The Divas Pen: Author of Sensual and Dark Romance writing as Sienna Mynx and T.A. Ford

Love After War

Lauren Bishop has every reason in the world to despise the sexy, chauvinistic, calculating Dylan McGuire. Once colleagues in a top Management Consulting firm in the Windy City, a slick sabotage move by Dylan—her mentor— demolishes any hope for advancement in her career. But that was years ago. And despite the bitter parting she has a lot to be thankful for. She ditches the hustle and grind of Chicago for the serene simplicity of Napa Valley.

Disillusioned by the whims of men and struggling to prove she can make a life for herself without love Lauren grows bitter and jaded.

Now Dylan McGuire is back in her life and Lauren must face off with her old nemesis who is poised to take it all, because he can. However, Dylan’s motives are far more complicated than Lauren suspects. And if he plays the game right, this time the winner takes all.

Read an Excerpt

He stumbled down the dark hall—hands to the wall. Thankfully the bathroom was only a few paces from his room. The rain is what woke him. Tiny torpedoes were what they were. Each drop an explosion against the shingles of the roof, awnings, gutters, until he could deny it no longer. Dazed and a bit winded by the urgent need to piss he cursed the last bottle of wine he’d finished alone.

Dylan’s hand reached inside the cool darkness, fingers splayed and brushed over the icy surface of the tiles along the wall before flipping the light switch. Brightness exploded before his eyes in a searing white flash. He squinted against the florescent globe at the center of the ceiling. The strain caused the headache nagging at the back of his eyes to send a piercing blade of pain through his skull. Immediately he reached aside and turned off the light.

“Motherfucker,” he cursed, his feet shuffled him forward. He needed coffee, a pitcher full. Then maybe another hour of sleep before he considered turning over. He stopped at the sink, dropped his hands on the enamel. Dylan pressed his forehead against the cool glass of the mirror. It helped soothe the pressure needling his temples.

And then he inhaled. The clean stench of pine and disinfectant had a strange hint of spicy cloves of cinnamon that flooded his nostrils. He lifted his head, and stretched his eyes, searching for the source. A potpourri pot at the top of the commode. The intake made bile rise in his throat. Was he sick? His tongue felt dry, hairy, in his mouth. His throat burned when he swallowed. He pushed back from the sink and noticed the dark patches under his eyes. He was definitely not at his best.

Side stepping the sink he tossed up the lid of the toilet seat. The bleached water in the bowl hit him full force. It was as if his nose was a magnet for odor. He nearly leaned in and puked. Dylan swallowed again; it felt like glass going down. He needed his bed. Reaching in the front of his boxers for his dick he bought it out, limp and lifeless in his hand. Dylan’s eyes closed. Darkness, rain, bed, darkrainbed, darkrainbed: the words repeated in his head, like a lighthouse beacon signaling for his relief. That’s what he needed—all three. The tightness in his pelvis eased, but not his stomach. Still it churned, and bubbled.

Seconds counted up to minutes. Opening his eyes he shook his dick then folded it back in the opening of his boxers. Dylan stumbled through the motions, his joints felt wooden. But he flushed, washed his hands then shuffled out of the bathroom with the aid of the wall or whatever was nearest. He made it to his room, collapsed on his mattress where the sheets had lifted from the edges and gathered in a tangled mess to the center of the bed. If he had opened his eyes he would have noticed the flashing red numbers on his alarm clock. It was 6:20.

* * * * *

Thunder echoed softly in the distance. Streams of rain dripped from the hood of her slicker. Its chilly force blew over from the north and south as she hurried with her head bowed. Once she reached the door to the containment center she drew it open with a hard tug of the handle, forcing its glide. The heady scent of crushed grapes and yeast assailed her. Lauren trudged inside.

She feared it would rain the entire day like the weatherman reported. That would be the worst. She pulled down the hood of her raincoat and checked her work watch. It was now 25 minutes after. She waited a blasted 20 minutes at the winery waiting for Dylan McGuire and he didn’t show. Just as she figured.

“Lazy ass.” She mumbled.

Lauren had no time for his shenanigans. There was much to do. For instance her twenty thousand dollar grape crusher had gone out twice this year. The last fix-it job cost her more than she cared to spend. It needed to get her through harvest. Hector told her that the work was finished, but of course she went about flipping switches and pushing buttons to test for herself. The crusher churned on and hummed into synchronization with the de-stemmers. Lauren walked down the line of oak barrels inhaling the bitterness of ferment. She beamed at the machines; the anxiety she carried into her fitful sleep subsided.

Monty told her to use the steel tanks for her first batch. She listened against her better judgment, and her first brand of Pinot could have passed for vinegar instead of wine. Thank God she had an award winning Merlot, if not, the vineyard would have been ruined. This time she had done her homework. Oak barrels were the key. They held two years of prayer, blood, sweat and tears. Bottling would begin tomorrow. Things were going to turn around for her.

Well not everything, there’s still Dylan I got to deal with.

Stopping she checked her watch again. His absence grated her nerves. Here he comes making demands but falls short on his first day at work no less. “Typical.” She mumbled, heading toward the conveyer aisle to run the line. She paused. Maybe he over-slept? It was possible. She shouldn’t just let him off the hook like this. A deal was a deal. She had suffered through dinner with him—almost. Fair was fair. Besides she wanted to beat him fair and square. Lauren removed her phone. She dialed the number for the Nina cottage. The phone rang seven times before she hung up.

Lauren groaned, her eyes slipping to the entrance where rain and leaves had blown in to the center when she arrived. The storm wasn’t letting up. She could venture out in it and prove her point or just get to work. She had another two hours before the men arrived. Frowning, she weighed the pros and cons, sucking on her bottom lip. “Damn it.” She turned and marched out in her galoshes. Tossing the hood of her raincoat over her head she braved the storm, dashing through the howling winds for her truck. Oh he will get off his ass and work today, this isn’t some joke. She would drag him out and force him if she had to. To be honest the idea of bossing his preppy arrogant butt around was her bonus she aimed to collect.

The storm grew intense. Lauren drove in the darkness focusing on the unlit road. The rains brutalized her grape fields. Her wipers worked hard at tossing the spray, she could see the force of the wind’s might in the bending trees and snapping branches. Storms of this nature weren’t common in the valley, which is why most of her neighbors feared flooding. She prayed this wouldn’t be one of those storms. After the short ride ended in front of his cottage she made up her mind. Dylan McGuire would hold to their bargain until the very end. She wanted her place back and him out of it permanently.

Lauren parked. She got out of the truck and fast walked along the glistening sidewalk, her boots splashed in the pooling puddles. Was she crazy to come after him this way? She was beginning to think so. She knocked on the cottage door hard, pounded. He didn’t answer. An eternity passed with nothing. She pounded her fist against the wood door again. Had he left? She was right; he had no intention of seeing their deal through.

The door opened.

Lauren’s head lifted with rain dripping from her hood. He looked horrible. His skin was ghastly pale, his eyes red and glassy, his hair damp to his forehead and sides of his face. He stood before her in his boxers, his arm raised to the top of the door holding it open or him up—she couldn’t tell. What she was facing was a wall of a chest, flexed and perfect in its sculpted majesty. The rips and cuts of his abdomen added definition to the flat contour of his stomach—he was all male. Lauren’s eyes slowly eased to the silky hair that trailed from his navel and disappeared into the front of his boxers. They didn’t stop there. She lingered on the imprint at the front of his boxers. She felt warmed in the cooling storm.

“Lauren?” he croaked, his voice deep and hoarse.

She shook off her enchantment and went inside. The storm nearly pushed her through the door. He stumbled back a step, looking slightly confused. Lauren brought down her hood. Gone was his confidence, hell he didn’t even look to be fully awake. “Are you okay?”

“Am I late?” he squinted at her.

“Uh, yeah, I waited for you for half an hour.” She crossed her arms.

He nodded. “Sorry sweetheart. Give me a second.”

She ground her molars and bit back a sharp reply from his evoking a pet name for her. Bastard. No matter how many times she asked him not to, he persisted. She found it condescending and a little unsettling, but she swallowed her objections. Even she wasn’t that cruel of a bitch when she could see he evidently wasn’t quite himself. Lauren watched him go. His boxers drooped on his narrow hips, riding lower than he intended. He had a slight bow to his legs, but it was his calve muscles flexing after each step that held her attention. She averted her eyes, thankful that her darker skin would cover her blush if he happened to look back. In all the time she’d known him she hadn’t been the least bit attracted to him. She was in awe of him and respected him once, but there was never any attraction.

Not that he wasn’t attractive. In fact the women in the office acted as if he was some kind of Roman God. They’d ignore his sexist speech, and play into every stereotype he had of professional women. Low bends in front of him to show off their cleavage or ass, silly giggles when he made some stupid joke. Despite the fact that all of them had at the very least their MBAs, they gave off and air of bimbo that pleased him. She and Dena would both groan when forced to bear witness to his and Chet’s antics. That in itself was the major turn-off, add to that he never really showed any of them any interest, just made them all the more pathetic. If he wasn’t a conspirator with Chet Davis she would have thought him to be gay.

Lauren shook her head. Somewhere in one of the guest rooms he knocked around, closing and opening drawers and closet doors. She listened, still feeling a little flustered by his disheveled appearance. It had been quite awhile since she’d been in the company of man who donned only boxer shorts. She must have been lonelier than she thought.

Compassion slipped into her heart. She should cut the guy some slack. At least he was making an effort. No matter how she tried to pick apart his motivation one thing was clearm he was making an effort for her. A hint of a smile formed on her lips, but she quickly swallowed it. She shouldn’t be flattered, well maybe just a bit. After all she was human.
Again she searched the empty hall for his return. She wondered if he was catching a cold. That would explain the haggard look to his face. She could fix him some tea while she waited. She turned for the kitchen but her eyes soon fell upon the empty bottle and glass. So he was hung-over? What did he just drink and lounge around then blew her off when it was time to meet her? She shook her head, “Typical playboy bullshit.” She mumbled. Here she was summoning compassion for the drunk. “I’ll wait outside in the truck!” she snapped and stormed out.

* * * * *

Dylan could use the mug of coffee he was dreaming of. He settled for a stick of spearmint gum instead. Feeling glued to his skin he wiped at his brow. The feverish heat could be felt to the back of his hand. Suppressing a sneeze he couldn’t believe his luck. He felt like shit.

“We’ll need to go to the containment facility first. Hopefully the rain will let up and we can hit the fields today, if not there is plenty to do with the bottling and pressing of the grapes.”

He nodded silently, closing his eyes. She was so close in the cab of the little farmer truck, that his nose again detected the normally undetectable. For starters her feminine scent was all over the interior thus all over him. Not exactly perfume it was fresh, more natural with a hint of cleanliness like that of baby powder. He opened his eyes and detected the source. The warm air from the vents blew her his way. His eyes slipped over to her in the darkness. He focused on her profile. The tiny diamond stud in her ear sparkled. Her hair was once again smoothed back in a ponytail. Her nose, lips, long lashes, all of her excited him. He used to stare at her profile when they worked together. She hadn’t changed much.

Her eyes cut over to him and he looked away. He needed to cool it. Thinking of that old crush was bad news. Still his mind wandered. One time in particular, he discovered that the new junior trainee who followed him around the office like a frisky puppy was indeed a woman. A night when they both worked late, one of many.

Dylan removed his glasses and set them on the desk. He pinched the bridge of his nose and gave his eyes a rest. What time was it? He checked his watch and discovered it was just after 9. He’d print out the rest of the report and read it on his sofa with a cold beer and container of day old Pad Thai. Moving the mouse around with the flick of his wrist he double clicked the arrow on the print icon. Rising he stretched a little and swallowed a yawn. Walking through the office, he saw two others vacuuming. The workers looked up and dropped their heads immediately. He dismissed them and continued down the carpeted hall. The lights were pretty much off throughout. He passed Mason’s office and mused over the new policies of the firm: junior associates. So now they were in the business of hiring less qualified college recruits and then forced to train them? Were they an investment firm or a daycare?

Shaking his head he located the printer. On top a blue light flashed, the LCD window displayed the error: load paper jam.

“Motherfucker. I don’t need this shit!”

He yanked out the lower drawer and grabbed from the stack of paper sheets to refill the printer. He then forced it on the tray before shutting the drawer forcefully. He finger punched the green start button again but the icon continued to flash the error. “Shit.” He sighed. Marjorie had a knack with the office equipment, but Marjorie was gone. He was fucked.

Then he heard a noise—a bang of some sort. Frowning he looked down the hall. It came again, this time with a soft grunt. Dylan, curious, followed. He discovered her in the break room. She was up against the vending machine as if she was being searched by an officer of the law. Both hands were pressed to the vending machine glass. Her legs were parted, the dark blue skirt pulled tight at her upper thighs, hips and ass giving him an oh so pleasant view of her curves. She pushed again, lifting on her toes in three-inch heels. He was a shoe man. He could tell by the soles that they were expensively made, and the point of her stiletto heel didn’t have any worn down scuffmarks. Perfection in a skirt. Dylan stood there smiling for a few seconds, wanting for her to continue. Finally he broke. “Need some help?”

Lauren startled, tossed her dark locks and looked back. Embarrassed she immediately corrected herself. Her blouse had come out of the front of her skirt and she quickly eased it in place. “Mr. McGuire, I…ugh…sorry, I was trying to get some, my M&M’s are um, stuck.”

Dylan looked past her to the yellow pack of candy that hung over an iron loop. His brow arched. “Well you think banging on our machines is the way to go for a pack of fifty-cent candy?”

She blinked at him, alarm stretching her eyes. “No sir. Well, I—”

“I’m kidding. Let me help.” Dylan said. She nodded stepping back. Dylan crouched before the large machine. He uncomfortably reached a hand in through a plastic flipping door. His fingers stretched up for the edge of the pack. Lauren took a step toward him. Her legs parted slightly and his eyes came up between her thighs with an unexpected view under her skirt. So he averted his eyes, momentarily, but the man in him kept looking back. Wasn’t his fault, the only thing left to do to resist the urge was to close them.

“There,” he said punching the rack beneath and causing the candy to drop. He retrieved the pack. She was trying to help him stand. He didn’t need it, but he got a good whiff of her from her efforts and appreciated it.

“Thank you so much Mr. McGuire.” She beamed.

“I’m your senior, not your professor. Call me Dylan.” He said passing her the candy.

She nodded. “I got a thing for yellow M&M’s. Helps me think. In college I would munch them all night to get ready for a test. Especially an all-nighter. But it’s like they don’t put many yellow M&M’s in the pack anymore. I get maybe four or three. Mostly brown ones, you know?”

Dylan watched her lips move, her pink tongue peeking through every now and then. She batted long even lashes at him and her face kind of had this way of moving side to side when she spoke. He could stand there all night talking about some stupid candy color if she kept moving and bouncing in front of him that way. Snapping out of it he looked to his watch. “What are you doing here so late?”

“Reading,” she grinned, as if he was going to reward her for the effort. “I have a lot to catch up on, remember you said until I knew the Douglas report to not even talk to you about Anderson. So I’ve been trying to get ahead. Found some interesting things too. I think you missed the Greenspan market analysis of 2003. If you had read his findings you would have easily understood that the business model of Douglas was—”

Dylan’s smile faded. She had to go ruin it, telling him he didn’t know what the fuck he was doing. Questioning him like she was his superior, finding flaws in anything he gave her. He had busted his ass for two years to recruit Anderson to the firm. Then Mason just hands it to this kid. He looked her up and down. “Well, you’ll need to do more than read market reports to become a good investor. Oh and sweetheart I didn’t miss a thing, the Douglas return was just as I forecasted. It’s called strategy. Get one.”

“Yes sir.” She smiled.

Dylan shook his head and walked out. She was on his heels. “I read your ROI for the partners last year on Anderson. It was really good but I have some questions. How about I get my laptop and show you what I found?”

He sighed. She kept prattling on, hammering him with her fucking questions, suggestions, just running her fucking mouth. His headache returned. Stopping at the printer he cursed under his breath at the paper jam. Slamming and opening each paper tray door he found them stocked. What the fuck was wrong with the damn thing. “Look!” he yelled. “If you really want to be useful fix the damn printer!”

Lauren stopped mid-sentence. She looked over at the machine then him again. Dylan tapped his foot, glaring at her, waiting for her to say anything off key so he could lay into her. She was making him crazy. But she flashed him a smile instead. “Just hit reset…after….you, um, here, wait, here’s your problem.” She opened the side drawer and found the crumbled white sheet of paper wrapped around a roll. Lauren pulled out the pieces. Motherfucker! He didn’t know the blasted thing had paper loads on the side. He watched her as she punched some keys then reset it.

The printer began to spit out his report. She collected each, used the automatic stapler on the machine then presented the pages to him.

He smirked. “Something you’re good at Lauren. Maybe you should be my secretary instead of my junior analyst.”

Her smile faded. He took the papers and walked off. When he looked back he caught the look of disappointment in her eyes. She watched him a moment and turned away. He was being a dick, yes, but at least he extinguished that fire she was stoking in him. He wanted Lauren Bishop to stay away.

Dylan sighed. He was a complete tool. And Chet was right. He had a hard-on for her from day one. He replayed that moment again in his mind. But this time he didn’t crush her spirit. This time he stepped to her and told her that her she was brilliant. This time he confessed that he made many mistakes with Douglas and got lucky with Anderson. This time he let her talk about yellow M&M’s until she pleased and when she was done he shared with her how that damn perfume was making him wild. This time he grabbed her and bent her over the printer and yanked up her skirt. He’d get between those thighs of hers and give her all that heat she had churning in his dick. This time he’d rip off her blouse and run his tongue up her back as he gave it to her over and over….

* * * * *

“Something wrong?” Lauren asked.

Dylan opened his eyes. He looked over to see she was frowning at him. You mean am I daydreaming of making love to you again in my head, when it’s evident you’d rather get a root canal? Yeah, something’s wrong. “I’m just tired.” And sexually frustrated too.

“You can get a cup of coffee inside.” She mumbled, throwing the gearshift into park. Her tone was, as always, professional and dry. It grated at him. But he was incapable of voicing it the appropriate way. It took too much energy to engage her and even more energy to try to charm her. Especially after the shitload of mistakes he’d made so far. Dylan chose to reserve his energy to get through the rest of the bleary day. It was a miracle he made it this far. This morning when he opened the door and was greeted by the rain, he almost threw the towel in. But he thought of their deal and soldiered on. It was his first day after all. He had to make a good show of it.

“Ready?” she asked. A hint of irritation in her voice.

It hurt to speak but he managed a reply. “I’m good. Let’s do this.”

She tossed him a rain slicker. “Put it on, don’t want you getting sick on me.”

“So you care?”

She ignored the comment, hopping out and running for the entrance. The darkness was complete. Not a ray or hope of sun approached. He sniffed back the urge to sneeze and slipped the rain slicker on over his wet clothes. Dylan shivered. He finger combed his damp hair back from his forehead, and caught a sneezing fit. He sniffed and tried to cover quickly.

“Look, are you sure you’re okay?” she said, arms crossed, waiting impatiently for him inside. He nodded, again thinking it best not to speak. Grudgingly he forced his body to move and follow. The inside of what he would call a barn was larger than the one he found her in. He couldn’t remember what he read about her place, or how her operation was ran. The Grayson people gave him a ton of information, but as usual when it came to her he was distracted. Walking a few paces behind her his eyes swept her equipment. The machines were massive. He stopped in front of a steel tank that was being fed from a conveyer belt. It hummed noisily, and he felt the vibrations go through him. He imagined the herds of grapes separating and rolling around inside.

“Okay Dylan, time for the tour.” Lauren shed her raincoat. He mimicked her and dropped his next to hers on a table. He would eventually catch his second breath, but right now he settled on swallowing down his first. Lauren was ahead of him. Again she wore khaki pants and a standard polo with the LB Winery insignia. He refused to see her as anything beyond a business partner right now. So he forced thoughts of flies and maggots to the front of his brain and not her shapely hips and ass imprinted through the back of her slacks. If she picked up on his suppressed desires all bets would be off. Besides getting to know the woman over the myth he had formed in his head was a greater temptation.

“This baby here is called Delilah. She’s the Crusher!” Lauren smiled hitting the tank. It echoed back hollowly.

“Oh so you don’t stomp the grapes with those pretty feet of yours?” Dylan smirked.

“Cute, no, but we do allow some of our tourists to go to the fields and do a good old grape stomping. It’s good business. My idea.”

“I like it.” He smiled.

She smiled and looked away. “See here, the grapes are conveyed down to Delilah, she’s a de-stemmer and crusher, they are picked and separated there. The grape leaves and stems are dropped over there as compost for the fields. Then they are fed through here where they enter the press.”

Dylan’s eyes followed her hand. He nodded that he understood.

“Safety first Dylan. You work the machines today, I want you partnered and in full gear. You understand?”

He looked over to the hook where big boots, long sleeve gloves, and goggles hung. He imagined when the operation was at full steam the pressing and de-stemming sent heat and scattered particles at the men along the lines. He nodded that he understood.

“Good. Now we should have some to load today, but Hector never wants me to work the load compartment, so sorry but he’ll have to train you,” she shrugged.

He frowned. “Hector?”

“You’ll meet him soon enough.” She tossed back and walked the line. Disappointed, he tried to keep up, his vision blurring several times. “Now this is something you must learn. Very important,” she stopped near some large bins of grapes still attached to their vines. The blast of fruity rot and soil hit his gut and made him want to puke. He swallowed down the urge. She either didn’t notice or didn’t care. His money was on the latter. “Most red grapes go to the fermenter for primary fermentation.”

“And the fermenter is?”

“It’s the conversion of sugar into alcohol.” She smirked at his ignorance. He winked at her and she rolled her eyes. “Anyways, the white grapes are pressed prior to fermentation and yeast is added before they go in. You got that?”

“Got it.” He nodded.

She eyed him a moment. He frowned at the way she looked at him. “What is it?”

“You got a boogie in your nose.”

Dylan wiped immediately. Lauren turned and walked off. He sighed. It was going to be a long morning.

* * * * *

Jet plane, caviar, and a sexy Italian billionaire whispering how he would have the pilot land and he would bathe her in jewels if she would just part her legs. That was one of her better dreams. Dena smiled, rolling her hips, her pelvis quaking. She stuffed the pillow between her legs, squeezing her thighs tight added some much needed pressure up against her sex. It helped a little. She settled back into the dream, his hand now easing up her skirt. Dena licked her lips. Somewhere between a dream orgasm and REM she heard an unexplainable knock. It wouldn’t go away. Opening her eyes she listened. At first nothing came but the hollow echoes of thunder and the trickling sound of rain against her bedroom window.

Then the knock came again. Dena groaned. Her eyes searched for the clock. The winery didn’t open until nine. It was seven-thirty. What the fuck? Plus with the rains no one would care if she opened a little late. “Fuck!” she tossed back the covers. Rising she snatched on her robe and stormed through her cottage. “Who is it?” she demanded. Her mind did a quick scramble of the guilty suspects. Claire. If it was Claire again with her lost keys to the main building bullshit she would cuss her ass out. Being the office manager, staff account, tour guide, all around whatever Lauren told her to be, really blowed when she was getting her freak on under the covers with her dream mate.

“I said who the hell—” She snatched the door open.

Dena paused.

Chet smiled.

“What are you doing here?”

“Morning sexy.” He entered with luggage hanging from his shoulder and gripped in his hands. His expensive leather loafers squished on her hardwoods, tracking in puddles of rainwater.

“What the hell are you doing?” she closed the door; the wind blew a sheen of the storms spray over her before she got it fully closed. Dena’s nightshirt barely hit her hips and she only wore a thong underneath. Despite their carnal knowledge of each other’s bodies she shut her robe and tied it tightly around her waist. “Don’t put those down.” She said pointing at his travel bags. “You aren’t staying.”

Chet dropped his haul. “I had to knock on the door of six cottages before anybody would tell me which one was yours. Nice. Nice.” He looked around. “A little modest for our taste wouldn’t you say babe? You with your champagne dreams living the common life? Glad your boy Chet has come, aren’t ya?”

“Did you hear me? You aren’t staying here.”

“What’s with the tude? It’s a fucking monsoon outside,”

Dena took a step toward him. “What’s with the tude? Is that what you asked me? After the shit you and Dylan pulled?” Dena pointed a finger within an inch of his nose. “Don’t even try to deny it. I don’t know how you did it, but you did some sneaky shit to get Grayson.”

Chet waved her off.

“Get out!” she said, throwing her hands up.

“That has nothing to do with us, damn Dena I came all this way. Why make me stay in that cottage alone when we both know what’ll go down while I’m here. Rules my ass. I wanted to see you. Grayson, Dylan, Lauren, none of that has anything to do with us!”

Dena’s brows shot up. “You’re right sugar; they have nothing to do with us, because there is no us. Or have you forgotten that?”

He cut her a look. A look a man of importance would give the woman he belonged to. Problem was he was neither important or hers. So far as she was concerned he could roll right back out into the storm. Dena crossed her arms. “Go back to your car. I’ll call somebody to take you to your cottage. Dylan mentioned you would arrive with some of the Grayson people today. It’s all been arranged. We can discuss your duplicity later.”

“No.”

“No? This isn’t a democracy. I said get out.” She demanded.

“No.” he stepped to her. Dena stepped back, her heart racing, she was moved with lust by the way he advanced on her. But she refused to back down. He stopped so close she was lost in his eyes. “I drove all night Dena. I’m tired. I’m horny, and it’s raining. Hate me later, let me fuck you now.”

She opened her mouth to object but Chet pinched her chin and drew her face to his slipping his tongue inside. Dena’s eyes fluttered. A current went through her warming her at the tender spot she never admitted to having for him. She squeezed her eyes shut. The marvelous swirl of his tongue over hers had her on her toes reaching for more. But that was his way. And this was against the rules. They never met up in their own places—too personal. Dena shoved free. “Get out! Now!” she went to the door and opened it. He glared at her then picked up his bags and walked to the door. He stopped and narrowed his eyes on her. “Remember a toothbrush is your friend babe.” He smirked.

“Oh get out!” she shoved him and slammed the door. Dropping against the door she wiped his kiss away, and a smile formed. She shook her head going for the phone to call someone to pick him up.