Beneath This Man (This Man #2)(13)

by Jodi Ellen Malpas

‘Do you want to stop now before you do and save some room for the well-balanced meal I’m making you?’ I fight to prevent a grin.

He doesn’t. He smirks and slowly screws the lid back on. ‘Why, baby, are you nagging me?’

‘No, I’m asking you a question.’ I correct him. I don’t ever want to be a nag.

He starts chewing his bottom lip, watching me carefully, his eyes dancing. I shiver from top to toe. I know that look. ‘I like your sweatshirt,’ he says quietly, running his eyes down my front to my bare legs. It’s oversized and it covers my bum. It’s hardly sexy. ‘I like black on you.’ he adds.

‘You do?’

‘I do.’ he asserts quietly. He’s going to distract me again. I need to get some proper food in him and we need to discuss the fact that it is Monday tomorrow and I’m going to have to go home and to work. After his sly stunt of depositing a stupidly over-the-top advance payment into Rococo Union’s bank account, I’m concerned that he’ll maintain his previous unreasonable request to have me working at The Manor all day everyday.

‘It’s Monday tomorrow.’ I say positively. I don’t know why I choose that tone. Positive as opposed to what?

‘And?’ He folds his arms over his chest.

What do I say? Would it be too much to ask him to be reasonable about my requirement to tend to other clients? He has openly admitted he doesn’t like sharing me, socially or professionally.

I drum my fingers on the worktop next to me. ‘And nothing, I was just wondering what you might have planned?’

I see a fleeting look of panic sweeps over his stubbled face, and I’m instantly worried that tomorrow is going to be a trauma. ‘What have you got planned?’ he asks.

I look at him like he’s a dumb arse. ‘Work.’ I answer, watching as he starts chewing his bottom lip and those bloody cogs start turning again. There is no way he’s going to convince me not to work. ‘Don’t even think about it. I’ve important meetings to keep.’ I warn, before he has a chance to spit out what I know he is thinking.

‘Just one day?’ He pouts at me playfully, but I know he is deadly serious. I’m bracing myself for a countdown or a sense f**k.

‘No, you must have lots to catch up on at The Manor.’ I affirm assertively. He does have a business to run and he’s been unconscious for a whole working week. John can’t be expected to run things forever.

‘I suppose so.’ he grumbles.

I mentally cheer. No countdown? No sense f**k? We really are moving forward.

‘Oh, Clive said there was a woman here earlier.’ I completely forgot about that.

‘He did?’ He looks surprised.

‘He said that she was trying to get up to the penthouse. She wouldn’t give her name and you didn’t answer your phone when Clive tried to call you. Blonde woman. Mature. Wavy hair.’ I watch for his reaction, but he just frowns.

‘I’ll have a word with him. Is my well-balanced meal ready yet?’

That’s it? He’ll have a word with Clive? I want to know who she is. ‘Who was it?’ I ask casually, as I get down from the worktop to check the steamer.

‘No idea.’ He jumps up himself and gets some cutlery from the drawer.

Is he avoiding this? ‘You really don’t have any idea?’ I ask doubtfully, while removing the chicken from the oven and putting it in the pan to finish it off.

‘Ava. I really have no idea, but I assure you, I will speak to Clive and see if I can establish who she was. Now, feed your man.’ He sits back down and holds his knife and fork in his hands, upright from the counter. If he bangs them on the table, I’ll wrap them around his head.

I go about serving up and present him with the first meal I have ever made him. I hate cooking.

He tucks straight in. ‘Yum.’ he mumbles around a mouthful of chicken. ‘How was your day with your brother?’

Better if he hadn’t of interrupted me with a meltdown. ‘Fine.’ I answer, sitting next to him.

‘Just fine? This is really good.’

It’s good to see him eat something other than peanut butter. He’s like a different man again – so confident and self-assured, but in the next breath he’s falling to pieces. Do I really have that much of an impact on him?

‘We had a great day. We did Madame Tussaud’s and went to dinner at our favourite Chinese.’ This chicken really is good. I can’t believe I’m eating more.


‘Yeah, it’s our thing.’ I shrug.

‘It’s nice to have a thing.’ He sounds sincere. ‘You’ve eaten already?’ He looks at my plate and I blush. ‘Are you eating for two?’ he asks, looking up at me. I nearly choke on a potato.

‘No!’ I splutter around my food. I’ve already told him there’s no chance. I wish he would stop fretting. ‘Stop worrying.’ I grumble, returning to my dinner.

He continues eating while making appreciative sounds around his fork every now and again. I would think he might be taking the piss, but I’ve tasted it – it’s good.

Once we’re done, I load the dishwasher and my thoughts start drifting. Him brushing off the mystery visitor is eating away at me. He’s being vague and it’s bothering me.

I turn to challenge him and crash straight into his hard, n**ed chest. ‘Oh!’

He towers over me, breathing hard, and my eyes weld to his huge erection tenting the front of his jersey shorts. ‘Lose the sweater.’ he demands, his voice low and husky.

I look up into his green eyes and wisely note that he’s not in a f**king about mood. I want to bring to his attention that I’m not happy about his evasion of my enquiry, but I know it will get me entirely nowhere right now. Besides, I’m absolutely delighted to see my domineering man back. It’s been too long.

I grasp the hem of my sweatshirt and slowly draw it up over my head and then drop it to the ground.

He runs his eyes appreciatively down my body, over my exposed br**sts and settles his gaze on the juncture of my thighs. ‘You’re impossibly beautiful and all mine.’ He links his fingers into the top of my knickers and slowly drags them down my legs, falling to his knees as he does.

He taps to lift my foot and then repeats on the other before wrapping his big hands around my ankles. I want to tell him to watch his hand, but his hot touch on my sensitive skin has just released a thunderstorm at my core and a tidal wave of liquid to between my thighs. I look down at him and see my chest lifting noticeably with my deep breaths. He sparks the most incredible reactions in me. I’m defenseless to him. It’s hopeless. I’m hopeless.

His eyes find mine. ‘I think I’ll let you come first.’ His voice is gravelly. ‘Then I’m going to rip you clean in half.’

I gasp at his fierce promise as he runs his palms the full length of my legs, from my ankles to the back of my thighs, and then yanks me onto his waiting mouth. His invasion of me reduces me to a moaning mess in his grasp as he works his tongue over every part of me – expertly, meaningfully. My hands find his hair and my h*ps roll onto his mouth, with no encouragement from my brain.

My head falls back. ‘Oh shit.’ I groan, the thrum at my sex accelerating into a constant vibration.

‘Mouth.’ he mumbles against my flesh, which only serves to propel me that little bit closer to utter ecstasy.

I feel one of his hands move from the back of my leg and slide up the inside of my thigh. His finger slips inside me. On a desperate cry, I release his head to lean back on the worktop for support, his circling finger stretching me and brushing my front wall on each rotation. I’m buzzing, my muscles grabbing onto his finger greedily.

‘Tell me when, Ava.’ He replaces one finger with two and pushes deeper into me.

That, and the vibration of his lips on my clitoris, finishes me off. ‘That’s it.’ I cry, pushing my h*ps forward onto his mouth in an attempt to take the edge off the peak.

I’m wiped out from the onslaught of his mouth, and I sag against the worktop on a violent round of shakes, my heart clattering in my chest. He reins in his rhythm and laps gently, letting me drift down on a long, satisfied sigh.

‘You’re too good.’ I drop my head down to find his eyes.

He looks up, but keeps his mouth on me, circling gently and thrusting his fingers lazily in and out. ‘I know,’ he gloats. ‘Aren’t you lucky?’

I shake my head at his self-assuredness and have a little mental sulk when I imagine, again, why he is so good. I snap a lid on that immediately, wiping my mind of all unpleasant thoughts relating to Jesse’s sexual past. Instead, I watch him slowly crawl up my body, trailing his tongue as he goes.

He reaches my nipple, bites it lightly, and then clasps his arm under my bum, lifting me so I’m eye level with him. ‘Are you ready to be f**ked good and proper, baby?’

‘Knock yourself out.’ I challenge, draping my arms over his shoulders.

He smashes his lips against mine possessively and attacks my mouth. When he’s like this, I forget about his weak moments – the moments when I’m comforting him, holding him and reassuring him. Not at the moment, though. Right now, he is brutally sexy and domineering. I love it, and I’ve really, really missed it.

He keeps our mouths fused as he carries me out of the kitchen and towards the gym.

The Gym?

He kicks the door open and sets me on my feet as he leans down to maintain our kiss and accommodate our height difference. He bites my bottom lip gently and starts walking forward, prompting me to step back in time with his advance. After a few steps, he stops and kisses up to my ear, his hot breath igniting all of my senses. I’m mentally begging for him.

‘Fancy a work out?’ he whispers.

‘What did you have in mind?’ I nuzzle my cheek into him as he laps at my ear, causing the heartbeat at my core to kick in again, subtle and slow. He steps back from me and the absence of his warm body in front of mine leaves me chilly, wanting to pull him back to me.

Casting my eyes around the gym, I wonder what he’s got planned. My stare falls back to Jesse. He’s watching me with promising, lust filled eyes, as he reaches for his shorts and pushes them down his legs, his arousal springing free.

I gasp. I don’t know why, I’ve seen it enough times, but it still makes my breath hitch. I glide my eyes up, past his scar and to his perfect pecs. I will never tire of staring at the fine physique of the man who is stood in front of me – not ever. He’s a work of art, carefully sculptured and polished to complete perfection.

He nods behind me and I slowly pivot, but all I see is the rowing machine and his punch bag. I turn back and face him. His face is completely impassive, and he slowly nods again, indicating that what he has in mind is, indeed, behind me.

It dawns on me. He said he was going to rip me in half.

Oh good Lord!

‘Oh.’ I whisper.

He starts walking slowly towards me and the potential of his intention has me fidgeting on the spot. Taking my hand, he leads me to the rowing machine and then lowers his big, n**ed body so he is sitting on the seat. His erection stands up vertical from his body and the prospect of this scenario suddenly has me panting with anticipation.

I’m tugged forward to stand in front of him, and he reaches forward with his injured hand to guide my leg over the runner so I’m straddling his legs. I look down at him, my heart kicking into its maximum speed limit as I wait for his next instruction.

He reaches up and cups my br**sts with his big palms and softly, slowly massages them until they ache with heaviness. I don’t miss the small wince on his face, but he doesn’t stop, and I’m not about to try and stop him myself.

‘Hmmm.’ My head rolls back and my lips part, letting out short, rapid rushes of air.