GRAB YOUR COPY FROM THESE STORES:
“Which one do you like?” Trinity Barclays turned the laptop on the coffee-table so that her boss could see it.
“Mmm. I don’t know.” Bianca Rossi, the aforementioned boss, didn’t even look up from her phone. She was busy stalking celebrities on Instagram. Distractedly, she said, “You choose.”
“No, we should do it together,” Trinity insisted. “I don’t want to choose a logo you don’t like.”
The two women were seated in a settee at the far corner of Bianca’s clothing and accessories boutique, That Girl. That Girl was the perfect marriage of style and money. The store itself was quite huge, had beautiful lighting and smelled like spring. Linen-like wallpaper and expensive artwork lined the walls to compliment the luxurious furniture. The silver racks along the walls carried chic clothes from luxury brands and acclaimed designers.
“I always like what you choose,” Bianca returned dismissively. “Just pick the logo you like. You’re the manager and you’re better at this than I am anyway.”
“But you’re the boss.” Trinity pleaded, “Come on, Bianca. Just look at them and tell me what catches your eyes.”
“Fine.” Bianca put down her phone with a sigh. She scooted closer to Trinity and turned her attention to the logos onscreen. “Let’s see.”
Bianca was just the kind of person you’d expect to own a store like this. She was a pale-skinned beauty with perfect makeup and auburn hair cut into a stylish pixie-cut. Everything she wore screamed ‘I come from money’; from her diamond necklace to her Louis Vuitton boots, from her cream dress to the D-cup boobs she’d bought to go along with it. The difference between her and Trinity was like night and day.
Trinity thought of herself as just an ordinary girl. Rude folks liked to tell her that she was pretty – for a dark-skinned girl. She hadn’t yet decided if that was a compliment or an insult, but she was okay with how she looked. Her body? Well, she would’ve loved to call herself slim-thick, but that would be lying. She was just slim… and a card-carrying member of the itty-bitty-titty club.
Thankfully, she’d been given height and legs to die for. At five-nine, she could sneer down at most of the people who thought they looked better than her. As for fashion; well her clothes weren’t as expensive as Bianca’s. Her daddy had no money and neither did she. Still, she’d become such a thrift-store expert that even their upscale clients sometimes asked if That Girl carried those pieces. If only they knew…
“This one looks good.” Bianca pointed to one of the logos their designer had sent them. “I like how the girl is carrying a shopping bag and she looks very stylish.”
“I like it too.” Trinity pointed to another logo close to it. “But don’t you think this one with a little color is nice too. It’s pink and black – your favorite colors.”
“You’re right,” Bianca immediately agreed. “It’s better.”
Narrowing her eyes, Trinity took in her boss. “You’re not just saying that just because I said it was better, right?”
“Um… no?” Bianca tried while giving Trinity a sheepish smile. When Trinity didn’t return the smile, she sighed. “Trin, what do you want from me? You know I’m not good with these things. Your decisions are always better than mine.”
“But you need to learn to make your own decisions,” Trinity scolded. “What if I quit?”
Bianca’s eyes immediately widened and terror flashed in them. “You’re not quitting, are you?”
“Thank God!” Bianca pressed a hand to her chest and took deep breaths. “You scared me.”
“I’m not quitting, but you still need to learn how to do these things on your own,” Trinity tried again.
“Why? You’re here.” Bianca grinned and bumped her shoulder against Trinity’s. “You’ll help me out.”
“Bianca!” Trinity puffed out in frustration.
Honestly, she wasn’t even sure why she was working so hard to get Bianca more interested in the store. This place was just a playground for her; somewhere she could come when she wasn’t shopping, partying or vacationing. The lady didn’t even care if the place made money.
If Trinity was a scammer, That Girl would’ve been the perfect place to work. But her morals and loyalty to Bianca kept her honest. Frankly, Bianca had been incredibly good to her. The lady paid well, was receptive to Trinity’s ideas about ways to improve the store, never blamed her if they didn’t work out, and gave her bonuses when they worked. She may not have been the greatest business woman out there but she had a good heart, and that was worth more than all the business acumen in the world.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of people who thought it was okay to take advantage of people like Bianca. Trinity had had to fire several sales-assistants because they thought it was okay to work shoddily or steal from the store because Bianca wouldn’t care.
“Let’s go with the logo you chose,” Bianca urged. “It’s really pretty.”
“Okay,” Trinity surrendered. “I’ll email the designer and let him know so he can start making our shopping bags and branded shirts for the sales-assistants.” She closed that window on the desktop then opened another one. “Okay, this is a list of designers who are interested in being featured in our store. We need to choose the ones whose clothes we like.”
“We?” Bianca stared at her in horror. “I have to choose too?”
“Yes, you’re the boss,” Trinity reminded her again.
“Trinity,” Bianca whined. “Don’t make me. Just do it.”
“No, you have to help me-” Trinity’s words were cut off by the sudden beep of Bianca’s phone.
Bianca immediately turned her attention to the phone. A second later, she screamed. “Yes. Yes. Yes.”
Startled, Trinity asked, “What? What? What?”
“I just received an invitation to Logan Avery’s party,” the other woman squealed happily and flashed her phone at Trinity to show her the invitation. “This is a sign that he likes me too, right?”
“I don’t think so.” Trinity shook her head. “Isn’t this the same guy who’s told you multiple times that he’s not that into you?”
“Yes, but he was just playing hard to get,” Bianca countered. “Why else would he send me an invitation to his party?”
“Maybe he was just being nice,” Trinity suggested. “Or maybe it’s because your family and his are friends.”
“Or maybe he likes me.” Bianca slapped Trinity’s arm. “Stop being so negative.”
“Ow,” Trinity yelped. “I’m just being realistic.”
“This is why you don’t have a boyfriend,” Bianca scolded. “If you put yourself out there more instead of being so negative, you’d have someone by now.”
“Trust me, being negative isn’t the reason I don’t have a man.” Trinity scoffed. The reason she didn’t have a man was because she was too busy making money and dealing with her family to have a social life. “And may I remind you that you’re also man-less.”
“Yeah, but that’s going to change very soon.” Bianca went back to admiring the invitation. “Well, hellooo… it says I can bring a plus-one.” Excitement gleaming in her eyes, she turned to Trinity. “Wanna come?”
“No.” Trinity shook her head. “It’s not my crowd.”
“What do you mean it’s not your crowd?” Bianca frowned. “They’re just like me and I’m your crowd, right?”
“Yeah, you’re my crowd,” Trinity agreed.
What she didn’t add was that Bianca was markedly different from most people in the upper echelons of Miami. Working here and rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous had taught Trinity that not everyone was as nice or as non-judgmental as her boss. Besides that, she’d be completely out of place in that world of diamonds and Ralph Lauren dresses.
“Then why don’t you want to be my plus-one?” Bianca demanded.
Trinity hedged. “Just because.”
“Come on, Trinity.” Bianca hooked her arm into Trinity’s as she pleaded, “You’re my friend but you never hang out with me. Can’t we just hang out this time? Besides, I need a wingman. What if Logan rejects me again? I need someone to console me.”
“Ask one of your other friends,” Trinity suggested.
“Like who? Andrea? Stephanie?” Bianca made a face. “You know how they are. They’ll act nice to my face then tell everyone about it behind my back.”
Trinity shook her head disapprovingly. “You need to get better friends.”
“I already have one.” Bianca grinned at her. “You.”
“I won’t be your plus-one.”
“No with a capital N.”
“Pretty please with a pink bow on top.”
“I said-” Trinity paused to drag in a frustrated breath. “Bianca, I don’t even have anything to wear for that type of event. I don’t want to go.”
“Is that the problem? Something to wear?” Bianca gestured with flourish towards the main floor of the store. “Look around you. We work with clothes, clothes, and more clothes.”
“Is that all you heard?” Trinity reminded her, “I also said that I didn’t want to go.”
It was almost as if Trinity hadn’t spoken because Bianca jumped to her feet right then. “Come on! Let’s see if any of this stuff will suit you.”
“Bianca, we can’t take stuff off the rack,” Trinity protested. “It’s for sale.”
“Then I’ll buy it for you,” Bianca tossed out before striding towards one of the racks. She immediately pulled out an electric blue dress. “What do you think of this? The color will work magnificently with your skin-tone, right?”
“You don’t like it?”
“I mean no, you’re not buying me a dress, and I’m not going to that party.”
“Yes, you are.” Bianca set the blue dress on the settee closest to her. “Let’s put this aside.” She picked a soft pink dress and held it up. “Hmm… this looks cute but will it work on you?” She peeked around the dress to meet her friend’s eyes. “Trinity, what do you think?”
“Are you listening to me?”
“No.” Bianca tossed the pink dress next to the blue one. “You can just try it on then we’ll see how it looks.”
“Bianca Rossi!” Trinity yelled out.
“I told you, I won’t be your plus-one.”
“Trinity.” Bianca met her eyes. “When will you ever go to a party like this again? This is a chance to experience something you’ve never tried.”
“But I won’t fit in.”
“We’ll make you fit in,” Bianca declared, determination glinting in her eyes. “Once you’ve got the right clothes.”
“It’s not about the clothes.” Trinity said, “I’m not on the same level as your other friends or anyone else who’ll be at that party. What if one of your friends asks me who I am or what I do?”
“Then we’ll lie,” her friend offered with a dismissive wave. “They won’t know anyway.”
“Come on.” Bianca walked up to her and dragged her to her feet. She pressed a green dress to Trinity’s chest. “Try this for me.”
“I don’t want to,”
“But you’re gonna,” Bianca insisted as she dragged Trinity to the dressing rooms. She could be surprisingly forceful when she wanted her way.
Trinity changed tack. “We can’t do this right now. A client might walk in any time.”
“Psh!” Bianca snorted. “It’s nine a.m. on a Monday. Our clients aren’t even awake yet.”
“Just try on the dress.” Bianca shoved her into the dressing room.
All of Trinity’s protests fell on deaf ears and before she knew it she was trying on different dresses. Okay, maybe she didn’t protest as much as she should have, but Bianca’s words had struck a chord with her. In her dreams, Trinity’s life was always glamorous. But her reality was extremely different. This was likely the only chance she’d ever have to rub shoulders with the wealthy and glamorous without being the girl who served them. This was a chance to make her dreams come true… at least for one night. How could she resist that temptation?
Several minutes later, the two women stood staring at the image of Trinity in the mirror.
“This is the one.” Bianca gasped as she took in Trinity. “This is definitely the one.”
Trinity agreed. The emerald green dress perfectly complimented her dark skin. Though it had a high neck, the key-hole gap between her breasts and the gathers on her bust made it look like she actually had boobs underneath the fabric. The rest of the dress clung to her flat tummy and hips like a second skin revealing curves that she’d never even thought she had. But what caught her eyes was the thigh-high slit. It made her legs look even longer than they were.
“My God! You look like a model.” Bianca’s eyes suddenly lit up. “That’s actually a good idea. Let’s tell everyone that you’re a model. A model who is also a designer and has stupidly rich parents.”
“That’s a lot of lies,” Trinity complained.
“But you can pull them off. Look at you. You look just like a model. And it’s only for one night anyway.” Bianca’s gaze turned contemplative and she tapped a finger to her chin. “Something’s missing though.”
“I know what’s missing.” Bianca ordered, “Clear your schedule the whole of tomorrow.”
“Why?” Trinity frowned. “I thought the party was in the evening.”
“It is, but I’d like to introduce you to some people before we head there.” Bianca grinned mischievously. “By the time they’re done with you, everyone will believe us if I say that you’re Naomi Campbell’s younger sister.”
Trinity doubted that was possible, but hey… what was the harm in letting Bianca try? Besides, it was just for one night, right?
The party had started just an hour or so ago, yet most of the guests were already there. Guests dressed to the nines sat or stood around the large ballroom twirling their wine-glasses, gingerly biting into their canapés while chatting with each other. Servers in crisp white shirts, black pants and black bowties milled between them expertly carrying trays filled with appetizers and wine in glasses. At the front of the room, a chamber orchestra was playing soft instrumental music that brought nods of approval and smiles from its listeners.
But not everyone was smiling.
“Mom, what do you want me to do?” Jared ‘Red’ Kang said into the phone. It was fortunate that he’d ducked into a secluded alcove to take this call because he could now raise his voice in frustration. Speaking in Korean, he reminded his mother, “I’m here in Miami and you’re in Seoul. There’s nothing I can do.”
“You can call him,” his mother, Choi Hye-jin, suggested. She sounded just as frustrated as Red as she added, “When you do, tell him that he can’t bring his mistress to our family trip. It’s embarrassing enough that everyone in Gangnam knows that he has a mistress, but now he wants to show her off to the whole world? He’s being ridiculous.”
“Why do I have to be the one to tell hi-” Red’s words were cut off by the sudden beep of his phone. Someone else was trying to call him. “Hold on, Mom.” He took the phone off his ear to see who was calling. It was his father. He put his phone back to his ear. “Mom, it’s Dad. Let me talk to him first.”
“Okay, but don’t forget to tell him that that slut is not coming on our family trip.”
“I’ll try,” Red promised before hanging up on his mother. He called his father right after, “Dad?”
“Jae-ho,” his father, Kang Tae-gyu, greeted him using his Korean name. “Tell your mother that I’m the one paying for this trip. I can bring whoever I want.”
Trying to reason with him, Red said, “I know, but think of what it’ll look like for Mom when you’re there with your girlfriend.”
“Well, your mother’s bringing along her boyfriend too.”
Red blinked then blinked again. “What?”
“She got a new personal assistant, and she’s sleeping with him,” Tae-gyu revealed. “Obviously, he’s coming to Rome to ‘assist’ her. So why can’t I have someone to ‘assist’ me too? Also, my girlfriend will be staying on a different floor. Your mother’s assistant is on the same floor and just two doors away from her. And I’m the one who deserves to be scolded?”
No, they both deserved to be scolded. Red couldn’t believe his parents. This was some middle-school bullshit right here… hardly fitting for two people both in their late fifties. What was worse was that they were both still married to each other.
If they were both going to be like this, wasn’t it easier to just get divorced? But even as Red thought that thought, he realized that it would never happen. Those two had stuck to each other for more than thirty-five years with most of those years being tumultuous, yet not even once had divorce been mentioned. No, they were not going to get divorced. They’d just keep torturing him.
Red took in a deep breath to calm himself before saying, “Dad, if you think you’re not in the wrong, why don’t you just tell Mom? You two live in the same house.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” The older man scoffed. “You know your mother and I don’t talk to each other.”
“Then ask Jae-won or Jae-beom to talk to her,” Red suggested. “They’re both there with you.”
“Those two bastards?” Tae-gyu snorted. “They don’t care about us. They’re just waiting for us to kill each other so they can get the company.”
“That’s not true,” Red lied. His two old brothers had long washed their hands of their parents’ chaotic relationship, and he didn’t blame them. That’s what happens when parents care more about one-upping each other than giving their children a healthy home.
“So will you talk to your mother?” Tae-gyu asked.
“I’ll try,” Red promised though he had a feeling it wouldn’t work.
“And you’re still coming to the trip with us, right?”
“Um…” Red hesitated. He could see the drama coming from a mile away.
“I haven’t seen you in more than a month except through computer screens. I’ve missed you,” his father coaxed. “You have to come.”
Maybe it was the longing in his father’s voice. Maybe it was because regardless of how dysfunctional his family was, he still missed them. Either way, Red found himself surrendering. “I’ll come.”
There was a smile in the older man’s voice as he said, “Good.”
The two men spoke for a few more minutes before ending the call.
Red thought of calling his mother back but decided to postpone it until he was back at home where he could take his time convincing her that she couldn’t have her cake and eat it too. She only had two choices; either not to take her ‘assistant’ to the trip or to allow his dad to bring his mistress too.
Red thrust his phone into the inside pocket of his suit and strode back to the ballroom. With his gaze, he searched the room for his best friend and the host of this party, Logan Avery. Though Logan was Caucasian and had brown hair as opposed to Red’s dark hair, both men were tall enough to tower over most people. Red spotted him almost immediately.
“What was it this time?” Logan asked as soon as Red got to him. “Did she and your Dad fight again?”
“Something like that.” Red sighed. “She doesn’t want him to bring his mistress to our family trip.”
Logan’s jaw dropped. “I’m sorry, what? He’s bringing his mistress?”
“Only because, she’s bringing her manstress,” Red said. The shock that filled his friend’s features was enough to make him chuckle. Now that he thought about it, this whole situation was funny – sad, but still funny.
“Your parents are just-” Logan released a pent-up breath. “Remind me not to get married.”
“I will.” Red fully approved of his friend’s resolution because he’d made the same one when he was ten. He was never getting married. Changing the topic, he asked, “You know, you never told me what this party was for. What are we celebrating?”
“We’re celebrating the fact that we’re alive,” Logan answered flippantly.
Red frowned in confusion. “I don’t understand.”
“Do we always need a reason to party?”
“I don’t,” Logan answered.
Red stared at his friend in disbelief for quite a while before shaking his head. “I don’t even know why I’m surprised.”
Having a party just for fun was a very Logan-like thing to do. He was the king of socialization and lived every day like it was his very last.
“What does that m-” Logan suddenly stopped speaking and his eyes widened as he stared beyond Red.
Red turned to see who Logan was staring at. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s her.” Logan shifted as if to hide using Red’s body.
“It’s who?” Red asked as he searched the guests to see who had his friend scared.
“Bianca Rossi,” Logan muttered underneath his breath. “She just entered the room.”
“The girl who’s stalking you?” Red asked as his gaze zeroed in on the door. Immediately, he spotted the woman; auburn hair in a pixie-cut, average height, nice body though surgically enhanced, red ball-gown, expensive necklace and bracelet… not very different from most of the women here. Honestly, she didn’t look that scary.
“Oh God!” Panic flashed in Logan’s eyes. “She saw me. She saw me. She’s coming our way.”
Bianca had indeed spotted them. Her gaze determined and a smile playing on her lips, she started towards them. However, she wasn’t alone.
Honest to God, Red’s world stopped the moment he spotted the woman walking next to Bianca. She wasn’t classically beautiful, but her piercing eyes, high cheek-bones and lush lips were enough to suck the breath right out of his lungs. Her skin was dark, like rich chocolate begging to be licked. The emerald green dress she was wearing clung to every curve, and with every step she took, the slit in the fabric flapped open to reveal the tantalizing length of her leg. My God! She was exquisite.
But even without the beauty, her height alone was enough to draw the eye. She was tall; taller than most women here. Her wooly hair teased into a high bun and her head held high, she swept through the crowd like she was on a catwalk in Paris. Her pretty, brown eyes roamed the room as they walked. They were wide, and even from this distance, he could see excitement dancing in them. Like that of a kid who’d just entered a candy shop.
“I’m getting out of here,” Logan said, cutting into Red’s thoughts. “I don’t want to deal with Bianca.”
“No.” Red stopped him by grabbing his upper arm. “You’re staying.”
“I want to meet her friend.”
“Her friend?” Logan turned his attention back to Bianca. That’s when he noticed the woman next to her. His voice immediately took on a note of admiration. “Oh… I didn’t see her.”
Keeping his eyes on his prey, Red growled, “She’s mine!”
“Okay. Calm down, Tarzan!” Logan chuckled. He punched Red’s fingers that were still around his arm. “If you squeeze any harder, you’ll break my arm.”
“Sorry.” Red immediately let go. “But you’re not running.”
“Fine.” Logan’s gaze swept back to Bianca and he sighed. “The things I do for my friends. You owe me one.”
“Got it,” Red muttered just as the two women reached them.
“Logan!” Bianca giddily greeted. She stepped towards him for a hug and kiss on the cheek. “You look great.”
“As do you,” Logan said. Anyone watching would’ve thought that he was genuinely excited to see Bianca. The smile he gave her was so sincere that Red almost forgot that just seconds ago, he’d been trying to run.
But all that didn’t matter to Red. All his attention was on the woman with Bianca. From a distance, she’d been beautiful. Up close, she was stunning. Her eyes, her lips, and when she noticed him then gave him a small smile in silent greeting… his heartbeat sped up.
Logan asked, “How have you been, Bianca?”
“Fine, as you can see.” Bianca twirled around to give him a good view of her before giggling flirtatiously. “I’m so happy that you invited me.”
“Well, I couldn’t not invite you,” Logan countered before turning his megawatt smile to her friend. “And who is this?”
“This?” Bianca looped her arm around her friends and brought her forward. “This is Trinity.”
Trinity! A beautiful name for a beautiful woman.
“It’s nice to meet you, Trinity,” Logan greeted.
“It’s nice to meet you too.” Her voice wasn’t too high or too low. Just perfect. Like silk, it brushed over Red’s senses leaving them quivering.
He didn’t even wait to be introduced. He stretched his hand out to the lady. “I’m Jared. But everyone calls me Red.”
“Hi, Red.” She smiled at him and took his hand. Instantly, electric heat swept through him and a fist closed around his lungs making it harder to breathe.
Trinity. She definitely had his attention.
RED! AN APPROPRIATE name for a man who could make her feel this hot.
The moment Trinity had met the man’s eyes, she’d felt it; the undeniable heat that raced through her whole body and left her with the urge to fan herself whenever he so much as breathed her way.
She’d never thought that she was into Asians but her body’s reaction made it clear that she was wrong. She was very into this particular Asian, and she suspected that most women would be too.
He was tall, certainly tall enough for her. His dark hair had been cut and teased into a classic pompadour with a low fade that gave him the air of a wealthy and stylish businessman. His black tuxedo only served to enhance the athletic, muscular frame beneath and left her with the urge to squeeze his upper arm just to see if he was as muscular as he looked.
But what held her attention was his face. He had the kind of face that stopped you in your tracks; dark eyebrows, a high nose, monolid eyes that narrowed whenever he smiled… ah! That smile. It made her want to feel how his lips moved in a kiss, how his hands followed the curves of her body.
And the way he kept looking at her… Holy cow.
From the moment they’d been introduced, the man had kept his eyes and attention on her. Even when the group of four found a table, he’d made sure that he was seated right next to her.
“So, Trinity, tell me-” Red watched her keenly. “-what countries have you modeled in?”
“Not many,” Trinity hedged. Though she’d agreed to go with Bianca’s story about being a model and designer, she still wasn’t comfortable with it and wanted to stick with the truth as much as possible without outing herself.
“She’s just being coy,” Bianca chimed in. “She’s been everywhere. Italy, England, South Africa, France… everywhere. It would be easier to ask her where she hasn’t been.”
“Really?” Logan watched Trinity with interest. “I’ve been to a few shows myself. Which ones have you done? Maybe I might have seen you somewhere.”
Oh my God! Trinity hadn’t come up with lies to cover this kind of question. She stuttered, “Um… uh…”
“She did last year’s London Fashion Week,” Bianca immediately jumped in to cover for her. Turning to Logan, she added, “But you missed that, didn’t you?”
Logan nodded. “Yeah, I did.”
“I wish I’d been there to see you,” Red said, his piercing eyes on Trinity. “You look like you’d be amazing at walking the catwalk.”
Trinity smiled. “Thank you for the compliment.”
“It’s not a compliment – just the truth.” He smiled back, and that smile left her heart pitter-pattering in excitement.
“She’s amazing at modeling,” Bianca jumped back in. “But it has nothing on her designs. I actually sell her clothes at my store…”
On and on, Bianca waxed about Trinity’s fake virtues. Meanwhile, Trinity spent her time nervously agreeing with Bianca or trying to avoid Red’s piercing gaze while still sneaking glances at him. Every time her gaze met his, her heart bumped in her chest almost as if it wanted to escape her ribcage and rush to him. The more he looked at her, the harder it became to breathe.
Trinity wasn’t an idiot. She knew that she was attracted to him, but she also knew that it was wrong. The man was wearing a Richard Mille watch. He was too rich for her blood. Besides, this excursion was just a one-night thing. There was no point in going around getting attracted to men when it was all going to end at the stroke of midnight. She needed to calm herself down.
She suddenly stood and grabbed her clutch purse. “Excuse me for a minute.”
“Where are you going?” Red asked as he stood too.
“I’ll be back,” she offered him a forced smile. I’ll be back when I no longer feel this hot.
Trinity was planning to go to the powder room but when she saw the glass double-doors that led out to the garden, she realized that cold air was what she needed to cool down. She slipped out of the house.
Everything about this party had met Trinity’s expectations of how the rich lived. The mansion where the party was being held was bigger than any house she’d ever stepped in. The food was different from anything she’d ever had, and money dripped from the guests’ clothes and jewelry. Elegance, sophistication and opulence reigned freely.
The garden did not disappoint either. To Trinity, a garden meant a small backyard with an herb garden and some space to put a lawn chair or two. But apparently, rich people had other ideas. A wide gently-angled flight of steps led to the velvety expanse of grass that stretched as far as the eyes could see. Geometrically-shaped flower-beds, like rainbow freckles adorning the green grass, merged seamlessly with the neatly clipped yews that bordered them. To keep people from stepping on the grass and flower-beds, box-edged paths wound through all that beauty.
Fascinated, Trinity followed one of those paths. Not many people were outside because of the chilly weather and the further she walked, the less people she saw until finally, it seemed that she was alone. Though Trinity was beginning to feel the cold, she couldn’t bring herself to turn back. Rubbing her arms, she kept walking only to find herself looking at a gazebo. It was a pretty, white, well-lit, wooden structure with climbing plants, most in full bloom, running along its pillars. Someone had been kind enough to put a comfortable settee there.
An instinctive smile curling her lips, she entered the gazebo. It was so beautiful and so peaceful. The air was pungent with the fragrance of all sorts of flowers and so silent that she could hear the sound of crickets calling to each other. Trinity didn’t even want the humongous house. Just give her the garden and the gazebo and she’d be fine. It was the perfect place to think and cool off.
She closed her eyes and lay her head back against the settee. Peace.
But it didn’t last.
A low masculine voice drew her from her thoughts. “So this is where you’re hiding yourself?”
Trinity’s eyes flew open only to meet his. He was standing at the gazebo’s archway. The man she’d been trying to run from. She hadn’t even heard him coming. As if on cue, her heart rate sped up.
Sitting up, she said, “Red, what are you doing here?”
“Following you,” he answered. “You left abruptly so I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“I’m okay,” Trinity said even though what she wanted to say was, ‘leave before I jump you’.
Red looked around the gazebo. “I’d even forgotten this place existed.”
“You’ve been here before?” Trinity asked.
“Yeah.” He crossed the space to come and settle right next to her. “Logan and I have been friends for a while so I come here sometimes. What about you and Bianca? Have you been friends for long?”
Despite the weird and sudden pounding of her heart because of his closeness, she somehow managed to say, “It’s been a while too… six years I think.”
To be precise, Trinity had worked for Bianca for six years. Their friendship was just a side benefit.
“How did you two meet?” Red asked, sliding his arm on the back of the settee so that it was right behind Trinity’s head.
“Um…uh…” she stuttered. The stuttering was because one; she was trying to think of a lie that wouldn’t reveal that she worked for Bianca. And two; it was kind of hard to think when Red’s arm was right behind her. She could feel his heat burning the side of her body and the back of her head. She finally managed, “Um… we met at her store.”
“Ah! I forgot that you design for her.” His piercing gaze lowered to her upper body for a second before coming back to meet hers. “Aren’t you cold?”
“Not really,” Trinity denied but the goosebumps on her arms belied that denial.
With a smile and a shake of his head, Red shrugged off his tuxedo-jacket.
“But you’ll be cold,” Trinity protested when he brought the jacket around her shoulders. His clean, fresh, masculine scent immediately overwhelmed her, stirring her already aroused senses.
“Then you can keep me warm,” Red said before smoothly wrapping his arm around her shoulder and bringing her body closer to his.
This player! Trinity’s mouth fell open.
However, before she could call him out, a sudden, loud, cracking sound rent the air. Seconds later, fiery sparks lit up the sky, bursting through the night, and leaving brilliant trails of color as they flew.
“Fireworks,” she gasped in awe. “Who lit them?”
“Probably someone Logan hired,” Red murmured beside her.
“They’re so beautiful,” Trinity breathed out. She turned to him, “Right?”
But he wasn’t even looking at the fireworks he was looking at her. “They are, but not as beautiful as you.”
The way he was looking at her, his words, the way his voice had deepened… If her pulse wasn’t already racing, this would’ve done it. Her lungs suddenly seemed one size too small, yet she couldn’t drag her eyes away from him.
“Are you flirting with me?” she asked through suddenly dry lips.
“Yes.” He arched an eyebrow playfully. “Do you mind?”
She wanted to say yes, she minded. This was a bad idea. Yet, she found herself shaking her head slowly. “No.”
“Good.” He watched her silently for a while before asking, “Can I kiss you?”
“Huh?” All the air swept out of her lungs and shock spread through her body in a nanosecond. He was joking, right?
“Can I kiss you?” he repeated, the blaze in his gaze said he was completely serious, and it kicked off a fresh wave of heat inside her.
She should’ve said no. This wasn’t what she’d come to do tonight. But being this close to him was driving her crazy. Her face was hot, her breasts were swelling by the second, and every inch of her felt tight like she was standing on a live wire. Her gaze slid down to his mouth. It was just a kiss, right? Just one kiss for tonight. What was the harm?
She nodded. “Yes.”
He didn’t kiss her immediately. His gaze locked on her, he brought his hand up to run a finger over her bottom lip. His touch was like electricity; it raced through her sparking even more heat and a small gasp tore from her throat. Red smiled. Right before he lowered his head.
Their lips met, and for the first few seconds, it was soft and sweet, a gentle taste and tease. His lips explored hers, his tongue played with her, testing her willingness to go further. When he got the answer he wanted, he deepened the kiss to turn her arousal meter way past high.
He tasted like wine, chocolate and something more; something uniquely him. Trinity relished his taste, took every kiss he gave then silently pleaded for more. When he ended the kiss, she whimpered in protest.
“Just like I thought,” Red murmured. His face was still close enough to hers for his breath to whisper against her lips. “You taste amazing.”
“You’re not so bad yourself,” Trinity whispered. Surprising herself, she asked, “Can we do it again?”
He smiled then brought his lips back to hers again.
Ye gods! The man could kiss. If there were awards for best-kisser, then he’d taken them all. His lips moved over hers in a sensual yet tender exploration that left her aroused and wildly excited. Without conscious thought, she brought her hand up to his clean-shaven cheek and cupped his face so that she could hold him closer. His hand moved from her shoulder down her arm then back up again, his fingers stroking her skin and sending her even deeper into desire’s den.
This time when he ended the kiss, she was panting with frustration. She wanted more.
He sat back in the seat with his eyes closed, breathing in and out noisily as if trying to calm himself down. Finally, his eyes fluttered open and he met her gaze.
“Trinity, I’ll be honest.” He sat up again and turned his body so that their knees were brushing. “I want you. I want you badly. I’ve wanted you from the moment you walked into that ballroom.”
“Oh!” The confession tore a gasp from her lips. She’d never met a man who was this straightforward. She swallowed deeply before stammering, “I… I see.”
“But I’m not looking for a relationship,” he added.
Her heart immediately tumbled to the pit of her stomach. Was this where they said their goodbyes?
He shattered her fears with one sentence. “If you’re game for one night of pleasure, no strings attached then I’m game too.”
His proposition was as unexpected as it was shocking. To make sure that she wasn’t misreading his words, she asked, “You want a one-night stand?”
“Yes,” he confirmed.
Trinity was no virgin but she wasn’t a one-night stand kind of girl either. She’d never even considered it… until today. Let’s be honest, Red was way above her pay-grade. He was the type of man she dreamt of but never expected to meet, let alone sleep with. Here was her one chance to make her fantasy true. And he, like her, only wanted one night.
It was perfect.
She must’ve taken more time than she realized to answer because he suddenly cut into her thoughts.
“It’s okay.” His lips curved into a sexy smile. “You can say no. I’ll understand.”
“Yes,” she breathed out.
His eyes widened. Obviously, her answer had shocked him. Watching her keenly, he licked his lower lip then asked, “Yes, you want to say no, or yes, you accept my proposition?”
She rushed to say, “Yes, I accept your-”
He cut off her sentence with a swift hard kiss that left her breathless and trembling. When he tore his mouth from hers, there was a wildness in there that she hadn’t seen before. He shot to his feet then dragged her up to stand.
His voice was husky and raw as he ordered, “Let’s get out of here.”
Crazy as it was, she nodded. “Okay.”
Red closed the door behind them in one firm push, trapping them together in the suite.
The suite was on the top-floor of one of his friend’s hotels. It was designed for pleasure and luxury; floor to ceiling windows that looked out into the city’s breathtaking skyline, beige luxurious seats that surrounded a glass and gold coffee-table, an archway leading to the bedroom. Even from the door, he could see the circular bed, calling out to them, enticing them with its comfort. Its pristine, white covers had even been pulled back as if to announce that they could do whatever they wanted in it.
He locked the door.
Startled by the clanging sound of the door locking, Trinity gasped and turned around to face Red. She was still wearing his jacket and damn if she didn’t look good in it. But he still wanted to take it off her. However, from her wide eyes and the way she kept worrying her bottom lip, it was obvious that this was her first time doing this sort of thing. For some reason, that gave him pleasure. She wanted him enough to discard her own rules.
He smiled. “You must be nervous.”
“I am,” she said breathlessly before closing the distance between them. She reached for his bowtie and discarded it with one firm pull. However, when she reached for the top button of his shirt, he closed his hand around hers to stop her.
“Why are you in a hurry?” he asked as he squeezed her fingers.
“Huh?” Her wide doe-eyes met his.
“I know it’s a one-night stand, but that doesn’t mean that we have to get to it right away.” He lifted his other hand to stroke her cheek. “We can take our time. Talk a bit.”
Frankly, he wanted to spend more time with her, get to know her. He wasn’t a relationship kind of man but for some reason, Trinity fascinated him. He wanted to know about her, who she was, what she did, where she came from. Yeah, they were only spending one night together. But what was wrong with getting all he could from it?
“I don’t want to talk,” she said. “I just want…”
Her words faded off, but the way her tongue flicked tantalizingly between her lips left no doubt what she wanted to say. His lips crooking into a half-smile, he looped his arm around her waist and hauled her to him.
“Red!” she gasped as her body met his.
He mashed his lips over hers swallowing that gasp. His lips played over hers, teasing and tempting her to open up for him more so he could take what he needed. With a sigh and moan, she parted her lips. And when his tongue ventured in, she met him with a dance that had his senses sighing in pleasure.
She was like strawberries in the middle of spring; ripe, delicious and intoxicating. He couldn’t get enough of her. Wrapping both his hands around her waist, he dragged her even closer to him until her breasts pressed into his chest, her thighs rode his and her tummy cradled the evidence of his desire. But it still wasn’t enough. He needed more.
He swooped down, wrapped his arms beneath her ass and lifted her off her feet. With long strides, he carried her past the archway and into the bedroom. When he set her back on her feet, they tore away from each other to kick off their shoes. Red pulled the pack of condoms that he’d just bought from the hotel’s gift shop from his pocket and set it on the nightstand before dragging her right back to him.
This time, he deliberately slowed down their kiss, made it less fevered. He wanted her, but not fast. If he was getting only one night with this exquisite beauty, then he wanted to savor every nanosecond of it.
His fingers tracing the smooth skin on her cheek, he wooed her with tender, slow kisses that had her gripping the sides of his shirt. Smiling against her lips, he reached for the lapels of his jacket. He started to push the jacket off her shoulders, but Trinity tore away from him before he could finish the action.
“Wait, wait!” she gasped before suddenly standing.
Confused, Red watched as she rushed to the windows then pulled the drapes.
She turned back to face him. “I don’t want anyone to see us.”
“We’re on the fifteenth floor,” he reminded her. “No one can see this high up.”
“Still.” She gave him a sheepish smile before walking back to sit next to him.
Red chuckled. This was definitely her first time doing this kind of thing.
“Don’t laugh at me,” she said, her lips plumped into a pout.
“I wouldn’t dare,” he said, but his smile belied his words.
Fortunately, Trinity didn’t take it to heart. She cupped his neck and moved forward to set her lips on his. It was like flicking a light switch. The desire that had eased into a dull ember jumped right back up into wild flames. Red cupped her face and took control of the kiss. With his mouth and lips, he promised her that he’d make this a night to remember for both of them.
Slowly, he urged her to lie down on the bed. Keeping half of his body on the bed so that he wouldn’t suffocate her with his weight, he kept kissing her. While he distracted her with his lips, his hand slowly crept from her waist up her torso. But Trinity wasn’t distracted enough. Just as he was about to cup her breast, her hand flew up to his to stop him.
Red immediately stopped the kiss. Still hovering over her, he met her gaze. In her beautiful brown eyes, nervousness and uncertainty swam. Her breath was coming in pants as if she was scared. That nervousness and fear were like a sting, pricking him and reminding him that she was different from the other women he’d been with.
Despite his need for her, he offered, “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”
Her small teeth sunk into her bottom lip and it was obvious that she was wondering whether to take him up on the offer. A second later, she shook her head. “No, I want to do this.”
“Are you sure?” He ran a soothing hand over her face. “You don’t have to force yourself just because we’re here.”
“I’m not forcing myself.” She swallowed nervously. “I want to do this.”
“Are you sure?” he asked again.
“I’m sure,” she whispered before lifting her head slightly off the bed to meet his lips in a soft short kiss.
When she lay back down, she seemed determined but there was still some nervousness in her eyes. If she was any other woman, even that hint of nervousness would’ve been enough to make Red shut down this whole thing. But he wanted Trinity. He really, really, really wanted her.
He swooped back down and fixed his lips to hers. Even though desperation was driving him, he tore his lips from her to assure her, “You can stop me any time you want, okay?”
She licked her lips and nodded. “Okay.”
“Anytime,” he repeated. Placing soft kisses on the side of her face, he added, “I won’t hold it against you.”
“Okay.” She turned her face so their lips could meet again.
This time when his hand came up to her breast, she didn’t stop him. As soon as he touched her, her breath caught. Even though her dress was between his touch and her flesh, he could tell she wasn’t wearing a bra. How had he missed that? Oh yeah, the gathers at her bust had totally conned him. But he didn’t mind at all.
Grinning, he firmed his hand over her breast. Trinity gasped and arched up into his hand. More gasps came when he squeezed then dragged his finger over her nipple. Even through the fabric, he could feel that small nub pucker. But he wanted to see it for himself. Tearing his lips from hers, he brought her to sitting position and reached behind her for her zipper, but there was none.
“Where’s the zipper?” he asked, sounding panicked even to his own ears.
“Here.” She pointed to the side of her dress.
With one quick drag, he brought the zip down. Once her dress was loose, he dragged her sleeves down her arm. But before he could take a good look at her, she crossed her arms over her breasts protectively. When he met her eyes, she lowered hers shyly.
Shyness. He hadn’t crossed paths with that emotion in quite a while. Chuckling, he reached for her wrists. “It’s okay.”
She snuck a look at him before quickly lowering her eyes again. But when he gently dragged her arms away from her chest, she let him.
There you are. His lips kicked up in a feral smile when she was finally revealed to him. They were like ripe apples, small enough to fit in his palm but ripe enough to make his mouth water. Without conscious thought, he reached for one. The whimper that tore from Trinity’s lips forced him to meet her eyes. The look in her eyes said she wanted more. So he gave her more.
Urging her to lay back on the bed, he squeezed her flesh then lightly stroked her nipple. That little nub was already quivering but he wanted it fully aroused. He pinched it.
“Red.” Trinity gasped and her eyes widened. Pleasure and pain flashed in her expression.
“You like that?” he asked but didn’t give her time to answer. He moved his hand and pinched her other nipple.
“Oh!” She bucked up in shocked need.
Obviously, she liked it. But she’d like what he was planning to do to her even more. He lowered his head and captured one nipple with his mouth. Her body jerked in excitement, and when he began to suckle her in earnest, her fingers dug into his hair, silently urging him to do his worst. Her excitement was like a drug; intoxicating and electrifying. As he gave her pleasure, his own body shivered with thrill. His cock jutted against his pants begging to be let into the action.
Even as he turned his attention to her breast, he rubbed himself against her thigh, letting her know just how much she was turning him on. And she heard him. Her hands journeyed from his hair, over his shoulders and up and down his back, stoking the flames that were already licking at him.
Frantic for more of that fire, he released her breast so he could come back up to kiss her. It was a wild kiss; unrestrained and filled with frantic desire. Their hands ran all over each other, matching the fevered pace of their kisses.
Red had never realized how convenient slits in dresses were until he set his hand on Trinity’s thigh. There was no fabric to force up to her waist. All he had to do was ease his hands up between her thighs and-
Holy fuck! His lips froze against hers and his hand halted in shocked fascination when it found no fabric.
He tore his mouth from her to meet her dazed eyes. His voice rough with desire, he stated the obvious, “You’re not wearing panties.”
She blinked. “I know.”
“Since when?” His mouth suddenly dry, he clarified, “Did you remove them or have you been walking around naked all night?”
She bit her lower lip. “I didn’t remove them.”
That simple answer sucked the air right out of his lungs. She’d been totally naked under her dress when they’d been in the ballroom. When they’d been sitting together at their table, and when they’d been alone in the gazebo. When they’d been kissing, she’d been only one layer away from nudity. He was already hard, but that delicious thought turned him into steel. Hot hard steel!
He slammed his mouth over hers in a kiss that left her gasping for air, and while she was still trying to breathe, he cupped her hot mound.
Fuck! She was already wet… wet for him. But he wanted to make her even wetter. He wanted to make her pussy cry for him.
“Aaah!” she cried out when he eased his finger between her moist lips.
“Oooh!” Another cry tore from her throat when he found that hot little button.
“Reeeed!” she screamed when he flicked it.
Her fingers dug into his upper arm as he played her like a guitar. His fingers soothed then stoked her, calmed her then shoved her back into the fire. When he pushed one finger into her tight warmth, she looked like she was ready to fly off to nirvana. Her eyes were closed, her lips parted and her fingers were gripping his arm like steel chains.
Her arousal stoked his. He was already hard enough, but thrusting his finger in and out of her only worsened his torture. Feeling her tight walls wrap around him conjured images of actually being inside her. What would it feel like? Would she be able to take him? He needed to find out.
She whimpered in protest when he eased his finger from within her, but he soothed her with kisses. He sat up and dragged her dress completely off her then tossed the fabric over the ottoman at the foot of the bed. Then he came back to her.
Trinity in the throes of arousal was a sight to behold; like a masterpiece, ready to be drawn by an artist. Her eyes were wide yet glazed with unmistakable desire. Her dark skin was shiny and dewy with passion. Her small breasts rose up with every breath she took, and the moist lips between her thighs glistened with the evidence of her need. Her toned limbs were spread out invitingly as if asking him to take her. Take me now.
How could Red resist an invitation like that?
Kneeling between her spread legs, he started on his shirt. But just as he flicked open the second button, Trinity sat up.
“Let me do it.” She pushed his hands away.
“Okay.” Red smiled and let his hands fall to the side of his body. However, seconds later, he began to regret letting her take over. She was too damn slow.
He was burning up here, and there she was slipping his buttons through their holes delicately like they were made of gold or something. When she finally had all the buttons open, he thought that things would move faster. He was wrong.
Trinity took him in. Her eyes roved his muscular chest with a lingering appreciation that had him dragging in deep breaths. When she lifted one hand to touch him… well, he was done. Her fingers on his skin were electricity, like fire burning him and testing his self-control. Heat zapped through his whole body, and all his blood rushed straight to his cock. There was no way he could handle any more of her slow, deliberate teasing. No. No way.
“Too slow,” he growled before he shrugged his shirt off himself.
“I wanted to do it,” she protested. But he didn’t even hear her. He was too busy getting off the bed so he could kick off his socks, pants and underwear.
Then he was naked too.
Trinity’s gasp echoed in the room. Red wasn’t obsessed with his body. Yeah, he worked out every day, but that was for health reasons rather than vanity. However, the appreciation that lit her eyes, and the perceptible widening of her gaze when it lowered to his dick, left him feeling more than a little cocky. Her eyes followed him as he crawled back up the bed to her. Even as he hovered over her, her gaze remained fixed on that jutting part of him.
He placed a soft kiss on her forehead to draw her eyes to his face. He whispered, “You want to touch it?”
Even though he knew that he was already on the verge of breaking, he took her hand and slowly brought it to his shaft.
“Fuck!” He groaned and closed his eyes when she finally touched him.
When she dragged her hand down his length then back up again, he could’ve sworn that he stopped breathing. Everything in him froze as all his attention went to that part of him that he was touching. The sensations that swooped in as she stroked him several times were indescribable, beyond anything he’d ever felt. He couldn’t handle it. He needed more than just her hand.
“That’s enough!” He pushed her hand away then leaned towards the nightstand and grabbed the pack of condoms. Thankfully, she didn’t ask if she could help this time because there was no way Red could’ve lasted through any more of her touches. Once he was wrapped up, he threw the rest of the box back on the nightstand. He knelt between her spread legs.
She was wet enough. He was hard enough.
No more preliminaries were needed.
He positioned himself so that his dick was right at her entrance then leaned forward so that he was hovering over her and could cup her cheek. Their eyes locked and their breath mingling, he slowly pushed in.
“Oh!” They both groaned at the fresh wave of pleasure that swirled around them
Fuck! She was tighter than even he’d expected. Her walls clung to him, dragged him deeper into her. It was beyond anything he’d ever felt and he wanted more, more, more of it.
THIS WAS BEYOND anything Trinity had ever experienced before. She’d had sex before but nothing could’ve prepared her for this utter and complete ruination. Every inch of her, every cell within her was fully engrossed in what Red was doing to her. As she clung to him with all her limbs, her body opened up, taking him inch by inch by inch until he hit her hilt.
“Aaah!” she cried out and closed her eyes as sensation rippled through her.
This was ecstasy. Heaven was this full feeling within her. Pleasure was feeling the rest of his body lightly brushing against hers as he held his shaft within her. But she needed more. She looped her arms around his neck and dragged him down to her. When his body settled completely over hers and his warmth melded with hers, she sighed in content.
His voice like hot honey melting her already weak senses, he whispered, “Look at me.”
She obeyed. And when did, she found him watching her with a dark, wild intensity that left her breathless. He stole any breath she had left by sealing his lips to hers. The kiss was deep. It was sensual. The flames that were already licking at her jumped in excitement, begged for more of this illicit pleasure.
She was ready for him to start moving. But all he did was slowly, torturously drag himself out of her. He held only the tip of his cock inside her, teasing her with what could be.
She tore her lips from his and met his eyes. Her voice husky with need, she begged, “Please.”
One corner of his lips crooked in a wicked smile. “Please what?”
He knew what she wanted. Why was he torturing her like this?
“Please,” she repeated, but this time she jerked her lower body up to take in more of him. Though it still wasn’t enough, the immediate darkening of his eyes and the way his breath caught made it clear that he’d gotten her message loud and clear.
“This?” He slowly thrust back into her. “Is this what you want?”
Oh God, yes! Her eyeballs rolled to the back of her head as her lips parted in a silent scream. This. This was what she wanted.
“Do you like that?” he asked as he dragged himself out slowly.
Yes. Yes. Yes. She hooked her legs around his waist to keep him from retreating too far.
He chuckled. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
His strokes were long. They were slow. They drove her crazy and pushed her right to the edge then held her dangling over the cliff. This was torture, but it was the best kind of torture. When he grabbed her legs, brought them together then angled her upwards so he could change the angle of his strokes, a scream echoed in the room. Trinity wasn’t even sure that it was her scream until it evolved into repeated cries. He was hitting a spot that she wasn’t even aware existed in her body.
“Oh… oh… oh… Red… aah…” The trembles started. It almost felt like she was having a seizure. Every inch of her body was shaking. Her legs, her breasts, her tummy, the flesh surrounding him… hell, even her veins were quivering. When he retreated then forced himself back into her with a hard thrust, she broke, shattered into a million fragments. The ropes of sanity that she was still clinging to fell apart. And she fell.
Her release sparked Red’s ruin. His strokes became faster, shorter, more frantic. Faster, faster, faster… he came with a loud groan. He let go of her legs as the waves overwhelmed him, and his body fell over hers.
He was heavy, but Trinity didn’t care. She loved having him over her and feeling him jerk inside her as the last of his orgasm washed over her. She wrapped her arms around his shoulder and smoothed her palms over his back to calm him.
It took a while for both of them to catch their breath. When Red finally got his reason back, he turned his head and placed a kiss on her lips. “I’ll be back.”
He pulled himself out of her, got off the bed and strode to the en-suite. Trinity smiled and stretched languidly as she waited for him to come back. This was definitely the best sex she’d ever had. And this was officially going into the books as the best night of her life. She didn’t want it to end.
But it had to.
Sadness slowly crept in to eclipse her bliss.
Yes, it was over now and it was time to go. With a sigh, she sat up on the bed, but just as she stood up, she heard footsteps. Red was coming back. Quickly, she grabbed the bed-cover and wrapped it around herself. It was ridiculous, she knew. He’d seen everything she had to offer so hiding was useless. Still, the thought of him catching her naked again was mortifying.
When Red reentered the room and saw her wrapped up in the covers, his eyebrow went up. But instead of questioning her, he lifted up the steaming washcloth he had in his hand. “I brought this for you.”
“Oh… th… thanks,” she stuttered. “But I think I’ll clean up in the bathroom.”
However, when she tried to skirt past him, he grabbed the covers and yanked her back. His gaze teasing, he gestured towards the washcloth. “And waste this?”
Trinity had no idea how he did it. How he rendered her so motionless that when he peeled the covers away from her body, she didn’t stop him. The covers dropped to the floor in a heavy flutter of fabric.
Forcing herself to take control of the moment, she tried to grab the washcloth from him. “I’ll do it myself.”
“No.” He held the towel away from her grasp. “I want to do it for you.”
Though the washcloth was warm, a shiver went through her when he started at her neck. Him cleaning her like this, felt even more intimate than sex. By the time he inched his way to the skin right below her navel she wasn’t sure whether she was on the verge of a heatstroke or hypothermia. When he slipped his hands beneath her thighs, she had to cling to his shoulders.
Her lips parted in a gasp when he started to clean her there. Was he cleaning her or arousing her? Even with the washcloth between his fingers and her flesh, she felt that little stroke of her clit. Her eyes met his. The dark look in his eyes left no doubt that cleaning her wasn’t his intention. She ached to let him continue doing what he was doing. Oh, she ached. But her clock had struck midnight and it was time to wake up from this dream.
“That’s enough,” she murmured breathlessly as she pushed his hand away. “I have to go.”
“What’s the hurry?” he asked, reluctantly stepping away from her. “We can spend the whole night together.”
“No.” Searching the room for her dress, she lied, “I have to be somewhere tomorrow.”
He tossed the washcloth into the trashcan then strode back to the bed. Obviously, the man wasn’t shy because, still naked as Adam, he settled on the bed to watch her dress. “Where do you have to be?”
Nowhere! I just need to get away from you. But she couldn’t say that, could she? Pulling the zipper of her dress up, she lied, “Somewhere important.”
Okay, her dress was on. Now, where were her shoes? Avoiding, Red’s gaze, she searched the room for the two-strap, silver heels.
Out of the blue, he asked, “Can I have your number?”
“What?” Startled, Trinity turned to meet his gaze.
“Can I have your number?”
“I thought you said this was a one-night stand,” she blurted out.
“It was.” He grinned. “But it’s not enough.”
He was pulling her leg, right? She reminded him, “You said that you weren’t interested in a relationship.”
“I’m not,” he confirmed, then surprised her with another bolt of straightforwardness. “But I want to sleep with you again. Once wasn’t enough to get you out of my system.”
What the hell was she supposed to say to that? The only reason she’d agreed to this ‘session’ was because it was supposed to be a one-night thing. Sure, the sex was amazing. Okay, more than amazing. But she couldn’t do it again. Tonight, Red had slept with Trinity, the model and designer. But after tonight, she’d disappear like a ghost. Tomorrow, only Trinity who was broke and worked as a store-manager would exist.
Even if Broke Trinity wanted to sleep with Red, the chances of Red also wanting to sleep with Broke Trinity were zero with a capital Z.
But she couldn’t tell him all that. So she simply shook her head. “No.”
Unfortunately, Red was used to getting everything he wanted, and ‘No’ wasn’t in his vocabulary. He stood up. Prowling towards her like an uncaged tiger, he asked, “Why not?”
She took a step back then another one. “I don’t want to.”
“Why not?” He edged closer to her. “You liked it, didn’t you?”
Licking her suddenly dry lips, she took another step backwards. “No.”
He smiled wickedly. “Liar.”
“I didn’t like it,” she insisted. But when she took another step back, her back hit the window. Who the hell put that there?
Red prowled closer. “You really didn’t like it?”
“No!” She shook her head and stuck her back even harder into the window. Maybe if she pushed, it would move back. But it didn’t, and Red kept coming until he was a hair’s breadth away from her. His presence in itself was overwhelming, but his being naked sent her already racing pulse into a wild gallop.
“Then why are you breathing so fast?” Red whispered.
Good God! She hadn’t even noticed that she was panting.
“And why are you trying to pull me to you,” he asked.
What? She looked at her hands and realized that they were on his waist. What was wrong with her? She let her hands drop to the side of her body.
He brought his hands up and pressed his palms to the window, caging her head between his muscular arms. His face came closer to hers until she could feel his breath whisper against her lips. “Admit it. You liked it too.”
“No!” she denied even as she lowered her gaze to his lips. They were so close and her mouth was already itching to taste his.
When he brought his face even closer, her lips parted in readiness. The moment he kissed her all was lost. She completely forgot what they were talking about, and her protests faded like mist on a sunny day. Before she knew it she was clinging to him and pulling him closer into her body. Her lips and tongue tangled with his in a frantic mating dance that matched the sudden rapid beating of her heart. By the time he ended the kiss, she was ready to take off her dress for him again.
His breath coming just as fast as hers, he said, “See, it wasn’t enough for you either.”
“But… but we agreed.” She tried to salvage some sanity from the ruins of her scattered senses. “We agreed that it was just for one night.”
“Agreements can be revised,” he said right before he reached for the zip of her dress again.
Could they? Trinity didn’t get a chance to ask because seconds later, her dress was on the floor and he was carrying her to bed. Thirty minutes later, when they came back up for air, the agreement had been revised. But there were conditions:
One; there would be no exchanging of numbers.
Two; they would only see each other on Fridays right here in this suite.
Three; it was just sex. Pure and simple, nothing more, no strings attached. There would be no getting to know each other better, and certainly no prodding into each other’s personal or professional life.
Four: if someone didn’t show up on any particular Friday without prior notice then the other person could safely assume that it was over.
Five: once it was over, there would be no searching for each other. Just let it be over.
That’s it. Just five little conditions. It would be easy to stick to them, right?
GRAB YOUR COPY FROM THESE STORES: