“At the White Swan you had a steak. Rare. And you ate every last bit of it.”
“So?” I fork up another bite and chew, thankful the food came so quickly. I think the potent drink and my empty stomach combined with the overwhelming sexiness that is Caden was doing a number on my mental state.
“It was the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen, you eating that steak like you couldn’t give a fuck what anyone thought.” He grabs the gourmet hamburger from his plate and takes a big bite, chewing it with relish before he swallows. “So a salad seems sort of a … weak choice.”
This conversation is just beyond bizarre, but I’m starting to realize nothing is normal when it comes to me and Caden. “But the salad has chicken and bacon in it.” I push the giant white bowl toward him so he can check it out. “See? You can’t go wrong with bacon.”
He contemplates my salad, then lifts his gaze to mine. “Can I have a bite?”
Nodding, I push the plate closer to him. “Go for it.”
“You feed me,” he says, his voice soft, his eyes intense.
“Okay.” My voice is shaky and I clear my throat, hating the little sign of weakness. I flick the contents of my salad with the fork, looking for the extra-good stuff to feed him, like a little piece of bacon and chicken, making sure to get some Parmesan on the fork as well. I hold up the fork and he leans closer, parting his lips so I can feed him the bite, and he closes his lips around the tines of the fork. I slide it from his mouth, wondering when did feeding someone become so sexy.
“Very good,” he says after he swallows, then gestures to his plate. “Do you want to try mine?”
“Only if you feed me,” I say, pleased at the dark flicker I see in his gaze. He cuts his burger in half and then holds out one of the halves toward me.
“Take a bite,” he urges and I lean in, sinking my teeth into the burger, lifting my chin as I pull away and chew, savoring the delicious flavor of the meat and cheese and sauce. “Good?”
“Delicious,” I say before I burst out laughing. Like, uncontrollable giggles that draw the attention of more than a few diners and even our waitress. I rest my hand over my mouth, trying to contain the laughter, but it’s no use.
“What’s so funny?” he asks, the smile on his face so cute that I do finally stop laughing, enraptured with his gorgeous face instead.
“I feel like we’re seducing each other with food. Burgers and salads,” I say, sounding ridiculous.
“We are,” he agrees. “This has been one night of long, strung-out foreplay, don’t you think?”
“Yes.” I take a sip of my drink and realize there’s not much left beyond melted ice. I rattle the ice in my glass, glancing around for the waitress, who’s already disappeared. “Though so far I’m the only one who got off.”
He laughs and shakes his head. “Stick with me for a while and I’ll have you being brutally honest in no time.”
I like the sound of that. Far more than I care to admit.
This is the longest day of my life and I’m not complaining. It didn’t start off well. I woke up to Whitney standing over my bed, demanding that I go to breakfast with her, so I did. But all I could think about was Rose. Where was she? Who was she with? The woman is distracting and my wayward thoughts are stupid. Detrimental to my original intent.
Getting that damn necklace.
When I turned down Whitney’s offer of no-strings sex earlier this morning, she informed me I might need to find somewhere else to stay. Which was fine, because I figured I needed to get the hell out of London anyway. Things were getting too weird with Rose. As in, my feelings for her were getting too weird. I was thinking about her too much.
So I called my friend, the rich asshole with the jet, Mitchell. But he informed me that he’s sticking around for a few more days. I could always go hang out with him at his parents’ townhouse in Belgrave Square, but I passed on the offer. It’s just one party after another at that place.
And I craved something different. Found her, too. Luck was on my side, even though I tried to talk myself out of searching for her. It’s been a strange experience with Rose. Fun and infuriating and sexy as hell and draining and exhilarating, she is all of that. All the emotions, all the effort and work and trouble.
Worth every bit of it, too. She’s much like her namesake, a beautiful, tightly furled flower, and I’m slowly but surely peeling the petals back, bit by bit. Give her a little attention, some sun and water, and she begins to bloom.
That’s exactly what’s happening between us, to her. She’s slowly but surely blooming. Coming into her own. And the more I discover, the more I like her. She doesn’t take this thing between us too seriously. As in, she knows how to laugh at me, at herself, at the two of us. It’s refreshing. She’s adventurous, too. Never backs down from a challenge.
I like that. A lot. Too much, even.
Which means … I’m completely fucked.
I’m following her down the stairs toward the elevator. We finished dinner and had a couple more drinks, talking about everything and nothing as the restaurant slowly started to empty out. Until we were one of the last remaining occupied tables and the employees were starting to clean everything in preparation to close.
As I walk behind her, all I can think about is kissing her. Fucking her. I have a condom in the back pocket of my jeans and I’m definitely going to use it. She wants it. I know she does. I saw the way she looked at me over her shoulder as we walked toward the elevator. We’re waiting for it to arrive now, standing side by side, not looking at each other.