With a slight nod, he said, “We should get back to work if we want to make the deadline.”
Her gaze drifted from him to the scattered mess on the floor. At least half was in order now, but he was right. They were running out of time. They shouldn’t get into a long debate over having children. Her career was what mattered most to her.
At least that’s what she continued to tell herself.
They barely made the deadline. Bianca pressed the Send button on the new layout, and it was off to the printers. The next issue would come out on time. Laughing in triumph, she collapsed into her office chair and spun around until she was dizzy. Christian watched her from his place on the floor, an empty pizza box between them. Amused, his lips curved slightly as he watched her.
Tonight, he had shown her a new side of himself, and she wanted to see more. He laughed with her. It wasn’t the first time she’d worked all night to get the magazine out on schedule, but working with Christian instead of his father was different. She had done most of the work when John was involved. Christian carried his own weight. It was easy to see how and why he was a great CEO.
“You surprise me,” Bianca said.
“I just didn’t see you as the kind of guy who could work shoulder to shoulder with an employee.”
He stood and stretched his arms high over his head, back arched. A yawn opened his mouth wide while forcing his eyes shut. She stared at him in wonder as the most mundane of things looked sexy on him. What was wrong with her?
“You’re more than an employee,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “You know that.”
“I don’t know anything of the kind.” Bianca stood on legs that felt rubbery. “You, Mr. Sabatino, are impossible to read. I have no idea how you feel about me.”
She circled the desk, taking cautious steps that led her straight to the man responsible for the butterflies in her stomach. He met her halfway. His hands went to her upper arms as he gazed into her eyes, searching for something. She wasn’t sure what, but he seemed to find it. His fingers tightened on her arms.
And he kissed her.
His hands encircled her throat and delved beneath her hair to massage the sensitive skin below her ears. His full lips pressed against hers. The kiss deepened, but just for a moment. Then he lifted his dark head and asked, “Does that clear things up for you? Do you know how I feel about you now?”
His voice sounded oddly out of breath, and his eyes glowed with desire. He continued to hold her even when she tried to take a step back. He obviously wanted an answer to his question, so she gave it to him.
“Honestly? No.” She tore her gaze from his and stared at his loose shirt. “You’re attracted to me, sure, but is that all? Is it just lust?”
He got quiet, and his lips compressed into a tight line. “Do we have to label it?”
She lifted her shoulders and dropped them in a slow-motion, yet jerky shrug. “I overheard part of your conversation with that blonde woman the other day. Why did you offer her tickets to the play? Why didn’t you ask me if I wanted to go with you? You told me we would attend social functions so people would believe we’re a couple, but you haven’t taken me anywhere. Are you ashamed to be seen in public with me?”
He looked taken aback. “Don’t be ridiculous. I just didn’t think... do you want to see that play?”
“No.” She made a face. “We’re both busy. I just don’t like thinking you’re ashamed to be seen with me.”
He chuckled. “You are the most exasperating woman I have ever met. Believe me, I would not take you out if I didn’t want to, and you should know that about me by now. I would be honored to have you on my arm at any social event. Like you said, I’ve been busy.”
She believed him, not only his words, but the passion in his eyes. No one had ever looked at her like that before. He cupped her face between his hands and kissed her until she couldn’t think straight. All doubt dissolved. The kiss grew more passionate by the second.
“There’s something else you should know about me.” After taking a deep breath, she began to babble. “I’m not a virgin. I mean, obviously. I was married. But I kind of feel like one because I was only with him a few times, my ex, and he told me I was terrible in bed. I tried to be responsive. I just don’t like sex. I couldn’t respond the way he wanted me to, and I would wind up freezing. He told me I was frigid. Maybe I am. I just don’t—”
Christian cursed violently beneath his breath. “Sweetheart, there are men out there without a clue how to make love to a woman. They blame their partners instead of working on themselves.” He stroked a thumb across her cheek. “You are not frigid. I’d bet my last dime on that.”
They began to pull on each other’s clothes. She forgot they were in her office, forgot somebody could walk in and catch them in the act. Luckily, Christian hadn’t lost total control.
He took her hand and walked her to the elevator. They went up to his offices where they were able to switch to his private elevator. Since it was a few hours from dawn no one was there to see them. His housekeeper wouldn’t arrive for hours. They had the penthouse entirely to themselves.
He took her straight to the master bedroom and closed the doors. She got a brief glimpse of his private domain, masculine decor in beige, browns, and cream. Then his mouth was on hers again, tasting and teasing and testing. To her, it was like coming home after a long journey to a hostile world, feeling loved for the first time in years.
He pulled the material from her shoulder and placed a kiss on the exposed flesh.
She held in a shiver of delight. His nimble fingers unwrapped her as if she were a precious gift. Basking in the euphoria of the moment she didn’t realize he had no intention of turning off the light until he removed her lacy bra. Her arms quickly folded over her breasts, and her face burned with embarrassment.