Destined - Chapter 3
His strong, firm hands gripped her breasts, plumping the mounds together as his lips suckled on one. He trailed his lips across her chest, nipping and soothing the skin as he worked his way to the other to give it the same attention. The little nubs beaded tighter, begging, aching for more of his touch.
Slowly, his touch moved lower, worshipping her. She couldn’t hold back a moan as his skilful hands found her wet and needy for him. As he slipped a finger through the wetness, she held her breath. The acceleration of her heartrate had nothing to do with fear and everything to do with the arousal that burned through her body, engulfing her senses.
His lips unsmiling, his hot gaze intense as he looked down at her …
The shrill sound of her alarm clock sounded loudly in the quiet of her room, and Serena’s impending orgasm was rudely ripped from her. Reaching over, she slapped an unforgiving hand onto the snooze button. She wasn’t quite ready to leave her sensual dream and face the reality of a new day. Snuggling back down, she tried desperately to return to her dream. Frustratingly, it remained just out of reach.
By the time the second alarm blared, she was ready to cry with disappointment. Sighing, she rolled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom. She had a new client coming in to see her today, so she couldn’t afford to be late.
Stripping down, Serena stepped into the shower and turned the water on high. As the spray beat down on her overstimulated body, she replayed the erotic dream of the very sexy stranger. What was it about that specific man that consumed so much of her mind? What made him stand out above all other men she’d met before?
Her heart beat a little harder at the thought of the stranger from the club. What would it be like to have his hands running all over her body instead of her own? Well, it was to remain a mystery. It was unlikely she’d ever encounter her stranger again.
Pull yourself together, woman. With another sigh, she shook herself out of her reverie. Stepping out of the shower, she grabbed a towel and headed into her walk-in closet to get ready to face her day. She needed something sharp to make a good first impression.
Filtering into the morning traffic, Serena went through her appointments in her head. Her new client would be her first for the day. He was hosting a fundraising event, and since he had neither the time nor the inclination to organise it himself, he was looking for an events coordinator to handle all the details. His secretary, who normally dealt with this sort of thing, was off sick and wouldn’t be back in time to pull it off.
After years in the industry, Serena had finally gone out on her own, and this account would be an enormous boost to the reputation of her budding business as it was an international construction company renowned for the luxury accommodations they built. She would have to pull out all the stops on this one.
Brooding over a cup of coffee as her mind raced with a million ideas, Serena was pulled from her thoughts by the insistent buzzing of her desk phone.
“Mr Marino is here, Serena,” Ginny announced.
Trying not to let her nerves get the best of her, Serena answered her phone. “Thanks, Ginny. Please take him into the boardroom. I’ll be right there,” she replied, taking a fortifying breath.
She picked up the file and made her way to the boardroom. Smoothing a hand over her hair, she took another big breath and pushed the doors open. She couldn’t see the client as Ginny obscured her view, but she heard him reply and went weak at the knees. That voice. The rich, deep baritone was simply sinful. It conjured up thoughts of satin sheets and hot, sweaty sex. There was a hint of an Italian accent, and, dear god, he could probably read the telephone directory and make it sound wickedly sensual.
As Serena stepped forward, Ginny moved to the side, and she got her first look at her new client. Shock rooted her to the spot. She blinked. Lifting a trembling hand to her throat, she simply stared. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She felt as if she’d entered the twilight zone, because larger than life and as wickedly sexy as she remembered him, stood her mystery man.
Despite not making a sound, it was as if he sensed her presence. His gaze zeroed in on her, his eyes trailing down the curves of her body. Ever so slowly, his eyes came back up and locked with hers, holding her shocked stare.
She couldn’t catch her breath. Her body was frozen to the spot. Her brain scrambled to process the fact that her mystery man was none other than Sebastian Marino, decked out in a bespoke suit that did little to hide his muscular body. A body she had dreamed about only hours before. She felt the blush burn across her cheeks and her body react to the memory of that dream. But as she looked back at him, his eyes were not smiling. If anything, he looked pissed off.
Almost as if he suspected the thoughts rioting through her mind, he gave her an almost-knowing smirk. Nothing more than the quirking of his lips. These very feelings were the reason she’d run the night before. She’d thought she’d never see him again, yet here he was in her boardroom. Fate certainly had a perverse sense of humour.
When Sebastian cocked his eyebrow at her, like he had the night before, she finally managed to gather herself. This was business, pure and simple. She needed to pull it together. The last thing she wanted was for Sebastian Marino to think she was unprofessional. It would be the kiss of death for her small company. With one last shaky breath, she stepped forward, extending her hand to Sebastian.
“Mr Marino, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” she managed to say in a clear, cool voice. Was that really her voice sounding so calm?
Taking her small, elegant hand in his large one, Sebastian dipped his head slightly without breaking eye contact. Holding it a little longer than she was comfortable with, he murmured, “Miss Callum, a pleasure.”
It felt like a live wire of electrical current pulsed through her body, shocking her enough to pull her hand from his grasp. In an attempt to appear unaffected, she smiled.
“Please, call me Serena. May we offer you anything to drink before we get started?”
“Serena then. Thank you, yes. A coffee would be wonderful.”
“Ginny, would you please get Mr Marino some coffee?” Serena smiled at Ginny.
“Certainly. Coming right up. Can I get one for you too, Serena?”
Serena nodded, and Ginny left the boardroom, closing the door behind her. The silence in the room following the other woman’s departure was deafening. She had to do something to regain control of the situation.
“Well then, Mr Marino. Shall we get down to business?”
“No need to stand on formalities, Serena. Sebastian will do.”
With a small incline of her head, Serena acknowledged his words.
“Shall we get to it then, Sebastian?”
“Yes, indeed.” Indicating for her to take a seat, he waited until she sat before settling in the seat next to her.
A slow burn had ignited at the way he’d said her name. She loved the sound of it on his tongue. As if he’d reached out and touched her intimately. The look he’d given her as he’d waited for her to take a seat told her he wasn’t completely unaffected by her either. The air fairly sizzled between them as Serena and Sebastian sat at the boardroom table.
With a deep breath, she opened the folder to begin but got quite distracted by his cologne. It was fresh and clean, cool and spicy; a wholly masculine scent that made her mouth water and scrambled her senses.
Gathering herself, she turned to ask him about the event and found him staring intently at her, almost as if he wanted to say something. When he remained silent, she asked her question. As he answered her, she pushed her thoughts aside and concentrated on the matter at hand. Thankfully, as the meeting progressed, the annoyed vibe she’d sensed from him first dissipated.
Time flew by as ideas were bandied back and forth. When they’d finally settled on a concept, he asked Serena to describe her vision. Fired up by the images she saw in her mind, she leaned toward Sebastian, sketching on the pad that lay before her in a bid to share her concept. She lifted her eyes to look at him as she went to speak, but the words died away as she found his gaze focused on her cleavage.
She’d become so animated while explaining and sketching that her blouse had shifted to reveal the smooth, creamy skin beneath. Serena felt the heat rise in her cheeks, her body, her very core. She responded to the banked smoulder she saw in his eyes, longing to feel his hands on her, his lips on hers.
He leaned in, his gaze remaining intense. Their faces were so close she could feel his breath on her lips. Abruptly, she sat back and cleared her throat. Sebastian merely cocked that expressive eyebrow at her before glancing at his watch.
“We’ve covered much ground this morning, Serena. But, unfortunately, I must be on my way. I have another meeting this afternoon and cannot afford to be late.”
“Yes, of course. Let me see you out.”
She escorted him from the boardroom. As they reached the elevator, Sebastian pressed the button before turning to her.
“That was most productive. I am quite pleased with our progress this morning.”
“Yes, I feel we’ve covered a fair bit of ground today. It’s given me a good feel for what you’re after.”
The elevator chimed its arrival, and he stepped inside. Giving her that enigmatic smirk, he pressed a button on the panel.
“I will be in touch later in the week to arrange our next meeting,” he replied as the doors closed. And with that, he was gone.
For a moment, Serena remained where she stood. It felt as if she’d run a marathon. Sebastian Marino was a force of nature, and she was definitely feeling the aftereffects.