Breaching the Billionaire: Alethea's Redemption
Page 25

 Ruth Cardello

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As they walked side by side into his apartment building, she said, “I’ll help you with your research tonight, but that’s it. You sleep on the couch. We’re not repeating last night.”
His hand settled on her lower back as they entered the elevator. As soon as the door closed he pulled her to him, his mouth hot and demanding. Her hands splayed across his strong chest. Everything she’d said, both to him and herself, faded away in the face of their intense desire for each other.
Maintaining their kiss, he carried her to his door and, after typing in a code with one hand, opened the door, swept her inside, and then slammed the door behind him. He returned her to her feet and ripped at her clothing. She tore at his with every bit as much enthusiasm. Buttons flew. It was an animalistic need to mate. No gentle foreplay. Only a burning desire that demanded to be sated.
Normally Alethea was acutely aware of her surroundings, naturally scanning and assessing, but right now she felt nothing beyond Marc. Marc’s lips on hers, on her neck, on her breasts. The feel of his pulsing shaft in her hands. His hands were everywhere, rough and demanding.
He lifted her so her legs wrapped around his waist and the room suddenly tilted. She put a hand out to steady herself and grabbed the banister. He perched her on the carpeted edge of a stair and sank to his knees, parting her legs roughly.
Alethea buried her hands in the plush rug and gasped as his tongue plunged deeply inside her. He slid a hand beneath her ass to position it as he wanted and lapped at her, suckled her, claimed her with his mouth.
She was gasping and close to orgasm when he stopped and repositioned himself above her. She hungrily took him deeply into her mouth, and he moaned. One of her hands gripped the back of one of his rock-hard thighs while her other cupped and caressed his balls. He surged and grew in her mouth. Feeling him shudder with pleasure, she welcomed him deeper, filling her with echoing pleasure.
When she thought he would come in her mouth, he withdrew, and she closed her eyes, knowing the pause in pleasure was temporary. She heard him open a wrapper and then he was kissing her neck again.
“Alethea,” he said roughly, and she opened her eyes.
He plunged deeply inside her, and she cried out his name. He lifted her so her shoulders bore some of her weight and held her before him so he could pound with a leverage that had her crying and begging for more. It was unlike anything she’d ever experienced. Powerful. All consuming. Leaving both of them shaking from the intensity of their simultaneous orgasm.
He withdrew, lifted her gently in his arms, and carried her up the stairs to his loft bedroom. He disposed of the condom, then rolled onto the bed beside her, taking her into his arms and kissing her forehead.
His leisurely kiss rocked her to the core. It was tender and sweet and full of a promise she wasn’t ready for. Still, it was as impossible to deny as breathing.
Between kisses, he said, “We can’t fall asleep. I have a lot of research to do tonight. I really could use your help.”
She buried her face in his chest. “I told myself this wouldn’t happen.”
He raised himself above her and pushed her hair out of her eyes tenderly. “I didn’t promise myself that. You’re all I thought about all day. I shouldn’t let anything distract me right now. We have no idea how dangerous this situation is. But you’re all I can think about. How do you think that makes me feel?”
She laid a hand on his cheek. “So this isn’t about your job?”
He smiled down at her. “Hey, I’m dedicated, but not this dedicated. I know we don’t make sense. Career wise, I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m at the age when I could settle down with a nice woman, have some kids, and maybe get a dog.”
She glared up at him. “A nice woman, huh?” She went to roll away, but he held her beneath him. “Unlike me?”
He kissed her deeply, kissed her until she almost forgot what she was angry about. Almost. When he raised his head and saw she was still miffed, he said, “I used to think that being with that kind of woman would make me a better man. Instead I found myself dating one after another, not caring much about any of them. On the surface it was good, but when I look back they’ve blended into one sweet woman with a name I can’t remember because they didn’t matter.”
Don’t listen.
Don’t believe him.
“But it’s different with me?” she mocked. Believing would lead to wanting more from him, and he’d already said he didn’t want to be with her.
He kissed her collarbone. He put a leg between hers and ran a hand over her wet center. “I want you more each time I have you.” He dipped a finger between her lower lips. “I want you again. God, we have so much to do tonight and all I can think about is sinking into you again and again while you call out my name. That’s how you’re different.”
She almost scathingly told him that he was talking about lust—plain and simple. And that was natural, but his finger found her G-spot, and that inner caress wiped her head clear of all coherent thought. She dug her hands into his hair and pulled his face down to hers, delving into his mouth with the same boldness he’d claimed her with earlier. His fingers found a rhythm of pulling out and sinking into her that renewed the wild need within her.
Her rebuttal would have to wait.
It was three in the morning. He and Alethea were still hunting for anything they could find on the names Dominic had given them. He was at his desk on his main computer on one side of the living room, and she was seated on the couch with his laptop. Marc didn’t have a problem working on something through the night; in fact, that’s how he’d designed most of his bunker.
Normally, however, a night of work didn’t overlap with marathon sex sessions. He was having trouble focusing on the last page of names. Partly because they’d gone through so many without finding anything notable, but mostly because he knew exactly what Alethea was wearing—or rather, not wearing—beneath the long T-shirt he’d offered her.
He was close to putting the list aside and carrying her back to his bed, which concerned him. His personal life and his work had never been at odds. His loyalty to Dominic and the security of his family and business had been his top priority for many years.
Someone sent him a photo of his baby, for God’s sake. This is serious.
He typed in the next name on the list and forced himself to look away from Alethea. Howard Voss. Net worth: $20 million. Majored in psychology before founding a network of online blogs. He’d accused Dominic of trashing him publicly, but it hadn’t hurt him too much because he’d turned around and sold his network for millions. He’d gone on to create software that bounced traffic from sites seamlessly and which had generated him a substantial income. He’d also started two online magazines. Nothing about Dominic since. No evidence that he’d been hurt long term. In fact, he was doing better now, than he’d been back when he’d made the accusation. No, Voss didn’t have the time or the motivation to go after Dominic. It was also doubtful that he had the hacking skills. Marc made a few quick notes beside his name and moved on to the next.
He looked across at Alethea and fought back the immediate impulse to close the distance between them. Instead he asked, “Are you finding anything?”
Alethea looked up with an ironic smile. “That you don’t cross Dominic. He was brutal when it came to business. I see how he made his money. He was relentless.”
“Daddy issues,” Marc said. “He needed to prove he was better. That kind of obsession blurs a man’s morality.”
“That’s the first negative thing I’ve ever heard you say about Dominic. I thought he was your idol.”
Turning his seat toward her, Marc said, “I owe him. He gave me a chance when I didn’t deserve one. I don’t know where I’d be today if I’d never met him. But that doesn’t mean I’m blind to his faults. It also doesn’t mean I don’t regret some of what he’s asked me to do over the years.”
Alethea’s eyes widened. “Such as?”
Marc smiled at her. “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” He stood up and stretched. “And I’m starting to like you.”
He loved the way her eyebrows rose, causing one light line of irritation to crease her beautiful forehead. “Starting?”
Giddiness filled him and he plopped beside her on the couch, resting his arm along the back of it behind her. “It’s a process.” He pulled one of her curls playfully.
She swatted at him. “What, are we back in school now?”
He twirled a long red curl around one of his fingers. “Did the boys pull your hair?”
“When I was little, frequently. It drove me crazy.”
“I bet you kicked their asses.”
“I didn’t, actually. I used to cry. But that doesn’t work, does it?” She reached back and grabbed his hand, stilling it. “You have to make them stop.”
He turned his hand in hers and linked their fingers. “I heard a rumor there is something adults use to resolve conflicts. I believe it’s called communication.”
Alethea shook her head. “Ha ha. You’re hilarious.”
“I’m also right. I know you don’t want to go to the tea later today with Abby, but look at it as an opportunity.”
“To give them all a chance to tell me what they think is wrong with me?”
“No, to let them see you. There is nothing wrong with you. You’re fiercely loyal. Brilliant. Fearless.” He ran a finger down one side of her exposed neck. “And funny. Lil is lucky to have a friend like you. Abby may be jealous of you. She may feel threatened by how close you are to her sister. When people are afraid, they lash out.” He tapped her nose lightly in reprimand. “You, more than most.”
“Why do you care if I get along with them or not?”
He tucked a finger under her chin and turned her face to his. “Because I care about you. If you want those women to accept you, you’re going to have to play by their rules.” He picked up one of her hands and kissed it. “Keep the claws sheathed. And don’t tell them anything.”
“I’m surprised you’re not coming with me to make sure I don’t.”
He said, “You know how important it is to keep what we know to ourselves. If it gets out, we could lose our chance to catch this guy.”
Alethea tightened her fingers around his hand and held it to her stomach. “I won’t say anything.”
He leaned down and kissed her neck. “I know. I trust you. Put all of this out of your head while you’re there and try to find a common ground with these women.”
“That’s easy to say.” Alethea looked at the ceiling and blinked away the tears that threatened to spill over. “I’ve been friends with Lil for more than ten years and I’ve never been welcome for holidays or family events. It never bothered me much, because Lil didn’t have much of a family, but lately it hurts.”
“And yet you’ve remained friends.”