We're keeping the tension high with the following scene. Enjoy!
“Is all of this necessary?” Ian scowled at me, brows furrowed. “You’ve intimated I won’t be anywhere near the danger zone.”
“The danger zone has been known to shift, depending on circumstances, people. The actual danger.” The bulletproof vest, courtesy of Jack and the NYPD, dangled from my fingers. The way Ian reacted, you’d think I held a water moccasin. “I warned you, there were rules. You can either follow them, or you can wait somewhere by the phone. Your choice.”
“Which you know very well leaves me no choice at all.” He took the vest from me, frowning. “How exactly does one put this on?”
“You really need to get out of the courtroom, Councilor.” More amused than annoyed, I pushed off my desk to step in front of him. “Arms up.”
Sighing, I took the vest back, placing it on the desk surface. “We need to get this on you, get down to the Hudson. Traffic is going to be brutal, so the sooner we’re out of here, the better. Now, since you clearly don’t have a clue what you’re doing, I’m going to help. But that means you need to get your shirt off.”
Ian frowned harder, something I didn’t think possible. He grabbed the hem of his t-shirt and paused. “This isn’t some sort of practical joke on the lawyer, is it?”
“Hon, if I was going to play a practical joke, I’d hope I could come up with something better than getting your shirt off.” Impatient, I tugged on the hem of his shirt myself, managing to get the fabric above his waistline. “Time for shits and giggles is over. Take a look at the clock. It’s already after five. In or out?”
“Goddamnit.” Ian ripped the shirt off, flinging the ball of crumpled fabric toward the sofa. The flush ran from his face clear down to his waistline. “You know I’m in.”
“Then stop acting like I’m a lecherous duke and you’re the frightened virgin on the verge of being ravished.” Turning around, I picked the vest back up and began to rip open Velcro. A rustle came from behind me and I paused, head bent. I felt his touch seconds before it came. “Or maybe you want to be ravished.”
“You’re not my type. You’re loud, crude, unsophisticated. I could never take you to any social gathering required of my position.” Fingers, slightly chilled even through the thin fabric of my shirt, tracked up my spine. I shivered, holding still. Any sudden movement would spook him. “You are the antithesis of the woman I’m normally attracted to.”
“You’re a real sweet-talker, you know that?” His fingers traced back down my spine, lingering for a moment at the frayed hem of my shirt. I shivered when those cool fingers touched the skin above the waistband of my jeans. “Ian, now is not the time.”
“You did this, you know. When I walked into your office five mornings ago, I was perfectly sane. Or as sane as I could be, given my cousin’s disappearance.” Warm breath caressed the nape of my neck, an erotic contrast to the cold press of fingers in the small of my back. “Now, thoughts of you intrude on my every waking moment. And my sleep. The dreams I’ve had of you…” He trailed off, and we both shuddered when his lips touched my neck. “I could go to prison for the dreams alone.”
“I’m not sure if you’re trying to frighten me or arouse me.” He’d done both. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, the fierce hunger his words stirred up. “Either way, this isn’t the time.”
“I know this is wrong. Wrong on any number of levels. I’m your client. You’re engaged.” His lips slid lower, pausing in the curve of my neck. I had no doubt he felt the frantic beat of my pulse there. “Tell me to stop and I will.”
“This isn’t the time.” Even I knew my protest was weak, ineffectual.
“Not relevant.” Teeth nipped, closing briefly over skin before releasing, tongue flickering out to lave the bite. “Tell me to stop.”
“And if I don’t?” His body pressed forward, pushing me into the desk. I sucked in a deep breath at the feel of him hard against me. “Christ.”
“Is unlikely to be helpful in this situation.” He spun me around, caged me in. Those dark blue eyes, the same as his cousin, were wide, wild with lust. Lips parted, breathing harsh and erratic, he leaned closer. “Tell. Me. To. Stop.”
Instead, I pushed up on my toes, slid my tongue over his lower lip. My fingers curled into a fist, pressing tight against his shoulder. We both moaned when his mouth closed over mine, which slid into a kiss as gentle as it was thorough.
My heart thudded, slowed, as the blood Ian stirred moments before turned to thick, rich honey. His lips moved against mine, hesitant yet sure, taking the kiss deeper by degrees. I rocked back on my heels with knees weak. He growled, the sound harsh and out of place with the image I held of him.
“We need to stop.” I cleared my throat and tried again. “This isn’t the time.”
He closed his eyes and drew in a long, shuddering breath. His eyes, when he opened them, were brilliantly blue. And clear. “You’re right. I apologize.”
“Don’t. Your timing sucks, not your technique.” With that, I pushed on his chest, putting a few feet between us. For his sake, and for mine. Then for good measure, I rounded the desk, continuing to work on undoing the vest’s Velcro. “Are you licensed to carry?”
“A gun, Ian. I doubt you’ll need one; I doubt even less you’ll need to use one, but it doesn’t hurt to carry when you can.” Tossing the vest at him, I bit my cheek to keep from laughing when it hit him in the face. I hadn’t aimed; he just hadn’t moved. “I am, but I prefer my handy little Taser.”
“Isn’t that kind of like bringing a knife to a gun fight?” He pulled the vest over his head, awkwardly pulling at straps. I sighed, shaking my head. The last few moments had done wonders for my control, so crossing to him, standing close to him, didn’t affect me like it would have minutes before. He scowled at me but lifted his arms as I went to work.
“Most knifes don’t pack enough punch to put a two hundred plus pound man on the ground, covered in his own piss and holding his balls while he curls into a fetal position and cries for his mother.”
“You’re a scary woman.” His fingers closed over mine and I paused to look up. He smiled, a crooked grin that made a single dimple appear in his left cheek. “I wonder if you realize how appealing such a quality is.”
“Well, we’re going to be stuck in a car together for the next four to five hours. You’ll have plenty of time to woo me with such pretty phrases.”