Authors: Jennifer Crusie
“Emily, please,” Richard said.
She watched him watch her as she ran her hand across the black silk slip that covered her body, sliding the sheer slip against her, and then slowly pulling it up so he could see first the strip of hot-pink lace across her hips, then the slight roundness of her stomach and finally the full swell of her breasts, straining against the pink lace roses.
When she dropped the slip to the floor, he closed his eyes.
“Untie me,” he said.
“What?” Emily asked softly. “I didn’t hear you.”
She leaned across him and picked a strawberry from the dish. “These were the juiciest strawberries I could find,” she said and leaned closer to him, her breasts almost spilling out of the lace. She stopped for a moment, savoring the feel of their weight against the brief bra. Then she held the berry before him and ran her tongue across it, licking it inches from his mouth, biting into its icy sweetness, dripping the juice across his chest as she sucked the fruit into her mouth.
“Sorry,” she said, and bent down to lick the juice from his skin. Her mouth was cool against the heat of his flesh, and he writhed under her touch.
“Untie me,” he said.
She ignored him.
“What are you doing?” he said.
“Anything I want to.” She kissed him, plunging her tongue into his mouth. His kiss was hard and biting, hot with frustration and need. She pulled back and stared at him, her eyes half-shut, flicking her tongue across her swollen lips.
“Are you going to let me make love to you tonight?” he whispered fiercely.
“Yes,” Emily said. “All night. All of me. Anything you want. When I’m ready.”
“You’re ready now.” Richard pressed himself up against her. “I can feel how hot you are.”
“I decide when I’m ready,” Emily said, and pulled back, taking another strawberry from the bowl as she settled herself gently across his hips, the lace barely touching the hardness of him there. He pushed his hips up under her, and she rose, flexing her thighs so that she was just out of reach. When he relaxed again, she settled above him, watching him, still barely touching him.
With his eyes on her lips, she bit off the end of the strawberry and then drew the cut end of the fruit across her throat and over the swell of her breasts, leaving a trail of gleaming juice that seemed to sizzle on her skin. She grew dizzy at the sensation, closing her eyes and crushing the berry into the hollow between her breasts.
“I’m so hot,” she said.
“I know.” She opened her eyes and saw him looking at her, more calmly than before. “Go on,” he said. “I want to watch.”
She opened her hand and looked at the crushed berry and then put it in her mouth. Some of the juice escaped at the corner of her mouth, and her tongue flicked out and caught it. Richard watched her and breathed in deeply.
Her body throbbed. She stroked her hands up over her sides and across her breasts, reveling in their fullness. Her breasts grew hard, straining at the lace, and she brought her hands behind her and unfastened the bra, arching her back as her breasts fell free, watching Richard watch her, and glorying in his desire for her.
“You are so beautiful,” he said, his voice thick with wanting her.
She rocked slightly on top of him, still barely touching him, and they both moaned at the touch. “Watch,” she said, and ran her hand slowly across her round belly and into the nest of pink lace between her legs, moaning at her own touch as she slowly stroked herself. When she opened her eyes, he was smiling at her, but his eyes were black with need.
“Touch me,” he said, and she leaned forward, taking another strawberry from the bowl, biting into the icy sweetness and letting the juice fall across him again, sucking it from his muscled body, running her tongue across his nipples until he shuddered. Then she arched her back, trailing the bleeding fruit across her stomach and her thighs until she was slick and shining with the juice. She held the crushed berry to her mouth and sucked it in, then moved forward again and kissed him, thrusting her tongue into his mouth and filling him with the taste of strawberries.
“Now,” he said.
She smiled. Then she sat up, moving her body gently over his hips. She slid away from the bed to stand beside him. She used one finger to pull the pink lace down from her hips, letting it fall to the floor. Then she straddled him again, naked and sticky with the gleaming juice, her long hair sweeping across his chest, easing herself down over him until he was just barely inside her, barely touching her. She wanted him so much she could hardly breathe.
She looked into his eyes and saw the desire and the love there, and she said, “Now,” and reached up to pull the end of the slipknot and free his hands at the same time she plunged her hips into his.
He cried out as she covered him, and he rolled her over onto her back, running his hands across her arms, her breasts, cradling her face as he kissed her savagely, all the while thrusting into her as if he couldn’t stop, would never stop. She clung to him, gasping because he felt so good inside her. The feel of his body hot and strong and hard against her, inside her, pushed her out of the limbo of lust she’d been drifting through and over the edge of her orgasm, and she clawed at him and cried as it came, feeling him shudder with his own climax.
He held her tightly against him, drawing his breath in huge shuddering gasps.
“Don’t ever do that again,” he finally breathed. “You damn near killed me.”
“I thought you liked it,” she whispered.
“I did. But never again. It was too much.” He kissed her, his lips soft on hers, and then began to explore her body with his tongue, licking the stickiness from her, kissing her over and over, exhausted from lovemaking but still needing her.
“I liked it,” Emily said sleepily.
“I could tell.” Richard pulled the edge of the comforter over them and stroked his hand slowly up and down her back until she fell asleep, but he couldn’t, and when he woke her up half an hour later, still crazy with need, they made love with even more intensity than before.
When he awoke the next morning, he was alone. For a moment he thought Emily had left, but then he heard her in the kitchen.
She was dressed in his robe, making French toast from slabs of French bread and cinnamon-seasoned eggs and cream. It smelled like heaven.
He came up behind her and kissed her on the neck, and she leaned back into him.
“I never thought to ask you last night,” she said. “Do you like strawberries?”
“Yes.” He held her tight against him. “I especially like the way you served them. Could we do that again without the part where I get tied up?”
“Strawberries or syrup on your toast?” Emily asked.
“Strawberries,” he said.
She poured syrup over the thick slabs and handed the plate to him.
“Eat,” she said cheerfully. “It’ll get cold.”
Richard sat down at the table, naked and confused.
She brought her own plate and sat across from him, pouring syrup over her toast, too.
“Big meeting today,” she said.
He looked down at the syrup on his plate and sighed, and then began to eat. “Let’s go in late. The meeting’s not until eleven.”
She chewed her toast. “I’ve never made this with cream before. It’s really rich.”
“It’s great,” Richard said and tried again. “Let’s go in late to the meeting.”
Emily handed him her coffee cup.
“Freshen this for me, would you?” she asked, smiling.
“Sure.” He got up, poured in more coffee and handed the cup back to her. “Let’s go in late to the meeting,” he began for the third time, but she overrode him as if he hadn’t spoken.
“Thanks for the coffee, love. I’ve got to go over a few things with Jane, so I’m going in early.”
“But, Emily,” Richard began, still confused.
She picked up her cup and carried it out of the kitchen with her.
“Emily!” Richard sounded outraged.
She leaned back into the doorway so he could see her. “Did you say something, dear? I didn’t hear.” Then she gave him a brilliant smile and went into the bedroom.
He scowled at his toast for a moment, then got up and followed her into the bedroom. She wasn’t there, but he could hear water running in the bathroom.
“All right, Emily,” he said to the bathroom door. “You’ve made your point. It’s very annoying being ignored, and it’s very frustrating being powerless. Now come out here.” He rattled the doorknob, but it was locked.
“I can’t hear you, Richard,” she called back. “The water’s running.”
The water continued to run for what seemed an eternity. When she shut it off, Richard tried the door again. “Emily, come out here! I want to talk to you.”
The door opened and Emily came out, dressed for work. She kissed him on the cheek.
“See you at work, darling,” she said, and slipped away from him. He followed her to the door, but stepped back when she opened it.
She wiggled her fingers at him and left, closing the door behind her.
“Very funny.” He stalked back to his bedroom to get dressed.
* * *
her when he got to work, but Jane said she wasn’t in. He stormed downstairs and past Jane, but her office really was empty.
“Where is she?” he snarled at Jane.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” Jane asked calmly.
He stopped, stunned.
“She’s your partner, not your property. She does not have to be here in case you want her,” Jane said, folding her arms and glaring at him. “And if you have any brains at all, you’ll start listening to her, because she’s very good at what she does. She made four million dollars for this company in the last six months. So far you haven’t brought in a dime.”
Richard glared at her, his blue eyes steely with anger.
Jane glared back, unfazed. “If you won’t listen to her because she deserves to be listened to, perhaps you’ll listen to her to save your job. Because if Sizzle flops because you didn’t give her the money to do the job, it’s not going to be her neck on the line.”
“She throws money around like it’s water,” Richard said, his glare fading. “She needs me.”
“Absolutely.” Jane smiled. “She’s a complete loss at budgeting. But you’re a complete loss at marketing. And budgeting never sold perfume yet. Emily can sell perfume, but only if you listen to her. Instead of ignoring her, listen to her and find her the money she needs. She gave up a lot of things she wanted on this campaign because of you, and that’s good. She’s learned a lot from you. She’s been careful and focused on the two most important things, the things she felt were vital to sell Sizzle—rubies and the product placement. And you haven’t even tried to help her. You just said no. You didn’t even try.”
Richard’s glare faded to a wince. “I didn’t listen, you mean.”
“She’ll be at the meeting in an hour,” Jane said.
He started to say something, then turned and walked to the elevator. When he was gone, Jane went to the ladies’ room.
Emily was sitting on the vanity waiting for her.
“He’s gone,” said Jane.
“I don’t know.” Jane leaned against the wall. “I told him all the stuff we’d agreed on. He looked like he wasn’t used to taking that kind of talk from secretaries.”
“If he still thinks of you as a secretary, he’s not paying attention.”
“So what now?”
“Are you going to drop your bomb at the meeting?”
“Yes.” Emily scooted off the counter. “Both of them. You coming?”
“Absolutely,” Jane said. “I’ll run the VCR.”
* * *
in the meeting. She introduced the perfume, had the other executives try it on so they could feel the tingle, and then began to talk about the target consumer and the marketing program. She could feel Richard looking at her, but when she looked up she didn’t see the glare she expected.
She saw pride. He thought she was wonderful.
And he should,
“We’re using a campaign that’s analogous to Paradise, but different,” she continued, putting the large mock-up advertising had done for her on the easel. “You’ll note that the bottle is the same as Paradise, but it’s black, instead of white, with a ruby-glass stopper, instead of a diamond-glass stopper.”
“We’re confident that the consumer will make not only the connection with Paradise, but will also subconsciously pick up the dualism here. She’ll wear Paradise when she wants to feel sexy, but sophisticated and in control, Sizzle when she wants to feel sexy and wanton. She will, for example, put Sizzle places she wouldn’t dream of putting Paradise.” A couple of the male executives looked thoughtful and interested to mask the erotic thoughts that leapfrogged through minds. One of the female executives picked up the sample bottle.
“And since there’s a little bit of angel and a little bit of devil in every woman, every woman will need both these perfumes,” Emily said, and the female executive grinned at her.
Get a note to advertising.
“Will we be using the rubies at the openings and the showing like we did with Paradise?” Henry Evadne, the vice president, asked.
“Yes.” Emily looked straight at Richard. “We bought the rubies. I’m sending the purchase order up to Mr. Parker this afternoon.”
Richard raised his eyebrows.
“Did you say something, Mr. Parker?” Emily asked. “I’m afraid I didn’t hear you.”
Oblivious to the byplay, Henry said, “Good idea. The diamonds were a big hit. Helped add class to the product. Very good idea, Emily.”
“Thank you, Henry.” Emily paused. “But I haven’t told you the best part.”
He knows what’s coming,
“Sizzle is a natural for a product placement,” she began. “I called L.A. to find a movie that would be big and glitzy and sexy, and I found one, but Mr. Parker felt that the fee they were asking was outrageous—” she hesitated as Richard frowned, probably trying to remember if they’d ever talked about any movie in particular “—and, of course, he was right.”