When we arrived at the hotel, Ethan opened my door and took my hand. We rushed through the lobby, with me occasionally running a few steps to keep up with him. During an intense elevator ride, I leaned against the wall with him mere inches from my face, his hand planted adjacent to my head. Oh my God. He’s going to kiss me. I couldn’t stop staring at his lower lip, full and inviting.
He tucked a few strands of hair behind my ear and stroked my face with the backs of his fingers. “I can’t wait to taste you.” His piercing gaze shifted from my eyes to my lips.
I couldn’t remember my heart ever beating as savagely as it did at that moment. Ethan’s caresses made my insides dance, and I wanted more. Once the doors opened, he grabbed my hand, and flew down the hall with me trailing behind him.
“We just passed my door.” I giggled as he stopped abruptly, turned around, and backed me against the wall.
“Can I kiss you, Layla?” He didn’t waste any time. His body pressed against me. Hard. Seeking. Caging me with his muscular arm alongside my head. His beautiful eyes looked deep into mine, like there was something he wanted to communicate.
Everything about him aroused me—his velvety voice, masculine scent. My knees weakened when he looked at me as if he was hungry for me. And those lips. God, I wanted to—
“Please answer me.” His gravelly whisper broke my trance.
Strong hands cupped my face as Ethan gently rubbed his lips back and forth against mine. Each slow caress made my heart beat faster and my body yearn for more. The skilled motion of his tongue flooded me with yearning as he leisurely licked my lips—the bottom, the top, and the bottom again. My lower lip slid willingly between his, as he sucked and playfully nipped. The more he teased, the more I wanted him. My hips moved reflexively, inching away from the wall until they became flush against Ethan. Firm hands moved from my face and settled on my ass, gently squeezing, pulling me closer. A sigh against his lips resulted in a moan into mine, and with a slow, sweeping motion of his tongue, he explored the depths of my mouth. My pulse raced and my heart pounded fiercely. I gripped his neck and pulled him deeper. Every cell in my body fed off the pleasure he infused. The sweet invasion of his tongue quickly became a hungry intrusion, like he needed me, and my urgency matched his. The slow grinding of his hardness against my softness saturated my body with a burning ache for more.
Running into the commander
“What do you think?” She strutted and twirled like a runway model.
“Wow, Layla! You look amazing.”
The slinky black dress was simple, but elegant. Cut just low enough in the front to allow her breasts to tease, and low enough in the back to draw my eyes to her perfect curves.
“I love it. This is the one.”
“I haven’t even tried the other one yet.”
“You can try it if you like, but this one gets my vote.” As Layla examined her reflection, I placed my hand on her ass, sliding up and down over the velvet fabric. “If you get this one, I won’t be able to keep my hands off you.”
Her luscious lips curved into a flirtatious smile. “Then maybe I will get it.” She looked at the price tag. “Or maybe not. Ethan, this dress is ridiculously expensive.”
“And you’re worth every penny.”
“I should at least give you half. Or we can go to a less expensive store.”
It was time to put my foot down. “Layla! I’m buying it. Now, go try on the other dress if you want, but we’re leaving here with one of them.”
“And when you’re done, pick out some shoes.”
She darted back to the fitting room.
“And lingerie,” I called after her. “Do you know they have panties that you can actually eat?”
While I waited for Layla to try on the second dress, the sales clerk who’d helped us earlier showed me a pearl necklace with matching earrings. “These will go with whichever dress she chooses.”
I looked over my shoulder to see if Layla was ready to model the next dress. She hadn’t come out yet, but what caught my eye caused a knot to form in the pit of my stomach. What. The. Fuck.
My heart pounded, forcing panic through my veins with every beat. I stood, paralyzed with fear, as Commander Murphy strode right toward me. Where had he come from? What was he doing here? We were several miles away from the base. I hadn’t considered the possibility of running into someone who knew us.
“Parker! How’s it going?”
I shook his outstretched hand and prayed he couldn’t detect the sweat on my palm.
“I’m good, Sir, how are you?”
“As good as can be expected. What brings you to this neck of the woods?”
“Oh. I, um… I’m picking up a gift. For a friend.” That wasn’t a lie… except Layla was much more than a friend. I tried to appear relaxed in spite of the alarming thoughts flooding my mind. Reduced pay. Reduced rank. Captain’s Mast. Dishonorable discharge. Confinement. “What about you, Sir?”
“I just received news last night that my brother passed away. We’re flying to New York in just a few hours.”
“I’m sorry for your loss, Sir. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.” I had to calm my breathing, or he’d know something was up.
His brow furrowed. “Actually, now that you mention it, there is. I’ve been working out the details for an upcoming operation. I’d hate for my impromptu travel plans to impede the mission.” He took a step closer to me and continued in a lower voice. “You’re the only one with the security clearance to access it.”
“Say no more, Sir. I’ll take care of it.”
“Great. I really appreciate it.”
I stole a glance toward the fitting room, hoping Layla would stay put for a while. Please let the zipper get stuck. A squeaky door hinge set me on edge. Holy shit. This was it. The end of my career.