Read Irresistible Online

Authors: Mackenzie McKade

Irresistible (2 page)

But who was she to complain?

Everyone in the office was overloaded. The holidays had taken precious time away from their regular schedule. Even he played catch-up. Not succeeding as he would have liked. He needed this long weekend to unwind. They all did, and that included Sydney.

As she continued to glare at him, he felt his temper spark. “Then it’s my fault that you can’t enjoy the weekend?”

Cameron leaned forward, placing her hand on his arm. He shook off her grip. Heat crawled along his neck, and the little imp’s nose tipped even higher.

“I’ll have you know,” he ground out between clenched teeth, “that I started advertising before Ed left.” Sean had already interviewed a few candidates, but no suitable person had been found. He didn’t have his father’s innate ability for locating talent.

Memories of his dad made Sean’s breath catch. Ever since his death, Sean had been in turmoil. The man he had loved and cherished was gone. Now all the family responsibilities and a business he didn’t have his heart in, fell upon him. He fought the raw emotion churning inside him.

Cameron eased closer. “Sean, we know you’re doing your best.”

It shamed him to realize his sister could read him so well.

“Not everyone feels as you do,” he grumbled. Some of his pain must have bled through the indifference he fought to hold on to, because Sydney flinched.

She inhaled sharply. “Sean, I’m sorry.”

Shoring his shoulders, he ignored her. The last thing he needed or wanted was her sympathy. “Give me ten minutes to change.” He didn’t wait for a response. Heavy footsteps carried him toward the spiral staircase. Stopping, he spun back around. “Sydney. Get your ass up here. You’re going too.”

His abruptness surprised even him. Yet the shock on the minx’s face was worth the scornful one he received from Cameron. Harry held back a grin, but his gaze danced with laughter. Both Louisa and Ted remained silent, their heads pressed together.

After Sydney’s stupor faltered, her backbone went ramrod straight. Fire blazed, brightening her emerald eyes. To his amazement she walked toward him. He braced himself for an altercation that surprisingly never came. Instead, she whipped by him, her shoulder grazing his arm.

He rolled his eyes. The woman infuriated him.

The thought of taking her over his knee and spanking the hell out of her popped into his head, immediately dashed by the sexy sway of her hips as she climbed the stairs. His anger fled, quickly replaced by a flicker of desire making his breath hitch and leaving him speechless.

Damn her.

Even as a teenager she had taunted him. Always underfoot, batting those long, thick eyelashes at him. Making him feel things he shouldn’t. And how did he handle the attraction? Just like any other stupid adolescent. He teased and pushed her away until it was no wonder she hated him.

It didn’t help that Sean had always been attracted to small women and this one had grown into a mind-numbing beauty. Her waist-length, jet-black hair shimmered with a glistening blue hue beneath the recessed lighting. The slight lift at the corner of her jeweled eyes gave her an exotic appearance. Even her bronze skin leant a Mediterranean feel he found hard to resist.

And how could he forget the first time he came home from college and his father caught him looking at her in an unbrotherly fashion. No one could drive home a point like Sean Duncan Senior.

Sydney was forbidden, off-limits.

Sean pushed his fingers through his hair. Unlike in the past, he couldn’t just pack up and leave temptation behind. Whether he liked it or not, he was here to stay, even if the little she-devil’s mere presence tantalized him day in and day out. By God, he got a hard-on every time she entered a room. At night, the siren he detected in her invaded his dreams. Sean mentally attempted to shake the wayward thoughts out of his head and failed.


The woman had crawled beneath his skin and was there to stay. Hell. She was all he could think about.

Several times during the last months when they’d stood nose to nose in disagreement, metaphorically speaking, he’d almost kissed her. Each time it had taken a mammoth will of iron to remember he was her boss and, for all intents and purposes, her brother. If they were going to work together, they would have to solve their differences, and he had to get his head back into the game.

When Sean finally regained his control, he followed Sydney at a distance. Why? Because one, she moved as if she couldn’t stand to be near him, and two, because he could barely resist pulling her into his arms.

How was that for brotherly love?

Chapter Two

If Sean touched her one more time, she would scream.

Excusing herself from the table, Sydney stood and headed toward the restroom. Unintentional or not, the occasional brush of Sean’s thigh against hers, his hand skimming hers as they reached simultaneously for the pepper or bread, had set her nerves on edge. She shook her hands, hoping to work out the anxiety coursing through her veins, but it did no good.

Had all their encounters during dinner been accidents or was he attempting to anger her? And why?

The Chicken Alfredo she had eaten settled in her stomach like a rock.

“You okay?” Cameron eased up behind Sydney and followed her inside the bathroom.

Sydney forced a tight smile. “Yes. Of course.”

Judging by Cameron’s silence and appraising expression, she wasn’t buying the lie. “What’s up with you and Sean?”

Before Sydney disappeared into a stall, she said, “I don’t know what you mean.”

After she took care of her needs, she pulled up her thong and black leggings. She wasted a little more time adjusting her midthigh-length, cowl-neck angora sweater that matched her red trendy boots. When her hiding got beyond ridiculous, she exited the stall.

Cameron leaned against the counter, her arms folded across her chest. “What’s going on? Sean giving you trouble at work?”

No. Yes. Oh hell, what was Sydney supposed to say?

“You know he’s doing the best he can.” Cameron’s face softened. “He misses Dad.” Eyes bright with unshed tears, she blinked. “We all do. I guess it will take time.” She cleared her throat. “Sean needs our support. We both know this wasn’t his dream, but he’s here—with us—doing what Dad would have expected. None of us want to see Duncan Publishing fail. We’re family. We have to work together.”

“Yes. You’re right.” Sydney would have to try harder to develop a relationship with Sean. She pushed her palms beneath the faucet, activating the warm water.

It wasn’t that Sean didn’t have a head for publishing or business, the man was brilliant. But he wanted to be an electrical engineer, build things and work with his hands. The image of those strong hands brushing against hers sent a tremor up Sydney’s spine.

She reached for a towel and dried off.

Maybe she had been too hard on Sean. He had to be under tremendous stress and pressure. Lord knew that publishing wasn’t an easy business and they were shorthanded. The problem was the man made her feel things she shouldn’t, and since there wasn’t a dead man’s chance their relationship would go anywhere, it was difficult to be around him. Still, she had to try to soothe the animosity between them.

Tossing the paper towel away, she checked her neatly applied makeup, fluffed her loose hair, and then followed Cameron out of the restroom.

As Sydney passed by the bar, a short and stocky cowboy grabbed her hand, pulling her to a stop. “Dance with me, darlin’?”

She glanced toward Cameron and her sister smiled.

“Sure. Why not.”

A rousing two-step played as his calloused hand took hers, and he led her out onto the floor. Twirling her before he pulled her to him, he placed one hand at her waist and the other interlocked with hers. Gently, she placed her palm on his shoulder and they began to dance, two quick steps and then two slow ones. With ease he maneuvered her into a turn and back into his arms.

Beneath a large Stetson, he smiled and inched her closer. “Justin Timbers, ma’am. You’re not from around this neck of the woods.” It was a statement, not a question.

Was her city persona that obvious?

Another turn and they came together, chest to chest, and hip to hip. The cowboy held them in the intimate position, their bodies rubbing as they moved across the floor. Then he twirled her again and they resumed a more decent distance between them.

“I’m Sydney.” She inhaled his spicy cologne. Maybe what she needed tonight was a cowboy. It had been so long since she’d had a man in her bed. “I’m from New Jersey.”

“Please tell me you’re moving here.” His brown eyes twinkled in the dim lighting.

She chuckled. “No. Just here for the long weekend.”

Dropping their clasped hands down to their sides, so that once again their bodies were touching, he leaned in and whispered, “Wyoming’s loss for sure, darlin’.”

Sydney’s eyelids drooped. She loved to dance. For the moment, she allowed herself to enjoy the rustic atmosphere, the music, and the man in her arms.

When the band stopped playing, Sydney and Justin drew apart. Her mouth opened to thank him, when suddenly a hand on her shoulder spun her around. She shrieked and then froze, coming face to chest with Sean. Her gaze rose. Judging by his frown, he didn’t appear happy. He leveled a glare on Justin.

Wonderful. Big brother to the rescue and a pissing contest just for her. Yippee!

When she glanced over her shoulder at the cowboy, he stroked the rim of his hat and grinned. “Later, darlin’.”

Sean mumbled something inaudible. Then he wrapped his arms around her waist and crushed her body to his.

Startled, she raised her eyes to his. When they met his, sexual energy leapt between them, stealing the cutting remark she had perched on her tongue. Instead, her insides quivered and the air from the room seemed to disappear. She couldn’t breathe.

, her mind screamed. Something wasn’t quite right.

“You need to be more careful,” he grumbled.

Sucking precious air into her lungs, she desperately attempted to hold on to her control. “Of what?”


The urge to laugh bubbled in her throat, but the merriment never left her mouth as a dreamy melody began and Sean swept her away.

Cocooned in his embrace, she damned her traitorous body for buzzing to life with his touch. One hand nestled in the small of her back, fingers resting lower so that they rode the swells of her ass, while his other palm lay warm between her shoulder blades. Her cheek was pressed to his chest, his heady masculine scent having a field day with her senses. With each trembling breath she dragged in his cologne, a touch of evergreen, amber and musk that made her dizzy.

Shifting his hips, he wedged a knee between her thighs and she went liquid. His jeans-clad leg rubbed seductively against her sex. The developing ache made her nipples pebble into taut peaks. Her breasts swelled, growing heavy with need. This was the last thing she needed.

What was happening? A brother didn’t dance with a sister like this.

Sydney attempted to adjust her position, but his palms and leg made the endeavor impossible. Instead, he only increased the pressure, and the tightening low in her belly. Unanticipated arousal dampened her thong, while embarrassment heated her cheeks.

Please. Please
. Don’t let him discover how he affected her. A damp spot on his jeans when they parted would be the ultimate humiliation. Sydney attempted to swallow, but the lump in her throat prevented anything so simple.

What on earth was Sean thinking, holding her so close, so intimately? And if her active imagination hadn’t gone completely bonkers, he was aroused too. Surely that wasn’t his belt buckle biting into her hip.

Could it be that he felt something for her?

Laughter almost burst from her mouth.
You’re such an idiot

Neither spoke as they drifted slowly across the floor.

Yeah. As if she could articulate a single, logical sentence even if she had dared to speak. Pressed so tightly against him as she was, every cell in her body screamed for fulfillment. In fact, Sydney would be lucky if the second he released her she didn’t fall into a puddle of goo at his feet.

On a turn, his knee gave her some reprieve, but before she could sigh with relief that damn pressure was back, teasing and tormenting her. The coil between her thighs wound tighter and tighter, the ache intensifying at alarming speed.

A whimper squeezed from her lips. Again, heat flamed across her face and she found herself praying, no pleading, that Sean hadn’t heard the pitiful cry.

What if she was wrong? What if this was just a show to keep the other men away from her?

When the song finally ended, Sydney didn’t know if she was relieved or disappointed. Hell. She didn’t know which end was up or down. Every tendon and muscle inside her was strung as taut as a bow. His grasp on her lessened, and he stepped back to hold her at arm’s length. The emptiness of his touch was bittersweet. Their gazes came together with a magnetic pull.


Without thinking, Sean slid his fingers into her silky hair, dropping his head to capture her mouth, but before their lips met they were interrupted.

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