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Worth The Risk Extract


Worth The Risk Extract

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.

I couldn’t.

I shouldn’t.

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.

My pussy tingled, my clit plumping and screaming for attention.

‘We can continue this discussion or you can leave. What you can’t do is stare at me like that unless you want to give me specific ideas.’

Heat that had nothing to do with the shower temperature singed my face. Resolutely, I cleared my throat and reopened my folder. ‘I’d like to know about your guests. There’s a confidentiality clause that every crew member signs so their privacy will be protected.’

‘First things first, did you take my advice and relocate your crew members from Monaco?’

‘Not exactly.’

He turned and speared me with piercing grey eyes. ‘One thing you should know about me, Leonora, I despise the nebulous. After you explain what not exactly means, I never want to hear those two words or anything resembling them again.’

‘Has anyone ever told you you’re an unpleasant boor?’

He flashed that grin again but again his eyes remained flat. Clearly, my question about having a wife and kids had struck a nerve that still rankled. I curbed my curiosity as he answered, ‘All the damn time.’

‘And let me guess, you wear it as a badge of honour?’

‘You’re changing the subject. Explain yourself. And if you’re staying in here, come closer. I can barely hear you over the sound of the shower.’

With every cell in my body I wanted to withhold the information. Or miraculously find a different way of sealing the deal that didn’t involve spending almost a month on a boat with this man.

Because my stupid body seemed bent on betraying me, craving him in all the specific ways he’d just suggested.


With a deep breath, I did what I came here to do. Offered myself up on a silver platter. Professionally, of course.

My starving libido and needy pussy could take a running jump.

Directing my gaze to his face and nowhere near his spectacular body, I answered, ‘I’m the extra staff member. I’ll be joining the crew on Monday.’

Several expressions flitted across his face in vivid real time. Anticipation. Hunger. Triumph. Black fury. That last one stayed for a few seconds too long. Then he veered away from me as if he couldn’t stand to look at me. He jerkily sluiced back his wet hair and his shoulders heaved as if he was reining himself in.

It was beyond fascinating to watch.


The word was delivered with such venom I would’ve taken a step back had I not felt more than a little powerful at eliciting such a charged response.

‘Problem?’ The question was a shameless taunt.

He didn’t answer. He continued to stand, head bent beneath the spray.

It prompted me to speak just to defuse the thick tension. ‘Or if you’ve changed your mind and no longer need extra crew, I assure you you’ll still be well catered to.’

Another few beats went by. Then he lifted his head and looked at me, and my stomach dipped as a lethally gorgeous smile spread across his face. ‘I haven’t changed my mind, Leonora. I still want what I want, for good or ill.’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

That darkness descended on his face again. ‘It means my every instinct suggests it’s a bad idea to take you up on your offer. But I’m going to anyway.’

My mouth dried as he twisted the shower tap off. Steam and silence shrouded us as he stared at me.

‘Why is it a bad idea?’

He speared me with a telling look. ‘Don’t play games, Leonora. You know,’ he said, his voice softly accusing. ‘It’s why you’re in here when you should be safely in the living room. It’s why I’m going to stay put right here while you hand me a towel and leave. Because if I step outside, all bets are off.’

Leave, that voice prompted, a little more insistently. My feet refused to comply.

‘So what? You plan on using me as some sort of litmus test of your control?’ I asked, my voice a husky mess even to my own ears.

‘Yes,’ he answered honestly. ‘I’ve been accused of not having enough…restraint lately.’ Eyes on me, he licked a drop of water that dripped onto his upper lip. ‘So I’d be ever so bloody grateful if you’d hand me the towel, Leonora, and leave.’

I sucked my own lower lip, crazy sensations careening through me as he continued to hold my gaze in the sultry bathroom. ‘Say please,’ I commanded.

His sinful lips slowly parted as he reached out and swiped a slow hand across the glass, clearing a swathe of condensation. His gaze bore deeper into mine, before dropping down my body, and I watched him suck in a pained breath. His eyes were twin pools of turbulent hunger when they met mine again. ‘Please,’ he gritted out.

My hands were nowhere near steady as I plucked a towel off the heated rail and took a step towards the stall door.

The steam was fast dissipating, revealing more of Gideon’s mouth-watering body. In another minute he’d be fully exposed to me.

For another tense few seconds, we stared at each other.

Then those sleek fingers pushed the glass door open and, eyes still holding mine, he held out his hand.

My arm extended but I didn’t let go. Couldn’t. We stayed connected, our breathing turning more frantic as seconds ticked by.

When he snapped the towel from my fingers it was like a gunshot in the heated room.

I didn’t linger to watch him wrap the towel around his lean hips, or step out of the stall. But as I walked away, I knew I’d never been more turned on in my life. Never wanted to fuck another man the way I wanted to fuck Gideon Mortimer.