kate carlisle
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The Millionaire Meets His Match


The Millionaire Meets His Match

We're cleared for takeoff, Mr. Duke."

"Thanks, Pamela."

As the older flight attendant disappeared behind the partition that separated the passenger compartment from the galley, Adam glanced at Trish sitting next to him. Her face was pale but still lovely. She wore a severe navy business suit with a plain white blouse, yet still managed to appear feminine and sexy. His fingers itched to peel that suit off her as soon as humanly possible. "All buckled up, Trish?"

"Um ..." She rechecked the buckle she'd checked six or eight times already. "Yes."

"Good." He glanced at his watch. "We should be there in an hour or so. We can use the time now to discuss the opening night situation. Did you bring your notes?"

"Yes." She licked her lips as the jet engines began to roar and the powerful Gulfstream G650 moved into position on the runway. "But if you don't mind, I need a minute or two."

"Why? What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she said, closing her eyes. "I just need a minute."

She gripped the arm rests tightly as the jet picked up speed.

"I thought you weren't afraid of flying," he said.

Her jaw clenched. "Not afraid, just alert."

"If you were any more alert, you'd be spinning."

"My seatbelt's on," she pointed out. "I won't spin very far."

He leaned in and whispered. "I hope not. I need you right here next to me."

Her eyes sprang open and she glared at him. "Are you trying to distract me?"

"Maybe. Is it working?"

She closed her eyes and settled back. "No."

"I could try harder," he said softly.

"Please don't," she murmured, biting her lower lip. "I'm trying to concentrate."

"On what? Keeping the plane up?"

"Yes," she admitted. "Do you mind?"

"Not at all," he said as he leaned his head back against the headrest. "In fact, I appreciate it."

"You're welcome," Trish said. Her eyes remained closed but a ghost of a smile formed on her lips.

Without thinking, Adam touched her hand to gauge how tense she really was. She immediately grabbed hold of his hand and held on for dear life.

He watched her face as the luxurious private jet soared to cruising altitude. Her demeanor remained serene but her grip on his hand grew more taut until he thought she might cut off the circulation to his fingers.

Then she licked her lips again and he felt his throat grow dry as his stomach tightened in a knot of arousal. He wondered if she would bring this same level of focus to their lovemaking. When he slipped inside her, would she grip him so tightly, he wouldn't know where he left off and she began? Would she call out his name as she reached her peak? Would her eyes flutter closed or would she watch him watching her as they both flew over the edge? He would have his answer soon, of that he had no doubt.

A few minutes later, Adam saw Pamela the flight attendant leave her seat. He took it as an indication that the plane had leveled off enough that they were free to move around.

"You can open your eyes now, Trish," he said. "Mission accomplished."

She blinked her eyes open and glanced around, then abruptly released his hand. When she realized he was staring at her, she sighed. "I suppose you think I'm nuts."

He smiled indulgently as he unlatched his seatbelt. "Not at all."

"Right," she said acerbically, then muttered, "I'm not sure why you needed me to come along anyway."

She might not have seen the point of her presence here today but Adam did. The point was seduction. He intended to keep her very close to him from now on. He was on a mission of his own and there was no doubt whether he would accomplish it or not. She would be his. But for now, he sat back in the streamlined chair and assumed a relaxed pose.

"I'll need you to take notes as we survey the problem areas of the parking structure. We'll have to turn those notes into a joint agreement with the lawyers. But I also want your point of view on things in general. You haven't been to the resort so I'd like to hear your first impressions of everything you see."

She thought about that for a moment, then nodded. "I'll do my best."

"I expect nothing less."

She smiled hesitantly. "Thank you."

Pamela arrived with a basket of muffins and croissants with butter and jam, then poured coffee and juice.

He watched Trish choose a flaky croissant, then slather it in butter and jam.

"I told you to order whatever you wanted," he said. "They must have some low fat frittata thing with gloppy yogurt, or maybe some flavor-free granola? We could ask."

She had the good grace to laugh. "No, I told them I'd have whatever you were having."

"I'm in shock," he admitted, then stared at the rich chocolate croissant on his plate. "This stuff probably isn't the healthiest choice but it's the easiest, and they taste great."

"We all have to indulge once in a while," she said, then took a bite of the croissant and almost moaned in delight. "Oh, it's so good."

He couldn't look away. She happily ate the entire pastry, savoring each little morsel on her plate. When he caught her licking a drop of jam off her finger, it took every last ounce of willpower he had to maintain self-control and not start licking her fingers himself.

Trish, meanwhile, seemed completely unaware of his precarious state. How was that possible? How could someone who'd agreed to play a part in his mother's matchmaking game be so oblivious of the effect she was having on him?

The only explanation was, she knew exactly what she was doing. It was all an act. Licking jam off her fingers, gripping his hand earlier, it was all part of the game. And if she wanted to play games, he was all for it. But he was the one who would decide precisely what game they'd play.

And the name of this game was hard ball.

© Kate Carlisle 2010