Annie, My Girl
It took him two full days to calm down, his anger and frustration warring inside. He had to restrain himself from breaking down her door, knowing that if he did, he'd blister her ass. "Then, I'd fuck you senseless, Annie, my girl," he moaned softly. "And I'd never let you go."
He wasn't sure exactly why he had goaded her, less sure why she aggravated him like he had never been aggravated before. He only knew he wanted her, the need coming from somewhere deep inside. It didn't hurt that she had a body that could cause a preacher to backslide and priests to forget their vows, but Mother of God, she was... "Beautiful... willful... smart... smart mouthed sweet little bitch!"
He sent flowers - a dozen yellow roses with a card.
It took her two full days to stop cursing, her anger and frustration warring inside. She had to restrain herself from storming to Loren's house and kicking her best friend into the middle of next week. She had to bite her lip every time she thought of the arrogant man who had the audacity to touch her, spank her, kiss her and fill her every waking thought. He was just too arrogant, too full of himself, too... "Handsome... beautiful body... rich baritone... miserable... arrogant...! The nerve of the man!"
She thought the flowers were lovely. "Can we go back to home plate and start again?" She read the words printed on the card in a strong masculine hand. "Dinner tonight? I'll pick you up at seven, Jake."
She ripped the card and shredded the roses, leaving a large pile of yellow petals in front of her door.
When he saw them, he didn't bother to knock.
The next day, he sent a large box of milk chocolate turtles and royal blue irises in a vase. "I'll drop by at seven. Maybe we can talk, Jake."
She ripped the card and shredded the irises, the petals lining the empty box of chocolates in front of her door.
Jake chuckled when he saw the empty box. "At least, she liked my chocolates."
The next day, he sent a basket of fresh baked bread, a jug of wine and a copy of The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam. The card had two words. "... and Thou."
When he arrived at her door, there was a card propped up against it. He read it and smiled. "Next Saturday - noon - a picnic in Anderson Park. Bring food and wine and your apologies. Don't be late."
He watched her for a moment, just enjoying the view. She sat in the middle of a red plaid tablecloth that had been spread across the grass, her back to him. Her red hair was shimmering bronze in the sun, her long-sleeved flower patterned dress slightly sheer, the straps of her slip visible to his eye. He thought she was even lovelier than before.
Setting the basket down, he kneeled behind her, his hands going to her waist, pulling her head to his shoulder, his mouth at her neck. "Are you on the menu?" he asked softly, nibbling her skin.
"I hope you brought plenty to eat. I'm starving," she snapped, still angry but not sure if she was mad at him or at her reaction to his touch.
"I'm starving, too," he murmured, kissing her again, turning her so he could cradle her to his chest. "And I'm not a patient man when I'm hungry."
"Are you trying to seduce me, Mr. Taylor?" she asked, her mood suddenly improved as she tried to move away from him.
"Yes. Is it working?" he asked with a naughty grin, letting her go, placing the basket between them.
She ignored his question and helped him unpack the food. "Cold lobster tails and shrimp, cocktail sauce, green grapes, Key Lime tarts, white Zinfandel. Nice choices. How did you know?" she smiled, arching a brow in his direction.
"Loren," he replied. "She said these were some of your favorite foods."
"Thank you," she smiled again.
He was almost undone. Her smile caught him off-guard and he was mesmerized by the sincerity in her face and the sheer beauty of the woman sitting in front of him. He reached for her, cupping her chin and stared into her dark green eyes.
"Is this another Hallmark moment?" she asked, staring back.
"Do you want it to be?" he asked huskily, the food and the rest of the world forgotten.
"I'm hungry," she said softly, pulling away from him.
"Me, too," he groaned.
"For food, Mr. Taylor," she clarified, her blush the only evidence of the moment's intimacy.
"Are we back to home plate?" he asked, pouring the wine, handing her a glass.
"We're not even at the ballpark," she grinned. "And I haven't met you yet."
He rolled his eyes and motioned for her to enjoy the food. Lying on his side, he dipped the shrimp in cocktail sauce and offered it to her. Anne sat near him and took the food he offered. They exchanged small talk while they ate, getting acquainted, trying to relax in each other's company, both aware that this was shaky ground. The sexual tension was building, electricity sparking every time their fingers touched.
Anne was feeling confident and in control. Jake was feeling the pressure building. Any second now...
He dipped a small bite of lobster into the sauce and held it between a finger and a thumb, bringing it to her lips. She took it, her tongue catching the edge of his thumb and grabbing his wrist, she sucked his thumb into her mouth.
Her action startled both of them and her eyes flew open in alarm. Jake's hand snaked around the back of her head and pulled her down to him where his mouth captured her own. The kiss was lengthy, violent with need and satisfying.
"I... um... you..." she sputtered, her eyes blinking rapidly at her reaction to his touch.
"Tell me how long you've wanted me," he murmured as his arms held her against his chest and his lips wandered over the planes of her face.
"I... you... Let me up!" she demanded, embarrassed at her need, aware her thighs were sticky once again.
"Not yet, cupcake," he laughed softly, catching a hint of her arousal.
"Annie Ingram!" he had a wolfish grin.
She laughed. "I'm shameless," she admitted. "I don't like you at all and I want you and... I'm shameless." She ducked her head so she wouldn't have to look at him and tried to get out of his arms.
"I'm glad," he said softly, keeping her in his embrace. "I like you a lot and I want you, too. Kiss me again, you shameless woman."
She did, though she knew that by doing so, she invited more of his attention and as much as she wanted him between her thighs, she wasn't sure she was ready to submit to him. And it would be submission. Jake Taylor was a powerful man in more ways than one. He held her gently in strong arms and was tender with his kisses, but he was an alpha male and expected to be obeyed. Anne didn't kowtow to anyone. Submitting to this man was not on her agenda.
"You can't have me," she said softly.
"I can," he disagreed. "And I will."