Hour by Hour

(Round 2 of the Games & Diversions series)

HbH teaser #3

Round 2: Hour by Hour Goodreads page

HOUR BY HOUR COVER REVEAL EVENT on Wednesday, November 18

CHAPTER 4:

Beating the Clock

The worst enemy of the strategist is the clock. –   Garry Kasparov

*************

ELENA

“Lukas!” I call out. My voice stops him in his tracks.

He tears his way out of Foxx’s office when the conversation stops, but as soon as he hits the hallway, I’m on his heels.

His muscular back is tense beneath his black sweater. I settle behind him and he waits…

The rest of the people in the room begin to file out behind us.

Chris breezes by us without looking. Foxx glares over. Ana winks.

Lukas and I wait until everyone passes before saying anything else to each other.

Their scrutiny makes me self-conscious. I keep my voice low even though everyone is gone.

“Lukas,” I whisper. “What the hell is going on?”

“You know… you can call me Griff the way everyone else does.” He doesn’t turn. “What do you mean?”

I shift impatiently on my feet. “Come on… don’t play dumb with me. By the performance that I just saw in there, it’s very clear that you’re not.”

“And it wasn’t clear before?”

I don’t answer. It wasn’t clear before. In fact, it suited me to think that maybe he was. It made him easier to walk away from…

“I saw the look in your eyes in that office. You know more than you’re letting on. I don’t know why it wasn’t obvious to everyone else, but it certainly was to me.”

“I was concerned about the hack. Just like everybody else was.”

“You’re not like everyone else.”

He shifts his weight and I watch the muscles at his shoulders nearly bristle. He’s like a cat… no, like a lion or tiger—fraught with tension, on the cusp of striking out.

I swallow thickly.

“That’s where you’re wrong, Elena,” he says. “I belong in the same category as everyone else. I’m just a regular worker bee trying to protect the hive—like Chris or Foxx.”

I scoff on a laugh. “Regular is not a word that I’d use to describe you.”

He hesitates. “How would you describe me?”

Intense. Complex. Extraordinary. I sigh. “I don’t know. Just… different.”

“Why don’t we talk another time?” He starts to walk away.

“Why don’t you just be honest?” I yell at his back.

He turns towards me. “Honest?”

Yes! I’d like some honesty. You familiar with the word?”

His eyes darken menacingly, flashing an olive green and then returning to normal.

The party lights only add to his threatening nature. He’s more foreboding in the light than he was in the absolute dark.

He pulls up his sleeves.

“Ok, you want honesty?”

I pull my back straight, meeting his gaze. “Yeah, I do.”

He steps closer, nearly bringing us chest-to-chest.

He’s so close that I can feel the heat of him through the sweater he wears.

But I won’t back down. I don’t move an inch… though I have to squeeze my hands into fists to keep them from shaking.

He leans into me, his voice rumbling low.

“Alright,” he says. “Honestly?

I don’t want to talk to you.

“I’m trying to leave you alone… like you asked me to. I’m trying not to talk to you. I’m trying not to touch you.

“Because if you keep standing there in that ‘come fuck me’ skirt, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

He closes his eyes briefly, as if to rein in his control. He opens them again, and they are brightly blazing.

“So, be a good girl, Elena,” he nearly snarls, “and run along.”

His words send a tremor through me, a tingle that starts between my thighs and tumbles down towards my toes.

His voice has a velvety rasp—like sandpaper under silk. It’s deep, yet grating. As if the need inside him is strangling each word.

His eyes flicker to my bare legs, and I’m suddenly hyper-aware of them—suddenly cognizant of the smooth, shaved skin below my skirt that seemed so innocent just a minute ago.

I now see them as Lukas must see them.

As dangerous. 

As silky and naked temptations that were wrapped firmly around his head just a few short weeks ago.

Fuck, I should’ve worn pants.

I should walk away. He’s given me an opening to turn on my heel and head in the opposite direction.

To remove myself from this situation before it escalates.

But I still don’t have my answers. We’re getting too far off topic, and all of a sudden, I can’t remember what my initial question even was.

He’s distracting me from the matter at hand, and it’s pissing me off. I stand my ground, defying him.

“I’ve got news for you,” I condescend. “I’ve never been a good girl.”

His dark brows lower, turning his bright eyes into slits. I feel a bead of sweat run down my neck as a lock of Lukas’s dark hair falls forward.

I’m provoking him—I know it. But my curiosity won’t let me stop.

What will he do? How will he react?

Right now, he is a caged animal, prickling in its confines, and I’m an inquisitive child, rattling the bars, poking between the open spaces.

Will he bite?

God help me, I sure as hell want him to.

But the bite doesn’t come. Instead, Lukas pushes his body into mine, causing me to walk backwards.

He backs me into Foxx’s office once again. But the light from the office laptop is not nearly enough to illuminate the way.

I reach my hands blindly behind me and my fingers find Foxx’s office desk. I grip its edge.

I am fucking terrified… and exhilarated all at once.

“Last chance, Elena,” he warns ominously. “Walk away.”

There it is again. That thunder.

Each time he speaks, it is like a quiet drumroll in the distance, a foreboding raincloud from the sky sending shivers across my shoulders.

A silent threat hangs on his every word, and though, I can’t yet see the threat, I hear it in his tone—I feel it.

I prepare myself for the rain.

“Why?” I manage to breathe out.

“Because, Elena… if there was anything pure about you… if there’s even a shred of good that you want to keep, then you should go.

“Because, if given the chance, I will fuck every last inch of innocence out of you. Do you understand?”

He leans in, speaking the words near my brow. His lips peel back and I can feel him bare his teeth against my skin. My eyes drift to a close.

Here it comes, I think to myself.

The lightning. The bite…

Lukas twists to the side, reaching over to close the door and lock it. My fingernails dig into the desk’s wood.

The blue-grey glow from the laptop emphasizes the intensity in his eyes, and he grabs my hips, shifting me to a sitting position on the desk.

He places his hands on either side of me, staring me down.

“By now, you should know… that it’s too late to turn back, Elena, so I want you to listen to me—and listen to me good.

“I’m going to fuck you now with my tongue.

“Not because I want to, but because I have to. I have to taste you again.

“I have to see if your pussy was as soft as I remember, if it’s as mouthwatering as I daydreamed.

“It can’t be as perfect as my memory says it is. I won’t believe it…”

He snorts on a laugh, but the sound is bitter instead of amused.

“Look, let’s be honest with ourselves, right? Do I piss you off? Aggravate you? Make you want to choke the fucking life out of me?

“Tell me that you want to punch me as much as you want to fuck me. Let’s go back to this ‘honesty thing,’” he spouts with a frustratingly sexy, wry smile.

“Admit it, Elena. You don’t want me in your head anymore than I want you in mine.

“So, let’s just satisfy our curiosity—get the bullshit out of the way and go back to living our normal, regular, fucked-up lives.”

His face is only inches from mine, and I stare at his gorgeous features—speechless.

I wanted honesty. I got it—like a slap to the face.

I want to return the favor… but he already knows how I feel.

Besides… how do you tell a man that you’ve had the best sex of your life with that you want him to lick your pussy… and then you want to smother him with it?

You don’t.

You just let him do what he does best. And then you pray to God that it will cure you of this wayward yearning you seem to have for him.

At my silence, Lukas starts to move.

He places his large hand on the plane of my stomach, laying me flat against the desktop. He flips my pleated, blush skirt upwards and kisses me gently between my thighs.

His hands are rough, but his mouth is indescribably soft. He pulls my panties angrily to the side as his mouth descends on my pussy.

I give a small cry at the cold touch of his tongue, but when it starts to move, it grows warm… then hot, until the slow strokes of his tongue blaze lines of fire across my sweltering folds.

His tongue is wet—insistent. It teases figure eights across my clit as he French-kisses the length of me.

God, how could I have gone so long without this?

He places my legs on each of his shoulders, digging his fingertips above my knees. Up. Down. Higher. Higher.

He takes me to the top of ecstasy… and then beyond it.

I moan loudly, bucking my hips off the edge of the desk.

Lukas lifts his head, murmuring melodically against my clit.

“You are sweeter than I remembered, Elena. Fucking delicious.”

The words make me lose control.

When he penetrates me with his tongue, I come, my orgasm jerking my body like lightning bolts from my head to my toes.

In the midst of spasms, I knock over papers—office supplies. If the laptop weren’t on the other side, it’d be obliterated, too.

And all the while, Lukas never stops kissing; he never stops licking. I climax for what feels like forever.

When my body finally settles, I inhale, long and slow, taking deep breaths, trying to gather what is left of my scrambled brain.

Lukas stands, looking over me as I lay there. His gaze is penetrating. His stance is severe.

His fingers hover above his waistband… and then start to move. I hear the click and jingle of his belt buckle before I see it—before my eyes can adjust to the virtual black that soaks the air.

His eyes are on me—questioning me; I feel them. I answer his probing with my silence.

Yes, Lukas, you can fuck me. You can do whatever you want to do to me.

I lay my head back on the desk. I close my eyes, preparing to feel him.

To feel Lukas.

Hard. Long. Ready.

I am so ready. I was ready before he ever touched me.

I spread my legs a little wider… and a knock sounds at the door.

“Hello?” There’s a small pause. “Is anyone in here? The door’s locked.”

Shit! It’s Ana.

I immediately jerk upright, adjusting my clothes to pretend levels of modesty.

Lukas steps away from me, fastening his belt, and we struggle for composure.

I’m too scared to speak—too afraid that my voice will betray what I’ve just done.

Lukas turns toward the door. “Just a sec,” he calls out. “I’m going through some important files.”

Lukas?” I hear Ana say. “Oh… that’s no problem. Take your time.”

Her voice is hushed and flirty, her tone taking on a completely different tenor when she hears that it’s Lukas. Like me, she can’t help herself.

There’s something about Lukas that makes you want to please him. I should know. I feel it every time he fixes his eyes on me.

When my skirt and hair are smoothed back down, Lukas looks at me. He waits for my nod before opening the door.

My breathing stops.

“Hey, Ana,” he says to her.

“Hi,” she smiles widely at him—before noticing me. “Elle?”

I cough sharply. “Hey, Ana.” I go for a lighthearted pitch; it comes out as a squeak.

Lukas looks from Ana to me. “Elena and I were just going over some last minute files. She noticed something… strange, and we decided to look into it.”

Ana’s eyes flit between Lukas and me. “Everything ok?”

“Yeah, sure, everything’s fine. We figured some things out.

He gives me a pointed look that I hope Ana doesn’t catch. She shrugs her shoulders.

“Well, that’s good,” she says casually. “I just came back because I left my phone.”

She peeks her hazel eyes over my shoulder, and I pivot towards the desk, scanning its surface with my eyes and hands.

Ana steps closer. “Oh! Here it is…” She bends down. “On the floor…” She flips it over, checking for cracks.

“That’s funny…” she states absently. “I thought I left it on the desk.”

I nearly swallow my tongue.

“Well, at least it’s not broken.” She slips the phone into her purse, strutting calmly to the door.

“By the way, Elle…” She keeps her fingers on the doorknob. “You’ve got a Post-It note stuck to your ass.”

She tilts her head mockingly before shutting the door on us.

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