I closed my eyes, kissing her fingers and nodding. The offending image evaporated slowly from my mind, but my heart didn’t seem to slow even a touch.

I felt her breath on my neck just a beat before she asked, “Did you think about me?”

“Did you ever think about f**king me?”

All words slipped from my head. Every word in the English language disappeared and I shifted under her, wanting her so intensely in this vulnerable and open and quiet moment that I feared I would lose it the second she freed me from my pants.

“Not at first,” I managed, finally. “But after a few weeks, I tried.”

“Tried to touch yourself and think of me? Like your hand could stand in for me?”

I watched her expression grow from curious to predatory before answering, “Yeah.”

“Jesus, Chloe.” How was it so hot to be grilled by her like this?

She didn’t blink or fidget at all while waiting for me to answer. She simply stared me down. “Tell me.”

I couldn’t fight my smile. Always such a ballbuster. “A couple of times. It wasn’t very pleasurable because you would come into my head and it was just as frustrating as it was relieving.”

“For me, too,” she said. “I missed you so much it hurt. At work I missed you. At home, in my bed, I could barely stand it. The only time I could clear you from my head was when I was—”

“Running,” I whispered. “I can tell. You lost too much weight.”

“I also drank too much,” I admitted, reminding her that this wasn’t a contest. She didn’t need to prove she’d fared better. I was actually pretty sure she had. “The first month we were apart is still kind of a blur.”

“Sara told me how you looked. She told me I wasn’t being fair by staying away from you.”

My eyebrows inched up in surprise. Really? Sara had said that? “You did what you needed to do.”

Leaning back, she looked down the length of my torso, and then up to my eyes. I was curious to see that she looked a little surprised. Maybe even giddy. “You let me tie you up.”

I stared up at her. “Of course I did.”

“I just wasn’t sure you’d let me. I thought I’d tricked you—I thought you might say no.”

“Chloe, you’ve owned me since the first second I saw you. I’d have let you tie me up back in the conference room if you’d asked.”

A tiny smile pulled at one side of her mouth. “I wouldn’t have let you if you’d asked.”

“Good.” I leaned in for a kiss. “You’re smarter than I am.”

She stood, reaching behind her to unfasten her bra. It slid down her arms and fluttered to the floor. “I think we’ve both always known that’s true.”

The way I wanted her was a kind of steady, heavy ache. I was so hard I could feel my every heartbeat through my cock, but I also felt like my vision was oversaturated with color: the red of her panties and lips, the brown of her eyes, the creamy ivory of her skin. My body was screaming for hers to take me inside, but my brain couldn’t stop drinking in each detail. “Let me feel you.”

She returned to me, lifting her chest to my mouth. I leaned forward, taking a nipple between my lips, flicking it with my tongue. Without warning, she stood and stepped away, turning her back to me and looking over her shoulder with a mischievous smile on her face.

“What are you doing, little devil?” I panted.

Her thumbs hooked into the waist of her lacy panties and she wiggled her h*ps as she began to lower them.

No. No way in hell.

“Don’t you f**king dare,” I said, yanking my hands free from her flimsy knot and standing to tower over her like a storm cloud forming in my own living room. “Go down the hall and get on my bed. If you even think of taking off your panties, I will take care of myself and you’ll lie there and watch me come.”

Her eyes widened into enormous pools of black in the dark room, and without another word she turned and sprinted down the hall to my bedroom.

And with that memory in mind, my day was officially shot. That night had been the single most intimate night of my life, and had launched our relationship from Giving It a Try into Fully Committed. I would never get over the way she turned her vulnerability into quiet command, or the way she let me turn the tables in my bedroom, tie her to my bed and nibble at every inch of her body.

I groaned as I realized I had no idea when we would ever have such a lazy night together again, and picked up my phone.

Can’t, Chloe replied. Meeting with Douglas from noon to three. Shoot me.

I looked at the clock. It was 11:36. I slid my phone back on my desk and returned to the article I was working on for the Journal. I was useless and I knew it.

After about two minutes, I picked up my phone, texting her again, this time using our secret code. Bat signal.

She replied immediately: On my way.

The outer door opened and closed, bringing the sound of Chloe’s heels tapping across the floor of the office just outside mine. It had once been Chloe’s, but when she’d returned to Ryan Media Group after finishing her MBA, she moved to an office of her own in the east wing. End result: the outer office now remained empty. I’d attempted working with a few different assistants, but they never really worked out. Andrea cried all the time. Jesse tapped her pen on her desk and the effect was much like a woodpecker going at a tree. Bruce couldn’t type.

Apparently Chloe was more of a saint for “putting up with me” than I’d given her credit for.

My door opened and she stepped through, brows drawn together. We used the bat signal primarily to notify each other of work crises, and for a moment I wondered whether I was overreacting.

“What happened?” she asked, stopping about a foot away from me, her arms crossed over her chest. I could see she was preparing for a professional battle on my behalf, but I wanted her to fight a far more personal one.

I drifted off, staring at each part of her face in turn: her eyes as they narrowed in concentration, the full lips she’d pulled together in concern, her smooth skin. And, of course, I let my eyes drop to her br**sts because she’d pushed them together and . . . well, fuck.

“Are you looking at my chest?”

“You sent me the bat signal so you could look at my tits?”

“Settle down, firecracker. I sent you the bat signal because I miss you.”

Her arms fell to her sides and seemed to stutter, fingers fumbling to straighten the hem of her sweater. “How can you miss me? I stayed over last night.”

“I know.” I knew this side of her. Forever knee-jerking back to self-preservation.

“And we had all weekend together.”

“Yeah, you and me—and Julia and Scott,” I reminded her. “And Henry and Mina. Not alone. Not nearly as much as we’d anticipated.”

Chloe turned her head and looked out the window. For the first time in weeks we had a perfect, sunny day, and I wanted to take her outside and just . . . sit.

“I feel like I miss you all the time lately,” she whispered.

The knot in my chest unwound a bit. “Do you?”

Nodding, she turned back to me. “Your travel schedule sucks right now.” She leaned forward, cocked an eyebrow. “And you didn’t kiss me goodbye this morning.”

“I did, in fact,” I said, smiling. “You were still sleeping.”

“Are you looking for a fight, Miss Mills?”

She shrugged, struggling to repress a smile as she studied me carefully.

“We could skip the fight and you could just suck on my dick for ten minutes or so.”

Without another beat passing, she stepped close and slid her arms around me, stretching to press her face into my neck. “I love you,” she whispered. “And I love that you sent the bat signal just because you missed me.”

I was struck silent, for probably too long, and I finally managed to croak out an “I love you, too.”

It wasn’t that Chloe wasn’t expressive; she was. When we were alone, she was—physically—the most expressive woman I’d ever known. But whereas I told her often how I felt, I could count on two hands the number of times she’d actually said the words “I love you.” I didn’t need her to say it more, but each time she had, it affected me more profoundly than I’d anticipated.

“Seriously, though,” I whispered, struggling to regain my composure. “Maybe I just need a quickie over the desk.”

She laughed, shaking her head against my neck and reaching between us to palm my cock. I knew this game, and it was entirely possible she was going to do something mildly threatening that would thrill me as much as it terrified me. But instead of looking at me with danger in her eyes, she turned her head to suck on my neck, whispering, “I can’t smell like sex in this meeting with Douglas.”

“You think you don’t always smell like sex?”

“I don’t always smell like you,” she clarified, before licking my neck.

It had been so long since we’d fooled around in the office, and I was so keen to feel her; I wanted to tear my pants down my legs and shove her skirt over her hips, then ruin the neat stacks of paper on my desk by throwing her down on it.

Mercifully, she kissed from my jaw down my neck and slid along my body to the floor, pulling her skirt up slightly, demurely, so she could kneel in front of me.

But no . . . once on the floor, she kept pulling her skirt up until it bunched at her hips. With one hand, she reached between her legs; with the other, she made quick work of my belt and zipper. I closed my eyes, needing to calm my mind for a beat as she freed me quickly, and without hesitation pulled my c**k into her mouth. I’d been nearly hard, and with her touch I lengthened. Warm, wet suction slid down my length and back up again, harder with the second pass as she adjusted to the feel of me in her mouth.

I felt her breath come out in little bursts against my navel, could hear the sound of her fingers moving over herself as she kneeled on the floor.

Her head shifted slightly as she nodded.

“Were you already wet for me?”

She stilled for a beat, and then reached her hand up over her head. Bending down, I sucked two of her fingers into my mouth.

It obliterated me to see so clearly how much she wanted this. I knew from experience how she tasted before she was truly ready for me—for example, when I came over late and surprised her in her sleep with my mouth on her—and I knew how differently she tasted after we’d teased each other for what felt like an eternity. This, on her fingers, was full arousal, and it sent my head spinning. How long had she been thinking of this? All day? Since I left this morning? But she didn’t let me linger over it too long, returning her hand quickly to the unseen space between her legs.

I watched her head move, her lips slide over my length, and tried to let it calm me. But even when her mouth was on me like this or I was buried inside her, I’d always want more. It was impossible to have her every way at once, but it never stopped me from imagining it: a whirlwind of positions and sounds and my hands in her hair and on her hips, my fingers in her mouth and yet also between her legs and pulling on the back of her thighs.

When I ran my hands into her hair she knew I wanted faster, and when my h*ps started to jerk she knew not to tease, not even a little. At least, not since she had a meeting any minute.

In a sudden flash I remembered that my office was unlocked; Chloe had come in here thinking we’d discuss work. The outer office was closed but not locked, either.

“Oh, shit,” I groaned, because somehow the idea that we could be caught made it so much hotter. “Chloe—” Without more warning, my orgasm barreled down my spine, sharp and warm, and so intense it made my legs shake and my fists curl tightly in her hair. She arched against the pull, her arm jerking as she touched herself, causing the sounds of her own pleasure to come out muffled around me.

Looking down, I realized she was watching my reaction . . . of course she was. Her eyes were wide, but somehow soft, and she looked fascinated. I’m sure her expression was exactly how mine was every time I’d seen her come apart under my touch. After a pause to catch my breath, I pulled out from her mouth and kneeled on the floor facing her, reaching to cup one of my hands over the one she had between her legs. She shifted a little, letting my fingers take over. I slid two of them inside, pushing and deep, and she almost toppled backward, her body clamping down around me. Steadying her with my other hand on her hip, I pressed a kiss to her lips, humming at the way they were a little red, a little swollen.

“I’m really close,” she said, slipping her free hand around my neck for support.

“I like how you think you need to tell me that.”

I kept waiting for my touch to seem overly familiar, or my technique to grow tired, but each time she felt the sweep and press of my thumb against her cl*tit seemed more intense than the time before.

“Another,” she managed in a tight voice. “Please, I want . . .”

She never finished her thought. She didn’t need to. I pumped three fingers into her and watched as her head fell back, her lips parted, and the quiet, husky sound of her trying-to-be-quiet orgasm raced through her.

For a few seconds, she let me hold her up, breathe in the scent of her hair, and pretend that we were somewhere else, maybe my living room or her bedroom, certainly not on the floor of my unlocked office.