Home > Release Me (Stark Trilogy #1)(18)

Release Me (Stark Trilogy #1)(18)
Author: J. Kenner

His tongue strokes mine, sending erotic sparks dancing through me. My skin, already so sensitive just from his proximity, now seems like an instrument of torture, because the anticipation of his touch is simply too much to bear. A low, demanding ache builds between my thighs, and I press my legs together in both defense and in an attempt at satisfaction.

He makes a growling noise and shifts me in his arms. Suddenly, his hand is on my hip and the soft material of my skirt caresses my skin as he glides over it toward my crotch. I tense, aroused and nervous, but I don’t push him away. My body is pulsing, my clit throbbing, and I want release. I want Damien.

His entire body is hard against mine. He holds me close and deepens the kiss as his hand slopes down toward my sex, just slow enough to drive me crazy. I shift, leaving one leg on his thighs, but our position is awkward and my other leg slides off. I press the ball of my bare foot to the ground for balance even as I feel a rush of cool air find its way in underneath my skirt to tease my damp panties.

In this position I’m wide open and vulnerable, and Stark cups his hand over my sex and moans into my mouth. Even through the material of my skirt and the satin of my panties, I can feel his heat. He strokes me through my clothes, his fingers teasing my clit, making me so wet I think I will melt.

My skirt is hitched up, but it still covers my thighs. Even so, he’s close—so close to the secrets I don’t want to share, and I know that if he tries to stroke my inner thighs that I will bolt. I’m nervous. Afraid, even. But danger and fear have added an edge to my excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever been more turned on in my life.

His fingers tease me, making a wild fever burn through me. I’m right on the edge, just a little more—

But then his hand is gone. I open my eyes, and for just an instant, his expression is warm and open, and I think that I’m the only thing in all the world that he sees. Then something alters, and his face changes as the mask clicks back into place. He shifts my position, pulling me up so that I am sitting half on his lap.

“Damien, what—”

But then I hear the voice behind me, a bright, cheery feminine voice saying, “I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Are you ready?”

Oh my God. Did she just walk up? How long has she been there?

I look helplessly at Damien, but he doesn’t notice. He’s looking over my shoulder at whomever is speaking. “I need to see Ms. Fairchild home,” he says, and I shift on the bench so that I can see behind me—and find myself looking at Audrey Hepburn.

She nods at me, smiles at Damien, then turns and walks away.

Gently, he slides me off his legs. He stands, then holds his hand out for me. “Let’s go.”

My legs are weak—my whole body still limp from his ministrations. But I shove my feet back into my shoes and follow him without question. I’m confused and embarrassed and not entirely sure what to think.

We find Evelyn and say goodbye as we pass through the thinning crowd. She gives me a hug, and I promise to call her in a day or so. It’s a promise I mean to keep.

At the door, he slips his jacket around my shoulders. We walk down the sidewalk to where a limo waits in the circular drive. A liveried driver holds open the back door, and Damien gestures for me to get inside. I haven’t been in a limo since I was a kid, and I pause to take it all in. Black leather bench seats line the back and one side. On the other is a full bar, the crystal decanter and glasses twinkling from recessed lighting hidden in the polished wood of the bar. The floor is carpeted. The entire space screams luxury and money and elegance.

I sit down on the backseat so that I’m facing the front of the car. The leather is soft and warm and seems to hug my body. I glance at the door, waiting for Damien to enter.

Except that he doesn’t.

“Goodnight, Nikki,” he says, in the same business voice I heard him using earlier in the evening. “I look forward to the presentation tomorrow.”

And then he slams the door and walks away, back to Evelyn’s house and Audrey Hepburn who’s now silhouetted in the doorway holding out her hand to welcome him in.


I am alone, and I’m angry, mortified, and embarrassed.

I’m also turned on. Thus the embarrassment.

It’s my own damn fault, of course. I’d been playing with fire—and I knew it.

Damien Stark is out of my league. More than that, he’s dangerous. Why could Ollie see it and not me?

But I did see it.

That hardness in his eyes. The mask he pulls down so skillfully. My first instinct was to tell Damien Stark to fuck off. Why the hell didn’t I just go with that?

Because I thought I saw more than was actually there?

Because I wear a mask, too, and thought I’d found some sort of kindred spirit?

Because he’s hot and so clearly wanted me?

Because part of me actually craves that danger?

I close my eyes and swallow. If this were a multiple choice test, I’d have to pick all of the above.

I tell myself it’s just as well. At the most, Damien Stark wants to conquer me as he’s conquered industry. And while I might crave the feel of his body against mine, I am now even more certain that I can never let that happen. I won’t expose myself like that to a man who wants nothing more than a fast fuck—hell, I don’t want to expose myself like that to anyone. I don’t want to hear the questions; I don’t want to make the explanations. My secrets are bound up tight inside me.

I kick my shoes off, then lean my head back and keep my eyes closed. I’m thankful the limo ride is smooth, because my head is already spinning enough as it is.

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