****Note from Evyn, Please read or you will be confused.*****
Hey all. This is a rough cut, but I’m heading out of town for two weeks so here you go. Oh and I added another scene to chapter eight. Go back and read it and this chapter makes a lot more sense.
Drake stared down at the girl who was dominating his every waking moment and keeping him awake nights. Her hair mass of tangled silk, tears trailing through the flour dusting her cheeks, she lay on her kitchen floor holding her ribs and laughed her very fine ass off at him.
He could say with 100 % certainty no other woman in his acquaintance had ever fallen over laughing at him. In the few days he’d known Miss Andie Chase it had happened twice. Both times had left him with raging hard-ons. Either he had new leanings towards masochism and humiliation or Miss Chase was just that fucking edible while doing it.
Since he had the overwhelming desire to rip her clothes off and taste every inch of that creamy flesh, he was going with option 2.
Which brought him back to his original problem. His fast growing obsession with the girl at his feet.
Her laughter finally beginning to ebb, she struggled back into a sitting position her back to the wall. Opportunist that he was, he held out his hand. Eyeing him with a good deal of suspicion, which was smart, she placed her hand in his, which wasn’t. He tugged her up and kept tugging.
She fell into him. An immensely satisfying result. He got to torture himself with the feel of her sweet body wriggling against him before she managed to brace her hands on the counter behind him, creating space between them.
“Hey,” She shoved her hair back to reveal her flushed face and its smattering of freckles.
Looping his arm behind her back so she couldn’t get away, he slid his forefinger over the intriguing little spots he’d been having numerous fantasies about, “Do you have more of these?”
“More of what?”
“No.” She denied immediately with a solid head shake and eyes darting away and down.
“Miss Chase, you are lying.” Oh, and she was terrible at it. If the girl ever went to Vegas she’d lose her house.
“I am not.” She met his eyes for maybe half a second, “Fine, I have more.” She confessed, pushing against the counter in an attempt to escape.
Not happening. He looped both arms around her back, “A lot more?”
“No…not really…” She kept pushing on the counter, “And this is a stupid conversation.”
“Oh, I have to disagree there. I’m fascinated.” He lowered his head allowed his lips to slide over her cheek, his hands moving sliding along her waist, “Where are they?”
“None of your beeswax.”
“Beeswax?” He repeated, laughing even as he nipped the skin behind her ear. It got him a gasp and a shiver. He liked both of those reactions… a lot.
“Beeswax, business, whatever…You need to let me go.”
Did he? He didn’t think so. Feeling her squirming against him was immensely pleasurable and he wasn’t into self-denial. But he was open to persuasive arguments. With one last nuzzle against her cheek he pulled back, looking into her flushed, frustrated face, “Why?”
Aqua eyes blinked at him, “Why what?”
“Why should I let you go?” He clarified his eyes drawn to the pulse fluttering at the base of her throat.
“Why should you let me go?”
“Mmm-hmm,” He nodded his hands roaming over her back, “I’m always open to persuasion.”
“I’ll bet.” She muttered, blowing a stray her out of her face, “Okay you nned to let me go because…. I’ve got to get the rolls out of the oven before they burn or you’ll have the rage of the entire building brought down on your head.”
“It might be worth it.” His eyes honed in on her mouth, plump, pink. They would look sexy wrapped around his…..
Her small hands tugging at his own where they were clasped behind her back derailed wayward thoughts, “You won’t be saying that when you’re running for your life from the hungry masses.”
“No?” Hell, he could scoop her up and bolt before the hungry masses knew what was happening. He’d take her back to EveryMay and lock the damn gates. He’d never seen the appeal of the gates before but keeping luscious little Andie in and locking everyone else out. That had appeal.
“No. You might be able to get Marla to hide you, but she’ll likely want something in return.”
Ah, right. Marla was frightening. He slid his arm from around her. She grabbed an oven mitt and opened the oven door. It was low so she had to bend over to do it. Giving him a great view of her ass. Standing much too quickly, she placed the long pans on wire racks. The air was thick with cinnamon and sugar, yeast and bread. The rolls plump and bursting with glaze.
“Damn, they look good.” He reached out to pinch off a piece, only to jerk his hand back.
Holy fucking shit. The little minx had wacked him with her spatula. The wooden end too.
“You hit me.”
She waved the spatula at him, “Don’t be a baby.”
Don’t be a…“What?”
“You heard me. And you’d be hurting a lot worse if I hadn’t. That filling is still bubbling, you can get a second degree burn.”
“Hmmm,” Alright then if the buns weren’t available…he ran his finger around the rim of the icing bowl. Collecting a dollop of icing, he brought it to his mouth while she watched him from under her lashes. It was silk on his tongue, sweet with a slight tang. Delicious.
He went back for more. She slapped his hand again, “Stop that. Honestly, you’re worse than the five year olds at the shelter.”
“I am?” He felt a grin stretch his cheeks. Who knew he had masochistic leanings.
“I’ve never been a patient man.”
Another little snort, “Really? I’d have never thought.” Gathering her hair and twisting it up with one hand, she opened a drawer with the other, pulled out a long wooden stick and stuck it through the mass, anchoring it in a messy bun. He wanted to pull it out and watch it fall back down around her shoulders. Her naked shoulders. Hell, he just wanted her naked… and under him. Christ, but he had “it” bad. He’d heard of that phenomenon, but didn’t truly believe it. Laughing at men who had women jerking them around by their dicks. He wasn’t laughing now. He was too busy gritting his teeth against the ever increasing pulsing in his cock. At this rate “It” was going to kill him. Watching her whip the icing in the bowl, the brisk movement causing her breasts to bounce ever so slightly under the large tee she wore, he decided that Karma was, in fact, a bitch.
He also noticed that she held the bowl between them, like a shield.
She didn’t trust him.
Shit, he didn’t trust himself. He was fast losing any grip he had on sanity. Hauling a couple of deep breaths in his lungs and reminding his dick that no matter how luscious, Miss Andromeda Adriana Chase was off limits even if he couldn’t, for the life of him, remember why, Drake searched for a neutral topic, but his brain was sluggish from lack of oxygen. As all his blood was rushing south. He heard laughter coming from the apartment next door, “You have interesting neighbors.”
She ducked her head, but he heard the little snicker, “A new experience for you?”
“Yes, I have to admit, I don’t think anyone’s ever threatened to…uh… ‘cut a bitch’ over me.”
“It’s a high compliment.” Her head still tucked
“Oh yes, not as much as the ‘Menage a Mmmm mmm good…’”
Her head was still ducked, but she couldn’t hide her shaking shoulders. He was about to grab her, neighbors, rolls and consequences be damned, when one of her neighbors called out from open doorway.
“Uh…Andie…” The new bi-sexual, who he remembered as Shellie from the blow-up at the Institute threw her thumb to the right, “There’s about to be a smack down over there.”
“Oh dear,” That little “V” of worry creasing her forehead, Andie handed him the bowl of icing and slipped the mitts back on, “We can ice them over there.”
“Good idea,” The woman at the door sent her dreads flying around her head with her vigorous nodding, “We don’t want a repeat of last time.”
“Last time?” He asked, his eyes staying on that little crinkle.
“Oh…well…” Andie hesitated, walking by him so the sight was lost to him, but he did now have a great view of her ass. Fair trade.
“There was one roll left.” Some distant part of his brain listened to the other girl’s story, “Somebody suggested Rock, paper, scissors and things went bad.”
“How bad?” He asked absently.
“Ted sprained his wrist.” Andie picked up the story, “Stephen twisted an ankle.”
“And Tommy got a beautiful black eye when he went into a victory dance with his roll and ran smack into a door jamb.” The other woman’s conclusion got his eyes off Andie’s ass.
“The hell you say.”
“Oh,” Andie threw a look back over her shoulder, big aqua eyes rolling, “I say.”
They made the short trek to the apartment next door.
“Oh shit…” Andie stopped short.
“This is bad.” Shellie said.
Drake was speechless.
His brother was flat on his back on the floor. Andie’s roommate, Layla on top of him. The striking woman sat astride him, screaming in some language he didn’t understand, her hands around his brother’s throat.
“Shit, she’s cursing in pygmy.” Andie.
“Pygmy?” What the hell?
“Damn, that escalated fast.” Shellie braced herself with a hand on the door jamb, “When I left they were still on their feet and she was still cursing in English.”
Andie stood beside him muttering under her breath, with all the screaming he couldn’t make out much of it, but he thought it was a bunch of “oh nos” and “she’s snapped” something about weight and water and she finished it up with “body-dump”.
What she didn’t know was his brother could get out from under the woman whenever he wanted. He had taken to fighting young and had done well in amateur MMA. Could have gone pro if not for their Mother threatening to disown him. Nate turned his head, met Drake’s eyes… and winked.
His brother was an idiot.
The other roommate, Jose, came running over, a dish towel in his hand, “Thank God. Layla has lost it.”
“What happened?” Drake asked, but he had a good idea. Nate was exceptionally good at provoking people to violence.
“Your unfortunately straight brother has a death wish, that’s what.” Jose laid the dish towel on an entry table by the door and grabbed one pan of rolls, “He snatched the last bite of the last roll out of Layla’s hand. Then when she went to take it back he leaped over the couch and said he’d give it back for a favor.” He set the rolls down on the towel and grabbed the bowl of icing.
“A favor?” He asked, watching Jose scoop a giant glop of icing and slam it down on the rolls.
“Of a sexual nature.” Jose clarified as he proceeded to slap the spatula around.
“Dammit, Jose.” Andie pushed past Drake and snatched the spatula, “You’re tearing them to pieces.”
“They don’t have to pretty, but they better be ready.” Her friend snapped, though he did surrender the spatula, “These are battle conditions, Sugar-pie.”
Drake thought it looked more like warped version of Fight Club. He saw money change hands between Ted and several other man in the building while the woman guzzling the Bloody Mary shouted for Layla to “Rip the pretty boy’s shirt open.” Ted’s teenage son was holding his phone up, filming the entire thing. Several of the people were holding glass vases He guessed they must have been in the way. The only person not watching was Mrs. Hennessy, who was seated in the corner with a plate full of eggs and hash browns.
“So Layla jumped him?” Shellie asked
“Not right away,” Jose said, trying to snatch the rolls from Andie only to be whacked with the spatula, “Bitchy.” The man sniffed and continued to relay the insanity, “Then she switched to Mandarin, threw some English in there, and honey my poor ears will never be the same….”
“Right.” Andie nodded like that was perfectly normal.
“And then your brother decided he wanted today to be his last day on earth and told Layla she was cute when she was mad.”
“No!” Shellie threw her hand over her mouth
“Not good, not good.” Andie muttered under her breath, picking up her speed with the spatula.
“Oh honey, wait for it.” Jose continued, “Then he stuffed the roll in his mouth and said, and I’m quoting now, ‘Too slow, Barbie Doll.’”
“Oh, he’s a dead man,” Shellie said and crossed herself, “Shame too, he’s so pretty.”
As for Andie, she moved so fast now her hand was practically a blur while murmuring numerous forms of “Oh shit.” He heard a “holy shit” a “shitty-shit” and a “shitty fucking holy shitty shit.”
Damn, but she was cute. He wanted to drag her back to her empty apartment and find a bed, or a couch or hell, the floor. A wall would work…
“So, did your Mother drop that boy on his head?” Jose interrupted his fantasy of Andie wrapped around him and up against the wall, “Did he not get enough oxygen in his formative years? Or did he just come into this world plain stupid?”
“If those are the only choices, I’d have to go with option number three.”
Jose humphed, “Well, he’s lucky she’s wearing lace ups or he’d have gotten a double shot to the crotch.” He grabbed the pan of rolls, silencing Andie’s protests with a slice of his hand through the air, “Honey, that man is about to die. This is the last day of relative peace we will have until Hell Week is over and God as my witness, I will not spend it bent over a bathtub with a hack-saw.”
“Right.” Andie released the rolls. Jose ran over and held the rolls in front the woman choking his brother and cursing in….Drake thought he recognized some of the words as Latin.
“Look honey, sugar.”
The woman looked up and damn if she didn’t reach out with one hand for the rolls while still holding onto his brother’s throat.
Jose jerked it away, “Layla Markham, this is not the Amazon. Get off the nice, pretty boy and go sit your ass down like a civilized She-Devil.”
For maybe half a second the woman looked like she was going to explode, then she deflated, “Fine,” with one last look of loathing at his brother’s grinning face, “You’re just lucky Andie made a quadruple batch.” And with surprising, ease she leaped to her feet.
His brother winked again.
“Oh, um The Women’s Trust Charity Ball.”
“Ah, right, Layla Markham, she works with my mother on it.”
“Yeah, well it’s this Saturday. There’s so much to do and she irritable….”
“Shit, that girl is dangerous.” Shellie said.
“Well, it’s a lot to take on.”
Yes, things had been getting hectic at the hotel. The Fugue was a new acquisition and he was having to rush the security upgrades in time for the event. “I’m sure.”
“I don’t understand the reference to the lace-ups.” One of many things he didn’t understand. Hell, he was operating at a deficit. It was like he’d been transported to a different planet.
“Layla has been known to sling a Minola or two.” Andie informed him.
Carrying the rolls to the long counter, Jose sat them beside a plate of eggs. “Now, we will all line up, fill our plates, sit down, and enjoy a delicious meal like adults and not rowdy Romper-Room rejects. You Straight and Narrows are terrible at Sunday Brunch.”
Damien Drake watched the crowd calm and fall in line, feeling like he’d just run a marathon. Mrs. Hennessy staying seated, barking out a detailed order to Layla, saying since she had all that extra energy she could use it to fix an old lady a plate. Andie handed the other pan of rolls off to one of her neighbors who offered to ice them.
Jose then took her by the arm and put her in front of the line, proclaiming the “Baker of the Buns” Was first to dine.
Then his brother appeared beside him, still wearing his idiot grin, “Man, I’m in love.”
“So, did you get her number?” eHe asked He asked.
“Laugh it up.” His brother said, then his gaze sharpened on the girl he’d been under seconds ago. Drake had seen that look on his brother’s face when he was looking at an especially gorgeous sailing vessel, but never had he seen it directed at a woman, “I’m marrying that girl.”
“You going to eat that?” Andie shivered at the whisper in her ear.
Avoiding Damien hadn’t been too difficult. There were almost two dozen people milling around the apratment, but every so often he caught her. Like now.
Leaning over the back of the sofa his mouth at her ear.
She didn’t trust herself to speak without whimpering. He’d been relentless with the little brushes and touches and smoldering looks. It was wreaking havoc on her hormones.
She shook her head, surrendering half of her cinnamon roll. He reached over her and took it from her plate, “You sure?”
He lifted away and she was at once relieved and frustrated. Just what the hell did he want form her anyway? Well, other than a quickie against the nearest wall or whatever it was he did to get that reputation he had. The relief was short lived and the frustration doubled.
“Here, I saved you the best part.” His hand was in front of her, holding the center of the roll. It was the best part. But no way was he feeding her. She gripped his wrist to pull his hand away.
“Come on, open up.” Then his other hand reached around and rested just below her throat, his thumb brushed her bottom lip and his mouth touched her ear, “Let me in, Andie.”
Just like that, her lips parted. He slipped the pastry between them. She chewed and swallowed, but didn’t taste a thing. So overwhelmed by what he was doing to her.
Then he gripped her chin turned her head and his mouth sealed over hers and there was nothing but sensation. Sweet, blissful, sensation. A languid restlessness invaded her body as his lips and then his tongue teased the seam of her mouth, his hand sliding up her throat so his thumb grazed the sensitive flesh behind her ear. And almost as soon as it began, it ended. His low hum of pleasure vibrating her lips as he released her with a nuzzle of his nose across hers.
“So sweet, Baby.”
The room that had been filled with half a dozen people was empty.
She jumped up and promptly spilled what was left on her plate onto her friend’s carpet.
“It’s okay hon, I’ll get it.” Marla appeared from the back hallway followed by Tommy, Justin, Shellie, and Jose who was fanning himself.
Oh for fuck’s sake.
She spun around and faced Mr. Make Me Crazy who had transformed into Mr. Cool and Smooth, “I’ll see you Tuesday. I’ll pick up the cupcakes.”
Oh hell no. She was delivering and this time she’d be leaving them with one of the impeccable blondes. Being around Damien Drake was just too dangerous and delicious, and…. well… never mind, “It’s okay. I’ll drop them off. I have to deliver some to Mr. Jenkins’ office anyway.”
The Adonis in front of her went very, very still, “What?”
“Uh…Mr. Jenkins called and asked me to make him a dozen cupcakes. Since I was already making…”
Her explanation was interrupted with a clipped, “You mean Maxwell Jenkins, my attorney?”
“Uh…Yes.” Andie said with a slow nod and attempted to finish her explanation, “He ordered a dozen for Tuesday as well. So I can just drop yours off…”
Only to be cut off. Again, with an imperious, “What flavor?”
“Uh… Vanilla.” What the hell? The sensual seducer had left the building and Mr. Tall Dark and Grumpy had moved in.
“Vanilla.” It was a feral growl. The perfect patrician features sharp as a blade, dark as thunder. Andie watched the muscle twitching in his jaw, thinking this is what Zeus looked like right before right before Atlantis plunged into the sea into the sea.
He then turned to the half dozen people watching the exchange in rapt fascination, “Thank-you all for your hospitality.” And back to her, “Andie, I’ll see you Tuesday.”
And Adonis strode from the room.
And again Andie was left wondering what the hell just happened. How did he keep doing this?
Andie spun around to see six sets of eyes glued to the door.
“Oh honey,” Marla was the first to recover, giving herself a little shake, “He is the hottest thing. That kiss.” Marla went into the kitchen and grabbed the vodka, “. Oh baby. I need another drink.”
“And jealous over your cupcakes.” Shellie snickered, “That was adorable.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Honey, that man did not want his lawyer anywhere near your uh…cakes.”
“That’s crazy.” Although it did explain the thundercloud, but who got jealous over cupcakes?
“Crazy my ass.” Said Shellie, “He was pissed.”
“Furious,” Tommy agreed with a sigh, “So sweet.”
Demi-Gods. That’s who.
“Men are crazy, sugar.” Marla waved her celery stick around, “but you take it from Marla, that man’s lawyer is about to get a thumping.”
“Andie, sweetheart,” Jose’s eyes finally left the door and found hers. What she saw in them had her breath freezing in her lungs. Her friend was dead serious when he said, “You’ll be in that man’s bed in under a week.”
“You need to get on birth control.”
“I can set you up an appointment for Monday.” Marla offered. She workd for an obgyn group.
“Oh yeah,” Shellie nodded, “Get her in with Dr. Chaucer. She’s the best.”
“My sister sees her. Says she’s wonderful.” Tommy nodded.
“I know. She’s great. A real healer, you know?” Marla began tapping away on her phone, “I’m linked to the schedule…one for 2:00.” Marla looked up, “Can you make that?”
“She’ll make it.” Jose answered for her.
“You should go on the shot.” Shellie said. “One little stick and you’re done for three months.”
“If you’ve never been on it before,” Marla said, “I’d recommend starting with something simple like the mini-pill.”
“Sis, goes with that implant thing.” Tommy offered, “Says it shortens her cycle by a couple of days.”
“Not an IUD?” Shellie looked horrified.
“Now, don’t be like that.” Marla scolded, “The new ones are safe.”
“No, she gets something stuck in her arm.”
“That Yaz thing? Those people are being sued.”
“Yaz was a pill.” Marla said, embarking on a detailed explanation why the drug should never have been on the market.
Without a word, Andie headed for the door. She just wasn’t up to a round-table discussion of her birth control options.
“Honey?” Marla took a break from her Yaz dissertation, “Where are you going?”
“Back to bed.” It had been a long week and the She-devil woke her up early.
“Good idea.” Jose called after her, “You’re going to need your strength.”
Tuesday afternoon Andie entered the Madison building determined to drop off the cupcakes and go, but when she got the the desk. Andie blinked. Nope still there. Okay.
Maybe she was in the wrong building. Andie looked around the lobby. White and black stone floors – check. Stone staircase with heavy mahogany railing – check. Second floor Mezzanine- check. Perfectly coiffed receptionist… uh…no.
A rock star sat there instead. A gril her own age probably it was hard to tell what with the khol rimmed smokey eyes and the red streaks in her cap of black hair, and the skin-tight black lace top.
This was not the type of woman one usually saw in an office environment in DC. LA maybe….
“Hey, can I help you with something?” The girl asked.
“Hi, I just need to drop these off.” Stick with the plan. Drop off cupcakes and get the hell out. She placed them on the desk.
“Oh damn, they look good.” The girl said, and promptly slapped her hand over her mouth. Andie saw black nails tipped with little diamonds, “Shit! Oh, damn.” She cursed again and flopped back in her seat, “Oh well…. fuck.”
“Sorry about that. This is my first day.” The girl gave her a sheepish grin, “The phones I can manage, but the whole not cursing thing is a bitch.”
“Oh, that’s okay.” Andie wondered if bitch was still consideredd a curse word if it wasn’t directed at a person.
“Wow, they look good” Rocker Girl peered through the clear celophane top, “I don’t suppose they’re for Dede Cornell.”
“Uh…no.” Dede. The girl looked like a Dede.
“Shi….oot. Ooops. Close one.” Rocker girl grinned again, “Who are they for so I can snag a couple later.”
“They’re for Mr. Drake.”
The girl’s smile disappeared, “Say again?”
“Wow, cupcakes. For Damien. Damn, have to say you get points for originality.” The girl rested her elbows on the desk and leaned forward, “Look, you seem like a nice girl, and I know he’s pretty to look at, but really I’m doing you a favor, my cousin is tore up from the floor up.”
“Uh….” Her cousin? What the heck did her cousin have to do with anything?
“Damien took 1st place in emotionally unavailable with an honorable mention in the man-whore category. And even as we speak he’s in the running for ‘Denial of my Gayness’. You know what I mean?”
Right. Damien was the cousin and yes, Andie’d thought as much. Except for the Gay thing, no way was that true. “Uh, well, maybe if I just leave them here. Tell him they’re from Andie Chase and…”
“Whoa!!” Rocker Girl shot to her feet, “Wait. Full stop and back the fuck up.” She rounded the desk and Andie saw that the top was trying to be a dress…barely, but since her black spike heeled boots were thigh-highs. The woman was decent – sort of, “Did you say Andy Chase?”
“Is he here?” Rocker chick marched past her and headed towards the door Andie had just come through.
“Um…. Is who here?” Andie asked and oh she really didn’t want to know.
“Andy Chase.” Rocker Girl said, craning her neck and looking out the doors, “Oh, is that him in the Prius? He’s cute.”
What in the hell? “No,he’s not in the Prius. He’s, I mean, she’s me.”
The girl spun around, “YOU?”
“You’re Andy Chase?”
“Yes.” At least she hoped so. In the face of Rocker girl’s shock she was beginning to second guess.
“Well, fuck me,” Black nails disappeared into the girl’s cap of black hair, wide eyes scanning her head to toe, “We thought you were a guy.”
“That happens sometimes.” Andie said, wondering just who the “we” were and if she could get out of here before they showed up, “My name’s spelled with an ie. It’s short for….”
But Dede wasn’t interested in explanations. She ran back to her desk as fast as her spike heels could carry her and grabbed the phone. “Hey, it’s me.” There was a pause and then, “Really? Do you have a Senator in your office? That’s nice. Well, I’ve got Andie Chase out here and he’s a she.”
A scream came out of the phone followed by shouts Andie had no problem hearing, “A She? What do you mean a she? Oh my god, he’s trans-gender? That is so cool.”
“What do you mean, what do I mean?” Dee shouted back, “And no, he’s not transgender because she’s a girl.”
“What? Like a girl girl?”
Andie had no problem hearing that either.
“YES! She’s a girl girl with boobies and a va-jay-jay and everything.”
And that was Andie’s cue to exit the building. She started backing toward the door, but a “No Way!” And the slamming of a door, followed by the clicking of heels running had her looking up to the second floor mezzanine. A woman stared down at them. Her golden brown hair up in French twist, she wore a power suit in vivid red and somehow managed to appear flawless even while hanging over the railing with her mouth hanging open.
“Uh…well,” Andie resumed backing up, “If you could just see that he gets the cupcakes.”
“Grab her!” French Twist shouted.
Grab her? She couldn’t be serious.
But Dede getting a firm hold of her bicep and pulling her away from the doors said she was.
“Uh, look I’ve got another delivery to make.”
“Do you?” Dede asked, still dragging her. Andie wondered if she should put up a fight. All those shows about serial killers said never let them take you to the second location, but then the woman with the French twist did a death defying bolt down the stairs, was right in front of her, and she was outnumbered.
“Holy shit! You are a girl.” And Andie got her second head to toe sweep in under five minutes. Maybe she should have worn her good jeans.
“I’m texting Janice.” The woman tapped away on her phone.
“Excuse me, Miss Cornell. I’m on a schedule.” A male voice called down from the Mezzanine.Andie looked up and …..oh.
It was the House Senate Leader, again.
“Are you?” French Twist didn’t even raise her head, “Don’t let us keep you.”
“I’m sorry..what did you say?”
“You should go on and uh..take care of… you know…. whatever.” She flipped a hand at him without looking up.
The man sputtered, his face going red as he looked between the three of them. Then landed on Andie again, “You!”
Oh shitty shit.
“I’ve got to go.” Andie had no idea what the hell was going on, but was going with the whole ignorance is bliss theory.
“Are you working for the Riley campaign?” The Majority Leader asked, pointing straight at her.
“Whatever he’s paying you we’ll double it.”
“Oh, are you with Riley’s campaign?” French Twist’s eyes lit up.
“You don’t look like a Republican.” Dede stepped back on her spiked thigh-high and Andie got her third head to toe.
Yep, she should have worn her good jeans.
“Is that how you met Damien, at Riley’s fund raiser?” An Excited French Twist bumped Rocker Girl aside, “He should have introduced us. The sneak.”
“Drake went to Riley’s find raiser?” The Majority Leader squeaked and made for the stairs. As he was on the portly side, he wasn’t as speedy as French Twist, but he made up for it with enthusiasm. Huffing and puffing and saying how they were always looking for promising young talent and touting their excellent benefits package. She guessed that information was for her since he was offering her a job. Taking in his red, sweaty face, Andie wondered if she should offer him an aspirin. Then remembered she’d left her purse in the prius with the cute guy.
“We won’t hold the Republican thing against you,” Dee pulled her attention from the Senator’s possible coronary, “But girl, you need to think about switching sides. Republicans are unhappy people.”
“Dee, that is utter nonsense.” French Twist crossed her arms and tapped her dangerously high heel. Andie thought it might be a Manolo.
“Utter nonsense? Really Grandma? I rest my case.” Dee leaned in and whispered, “Amanda was born with a stick up her…”
“Dee!” Amanda with the French Twist cut her off.
“Chill out! Damn, I can’t believe I’m older than you.”
“Neither can I.” French Twist rolled her eyes. Dede said something about Amanda’s erect posture and sticks and the two lit into each other.
“And just what in God’s name are you wearing?” French Twist demanded.
“It’s called fashion.” Rocker Girl shot back.
“I’ve got a card, here somewhere….” The Senator flashed her a brilliantly white smile, his perfect teeth glowing happily as he reached into his shirt picket.
Andie edged in the direction of the door.
“I’m working at the store later.” Dee punctuated her statement with a toss of her red streaks and shifted her attention back to her, “I own a clothing store.”
Andie froze again, but her gracious, “Oh..that’s nice” was drowned out by French Twist’s, “You mean a porn shop.”
Oh Dear God. Andie mentally retraced her steps to try and figure out when exactly she’d tripped and fallen down the rabbit hole. A choking sound came from the stairs where the Senator was frozen on the bottom step, his hand in his shirt pocket, his face the color of her grandmother’s prize winning Hanovers. Well, according to the American Heart Association that was better than pale and clammy.
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Dede rolled her Kohl lined eyes and threw a diamond tipped hand in the air, “So we carry a few vibrators that doesn’t make it a porn shop.” Andie got a conspiratorial shoulder bump, “See, what’d I tell you – unhappy and not getting any.”
“Uh…” Amanda was doing better than she was, she’d never gotten any, but somehow that seemed like TMI so it was fortunate another player joined them on the set of Andie’s very own Twilight Episode.
“Hey, are we doing lunch are what?” A woman with the same golden brown hair as French Twist came through the doors. She was dressed casually in jeans and sneakers, her short wool jacket falling open to reveal a cashmere sweater set rolled down over a watermelon. “I’ve been waiting outside for ten minutes. Mama’s hungry.”
Mama looked like she was ready to pop.
“We’ve found Andie Chase.” Amanda said without preamble.
That got Mama’s mind off her hunger, “What? Where? Is it that guy in the Prius? He’s cute.” The girl grabbed her belly and waddled a 180 back to the door, “We should go say hi.”
Thunder boomed. The floor shook. Andie thought an earthquake made perfect sense sure and why not? But then she saw the familiar hulking bulk of Carl, the security guard pounding up on them, “Mrs. Colter what are you doing here? You are supposed to be home resting. Grayson is going to be pissed.”
“My husband is a paranoid control freak.” Mama said with a snort, “I’ve been resting for weeks. At this point I’m ready to run a marathon if it will get this baby out of here.”
Poor Carl looked ready to panic, “He’s my boss.”
“I know,” That got him a sympathetic pat on the arm from Mama, “I’m awfully sorry about that. And why the hell didn’t you tell us about Andy Chase?”
“Uh…well…” Carl stammered, looking to Andie. What for, she didn’t know. She was hanging onto ignorant bliss for all she was worth.
When he saw there was no help forthcoming, he dropped his head, rubbing the back of his neck, “Now, you girls know Mr. Drake likes to keep his private life private.”
“What private life? Our cousin has no life.” Mama punched the man in his gigantic chest, “And how long have you known he was gay?”
Carl’s head shot up, “What?”
“Uh, sis,” Dede took the pregnant lady by the hand, leading her over to a chair, “He’s not Gay.”
“Oh,” Mama slapped her hand over her mouth, “Are they calling it something else now?”
Then Amanda and Dede got on either side of Mama to help lower her into the chair.
Andie saw her chance, turned around, and hauled ass. Making it to the front door, only to be blinded by the Senator’s smile, “So, are you working for Riley?”
Would knocking the man’s caps off be considered treason? “No. Look, I’ve got to go.”
“Sure, sure, I know what it’s like to be on a schedule.” “Here’s my card. Like I said, we have an excellent benefits package. Great dental.” The senator flashed his caps, again.
Andie averted her eyes from the glare, “I’ll think about it.” She snatched the card from him, right as Mama started shouting, “What? No way. Hey, where’d she go?”
And fight or flight kicked in. Andie shoved the Senator aside and bolted. Flying through the door and down the steps. She jumped into the Prius with the really cute guy behind the wheel, “Drive.”
“Finally! What took so long? You don’t look like you’ve been ravished…”
Andie saw the door open.
“I told you to wear the other jeans…”
“Jose….” All three women squeezed through at once, their heads swinging in every direction.
“Oh dear God, who’s the Goth Girl?”
“You know, she’s somehow making that work….”
“Jose….” All three heads stopped on the Prius.
“Still, it is not appropriate attire for the office.”
“JOSE! Get me out of here. NOW.” French Twist and Thigh High shot down the steps.
“Okay okay.” To her infinite relief he pulled off, “You know, some sweaty sex would help with those mood swings of yours. Just sayin’”
“I have a delivery for Mr. Jenkins.” One down and one to go. Andie stood in front of a receptionist, who she was pleased to see had a sleek blond bob and a navy blue suit as opposed to wild hair and leather and lace.
“Mr. Jenkins?” The young woman’s professional demeanor became confused, “I’m sorry but….”
“It’s fine Amber.” A slim man in a sharp blue suit walked up to her, “You must be Miss Chase.”
“This way, please.” He gave her a gracious smile, “You’re expected.”
“Uh…okay.” She followed him to the elevator, “I’m just leaving cupcakes.” Geez would nobody just let her drop them off?
“Yes, of course.” The man acknowledged with a nod and ushered her into the elevator, “After you.”
“Okay.” She stepped onto the Elevator and was instantly awed. It was one of those old fashioned ones. Rich wood and stained glass in a brass cage. And the interior was a sculpture of brass and copper in a checkerboard pattern.
“This is beautiful.”
“Isn’t it?” The man smiled fully, showing perfect, but to Andie’s relief, not glowing, teeth, “The building is a historic landmark. It was built in 1873. Can you believe they were going to tear it down?”
“No!” Andie’s horror at losing a piece of history came from having parents who traveled the world to dig up and preserve past civilizations, “I didn’t think that was possible.”
“Normally no, but the building had been damaged by a fire and had never gotten landmark status. A developer tried to grease some palms. He wanted to tear it down and put up condos.” Vivid disgust contorted the handsome features, “The Neanderthal.”
“Why tear it down? Condos in this building would be wonderful.” If the rest of the building were anything like the lobby and the elevator? Buildings like this were rare.
“Exactly.” The man nodded enthusiastically, “You could have put at least ten units in here, would have been fabulous. Anyway, my employer swooped in and put a stop to that shit. Oops! Sorry.” He sent her an apologetic look.
After Goth–Girl that was nothing, “It’s fine.” She waved off the apology, “My parents would be turning the elevator blue by now.” Seeing his questioning glance, she explained. “They’re archeologists. They would have chained themselves to the building to keep it from being torn down. Preserving history is their passion. They’re working on the Stonehenge dig right now.”
“Stonehenge, that’s amazing.”
“What’s amazing is this building. It’s a work of art.”
“I know. My Employer spared no expense in the restoration. And the penthouse on the top two floors is simply magnificent. That’s where we’re headed. Wait till you see….”
Penthouse? That didn’t sound right. “Oh, that’s not necessary….”
“Oh, believe me.” The elevator stopped, “It is.” The doors opened and the man waved her ahead with an elegant little bow, “Straight ahead through the great room and second door on the right.
“It was a pleasure to meet you Miss Chase.” Her escort smiled right as the elevator cage slid shut and Andie got the feeling that her Twilight Zone episode was an hour long special.
Deciding it would be best to just get it over with, she turned around and….
Okay… right…It was the week for impressive interior spaces. This place could give EverMay some competition. The place was huge. Immediately in front of the Elevator was a foyer with a marble…oh shit that was marble staircase that went up and split at the landing before continuing to the right and the left to a second floor. The entire foyer was open to the roof and even that was incredible. A stained glass dome of frosted white and a green so dark it was almost black except when the sun pierced it and the green shone true emerald.
Her sneakers gripping the polished stone under her feet, she made her way across the vast living room. A study of white marble and black stone and a hearth she could nearly stand upright in. The traditional architecture set off by more modern furnishings in a mix of periods that blended perfectly. She got to the hallway that doubled as an art gallery. Numerous paintings hung on white walls. An eclectic collection. Andie knew nothing about art, but she would guess she was looking at thousands of dollars on the walls. She stopped in front of the second door and raised her hand to knock, but she heard her name said in a very familiar panty-melting voice and that was not Maxwell Jenkins.
For the second time in a week Andie pressed her ear to a door.
“No, absolutely not. We’ve been over this.”
Not Jenkins that was Mr. Mt. Olympus, himself.
“I was hoping with time and distance, you’d see the situation clearly.”Okay that sounded like Mr. Jenkins, “Drake, you asked for my advice and you should listen. Offer her restitution and for God’s sake get that NDA signed. I recommend fifty thousand but….”
“You’re telling me to offer her hush money.”
And that was Adonis.
“Call it what you like. It’s the standard in a case like this…”
“No.” Adonis cut him off, “I will not insult her by offering her money to keep quiet and there’s nothing standard about this situation.”
Wow, Adonis was pissed and hell yes, it was insulting, and boy, did he have that right, nothing standard, nope not a bit. And that meant….oh…. this made her earlier eavesdropping conclusions suspect. That was the trouble with eavesdropping, you could miss important details.
“Insulted she may be,” Maxwell Jenkins came through not exactly loud, but plenty clear, “But as long as she signs, offending her is not your problem…..unless… Drake, you’re not thinking of pursuing this woman. If so I highly recommend against it.”
She couldn’t quite make out Adonis’ response. Low voices must be more difficult to pick up, but she caught some choice curses and something about “staying out of his personal affairs.”
Damn, right. Her feelings about being pursued by a kinky God, who’d probably want to tie her up and do all kinds of naughty things to her, not withstanding, it wasn’t any of the Lawyer’s business. And she’d ponder just why the whole tied up naughty thing had her practically panting later…much later.
“You know as well as I do the two are intertwined.” The lawyer kept sticking his nose where it didn’t’ belong, “I cannot impress upon you how serious this is. You assaulted this woman. She was drugged…”
Assaulted? What the dickens was the Jack-Ass saying, now?
“Assaulted? I…no..shit! Did I? Christ…” It was the shocked horror in that beautiful voice that had her throwing open the door.
Both men stopped speaking. Two mouths dropped open. At any other time it would have been funny, but she was too pissed at the Jack-Ass lawyer to be amused. Yes, Adonis had dry humped her against the wall, but she’d given him permission. He’d followed the rules of the club. And while he’d had the wrong girl and she’d been drugged, he hadn’t been aware of that, and her orgasm had been mind-blowing. Besides, he’d taken care of her when she was sick, saved her life when she would have cracked her skull on the hearth, and let her use his fabulous dream kitchen to make cupcakes for Benny’s birthday. So Mr. Jack-Ass Lawyer could shut the hell up.
“Andie,” Adonis started to rise from his seat behind his desk.
“Shush, Adonis” She set box of cupcakes down on it and kept walking until she stood in front of the attorney, “I need to talk to Jack.”
“Miss Chase….” The Jack-Ass started what was sure to be quite the spiel, but she wasn’t in the mood to listen.
“Is that the NDA?” She pointed to the document in his hand.
“And is the financial restitution a part of it?”
“Yes, as I was telling Mr. Drake…”
“Turn to it please.”
He just looked at her. She just looked at him right back. Finally, he flipped through the paperwork to the next to the last page, “Uh…here, items fourteen through sixteen. We’ve set the amount at fifty thousand…”
He stopped talking when she snatched the papers out of his hand, “Do you have a pen?”
Dumbly, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a heavy, stylish silver pen.
She took it and walked over to Adonis’ master of the universe sized desk and, with a violent flourish, scratched through items 14 through 16 until all you could see was smear of blue ink. Then she flipped to the final page and held it up to Jack, “And I sign here, where the “X” is?”
He just nodded. Behind her, Adonis had gone still as a Grecian statue.
Placing it back on the desk she signed on the two places indicated, walked back over to Jack, and handed it over along with his obscenely expensive pen, “So you’re a Lawyer?”
“Yes…” Jack nodded timidly. He looked a little scared. Good.
“And does that training include social work or psychology or even couples counseling, maybe?”
“No, no it does not.” He admitted reluctantly.
“Hmm, well this is just a suggestion, I’m just a humble baker after all, but maybe you should stick to what you know as opposed to giving advice about something you have no reference or training for and frankly, couldn’t begin to understand.” Hell, she didn’t understand it and she was living through it. No way Jack-Ass Lawyer had half a clue.
“Nice pen, by the way.” And with that, she spun around, grabbed the cupcakes off the desk and headed out the door.
“Uh….Miss Chase,” The Jack-ass called after her, “Are those my cupcakes?”
The snort that left her was epic, “Not anymore.”
“Ignore everything I just said.”
His lawyer said something. Drake turned from the door Andie had just walked through to see Jenkins still staring at it.
“What?” He hadn’t been paying attention. He’d been too busy mind fucking Andie on his desk. Holy shit, what was that?
Jenkins slowly turned his head from the door, “If you let that girl slip through your fingers, you’re an idiot.”
He wasn’t planning on it. Right now he wasn’t planning much of anything. Planning required thinking and that required blood flow to the brain. Since his blood had been flowing steadily south for a week now, not much planning was happening.
“Uh….do you think if I apologized she’d let me have the cup…”
“Hell, no. We’ve been over this.” He’d called the man as soon as he’d cleared the building Sunday and put a stop to that shit. And not wanting the cupcakes to go to waste he’d had Abbot call Andie and change the delivery address. And damn if Max hadn’t just happened to be in the neighborhood at the exact time she’d be bringing them.
“Oh, come on Drake, be reasonable….” Jenkins looked at the door with longing.
“No. Andie will not be making any cupcakes for you now or in the future.”
“Shit, you’re a selfish bastard.”
Yes, he was as Max was well aware.
The man got up and shoved the papers back in his briefcase, “I’ll see myself out.” He said, pausing when he got to the door, “Stan was right.”
“Stan Wyatt?” What the fuck was he spreading.
“Devil’s own luck, Drake.” Jenkins muttered, opening the door and stepping through it, “Devil’s own luck.”
Andie carried the box of cupcakes into another over the top dream kitchen. This one was modern white with solid black counter-tops. The work space was a Galley style. Under the bank of windows was the sink and lots of black granite counter top. The other side was a six burner gas range sitting over a convection oven. The counter it was built into ran the entire length of the kitchen. On the other side were half a dozen bar stools. Beyond that was the living area and at the end of the galley beyond the refrigerator and the giant wine cooler that was just as big. Sheesh, how much wine could he drink? Was the dining room. Light spilled into the room from too many windows to count. The appliances slightly smaller and only one oven, but she was still firmly in dream kitchen territory. Oh, it was just so wrong. She planned to leave the cupcakes on the counter and get out of there, but in the middle of the breakfast bar sat a large crystal cake dome so she took the few extra seconds to move them from the box. Then she spun around and oh, she should have left them in the box and run for it.
Adonis stood at the end of the galley. Leaning against the breakfast bar, his arms crossed over his chest, his head cocked to one side, and Oh holy shit, the look on his face. She may be experienced, but she knew what that look meant. His eyes raked over her with such heat, she took a quick look down to make sure her clothes hadn’t disintegrated. That was no mere panty dropper. Oh no, with the heat he was blasting, every panty wearing girl within a five mile radius was in danger of total meltdown.
“This is your place.” She squeaked.
“Yes,” He confirmed with a slow nod, his eyes locked on her mouth.
Oh boy. “Uh…so the guy who called me and changed the delivery address…..”
“Abbot. He works for me.” Those eyes still locked on her, he straightened from the counter.
“So you’re the employer who saved the building.” She said, trying for casual surprise while her eyes tracked him.
“Yes…” He took one step forward,
“So uh, is this something you do?”
“Buy up properties and build dream kitchens and then you know…”
“Don’t use them.”
He shrugged his perfect shoulder in his perfect snowy white shirt, “Property in DC is a good investment. Supply and Demand.”
“Do you like the kitchen?”
“Yes.” What’s not to like?
“There’s only one oven.” And another step.
“Um, it’s still a great kitchen.”
“Would you like another oven?”
“Uh….” She had no idea how to answer that question, but it didn’t matter because he took another step and she realized she was being stalked andit was difficult to speak while swallowing your tongue.
He took another step.
Oh shit. Fight or Flight?
Now, she could see why he would need that much wine. Being stalked was nerve wracking. Her tongue darted out to wet her suddenly dry mouth.
The inferno behind his eyes blazed to a solar flare.
Oh shitty shit.
Flight. Most definitely flight. But as she was trapped in the galley. There were only two exits front where the hawk was planted and back where it emptied into the dining room. And it was a long way back.
It’s uh…more uh,,,modern.” She said, stalling for time, “The counter tops are nice though…I think this is soapstone.” She ran her hand along the counter and shuffled back a couple of steps.
“It could be. I’m afraid I’m not familiar with counter tops.” A small lift of his perfect lips that said he knew what she was about, but he didn’t move to intercept. He just watched, no doubt waiting to swoop in and grab her and carry her back to his lair or nest or whatever. And it occurred to her… she was already in his lair.
Oh shitty, shitty shit.
She took one more cautious step back. He took three lazy steps forward and leaned on the counter again, “You referred to my lawyer as Jack.”
Had she? Oh, yeah, “Short for Jackass.” She admitted with a shrug.
Adonis’ eyebrows shot up, then – he burst out laughing.
Oh, what a sight. Perfectly beautiful. Any other time she’d have hung around and watched, but all smart little mice knew when you saw your chance for escape you took it or you became dinner. Spinning around she headed for the dining room. She made it to the giant wine cooler when poof! One white silk covered arm blocked her way, and poof! Another cut off her escape. Adonis, his laughter still rolling out of him, caged her.
Okay, flight didn’t work. She’d have to fight her way out, maybe. She took a deep steadying breath.
No. Oh no. Stupid. Bad. Dumb idea.
No breathing around Kinky Sex Gods. They had the power to enthrall you with their decadent, yummy scent. She closed her eyes against the dizzying weakness invading her. That didn’t help. That thing about no sight kicking all your other senses up? That was true. His low laughter trilled down her spine. That scent of clean spice gained another layer – male heat. Who knew that had a smell? It was intoxicating. She could feel it radiating from his body.
Closing eyes – bad idea. She opened them and oh….no. Right in front of her eye level was a warm throat and that triangle of heat revealed by his loosened tie, the top button undone. Oh God that just might be her favorite place on earth. She bit down on her bottom lip so she wouldn’t give in and nibble that hot hard deliciousness.
“So Adriana,” Adonis finally stopped laughing, “How long were you listening at the door, hhmm?” His breath tickled her ear. He was so very close.
“Um, well, I wouldn’t normally eavesdrop…”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t.” Heated words bathed her neck, nuzzling behind her ear, “You smell so good, baby.”
Oh…God. Heat unfurled low in her belly and her head fell to the side all on its own. What was she saying? Eavesdropping, right, “But I…um.. heard my name”
“Naturally you’d be curious.” His whisper fanned her neck, “Do you taste as good as you smell?”
“Let’s find out.”
His mouth opened on the delicate arch where her throat met her shoulder and all thought was pushed out by wild sensation. The wet heat of his mouth on her flesh vibrated with his low hum of pleasure. A sweet ache unfurled in her belly, weakness invading her limbs.
The erotic scrape of teeth up her throat. Shivers wracked her. Reality spun away. She reached out to hold onto something and there was only him. She fisted her hands in his shirt.
Finally his mouth pressed to her ear with a low groan, “Even better.” Then his mouth opened on the sensitive flesh behind her ear, a sucking bite, pain seared her even as he soothed the sting with tantalizingly light kisses and flicks of his wicked tongue, only to bite again then sooth. Her hands opened and closed. Grasping for something solid in the wild sensations sweeping her away and she found him. His body beneath the thin shirt scorching her palms.
Her head spun. Her body burned.
“Oh, Andie,” The words trailed down her throat and back up again, bathed her ear, “The things I could do to you.”
The mental please she caught back just before it fell from her lips jolted her back to reality. That she would beg him to do whatever kinky thing to her he wanted as long as he didn’t stop touching her was frightening. That fear yanked her back from the brink even as her body thrummed with wild pleasure.
So it was a relief, really when her phone rang.
“I…” She slid her hands from his body….”I need to get that.” It was barely a whisper, but he stiffened before gently pulling back wtih a final nuzzle to her cheek. She pulled her phone from her pocket with shaking hands, grateful for the cool glass of the wine fridge at her back, “Jose,” Oh god, was her voice shaking?
“Andie, listen,” Jose cut her off, “You are not in Maxwell Jenkins offices right now.”
She turned laying her free hand on the cool glass, “Really?”
“You are in the Klien Building.”
“Okay.” God she sounded all breathless. She listened to her friend and watched Adonis lift the cake dome and grab a cupcake. He then sat his perfect butt down on the perfect stool in his perfect kitchen and proceeded to peel the paper from the cupcake with a sensual care that was frankly mind blowing. It certainly blew her away. He lifted it to his lips and bit down with another one of those groans low, male. She’d felt that groan all over her body. She lifted her eyes from his mouth to see him staring at her one perfect brow raised. Oh God, she was probably drooling. She forced her mind back to Jose’s ramblings.
“…..famous and owned by none other than Mr. Damien Alexander Drake the third.”
“Oh?” Oh was easy. Now if she could figure out a way to get breath back into her lungs…
“There’s a gorgeous penthouse on the top two floors.”
It really was gorgeous.
“It was featured in Architectural Digest last year.”
“And Andie, sister of my heart, if you ever had any love and affection for me, you have GOT to get into the master bedroom.”
Master bed….. Oh God.
A hiccup of laughter escaped before she slapped her hand over her mouth. She could feel the wild, nearly hysterical cackles welling up. Different people reacted differently to stress. Layla raged and threatened bloodshed. Jose shopped. She’d heard that some people cried. Andie laughed. Although, according to her friends, laughter was not the proper word for it. Jose called it her Twelve Monkeys Moment. Layla insisted she needed medication. But for whatever reason, when things got to be too much she would crack up….literally. And oh god she was close. She bit down on her cheek hard. A trick she’d learned really did work… sometimes.
“The bed is a work of art I’m telling you. I’ve never seen anything.…”
It must have occurred to her friend that she wasn’t doing her usual outraged “Joses”. Because he stopped mid-sentence, voluntarily. Something that was so rare she could count the number of times on one hand and have a couple fingers left. “Uh, Andie honey, you still there?”
“Yes…” She squeaked, opening her eyes to see Adonis pop the last of the cupcake into his mouth with a wink.
“Oh no, did I interrupt?” She heard her friend gasp, then “Am I cock-blocking the Gazillionaire?”
Oh for fuck’s sake. On the bright side, her insane urge to laugh died away.
“Oh my God. Oh. My. God. Are you in the Penthouse? Oh holy shit, are you in the bed right now being ravished?”
“Yes, I’m in the apartment and no to the uh…other.” Not in the bed anyway, “I’ll be out in a minute.”
“What? Do you want to die a virgin? Get busy with the ravishing.”
“I’m coming out.” She hung up on Jose who was still babbling about losing her v-card.
Adonis had taken a seat on one of the white leather stools and was popping the last bit of cupcake in his mouth.
“I’ve…uh…got to run….”
“Away?” He asked casually, sucking icing off his thumb and looking all kinds of sexy doing it.
“Uh,” She inched around the island, “Jose’s circling the block.”
He studied her, his head tilted to the side, that secret smile hiding behind his sensual mouth, “Okay, Kitten,” Midnight eyes tracked her, “Go ahead and scamper off.”
Oh well, that was a little condescending or a lot sexy, she couldn’t decide, but as he was staying on the stool, she didn’t much care. She kept walking. He kept watching. Relaxed, almost lazy, his legs stretched out, ankles crossed.
A predator at rest.
Bull Hockey! She wasn’t fooled. She was still being stalked.
She had to walk by him. No choice. He’d been clever that way, sitting on the end of the counter on the corner so making for either exit put her within arm’s reach. She hurried by him trying not to look like she was scurrying, counting her steps she was three steps past him, about to let out the breath she’d been holding, but Adonis had a long reach.
Warm hands gripped her waist and she was pulled back, all the way back until she stood between his open thighs. She didn’t fight him because that would be undignified. It had nothing to do with wanting to feel his mouth on her again…ah…god….
Low, laughing words grazed her nape, “I’ll come find you.”
He released her with a little push.
How she got to the elevator she didn’t know. She watched her hand slapping at the “L” button, feeling like she was outside her own body. She watched the doors slide shut and then open. She floated out of the beautiful historic building like a ghost. It wasn’t until she was safely in Jose’s Prius that she took her first real breath.
“Holy Shit!” Jose was scanning her with wide eyes, “What the hell happened in there?”
“Uh….” Honestly she wasn’t sure and did she look that bad?
Right.” Jose pulled out into DC traffic, while holding up one hand, “How many fingers?”
“Honey, either you got hit in the head or that man rocked your world.”
“Right.” He nodded, then under his breath, “Not ravaged my ass.”
Next thing she knew Jose had maneuvered the Prius into a tiny space. There was no way to negotiate Old Town without being an expert parallel parker, “We need wine. Lots of wine and cheese, and maybe some tequila. And then girlfriend, you are spilling.” Jose said, jumping. Andie looked out the window to see Jefferson Brothers. Jose’s favorite source for all things alcoholic.
Right. Alcohol. Good idea.
You have no idea how much i look forward to your updates. “I am not a patient woman” i so wish i could download the entire story and not have to wait for your updates. I am in awe of the story. Just the right amount of humor and angst. You never disappoint. Loved the chapter and the new characters. So rich and funny.
I will follow you to the end.
I don’t know how you do it, but your language is so effortless, so natural, rich yet precise, to the point. Hilariously funny and alive. And that’s not even starting to describe it. And the characters! *swoon*
Crazy sisters, crazy cousins, ah I love it. Your dialogue is sublime. Thank you. I get bummed with something in my life, I just come back and reread a chapter of any of your stories and it perks me right up. You are a treasure.
This is so delicious! Love the cousins! You create amazing characters! Thank you for sharing them!
And Jack did it again. Lol. But didn’t she already sign an NDA the next morning after the drugging? I could have sworn she did. And Jose, oh Jose. I love him. And I can just picture all that dark, tall male perfection casually leaning and looking all “predator at rest”, I think I may be drooling! 😉
Again you have out done yourself with coming up with fantastic original characters and the story is fantastic. Writers Gold. A New York Times bestseller in the making! Can’t wait for the next chapter…Have fun on your trip…:)
Great as always
I’m seriously in love with this story. I loved the original and I love this one too! 🙂
But in this chapter you said her name was “Adrianna” but I thought it was “Andromeda”, so I was curious about this? Also I was a little confused about where Andie went first with all of his relatives? And then where she went second with his lawyer? And then does he have two penthouses,
I am also loving the name Damien!
This was a great chapter and I can’t wait for more! 🙂
Ditto to all the previous comments. And what I would not give to be able to write like u.
Hope your mom feels better soon.
Love this story just as much as the other…I was actually mad they didn’t hook up at his office…lol…but then you had her go to his penthouse…so clever!
I know it’s coming…the lemons, you know?.., the pursuit is almost as good as the catch in your stories! Love love love your writing !
I TOTALLY agree with Dukesmom and Cynthia Dudley! And I’m not backing down on my statement that Cluster should have been made a movie instead of James’ book. This story is ever bit as good, if not better! Hope all is well in the real world with you, because your writing helps to make mine the best!