A near animalistic sound tore from Chad’s throat, and if it had been quieter in the club, people would’ve stopped to stare. Bridget’s silent invitation must’ve had a powerful impact on him, because the grip on her lower thigh tightened, and when he kissed the space under her chin, she was scalded.
He lifted his head, and the look in his eyes did more than sear her. It caught her on fire. His hand found hers, lightly wrapping around her fingers. “I want you. I’m not going to even fuck around. I need you. Now.”
And she needed him. Her entire body had turned to liquid heat, her very veins pumping molten lava to every part of her. Never before had she had such a quick response to a man.
She wet her lips with a quick swipe of her tongue, and the blue hue of his eyes churned. Her stomach was twisting into knots and dipping, plummeting.
Chad stood, his grip not leaving her hand but not tightening. He was giving her a chance to say no. He waited.
“Yes,” Bridget said.
Bridget didn’t remember most of the walk. All she knew was that he’d led her around the bar and down a narrow hallway she hadn’t noticed before. She was surprised that he didn’t take her up to one of the shady alcoves she’d seen in the front of the bar, which she was grateful for. God only knew the kind of action those places saw on a nightly basis. They ended up in a parking garage. She’d expected him to be driving something like a Porsche or Benz, but he had a new Jeep Liberty.
Displaying basic manners, he held the door open for her. Something she couldn’t remember a guy doing recently. Just as she went to slide into the seat, he growled low in his throat and turned her around, pulled her into his chest, and devoured her with his mouth and lips and oh sweet baby Jesus his clever tongue. As quickly as it began though, he was stepping away and guiding her into the car. If she’d been having second thoughts, that kiss would have totally changed her mind.
Once inside, she texted Shell and said she was leaving, keeping the fact she wasn’t alone to herself. Shell responded as expected. Her friend was already in the process of leaving with the guy she’d been talking to.
On the way to his house, they talked but the conversation was strained with anticipation. Her heart was flipping out, and he kept one hand on her knee, his thumb continuously smoothing a circle along the fleshy part.
A few times, logic crept into her thoughts. She really wasn’t the type of girl to get into one-night stands. At least she knew he wasn’t a serial killer, but this was Chad freaking Gamble…and she was Bridget Rodgers, a good twenty-plus pounds curvier than a supermodel and barely able to keep her head afloat in the finance department, and he was the city’s most talked about playboy with money falling out of his ears.
She was out of her league here.
And dear God, what kind of panties was she wearing tonight? The satin black ones or the granny panties? Since she hadn’t seriously considered going home with someone, if it were the granny panties, she would die.
But then his thumb made another circle and her hormones beat at her logic. Pushing aside all the ways they didn’t stack up together, she concentrated on the way her body was blossoming under his slight touch.
No more than twenty minutes later, Chad pulled into another parking garage. Bridget’s heart jumped.
Shutting off the engine, Chad glanced at her and gave a small, secretive smile. “Ready?”
Torn between being more ready than she’d ever been and wanting to run, she nodded.
“Stay,” he ordered, and then climbed out of the Jeep with an agility that made her envious. She watched him jog around the front of the car and then come to her side, opening the door. Extending an arm, he wiggled his fingers playfully.
Taking his hand, she let him pull her from the Jeep. Chad slipped an arm around her waist as he turned her toward the door. With his size and height, she actually felt small and petite for the first time in her life while tucked against his side.
They entered a wide and toasty hallway with hardwood floors. The doors with silver numbers were in dark cherry. It smelled like apples and spice in the hallway; the complete opposite of the mystery smell that clung to the cement floors and walls of what Bridget used to think was a decent apartment building she lived in.
When they stopped outside of 3307, Chad fished out his keys and opened the door. Stepping into the darkness, he flipped on a foyer light and quickly deactivated the alarm. Bridget hung back, her fingers tightening on her clutch.
The farther Chad moved in, the more lights came on. Opulence wasn’t even a word she would use to describe his apartment. For starters, the thing was bigger than most houses in the city. Well over three thousand square feet, and the loft-style apartment was prime real estate.
The foyer led into a spacious kitchen, which was an experience in polished granite and stainless steel, double ovens and numerous cabinets. Did he cook? Bridget stole a look at Chad as he dropped his keys on the kitchen island under a rack of pans and pictured him in an apron…and nothing else.
He caught her stare, and his lips spread into an easy grin. “Would you like a tour?”
“I think if I see any more I’ll get jealous,” she admitted.
He chuckled. “But I want you to see more.”
There was more to his words, an unsaid message that had the muscles in her belly tightening. She stepped forward and followed him out of the kitchen and into a formal dining room.
The long and narrow table surrounded by high-back chairs was minimalistic and gorgeous. Placed in the middle of the table was a black vase full of white flowers.
“I don’t ever eat in here.” Chad paused. “Okay, that’s a lie. I did once when I convinced my brothers to join me for Christmas dinner.”
She almost said his brothers’ names but stopped herself. The image of him naked in the apron helped. “Did you cook for them?”
He arched a brow. “You sound like you’d be surprised if I said yes.”
“You don’t seem like the type to cook.”
Chad made his way to an archway leading out of the dining area. “And what kind of man do I seem like, Bridget?”
The kind of man that would be hard if not impossible to forget after spending a night with, but she didn’t say that. Bridget just shrugged, ignoring the knowing look that settled across his striking features.
The TV in the living room was grossly large, taking up almost an entire wall. A leather sectional couch and recliners formed a circle around a glass coffee table covered in sports magazines.
Chad pushed open a door underneath a spiral wooden staircase leading upstairs. “Here’s my library, where I don’t do a lot of reading but mostly play Angry Birds on the computer.”
Bridget laughed, holding her clutch tightly as she peered around him. There were shelves lined with books, so she doubted the not-reading part unless they were there for pure looks. There were also several signed balls and mitts in glass cases hooked to the walls, mixed among encased autographed photos. It was like a baseball hall of fame up in here.
Easing the door shut, Chad nodded toward two doors beyond the staircase. “That leads to a guest bedroom and a bathroom. Upstairs?”
Her stomach flopped like she was sixteen again as she nodded, and they went upstairs. There was another bedroom used for guests, a room she soon dubbed the “white room” due to the walls, ceiling, bed, and carpet all being white. She was half afraid to step into that room.
But then he brushed past her, sliding a hand along her back as he headed down the hall, leaving a trail of hot chills in its wake. She could see down into the living room, but due to a nasty fear of heights, she backed around from the banister.
Chad nudged his bedroom door open with his hip and flipped a switch on the wall. Soft yellow light flowed across polished floors. A bed the size of a pool was in the middle of the room. He pulled a cell phone out of his pocket, tossing it carelessly onto the nightstand as if the phone didn’t cost three months’ worth of Bridget’s rent.
Dressers that matched the headboard sat against the opposite wall, identical to the bed stands on either side of the bed. A TV hung from the wall across from the bed and a door opened to a walk-in closet that nearly brought Bridget to her knees.
“Your closet,” she said, making her way to it. “I think it’s the size of my bedroom.”
“Originally, this was all one large room, but the interior designer built this closet and the bathroom.”
The room was larger? Jesus. Her gaze traveled over the arms of dark suits and then polo shirts all color coordinated. On the shelves above, stacks of jeans—designer, no doubt—rested. Her closet at home was an extra bedroom and a bunch of cheap clothing racks. She could live in Chad’s.
Knowing that the longer she stared into the closet, the more envious she’d become, she turned as Chad came up behind her, slipping an arm around her waist.
“I’m glad you said yes,” he said, his warm breath dancing along her cheek. “Actually, I’m thrilled that you said yes.”
Bridget tensed as heat swathed the length of her back. She turned her cheek toward him, biting down on her lower lip as his cheek grazed hers. The question blurted out of her mouth before she could stop it. “Why me?”
“Why you?” Chad pulled back a little and turned her around so that she faced him. He frowned. “I’m not sure I follow your question.”
Her cheeks flushed as she tried to look away, but he caught the edge of her chin in a gentle grasp. Damn the absence of a filter. She cleared her throat. “Why did you want me to come home with you?”
Chad cocked his head to the side. “I think it’s pretty obvious.” His other hand slid to the curve of her hip, and he tugged her forward. She could feel him against her belly, hot and hard. “I can go into more detail if you want.”
“I…I can tell, but you could have any girl at the club. Some of them—”
“I know I can have any woman there.”
Well, he definitely wasn’t lacking in the self-esteem department. “What I’m trying to say is that out of everyone there, you could’ve taken home one of the girls who looked like she stepped off a runway.”
Chad frowned. “I did take home the one I wanted.”
“There isn’t a ‘but’ in this.” He cupped her cheek, tilting her head back. When he spoke, his lips brushed hers. “I want you. Bad. Right now. Against the wall. On my bed. The floor and maybe in the bathroom later. I have a shower stall and a Jacuzzi we could put to really good use. I know you’d like it.”
His smile was pure sex. “It doesn’t matter where. I want to fuck you in all those places.” His lips swept across hers in a feather-light brush, and his voice dipped to a sinful whisper. “And I will.”
Bridget’s eyes widened—shocked by how much she enjoyed his vulgar language, but before she could respond, his mouth claimed hers in a deep, searing kiss that sparked a fire within. He pushed her back, fitting his hard body against hers. His hand left her cheek, drifting down her shoulder to the curve of her waist. And he kept kissing her—kissing her in a way a man had never kissed her before, as if he was drinking her in, taking long deep drafts, and her body melted against his. Bridget’s hips tilted into him, and she was rewarded with a deep, throaty growl.