The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella) (3 page)

BOOK: The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella)
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Abruptly, the door swung open, and Emily Sinclair got her first look at the beast from an undignified position on her frozen ass.

Her glasses were wet and foggy, but he looked like no beast she had ever seen. He did, however, look pretty fierce, dark, and dangerous. Without saying a word, Grady Sinclair stuck his hand out as though he completely expected her to take it. She did, grasping his hand as he pulled her to her feet like she was as light as a feather. Trying to straighten up quickly to regain some modicum of dignity, she gawked up at him. She was tall for a woman, but he dwarfed her, towering over her menacingly. He was dressed informally in a tan thermal shirt that stretched across rippling muscles and a massive chest. He was sporting a pair of jeans that looked worn, and he filled them out in a way she’d never seen a man wear a pair of jeans before.

Holy crap!
Grady Sinclair was hot. Scorching hot. His dark hair was mussed, and he had a just-rolled-out-of-bed look that made her want to drag him back to a bedroom. Any bedroom. He looked like he hadn’t shaved today, and the dark, masculine stubble on his jaw just added to the testosterone waves she swore she could almost feel pulsating from his magnificent body and entering hers, making her squirm just a little at her body’s reaction to him.

She drew in a deep breath as his gray-eyed stare seemed to assess her, and finally came to rest on her face. “Hi,” she said weakly, unable to form any intelligent words right at that moment. Her brain was mush and her cheeks flushed pink with mortification. This just wasn’t the businesslike, graceful entrance she had hoped for, and her lustful reaction to Grady Sinclair had her uncharacteristically flustered.

I need to get it together. I’m acting like an idiot. I need this donation.

He grabbed a fistful of her jacket and tugged her inside, closing the door behind her. Plucking the glasses from her face, he used his shirt to clean them before he handed them back to her. “You don’t look like one of my brother Jared’s usual women,” he said gruffly. “Bedroom is upstairs.” He pointed his thumb toward the spiral staircase on the far side of the enormous front room.

Emily stared at him blankly for a moment, and then slanted her gaze toward the living room to try to clear her head. She certainly couldn’t seem to think straight when she was looking directly at
him
.

Bedroom? What the hell is he talking about? Jared’s women?

“I think you have me mistaken for someone else. I don’t know you, and I’m not acquainted with Jared. I came to ask a favor.”
Who does he think I am?

“And you’re offering
your
favors for a favor, right?” he asked grimly, his graveled baritone almost disapproving.

Her head jerked back to his face. “What? No. What kind of favor?” she replied suspiciously.

“My brother Jared told me I needed to get laid, which generally is followed by a woman arriving here at my house. I usually just send the women away with a check. But I’ve decided I’ll take you,” he said huskily.

Emily gulped. “Someone sends you women . . . as in prostitutes?” Good God, the last thing Grady Sinclair needed was a hooker. She couldn’t think of one single woman who would actually turn him down. “Do I look like a whore?” she asked irritably, suddenly offended by the fact that he’d thought she was for sale. But she felt a shiver of need slide down her spine and land right between her thighs at the thought that he actually wanted her, and what he might do to her if she
were
actually a woman for hire. She wasn’t beautiful and she was curvy, her ample figure a little more than most men found attractive.

He reached out and unzipped her jacket, divesting her of the garment and hanging it on a hook by the door. Turning back to her, he said slowly, “Nope. You don’t. That’s why I want to fuck you.”

Emily gasped, his blatant words and heated appraisal making her flush. “Well, I don’t know Jared, and I don’t want to do
that
.”
Liar. Liar.
She so
did
want to do
that
, but she wasn’t about to admit it when he’d just insulted her. Besides, she didn’t do casual sex. “I’m Emily Ashworth and I’m the director of the Youth Center of Amesport. I wanted to talk to you about a possible donation.”

She shuddered as his intense, molten gaze swept over her body and back to her face, staring at her with a look so smoldering and hungry that her core clenched in response.

“You’re cold,” he said abruptly, taking her frozen hand in his and leading her through the living room, down the hallway and into a cheery kitchen. “Sit,” he demanded huskily as he dropped her hand, halting at the kitchen table.

Emily sat, so confused that she was unable to make herself do anything else. She watched silently as Grady Sinclair moved around the kitchen, his large body maneuvering with a fluidity of motion that shouldn’t be possible for a man as large and muscular as he was. Watching him from behind was almost mesmerizing. She was jealous of the denim that was cupping an ass so tight that she could see the flex of muscle beneath the seat of his jeans as he moved, and it was a view she couldn’t bring herself to look away from for some time. Finally, ripping her gaze from him, she let her eyes wander around the kitchen—a bright, airy room with beautiful granite countertops and polished wood floors. The all-white kitchen had high-end appliances that Emily eyed covetously and gleaming copper pots hanging from hooks on the ceiling. Beyond, there was a dining room with a formal, polished wood table, but the room was dim, sparsely furnished, and looked seldom used.

He sauntered to the kitchen table moments later and pushed a mug in front of her, sitting down next to her with his own cup in hand. Emily placed her cold fingers around the mug, sighing as she inhaled the heated, fragrant brew. It was a hot apple cider, and she took a long sip, the warm liquid instantly starting to thaw out her frigid body. “Thank you,” she told him quietly as she set her mug back on the table. “So will you consider it?”

“Why?” he questioned darkly, his heated gaze spearing her as she squirmed uncomfortably in her chair.

“The Center needs money.”

“Why?” he asked again, lifting a brow as he sipped his drink, his eyes never leaving her.

He knows I’m desperate, that there’s a reason I’m here so late asking for money.

“A man I was dating stole the operating money from the Center and we can’t keep running without a significant donation,” she admitted, wondering why she was feeling the need to be completely honest with him.

Starting hesitantly, she spilled the entire story about the money being stolen as Grady watched her, his expression unreadable as he listened. “So would you be willing to help?” she asked nervously as she finished her story.

He was silent, his expression contemplative as he continued to look at her. Intense minutes passed before he finally answered, “I might be willing to consider it. But I’d want something in return.”

She picked up her mug and took another sip of cider, swallowing awkwardly before she spoke again. “What? I’ll do whatever I can to get you what you want.” The whole future of Amesport depended on his answer. Emily knew she had nowhere else to go and no other solution.

“That’s good, because you’re the only one who can get it for me,” he agreed casually. “Because what I really want is
you
.”

Emily nearly choked, sputtering as she swallowed. Dear God, maybe Grady Sinclair
was
the Amesport Beast after all. “I need to give the town of Amesport a Christmas, they need the Center to stay open, and I’ll do anything to keep from disappointing the kids there, but I’m not sleeping with you to do it,” she told him indignantly.

“We don’t need to sleep,” Grady replied gruffly. “And I hate Christmas.”

How could he hate Christmas? Who hated Christmas except Scrooge?

Emily looked around the massive, tastefully decorated home: not a single red or green decoration in sight. She hadn’t seen one Christmas item in his living room, and there was nothing in the dining room or kitchen. “I happen to love Christmas. It’s the season of giving and helping others, a time of forgiveness and good cheer.”

“Not in my experience,” Grady replied, rising from his chair to take his mug to the sink. “It’s a time of commercial greed where everyone expects something. Nobody is really happy. It’s not real. People are doing what they think is expected of them.”

Emily stood up and stalked over to him, rinsed out both mugs in the sink, and placed them in the dishwasher. “It’s the happiest time of the year.” Emily placed her hands on her hips and stared up at Grady, wondering what had made him so cynical. Her irritation drained away as she caught a glimpse of vulnerability in his eyes, a look that told her he wasn’t being cruel. He was telling her what Christmas had been like for
him
, and for just a moment, Emily had the craziest compulsion to wrap her arms around him and show him that not everyone in the world wanted something from him.

But even I want something from him. I want funds for the Center.

“I can’t have sex with you for money, Mr. Sinclair,” Emily told him flatly.

“I’ll donate a million dollars,” he said huskily, his large body moving closer, pinning her between his body and the sink. “And I’m Grady. I don’t want you calling me Mr. Sinclair. Too many of us.”

“I can’t,” she whispered quietly, almost regretting her ethics. “And nobody donates a million dollars to the YCOA.”

“I would,” he rumbled.

His scent surrounded her as his hands landed on the edge of the sink, a fragrance so masculine that it was intoxicating her. Grady smelled like the ocean, pine, and a tantalizing musk that was uniquely
him
.

Their gazes locked and held; time suspended as Emily began drowning in the swirling, molten pools of gray that reminded her of a storm coming off the ocean. He captured her in the same way as a violent storm, her heart racing as she waited for a force of nature that seemed inevitable.

She didn’t really believe he’d donate a million bucks to her Center just to sleep with her, but she’d never seen a man look at her like this, like he needed to have her or die. Unfortunately, Emily had a feeling that she was gazing at him exactly the same way.

“The boyfriend who stole from you . . . did you love him?” Grady growled, his face a mask of ambivalence, but his eyes were saying something completely different.

“We were only dating for a few weeks. And no, I didn’t love him. Obviously he was only after money. He wasn’t interested in me.” It hurt, but Emily knew it was true. She had been a pawn in Paul’s game, a nonperson who was disposable.

“Did you fuck him?” Grady asked bluntly.

“No. Of course not. I barely knew him,” Emily replied, offended.

“Good.” A satisfied look replaced his severe expression. “He was an asshole.”

Grady had moved so close that she could feel his warm breath on her cheek, his close proximity making her quiver with need.

“Please,” she whispered, although she didn’t have a clue what she really wanted. All she knew was that she was caught up in some crazy compulsion that she couldn’t seem to break away from. She wrapped her arms around his neck, still held in thrall by the scent of him, the feel of his muscular body pressed against hers.

Without another word, Grady lowered his head and took her mouth with his, and she suddenly knew exactly what she had wanted. Emily surrendered to him with a wanton moan, losing herself completely to the beast.

CHAPTER 2

Grady had known he wanted the woman in his arms from the moment he’d seen her sitting on her ass on his doorstep, looking up at him with those innocent blue eyes through crooked glasses, and an embarrassed expression. Emily Ashworth had looked like an angel that had crash-landed on his porch, and he’d been disappointed when he remembered that Jared had threatened to send him another hookup. That had been the last thing he’d wanted . . . until he saw Emily. His cock had jumped to attention almost immediately, and all he’d wanted to do was seize the woman, throw her over his shoulder, and make her his as quickly as humanly possible.

Mine.

Spearing his hands through her hair, he groaned into her mouth as the tie holding her hair back gave way, spilling the silky strands over his fingers, caressing his hands like a lover. He felt greedy and desperate, his mouth tasting, his tongue trying to claim her. She tasted like ambrosia, and he couldn’t get enough. All he wanted to do was devour her whole, but she’d already said no, which made him even more frenzied. There was something about this woman that was seeping into his skin as he held her, melting the ice around his heart, and starting to relieve the restlessness and loneliness that were his constant companions. It was as exhilarating as it was frightening.

I’m happy being alone. I do what I want, when I want. I like it that way.

Grady was lying to himself, and he knew it. Panicked, he lifted his mouth from hers, an effort that was nearly superhuman.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Separating himself from her that abruptly had been painful.

Glancing down at her just-been-thoroughly-ravaged look, Grady fought not to swoop down on her again and lose himself in her heat all over again.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

“Give me a week, and I’ll give you a million dollars.” The impulsive comment sprang from his mouth without him thinking about it. “No sex, but I want you to stay here at the house. Just show me Christmas.” He was no longer interested in a quick screw for money. Not from her, not from Emily. But he was desperate to get her close to him and keep her there.

Grady’s heart was thundering, and his breath was coming heavy in and out of his lungs.

Say yes!

He watched as her brows crinkled in a thoughtful expression. “How?” she whispered in a low,
fuck-me
voice that nearly made him come undone.

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I haven’t really ever celebrated Christmas. Not the way normal people do, anyway. Make me see it the way you do. Do whatever you usually do here with me.”

BOOK: The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella)
2.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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