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Author Charlie Richards

Giving love and imagination free reign

Excerpt - Aquatic Attraction

     Carlye kept her forced smile on her face as the last of the prospective investors strode out of the conference room, leaving her alone with her boss. She’d just about died from embarrassment when she realized the man from the lobby was sitting in the room. She’d been unable to meet his eyes even once.

“Well done, Carlye,” Vance said, grinning happily. “I’m going to make certain that all of our guests make it out okay.”

“Thank you, Vance. If you need me for anything else, I’ll be in my office.”

She watched him nod and leave the room. She turned to collect the rest of her paperwork and shut down the computer used for her presentation. A moment later Carlye nearly leaped from her skin when she felt a hand gently caress her arm. Spinning around, she found the investor from the lobby a couple steps behind her.

He grinned, and the action sent her heart beating double time. Every cell in her body sizzled with awareness of his innate masculinity. “I apologize for startling you. I said your name, but you didn’t seem to hear.”

Carlye could believe that. Her thoughts could consume her to distraction. “It’s okay, I was just thinking about the presentation. Is there something I can help you with?”

The man nodded and held out his hand. “I’m Niall Karson. You made some interesting points, and I’d like the opportunity to speak with you in more depth about them.”

“Oh. I see.” She berated herself for even hoping he could be here because he had an interest in her. Carlye reached up and took his hand. The zing of awareness almost dropped Carlye to her knees. Warm heat flooded up her arm and through the rest of her body. Holy crap! What was that?

“Have dinner with me.” His words sounded more like a demand than a request. Her brows shot up, and Carlye tried to disengage her hand from his. Niall refused to let her go. “Have dinner with me this evening, please,” he asked, softening his tone. She heard the huskiness in his voice and realized she wasn’t the only one affected by the handshake.

“I’m sorry. I can’t,” she murmured. “It’s against policy to date clients.”

At that, Niall grinned. “I’m not a client yet,” he murmured. The heat flooding Carlye’s body suddenly pooled below her stomach. Where did this attraction come from? She’d never been turned on just from a handshake and a smile. Besides, she didn’t even know this man!

As if reading her thoughts, he tugged her hand, pulling her flush to his chest and wrapping his free arm around her waist. Niall splayed his large hand across the small of her back, holding her close. Carlye’s skin seemed to tingle at every point where her body pressed against him. She felt too close, and yet not close enough. Her free hand landed on his arm, and she bit back a moan when she felt the hard muscle hidden by his suit jacket. Niall’s head lowered toward her face, his blue eyes glowing with intensity. “We’d be doing so much more than dating, sweet vixen,” he whispered, his lips an inch above her own. “I can sense your body’s heat. My own mirrors it. Don’t fight the attraction.”

Then his lips covered hers in a slow, thorough kiss. He nipped her bottom lip, and Carlye gasped in surprise. She felt Niall slide his tongue into her mouth, stroking her tongue and causing the heat in her belly to rage into an inferno. As Carlye slid her hand over Niall’s biceps, she realized it wasn’t to push him away, but to clutch him closer. The fact gave her the strength to break the kiss.

Staring up into his blue eyes, Carlye saw that Niall’s breathing was just as ragged as her own. “We can’t do this,” she whispered when she managed to get enough air into her lungs.

Niall’s eyes narrowed slightly. “I’ll pick you up at seven. Bring your charts if it makes you feel more comfortable. Do you have a food preference?”

Surprise shot through Carlye. The man refused to take no for an answer, and truth be told, she felt flattered by his persistence. So, instead of doing the sensible thing, she answered her body’s call for his. “I’m not picky. Whatever you want is fine.”

“Good.” Finally, Niall’s arms loosened. “I’ll see you in a few hours.” He gave her a quick, chaste kiss and strode from the room.