The Tantric Principle
The low, gravelly voice stirred in her ear, and strong hands grasped her hips with capable fingers and pushed. Bent over at the waist in a full yoga pose, her body sank down an inch. He hooked his bare feet around her ankles and leaned over her as if about to take her from behind.
Arianna prayed for strength as her arms shook with the effort to hold the pose. Her spine automatically straightened, but he softened the movement further by gently placing both palms on her shoulders. Heat rushed through the thin material of her t-shirt and burned. With slow, conscious movements, he stroked down the length of her spine to settle at the small of her back.
She kept her eyes closed, concentrated on breathing, and mercifully, felt him move away toward the next student.
Arianna Devlin took a moment from her relaxed stance to curse fluently. Well-versed in standard truck driver language, she applied her skills with enthusiasm. Not that her yoga teacher would approve. And the whole damn time she listened to him counsel her, she imagined getting rid of the stress in bed.
Arianna smothered a groan and pushed her concentration back to the class. The whole thing was ridiculous. She was twenty-six years old and had a crush on her yoga teacher. The thought made her fight back a blush, then she tried to minimize the horror of the situation by creating a mental list. He had introduced her to an ancient technique that had changed her life.
She was more relaxed, energized, and happy after practicing yoga for the last few months. She had transferred those emotions to him like a patient to a therapist, a college student to a professor. He opened her world and made it new. Naturally, she developed a crush on him. Made perfect sense.
So why couldn’t she just get over it?
Arianna eased back onto the mat for final relaxation and cleared her mind. She let her annoying thoughts scatter and finally sank into a clear, peaceful state. By the time class ended, she felt a little bit more in control.
A shadow fell over her purple mat and she looked up. The cause of her distress stood above her, a slight smile curving his lips as he stared down. Arianna gathered a tight hold on her composure as if approaching a business meeting, and eased gracefully to her feet.
Her gaze swept his figure in a search for answers. He really wasn’t her type. Arianna was always attracted to the men in power suits, with short hair and quick movements. She enjoyed the energy of business men and their ambitions.
Grant Madison was completely different.
He wore his inky black hair long, past his shoulders. Tonight, he held it back in a ponytail, which showed off an array of carved features that were anything but handsome. His nose was too long. His mouth too sensual. A slight shadow darkened his jaw, and Arianna knew he was the type to forget to shave, maybe for days. Fierce, black brows set off those piercing eyes, the color a rich deep brown that seemed fathomless, and his skin was olive, as if he was of Greek or Italian descent. He was tall, lean, and efficiently graceful. He rivaled an executive in a power suit, yet stood before her barefoot. Waves of tightly focused masculine energy hummed around him. She imagined his hot gaze locked on hers as he thrust himself deep inside her wet heat. Imagined him gloriously naked with sinewy arms holding her down and muscled thighs riding her like a stallion.
Arianna shook her head and desperately strove for composure as he spoke.
“I didn’t get a chance to talk to you before class.” His voice reminded her of rough nettle and smooth caramel, disturbing and soothing in one quick twist. “How are you doing?”
“Good. I had a bitch of a week but I feel better now.” Those dark eyes moved over her face as if drinking in every feature, as sensual a movement as his hands stroking her body “I’m glad. You’re making incredible progress in class.”
“Thanks. I’m practicing at home now.”
“I can tell. Keep it up and I’ll beg you to become one of my assistants. I’m in desperate need of good people.”
“I’d be happy to help. Wouldn’t want to see you. . . needy.” She cursed herself the moment the words left her lips.
Immediately, the thread of fire that always pulsed between them crackled and lit like an electrical fuse underwater. Awareness flashed in those inky eyes. Almost as if he couldn’t help himself, he moved an inch closer. The scent of musk and spice assaulted her senses. “I’m getting used to it.”
Her heartbeat thundered and her nipples pressed against the soft cotton in a demand to be freed. She knew the line and crossed it anyway. “Getting used to what?” His voice dropped to a husky murmur. “Feeling needy.” Five months of wanting sizzled from his eyes, and Arianna finally knew the truth. He desired her. She almost wept in relief to know the fantasy wasn’t entirely created in her head, then spotted the resolve in his face. He wasn’t going to make a move. Ever. The gleam in those fathomless eyes was matched by the decision on his face regarding the rule he had created to make his business a success. No personal relationships between students and teachers. He may be tempted, he may want her, but he’d never act on those impulses because he loved his business more.
Arianna was both bitterly disappointed and relieved. Somehow, she had a feeling Grant Madison would never be a man to have an affair with and walk away from. He seemed too. . .
intense. Arianna had no time for getting moony over a man. She’d worked too hard for this promotion to get distracted.
A moment passed. A heartbeat. A century. He cleared his throat and stepped back.
Suddenly, Arianna was back in the yoga studio, surrounded by noisy students, talking to her teacher.
She forced a polite smile and nodded. “See you Saturday.”
“Have a good night.”
He moved on then, to the next group, and she heard a young girl’s clear laugh ring through the room at something he said. Arianna hurriedly rolled up her mat and dashed out of class, not taking time to chatter with any of her new friends. She raced to her car like aliens were on her heels and didn’t feel safe until she locked herself in.
She had to stop fantasizing about him. Tonight, she’d received her answer. Her practices were too important to give up, and she wasn’t about to switch to another yoga studio when his philosophies matched hers. No, she’d pull herself together, embrace her newfound knowledge, and let him go.
Arianna ignored the little voice in her head that screamed liar and pulled out of the parking lot.
Grant Madison sat in his darkened studio and listened to the soothing flow of water over rocks as it streamed from his speakers. He was ready to lock up, but had come across a mini crisis that needed to be dealt with. One by one he had pulled all of his student files, and the only one remaining was the woman he needed to stay away from.
The dry statistics of her personnel profile rose up to mock him. She was anything but dry.
From the moment he laid his gaze on her, his body warred with his mind, and he worried his body would soon become victor.
Throughout the years, he’d been introduced to attractive students he had mild physical interest in. He appreciated beauty, but found himself quite picky about his mates. He'd learned not to listen entirely to his body, since many times his need for spirituality and sharp intelligence was not satisfied by a surface attraction. He also knew the danger in his profession for young women to develop crushes. After one disaster when he lost his business, he made a firm rule to never involve himself with his students in an intimate relationship.
He’d never had a problem until Arianna.
His thoughts grazed over their last meeting. For the first time, she’d allowed her feelings to show. Tempted to ignore the flare of lust in her sea-green eyes, he found he couldn’t lie. So, he showed her his desire, and his intention not to satisfy it. Thank God, she seemed to accept the decision and not push him. She was completely different from any other woman he’d met. The conversation took place without words, on a physical scale.
Arianna was all physical. From the moment they met, her raw, confident energy attacked his senses as much as her body. Heavy, full breasts always pressed against those damn skimpy tops until he made excuses during class to get his hands on her. He’d only meant to correct her posture today, but when he viewed her gorgeous full ass held high in the air, he almost lost it.
His heavy erection had been difficult to control as his hands coasted over her lush hips and long legs. The scents of vanilla and sandalwood clung to her skin and drove him mad. He imagined stripping off those clothes, parting her legs and thrusting deep inside her. Imagined her bottle-green eyes challenging him to take her hard, the swing of her cherry red hair as it slid past her jaw, the taste of her pouty lips, reminding him of black currant—tart and sweet in one juicy bite.
He looked down at the manila folder and groaned. A big decision lay on the horizon, one that could change his path. His assistants could not help him with next week’s workshop. He couldn’t do it alone, and had exhausted calls in every avenue. August was a big month for vacations, so most of his back-ups were already away. The Boston conference couldn’t be cancelled at this late date, and he needed a partner.