This man, p.37
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       This Man, p.37

         Part #1 of This Man series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
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Page 37

  Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

  He narrows his eyes at me and places his jar of peanut butter, calmly and precisely, on the work surface. Those cogs are working hard again and his finger is tapping ferociously on the worktop as he stares me down.

  ‘You have three seconds. ’ he declares, his voice dark, his face straight.

  I raise my eyebrows. ‘Three seconds for what?’

  ‘To get your arse over here. ’ It’s that fierce tone. ‘Three,’

  My eyes widen. Is he serious? ‘What happens if you make it to zero?’

  ‘Do you want to find out?’ He remains completely impassive. ‘Two,’

  What? Do I want to find out? Fucking hell, he’s not given me much time to run this over.

  ‘One,’

  Shit! I bolt towards his outstretched arms, colliding against his hard body. There was no mistaking the dark look of satisfaction I got a glimpse of before my head was buried in his neck. I don’t even know what happens on zero, but I do know how much I love his arms around me, so it’s a no brainer really. Oh, that feels good. As my face nuzzles between his pecs and I trace my fingers over his back, I can hear his heartbeats slow under my ear. He exhales and stands, placing me on the island, working his way between my thighs. He rests his palms on the tops of my legs.

  ‘I like your shirt. ’ He skates his palms over my thighs.

  ‘Is it expensive?’ I ask on a pout.

  ‘Very,’ He smirks. He knows my game. ‘What do you remember about last night?’

  Oh? Yes, I was ridiculously drunk, shockingly brazen on the dance floor, and I think I might have admitted to myself that I’m in love with him. He doesn’t need to know the last revelation. ‘You’re a good dancer. ’ I say instead.

  ‘What can I say? I’m a sucker for JT,’ He shrugs it off swiftly. ‘What else do you remember?’

  ‘Why?’ I ask on a frown.

  He sighs. ‘At what point do you draw a blank?’

  Where is he going with this? ‘I don’t remember getting home, if that’s what you’re getting at. I do realise I was stupidly drunk and highly irresponsible. ’

  ‘You don’t remember anything after the bar?’

  ‘No. ’ I admit. That’s never happened to me before.

  ‘That’s a shame. ’ His sludgy eyes search mine for something, I’ve no clue what.

  ‘What’s a shame?’

  ‘Nothing,’ He leans down, kissing me tenderly on the lips, smoothing his palms over my face.

  ‘How old are you?’ I ask as I look him straight in the eye.

  He dips his lips to mine again, coaxing them open and slowly swirling his tongue around my mouth before biting my bottom lip and tugging gently. ‘Twenty six. ’ he whispers, planting soft, skimming kisses all over my mouth.

  ‘You missed twenty five. ’ I mumble, closing my eyes in complete contentment.

  ‘No, I didn’t. You just can’t remember asking me. ’

  ‘Oh. After the bar?’

  He rubs his nose against mine. ‘Yes, after the bar. ’ He pulls back and runs his thumb across my bottom lip. ‘You feeling better?’

  ‘Yes, you need to feed me. ’

  He laughs, planting a chaste kiss on my lips. ‘Are you making demands?’

  ‘Yes,’ I say haughtily. ‘Get me my clothes. ’

  He narrows his eyes on me, making a play for my hip bone, squeezing it hard and sending me jolting across the worktop on a squeal. ‘Who has the power, Ava?’

  ‘What are you talking about?’ I laugh around his torturous squeezes.

  ‘I’m talking about how much easier we’ll get along if you accept who holds the power. ’

  Oh, I can’t bear it anymore. ‘You do!’

  He releases me immediately. ‘Good girl. ’ He grabs my hair and yanks me forward, landing me with a hard, forceful kiss. ‘Don’t forget it. ’

  I melt into him, absorbing his so called power on a long drawn out sigh. All too soon, he leaves me on the worktop and returns a few minutes later with my underwear, dress, shoes and bag. I scowl at him as I take them.

  ‘Don’t look at me like that, lady. You won’t be wearing that dress again, I can assure you. Put the shirt over it. ’ He gives the dress a disapproving look before leaving the kitchen to take a call.

  I laugh to myself. Who holds the power? Me, that’s who! Control freak! I throw my clothes on and rummage through my bag to try and find my contraceptive pills, but they’re nowhere to be seen. I tip out the entire contents of my clutch onto the worktop and rifle through the crap that I harbour in my bag, only to find I didn’t put them in.

  ‘You ready?’

  I turn to see Jesse in the archway to the kitchen with his hand held out. ‘Two seconds. ’ I stuff my things back in my bag and walk over, taking his outstretched hand.

  ‘Lost something?’ he asks, leading me out of the penthouse.

  ‘No, I must have left them at home. ’ He looks down at me with a questioning look. ‘My pills,’

  His eyebrows rise. ‘It’s a good job Cathy isn’t here. You would give her a heart attack in that dress. ’

  ‘Cathy?’

  ‘My housekeeper,’ He looks down at my dress disapprovingly and sets about fastening the buttons of his shirt. ‘Better. ’ he concludes on a small satisfied smile.

  We exit the elevator and I’m pulled through the foyer of Lusso, Clive doing a double take as we pass.

  ‘Morning, Mr Ward. ’ he greets cheerfully. ‘You look better this morning, Ava. ’

  Jesse nods at Clive but doesn’t slow his long strides. I blush profusely, smiling sweetly as I scuttle along, keeping up with Jesse. How embarrassing. I seriously doubt I look better than last night. My hair is damp, I’ve not a scrap of make-up on and I’m wearing last night’s clothes with Jesse’s shirt over the top.

  I’m bundled into the Aston Martin and drove home at the usual hair raising speed, while Ian Brown soothes my ears.

  Outside Kate’s, I let myself out of his car and meet him on the pavement. His eyes follow me until I’m stood before him and he’s looking down at me with those glorious, green eyes. I don’t want him to go. I want him to take me back to his tower in the sky and hide me there forever, in his bed – with him in it too. I’m a slave to this man. I’ve been completely and utterly taken.

  I step forward, pushing my front into his chest, tilting my head up to him. He stands casually, with his hands resting lightly in his jean pockets, his twinkling eyes watching me as I reach up on my tiptoes and brush my lips over his. That’s all it takes for him to remove his hands from his pockets and heave me to his chest, plunging his tongue into my mouth, fiercely taking whatever he wants. It’s totally fine. He can have it. My arms find their way around his neck, and I absorb it all as he rolls and laps at my mouth, completely consuming me.

  Trouble…so much bloody trouble.

  Once he’s taken what he wants, he pulls away on a long exhale, leaving me breathless and wanting so much more. I turn on my unsteady legs, taking myself up the path to Kate’s front door. I should smile, I’m quite happy with myself and all the sex I’ve had, but the ache in my gut is a screaming indictor that I can’t ignore.

  I turn to watch him drive off but find him close behind, looking down at me. My brow furrows. What’s he doing? If he’s come for another goodbye kiss, then I’m game.

  ‘What are you doing?’ I ask.

  ‘I’m coming in to wait for you. ’

  ‘Where am I going?’

  ‘You’re coming to work with me,’ he replies, like I should know this.

  He’s going to work? Of course, hotels don’t close on weekends, but what am I going to do while he’s working? Do I care as long as I’m with him?

  ‘You just kissed me goodbye. ’

  A smile plays at the corners of his mouth. ‘No, Ava. I just kissed you. ’ He brushes a damp lock of hair from my face. ‘Get rea
dy. ’

  Oh, okay. He orders me about all over the place and I comply, mostly without a second thought. I really am a slave to him.

  I walk into the lounge, with Jesse in tow, to find Kate and Sam sprawled across the sofa, a tangle of semi-naked arms and legs, eating cornflakes. Neither of them makes any urgent attempt to cover up.

  ‘Hey, my man,’ Sam exclaims when he looks up and sees Jesse. Jesse’s eyes travel over Sam’s half nakedness, a look of disapproval clear on his face. ‘How are you feeling, Ava?’ he asks.

  I roll my eyes. Yes, I was steaming drunk, but as it happens, I feel fine now – Jesse has fucked me better. ‘Good. ’ I answer, glancing at Kate with a get-in-my-room-NOW look. ‘I’ll be as quick as I can. ’ I leave Jesse in the lounge and retreat to my room, pacing while waiting for Kate. Victoria’s disclosure comes back into my mind, and now I don’t know what to do.

  She swans in, looking all roughed up. ‘Someone looks thoroughly fucked!’ she laughs.

  I narrow my eyes on her. There’s one more thing I need to clear up first. ‘Why did you tell Sam where I was?’ I spit accusingly.

  She recoils. ‘You’re mad at me?’

  ‘Yes…no…a little bit. ’ Oh, I’m not mad in the slightest. I was a bit last night, but not now. She gives me a mischievous grin. ‘Don’t look at me like that Kate Matthews. What’s going on with you and Sam?’

  ‘Adorable, isn’t he?’ She winks. ‘It’s just a bit of fun. ’

  Well, fun or not, she needs to know. ‘You should know that Victoria saw him being doused in a frappuccino by some irate woman in Starbucks. ’ I pull Jesse’s shirt and my dress over my head, flinging them both to the floor.

  Kate rolls her eyes and scoops them up, placing them on my bed before flopping down on my duvet, her red hair fanning around her pale face. ‘I know. It’s the crazy bitch ex-girlfriend. ’

  ‘He told you?’ I can’t keep the shock from my voice.

  ‘Yeah, it’s no big shakes. ’

  ‘Oh,’ I can’t believe how laid back she is. Ever the calm and collective one, nothing fazes her.

  She looks up at me. ‘You’re not the only one getting a good seeing to,’ she says seriously. I gape at her. ‘It’s written all over your face, Ava. ’

  ‘I’m going to work with Jesse. ’ I grab my dryer to try and salvage the damp mess that is my hair.

  ‘Have fun. ’ I hear her chant as she sashays out of my room. I flip my head upside down and rough dry my mass of brunette hair, ignoring the fact that I’m rushing to get back to Jesse.

  When I flick my head back up to the mirror, an image of Jesse, propped up against my headboard, smacks me in the face. His arms are casually braced behind his head. He practically fills my double bed. I flick my dryer off, turning to face green eyes burning holes into me. I want to crawl up that bed and into him.

  ‘Hey, baby. ’ He looks me up and down.

  ‘Hey, yourself,’ I grin. ‘Comfortable?’

  He bounces himself lightly. ‘No, I’m only comfortable with one thing under me these days. ’ His eyebrows raise suggestively.

  That look and those words have my knees quivering and coils of craving springing into every crevice of my body. I watch as he pushes himself up from my bed and walks slowly over to me, turning me to face my wardrobe. Reaching over one of my shoulders, he flicks through the rails of clothes, pulling out my cream shirt dress.

  ‘Put this on,’ he breathes in my ear. ‘And make sure there’s lace underneath it. ’

  I clench my eyes shut. I was thinking more along the lines of jeans and a t-shirt, but I’m more than happy to go with that. I reach forward, taking the hanger from him, moaning when his hand falls down and brushes over my breast, his hips rolling forward into my lower back.

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