Forbidden Nights (Seductive Nights #5)

by Lauren Blakely

CHAPTER ONE

New Orleans, noon . . .

All his rigorous training over the last few years had paid off.

Nate was now officially a certified expert at looking Casey square in the eyes, and he could sustain a full five minutes of conversation without staring at her legs, breasts, or ass.

Okay, five minutes was a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe it was closer to three minutes, tops. But in his defense, he’d worked his way up from lasting only ten seconds without roaming his eyes up and down her beautiful body.

Today, he was slated to earn his general stripes on this account because the blue-eyed blonde looked absolutely stunning as she stepped off his plane at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport, her long, shapely legs on display in a red skirt and black heels. Damn, the woman was tailor-made for her job as the head of a sex toy company. She radiated sex appeal.

She adjusted the strap on her shoulder bag as she scanned for him, a hand above her eyes to shield the June sun that was shooting balls of fire. The small executive airport was relatively quiet today; there were only a few other guys in suits meeting passengers here. Nate was a guy in a suit too, but he’d ditched his jacket, loosened his tie, and rolled up the cuffs on his sleeves. When she spotted him, her lips curved up in a big smile and she waved. She walked over to him, and damn, did she look fantastic from top to bottom.

Eyes up, eyes up.

When she reached him she planted a quick kiss on his cheek, and the citrus-y scent of her hair that was so very her drifted into his nose. “You’ve completely spoiled me, I’m afraid. I can’t ever fly commercial again after this kind of treatment,” she said.

“The full treatment?” He arched an eyebrow. “And to think, I’ve told the flight attendants time and time again to stop all the naughty play on my jet, but they must have been unable to resist you,” he said dryly. She swatted him on the arm, then laughed as he took her suitcase and rolled it behind him as they headed across the tarmac, the midday heat and omnipresent humidity pelting them from above.

“I was actually referring to the high-speed wireless in the sky you’ve got going on, which I made ample use of, as well as the risotto for lunch and Perrier,” she said, pointing her thumb back in the direction of the Gulfstream Nate had acquired full use of when he’d been wooed, courted and won in a search two years ago for a new Chief Executive Officer of The Luxe line of luxury hotels.

When they reached the terminal, they were greeted by a blast of arctic air from the overactive AC units that were operating at full throttle in New Orleans these days.

“Damn,” he said in a low whistle, shaking his head. “Makes me so sad to think you worked the entire flight. You’re such a workaholic.”

“Takes one to know one.”

“Touché,” he said because they were equally addicted to their jobs. They both logged long hours and late nights, their midnight emails to each other almost always answered within minutes, and took countless cross-country and transcontinental flights. “Speaking of, are you ready for your meeting?”

She nodded, pushing a few loose strands of hair off her shoulder. “Absolutely. I freshened up on the plane, and brushed my teeth. Want to smell my minty-clean breath?”

He rolled his eyes. “I was actually referring to your proposal for the lingerie company,” he said, slinging her previous words back at her.

“Oh, the partnership proposal for Grant. That teeny, tiny little thing?” She waved a hand as if it were no big deal. But he knew how important it was to her. She turned serious. “I reviewed it a few more times, and practiced my pitch on the plane. I’ve got it down pat and I’m hopeful,” she said, holding up her hand as she twisted her index and middle finger together, “that he’s ready to play ball.”

“If you were a ballplayer, I’d give you a good luck smack on the ass as you ran onto the field.”

She raised her eyebrows and wiggled her ass, and yup. There it was. He’d made it three whole minutes before he dropped his gaze fully to her backside, which was so damn tantalizing. Round, firm and tempting. As they left the airport, he held the door open for her, enjoying the view while she walked ahead of him. Hell, if she was going to wiggle that smackable rear, he was going to stare freely.

She tipped her forehead to the black town car, gleaming and polished, that waited by the curb in the broiling heat. “Yours?”

“But of course,” he said as the driver scurried around to open the door. Once inside, she smiled like she had a secret. “Want to hear my pitch?”

“You know you can always practice your pitches on me,” he said. He settled into the leather backseat, only vaguely wishing she wanted to practice other things with him. But that was never in the cards because their friendship was too important. As they’d both risen to CEO posts in the last two years, he at the hotel, her at Joy Delivered, they’d leaned on each other more. She was his sounding board, and he was hers. Though they both traveled frequently, they were based in New York, so they got together regularly to bounce ideas, discuss concerns, and provide advice and insight that benefitted their respective companies.

As they drove away from the airport she launched into her proposal for Grant Abbot, a lingerie magnate who ran a line of upscale boutiques around the world. “Let’s talk about all that the LolaRing can do for Entice,” she began, and Nate was glad he was a good multi-tasker. Being close friends and confidantes with a smart, beautiful, clever woman who he also wanted to nail had turned him into the consummate juggler. However, keeping his focus on business turned far more complicated when she started to discuss the off-the-charts pleasure her new product was sure to deliver. Words like delicious, stimulation, and molten desire fell from her tongue and landed right in his lap.

“We’re talking about the ultimate pleasure on a path to prolonged orgasm,” she continued, her stormy blue eyes fixed on him as she rattled off all the benefits of one of her company’s newest products. “And our intensely arousing toy, paired with your sleek and sultry new line of lingerie would make the most fantastic gift package for the sexually adventurous couple.”

Okay, he was promoting himself to full lieutenant general stripes today. It was like pulling teeth to keep his mind anywhere but on imagining using this intensely arousing new product on her. Clenching his hands in tight fists, a massive dose of restraint coursed through his bloodstream as she waxed eloquent on the number of all-consuming, toe-curling, star-seeing climaxes she expected the LolaRing would serve up.