Hayden cleared his throat and turned off the stove, glad she’d mistaken his expression for worry. Ignoring her statement, he said, “I’ve got beer and water in the fridge—but you probably shouldn’t have anything alcoholic tonight. It doesn’t seem like you have a concussion but it would make me feel better. If I’d known you were coming I’d have picked something up. Luckily Jay had a few things at his place.” His girlfriend Ellie’s influence no doubt.

Sierra just smiled and pushed away from the counter. “I don’t think I have a concussion either, but water is totally fine.”

As Hayden pulled out plates he looked over his shoulder to find her bent over slightly as she peered into his refrigerator, that pert ass sticking up. The sight evoked way too many hot fantasies and he tore his gaze away with difficulty.

“Oh my god, pretty much all you have is beer and water. This is horrible, Hayden.” Her sweet voice was chastising. “I would go crazy with a fridge like this. No wonder you’re always eating at Cloud 9.”

Grinning, he started to set the table. “They’ve got the best chef in town.”

A beer and water bottle in her hands, she nudged the door shut with her hip. “Whatever. You can’t live on just dinners of veal forestiere or roasted rack of lamb all the time.”

“Yes I can. I already do.”

She shook her head, but her lips curved up into a soft smile. “That’s just sad. You need to take better care of yourself with meals like breakfast and lunch.”

“How about I just take care of you tonight?” he murmured, watching her carefully.

Her cheeks flushed a delicious shade of pink as she sat at the table. “Thanks, I appreciate it.”

He grunted, not wanting her appreciation.

“So have you heard anything from Jay or Iris? I know it hasn’t been that long, but I thought they might have found something.” She shivered lightly and Hayden resisted the urge to drag her into his arms and comfort her. He needed to show restraint when she was so vulnerable.

He shook his head as he set a plate of food in front of her. “Unfortunately, no. But give them time.”

Compared to the masterpieces she created, chicken and rice was nothing, but it would fill her up and warm her body. So far she’d been handling everything well, but he was waiting for her adrenaline to crash. Before she fell asleep, he wanted her fed. So when she took a few bites but only pushed her food around with a fork, he frowned.

“Is it that bad or are you not hungry?” he asked before taking a sip of his beer.

“It’s great, I’m just…I don’t know what I am but I’m not really hungry. It’s so sweet that you cooked for me. I’m sorry I screwed up your plans tonight though.” She said the last part in a rush and he didn’t miss the flash of…hurt in her eyes before she masked it.

But that didn’t make sense. “Plans?” He’d only had plans with her. Like every other Thursday for practically the past year.

“Your date.” She set her fork down now, not even pretending to eat.

Hayden blinked at her. What was she talking about? “I didn’t have a date—except with you. It’s Thursday.”

Now she looked confused. “Oh.”

A few things suddenly clicked into place. “You thought I had a date tonight? Is that why you left the security floor upset earlier?” He’d planned to ask her about it, but then the shit had hit the fan and that had been the least of his concerns.

“I wasn’t upset. I was mad you didn’t just tell me. I wouldn’t have wasted a trip up to the fiftieth floor if I’d known you had plans. But…you really didn’t?” she asked, her voice shaking slightly.

The thought that he might have had a date upset her no matter what she said. He could see it written all over her pretty face. Putting his own fork down, he scooted his chair closer and turned her so that she was facing him directly. He was going to set the record straight. “I don’t know who told you I had a date, but they were mistaken.” Casino gossip was notoriously wrong so he wasn’t surprised someone had come up with that bullshit. Practically everything got twisted out of proportion there. Hell, he’d heard that Sierra had hooked up with two of his security guys and he knew for a fact that wasn’t true. “I haven’t been on a date or fucked anyone since the week I met you.”

Her eyes widened, probably because of his crude language, but he could tell the news pleased her. “Really?”

He nodded.

“Oh.” She bit her bottom lip nervously.

“Aren’t you going to ask me why?” He intentionally dropped his voice, willing her to take the verbal bait.

“Why?” It came out as a whisper.

He leaned closer, placing his hands on the arms of her chair, completely caging her in. That sweet jasmine and vanilla scent of hers wrapped around him. She licked her lips, probably out of nervousness, but it just turned him on even more. “Because I don’t want anyone else but you. I’d rather use my own hand and imagine bending you over my desk while I masturbate than actually fuck anyone else.”

Her mouth fell open a fraction at his admission so he took advantage. Going at her fast, he crushed his mouth over hers. There was no finesse in his kisses, just a primal need to possess her as his tongue danced with hers.

For a single moment Sierra tensed, but then she was on him. Taking him by surprise, she grabbed onto his shoulders and slid onto his lap, straddling him. As she moved over his erection, he groaned. She was compact with the right amount of curves and he loved the feel of her on top of him. Her breasts rubbed against his chest and even with the material between them, he could feel her nipples. Hating that clothes separated them from touching skin to skin, he cupped her backside and stood, bringing her with him.

She instantly wrapped her legs around him, but when he started walking out of the kitchen, she pulled back. He didn’t pause as he made his way to the stairs.

“Where are we going?” Her voice shook a little, but not from fear. The hunger in her gaze set him on fire. The potency was nothing compared to the brief little flashes of need he’d seen from her before. Flashes he’d wondered if he’d imagined.

What he saw now matched his own desire. But he needed to be sure. “My bed because I need more room.” So much more to do what he had planned. “We can take things as slow as you want when we get there,” he said as they reached the top of the stairs. But he hoped not too slow. The need to taste all of her was consuming him.

Those expressive eyes widened but she nodded as she leaned into him. He took her mouth again, holding her body against his so fiercely he tried to order himself to loosen his grip. But he couldn’t. Not yet. Holding her like this was too damn surreal. For a fucking year he’d made it a point not to touch her.

Because he’d known this would happen. One kiss from her and his control was completely shredded. Pushing open his bedroom door with his foot, he headed for the king sized bed he’d never brought another woman to. He hadn’t lived here long before getting a job at the Serafina and after meeting Sierra, he’d known he couldn’t be with anyone else.

Not when he wanted her so badly. The thought of touching another woman had just felt wrong. He attempted to be gentle as he laid Sierra on the bed, but it was hard when she kept her legs wrapped tightly around his waist and was grinding against him in the most sensuous manner. If their clothes were gone, they’d be fucking. Not sweet, gentle love making like she deserved. Fucking could come later, but he wanted their first time to be slow.

Somehow Hayden tore his head back from Sierra. Her eyes were heavy lidded and her mouth was swollen from their kissing. Her full lips parted as she watched him. “You want to stop?” She sounded nervous.

“Fuck. No.” Yeah, real classy. He cringed at himself, but Sierra just let out a laugh, the sound reverberating through to him.

“Then what’s wrong?” Her legs loosened around him as she spoke.

Panic set in that she’d changed her mind. “Nothing. I just want to slow down, which means you can’t touch me.” His words were ragged and uneven. If she was touching him, he’d fuck things up. Of that he had no doubt.

No, right now was all about her pleasure. Before she could ask him why, he reached up and took her hands from his shoulders. Gently, he guided her hands above her head. With a simple platform style bed set he didn’t have a railing for her to hold on to or even tie her wrists to…but he would come back to that idea once she was more comfortable with him. Her fingers touched the smooth headboard as he held her wrists in place.

“Why can’t I touch you?” she asked.

Opening himself up to anyone other than his brother was foreign, but he’d already opened up to her so much in the last year he decided to be honest. If she ripped his heart out later, he’d fucking deal with it. “Because you make me insane, Sierra. All you have to do is walk into a room and I get rock hard. I want to be free to touch and kiss every inch of you, but if you’re touching me, I’m going to be inside you. Balls deep, fucking like I’ve wanted to do from the moment we met.” He rolled his hips, pushing his cock against the juncture of her thighs with insistency. Man, he wished there wasn’t any clothing between them.

She shuddered, her eyes growing even more heavy-lidded with lust. “From the moment…” She trailed off when he possessively cupped her breast. Even though she had a petite frame, her breasts were a little larger than a handful. He gently massaged it, lightly rubbing his thumb over her nipple.

“The moment. You’re so damn sweet I knew I was no good for you.” She started to protest but he placed a finger over her lips. “The only thing I want to hear out of your mouth is ‘faster’, ‘slower’ or ‘fuck me harder, Hayden’.” He’d never been a talker in the bedroom so he wasn’t sure what had come over him. Okay, that wasn’t true. The most primal part of him understood that Sierra would need this. At least at first. She needed reassuring words and he’d give them to her.