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The lovers secret, p.3
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       The Lover's Secret, p.3

           J. C. Reed
 
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  No shit.

  My smile matched his grin. “You might just be spot on about that.” I looked at the closed door and wondered just what kind of amusement I’d find on the other side.

  This was it—the reason I came here.

  With my heart pounding hard, like a marching band in my chest, I opened the door and walked into the dimly lit room. Just like the living room, it offered stunning views of the skyline. I tried hard not to look too impressed by the ivory silk-covered bed and lush furniture or the hundreds of twinkling ceiling lights above the bed. It was hard not to imagine our bodies tangled in silk, panting and moaning while the soft fabric caressed our senses. It was even more difficult to control my breathing when those fantastic, flashy pictures of us naked entered my mind. I could see myself lying on the covers, touching him, his mouth on mine, my legs wrapping around his narrow waist, pulling him deeper inside me as my hips moved in accord with his. Or maybe we could do it on the floor, where the thick, fluffy carpet would tickle our backs as our hands roamed free, and I could gaze up at those starry lights and—

  “Like it?” he whispered in my ear.

  For a moment, I couldn’t tell whether he was talking about the room or the movie playing in my dirty mind. His deep voice nearly made me jump, and almost caused me to take a step back to put some distance between us.

  “Try…love it,” I said breathlessly.

  “Good. I’ve booked it for two nights. I know you said one night only, no strings attached, but I figured you can’t possibly get enough of me in one night.”

  Ah, the magnitude of his ego. How the heck could he possibly squeeze it through the door?

  I turned to face him, my skin prickling.

  Two days? No way.

  “This place is too expensive, Jett. Besides, I thought you were going for an average hotel room, not the Taj Mahal. Why would you book a place like this? A normal room would have been just as fine. We didn’t need a suite.”

  “Why not? What’s wrong with it if I can?” Jett laughed. “This is a special occasion, Brooke. We deserve a special room for a special woman like you.”

  His hand began to trace the contour of my arm, then settled on the small of my back. His touch was light, making my skin tingle, yet it defined the moment as if he thought he had a claim on me. And maybe he did. Just not yet.

  I was going to play hard-to-get.

  “It’s just money,” he continued.

  Just money? Sure. If you’ve got it, why not spend it, right?

  I had to laugh at how easily it came to him.

  “What?” He shrugged. “I want us to have a good time.” The hairs on my skin rose as he leaned forward until I could feel his warm breath against my neck. “Besides, it’s not a suite,” he whispered, pointing toward a door I hadn’t noticed before. “It’s a penthouse—the largest they have. And I intend to make love to you in each and every room...twice.”

  It was my turn to shake my head. “Now there’s a lofty goal,” I said.

  Men and their impossible ambitions.

  Maybe the guy had enough money to keep him afloat forever, but my bank account was in desperate need of a cash infusion. For weeks, Jett and I had been working together to expand and rebuild his company, all on a tight budget and under new management. I would have been game if it weren’t for my new job and the fact that I, as the project manager at Mayfield Realities, was on a schedule and crazy busy. After we put a huge scandal behind us, the company was slowly but surely gaining a reputation for excellence, and new clients were flooding in by the day.

  Unlike Jett, I hadn’t been born into wealth. I had been taught from an early age about the value and importance of working hard and living frugal. He didn’t know what it meant to be poor, though, so there was no point in sharing my ideas about how to save money, one of which was not to throw cash out of the huge windows by booking the most expensive suite, the largest penthouse, in a hotel. Still, I knew he meant well, and I was ready to let him give us a good time.

  “Ready to see the rest?” His face was still unfazed, but there was the slightest hint of impatience in his voice, the kind of voice that told me to get moving so we could get on to the more important things.

  We walked into another, larger living room, where there was a second black piano and a huge terrace that overlooked the twinkling city lights. The room was different. Its red wallpaper screamed sex, power, and sin. A modern, round sofa faced a fire in the middle of the generous open space, like a small gladiator arena. The rug looked soft, and there was plenty of room to make love on the floor, right between the fire and the sofa.

  Hungry flames leapt at the thick log, illuminating the entire room and mirroring the inferno that was burning inside me. In the silence, I watched how Jett’s sexy body moved across the room, confident and enigmatic, as he made his way to a side table and retrieved a bottle of champagne from an ice bucket. He poured a glass for each of us and handed one to me before we snuggled on the sofa. He raised his glass for a toast. “To a special night together.”

  My lips curled into a smile as I lightly clinked my glass against his. “Thanks.” I took a sip and let the tasty, bubbly liquid roll over my tongue. It was sweet without being overly sweet, and it reminded me of grape juice, with just a hint of jasmine.

  “Nonalcoholic,” he explained. “It’s a bit different.”

  I nodded, even though I wouldn’t have detected the difference, but I appreciated that he was considerate of my pregnancy. I smiled at the way he took another sip, his perfect lips pursing slightly to assess whether he could get used to the sweet taste or not. He hated the taste of jasmine, and I bit my lip so I wouldn’t laugh out loud.

  “This is crap,” he murmured, grimacing again. He turned back to me and said nothing more.

  I took another sip and eyed the fire. “I like it.”

  “That’s because you’re sweet. A good girl.” He grinned at me.

  I cocked an eyebrow. “And you aren’t good?”

  He inclined his head. “Not so much. I’m probably the bad boy your mom would advise you to stay away from.”

  How true.

  In fact, that had been exactly my first thought when I first met Jett Mayfield.

  “I’m not really nice,” I whispered. “I can be very blunt.”

  “That’s fine,” Jett said. “I have a thick skin, which is perfect for handling fire.”

  His green eyes regarded me with a hunger that made my cheeks flush with heat. He was too tall, too strong, too masculine. Next to him, I felt tiny, helpless, a state I had never felt before I met him. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, and his tie was gone. My brain told me to keep things casual, but my fingers itched to touch his hard body, and my tongue wanted to lick his skin.

  Not yet. Too soon. Talk. Get to know him, as if he’s really a stranger.

  That had been the plan all along. If I gave in to his advances first, I’d never get him to open up and let me be in control.

  “Is that some kind of famous painting?” I pointed to the framed artwork hanging on the west wall, a painting of blue and golden swirls.

  “I doubt it, but if it is, I’m sure it’s just a replica. I much prefer originals. They’re always worth having,” he said, his gaze lingering on me for too long. “I like the real thing.”

  Holy pearls.

  He was flirting with me, making it hard to engage in small talk. How the heck was I supposed to keep my cool when all I wanted was to fuck him on the spot? Biting my lip, I forced myself to calm down. I didn’t need alcohol to feel the effects he had on me; his presence was enough. Combined with his aftershave, the way he was regarding me, and the sound of the crackling fire, it was a deadly and sinfully sexy combination. In every way, he was the epitome of beauty and perfection, mysterious yet alluring—and most of all, he was mine.

  “What now?” I asked as the silence became uncomfortable, spiked with anticipation.

  “You’ll see.”

  He was so relaxed co
mpared to me, and I knew he was doing that on purpose. Except for a sparkle in his eyes, I detected no nervousness whatsoever, but then Jett had mastered the skill of keeping up a straight face when he wanted to keep his thoughts hidden. As well as I knew him, even I had to look hard to see through his pretense.

  Sitting on the couch in front of me, he put his drinks down and pulled my legs onto on his lap. My breath hitched in my throat as his hands began to trail down my thighs. There was something sexy and highly intimate about the way his hand moved slowly down my knee to my ankles. They lingered there, the warmth of his skin instantly arousing me. Despite Jett being one of the most successful businessmen, he had strong, capable hands. They were callused, which I knew were from driving fast cars.

  “What are you doing?” I asked, my breath heavy.

  “I promised you a massage. Did you think I’d forget?” He arched one of his sexy eyebrows and unfastened the sparkling gemstone buckles of my black high-heels. With a soft thud, they landed on the hardwood floor.

  A second later, his hands were on me again, his thumb gliding softly across my skin. My body began to tingle all over. Deep inside, something began to pulsate. My breath caught in my throat again when his thumb glided sideways across my foot, and the gentle tingle was replaced by long, gliding strokes. My heart spluttered.

  Boy, did I get it wrong. He isn’t trying to help me relax, the little devil!

  He was trying to turn me into butter with something supposedly innocent.

  A massage? Really?

  His smug smile made it obvious he knew exactly what he was doing. That worried me, because knowledge is power, and no man should ever have that kind of power over a woman—especially not over me.

  “Where did you learn to touch like that?” I whispered.

  He didn’t answer at first. Instead, he turned his attention to my other foot. He wasn’t just sinfully sexy; he had also mastered the art of entrancing a woman with nothing but the touch of his fingers. If he continued his torture, my brain would stop working. His massage wasn’t just relaxing. Rather, it was as if the gates of heaven had opened, and my body became a liquid mess, pouring out of me, pooling around my feet.

  “With you, it comes naturally,” he finally said.

  “I’m honored.” I smiled, even though I didn’t believe a word he said.

  “Nothing’s free though,” he said, bemused. His green gaze met mine, and my heart jumped in my throat at the obvious insinuation. “And I know the perfect way for you to repay the favor.”

  For a moment, I was left speechless. My mind went blank, which was never a good sign. I wanted to be in control of my words, not the slave of green eyes and the deep rumble of a Southern accent, and especially not a slave of his magic hands.

  Do I really want to play hard-to-get just so I don’t have to admit my ridiculous weakness for him?

  “Sure,” I mumbled to myself.

  When his grin widened, I realized I must’ve spoken out loud. With a devilish glint in his eyes, he whispered, “You surprise me. I had you pegged as the bargaining type.”

  “I didn’t mean that.”

  “No, you didn’t.” His lips twitched.

  “I’m serious,” I said grimly, realizing he was making fun of me. “I was talking to myself.”

  “Sure.” He raised his hands in mock surrender. “No need to be defensive about it.” His thumb brushed my inner thigh. “We all make that mistake.”

  Heat scorched my cheeks and probably turned them bright red.

  Damn my pale complexion!

  I opened my mouth but stopped myself before I dug an even deeper hole when it was already too late.

  “Whatever,” I whispered. “We’ll have to go over our terms before I sign the dotted line.”

  “Obviously.” He arched his eyebrow, amused. He was so close I could barely breathe. His scent, his touch, and the dimples in his cheeks—they were all too much to handle. “So, Miss Stewart...” He paused for impact. “Tell me something personal about yourself. Something I don’t know.”

  I flicked a stray strand of unruly hair out of my eyes as I considered my answer. His question took me by surprise. I didn’t like talking about myself, because words were like gateways to the past. One wrong turn, and there would be no way back, so I carefully stuck to the basics. “I’m a real estate agent and project manager, working for an up-and-coming real estate company,” I began warily. “I graduated two years ago—”

  “I’m not interested in your résumé,” he said, cutting me off. “This isn’t a job interview, Miss Stewart. Right now, all I want is your body, so let’s try again. In the bedroom, what’s your favorite position? What do you love to do?”

  I stared at him, stunned by the brash question. I hadn’t quite expected him to be so bold. Eyeing him carefully, I moistened my lips.

  “Does it have to be in the bedroom?”

  His lips twitched again. “No. You can choose any place you like.”

  “If I could choose anywhere in the world, it would be near a fireplace.” Unknowingly, my eyes focused on the fire next to us and on the soft rug spread across the hardwood floor. I didn’t mean to be so honest or obvious, but for some reason, the cave of my mouth instantly turned dry at the naughty thoughts taking shape inside my head. A fireplace just so happened to be one of my fantasies, the kind of place I had always dreamed about. On some subconscious level, I had blurted it out because I wanted it to happen.

  And Jett Mayfield was the perfect man to fulfill any fantasy.

  “That’s pretty tame. I thought it’d be somewhere public, like sex on the beach,” he whispered in his low, irresistible Southern drawl.

  My cheeks heated again. “I’m not really into public displays of anything,” I whispered, remembering the distinct feeling of embarrassment mixed with excitement. “There’s always the risk of being caught.”

  He leaned forward, interested, his hands parting my knees just a little. “But you’d do it, wouldn’t you? Just for the sake of saying you tried it. If you were given the opportunity, you’d go through with it?”

  Where the heck was he going with this?

  I tilted my head sideways, unsure of the hidden meaning behind his words. There was a promise, no doubt about it. A silent intention. Maybe even a plea. But the hotel room was as private as it could get, and it was too cold to do it outside, so his suggestion simply made no sense.

  “Possibly.” I shrugged. “But, like I said, the chance of being caught is way too high.”

  His sexy smile widened, almost as if he knew what his hidden promises were doing to my body. “What if I told you there’s a way to do it without ever being caught?”

  I let out a snort. “Right. Unless you have some kind of superpowers, like making us invisible and changing the weather, I don’t know how that could be possible.”

  “I booked this place for a reason, Brooke.”

  Of course.

  My pulse spiked from the way his sexy Southern accent emphasized my name, caressing my nerve endings. He was as close as any person could get to a sex god. I fought for breath, completely aware of the sudden wetness between my legs, even though he hadn’t done anything in particular other than massage my feet.

  “What are you saying?” I whispered.

  His gaze caught mine. “Let me show you something.” His lips curled up at the corners. He let go of me and got up, towering over me.

  I had no idea what he had in mind, but the mere suggestion of him doing something—anything to me—aroused me.

  He held out his hand, and I placed my palm in his. My heart pumped hard as he pulled me up and led me to the grand piano near the large bay windows. At first, I thought it was to play on it, but when Jett stopped in front of the large bay windows, I sensed something else.

  We were standing in front of the glass, high above the city, with nothing but the soft light of the fireplace illuminating the room behind us. The glass in front of us became an almost invisible barrier that gave the impre
ssion we were standing on a cloud. Stretched out in front of us were thousands of city lights, sparkling in the distance. Snow was falling in big white chunks, covering the city in white. It was beautiful, breathtaking. I had never seen scenery like that, at least not in real life. I wanted to comment on the beauty of New York, my hometown, but Jett shifted behind me.

  His hand pulled my hair back gently, a motion so tender it made my heart beat a million times an hour. He slid aside the soft fabric of my dress, exposing my shoulder, and then his hot lips began to kiss my neck, causing the butterflies deep within me to flutter in a frenzy. His presence was overpowering, his kiss on my bare skin heating me from the core. My breath hitched in my throat. I opened my mouth, ready to implore him to do as he pleased, to take me in all the ways he wanted to, but that would have been too easy.

  “You’re sexy,” he whispered in my ear. “I want to take you right here, right now.”

  I turned to face him and immediately regretted it. The sky was a moonless, black pit, but the lights of the city and the burning fire were enough to illuminate his face and those emerald eyes of his, metaphorically weakening my knees and my resolve.

  Damn those sexy eyes.

  Ever so slowly, his fingers trailed down my spine and began to lift up my dress. My blood pumped hard in anticipation as he tugged at the thin strings that held my panties in place. Under his knowing fingers, they came loose. Now I knew why he had demanded that I wear those for our little date: they were easy to lose in general and even easier to lose to a man like him.

  “Is this your new idea of public sex?”

  He held up my panties, dangling them on one finger. “You bet.” Grinning, he tossed them behind him.

  I watched them drop onto the floor, wondering what he had in mind.

  What do you think, Stewart?

  It didn’t take a genius to figure it out. I only had to look at the sparkle in his eyes—the hint of his naughtiness and the promise of wild sex. As if sensing my thoughts, he flashed me his trademark panty-dropping smile. “Good thing I asked them to light a fire. Now we’ll only have to make your little fantasies real.”

 
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