With a concerted effort, I break the kiss that leaves both of us panting. “I came here to ask you questions,” I wheeze. “So. Um. Th-that should come first or…”
“Or what?” Cort rasps against my mouth.
“Or you might make me forget,” I whisper. “Is that your goal?”
His lips curve up, a devilish light momentarily flashing in his eyes. “Work before pleasure. Is that the way it’s going to be?”
“Yes,” I say sternly, although the effect is ruined by my toes curling lustily against his thighs. “I am a professional, after all.”
“Then I guess we better get started,” he drawls, unlocking the door and pushing it open, carrying me over the threshold into a house that smells minty and manly, just like him. “But you’re going to have to ask your questions while I’m in the hot tub. Post game ritual.”
“Hot tub?” I stammer, very aware that I’m topless and being carried by baseball’s greatest pitcher. “I don’t have my bathing suit.”
“Don’t worry. I don’t have one, either.”
As Cort carries me to through his living room, I can’t help but gape. It’s extraordinarily masculine, everything in grays and blues and whites and blacks. Chrome. Expensive. But so tasteful and comfortable-looking, I find myself anxious to snuggle down into his big, oversized couch. To dig my toes into the shaggy white rug and wiggle them around, maybe take a nap in front of his floor-to-ceiling fireplace.
Before I can catalogue everything in the living room—for my article, of course—Cort is carrying me out onto an expansive back patio that overlooks a swimming pool and the horse corrals beyond. The sun has gone down completely now, but frosted lanterns dance to life as if sensing our presence, painting the whole backyard in a golden glow.
And there is the hot tub.
It’s enough to fit a whole baseball team, let alone one pitcher and a reporter who is quickly forgetting her lifelong goals in the presence of this magnetic man.
Pull it together, Pippa.
I wiggle around until Cort sets me down, smoothing my hands down my skirt, which is all that remains of my clothing. And I do my best to look dignified. “Go ahead with your post game routine. I’ll just ask my questions while you—”
He strips off his shirt and my words stutter to a halt.
They don’t show this part on television.
Cort Mulloy is strapped with muscle. His shoulders are corded slabs, broad and capable. The movement of taking off his shirt causes his pecs to lift and flex, the brown discs of his nipples pebbling in the cool night air. And I have to assume mine are pebbling right along with his, because his pants come off next and oh, Jesus, he isn’t wearing any underwear. One flick of his famous wrist reveals a thatch of black hair and the thick root of his manhood.
“You were going to ask your questions?” he drawls, dropping his jeans.
I wonder if she has any idea how fucking gorgeous she looks standing in my backyard wearing nothing but a tight skirt. A skirt that has been twisted up in my hands, leaving it several inches higher on her lithe thighs than before. A man would lay down his life to get his mouth on pert little nipples like Pippa’s. To get his lips on hers. To claim her.
And in a way, laying down my life is exactly what I’m doing.
My life has always been private for a reason.
I don’t like pity. I don’t like strangers knowing my secrets.
But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that I will do whatever is necessary to make this girl happy. If it means prying open my chest and letting her root around, so be it. When she publishes the article, a lot more people than Pippa will know what lies beneath my scars, but if I have her in my life, the discomfort will be well worth the payoff.
I step fully out of my jeans, watching her doe eyes shoot wide at the sight of my swollen cock. Even in the muted light, I can see the bright circles of color on her cheeks. God, the way her lips puff open on a gasp make me hornier than sin. Everything about Pippa makes me that way. Especially her eagerness to rub all over me and accept my tongue. Even though the intimacy scares her a little, the fear didn’t stop her from opening her thighs, because she already knows, deep down, her body belongs to me.
It’s her trust I’m after now.
Once she gives me that, her heart will follow.
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