Surrender Your Love

By: J.C. Reed

Chapter 8

When my alarm went off, I could have screamed. I had been right in the throes of a fantastic dream during which I was holding on tight to a hard muscular back while being devoured by soft luscious lips. I glanced down at my wet naked skin and the crumpled silk sheet between my thighs. One more second and my nerve endings would have exploded like stardust. Instead, I was left panting and frustrated with a delicious ache in my lower body.

It was official. Jett Townsend was haunting my dreams. As my pulse settled down again, I got up and straightened the sheets as best as I could. What the hotel staff thought of me should have been the least of my worries, but for some reason it mattered because I cared about my job and reputation. Deep in my heart I knew having sex on a business trip was nothing but a meaningless fling. If Mayfield propositioned, and if for some stupid reason I wouldn’t be able to resist his sexy charm, the whole hotel would know I had succumbed to the temptation and surrendered to his lust. I didn’t want anyone to think Mayfield scored with the arguably professional assistant on the first day. It didn’t feel right.

But isn’t that exactly what happened back home?

Pushing the irritating yet accurate thought to the back of my mind, I implored my brain to become obsessed with something or someone else…and failed. I hadn’t heard a sound since last night when Jett had left me standing in front of my door, which led me to believe that he was either very quiet or didn’t spend the night in his room. Call me opinionated, but I was ready to bet on the latter. He was the bad boy type all right. The type my mother warned me about. The type you have a good time with, then forget about as you go home to live your boring life, while he moves on to the next skirt ready to give him the time of day.

Only this bad boy wouldn’t be so easy to forget because we worked together. I had only two options: either get rid of him or find a way to ease those hormones that followed me even in my dreams. Quitting my job wasn’t an option so Number Two it was. If only I knew how to stop turning into a drooling teen every time I so much as heard his voice.

Maybe it won’t be so bad in the light of day.

Guys tend to be hot when you’re under the influence of either horniness or beer goggles. I was neither, so Mayfield was powerless. Besides, he couldn’t possibly be as good-looking as I remembered. If my horniness wouldn’t stop anytime soon, I was sure seeing his flaws in broad daylight would do the trick.

After a brief shower I dressed in Sylvie’s navy suit, pinned my hair up in a strict bun, and nervously perched on the sofa to await Mayfield’s arrival. Last night’s questions popped back into my mind, and I made a mental note to get answers straight away. First I’d find out why he employed me, and then we’d establish a work routine and what he expected of me. As a professional, nothing could faze me. Absolutely nothing. Not even his lean, muscular body with rock-hard six-pack abs, strong shoulders, and a wide chest. And surely not his stunning green eyes, full lips, and beautiful face.

He was off limits. Forbidden to touch or drool over.

Everyone but him. Got it, Stewart?

I breathed in and out as I steadied myself, centering my resolve in the knowledge that I had it all under control. I thought I was doing great…until my weak body betrayed me.

My heart began to thump a little harder. As I took deep breaths to calm my nerves, the door opened and in he walked… six foot two of toned muscles. I knew I was blushing, but I couldn’t stop. Just like I couldn’t stop my knees giving way beneath me. Thank goodness I was sitting, otherwise I might have landed flat on my ass. Staring at him, I ran my tongue along my suddenly parched lips to moisten them. He looked so darn sexy, dressed in a tailored business suit and a crisp white shirt; the upper button was undone, revealing that delicious patch of skin I had started to look out for. His thick dark hair was shiny, but unruly, and looked as though he’d just stepped out of the shower and didn’t bother brushing it. I wanted to run my fingers through it. Without thinking I sniffed, and a sassy non-invasive cologne intermingled with a more masculine shower gel shot my reserve to pieces. It instantly turned me on, making me want to—

Dammit.

It wasn’t just my body that betrayed me. My mind wouldn’t stop conjuring images of Jett and me, together, doing naughty stuff. I bit my lower lip hard as I fought the urge to jump on his lap and bury my fingers in his hair and draw us onto the couch with him on top of me. His weight would pin me to the spot and—

“You okay? You look a bit flustered.” Jett Mayfieldsat down opposite me and inched forward, lower arms resting on his thighs, as though to inspect me. An amused glint played in his devilish green eyes. The guy was a piece of sin. If he were the devil holding a contract, this would be the moment I might just give in to temptation and sign over my soul.

What was it with my inability to focus around this guy?

I leaned back to put a few more inches between us. “I’m just surprised you scrub up so nicely in a suit.”

He raised a brow. “Was that a compliment, Ms. Stewart?” It was, but the guy’s inflated ego was already so big I doubted he would fit it through Manhattan. I wasn’t going to contribute to mankind’s doom by letting it grow to even bigger proportions.

“Not really. After what you were sporting at that club, even a lumberjack shirt thrown over a spandex bodysuit would be a vast improvement.” My brain only realized what I’d just said after the words left my mouth. Not only was I incapable of keeping my body heat under control, my potty mouth also couldn’t stop insulting him. I swallowed hard and peered at him. An apology rushed to my lips.

“Spandex bodysuits, huh?” His eyes twinkled. “If that’s what turns you on—I’m all for giving it a try.”

My breath hitched. “I’m sorry, Mr. Mayfield. I don’t know what came over me.”

He raised his hand to stop me. “We can discuss today’s schedule over breakfast. And please call me Jett. We’ll have to work together around the clock, so we might as well drop the formalities and start getting to know each other better in every sense.” There was that double meaning thing he kept doing. Or was it all in my head?

Stop putting words in his mouth, Stewart.

“Great. I’m Brooke.” I smiled and followed him out the door to the restaurant downstairs, aware of the jealous glances from every single female we passed. As Jett began to talk about my job and what he expected of me in a no-nonsense voice I assumed was his business tone, I relaxed a little and even managed to swallow down a few bites of the best butter croissant I ever had.

It was just a job. He was just some (I admit way beyond the usual standard) good-looking guy lucky enough to inherit the hotness gene. I could deal with him.

I stared at the urns overflowing with blossoming flowers lining the sidewalk outside our window and inhaled the clean, morning air wafting in through the open door. Bellagio was so beautiful and serene; I felt I could deal with anything…until Jettsmiled that lopsided smile of his that screamed trouble. I frowned. Why was his gaze lingering on me longer than was acceptable? His gaze dipped slowly from my eyes to my lips and then to my shirt—or what I hoped was my shirt rather than my breasts—before shifting back to meet my eyes. My heart skipped a beat.

“Do you like your room?”

I nodded, not quite understanding the sudden change in topic. “It’s beautiful.”

“I want you to pack your bags.” He stood and held out his hand to help me up. I ignored it.

“Why? Where am I going?”

“No need to waste company money on a hotel when I own a property on Lake Como. It’s very private. Very secluded. I’m sure you’ll like it even more than this place.” He signed the bill on the table and tossed the pen on top of it, then turned to me. Danger shimmered in his eyes, and for a moment he reminded me of an eagle closing in on his prey. I felt like butter melting under his sexy gaze full of dark and sinful and forbidden promises.

“You have half an hour. Can you do that?” Jett asked, breaking our eye contact.

“You could have told me last night,” I said, trying to keep my voice strong. All I could think of was Jett and I, alone in a secluded place with no one to bother us. No one to ask questions. No one to watch what we were doing. Why did the outlook seem so erotic?

“I could have told you.” His gaze bore into mine again and a flicker of amusement played on his lips. “But I didn’t.” My mouth went dry as I tried to read his enigmatic expression. An inner voice told me he wasn’t as unpredictable as he pretended to be. It was just a game. But there was something about him that kept me on edge, wanting—waiting for his next move, reaction, word— anything that might give away what was going through that damn mind of his. Either he liked to keep his employees on their toes or this was nothing but an experiment to test my patience, devotion, and consequently my aptness for the job.

I raised my chin a notch and stared him down. He could test all he wanted. I was born to do this job, and nothing he said or did could break my reserve.

He peered at his watch, signaling I was wasting his time.

“I’ll be back in twenty.” I hurried past, my heart thumping in my throat. Private and secluded were two adjectives I’d rather avoid with Jett Mayfield around, and yet here I was—running to do as he bid instead of protesting and insisting I stay behind, even if it meant paying for my room out of my own pocket.

Could you have afforded it?

I smirked. Not likely.

As I passed a mirror in the hall, I noticed how incredibly ridiculous I looked with that grin on my face.

There’s nothing to be so excited about, Steward. It’s just a job. A job for which you get paid.

For some reason I couldn’t shake off the feeling spending time with Jett came at a price, and sooner or later I’d have to decide whether it was worth it.***Jett’s reluctance to engage in business conversation rather than focus on the road ahead was understandable, given that we were stuck in his convertible Ferrari driving down the narrowest, most winding, cobbled paths I had ever seen. I would have literally soiled my pants sitting in the driver’s seat and was thankful for the fact that driving didn’t seem to be part of my job duties.

During the half hour drive, he kept our conversation businesslike and mostly focused on my duties as his personal assistant. Upon my asking, he mentioned our job here was a deal running in the millions, but he remained tight-lipped on the details. He gave me a short verbal list of important names to remember and an even longer list of names he didn’t want to be bothered with. His deep, smooth voice kept conjuring the wrong pictures in my head, so I remained mostly quiet, as I tried to focus on his instructions.

It was late morning when he finally took a sharp turn and parked the car, then held the door open. I stepped out gingerly, minding my step on the gravel stones.

“What do you think?” Jett asked.

Inhaling the air thick with the smell of trees, water, and sunshine, I spun in a slow circle as I tried to take in the picturesque scenery stretching out in front of us. To me professional meant not wearing my emotions on my sleeve. But how could I keep my cool with mountaintops covered in sparkling snow surrounding a shimmering Lake Como as a backdrop, green ivy climbing up the sides of the balcony, and blossoming flowers at my feet?

“I love it,” I whispered because no other words could convey how I felt. My answer seemed to please him because he smiled. As he held the door open so I could enter, I thought I caught a glint of lust in his dazzling green eyes.

“After you,” Jett said, still staring at me.

I nodded, unable to bring out a simple ‘thank you’ under the spell of his gaze.

What Jett had called ‘his place’ was in reality a three-level villa situated on a raised, secluded spot overlooking the lake and beach below. As I moved from one immaculate room to the next, I could smell the sultry scent of lavender, roses, and other fragrances you’d normally only find in expensive Eau de Toilette. Eventually, we stopped on the patio overlooking Lake Como.

“This is my favorite view in the world,” Jett whispered in my ear. I turned my head to look up at him, expecting him to gaze at the scenery ahead, and was surprised to find his eyes focused on me. His heated gaze penetrated the cotton material of my suit and sent shivers down my spine. I froze to the spot as everything else faded to nothing. His lips were slightly parted. His tongue left a shimmering wet trail where it flicked over his lips. I stared at that moisture, wondering what it would taste like. What his skin would smell like.

I noticed how quiet we had become. How his gaze seemed to remain glued to me. How his fingers lingered on the small of my back. A few moments later, he leaned forward until his hot breath caressed the corner of my mouth. We were so close. Inches away. My gaze focused on his lips, pleading with them to kiss me. A moment passed, then another. My breath hitched in my throat with anticipation.

“You smell great,” Jett whispered, his deep voice turning my knees to melted cream. The smell of his body and the feel of his breath on my skin sent a shudder through my body, rocking me to the core. I longed to touch him, and yet I didn’t give in to the strong urge.

And then he pulled away. I exhaled the breath I didn’t know I had been holding.

“Let me show you the office,” Jettsaid. His voice was back to its nonchalant self, and his expression was casual, friendly, but distant. How could he be so unaffected when I was boiling with want inside? Maybe he wasn’t as attracted to me as I was to him. The thought hurt, particularly since no other man had made me feel this way. I couldn’t figure him out, which scared the hell out of me because I had no idea how to react to it.

He grabbed my hand and pulled me into the living room, completely unaware of the electrical current piercing my skin where his fingers briefly touched me. As I followed a step behind, I barely managed to avoid stumbling over the white leather sofas set up in front of a huge fireplace. I had to get over this ridiculous attraction to him before I made a fool of myself. And I would start right away by focusing on other things, like the interior design.

The floors reminded me of light ivory with only a splash of color in the form of thick rugs, and marble urns filled with stunning flower bouquets. The large abstract painting in various shades of red hanging over the fireplace looked familiar. Similar paintings, only smaller in size, hung in the hall.

“This is it,” Jett said opening a door. Careful not to touch him, I walked past him into the bright but small office with two desks set up opposite from each other. On top of one laid a laptop, a phone, pen, a notebook, and nothing else.

“I hope you don’t mind spending so much time with me,” Jett said. “I promise to be good, and I won’t be too hard on you.” His tone oozed amusement as he added, “Unless you want me to.”

My cheeks burned. I turned away so he wouldn’t catch my panic. Being in the same secluded house was bad enough, but we’d be basically sitting in each other’s lap. How could I turn off the steady stream of hot emotions washing over me every single time he so much as smiled at me? How could I possibly work with him obstructing my view and keeping my mind occupied all day long?

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