Bossman by Vi Keeland

Chapter 19

Reese

The hotel gave us rooms right next to each other. After hanging my dresses in the closet, I stripped out of my clothes, pulled my hair up in a ponytail, and took a quick shower. Letting hot water massage my shoulders, I relaxed and thought about how much I’d loved spending the day with Chase. Working side by side, shopping together, sitting in the car as we drove to our hotel—everything just felt natural. What didn’t feel natural anymore was pushing the man away from me. Instead, it felt like I was depriving myself of something that could possibly be really special.

Bill and Melinda Gates had started out working together. He was her boss even.

Michelle Obama was Barack’s mentor at the law firm where they both worked.

Celine Dion married her manager—who was more than twenty-five years older.

Some things worked. Some things didn’t. There were more consequences when things didn’t last and you worked together, but sometimes the possibilities outweighed the consequences.

Possibilities.

When Chase knocked a little while later, I had just finished getting dressed. My hair was up in a messy bun, and I’d traded my sleek black suit in favor of a simple jersey wrap dress with a lively print of greens and blues. My red heels were now open-toe sandals.

His eyes slid over me. “We could skip dinner…”

I shoved at his chest and exited my room without putting on the necklace I was going to wear because I didn’t trust myself to invite him inside while I finished getting ready. The way Chase looked at me while we waited for the hostess to seat us—his eyes dropping to my cleavage—I don’t think he missed the diamond pendant I hadn’t had a chance to fasten around my neck.

During appetizers, we talked about the focus group and plans for tomorrow before moving on to more intimate conversation. I was mindlessly tracing my finger through the condensation on the base of my wine glass when Chase reached over and traced the scar on my hand.

“It almost looks like a tattoo. Even your scars are beautiful.”

I remembered what I’d noticed on Chase’s body earlier. “Speaking of tattoos…I couldn’t help but see yours this afternoon. Is it your only one?”

Chase leaned back in his chair. “Yes.”

The fact that he didn’t offer more and seemed anxious to move on from the subject made me pry even further. “What does it say? They’re words, right?”

He looked around the room, then lifted his drink and took a healthy gulp. “It says Fear does not stop death. It stops life.”

I waited until his eyes finally settled on me to speak. “Well, I can certainly relate to that.”

We stared at each other. I struggled to find the right words of encouragement to get him to open up as his eyes left mine and went back to my scar. I hadn’t found those words yet when he unexpectedly continued.

“Peyton and I went to high school together. We were friends—didn’t get together until my last semester of college. My life was moving really fast by then. I had patents, office space…I was hiring staff.” He paused. “A year after we graduated, I proposed. She died two days later.”

My heart practically leaped into my throat. There was pain in his voice, and I literally felt tightness in my chest. “I’m sorry.”

He nodded and again took a minute before continuing. “I was pretty screwed up afterward for a long time. It’s why I initially licensed most of my products. I was drinking heavily and knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do everything it would take to bring new products into the marketplace myself. Luckily, my lawyers were in the right frame of mind. They negotiated deals where I got a generous royalty just for letting companies use my patents for a few years. I kept my research team, so I had something to focus on, but there wasn’t much else I had to do.”

“Sounds like you did the right thing.”

“Yeah. In hindsight, I did.”

I was dying to ask the question but wasn’t sure what words to use. “How did…your fiancée…I mean…was she…sick?”

He shook his head. “No. She was assaulted. Seven years ago next week. Never caught the guy who did it.”

I reached out and took his hand. “God, I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you.” He paused then said, “It was a rough few years. Even when I began to date again, I don’t know that I was capable of doing anything more than…you know—” He gave me a sexy half smile. “—dating.”

“You mean having sex.”

He nodded. “Don’t get me wrong—I don’t want to sound like a total asshole. I never led women on. I just wasn’t interested in more than a physical connection. It wasn’t intentional. At least I don’t think it was. I don’t know. Maybe I wasn’t ready to move on. Or maybe I just hadn’t met the right person to move on with.”

“That makes sense.” My stomach was in knots. It wasn’t lost on me that he’d said he wasn’t ready and he hadn’t met the right person, as if those things were past tense. He’d made it clear he wanted me physically almost from the beginning—that was never a question in my mind. I wanted so much to ask if he thought more was possible now, but I was afraid of the answer. I mean, how do you move on—fall in love with another woman—when you’ve never stopped loving someone else?

When I said nothing, Chase reached over and put his hand on my chin, gently lifting until our eyes met. “I want more with you. I can’t promise you what that is or where it will go, but it’s more than just physical. I’m attracted to everything about you—you’re smart, honest, funny, brave, a little nutty—and you make me smile for no reason. There’s no denying I want you in my bed. I think you’ve caught on to that part by now. But I want this, too. I’m tired of looking back. It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to live in the moment.”

“Wow. I don’t know what to say. Thank you. Thank you for being so honest.”

Just then, the waiter came with our dinner. The air was heavy, and I had no idea how to lighten the mood, yet I felt like we needed it. If there was one thing I knew, it was that talking about sex usually made Chase playful.

I cut a bite of my steak and brought the fork to my lips. “Have you ever played Would You Rather?”

His brows drew down. “When I was a kid.”

“My friend Jules and I play it all the time—usually after a few drinks.”

“Okay…”

I sipped my wine and held his gaze. “Would you rather pay for sex or be paid for sex?”

He cocked a brow. “Be paid. You?”

“I think I’d rather pay for it.”

“I like this game.” Chase leaned back in his chair and scratched his chin. “Top or bottom?”

“Bottom.” I paused. “You?”

“Top.” He pointed his fork at me. “See how compatible we are. Lights on or off?”

“On. You?”

“On. So I can watch your face while I sink inside of you.”

Warmth prickled my skin. I gulped. “You’re not supposed to elaborate. You’re only supposed to say your pick.”

“Why would I do that, when giving a more descriptive answer makes your skin turn such a sexy shade of pink?”

We went back and forth like that for the rest of our meal, sharing snippets of both sexy and not-so-sexy preferences. It did what I’d intended it to do—lightened the mood—but it also had desire fighting the voice of reason inside of me.

And, at the moment, desire was kicking reason’s ass.

After dinner, when Chase and I arrived at our adjoining suites, I felt like I was ending a first date in high school.

He took both my hands in his, keeping a few feet between us as he spoke. “Thank you for having dinner with me. And for letting me crash your trip.”

“You were on the plane when I got on. It’s not like I had much of a choice.” I was joking, of course.

“I’m going to take off after the morning focus group, head back to New York on an afternoon flight.”

“You’re leaving? Why?”

“Because I keep pushing, hoping you’ll break. And tonight I realized you need to get there on your own. I’ll be waiting when you do.” He pulled me to him and planted a kiss on my forehead.

“Now go inside before I change my mind and you’re up against the door instead of behind it safely.”

I leaned my head against the door for a solid ten minutes once I was inside. After five, I’d heard Chase’s door click open and close, and I wondered if he’d been standing on the other side struggling like I was.

I couldn’t remember ever wanting another man as badly as I wanted Chase. For a while, I’d thought it was because he was my boss—that exciting feeling of being tempted by the forbidden. But I knew it was more than that. So much more, it scared the hell out of me. I’d been using the fact that he was my boss as an excuse to keep distance. But the truth was, the things I felt around the man terrified me. I hadn’t exactly been lucky in love. Neither had my parents. Could I find true love in the shadow of another woman?

I was afraid—and I was also tired of being afraid. That realization made me think of his tattoo.

Fear does not stop death. It stops life.

Eight little words, yet it held the story of both of our lives.

As I took a deep breath, it hit me that I hadn’t turned on the lights in my room yet. That was totally unusual for me. Ordinarily, I’d have performed my sweep of the room within ten seconds of entering—checking in the closet and shower, looking under the ever-intimidating bed. Sighing, I forced myself not to look, even though it was now gnawing at me since I’d mentally acknowledged I’d been remiss. At least there was one fear I wasn’t going to allow to control me tonight.

Lying on the floor of my hotel room in the dark, I felt dizzy from my mind spinning. I kept replaying bits and pieces of the conversations we’d had over the last month in my head.

At his house: “If you weren’t seeing someone, I’d have you up on that kitchen island showing you what I want to do to you, rather than telling you.”

I wanted him to show me in the worst way.

In the cab after too much to drink at the club, my sleepy head resting on his warm thighs and brushing against his erection as I sat up when we arrived at my building.

I wanted to feel him. Wrap my fingers around his hard-on and watch his face as I slid my hand up and down.

In his office… “Get out of that wet shirt before I help you out of it right in the middle of my office with the blinds open.”

God, I wanted him to rip my damn shirt off.

Closing my eyes, my hand slid down my body. He was right on the other side of that door. Would he hear me if I brought myself to orgasm? A part of me hoped he would. My hand skimmed over the lace of my underwear once, then a second time, lingering over the sensitive front before slipping inside. My clit was already swollen just thinking about Chase. It was definitely not going to take long. Two fingers gently circled, massaging. Imagining it was Chase’s hand instead of my own, I quickly increased pressure as I found my rhythm.

Images swept through my head.

Chase finally looking up at me that first night in the hallway of the restaurant. God, he is gorgeous.

Shirtless at the gym, beads of water trickling down his carved chest.

My breathing sped up.

Today outside the fitting room. The way he looked at me, his eyes stripping away anything in his way. His words—“I’m attracted to everything about you.”

God.

Oh God.

So close. So fast.

Until…

A loud knock made me jump.

Jesus.

I sprang upright, my breathing erratic like I’d just sprinted a marathon.

“Reese?” Chase’s voice called. He’d knocked on the interior door between our rooms.

I cleared my throat. “Yes?”

“Can I borrow your iPhone charger? I forgot to pick one up today.”

“Ummm…sure. Give me a minute to find it.”

My hands were shaking as I turned on the light and began to rip apart my overnight bag in search of my charger. What the hell am I doing?

Finding it, I took a deep breath and steadied myself for thirty seconds before opening the door between us. I couldn’t look him in the eye.

“Here you go,” I said to his shoulder.

“Thanks.”

My voice sounded odd, even to me. The pitch was high and…I was talking way too fast in one long run-on, unpunctuated sentence. “You’re welcome you can keep it I won’t need it until the morning I was just going to go to bed anyway.”

Chase’s brow was furrowed when I glanced up. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?”

He wasn’t buying it. “I don’t know.” Looking over my shoulder, he checked out my room. “What were you doing?”

“Nothing,” I responded way too fast.

“Nothing, huh?”

My face was flushed, and I could feel a sheen of perspiration on my forehead and cheeks, but damn if I wasn’t going to try to lie my way right through it.

Chase’s eyes trailed down the length of my body, and then our gazes locked.

And I knew.

He knew.

He knew.

I could actually see his pupils dilate when he realized it. After an intense stare-off, during which I thought it was entirely possible I might melt from the heat, he simply said, “Goodnight, Reese.”

I’d just begun to breathe again when he stopped the door from closing at the last second. Reaching down, he took my hand and cupped it in his. Then he slowly brought it to his face and closed his eyes. When he inhaled deeply, smelling the hand I’d just touched myself with, I wanted to die.

I wanted to die.

It was the most embarrassing, yet most erotic thing I’d ever seen in my life.

My body shook, the ache between my legs unbearable. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t say a word. I just stood there, watching him breathe my scent in and out. When he finally opened his eyes, and a groan came from his lips, I was done. So done.

I launched myself at him, throwing my arms around his neck. “I quit.”

He wrapped his arm around my waist, and with one quick hitch, he lifted me up. “It’s about damn time.”

My legs wrapped around him, and he turned, backing me into the open door between our rooms. One of his hands unraveled my tied-up hair so it fell loose, only to have Chase wrap it around his hand, closing his fist tightly around it. He gave it a good strong yank so my head bent back, and then his mouth crashed down on mine.

I swear I almost came right there. Our mouths opened, and tongues frantically collided. He tasted insanely good, and I never wanted to come up for air. I didn’t care if I died of asphyxiation—I’d die deliriously happy.

He pressed himself harder into me, his erection straining through his pants. Since I was still wearing a dress and my legs were wrapped around him, I was effectively wide open—spread-eagled as he pushed harder against me. I moaned when he rubbed himself up and down. The sheer fabric of my panties allowed the friction of his zipper to spark like a rock to flint, and my body ignited.

Chase mumbled into my mouth, “Do you feel what you do to me? What you’ve done to me since that first night?”

He made a low, husky sound that came from deep in his throat and bit down on my bottom lip, tugging at it before he released my mouth. Reaching behind his neck, he took one of my hands, sliding it between us until I covered the top of his cock. When my fingers tightened around it, he growled and deepened the kiss.

I loved how needy he sounded, as if he had been waiting for this moment forever. Lord knows, it felt like I had waited an eternity.

Eventually—I’m not even really sure how—we made our way into my bedroom. Chase laid me down gently on the bed and hovered over me. When I reached up and touched his cheek, he turned and kissed the inside of my palm.

“You’re so beautiful. I can’t wait to see all of you.” He buried his nose in my hair and whispered in my ear, “Can’t wait to taste all of you.”

I held my breath as he kissed his way from my neck down the exposed skin on my chest and stopped at my cleavage. My wrap dress had a tie at the right side. Chase leaned to his left, trailing his hand down my body to tug at the bow. He spread the fabric open and pulled his head back to take a good look at my body. Focusing on my breasts, he leaned in and licked a line from the top of my breastbone down into my cleavage. Shivers spilled over me, and goosebumps littered my skin. My nipples hardened and pushed through the lace of my bra, begging for attention. God, I want his mouth on me.

Using his thumb, he pushed down the cup of my bra and sucked in my left nipple. Hard. His eyes watched me constantly, taking in my response to his touches. When my eyes flitted closed, he did it a second time before turning his attention to my other breast. After a few minutes, he continued his exploring, his mouth lowering to trail a string of kisses over my stomach.

Lower.

Then lower.

He placed a gentle kiss on my panties and spoke with his lips vibrating right on my clit. “Were you thinking of me when your fingers were inside of you?” He hooked a thumb under the side of my panties and began to slide my underwear off. “Say it. Tell me you thought of me while your fingers were in this pussy.”

Settling between my legs, he sucked my clit into his mouth, swirling his tongue while applying the perfect amount of pressure. It felt heavenly, and my hands dug into his hair, never wanting him to stop.

Then suddenly, he did. “Tell me.”

I would have sworn I was Queen Elizabeth if it meant his mouth was back on me. Admitting the truth felt like a small price to pay. “You’re the only person I’ve thought about while I’ve touched myself since the day I met you.”

Chase’s eyes blazed triumphantly and his mouth returned. He didn’t tease this time. No. He sucked and licked until I was sufficiently wet and then added his fingers. It all built so fast, so furiously. Fingers pumping in and out, tongue sucking and swirling—my body began to tremble and tighten, my heels digging into the mattress, fingers pulling at his hair. The steep climb up the roller coaster was quick, and I felt the anticipation everywhere. God, it felt good. So good. I let out a sound that was a cross between a moan and a chant of his name.

My back arched off the bed, and Chase used one hand to hold me down as he pushed his mouth farther into me.

It’s all too much.

Not nearly enough.

Oh God.

Oh God.

I reached the top of the roller coaster and teetered briefly for a second before…

I was free falling.

Sliding.

Barreling uncontrollably.

I didn’t feel my legs. I didn’t feel anything in the moment except pure, unadulterated ecstasy. It was so good, so breathtaking, that my eyes actually started to well a little.

My breathing was still erratic when Chase climbed back up my body and took my mouth again. The kiss was so different from the frenzy of a few minutes ago. Beautiful, languid, gentle. He stroked my hair as our tongues twined and cupped my face as he broke the kiss. “I’ll be right back.”

He disappeared for a moment and then returned with his wallet, pulling out a strip of condoms and tossing them on the nightstand.

I eyed them. “Big plans?”

He started to undress. “You have no fucking idea.”

The way he looked at me while he shed his clothes—determination on his beautiful face—made my sated body spring to life again. He wasn’t my first, wasn’t even my second or third, but something about the way he looked at me made me feel like he was—like it was going to be my first real time, and I had no idea why.

Chase was a beautiful man…that much anyone could see. But when he stripped out of his clothes, I realized just how crazy perfect he really was. His chest was chiseled, pecs firm above a deeply carved six-pack, and his thighs were thick and powerful. And that nipple ring. I couldn’t wait to have it between my teeth. As he stood there in tight, black boxer briefs, I was glad he’d given me a minute to prepare myself before he unveiled what was beneath.

He hooked his thumbs into the waistband of his briefs and bent to step out of them. When he stood, my mouth hung open. Lord have mercy. The man truly had the full package. And by that, I didn’t mean good looks, charm, and money… No, Chase had a damn full package. His cock was ridiculously thick and rigid. Already fully erect, it bobbed flush against him, reaching almost to his navel.

I licked my lips as he tore a condom from the strip, grasping it between his teeth and ripping the foil open.

Watching my face, he said, “You’re going to be the death of me, aren’t you?”

He took my hands in his as he climbed over me, weaving our fingers together and pulling them up over my head. He kissed my lips gently and then lifted his head to look into my eyes. Our gaze held for the longest time, even as he slowly pushed into me. I was wet, soaked even—as ready as I could be for him.

“Fuck,” Chase muttered, and his eyes briefly closed. “You’re so wet.” He eased in and out a few times, being cautious and relaxing me enough to accept his girth without hurting.

Once he’d sufficiently broken me in, he began to move in and out rhythmically, with more intensity. Gentle thrusts became hard. Easing became rooting deep into my body. The only thing that didn’t change was the way Chase looked at me. He stared into my eyes like he could see inside me. It made me feel exposed, yet beautifully accepted.

Everything in the background faded away except the sound of our breathing. When I moaned, he smashed his lips to mine, seeming to need to swallow the sound of my coming undone. I pulled at his hair as I climbed closer, and his breathing became short, shallow spurts.

“I’m gonna…” I started, but my body beat me to the finish. “Oh God.”

Chase bit down on my shoulder, sending my slowly building orgasm into overdrive. It came over me like a tsunami, grabbing me and pulling me under. My muscles began pulsating, and my hooded eyes looked up at Chase.

He saw it on my face, felt it inside my body, and quickened his pace, working toward his own release. Finally, he ground down one last time, burying himself as deeply as he possibly could, and let out a groan as he released.

Unlike my previous lovers, he didn’t collapse and roll over abruptly after his finish. Instead, he kissed me softly until he had to pull out, then got up to dispose of the condom. When he came back, he had a warm facecloth, which he used to wash me. Then he grabbed a bottle of water from the mini-fridge, and we shared it—passing it back and forth—both of us still naked.

After all of the adrenaline running high for so long, suddenly I started to crash. I yawned, and Chase tossed the empty bottle on the nightstand. He lifted me on top of him and lay back, positioning me over his body, my head on his heart. His heartbeat was soothing as he stroked my hair.

“Get some sleep,” he said softly. “We have a long day tomorrow, and we have to be up early.”

I liked the idea of getting some sleep. It had been so long since I’d felt this relaxed. This safe.

Already groggy, I said, “Okay. But we don’t have to be at the focus group until ten.”

He kissed the top of my head. “I know, but we’re going to need a few hours for round two.”

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