I sighed heavily as I freed my toes from the death trap heels. “Men have it so easy. You don’t have to put up with this kind of torture. No hair, no make-up to do.”
Dev shrugged. “What can I say? I roll out of bed looking like this.”
My mouth went dry as I pictured him rolling out of bed. In my imagination, he was wearing a lot less than he was now.
By the time we reached the door to my room, I realized I was running out of time to proposition him. I dropped my shoes to rummage through my purse for the key card. Didn’t I just have it, to show the guard at the elevator bank? Yeesh.
Dev waited patiently beside me. He even bent down to pick up my shoes for me. The movement of his head near my waist made me pause. Gah. Trying to ignore the tingling feeling in my stomach, I kept searching. Blindly I felt a few things, but funnily enough I couldn’t find my card—or my courage.
Oh wait, there it was. It was in the side pocket, along with a ton of sexual tension.
I cleared my throat and tried to sound casual. “Uh, do you want to come in? We could catch up… or something?”
Something in his voice made me look up from the depths of my bag. His eyes were like obsidian in the light lining the never-ending corridor. When he stepped closer, my back went up against my door.
“Forget I asked,” I murmured.
He ran his thumb over my jaw, and I reflexively tilted my head up to him. He said my name again, his voice even rougher and deeper than before. My bare toes curled against the carpet.
Still buried in my bag, my hand closed around my key. I was running out of time. Without really thinking about it, I popped up on my tiptoes and pressed a kiss to the beard-roughened space between the corner of his mouth and his jaw.
“Thanks for the escort.”
Somehow he moved even closer, because as I went back down on my heels, I found myself flat against the door and his body pressed against mine. It was hot and hard and… oh!
“Hmmm?” Was this like Beetlejuice? If he said my name three times in a row, would I come?
I looked up to see him lick his lips. He didn’t need his body to pin me to the door—his gaze did the job well enough.
“Give me your damn key,” he growled.
Audrey’s dark hair curled on her shoulders, hiding all the best nooks and crannies of her neck. It begged to be swept aside like a curtain. I reached out to push a bit of her hair back.
“Uh, did I do that?”
Blushing furiously, she smoothed her hair back down, covering the little bruise a couple of inches below her earlobe. “Yes. You did.”
“You don’t need to look so proud of yourself,” she huffed.
“I’m not proud.” Okay, maybe a little.
“You’re not?” I loved that she looked a little disappointed.
When I leaned toward her, I could smell the fruity, spicy scents of the hotel’s shampoo in her hair. Any closer and I’d be able to kiss the silky strands.
“Disappointed.” I lowered my voice. “I wish I’d been able to mark you in other places.”
“Places that are normally covered up.”
“I want to talk to you about your proposition,” I said.
“Oh god, I’m so embarrassed.” She squeezed her eyes shut. “Can we just forget it?”
I shook my head. “No, sorry. It was unforgettable. Literally.”
Now her hands flew up to cover her face, like a toddler pretending I wasn’t there. “You’re never going to let me live this down, are you?”
Gently, I circled her wrists and pulled her hands away. In so many ways, Audrey was more vulnerable now than when she was a child. When she blinked at me guilelessly, I found myself wanting to protect her like Brett and I had done when we were younger.
No, not quite like back then.
“I want to remember it for the rest of my life,” I admitted.
“What, like PTSD?”
This girl. I grinned at her. “No, like the beginning of something amazing.”
I huffed. “I hate surprises.” And I wasn’t crazy about blindfolds, either.
I’d dreamed and planned and been certain about so many things in my life, only to have them go poof! My parents, college, my job, my love life… I’d lived with disappointment for so long that it was what I’d come to expect. My mouth turned down at the corners, even as Dev’s hand caressed the small of my back with hypnotic, circular motions.
It was a toss-up as to which method of torture would break me first—his touch or the suspense. Hopefully we were alone in this elevator.
“It’s not a bad thing to leave a little mystery in life, Audrey.”
I rolled my eyes beneath the scarf tied around my head. “Are you kidding? Life is nothing but mystery!”
He made a humming noise of disagreement.
“Okay, tell me one thing that you are absolutely, positively, one hundred percent certain is going to happen tomorrow—other than the sun coming up or something stupid like that.”
His touch startled me, his thumb on my lower lip both disorienting me and grounding me in place.
“I absolutely, positively know,” he said to me in a rough voice, “that I’m going to want to kiss you tomorrow. And the day after that.”
When he dropped a ghostly kiss across my lips, it was so faint and brief that it could have been my imagination. His arousal was very real, I discovered, as he moved closer to me, his hips pressing into mine as my back hit the wall of the elevator.
“And I am ninety-nine percent certain that tomorrow morning, you will be the first thing I think of when I wake up and the thing that makes me smile all day.”
The doors opened with a ding. Dev tugged me forward by the hand, but I stopped in my tracks after half a dozen steps.
“Wait. Only ninety-nine percent?”
He chuckled under his breath, his hands going to the knot at the back of my head. The makeshift blindfold fell away, until he moved it around my neck with a swish. I blinked when I looked up at him. Note to self: mascara and blindfolds don’t go well together.
My heart was in my throat when I looked into his dark eyes. “So there’s a one percent chance that you’ll change your mind in the morning?”
His smile was a flash of white in the dim… well, wherever the hell we were. He wound the ends of the scarf around his fists, pulling me toward him.
“No, Audrey. There is a one percent chance that, tonight, you’ll be the death of me.” He pressed his forehead against mine. “But I’ll take my chances,” he said hoarsely.
Nikky Kaye writes funny, sexy romance about sassy women in fabulous shoes and the alpha
heroes who sweep them off their feet.
In real life, Nikky has dipped her toe in a lot of careers, but her twin boys always come first. When not writing, you may find her brandishing puns and power tools, or wandering through the dollar stores of western Canada.