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“Look, Ryder, I love my job. We work well together—in the office. When this thing between us ends, and it will, I'd find it difficult to be the same around you.”
“Is that what happened between you and Casey?” She had told him bits and pieces; now he wanted to know the whole story. “Because I'm not him. I don't want to walk away. I don't want this to end. I want us to be together in every way. Hell, I'll give you anything you want—money, jewelry, even a stake in my company.” That came out wrong. He knew it as soon as he said it. And just as he suspected she would, Lydia picked right up on it.
“That's mighty expensive for a piece of ass.” The open scorn in her voice cut him deep.
“That's not what I meant, and you know it. I want you to feel protected. I'd like for you to be comfortable enough around me to let go and be Lydia. Most of all, honey, I just want you. This isn't about a piece of ass. I can get sex anywhere.”
“So why don't you?”
“Because no one exists for me except you. I want you in my bed and by my side. At work, at home, at play—just you.”
Ryder had been a lot of things in his life, but scared had never been one of them. He was scared now. Shaking in his boots that Lydia would once again rebuff him. He was running out of ideas and getting tired of figuring out his next strategy to get closer to her. He wanted his woman.
Dragging her to his lap, he wrapped her locs around his hand to tilt her head back. He gave the thick tresses a gentle tug, making her mouth open for his kiss. He poured all his pent-up frustrations and desires in the act, taking as well as giving.
Lydia didn't pull away. With a deep sigh, she seemed to melt into his kiss, her body pliant against his. He hugged her tighter against him, his free hand moving down her back until it came to rest on her ass. Lydia had a great behind.
He squeezed until she opened her legs and straddled him. Ryder rocked his hips upward, rubbing his jean-clad bulge against her core until she moved on her own. He needed to make her so hot, she would forget about fighting it, at least for a little while. The kiss became a battle of wills—tongues dueling, lips smashing against each other. He was determined to win this round. He couldn't let her walk away again.
She twisted her head away, panting heavily. “Ryder, I can't.” No matter what she moaned, her body told him an entirely different story. His grip tightened because he was half-afraid she would get up and leave.
“Yes, you can, and you will.”