“Really?” Rory asked. The disbelief in his tone said it all. “Not bad,” he repeated. What did he have to do? Pass out to show the horrible heat could be deadly? Collect his sweat in buckets and leave it outside Jarred’s door? Jarred Jules was one of the universe’s most successful businessmen. He had to know this investment was a waste of money. “Are you okay?” He leaned forward and squinted. “Maybe the heat fried your brain. Did you sign the ownership papers after you landed here?”
“Being here has done something to my brain, but not fried it.” Jarred stepped closer. “I like seeing your body drenched in sweat. Hot and needy. This place was worth every cent. Maybe I’ll move my main office here. Every day, you’ll run in here with flushed skin, panting each time you thrust your body forward.”
The double meaning within his boss’s words never slipped past him. Sometimes he pretended not to understand the true meaning behind Jarred’s words, but that usually led to more brazen comments. Images of other ways they could get sweaty lingered, Rory on his back with Jarred on top. Jarred sitting down while Rory straddled his boss’s lap. How many nights had he fantasized about being loved by this man? But they were fantasies. Their worlds were too different for those dreams to become real.
Rory was too hot and irritable to shoot down Jarred’s advances with words, so he answered his boss with logic. “You didn't buy this place to get me sweaty.” That’s right, remind Jarred that he wasn’t worth the trouble. He was Jarred’s assistant. Saying he wanted to see him sweaty was nothing more than teasing. Rory’s chest hurt. Was it still teasing if the words tore through his heart? No matter what Jarred said, Rory knew his place. He was no better than a servant, not worthy of warming Jarred’s bed.
“No, I didn’t,” Jarred admitted. “But I like the light sheen glistening across your skin. Your flushed red cheeks resemble a man that just spent hours on his back being pleasured by someone who knew how to take care of him. You look like we’ve spent a day in each other’s arms, rubbing our bodies together, while bumping and grinding our hips in a desperate attempt to get closer.” Jarred took another step closer. “After I cover you in my essence, I’ll leave you begging for more. Your body will know such pleasure and love you’ll become addicted to my touch.”
Rory’s heart beat faster as his knees wobbled. He didn’t doubt the words. Jarred was right. One night was enough to turn him into an addict unable to go the day without another taste. Jarred had promised passion and a night of pleasure that would leave him breathless for more, but the fantasy would end. Then the nightmare of being discarded and hurt would begin. He wasn’t strong enough to endure that.
Rory opened his mouth to tell Jarred that he wouldn’t give in to lust, but closed it when his boss grabbed the bottom of his shirt. Rory gulped as Jarred pulled it away from his muscular chest and exposed inches of delicious tan skin to Rory’s hungry eyes. Then Jarred let the shirt go.
The tight fabric snapped against his boss’s body, sticking to him like a second skin. Rory almost opened his mouth to ask Jarred why he bothered to wear a shirt. It left little to the imagination. If anything, it made his boss even sexier. Rory trembled. If he mentioned his dislike of the shirt, Jarred would pull it off and walk bare-chested for the rest of the day and maybe even go shirtless tomorrow. Knowing his boss, a week would pass before he covered his perfectly sculpted chest.
The image he conjured up of rock-hard abs and sweat-soaked skin almost left him panting. He clenched his mouth closed before stupid words escaped. It didn’t matter if the words were confessions of desire or condemnations for poor business decisions. They would’ve come out all wrong, because no matter how hard he tried, Jarred wasn’t just a boss. On some days, he was a friend. On other days, he was a man that wanted too much from him. It took Rory a minute before he could meet Jarred’s deep, sexy brown eyes that were both warm and feral.
Jarred was one of the sexiest men in the universe and his boss knew it. One broadcast program honored Jarred with the title “Hottest Man Sizzling Through Space.” For two weeks, Jarred had puffed out his chest and raised his chin when he walked through the office like he owned the place. Well, he did, but that wasn’t the point.
Rory had to hire a security detail to keep his boss from being attacked. Men threw their bodies at Jarred. Some of the more desperate jumped in front of him, naked and screaming promises of pleasure. Rory growled at one and pushed the man a way, using his smaller body as a human shield. He closed his eyes, not wanting to remember Jarred’s next words. “There’s no need to be jealous. Say the word and I’m yours forever.”
Jarred placed gentle, sweet kisses all along Rory’s neck. With each touch, Rory ached for more. He lifted his chin to give Jarred better access. Jarred moved in, accepting the invitation with an eagerness that turned the kisses more sensual. Warm lips lingered longer, biting and nipping, before moving downward. Nothing else mattered but the touches that did nothing to feed the hunger inside.
Rory could no longer think. He was too busy enjoying the caresses to listen to the voices that had kept Jarred away for far too long. He was a bundle of nerves being teased and escorted down the road leading to paradise. Was this a dream? Was this what it felt like to leave reality behind and exist only within a fantasy?
How long had he thought about Jarred holding him, placing kisses all over his body and then thrusting deep inside of him? But those dreams paled in comparison to the real caresses. Jarred’s kisses eased downward as strong fingers slid across his chest, lightly moving over his nipples, stirring them to life. Rory bit down and kept the moan from escaping.
This was better than any dream. Rory never dared to hope for gentleness. He curled his fingers into tight fists to keep them from reaching out. It was one thing to be touched, but another to touch. Their level of existence didn't give him that right. Jarred was a powerful leader and he was a weak follower being led.
Stop thinking. His mind always ruined everything. Just feel for one night. Negative thoughts always kept him from living. Don’t go on vacation, the money might be needed for more practical things. Don’t accept Jarred’s dinner invitation, he’ll toss you away. That would happen. Rory was always left behind, but right now, he wanted this. Tonight was his forever. No one could take memories away.
“You’re mine,” Jarred whispered into his ear. “I don't want just one night.”
Words and promises spoken in bed disappeared during the first rays of morning light. But for now, he'd believe and bathe in Jarred’s touches. “Do you believe me?” Jarred asked as he pulled away to look into Rory’s eyes.
Rory tried to look away. Staring into Jarred’s eyes always made his belly tighten, and now was no exception. From Jarred’s penetrating gaze, heat traveled through him. Rory smiled. He'd loved Jarred for so long. The truth had to be plastered across his face. The smile given back to Rory warmed his heart. Jarred was a businessman who took what he wanted. Right now, Rory was content being the object of Jarred’s affections. Lessons learned long ago had taught him to accept little bits of happiness, and that’s what this was, his chance for a little happiness.
His hand started to lift off the bed, but he wouldn't reach out and touch. He licked his lips desperate for another taste. Jarred seemed to understand his need for more kisses. Warm lips pressed against his lips. The kiss was gentler than their first, but that quickly changed. The tenderness turned possessive and demanded Rory’s complete surrender. He opened his mouth and the heat threatened to undo his composure. His eyes moistened, but he refused to cry. No one had ever made him feel this wanted.
Jarred moved in, plundering his mouth with sweet caresses that Rory never wanted to end. For one moment, Rory felt love, cherished even. Then Jarred pulled away. He whimpered at the loss, but quickly lost all focus when Jarred traveled down his body, leaving a hot, moist trail. The kisses turned him into a trembling mass of goo. No one had ever worshipped him. He felt like a delicate, precious gem. Water leaked from Rory's eyes, but he squinted them shut to prevent more moisture from escaping.
Jarred did more than promise with words. His touches told a bigger story. This wasn't a one-night stand, but the beginning of more. Jarred teased his nipples, and without thinking, his hands flew to Jarred’s hair. The silky strands slipped between Rory’s fingers. He let go. Jarred wasn't his to touch.
Jarred pulled away. Their eyes met. “I’ll never hurt you. It's okay. I want your touches.”
Rory knew he shouldn't believe those words. People hurt him all the time. On his father’s ship, he wasn’t allowed to speak. On the streets, he wasn’t allowed to look up. In the bar, he wasn’t allowed to ask questions. With Jarred, he wasn’t allowed to love. When Jarred moved on, he’d take a chunk of Rory’s heart with him. Instead of shaking his head, Rory nodded. For tonight, he'd live out the dream.
He was flying with Jarred directing the flight. Rory rubbed his fingers down Jarred’s muscular arms, taking in their shape like a blind man desperate to see. The bed dipped as Jarred sat up. For one desperate second, he thought the night had ended. His heart thumped. Then Jarred held a bottle of scented oil. He squinted to make sure.
“Turn over,” Jarred said, as he leaned down and whispered into Rory’s ear.