Without meeting his gaze, I sorted through my papers and placed a copy of the presentation on the table before us. “Are you ready for me to begin?”

He didn’t respond aloud, his eyes piercing my brave front. This would be a lot easier if he wasn’t so gorgeous. Instead, he gestured toward the materials before him, urging me to continue.

I cleared my throat and began my presentation. As I moved through the different aspects of the proposal, he stayed silent, staring directly at his copy. Why was he so calm? His temper tantrums I could handle. But the eerie silence? It was unnerving.

I was leaning over the table, gesturing toward a set of graphs, when it happened.

“Their timeline for the first milestone is a little ambi—” I stopped midsentence, my breath caught in my throat. His hand pressed gently into my lower back before sliding down, settling on the curve of my ass. In the nine months I had worked for him, he had never intentionally touched me.

This was most definitely intentional.

The heat from his hand burned through my skirt and into my skin. Every muscle in my body tensed, and it felt like my insides were liquefying. What the hell was he doing? My brain screamed at me to push his hand off, to tell him to never touch me again, but my body had other ideas. My ni**les hardened, and I clenched my jaw in response. Traitor ni**les.

While my heart pounded in my chest, at least half a minute passed, and neither of us said anything as his hand moved down to my thigh, caressing. Our breathing and the muted noise of the city below were the only sounds in the still air of the conference room.

“Turn around, Miss Mills.” His quiet voice broke the silence and I straightened my back, eyes facing forward. Slowly I turned, his hand skimming across me and sliding to my hip. I could feel the way his hand spread from his fingertips on my lower back all the way to where his thumb pressed against the soft skin just in front of my hipbone. I looked down to meet his eyes, which looked intently back at me.

I could see his chest rising and falling, each breath deeper than the last. A muscle twitched in his sharp jaw as his thumb began to move, slowly sliding back and forth, his eyes never leaving mine. He was waiting for me to stop him; there had been plenty of time for me to shove him away, or simply turn and leave. But I had too many feelings to sort out before I could react. I had never felt this way, and I had never expected to feel this about him. I wanted to slap him, and then pull him up by his shirt and lick his neck.

“What are you thinking?” he whispered, eyes somehow both mocking and anxious.

“I’m still trying to figure that out.”

With those eyes still locked to mine, he began to slide his hand lower. His fingers ran down my thigh, to the hem of my skirt. He moved it up so his fingertips traced the strap of my garter belt, the lace edge of one thigh-high stocking. A long finger slipped beneath the thin fabric and pulled it down slightly. I sucked in a sharp breath, feeling suddenly like I was melting from the outside in.

How could I let my body react like this? I still wanted to slap him, but now, more than that, I wanted him to keep going. The heavy ache between my legs was building. He reached the edge of my panties and slipped his fingers under the fabric. I felt him slide against my skin and graze my clit before pushing his finger inside me, and I bit my lip trying, unsuccessfully, to stifle my groan. When I looked down at him, beads of sweat were forming on his brow.

“Fuck,” he growled quietly. “You’re wet.” His eyes fell closed and he seemed to be waging the same internal battle I was. I glanced down at his lap and could see him straining against the smooth fabric of his pants. Without opening his eyes, he withdrew his finger and fisted the thin lace of my panties in his hand. He was shaking as he looked up at me, fury clear in his expression. In one quick movement he tore them off, the rip of the fabric echoing in the silence.

He pulled my hips roughly, lifting me up onto the cold table and spreading my legs in front of him. I gave an involuntary groan as his fingers returned, sliding between my legs and pushing into me again. I despised this man in a singularly sharp way, but my body was betraying me; I craved more of what he was doing. Damn if he wasn’t good at this. His weren’t the gentle loving touches I was accustomed to. Here was a man used to getting what he wanted, and it turned out that right now, what he wanted was me. My head fell to the side as I leaned back on my elbows, feeling my impending orgasm approaching fast.

To my absolute horror I actually whimpered, “Oh, please.”

He stopped moving, pulling his fingers back and holding them in a fist before him. I sat up, grabbing his silk tie and pulling his mouth roughly against mine. His lips felt as perfect as they looked, firm and smooth. I’d never been kissed by someone who clearly knew every single angle and dip and teasing move to make me almost completely lose my mind.

I bit his lower lip as my hands made quick work down to the front of his pants, whipping his belt free of the loops. “You better be ready to finish what you started.”

He made a low, angry noise deep in his throat and took my blouse in his hands, ripping it open, the silver buttons skittering across the long conference table.

He slid his hands up my ribs and over my br**sts, thumbs slipping back and forth across my taut ni**les, his dark stare fixated on my expression the entire time. His hands were big, and rough almost to the point of pain, but instead of wincing or backing off, I pushed into his palms wanting more, and harder.

He growled, fingers tightening. It occurred to me I might bruise, and for a sick moment I hoped I did. I wanted a way to remember this feeling, of being completely sure of what my body wanted, entirely unleashed.