Checkmate if the third book of the the Awakening Love trilogy (Seduction by Design is the second book,)
Rob found her, as June’s domestic said he would, under the overhanging trees of the natural woodland that grew by the side of the lake. He had followed a long path, threading his way over the extensive lawn and through the sweet-scented flower gardens and colourful shrubbery, until he arrived at the deciduous trees. The beech, oak, ash and chestnut were resplendent in their summer glory. The grassy slope by the water’s edge was a very private place, some distance from the house. She was sitting on a rug with a pencil in her hand and a sketchpad on her knee. But she wasn’t working: her gaze seemed unfocussed and her mind far away.
June appeared to be in another world, and he wondered if he might be there with her. How he bitterly regretted the rough sex he tried to have with her… was it four or five years ago? How time flies! If only he’d accepted it was Charlie’s child she was bearing, things would have worked out so very differently. She might still be part of his business ventures and, as everyone knows, one thing always leads to another….
Even so, although Charles had forbidden him to be alone with her, he had at least accepted her continuing to do a few sketches each season. Meeting occasionally to discuss her ideas was essential, but it wasn’t enough: her design potential was wasting away. Not only that, he wanted her body as well as her creative flair. For, in spite of all the women on offer, she was still the only one he lusted after. And he was pretty sure that deep down, she wanted him too.
And here she was, all by herself even though both she and Charles were expecting him to call that afternoon. In spite of having put on a little weight she was looking very provocative. The shape of her firm large nipples stood out from under her gypsy blouse and the sight was quite intoxicating. Her feet, and what he could see of her legs, were bare and he wondered if her long flowing skirt hid the fact that she was naked underneath. He smiled: he might make a lot of money from producing high quality lingerie but, as a mere male, he was all for women desiring bodily freedom.
‘Hello, June,’ he said softly; to speak louder would have been a violation of the peaceful scene.
She was startled by his sudden appearance. ‘Rob! I didn’t see you.’ She looked at her watch. ‘Golly, is it that late? I forgot the time. But surely you must be early? Yes, at least half an hour.’ Flustered, she began gathering her things together. ‘This is dreadful. I came here to get my thoughts together. I haven’t even changed, for goodness sake.’
‘You look all right to me.’
‘Nonsense! I look quite wild.’ She stood up. ‘I really must get back to the house and tidy myself up. These clothes are most unsuitable for a business meeting.’
‘Dressed like a nymph of the woods? What could be more suitable for an arboreal setting on a sunny day? But I guess we must have our meeting inside. …Charles not home yet?’
‘He’s at work. Very busy today.’ She began picking up her things. ‘We can have our meeting on the terrace. Much too nice to be inside on a day like this.’
‘If you’re sure it’s okay to be alone, that’s great.’ He took the blanket from her and spread it out. ‘In that case, might as well stay here. It’s quite inspirational.’
He threw his jacket and briefcase on the ground, loosened his tie and sat down on the rug, offering her a place by his side. She hesitated a moment and then gracefully lowered herself sideways to him. He could sense her nervousness. Fear about her work? Or was it excitement of what might happen between them? He was only about twenty minutes early, so why wasn’t she in the house getting ready for his arrival? Because she was in an ideal setting and dressed for what she hoped would take place? Intriguing! He felt his masculinity rising to the occasion and had to force himself to think of the business he’d come to discuss.
He opened his briefcase and took out various papers and fabric samples.
‘I noticed the two little ones with your sister in the conservatory. Where are the others?’ he asked, wanting to know how long they had before they were interrupted.
‘Rosie is teaching, of course. David and Peter are sailing; making the most of the good weather before going back to Cambridge. Jimmy is at school.’
She had her head down, looking intently at the swatches of fabric. Did she know what was on his mind? Of course she did.
‘I was hoping to see James today.’ Why would she persist in calling their son Jimmy?
She was handling a piece of finely-striped, woollen fabric; feeling its texture while looking at a sketch. ‘He’ll be home just after four. My daughter’s picking him up. He can join us for a cup of tea in the conservatory.’ She glanced at him almost shyly. ‘That is, if you can stay that long.’
‘Of course. But what about Charles?’
‘Charlie won’t mind. He won’t be home until this evening.’ She lowered her eyes. ‘Of course, he knows you’re here today.’
She smiled nervously. ‘Yes… I guess he’s prepared to trust you after all this time.’
‘But can I trust myself?’
Clearly, she was aroused by his presence: her voice had a slight quiver to it and, although she was trying to hide her feelings, her bright hazel eyes were sparkling excitedly. He watched her body respond as he gazed intently at her legs and upwards to her breasts; her nipples were actually hardening into stiff peaks beneath the fine fabric of her blouse. She couldn’t help herself. Obviously, she wanted him, needed him, badly. Charles not man enough to satisfy her? Or was she merely bored by mundane living and needed a bit of excitement in her life? Probably both.
Meeting with her during the past few years had been strictly business, and he’d always been the perfect gentleman. He couldn’t be otherwise with someone always present. She may have thought she was over his captivating ways, but he knew better. Of course, part of her — the reasoning mind — wanted him to get on with business matters and go. Even so, her adrenaline had started to flow and the darker side of her nature demanded the sexual stimulation of his presence. He had seen and felt it so many times before. Overpowering her inhibitions was the thrill of the chase.