“Oh wow, that feels so good.” He didn’t say anything and he didn’t stop. A few seconds later I felt his hands move to my shoulders and I was practically comatose as they moved down my sides across my ribs and to my lower back. My body was like warm butter in his hands, delighting at his every touch. “You missed your calling,” I told him. “You should have been a masseuse.” I had my eyes closed when I felt him take me on either side of my waist and spin me around to face him. Then his lips came down to kiss mine and the electricity I had felt before sparked up and ignited. When we came up for air I said, “I take it back.”
“You don’t think I’m a great masseuse?” he said in a breathless voice, still kneading the muscles along my shoulders and upper arms.
“You’re a fantastic masseuse,” I told him. “But I think you’d make even more money as a professional kisser.”
Seth bent down and ran his tongue along my lips. In a voice that was low and husky he said, “Unless you want to pay for it, I wouldn’t make a dime. I’ve decided that I don’t want to kiss anyone else but you.”
My whole body shuddered and I could feel my limbs shaking with desire for this man who I was supposed to hate… who I was fated to destroy. I forced my eyes open and took a step back. With a shaky smile I said, “Do you want to have our picnic here?”
He had his head cocked to the side and he was looking at me curiously with those sexy blue eyes. “Sure. Did I say something wrong?”
“No, not at all,” I told him. It was me. I was feeling guilty about the one thing that had been most important in my life for over a decade. I forced another smile and then reaching up, I ran my hand alongside his beautiful face and said, “I’m just a little shaky from the horseback ride. Let’s eat and refuel. I’ll be as good as new.”
He took down the picnic basket and the blanket and we spread it out underneath one of the trees in the soft, green grass next to the clear little pond. I sat down on a flat rock and he took a seat next to me on the blanket. We spent the next twenty minutes feasting on cold cuts, cheeses and crackers. They had even put in a couple of little bottles of wine. I hadn’t been on a picnic since I was a little girl. The weather was beautiful and the air smelled like the flowers that bloomed in the gardens not far away. There was a bird in the trees above us that seemed to be singing a serenade as we ate and talked. We kept the conversation light and when I finished eating, I laid back on the rock and closed my eyes. The sun was so warm and it all felt so good on my sore muscles.
Embarrassingly enough, I think I drifted off for a few seconds or maybe longer. The next thing I consciously registered was the feel of Seth’s fingers gently twisting the curls around my face and then sliding them down along my jawline. I opened my eyes to look at him, squinting against the bright sun. He smiled at me and I felt my heart racing as once again he closed in for a kiss. When we broke it he smiled again and said, “Did you have a nice nap?”
“The best,” I said. “I should come out here and nap every day and then you can come out and wake me up just like that.”
“It sounds like a fine idea, but it’s a ways from the office. You’d need at least a three hour lunch… longer if you were going to get a good nap…”
Closing my eyes again I said, “If I were CEO everyone would get a nap. It would be mandatory.”
“Really? What else would you change if you were CEO?”
The name of the company. Damn! I let the conversation take a turn right back to where I needed to be, but didn’t want to go. I took a deep breath and said, “I wouldn’t have to change much else. The current CEO is doing a great job.”
I pushed myself back up to a sitting position as Seth said, “Why thank you. Our CMBO is pretty amazing herself.”
“Did you always want to go into business?” I asked him then.
He looked thoughtful for a few moments, like he was trying to decide how to answer that. Finally, with a pained expression he said, “I honestly never had a choice, not unless I was willing to walk away from my father.” My heart ached when he got that look in his eye. I was beginning to think that James Hunter had been as bad of a father as he was a human being. Wanting nothing more at that moment than to make it better, I wrapped my arms around him in a tight embrace. He held me like that for a long time. When I finally pushed back he said, “I’m so glad I met you, Erin Summers.” I had to wonder how glad he was going to be when he finally learned the truth.