With easy grace, Christian taps the white ball so that it glides across the table, kisses the black and oh-so-slowly the black rolls, teeters on the edge, and finally drops into the top right pocket of the billiard table.
He stands, and his mouth twists in a triumphant I-so-own-you-Steele smile. Putting down his cue, he saunters casually toward me, all tousled hair, jeans, and white T-shirt. He doesn’t look like a CEO—he looks like a bad boy from the wrong side of town. Holy cow, he’s so fucking sexy.
“You’re not going to be a sore loser, are you?” he murmurs, barely containing his grin.
“Depends how hard you spank me,” I whisper, holding on to my cue for support. He takes my cue and puts it to one side, hooks his finger into the top of my shirt, and pulls me toward him.
“Well, let’s count your misdemeanors, Miss Steele.” He counts on his long fingers.
“One, making me jealous of my own staff. Two, arguing with me about working. And three, waving your delectable derriere at me for the last twenty minutes.” His eyes glow a soft gray with excitement, and leaning down, he rubs his nose against mine. “I want you to take your jeans and this very fetching shirt off. Now.” He plants a feather-soft kiss on my lips, wanders nonchalantly over to the door, and locks it.
When he turns and gazes at me, his eyes are burning. I stand paralyzed like a complete zombie, my heart pounding, my blood pumping, not actually able to move a muscle. In my mind, all I can think is— this is for him—the thought repeating like a mantra over and over again.
“Clothes, Anastasia. You appear to still be wearing them. Take them off—or I will do it for you.”
“You do it.” I finally find my voice, and it sounds low and heated. Christian grins.
“Oh, Miss Steele. It’s a dirty job, but I think I can rise to the challenge.”
“You normally rise to most challenges, Mr. Grey.” I raise an eyebrow at him, and he smirks.
“Why, Miss Steele, whatever do you mean?” On his way over to me, he pauses at the small desk built into one of the bookshelves. Reaching over, he picks up a twelve-inch Perspex ruler. He holds each end and flexes it, his eyes not leaving mine.
Holy shit—his weapon of choice. My mouth goes dry.
Suddenly, I’m hot and bothered and damp in all the right places. Only Christian could turn me on with just a look and the flex of a ruler. He slips it into the back pocket of his jeans and ambles toward me, eyes dark and full of promise. Without saying a word, he drops to his knees in front of me and starts to undo my laces, quickly and efficiently, dragging both my Converse and socks off. I lean on the side of the billiard table so I don’t fall.
Gazing down at him as he undoes my laces, I marvel at the depth of feeling that I have for this beautiful flawed man. I love him.
He grabs my hips, slips his fingers into the waistband of my jeans, and undoes the button and zipper. He peers up through his long lashes, grinning his most salacious grin as he slowly peels my jeans off. I step out of them, glad that I’m wearing these pretty, pretty panties, and he grasps the back of my legs and runs his nose along the apex of my thighs.
I practically melt.
“I want to be quite rough with you, Ana. You’ll have to tell me to stop if it’s too much,” he breathes.
Oh my. He kisses me . . . there. I moan softly.
“Safe word?” I murmur.
“No, no safe word, just tell me to stop, and I’ll stop. Understand?” He kisses me again, nuzzling me. Oh, that feels good. He stands, his stare intense. “Answer me,” he orders his voice velvet soft.
“Yes, yes, I understand.” I’m puzzled by his insistence.
“You’ve been dropping hints and giving me mixed signals all day, Anastasia,” he says.
“You said you were worried I’d lost my edge. I’m not sure what you meant by that, and I don’t know how serious you were, but we are going to find out. I don’t want to go back into the playroom yet, so we can try this now, but if you don’t like it, you must promise to tell me.” A burning intensity born of his anxiety replaces his earlier cockiness.
Whoa, please don’t be anxious, Christian. “I’ll tell you. No safe word,” I reiterate to reassure him.
“We’re lovers, Anastasia. Lovers don’t need safe words.” He frowns. “Do they?”
“I guess not,” I murmur. Jeez—how do I know? “I promise.” He searches my face for any clue that I might lack the courage of my convictions, and I’m nervous but excited, too. I’m much happier to do this, knowing that he loves me. It’s very simple to me, and right now, I don’t want to overthink it.
A slow smile stretches across his face, and he starts to unbutton my shirt, his deft fingers making short work of it, though he doesn’t take it off. He leans over and picks up the cue. Oh fuck, what’s he going to do with that? A frisson of fear runs through me.
“You play well, Miss Steele. I must say I’m surprised. Why don’t you sink the black?” My fear forgotten, I pout, wondering why the hell he should be surprised—sexy, arrogant bastard. My inner goddess is limbering up in the background, doing her floor exercises—a great fat smile on her face.
I position the white ball. Christian strolls back around the table and stands right behind me as I lean over to take my shot. He places his hand on my right thigh and runs his fingers up and down my leg, up to my behind and back again, lightly stroking me.