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NORA COULD FEEL Connor watching her. He always did the same thing when she packed to leave on one of her trips. He'd lean his six foot three frame against the doorway to his bedroom, his hands buried in the pockets of his Dockers, a frown tugging on his face. He hated the thought of their being apart.
Usually he wouldn't say anything, though. He'd just stand there in silence as Nora filled her suitcase, occasionally taking a sip of Evian water, her favorite. But that afternoon he couldn't help himself.
"Don't go," he said in his deep voice. Nora turned with a loving smile. "You know I have to. You know I hate this, too." "But I already miss you. Just say no, Nora - don't go. To hell with them."
From day one, Nora was captivated by how vulnerable Connor allowed himself to be with her. It was in such sharp contrast to his public persona - a very rich and hard-driving hedge-fund manager with his own successful company in Greenwich, with another office in London. His puppy-dog eyes belied the fact that he was built like a lion. Powerful and proud.
Indeed, at the relatively young age of forty, Connor was pretty much king of all he surveyed. And in Nora, thirtythree, he'd found his queen, his perfect soul mate in life. "You know I could tie you up and keep you from leaving," he said jokingly.
"That sounds like fun," said Nora, playing along. She lifted up the top of her suitcase, which was lying open on the bed. She was searching for something.
"First, though, could you maybe help me find my green cardigan?"
Connor finally chuckled. He got such a kick out of her. Good jokes, bad jokes - it didn't seem to matter. "Do you mean the one with the pearl buttons? It's in the master closet."
Nora laughed. "You were dressing up in my clothes again, weren't you?"
She headed for the cavernous walk-in closet. When she returned, green sweater in hand, Connor had moved to the foot of the bed. He stared at her with a grin and a twinkle in his eye.
"Uh-oh," she said. "I know that look." "What look?" he asked.
"The one that says you want a going-away present." Nora thought for a moment before flashing a grin of her own. She dropped the sweater on a chair and slowly walked up to Connor, purposefully stopping just inches from his body. She was wearing only her bra and panties.
"From me, to you," she whispered in his ear, leaning in. There wasn't that much to unwrap, but Connor took his time anyway. He gently kissed Nora's neck, then her shoulders, his lips tracing an imaginary line downward to the jutting curves of her small, pert breasts. There he lingered. One hand stroking her arm, the other reaching around to remove her bra.
Nora shivered, her body tingling. Cute, funny, and very good in bed. What more could a girl ask for? Connor knelt and kissed Nora's stomach, his tongue lightly drawing circles around her little wink of a belly button. Then, with a thumb resting on either side of her hips, he began to roll down her panties. He charted the progress with kiss after kiss after kiss.
"That's . . . very . . . nice," whispered Nora. Now it was her turn. As Connor's tall, muscular frame straightened out before her, she began to undress him. Quickly, deftly, but sensually.
For a few seconds they stood still. Perfectly naked. Gazing at each other, taking in each and every detail. God, what could be better than this?
Suddenly Nora laughed. She gave Connor a quick, playful shove, and he fell back onto the bed. He was fully aroused. A prodigious human sundial lying there on the duvet.