“Sorry,” I offered.
He shrugged. “I’ve stayed here on and off, whenever I needed to get away, but it’s time to sell it. In the meantime, it will be good for your situation and no one will be able to find you here.”
“Are you leaving me alone?”
He looked over his shoulder and if I hadn’t known better I would have thought I saw him smile. “Would you like me to?”
I wanted a quick comeback, but was rendered speechless. Clever man. He was seeing just how much I’d cop to. See if I admitted I wanted him. Fine. I could play this game too.
I walked over to him just as he set the kettle on the burner.
“Yes, I would like you to stay.” I plastered my br**sts against his back and his sharp intake of breath meant that he felt me. Reaching around, I gripped his c**k through his pants. “I’d be happy to f**k you again. Just as long as you don’t get attached.”
I released him and walk away.
“How do you do this?” he asked and turned to face me.
“This.” He gestured to my entire body. “How can you stand there and pretend that this situation isn’t messed up? Act like you’re not affected by the fact that some ass**le is after you? Just roofied you last night.” He paused and looked me in the eyes. “And how can you pretend that it was just a f**k between us and you didn’t feel more?”
That last question rendered me momentarily mute. Rhys read me better than I had anticipated. Keeping this surface was going to be harder than I thought, especially because he was right. There was something between us. But I’d never admit that to him. Way too much power would be handed over with such an admission. I did miss his skin, his smell, the way he took me over, body and mind. Shaking my head slightly, I decided to address only one of his questions.
“Oh, I know this situation is messed up,” I said, leaning against the small table by the window. “But I’m not going to cry or freak out about it.”
Beautiful thing about my self-preservation system was that as long as I could disconnect enough, pretend that any situation I was in could be easily dealt with, I was fine. Think too much about something and yeah, it’d probably end up scaring me into making a dangerous mistake.
“You asked me before what my angle is. What’s yours, Emma?”
“To stay alive, testify and move on with life.”
Simple. Easy. Minimal thinking, therefore minimal freaking out.
“So how does throwing yourself at me fit in to your plan?”
“Throwing myself?” I laughed. “Oh man. I just thought screwing would be a good way to pass the time. Not everything is some big explanation waiting to happen.” It almost felt like World’s Worst Liar just got stamped on my forehead.
“See, that’s where we differ. Because like it or not, Emma, I saw you.” He took a step toward me. “That night we first met, there was a grace about you. Something slightly timid like you couldn’t figure out if I was dangerous or — ”
Now he grinned. “I was going to say desirable. I saw it on your face. Saw it again the other night when you showed up at the hotel.” Another step. “And again when I was deep inside of you, right before you came.”
My mouth went dry, but he just pressed on.
“Play this game all you want. Act tough. Pretend it’s just sex between us, but you like me, Emma. And that scares the shit out of you.”
As if my body had no choice but to react to his words, it trembled on cue and I bit the inside of my lip to keep from admitting out loud that he was right.
Finding all the brass and sarcasm I could, I said, “Are you a psychologist in your spare time?”
“No, just telling you what I see.”
“Well do me a favor and tell yourself to shut up.”
He raised a brow. “I can prove it. Prove that you want me. That you like me.”
“I already said I’d f**k you.”
“And I told you that there’s more between us and you know it. You need me in the kind of way that has you dizzy from thinking of nothing else.” His voice was so deep it could be considered a lethal weapon of seduction. “Anyone can f**k, Emma, but I think you want me in a whole different way.”
My pulse notched up another three beats per second and I tried to swallow down all the denial creeping up my throat.“And you think you can prove this theory?”
Time to find my brain, call his bluff and show that he was wrong. At least, act as if he was wrong. “Then by all means, prove away.”
He took another step toward me, close enough so that I could smell him now. Rich and powerful. Everything about him screamed for me to obey. To listen. Maybe it was his build or his military background, but a “don’t mess with me” flashing sign on his forehead would have been more subtle than the alpha swagger currently dripping from him.
“If you wanted just a f**k, you’d be cold,” he said, moving closer still, but not touching me. “You’d be thinking of other things or feigning concentration.”
He tilted his head slightly to catch my gaze and I gave it to him. My whole body booted up like a switched-on motherboard and damn if he couldn’t hear my skin humming from wanting him to touch me. My mind flashed to the other night. When he was on top of me. His weight had felt so good. His body meeting mine in such a perfect way, like we fit. When he pushed into me for the first time, hitting deep, it was a moment of peace, of pleasure I had never experienced.
“You’re thinking about it right now, Emma,” he rasped. “I can see it on your face. You’re standing there, thinking about my cock. How it felt inside of you.”
A shudder rolled up my spine and my breath caught just slightly. He was right, I was thinking of it, and I couldn’t stop. The way he kissed me . . . everywhere. I couldn’t make my voice work and in that moment didn’t have to because he just kept going, reading me.
“Are you thinking about my tongue? How it moved over every . . . single . . . inch of your skin?” His breath fanned my face and I closed my eyes for moment, remembering exactly how he felt. How he made me feel.
I opened my mouth to lie, to tell him I wasn’t thinking of all the amazing things he did to me, but he cut me off as if knowing that was what I was about to do.
“Shrug it off, baby,” he whispered. “But like I said, you’re not cold. You’re hot. Flushed and I’d even bet — ” His hand slid beneath the front of my pants, into my panties, his index finger delving between my folds. In one quick motion he retreated and looked at his newly dampened finger. “Wet.”