He chuckled. “Lucian was with us.”
“You may want to start with that statement.”
“Good point,” he agreed, inclining his head. “Is it too cold up here?”
“No. It’s perfect.” Looking over her shoulder, her gaze trickled over the softly moving white canopies. “What’s behind there?”
“You want to see?”
“Yes.” She looked up at him, and her upturned face was beautiful in the silvery moonlight. He knew right then and there, he’d have a hell of a time refusing her anything. “Yes, I do.”
If Nikki thought the view was something to marvel at, the otherworldliness behind the white curtains gave it a run for its money.
Gabe had brushed one of the curtains aside for her to enter, and that was when she got her first glimpse of the plush white couches and chaise longues circling a white marble gas fire pit that threw off just enough heat to keep the chilliness beyond the canopies at bay. And once Gabe lowered the canopy back into place, sealing them in, it was almost like they weren’t even on the rooftop.
Nikki’s gaze fell back to the couch and her mind belly-flopped into naughty land when she wondered what people did behind these curtains. They weren’t exactly thick, but they provided just enough privacy that only the very outline of a person would be visible.
“What do you think?” Gabe brushed past her as he walked around the fire pit and sat on the center of the couch.
“I like it.” She looked around. “I imagine it’s not too comfortable during the summer.”
“They lift the canopies then and bring out these huge industrial fans. Still hot as hell, but there’s a pool on the other side.”
“Ah, I thought I smelled chlorine.”
He leaned back, tossing an arm over the back of the couch. Nikki found the arrogant sprawl to be incredibly sexy. The white dress shirt he wore was unbuttoned at the top, and skin the color of sunbaked clay peeked out. His hair was down, the edges brushing the strong cut of his jaw.
“Now you’re staring at me,” he said, the look to his eyes soft.
“And I like it.”
Maybe it was the wine she had with dinner. It was an expensive kind she couldn’t even begin to pronounce and would probably never drink again. Maybe it was the amazing dinner. Maybe it was the stunning view of New Orleans. Maybe it was just her and Gabe. Whatever it was, she was feeling a little wild and a little bold.
Walking around the fire pit, she dropped her clutch on the couch beside him and then she climbed onto his lap, placing her knees on either side of his legs.
His hands immediately went to her hips. “What are you up to, Nic?”
“I was getting tired of standing.”
“Well, babe, anytime you get tired of standing, you are more than welcome to use my lap.” He tugged her further down, seating her so she could feel him pressing up against her. “Anytime.”
She flushed as she rested her hands on his shoulders. “Thank you for dinner.”
“No thanks are necessary.”
“It was an amazing steak,” she said, her breath catching as he slid his hands up her waist.
He chuckled as his thumb brushed along the swell of her breast. “I’m beginning to think the only reason why you agreed to go out with me was to get another steak dinner.”
“I don’t mind being used.” That thumb had traveled further north, smoothing over the center of her breast. Her nipples immediately beaded.
The dress had one of those built-in bras that offered enough support for her to get away without wearing a bra, so when she reached up, crossing her arms as she gripped the tiny sleeves, she didn’t let herself think about what she was doing.
Later, when she was all alone and asking herself if she really did this, she’d blame the wine.
Aware that Gabe’s gaze was fastened on her, she shimmied the sleeves down. She felt the material give and then slip down her chest, pooling just below her breasts.
Gabe sucked in a ragged breath.
Cool air combatted the heated flush crawling down her throat and over her chest as she resisted the desire to cover herself. Instead, she placed her hands on his chest and let him look his fill.
And he did.
She wasn’t exactly well endowed. Probably average when it came to breast size, but he looked at her like she unearthed some sort of treasure.
“Beautiful,” he said, dragging his gaze to hers.
She bit down on her lip, and she thought that his hands trembled when he lifted them, cupping her breasts. Her entire body jerked at the contact.
“I don’t remember this. From that night,” he said, and Nikki jolted. They hadn’t talked about that night since the first day he brought her the smoothie. “There are glimpses of memories, but I don’t remember these.”
Nikki’s tongue was tied as he drew his thumbs over the tips of her breasts.
“I don’t remember what they looked like. My imagination has been vast. Don’t get me wrong.” He plucked at one nipple, wringing a sharp gasp out of her. “But I don’t remember how they felt, and my imagination only gets me so far.”
“Well, I hope they lived up to whatever your imagination has conjured.”
Thick lashes lifted, and his intense gaze pierced her. “They surpass my imagination.”
Gabe slid his hands to her ribs and then he lifted her slightly, bringing her forward as he leaned in. His mouth closed over her nipple and he sucked deep. Sensation exploded as her back arched.
“Did I do this? That night?” he asked, voice ragged.
“No,” she whispered.
He nipped at the sensitive flesh. “I didn’t take my time with you. I remember that.”
“I’m going to fix that.” His tongue swirled over her nipple as he caught the other one between his fingers. Her head fell back as she rocked her hips against his.
Aching emptiness roared to life. She wanted him to carry through on his promise to fix that night right now. She didn’t care that they were here, on the rooftop. She needed him, wanting him so bad it—
“Gabe? You up here?” Devlin’s voice suddenly rang out, rippling over the rooftop.
Nikki gasped as Gabe stiffened under her. For a moment, she couldn’t react, couldn’t even think, and then her brain screamed Devlin is here! And here she was, straddling Gabe with the top of her dress tugged down, exposing her breasts.
She was absolutely frozen, knowing that the curtains around the couches would only offer so much cover. Not with the soft glow of the gas fire pit.
Well, Devlin was about to find out firsthand exactly what Gabe was doing up here and that involved her.
This was not how she wanted what they were doing to get out. It meant she was going to have to tell her parents, because there was no way she expected Devlin to keep his mouth shut. And even if he did, knowing that someone so close to them knew, she’d have to tell them.
That thought didn’t horrify her as much as she used to think it would. This was going to be measurably embarrassing, but a stupid grin tugged at her lips as a giggle rose in her throat. They were about to be caught like two horny teenagers. Ridiculous.
Gabe pulled back and . . . and everything about him changed in an instant.
“Shit,” he muttered, gripping the bodice of her dress and tugging it up, over her chest. The giggle died in her throat as he gripped her hips and lifted her off him, onto her feet. He rose swiftly, his gaze focused on the slight gap in the curtains, and then he turned to her. “If you head out that way, you’ll be able to come back around and go to the elevator without running into him. I’ll keep him distracted.”
The grin faded as she turned, her brain slow to process what he was saying. He wanted her to get out of here before Devlin saw them—saw them together.
I thought you didn’t care who saw us?
The question rose, but it never made it to her lips. The back of her throat burned as stupid, stupid tears caused her to blink. She shouldn’t be surprised. Why was she?
“Go.” Gabe kissed her cheek and patted her hip. “I’ll text you later.”
Numbly, Nikki did just that.