Insatiable Part 8

That was the word that sprang to Tyler’s mind.
She was not the ice princess she pretended to be. He watched her struggling to control the fire within her. No matter what she said, she’d been hot for him. The only thing he didn’t get was why it had taken him so long to realize he was hot for her.
“We have to talk about those investments,” she said.
He tried to concentrate on work, but all he wanted to do was touch her. Especially her hair. He had such a weakness for her hair, such a fascination with it. He loved touching her hair. And now he knew what her body felt like, he wanted to touch the rest of her.
She was a peach. His eyes wandered over her as she talked to him. Her skin was soft like the fuzz of a peach. She tasted sweet, even smelled like a peach. She was sweet and juicy. Her breasts reminded him of peaches. He loved peaches.
His mind wandered from sex to food. He thought about a warm peach clafouti with luscious whipped cream, which led to the idea of licking whipped cream off Chloe’s body. Okay, sex and food were two of his favorite things.
He thought about eating Chloe. Oh man, now his boner was huge. He shifted in his chair.
“You’re a million miles away.”
“No, I’m not.” Sweet and juicy...
“Pay attention,” she said. “Joe e-mailed me possible dates for the Epicure Magazine article. Which do you prefer...the twenty-third, twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth?”
She sighed. “They’re going to do a photo shoot here at the restaurant. Morning would be better, right?”
“You do want to do it, don’t you?”
He smiled. “Oh yeah. I want to do it.”
The magazine article!”
“Oh. Yeah, sure.”
Her lips tightened. He wanted to kiss them and coax them into luscious softness. Her mouth was amazing. When she’d sat on his lap the other day and kissed him, he’d felt like he wanted to consume her, just eat her up.
“Joe is negotiating with them about final approval of the photos and article. I’ll tell him to go for the twenty-third.” She typed into her computer as they spoke.
“So what happened with Oprah?” she asked, as if suddenly remembering.
“She liked the food.” His eyes still moved over her, recalling how round and pretty her breasts were.
“That’s it?” “She mentioned having me on a show sometime. She said...” now he grinned, “...her people will call my people.”
“Tyler, that’s awesome!”
He shrugged. “Yeah. I guess so.”
“You don’t sound too thrilled.”
He lifted a shoulder again. “I’m distracted.”
She blew out a long breath, signaling her aggravation with him. “Okay, we’re done here.”
He didn’t move. He had to feel her hair. He reached out and stroked the length of it down her back. It was something he’d done hundreds of times, but he’d never felt her flinch at his touch. Something stabbed his heart at her reaction. Shit.
“It’s okay, Chloe,” he said soothingly. He stood up behind her chair and clasped her hair in a ponytail as he usually did, stroking the silky length, then running his fingers through it. What could she say? He did this all the time.
“I’ve got stuff to do in the office,” he said finally. He had to get away from her before his hands wandered further.
“How’s your hand?”
He shrugged. “It’s fine. Just another scar.” He held his hands in front of her, scarred from cuts and burns and calloused from constant use.
He didn’t want to leave her but he had so much to do: inventory, lists, calls to purveyors, ordering. He sighed and dropped a kiss to the top of her silky head.
“See you later,” he said.
He was greeted by a huge crashing noise as he walked downstairs. He hurried into the kitchen to see Alejandro standing staring in horror at a case of wine at his feet, liquid spreading on the floor beneath it.
“I dropped it.” He looked up at Tyler, aghast.
“Shit.” Tyler bent and opened the case to see what the damage was. Every goddamn bottle was broken. “Shit!” It took every ounce of restraint he had to keep himself from bellowing or even firing Alejandro on the spot. Taking a deep breath, he said, “Clean it up. This isn’t from Abby Creek, is it?”
Alejandro shook his head.
“Okay,” Tyler said tightly, “we can replace it. I’ll go call.”
When he called the wine supplier they told him they couldn’t get him another case until tomorrow. Damn. He’d have to go check the wine cellar and see what they had for tonight. The last thing they needed was guests wanting to order specific wines they didn’t have.
In the wine cellar he did a quick check and sure enough, they were low on almost every kind of Chardonnay. Tension coiled and tightened inside him as he returned to his office and called back his wine supplier.
“What can you get me today?” They had a short discussion and Tyler ended up with wine, but not what he really wanted.
He leaned his elbows on his desk and rubbed his head, an ache starting at the base of his skull. His conversation with Chloe hadn’t gone the way he wanted and now all this wasn’t helping.
He glanced at his watch. Better get back to the kitchen. A few moments later he was looking for basil in the walk-in.
“Where’s the basil?” he shouted.
Carlos appeared. “The delivery came this morning. It should be in there.” He started looking, too.
“Did you see it?” Tyler asked. “This morning?”
“Uh...I don’t remember.”
“No fucking basil! How the fuck am I supposed to make goddamnn pistou without basil?”
Carlos looked alarmed. “Don’t freak out, Chef,” he said, following Tyler back to the kitchen. “We’ll get some.”
“Damn right!” Tyler slammed saucepans onto the flattop with violent clangs.
“What’s going on?” Ryan appeared in the kitchen, having heard the noise.
“No basil,” Tyler growled.
“I’m on it.” Ryan disappeared.
“Jesus Christ,” Tyler muttered.
He was still mumbling when Chloe wandered in looking for something to eat. He was immediately aware of her, his body on high alert.
“What are you cursing about?” she asked with a faint smile.
“Somehow the delivery was missing basil. How can I make pistou without fucking basil?” “Calm down, Tyler. Has someone gone to get some? Do you want me to go?”
“Jason has gone,” Ryan interjected, on his way back to his office. “It’s being handled.”
“Okay, so it’s all good, Tyler.” She set her small hand on his shoulder and gave him a brief rub, and he felt tension ease out of him. “What can I eat?”
“There’s soup. Wild rice and mushroom.” He took a deep breath, chopped shallots and readied his mise while Chloe found a bowl and ladled soup from the big stockpot simmering.
Tyler watched her hungrily. Her beautiful serenity in the midst of the crazy, noisy kitchen drew his eyes to her, calmed him. Damn, he’d almost chopped his thumb. Focus man.
Ryan came back. “I tore a strip off Manuel,” he told Tyler. “He doesn't know what happened to the basil. I told him find out, and there’d better be basil here tomorrow or we’d fire his ass.”
Tyler nodded shortly, starting to butcher some pork loins. He knew he could count on Ryan to deal with the purveyor.
Chloe stood and carried her dishes to the dishwasher, and his eyes flickered to her.
“You’re tense, man,” Ryan said. “Anything I can do?” “No,” Tyler said shortly, his eyes following Chloe as she walked out, and he felt unreasonably annoyed. He concentrated on his work until they were well into the first turn and it was momentarily quieter.
He left the kitchen, knowing there was a little time before tables started turning and orders started coming in again. He took the stairs to Chloe’s office two at a time.
She looked like she was just getting ready to leave.
“Going home already?”
She turned to him, her lovely face expressionless. “Already? It’s nearly eight o’clock.”
“I just thought maybe when I’m done we could have a glass of wine together.”
She looked back at him and blinked. “Why?”
Now he was surprised. “Why? Uh...”
“Tyler...don’t do this.”
“Do what?”
“Do not even think you can get me into bed,” she said. “I know that’s all you ever think about, but go find one of your model-slash-actress girlfriends for that. I’m going home.”
She grabbed her purse.
“Got a date tonight?” he asked.
She paused, lifted her chin. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.”
“Whatshisname...I mean, Michael?”
“Of course. I’ll see you tomorrow.”