Welcome to the Sealed Section, a brand-new piece we will publish every month on Romance.com.au, with a spicy sneak peek from one of our favourite reads! This month we are reading from Worth The Risk by Zara Cox, the first book in her scandalous The Mortimers: Wealthy and Wicked series.
I took a breath, got hit with that sinful aftershave again and clenched my gut against all the decadent sensations buffeting me. He was just a man. His type was a dime a dozen in this part of the world.
Except it wasn’t true.
Gideon Mortimer was exceptional in many ways. Magnetic. Charismatic. Electrifying. And extremely easy on the eyes.
‘I was going to advise you not to get high on your own supply but I realised I’d be wasting my breath. What I’d like to know, though, is why have you brought me to the penthouse suite?’ I was too busy being dazzled by his smile to check what button he’d pressed. Foolishly, I’d assumed we were going to the tenth-floor brasserie, where I usually met with clients.
He dropped his hand and turned towards the imposing double doors that led into the impressive luxury suite. ‘We haven’t finished our discussion, and I need a shower before my next appointment in twenty minutes. Two birds and all that. You don’t object, do you?’
I didn’t answer because his question sounded annoyingly rhetorical.
Swiping the key card, he shoved the doors open, leaving me trailing after him with a reel of indecent images of a naked, shower-soaked Gideon cascading through my heated brain.
When I eventually made it inside, he was standing before the floor-to-ceiling glass windows staring at the stunning Côte d’Azur view. I’d been in this suite a few times. The magnificent blend of art deco and modern furnishings, the deep blue of the sky outside and the sparkling ocean never failed to leave me breathless. Today that image, framed around Gideon Mortimer like a specially commissioned painting, was threatening to stop my breath altogether.
He really was too much.
Even as the thought deepened in my mind, he was shrugging off his leather jacket, all fluid grace and masculine beauty, carelessly tossing it away to leave a Black Sabbath T-shirt that moulded to his divine V-shaped torso. My gaze dropped lower to lean hips and powerful thighs. And his tight, masculine arse encased perfectly in his jeans.
Thoughts of sinking my nails into that prime piece of flesh as he penetrated me topped my dirty thoughts with even filthier images. Images that should’ve shamed me but instead just escalated my craving.
For the first time in years, I truly acknowledged my woefully neglected libido and admitted that I needed to get laid.
Pretty. Damned. Soon.
He started to turn. I swallowed before I did something unseemly like drool, and fixed my gaze somewhere over his right shoulder as he approached.
‘What else did you want to discuss?’ I prompted, hoping to get back on an even keel.
He stopped a foot in front of me, stared down at me with narrow-eyed intent, then jerked his head behind him. ‘That window is fantastically reflective. I think it’s only fair that if you’re going to ogle me like that, I should return the favour?’ His voice had grown thick and raspy and, oh, so sinfully delicious.
The punch of heat to my pelvis triggered liquid warmth in my pussy. But I raised my chin in challenge, even as I pressed my thighs together in a useless effort to hide my arousal. ‘I meant business, Mr Mortimer. Let’s talk business.’
‘There’s nothing wrong with admitting you like what you see. I’ll happily supply you with a list of things I like about you, too, if you like.’
I didn’t want to know. I truly, truly didn’t. ‘What makes you think I want to hear such a list?’ Hell, even my voice was a husky mess.
‘I’m taking a leaf out of your book and playing a straight bat, too, Leonora.’ His wicked tongue stroked all over my name. ‘But speaking of business, I meant what I said earlier. What you’ve achieved is impressive. Even more so in such a cut-throat world.’
I didn’t want to be affected by the sincere respect in his eyes and tone but a different sort of warmth licked through my veins. ‘I’m not scared to go after what I want.’
The heat in his eyes receded. ‘I know one or two people who share those views.’
I had the distinct idea we weren’t talking business any more. ‘But not you?’
A hard gleam lit his eyes. ‘Oh, I believe in going after what I want. It’s in my blood, after all.’
‘My grandfather was a little like you. He started everything in his life much earlier than strict norms dictated he could,’ he said. ‘He opened his first shop when he was fifteen. Had three more by the time he was seventeen. By twenty-one he was married with two kids and two mistresses stashed on opposite ends of London. He tried to instil that ambitious ideology in his children and grandchildren. Some hit the mark, others didn’t.’
I was aware we’d strayed from the professional but I couldn’t curb my curiosity. ‘And you’re one of those who overachieved before their eighteenth birthday, I’m guessing?’
‘I borrowed ten thousand pounds from the family trust fund after my first term at university. While everyone was obsessed with becoming the next dot-com millionaire, I started an on-campus three-square-meals food delivery service long before it became a thing. I had five universities under my belt and was turning over half a million by the time I was twenty. I had zero interest in food production, but I left university with enough capital to start my own company.’
‘So if you’re following his footsteps, why aren’t you married with a clutch of kids like your grandfather?’ I wasn’t going to ask about extramarital bits on the side. That was beneath me.
Like a storm cloud blotting out the brightest sunshine, his face closed up completely. With a graceful swivel that wouldn’t have been remiss on a male ballet dancer, Gideon turned and started walking away.
‘Where are you going?’
‘Shower,’ he tossed over his shoulder.
‘We still have fifteen minutes.’
‘I’ll be back in five. Or…’ He paused on the threshold of a door I guessed led into a bedroom.
I held my breath. ‘Or?’
‘Killing two birds is still an option. Your choice entirely, though.’ With a mocking grin that didn’t quite reach his eyes, he disappeared into the bedroom.
Everything about what I was contemplating was wrong. Unprofessional. And yet my feet moved a second later, drawing me inexorably to the open doorway of Gideon’s bedroom.
He stood next to a four-poster bed, reefing his T-shirt over his head. Once my gaze locked I couldn’t take my eyes off the ripped muscles of his broad, strokeable back displayed in all its indecent glory. My brain was struggling to track when his hand went to the buttons on his jeans.
I must have made a sound because he turned.
Stormy grey eyes drifted over me before he flicked open the first button. ‘Are you sure you want to step over that threshold, Leonora?’ There was something dark, dangerous and a touch apprehensive in his voice. As if he was fighting his own demon.
Absurdly, it was that note that made me a little bit reckless. ‘I’m a big girl, Gideon. A big girl who wants to be done with this meeting.’
His jaw clenched and he turned away. A second later, I imagined I heard him mutter, ‘Shit,’ under his breath but when he turned back around, that expression of sexy male confidence was back. ‘Fine, it’s your funeral,’ he bit out. With that, he coolly stepped out of his jeans, leaving on a pair of boxers that didn’t hide the impressive, mouth-watering bulge behind the thin layer of clinging cotton.
Oh. Sweet. Lord.
The man was really well endowed, and from his swagger as he headed for the bathroom, he knew it.
I was replaying every ripple of sleek muscle when I heard the loud hiss of the shower ten seconds later.
I should leave. Retreat to the living room like a sensible professional before it was too late. But again my feet moved of their own accord, crossing the room to yet another, even more dangerous doorway, my pulse racing like a wild thing.
Was this really happening? Was I really doing this? I met the man less than an hour ago, for heaven’s sake.
A cloud of steam greeted me as I entered. My fingers tightened around my folder as I stared at the parts of Gideon’s body I could see through the gaps in the fog.
One hand was braced on the tiles beneath the shower, while the other sluiced water through his hair. And, holy shit, the reality was way more potent than the fantasy. I wanted to be that water licking over his skin, dipping and sliding over the hard, sleek muscles framing his arse. I wanted to be the gel he grabbed off the shelf and glided lazily over his massive chest, under his arms and lower to his fog-shrouded stomach.
‘I like to win at all costs…’ But wanting her could cost him everything.
With a multi-billion-pound deal on the line, billionaire playboy Gideon Mortimer can’t afford another tabloid scandal. Now he’s committed to a chastity contract, being on the same yacht as Leonie Branson — temptation personified — is pure, unadulterated torture. But relinquishing control of their thrilling sexual chemistry to tenacious Leonie feels tantalisingly worth the risk — to his reputation and his well-protected heart.