Burning With Passion

By: Emma Darcy

CHAPTER ONE



LOVING David Hartley was like dancing with the devil. There was no telling where it would lead to, there was hell to pay for it, yet the temptation to go on with the dance was well nigh irresistible.

For Caitlin Ross, there was little of her life that did not revolve around David Hartley. Yet she was no closer to the quintessential man than she had been four months ago when she had been offered the job as his personal assistant.

Her promotion from personal assistant in the office to personal assistant in the bedroom had been extraordinarily rapid by any standard. Caitlin hadn’t said no to him because he simply hadn’t given her time to say anything. He had taken her over in the same way he did any competitor, company or conglomerate. It was breathtaking stuff.

It was only after they had made love for the first time that the situation became confused. Caitlin had discovered there were two distinctive features to David’s personality. The first was that he never referred to his family or his background; the second was that he had a very strict rule against the fraternisation of management and employees in sexual liaisons. He made no exceptions to this rule, apart from breaking it himself.

Caitlin reasoned that he needed someone attuned to his business life, someone with whom he could talk about the things that were important to him, someone who understood. Caitlin could supply that in a way no other woman could. She was closest to him. She loved being closest to him. But it was nowhere near as close as she wanted to be.

In far too many ways, David had made himself an island complete and entire in himself. There were gleams of the person he could be, shining through isolated chinks in his armour, but they were few and far between.

Only in bed did his control slip. When they were finished with their lovemaking he donned it again like impenetrable armour. When he left her, it was as though she no longer existed.

Caitlin had watched him do it again this morning. She wanted to fight it but she didn’t know how. It made her feel threatened and defeated. She couldn’t understand why he wanted, desired her so much, and then shut her out of the closeness she was sure he felt with her in the intimacy of making love..

He strode back into her bedroom.

He was freshly showered and shaved and unashamedly naked. She felt her innermost muscles spasm in response simply to seeing him like this. His body was perfectly proportioned and powerful. He was the ultimate male animal in his prime, although no longer primed for the passion he had already spent some twenty minutes ago. Burn-out for him. Caitlin wanted more. Much more than this.

He looked revitalised after his shower. He always did. His straight black hair was combed back, wet and shiny; his olive skin stretched glowingly over high cheekbones, a cleanly cut jawline and strong nose; his dark, cobalt-blue eyes were lit with purpose for the day ahead of him. A man of command, who drove forward unswervingly, touching everyone within his ambit.

Caitlin fiercely wished she could exercise some influence over his thinking. That had not proved possible. Yet.

He raised a quizzical eyebrow at her as he reached for the shirt he had tossed on to her dressing-table stool last night. ‘No coffee?’

Normally it was on the dressing-table, waiting for him, freshly brewed, black with one sugar. He drank it while he dressed. He never stayed to have breakfast with her. As far as Caitlin could discern, he didn’t eat breakfast.

It was six-thirty now. He would be gone by six forty-five. That was the ritual. He never varied it. Caitlin wished he would.

‘I don’t feel like moving,’ she answered his question on the missing coffee. It was the truth. It was also an act of rebellion.

The fractional tightening of David’s lower lip indicated the message had been received and understood. Caitlin wondered if it would induce David to change his schedule. Would it drive him to making some coffee for himself, and for her? It would only delay him five or ten minutes at the most.

She waited expectantly to see his choice.

He continued dressing, shoving his arms into the sleeves of his shirt, doing up the cuff buttons. He made no move towards the kitchen. Caitlin tried to suppress the nervous flutter that descended to the pit of her stomach.

She had done everything in her power to spin out the dance as long as she could. She had been so careful not to make a false step that would contravene his rules, always fulfilling his needs as she saw them, polishing her role as the perfect partner for him, telling herself that holding David Hartley was worth any effort.

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