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Beautiful distraction, p.40
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       Beautiful Distraction, p.40

           J. C. Reed
 

  “Brooke, are you coming? I’m missing you already.” Jett’s sexy voice pulled me back to reality.

  “Give me five minutes.” I smiled at his choice of words. I loved the way he said my name because it made me feel special. Of course his words meant nothing because he couldn’t possibly miss me after only twenty minutes. Shrugging out of my clothes, I jumped into the shower, my mind already filling with hundreds of thoughts of all the things I wanted to do to him before the week was over.

  ***

  After a light lunch that consisted of grilled chicken fillets with salad, Jett headed for his private office to catch up on his workload, leaving me with the instructions not to bother him with any calls unless they were from his brother or father. His voice bore an urgency that didn’t go unnoticed, and I wondered whether he had troubles I didn’t know about, maybe a sick relative or family drama. In the end I didn’t ask. I figured that even though I had spilled out most of my secrets, he had shown no disposition to want to do the same. Maybe he needed more time to confide in me.

  My lips were still tingling from his heated goodbye kiss when I returned to my room to grab my laptop and then sat down at my desk. Even though Jett had cleared his schedule for the week, countless messages cluttered his email inbox and voicemail. I went through each one of them, registering names and queries. The urgent ones received an immediate answer with the assurance Jett would get back to them as soon as he could. Two hours later, the business correspondence had been dealt with, and I was free to accustom myself with the company’s financial reports and major property accounts.

  Mayfield Properties was a huge company with hundreds of millions in turnover and as such had a dozen board directors, all pocketing their fair share of profits. At the top of the ladder were Robert and Jonathan Mayfield, father and son respectively, followed by Jett, who at thirty-one was the youngest board member and probably the only one engaging in direct sales and property acquisition. Because of his young age, I had thought he was gifted his place in the company by his father, until I glimpsed the sales and profits Jett had made in the last year alone.

  Holy cow.

  The guy knew how to make money, and a lot of it. I almost choked on my breath as I counted all the zeros on the spreadsheets: one hundred million worth of properties, most of them spread across the United States, with some sprinkled throughout Europe. There was a systematic approach to it. His clients were exclusively business moguls and celebrities who came to him based on recommendations. They either had a particular estate in mind or very specific ideas of what they wanted, and it was Jett’s job to make it happen. He found the right estate, groomed the owner by paying for all-inclusive trips to the most luxurious places I only knew from tabloids and television documentaries about the lives of the rich and famous, and then somehow persuaded them to sell at a price convenient to his clients. Nothing new about that approach, only that Jett seemed extremely good at what he did, and with very little college education. I was impressed, not to mention a bit star-struck, at all the well-known names that seemed to pop up in his files.

  The guy was famous in his own right. One day an equally famous or rich woman would adorn his side. Probably someone as tall and beautiful as Sylvie, with sky-high legs to match an exotic and luxurious name, which was okay since I didn’t want to be with Jett.

  Or did I?

  I couldn’t help the sudden pang of jealousy piercing through my heart. What would it be like to be part of his personal life, introduced as the girlfriend rather than the personal assistant slash secret lover, who had to sign a contract so the world wouldn’t know about her? To travel the world and make plans for the future?

  A future with Jett.

  Sleeping with a rich man was one thing, wanting to date him was another. I rolled my eyes at the brief onset of fairy tale attitude and pushed the nasty thoughts to the back of my mind, hating myself for letting them cloud my perception of what our agreement was all about: no relationship, just no-strings fun as long as it lasted. I had been okay with it. Heck, I even stressed the importance of being able to get out if I so desired. When did it all change?

  The moment you entrusted him with your past.

  It was the look in his eyes—a tiny flicker of intimacy intermingled with a growing sense of trust—that broke through barriers and made me see him in a different light. I’d let him get under my skin, and now he had started to occupy my every thought. It was the way he touched me, as if what we had was special. It was also the way he made love to me, making me feel wanted like no one had done before. I wanted to know everything about him, which is what I was doing right now, investigating his life under the pretense of finding out more about his business, but in reality I was searching Google and the gossip pages of various online tabloids for glimpses into his private life and gossip on alleged dates and girlfriends. In my thoughts I had become we. My heart began to drum in my ears as sudden realization dawned on me.

  I barely knew him, and yet I was falling in love with him.

  CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

  For the next few days Jett and I established a routine: we spent most of the time inside the house, having sex in all possible places. Every afternoon, we’d half-heartedly return to work, and I enjoyed the break from him. While our physical relationship was taking me to new heights, so were my feelings for him, and I needed a bit of space to clear my head. It was the day before our flight back to New York, during one of those ‘breaks from sex’ that his father called. Not realizing I was talking to Robert Mayfield on the other end of the line, I tried to divert him with the excuse that Jett wasn’t available to take any calls until he said, “Ms. Stewart, please be so kind as to get my son. I trust he’ll be available when he hears what I have to tell him.”

  It wasn’t like me to feel intimidated, and yet there was something in the old man’s voice that made me put him through right away, even if it weren’t for Jett’s prior instructions to do so. Focusing back on work, I managed to push Jett’s father out of my system when Jett barged in, his face a mask of irritation and anger.

  “Did he say anything to you?”

  I bit my lip, confused. “What?”

  “My father—Robert.” Jett inched closer and sat down on the edge of my desk, regarding me intently. If I didn’t know any better, I could swear I was having my very own private investigation.

  “Did I do anything wrong? Because if I have then I’m really sorry and I—” Panic washed over me. I always thought of myself as a professional, but maybe Robert Mayfield was used to a different tone. Maybe he had perceived my cold politeness as a rude brushoff, and now he wanted to get rid of me. I couldn’t lose another job. Not so soon after losing the last one.

  Jett’s hands cupped my face and his electrifying eyes bore into mine. “No, baby, you haven’t. I just need to know what he said, that’s all.”

  “He asked me to put him through.”

  “Nothing else?”

  I shook my head. “No.”

  “Okay.” The dark clouds of his bad mood lifted almost instantly, and he leaned over the desk, his mouth capturing mine in a lingering kiss.

  “Jett?” I murmured against his hot lips. “Are you busy?”

  He pulled back to regard me and cocked a brow in wry amusement. “Why?”

  My sex twitched at the naughty spark in his eyes. He knew what I wanted; he just wanted me to beg for it. I walked around the desk and stopped inches from his towering body. Standing next to me, he was so tall and intimidating I had to toss my head back and peer all the way up to meet his challenging gaze. I might not be able to kiss him, but there was something I could reach just fine. Brushing my fingers down the front of his shirt, I pulled it out of his slacks and began to undo the buttons one by one.

  “Because I thought you might be needing a break.” Just in case he didn’t catch on to my subtle hint, I rubbed my hand against the hard bulge beneath his slacks.

  He groaned and closed his eyes for a brief second. When he opened th
em again, his face was a mask of desire sending my panties into ready-to-drop mode. “Sure, but we might need to meet after working hours to finish what you’ve started.”

  I barely had time to nod before I found myself flat on my back with Jett camped between my legs, doing incredible things to my panting body.

  ***

  Later that night I sat on Jett’s bed—our bed, because I had barely used mine—as he packed his luggage. I had finished mine earlier, and was now fascinated by how obsessively neat he seemed to be, folding and arranging the contents of his suitcase, as though his expensive shirts wouldn’t get all crumpled up anyway.

  His brows were drawn together in a frown, and for a few minutes I thought packing mattered a great deal to him, until he said, “We’re leaving before sunrise. You might want to spend the night in here so at least one of us doesn’t miss the alarm.”

  There was something in his tone, a strange undercurrent that made me look up, surprised. He was staring at me, his face an impenetrable mask that made reading his emotions impossible.

  “Okay.”

  “There’s something I need to tell you,” Jett said, inching closer. His mouth pressed into a stubborn line as his eyes searched mine. In that moment I saw a hint of vulnerability in him that I hadn’t glimpsed before.

  “Okay,” I repeated, unsure where this was heading. My heart began to thump just a little bit harder, and a sense of foreboding washed over me. He wanted to talk and that usually didn’t bode for good news.

  He sat down on the bed and clasped my hand in his, caressing my palm with his thumb. “The night we met and you woke up with me in your bed—” He paused until I nodded. “I know I let you believe that we slept together, but we didn’t. I would never take advantage of a clearly intoxicated woman who doesn’t even remember her name.”

  Holy shit.

  “But you said we did.”

  He shook his head slowly. “I never said we did. You assumed it, and I never corrected you.”

  I peered at him lost for words. He was right, of course, but wasn’t hiding the truth almost the same thing as lying? I had fretted over that night, believing I had cheated on Sean, believing I had been easy enough to sleep with a stranger, only to find out nothing happened.

  “Are you mad?” Jett asked.

  I took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. Was I mad? No. But I wished he had been frank with me, in which case I might have discovered sooner just how great he was. Any other man would have used the situation to his advantage, or worse yet, raped me.

  Even if I knew the answer, I still had to ask. “But why did you come home with me?”

  “Because some drunken idiot hit on you, and I was worried. I helped you and Sylvie get home safely. You didn’t want me to leave, so I stayed. But nothing happened.”

  I swallow down the lump in my throat. “You were naked.”

  His glorious lips quirked up in a cheeky smile. “You know I sleep naked.”

  Smiling faintly, I inclined my head, realizing it was a good thing he let me believe we had done the dirty before, otherwise I would never have had the courage to start a sexual relationship with him.

  “For all it’s worth, I’m sorry,” Jett said. “I know I should have told you, but the opportunity never presented itself, and then I didn’t really see the point.”

  I waved my hand. “It’s fine. But never lie to me again.”

  “There’s something else.”

  I glanced up at his face. His brows were still drawn but his eyes shimmered with something I couldn’t quite pinpoint.

  Seriously, what was this? Confession day? I eyed him warily. “What?” His lips twitched, and I realized he was having a hard time not to laugh.

  “I’m not sure you remember, but the next day I helped you home from yet another bar. You were drunk out of your mind, again.”

  My memories flew back to the night I found out about my promotion, and Sylvie decided she wanted to celebrate by wearing a belt as a skirt. She had been adamant she saw Jett watching us, and I had been pretty sure I caught a glimpse of green eyes through my alcohol-induced haze.

  I should have asked what the heck he had been doing at Vixen’s and how he had found me in the first place. Instead, I found myself smiling like an idiot, thinking how cute he was for taking care of me…until I realized I most certainly hadn’t been a pretty sight.

  “Oh, gosh.” I dropped my head onto my arms, mortified. “I don’t scrub up so well drunk.”

  “You were very talkative, and definitely a lot nicer than when you’re sober.”

  Was that a hint of humor in his voice? I straightened up to take in the amused curve of his stunning lips. He was making fun of me.

  “What did I say?”

  “That I had the most gorgeous eyes.”

  Oh god.

  I loved his eyes, but he didn’t need to know that. At least I didn’t say anything about his lips.

  “Tucked in your bed you said you wanted to feel my mouth on your whole body.”

  Earth, swallow me up whole!

  I groaned. “You probably misunderstood.”

  Jett inclined his head in mock concentration, probably recalling every single shameful word of that fateful night. “I doubt that. You were pretty specific with the details.” The fragile skin under his twinkling eyes creased, and his lips twitched as though he was having a hard time not to laugh. “I could show you what exactly you wanted me to do.”

  I had made a fool of myself already, so why not make the best of it?

  “Sure.” My mouth found his in a heated kiss as I let him pull me into bed, stripping our clothes off, our luggage forgotten.

  ***

  Our flight back to New York had a half-hour delay. Sitting in the waiting area at Malpesa airport with Jett holding my hand felt surreal. For some reason, I expected him to put some distance between us once we left the privacy of his mansion. To my surprise, he didn’t seem in the least fazed by people seeing us together. It gave me hope that once we were back in New York, he wouldn’t end whatever we had because I liked him more than I wanted to admit.

  We stopped to buy newspapers for him and magazines for me, and then boarded the plane for the nine hour flight that would take us back home. In the harsh veracity of the real world, he was rich, successful, and one of the most desired bachelors in New York—and I was, well, me. A world I hoped wouldn’t tear us apart by pointing out just how different our lives were.

  “You’re probably eager to get home,” Jett whispered in my ear so the flight attendant serving coffee wouldn’t hear us, “but will you stay with me one more night? I’m not quite ready to let this go.”

  “I’d love to.” Smiling, I kissed him as my heat began to do one somersault after another, probably interpreting more into his words than I should have.

  CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

  After waking up in Jett’s stunning apartment sixteen hours later, we lingered in bed, fingers intertwined, bodies melting in a tight embrace. Jett smelled of cologne and sex, and for the first time in my life I found the scent intoxicating, just like the man beside me. And it dawned on me that Jett had brought many ‘firsts’ into my life.

  “What are you smiling about?” he whispered, tracing the contours of my lips with the index finger he had so shamelessly driven into me only an hour ago.

  “Nothing.” I stretched out like a cat in front of a fireplace, enjoying the last few hours before routine would kick in.

  We were about to step out of our shell and back into the real world, which worried me. The last two weeks had been interesting, with very little work and very much other stuff. Back home, it was only a matter of time until reality would crawl back in, and I realized things would most certainly change. I wished I could hold on to us forever, lock us up in a protective cocoon, and let the world pass us by so nothing and no one could ever touch or separate us.

  Was that what love felt like? Wanting at all costs to protect the frail shell of emotions coating our hearts?
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  It was so easy to get wrapped up in him and his body, to let him take control. My mother had always said that no man should lead the way and no woman should just follow but, even though I barely knew him, I wanted to let him into my circle of trust because I could feel he’d never betray me.

  “Is there anything you want to share with me?” he asked.

  His question took me by surprise. Why would he ask me that? I sat up on my elbow, fully facing him. “I don’t think so.”

  “What exactly are you looking for, Brooke? Because, from what I gathered, you don’t really do relationships.”

  Another surprising statement. My heart pounded hard against my chest. “What makes you think that?”

  “The way you still don’t talk much about you shows me you don’t trust me fully.”

  I opened my mouth to tell him he was wrong, and closed it. Was it true? Did I shut him off in some way or another? I thought back to one morning when he’d asked about my past relationships, and I avoided giving a straight answer. Could Jett have interpreted the fact that I didn’t like talking about my past as a sign I wasn’t interested in a relationship?

  “Trust doesn’t come easily to me,” I said, unsure of what Jett really wanted to hear from me.

  His eyes turned a shade darker and his jaw set. “Why? Is it because of what happened to Jenna? Because if that’s the reason, I can assure you most men aren’t like that guy.”

 
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