"Stop moving, Mr. Brock." She darted a quick glance up from the lens and amusement was dancing in her eyes. "Just look at the car if you can't stand looking at me."
"Sorry, darlin," I muttered.
She snapped a few more shots and then looks down at her display. "I think I got what I wanted," she said, teetering to a stand. I reached out to steady her and she sniffed at me. "But if we're going to be working together the next few days, I want to clear something right up, okay Mr. Brock?" She slipped her arm free and planted a hand on her hip. "This is business only. You can call me Monique, if you'd like. But I'm not your darlin', your babe, or your sweetheart. You get me?"
"Wait, I never once called you babe," I protested.
She blinked at me, slowly, like a cat. "Pre-emptive strike. Just in case."
I felt heat flare at the back of my neck. "Very well, Miss Williams," I hissed. "Strictly business."
She nodded and slid back into the still waiting Towne Car, then rolled down the window. "Shall I meet you at the house?"
Still seething, I squinted up at the sun and then looked down at my wrist. "Seein' as we're all business here, I'd say no. Quittin' time's five o'clock and I’ll be back up to the house well past that. Sleep well, Miss Williams."
I could hear her sputtering and hissing as I walked away, but I didn't care. She wanted to make this difficult and awkward? Fine, two can play that game.
I hopped the fence and mounted Falcon in time to enjoy the sight of Miss Williams's driver trying to reverse back up my narrow half a mile drive. It made me feel marginally better. I'd survived Monique Williams's death stare. For now.
I just had to get through tomorrow.
That arrogant son of a bitch....
I've met some cocky celebrities in my day, but none of them pissed me off more than Tanner Brock. I saw right through his little games. It killed me that I had to try and play nice. The frustration that built up inside of me had nowhere to go.
The front-desk clerk was bearing the full brunt of my pent-up wrath. "What the hell do you mean, one night's stay?!"
"Sorry ma'am, we only have you down for tonight," the pimply-faced kid behind the counter squeaked. He barely looked old enough to have hit puberty much less old enough to work.
"Then book me for another night then," I seethed, pinching the bridge of my nose and closing my eyes.
But when I closed my eyes, the image of Tanner Brock's cock bulging against his tight, low-slung Wranglers sprang into view.
I snapped my eyes back open again to see Mr. Acne's pasted on smile fading a bit. Perhaps I could smite him with my gaze? That would help my mood. I narrowed my eyes at him.
"Ma'am, I'm sorry," he squeaked, looking slightly scorched, "but we are all booked up."
"You're kidding me, right?" I exploded. "How in the hell do that many people want to stay in this backwater hellhole at once?"
"Rodeo's in town, ma'am."
A little ball of pain exploded in my brain. "Of course it is," I exhaled, shaking my head. "Well, where else is there to stay that's semi-nearby?"
"Nearest hotel is in Holcum. That's a good..."
"Fifty minutes away," I finished for him. That burst of exploding pain in my brain settled into a dull, resigned ache.
Pimple looked shocked. "Yes ma'am, you've vacationed here before?"
"No one 'vacations' here. I had the misfortune of living here," I explosively sighed, then waited as the wheels in his rabbity little brain turned around, taking in my dark skin and my designer clothes. His embarrassment made his acne flame even redder and I suddenly wasn't interested in smiting him anymore, I was just too damn tired to deal with it. "Never mind that then, can you book me in Holcum for tomorrow night?"
"Let me see what I can do." He seemed relieved to be allowed to scamper away.
I waved to the driver who was still waiting patiently. I didn't know how he dealt with the boredom, frankly. "Change of plans," I told him.
Once I went over the itinerary three times; pick me up here, let me pack my bags in the trunk for an extra huge tip, take me to Tanner's, pick me back up again and drive me out to Holcum, I went back inside. Pimple was positively beaming at me.
"All set ma'am. I transferred your reservation to the Inn in Holcum." He looked so proud of himself, like he expected me to fall over with gratitude and then bake him some cookies.
I wasn't in the mood. "Yeah, great, can I get my room key now?"
He deflated somewhat, but scampered around and grabbed my bags anyway and I was glad I had spared his life. After all, it wasn't his fault that Clara had clearly messed something up in booking me. Smiting her would be a hell of a lot more satisfactory anyway.
The room was clean looking, at least. The moment I sat down on the bed, the exhaustion that had been nipping at my heels all day caught up with me. I tossed my clothes over the desk chair and pulled out my pajamas. A brief toilette and I was under the covers, not caring that it was still dusk outside. I waited for sleep to come, listening to the silence and waiting for the familiar lump to settle in my throat.
It came like clockwork, always waiting for me whenever I was quiet long enough for it to creep in unwanted.
I tried not to allow myself too many of these quiet moments. Because when I did, the longing crept in. It was something I couldn't quite put a name to, a feeling of sadness that I always tried to bluster my way through. Sometimes I disguised it as anger, sometimes as sarcasm. Other people might be fooled, but I never was.
Living like a gypsy taught me that your home was never tied to a place, it was tied to a feeling. I thought I had found it with my job at Auteur magazine and the group of girlfriends I was cultivating, but try as I might, I could never hold on to that feeling for long.
I squeezed my eyes shut and did the mind-clearing exercise I had done since I was a kid. I visualized the gates of my mind opening wide and tried to picture the blue sky with puffy clouds behind it. It was usually enough to buy me enough peace for sleeping.
But blue skies led me to brown rolling hills and brown rolling hills led me to fences and fences led me to tanned, toned torsos...and Tanner fucking Brock.
Or, more specifically, Tanner fucking Brock's bulging cock.
When I tried to wrench my mind away from the cock, my mind instead forced me to relive, in vivid detail, the way his torso rippled as he struck the nail with the hammer, the way his shoulders bunched as he shoved his hands nervously in his pockets. The way his thighs bulged, straining against the faded fabric of his well filled out jeans....
Sighing with frustrated desire, I tried to push those images out of my brain, only to inadvertently invite that bulging cock back the forefront of my mind's eye.
I moaned, and roll to the side, punching my pillow. A throbbing ache had taken up residence between my legs. "He's an arrogant prick," I told myself out loud.
And I forgot my vibrator. Of course.
The thought of my vibrator made me moan in frustration again. My last date had been the creepy shoe-stealing fetishist so that had been a wash. I tried to think back. The last man I had been with was clearly forgettable enough to require several moments of recollection. Ah yes, the barista. His dreads had smelled filthy, like a mixture of new coffee and old sweat. The low point of my loneliness in a new city. Since then, I had replaced the batteries in my vibrator more times than I could count.
But tonight, I didn't want the imitation, I wanted the real thing.
I've never been with a white guy before, and by the look
of those tight jeans, my first time wouldn't be disappointing at all. Something about the way he held my ankle in his grasp...the way he caressed my skin on the sly. As if I wouldn't notice his touch thrilling through me, sending sparks up my spine that defied rational thought.