Fingertips slipped under her skirt, skimming her thighs.
Nichole gasped and stumbled backward, the book slipping through her fingers as she fell off the steps tool.
Strong hands gripped her hips, righting her.
Taking a deep breath, she opened her mouth to scream, and . . .
That scent. A blend of sandalwood, cloves, leather, and . . . man. Only one man.
Her scream became a whimper.
“Shhhhh . . . ” Derek whispered against her neck. A shiver rippled through her.
Thumbs hooked into the waistband of her Nina Ricci thong, sliding it down over her hips.
“You know ‘what.’”
Hands gripped her hips, pulling her back. Rigid muscle nuzzled her ass.
“Shhhhh . . . ”
She was trying to remain quiet. But after enduring months of teasing, months of taunting . . .
“Oh, Derek . . . please.” Nichole groaned and reached be hind her. Frantic, needing, wanting . . . N OW.
Here. In the library. In—
At the sound of a throat being cleared, Nichole Simms jumped and slammed her hand over her notebook.
“Good afternoon, Nichole.”
Her startled gaze honed in on the perfectly shaped lips, nestled between a neatly trimmed mustache and goatee.
If I nibbled his lips, would it tickle or scratch? If-
She yanked her gaze to his eyes. “M-Mr. Mitchell. Y-your appointment’s not until one.”
“I know.” Emerald eyes ensnared hers, stealing her breath, jolting her heart.
He stared. She blushed.
“I’ll . . . see if Richard can meet with you now.” The mesh penholder toppled onto her desk as she reached for the phone.
Fingers pressed down on hers, the touch light, the sensation searing. “No.”
No . . . ?
Nichole raised her eyes, staring at the collar of his shirt, afraid to look higher, for fear that he would read her illicit thoughts in her expression. Not that staring at his collar helped, for the crisp whiteness set off his tawny skin while the red silk tie complemented the navy suit. From the corner of her eye, the broad shoulders, accentuated by the tailored drape of his jacket, beckoned her to inspect, to slip her hands under the silk and touch and stroke and-
She returned her gaze to his.
His eyes glittered.
Her knuckles tingled.
Though he stood perfectly still, power seemed to roll off him in waves, mingling with his body heat, concocting a potion impossible to resist.
Okay. She could handle this, maintain the professional façade she always wore like a shield when Derek Mitchell was in the office. He’d just caught her by surprise, that’s all.
Uh-huh. Lurid fantasies in which he’d starred had left her feeling more than surprise. Try hot, bothered, wet—
Her face heated. Sliding her hand from under his, Nichole took a deep breath, imagining the air entering her lungs, entering her bloodstream, and dispersing calmness throughout her body. Erasing the feel of fingers caressing her skin. Sweeping away even more sinful acts not yet written . . . but imagined. Restoring order, normalcy, control.
Breathe in . . . Hold it . . . Breathe out . . . One more time . . .
That was it. She felt better.
Nichole replaced the pens, careful not to look at him.
“Actually,” he said, “I wanted to see you first.”