From side to side, his teeth nipped at her, and his fingers teased her. She’d found his hand with hers, and with one deep breath, guided two of his fingers inside her, taking what she wanted from him where it pleased her most. Her body shook and then grasped at his fingers, finally relaxing under him.
Corey buried her face against Reese’s chest with a sigh, and he wondered if she was remembering their first time poolside two years earlier. How far they’d both come, personally, professionally, and together. His lips started to lightly tease her, but now he was nipping at her bottom lip, starting the process over again. While she was almost limp in his arms, he knew she felt his arousal against her belly. This time when he left her, his lips replaced his hand, his tongue replacing his fingers as she fell a second time into the vague darkness. The tone of her voice was adamant, telling him to continue, not to stop, ever.
Reese felt her relax slightly, using the time to pull her closer, entering her in one swift move. The hardened length of him buried deep within her. He smiled, and Corey’s eyes flashed fire with each stroke, her hands balancing them on the sides of the cushion. With each thrust, she held her ground, forcing him deeper into the fire he had seemed to ignite inside her. When they were joined as deeply as possible, Corey reached out to stroke him and her at the same time. The light movements of her fingers over her own sex, rubbing against his body at the same time was too much for Reese.