Excerpt from AWAKENING
“A subordinate, is it?” his father mused then frowned for a moment, deep in thought. “I like your thinking. Getting a subordinate involved and supporting this process from the start will go a long way in placating the disgruntled caste.”
Gannon glanced at me quickly then looked back to the high chancellor, eyes narrowed. “That wasn’t the intention.”
“Nevertheless, it was a good idea,” he said dismissively. “We look forward to reading the proposal in a week’s time.” The monitor’s transmission ended.
I made for the door.
“Kira,” Gannon said sharply.
I took a deep breath and turned back to him.
He took a few steps toward me then stopped. “Please disregard what my father said.”
“You used me,” I said, advancing on him.
“No.” He shook his head firmly.
“Then please explain why you humiliated me during the meeting.”
Gannon looked puzzled. “Is that what you think I did?” he said, scanning my face. “You were incredible.”
That threw me off for a moment, but I rallied and stuck to the issue at hand. I folded my arms and rolled back my shoulders.
“You embarrassed Gabriel, completely disrespecting him.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Is that so?”
I glared at him.
Gannon ran a hand through his hair and turned away. I watched as he settled into a chair that was located behind an imposing desk situated directly across from the monitors. He immediately began to type on a much larger version of a tablet that was meant to remain solid and in the room.
After a moment, I let my arms fall to my sides. “Don’t you have anything to say?”
He continued typing, not looking at me. “What should I say? You’ve told me what I’ve done. Case closed.”
I walked up to the desk, baffled. “So you admit it?”
He exhaled and leaned back in his chair. From my position looking down at him, I should have felt like the one in command, but I didn’t. His eyes made a slow and scorching path over me. My body lit up under his blatant observation.
“I make it a practice not to defend myself against other people’s assumptions about my character or intent,” he said coolly. “It grows very tiresome.”
I flushed and my gaze dropped to the desk. As a result, I noted the official seal of the Realm engraved into its wood top. It was a timely reminder that I was speaking with a senior member of the Senate caste.
I readjusted my bag. “I’ll leave you to your work then, chancellor,” I said, turning on my heel and feeling oddly deflated for not getting the fight I anticipated. As I stalked toward the door, I heard shuffling and the creak of a chair.
“Who is he to you?”
I stopped mid-stride and turned to find him standing by the desk, hands in his pockets.
He approached me and I took a few steps back.
He caught me off guard. I struggled to find the right words to describe Tai’s relationship with me.
“He’s… a friend.” That would have to do.
Gannon studied me. “But he wants more,” he said. He was so close now I could see the steel grey flecks in his blue eyes.
I narrowed my eyes, incredulous. “That’s none of your business.”
“Has he told you about me, about all my flaws and shortcomings?”
“I thought you didn’t care what others thought of you,” I countered.
“I said I don’t defend myself against them.”
I tilted my head, considering his words.
He leaned forward. “Has he had you yet?”
“You’re unbelievable.” I shifted to his left, trying to get around him, but he held firm, his large, lean build blocking me.
“He hasn’t, has he?” He scanned my face as if searching for the answer. A grin slowly took shape on his mouth. “No, if he had you, he wouldn’t have been so ill at ease when he saw me with you.”
I pursed my lips. He was baiting me.
“There’s a chance for me yet,” he said.
“You are an arrogant ass.” I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer.
He chuckled, his full lips curving into a wider smile. “So, you have spoken to Tai about me.”
“I don’t need Tai to tell me what’s plain to see.”
His nodded. “Well said.”
I dragged my eyes from his and took another few steps back, coming against a wall. He followed me. My pulse picked up. Ignoring it, I raised my chin. It was time to deal with matters head-on.
“What do you want?”
His expression sobered. He rested a palm on the wall by my head and ducked his head so we were eye to eye. “Anything you’re willing to give.”
“You’re my superior.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “So?” I echoed in disbelief. “We’re working together on this project. It would be irresponsible.”
“And if I wasn’t your superior on this project?”
“You’re insulting me.”
He frowned. “Why do you say that?”
I couldn’t believe him. “Are you making it a practice to humiliate me?”
I felt a shift in the air between us as his face clouded over. “I will say this only once, Kira. My intention wasn’t to humiliate you.”
He held my gaze as I judged the sincerity of his words.
“You’re a senator,” I said simply.
“So I’ve been told.”
“I won’t be used as a plaything.”
It was his turn to cock his head, confusion clear in his regard. “You could never be a plaything.” He raised his free hand towards my cheek, but then let it fall. After a few moments, he grinned.
“You should have seen yourself. So fierce. You looked ready to murder me,” he said, leaning in once again. I licked my lips, drawing his gaze to my mouth. “I’ve never been aroused during a meeting before.”
Tingles raced up my spine. I closed my eyes and rested the back of my head against the wall.
“You want me, Kira, and I think as much as I want you. Is it Tai who’s stopping you?”
I shook my head, opening my eyes.
He gave me an incredulous look. “It’s not?”
“It’s not Tai,” I said firmly.
“Good.” He kissed me, startling me into place. Gannon curved an arm around my back, pulling me to him. The position gave him better access to fully engage his assault on my mouth. I breathed in deeply, trying to catch my breath even as he delved between my lips. He tasted and smelled the way he looked and behaved – unrelenting, masculine and overpowering. I held still, refusing to give in even as my mouth opened beneath his.
All Above, he used his mouth like a weapon, taking down my defences one lick at a time. He ran his other hand roughly up along my ribcage. Gannon seemed to be trying to commit every part that he tasted and felt to memory, so forceful were his movements and kiss. With a sigh, I softened under him a bit. I tried to raise my hands, to touch him in some way, but he had them trapped tightly against his chest within our embrace. Instead, I pulled back a bit to lick at his lips and he made a rough and needy sound low in the back of his throat.
Abruptly, he moved his hands to my thighs and in one sudden movement lifted me, his stance widening to prop me up against the wall with his hips. Now with my hands freed, I raised them to his hair, brushing back the blonde locks that were tickling my cheeks. With my skirt bunched up high around my thighs, I felt the stiffness of his arousal as he rocked against me. I began to rub against him, an ache rising painfully between my legs.
He must have sensed my growing desperation. With a sound of impatience, Gannon thrust his hips giving me the friction I needed while I allowed him to feed from my mouth. I was drugged. There was no other way to describe why I was engaging in this tryst.
“Gannon.” I panted between his lips. He grunted, forcing my thighs wider with his hips. “Stop,” I said.
He leaned back immediately, chest heaving, staring hungrily at my mouth.
I avoided his gaze. “I can’t do this,” I said to the collar of his shirt, watching his pulse beat heavily at his neck.
“Why?” he demanded.
I rubbed my lips together and shook my head. There were many reasons, but I had to admit to myself it was my feelings for Tai that held me back.
He considered me quietly as our breathing evened out. Still, my heart thumped painfully against my ribs. Finally, he took a step back, holding my upper arms to steady me as I slipped down the wall. My skirt fell into place as he straightened his uniform. If not for our labored breathing, no one would be the wiser about our passionate exchange.
He crossed his arms. “How long have you known Tai?”
“More than five years.” I said, wondering at the question.
“And in all that time, Tai hasn’t taken what he so obviously wants,” he mused.
There was nothing I could say.
“He who hesitates, loses the prize.”