Realllllly unedited. Sorry. But here goes!
The sound of a male voice in the doorway to my office jolted me from my work, shifting my “lost-in-what-I-was-doing” status to “lost-in-those-eyes”.
Jeff Perry was fine.
Unbidden, my heart starting beating a little faster as a smile drifted across his lips and he stepped into the office, hands tucked into his slacks.
“Ms. Phillips… what a pleasure to lay eyes on you again,” he said, taking it upon himself to occupy the seat in front of my desk – a liberty that reminded me I was annoyed with him.
And impossibly intrigued.
“I’m not sure yet if I can say the same, Mr. Perry,” I replied, laying down the pen I’d been using so that I could prop my chin in my hands. “Perry, as in, Nubia Perry, as in, Nubia Perry’s “favorite cousin”, as in… not “just” a journalist, as you let me assume. You don’t work for the Las Vegas WAWG affiliate station – you run it,” I told him, wanting to be sure he knew that I knew he’d left a few details out.
My words made him grin, and sit back in the chair with his legs spread wide. “I see you’ve done your research.”
“Well, after my off-the-record words appeared in your publication and are now being used against Reid Bennet’s campaign, I figured I should probably find out exactly who I was blowing bubbles with.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Oh? You read a couple of news articles and think you know me?”
“Not in the slightest,” I countered. “I understand the difference between the story the media tells and the truth. Do you?
“Oh damn,” he chuckled. “That sounded like a jab. Felt like one too.”
“And you sound like a hit dog hollering,” I told him, raising an eyebrow. “What can I do for you Mr. Perry?”
At that, he sat forward, leaning toward the desk. “You can give me the pleasure of having you on my arm at the Armstrong Gala.”
This time, it was my eyebrows that hiked up, remaining perched near my hairline as I reminded him, “The Armstrong Gala is next week, and the guest list is exclusive – harder to get into than… one of Kingston Whitfield’s poker games,” I said, using a reference I only had vague knowledge of, but thought it fit right into Jeff’s social status. “And my name is most certainly absent.”
“You say that like it matters.”
“Are you saying it doesn’t?”
He shrugged, with an arrogant smirk that made me have to shift a little in my seat. “For me… not much. If you’re on my arm, your entry is guaranteed.”
“So you’re what, an A-lister?” I asked.
“Your phrase, not mine,” he grinned. “So what do you say? Accompany me to this event, rub elbows with Vegas’ “Black Royalty”, maybe secure a few donations. Get to know me better than those articles you read…”
I laughed. “Sounds like quite a night.”
“I certainly intend to make it so. So…?”
I pushed out a sigh. “I… uhh…”
“Don’t tell me you’ve got a man,” he groaned, making me laugh as I shook my head. “No? A woman then?” he shrugged again. “That’s fine. I don’t mind competition.”
“I don’t have a woman,” I giggled, then immediately calmed myself as I considered my situation. “There is someone whose… counsel… I would need to seek, before I said yes.”
He waved a hand, brushing me off. “Oh. Who, your homegirls or something? Friends always love me.”
“You realize that isn’t necessarily a perk, don’t you?”
“You realize that depends on the woman and the friends, don’t you?”
My brows dropped. “Oooh, okay,” I laughed. “But no, not my friends either. Just… someone. It’s complicated.”
“I’m a man who can take no for an answer, Rowan.”
“That’s nice, but I’m not saying no. I’m saying that I have to get back to you.”
He nodded, staring at me for a moment before he pushed up from the chair, digging out his wallet for a card to put on my desk. “My number. Office and personal cell. Let me know, okay?”
“Thank you for the offer,” I told him with a smile. “I absolutely will.”
After that, he turned and left, leaving my mind running with possibilities – a state that didn’t last very long before my cell phone rang, drawing my attention away.
I frowned when I saw Desiree Byers’ name on the screen.
Were they spying on me?
Briefly – very briefly – I entertained the idea of not answering the phone, but common sense ruled over that.
“Hello Ms. Byers,” I answered, as pleasantly as I could. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your call?”
On the other end of the line, she laughed. “No need for the all formalities,” she said. “Keep all of it, actually. It’s just Des. And I think you know why I’m calling.”
I sighed. “Yes. Of course.”
“You don’t sound very excited – do you have some feedback you need me to give the client? I’m quite sure he’d want to know if you were unhappy.”
I shook my head, though she couldn’t see me. “No. It’s not that, I just… I think I expected a little more time. A break, I guess.”
“Do you need a break?”
“I… I suppose not. He wants to see me tomorrow?”
“He wants to see you today. And he wants that to not be a problem.”
Rolling my eyes, I thought about the sushi I was supposed to be having with Laurel and a few other homegirls tonight. It wasn’t unheard of for one of us to cancel – it wasn’t even that big of a deal for one of us to cancel over a guy.
Me cancelling over a guy whose face I’d never even seen… that was definitely outside of the trend.
“Then… I guess it isn’t. What time should I be ready?”
“A car will be waiting to take you to the hotel at eight tonight. You should already be showered and dressed in the attire my client has provided by the time he arrives at nine.”
I glanced at my watch. It was already approaching five, and I still had work to do. Not wanting to alarm Des, I held the urge to let out another sigh, swallowing my agitation instead. Honestly… thinking back on what had happened between us a few days ago, there was no reason for me to dread my time with her “client”.
“Okay. I guess it’s a date.”
Shit, shit, shit!
I hurried from the car, barely giving it time to come to a full stop before I flung myself out. My footsteps were quick, not even allowing myself time to feel out of place in my yoga pants and tank top.
I was late.
I hated being late.
I bounced on the balls of my feet in the simple flats I’d tossed on, growing more and more impatient as I waited for the elevator. It wasn’t my fault that it was already ten minutes after nine – we’d gotten stuck right behind a car accident that brought traffic to a standstill for over an hour – but I had no way of knowing if that was an acceptable excuse.
Had no way of knowing how “Nick” would feel about being kept waiting.
In my defense, I’d tried to call Desiree, but hadn’t gotten an answer. I’d left a message and texted her too, explaining what was happening, but still hadn’t received a response. I had no idea what I was walking into.
Maybe he isn’t here yet, I told myself, hoping beyond hope that maybe that was true. It was a big city, and traffic caused delays all the time. And there was no doubt he was a busy man. Maybe a meeting had run late, or he was stuck on a conference call, or… hell, anything that would give me even a little bit more time to get myself ready for me.
I was thanking my lucky stars that I’d showered at home, so at least that was taken care of. I’d planned to run a flat iron through my hair once I arrived at the hotel, but with time no longer on my side, I stepped onto the elevator when it finally arrived, and had my hands up, unraveling one of my French braids as the doors closed.
I’d done those braids after a thorough wash following the softball game, and hadn’t touched them since. Now, using the mirrored walls of the elevator, I ran my fingers through the uniform crinkles the braids had left behind, giving myself big, fluffy hair that rested around my shoulders like a mane, making me look sexier than I felt.
As soon as the elevator doors opened, I sprinted down the hall, digging in my bag for the keycard I’d gotten from the driver. The little green light on the door blinked, and then the locks disengaged, allowing me to enter. Once I was on the other side of the closed door, I realized the suite was still mostly dark, which meant Nick hadn’t made it. I pressed my back to the door in relief, taking just a second to catch my breath before I stepped forward to make my way to the bedroom to get dressed.
“Stop right there,” I heard, as soon as my feet crossed the bedroom threshold.
My hand shot up to my chest as if it would stop my heart from slamming out of my chest the way it wanted to. With wide eyes, I scanned the dark bedroom for the source of the words in vain. At least, until my eyes adjusted to the dark.
There, in the corner, just barely illuminated by the light coming through the window, he sat. I could only make out his outline – the sharp curve of his chin, ears that were just a little too big, the slope of his haircut before the next demand came.
“Close your eyes, Rowan. No peeking.”
My eyes shut when he said it, so quickly that it felt like he was more in charge of my body than I was. Logically, I knew that the driver had probably alerted him that I was on my way up, that it was unlikely he’d been sitting in the dark, but something about the pitch blackness I found myself surrounded by made the hair stand up on my arms.
It didn’t help that there was a sudden, resounding clink of glass hitting wood, followed by the distinct shuffle of clothes across leather. He was standing, and staring, and stalking toward me in slow, deliberate steps across the carpet. I expected him to say something once he reached me, but the only thing I got was continued silence as he tied the blindfold over my face, weaving it through my hair in a way that kept it flowing free and wild.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” I said, blindly pointing my head in the direction where I felt his warmth. “There was—”
“An accident. I know.” His tone was clipped – not necessarily out of annoyance, but definitely impatience, which didn’t make my heart beat any less rapid. I shivered as he slipped a hand underneath my tank top, underneath the cami bra I wore, to caress my breast. “You already showered?” he asked, pressing closer to me, pressing my back to the wall beside the door.
Just as I opened my mouth to answer, he put his mouth to my neck, sucking my skin just hard enough to make me cringe in pain before I felt the rasp of his tongue, soothing my tender flesh.
“I…yes,” I breathed, hoping he understood it was an answer and a request. He must have gotten it, because he did it again, cupping and squeezing my breast as he did. I whimpered as his teeth grazed my neck, teasing before he bit down – another gratifying twinge he calmed with his tongue.
That one-word warning was all I got before his other hand was in my panties, between my legs, thumb pressed to my clit as two fingers invaded my wetness. My mouth fell open, taken aback by his abruptness but also turned on by it. I opened my legs to give him better access, and tilted my head back for the same reason, moaning and sighing in response to his tongue on my neck.
But then suddenly, instead of at my neck, his mouth was on mine and his hand was buried in my hair, pulling me into a deep, bruising sort of kiss. I didn’t even think about it before I tossed my arms around his neck, rocking my hips into his hand as he stroked me with his fingers.
His tongue took residence in my mouth, tasting and teasing and leaving behind the oaky-sweet flavor of whatever had been in the glass I heard him put down. His thick fingers pushed deeper, bringing forth a hot coil of pleasure I’d always considered elusive, but seemed so easily attainable with him.
In next to no time, I was on the verge of exploding. Nick unraveled his hand from my hair long enough to tug my tank top and bra down, exposing my breasts to the cool, dark air. A harsh moan ripped from my throat as he bent his head to suck my nipple into his mouth, tugging it with his teeth. My hands moved from his shoulders to his head, holding him in place as he licked and sucked the overly sensitive peak until I was shaking.
Between his mouth and his fingers, I felt him all over – the pleasurable prickling of my skin, the throbbing of my breasts, the contractions between my legs signaling that I was ready for more than just his hand, I was ready for him.
Propping my hands on either side of his head, I drew him back upward, sightlessly pressing my mouth to his. Once he took over the kiss I dropped my hands, sliding them down over the hard plane of his chest, down to his stomach, down to his belted slacks.
There, I froze.
Was I really about to do this?
In front of me, Nick had stopped moving too, and the pause in activity allowed a moment of clarity to creep through. Him going down on me was one thing – one scandalous thing I could never publicly admit. Actual factual intercourse was another.
That was crossing a whole different line I wasn’t sure I was ready for.
Should’ve thought about that before you signed the paperwork.
I swallowed, hard.
Yes, Desiree Byers had made it clear that this was something I could walk away from. I could even leave with some of my perks intact – enough perks to at least survive the rest of the year, with some left over. I didn’t have to do this – not out of fear, not for money. But the thing was… at this point… I wanted to do it, as embarrassing as that was.
Not embarrassing enough to make me stop though.
I snapped back into action, unbuttoning and unzipping and tugging until my hands made contact with his painfully hard erection. Just to myself, I smiled a little at his sharp intake of breath when I wrapped my hand around it, squeezing as I pumped him just enough to get an idea of his size.
Before my brain could process what I was feeling, he’d pulled away, yanking me away from the wall. I gasped a little as he tossed me across the bed, roughly ridding me of my yoga pants and panties before he pulled me up on my knees, pushed my upper half down until I was perched on my hands, and then plunged into me from behind.
Long, and thick.
There was my answer.
I didn’t even try to muffle my screams of pleasure – I let it all out as he drove into me, burying himself as deep as my body would allow, over, and over, and over again. His arm went around my waist, anchoring me in place as he dug in, hitting every nook and cranny before he pulled back and then repeated himself.
I closed my eyes because it was the only thing I could do as his strokes grew faster, and the wetter I got, deeper. The harder he fucked me, the lower my upper half dropped, until nothing but my ass was in the air, my cheeks serving as hand grips as he stroked me into a moaning, screaming mess on the bed.
I didn’t think it was possible for me to cum harder than I during our first rendezvous, but he proved me wrong. I came in a flood of static and color, so loud and bright that I was temporarily void of my senses, but then it all came rushing back, in a wave of pleasure that made me scream myself hoarse.
It was really, realllyyy good.
The type of good that I didn’t think could possibly get better until he flipped me over, settling between my legs to sink into me again after he’d gotten rid of the rest of our clothes. Instead of pounding into me, chasing his own nut, he went… slow.
All my nerve endings were raw – still in a tizzy from that orgasm. So everything about this – from the feeling of his hips locked between my thighs, to the rasp of skin on skin, to his hand on my neck, to the sweat dripping from his brow to mine – was amplified. It was so good that I barely felt like I was in my own body until he brought his mouth to mine, for another liquor-infused kiss that brought me back to earth.
I didn’t know what more to do than wrap my arms around him, sinking my nails into his back as he sank into me, filling me to a point that felt like too much and not enough, at once. A whimper left my throat with each stroke, and my hands moved lower as my whimpers came faster, until I was leaving nail prints in his ass cheeks as he settled into a steady rhythm.
My legs constricted around him as my back arched, pressed up toward him as he pressed down into me. That hot coil of pleasure started building again, tighter and hotter as the tension rose in his hips. My mouth opened and never closed, sucking in whatever breath I could as Nick buried his face in my neck. This time when I came, it was accompanied by a soundless scream, and then a loud, harsh, guttural growl into my neck from him as he came, slamming so hard that I was sure we’d be stuck together long after he was finished emptying himself into me.
There was no point in opening my eyes behind the mask, so I didn’t. The multiple orgasms had wrung every last bit of energy I had after a long day at work, so I didn’t bother trying to move at all.
Neither did he.
And after a few moments, the weight of his body on top of mine lulled me to sleep.
I may have fucked up.
The longer I laid there, watching Rowan sleep, the more apparent it became that “may have” was more like “definitely”.
Her mask had slipped off, but instead of fixing it, or getting my ass out of there before she woke up and saw my face, I was just… watching.
She was too beautiful not to.
Now that I’d watched her, felt her come unglued around my dick, I wanted her even more. Nevermind that I had her. I still wanted her. Wanted more.
More than the terms of my ill-advised contract could provide.
Here was a woman who was everything – smart, resourceful, kind, sexy as hell – that I wanted. I had her in my bed. Well… in a bed.
And yet, she was still out of my reach.
The buzzing of my cell phone caught my attention, and I reluctantly pulled my gaze away from the nude, sex-drained goddess in front of me. The name on the screen immediately made my eyes roll, but I pulled myself up from my seat, knowing Enid wouldn’t stop calling until she had my attention.
The woman was a master at snatching peaceful moments away from me.
Knowing it was time for me to go, I approached the bed, standing over Rowan for one last time for the night. She stirred a little in her sleep and I didn’t move, recklessly concluding that if she opened her eyes, I’d just have to accept it.
She settled back into the covers, so peaceful and beautiful that it made it hard as fuck to leave. But I had to. So I bent to press a kiss to her lips, feeling a deep pang of regret when that soft peck made her mouth curve into a subconscious smile.
That made my get my ass out of that hotel room.
I fucked up.