Chapter Thirteen



“So you’ve lived here for two years?” Ashton asks while I fiddle with the coffee machine. It’s unnerving that he knows so much about me.

“Do you do that with everyone in your life?”

He moves closer so he’s standing less than two feet away. Resting against the counter, he casually crosses one foot over the other. It’s as if he feels at home in my kitchen. His eyes meet mine, the usual intensity shining from them. “Do what?”

“Make a point to know everything about them like that?”

“I don’t know everything, Lorelei.”

I finish making his coffee, black with no sugar, and pass him the mug. “I beg to differ. You seem to have made it a point to know most things.”

“I always take the time to learn about the people important to me.” He lifts the drink to his mouth and takes a sip while I process what he’s told me.

The people important to me.

“We’ve known each other a week,” I remind him.

“Your point?”

The kettle finishes boiling water for my tea and I turn to reach into the fridge for the milk. When I face him again, I look up into his eyes, finding his gaze still focused intently on me. “My point is that I hardly think I could become someone important to you in the space of a week.”

“That’s not true. Time doesn’t dictate that kind of thing for me. I knew Jack would be my best mate within days of meeting him, and my assistant wormed her way into my life within two weeks.” His voice deepens when he adds, “I have no idea what will happen between us, but I know I want to learn absolutely everything there is to know about you.”

I stare up at him, unable to move. My breathing slows and I fight my way through the thoughts filling my mind, trying to figure out exactly what I’m thinking. Trying to work out exactly what I want to happen here as my inner conflict settles in.

Before I can speak, he leans even closer to me, almost taking up all my personal space. “Lorelei—”

I place my finger against his lips, quietening him. “I want to take this slowly.”

He takes hold of my hand and moves it away from his mouth. “No, you don’t. And even if you do, I don’t ever take things slowly.”

I fight the effect his dominance has on me, and attempt to stand up to him. Because as much as I’m turned on by the way he’s assuming control here, I don’t want to give him all the power in whatever this relationship might become. “I can tell that about you, but I won’t be controlled, Ashton, so if that’s the kind of thing you’re used to in your relationships this might not be what you’re looking for.”

He moves so he’s standing in front of me with my back against the counter. Placing his hands on the counter either side of me, his body presses against mine as he dips his mouth to my collarbone. I suck in a breath when his tongue traces a line along my skin, and a shiver runs through me as he kisses his way slowly up my neck. He stops when he reaches my jawbone and lifts his face so he can make eye contact again. “Controlling you is the furthest thing from my mind, Lorelei.”

I stare at him, bewildered, and know that as much as he may not be trying to control me, simply being in his presence is enough to give him all the power. Ashton owns his world and converging his with mine only increases his dominion. Whether I like it not, he has that effect on me.

He watches me for a moment before lowering his gaze. Trailing his finger down my neck he stops when he hits the material of my dress. I chose a dress for tonight that doesn’t reveal much of my cleavage. It is short and fitted, but it gives nothing away up top. He slowly runs his finger down my dress between my breasts, his focus completely on my chest. “Do you have any idea how much I want a taste of you?”

God I wish I hadn’t used that facemask yesterday. If my face wasn’t so sore from the reaction, I’d kiss him right now. I halt the progress of his hand and hold it in place between my breasts. “I want to kiss you, but it seriously hurts way too much.”

He moves his free hand to the hem of my dress and his fingers slide under. “I wasn’t talking about a taste of those lips.”

His eyes find mine as he pushes my dress up. Unable to form a reply, all I can do is breathe through every sensation his touch evokes. I’m practically panting by the time he kneels in front of me.

“This is as slow as I’m willing to take us,” he says before placing his lips against my panties and kissing me. His hands grip my ass and a moment later he slides my panties down.

My fingers tangle in his thick dark hair as he brings his mouth to my pussy. His tongue circles my clit and a moan escapes my lips. I steady myself against the kitchen counter because my legs feel weak. It’s been five months since I’ve had sex and every single inch of me is alive with need. If Ashton is as skilled as I think he is, this won’t take long.

He continues to bless my clit with his tongue before kissing his way to my entrance. As he pushes his tongue inside me, he lifts my left leg and rests it over his shoulder. Burying his face in my pussy, he then shows me just how skilled he is at making a woman come.

Ashton brings me close to orgasm—so damn close—before backing off and letting my release tease me while he shifts his attention to my inner thighs. He kisses me there and runs his hands over my ass and down my legs before finally returning to the place I want to beg him never to leave again. His eyes meet mine. “I knew one taste would never be enough,” he growls before his tongue enters me again.

I grip the counter hard.

One taste will most definitely not be enough.

He doesn’t rush this, but rather, takes his time. I ride the waves of pleasure he gives me, losing track of my thoughts along the way. By the time he brings me close to orgasm again, I’m completely consumed by him. I’m unaware how long he’s had his mouth on me; all I’m aware of is that he has the most talented lips and tongue I’ve ever had the good fortune of being treated to.

When I’m just about to come, he stops what he’s doing and trails kisses across my skin above my clit. My eyes blink open and I look down, meeting his heated gaze. I try to push his face back to where it was, but he resists and shakes his head.

“Please,” I beg, wanting this more than I realised.

He shifts my leg off his shoulder and stands. Without saying a word, he spins me around and unzips my dress in one swift movement. His hands ghost across my back and he removes my dress, letting it drop to the floor. He then flicks my bra open and slides his hands up my back and over my shoulders, pushing my bra off. By the time he turns me to face him again, I’m naked.

“Fuck,” he rasps as his gaze sweeps over my body. “So beautiful.”

I flick the top button of his shirt open and attempt to undo the next one. He stops me and I meet his gaze with a frown.

“No.” His tone is as commanding as his touch. “I’m not going to fuck you tonight, Lorelei.”

Confusion collides with disappointment at his words. “Really? You’re just going to get me all worked up and then leave?”

He moves his mouth to my ear. “You will come before I leave tonight, but it will be because of my mouth, not my cock.”

My frown deepens. I thought I wanted to take this slow and he proved me wrong. I can’t figure him out now. “Why won’t you sleep with me?”

“You’re not ready for me yet. But you will be by the time I’m finished with you tonight.” His voice drops to a growl. “And then I’m going to schedule a day to spend fucking any remaining hesitation out of you.”

His words send a thrill through me. Oh God, I need that day already. “We could just skip ahead to that day now.”

“No, we couldn’t. Because what I have planned needs you to be well rested.”

He dips his mouth to my neck and kisses me while he takes hold of one of my breasts. Pressing his erection against me, he moves his mouth lower to take my breast between his lips. At the same time, his free hand glides down my body and a second later, he pushes two fingers inside me.

Gripping his hair, I open my mouth and his name escapes. “Ashton…”

His fingers reach deeper inside and expertly hit the spot I need them to. Closing my eyes, I allow the pleasure to consume me once more as his mouth, hands and fingers work their magic. When I think he can’t possibly intensify the pleasure, he kneels again and shows me that when Ashton Scott makes a promise, he delivers.

With his face buried deep in my pussy again and his hands cupping my ass, I finally—finally—come. Wave after wave of bliss pulses through me. I grip the kitchen counter with one hand and Ashton’s head with the other to hold myself up. The sensations are so intense, unlike any other orgasm I’ve ever had, that I’m almost sure my legs are going to give way. But Ashton makes sure I don’t collapse. His strong arms circle me as he stands, holding me close while I abandon myself to the release.

I never want it to end.

It’s the best I’ve ever had.

And I haven’t even had his cock yet.

Clinging to him, I open my eyes and attempt to get my breathing under control. His heat-filled eyes stare down at me. “You weren’t kidding, were you?” I say.

“I never kid, Lorelei.”

A smile touches my lips. “I can see that.” Of course, I already knew this about him. Ashton is the most intense man I’ve ever met. “I now also know some other things about you.”

He cocks his head. “And they would be?”

I place my finger against his lips. “That these lips know what they’re doing.”

His arm around my waist pulls me tighter against him and his hand slides down to take hold of my ass. “You have no idea what these lips are capable of, Lorelei.”

I love the sound of my name coming from his mouth. Even more than that, I love thinking about his mouth and what it might do to me in future.

“I look forward to you showing me.”

He pushes against my ass so that my pussy tilts forward. At the same time, he presses his erection against me. “Block Tuesday off. You’re mine for the day.” His actions combined with his words and his growly voice shoot heat to my core.

Ashton has completely changed my mind.

I don’t want to take this slowly anymore.

I don’t care what I have in my diary for Tuesday. It’s about to be rescheduled so I can spend the day in his bed.





Chapter Fourteen




Jessica stares at me in shock. “Cancel everything for tomorrow?”

I lean back in my chair and nod. “Yes, everything. I don’t care how you manage it, but I won’t be in tomorrow.” The thought of what I will be doing causes my cock to twitch. The image of long red hair splayed out underneath me only builds my anticipation.

Today is going to be a long day.

Jessica takes a step closer to my desk. “Have you lost your mind, Ashton? You’re meeting with Marc Brentley in the morning.”


“What time?”

“Nine. After that you’ve got back-to-back meetings and let me just say, it took weeks to schedule in your eleven o’clock with Aaron Steele. Weeks.”

I take in her glare. She’s pissed off and rightfully so. Aaron Steele is notoriously difficult to nail down for a meeting. Raking my fingers through my hair, I say, “Okay, let me take a look at the calendar and see what I can move around and what I can’t.”

Her eyes widen before narrowing at me. “Is this your new form of Asshole Monday? Finding ways to give me heart palpitations? Because if it is, I’m stating right now that I’m not a fan. I’ll take your moods over this any day.”

“It’s one day, Jessica.”

She huffs out a breath and shakes her head at me in disgust. “One day in Ashton-land is the equivalent of a week in most people’s lives. You don’t cancel appointments, let alone entire fucking days. What the hell has gotten into you?” A look flashes across her face and her eyes widen again. “Jesus, is this for pussy?”

I stand. “You’re being melodramatic now.”

She doesn’t take her eyes off me as I walk around the desk. “Fuck me, I never thought I’d see the day that Ashton Scott cancelled work for a woman.”

Grabbing my phone off the desk, I ignore her. “I’m heading out for about an hour. I’ll take a look at the calendar and let you know what I want moved around.”

Frown lines crease her forehead. “You’re leaving? You just got in. It’s only just past eight—”

“I’ll be back in an hour.”

I exit my office to her yelling after me—“I’m getting to the bottom of this when you get back.”

Her words filter through my thoughts but are quickly replaced with images of Lorelei.


In the throes of an orgasm.

Fucking beautiful.

I’ll meet with Brentley and Steele tomorrow, but no other meeting will take precedent over seeing Lorelei like that again.




“What can I do for you, Ashton?”

I eye the real estate agent standing in front of me, taking in the unironed fabric of her dress and the dishevelled appearance of her hair and face. So unlike the Margie Brown I know. It would seem the rumours I’ve heard are correct. Margie is losing her touch. Disappointing because she’s the best agent I’ve ever worked with. It’ll be hard to replace her. “Can you tell me what properties you have available on Willow Street currently?”

“In Pott’s Point?”

I nod.

“There’s only one at the moment and I doubt it’s a property you’d be after.”

I ignore the irritation her statement stirs up. “I didn’t ask you to think for me, Margie. Which building is it?”

Her nostrils flare at my hard tone, but she doesn’t acknowledge her annoyance. “It’s the rundown dress shop on the corner of Willow and Blair. Tiny building that no one seems to want. It’s been on the market for three months now and only one other person has shown any interest.”

“Who?” I demand.

“You know I can’t divulge that, Ashton.”

“It’s never stopped you before.”

She takes a deep breath. “Well it’s stopping me this time.”

“It’s my father, isn’t it?” I watch closely for her tell. When Margie lies, she runs her fingers through her hair.

“No, it’s not your father.” Interesting. Her tell is nowhere to be seen.

My phone buzzes with a text.


Jessica: Aaron Steele just rescheduled his meeting to Wednesday. It would seem the universe is on-board with your quest for pussy.


I look back up at Margie. “Email me the info on that property. And the second anyone makes an offer I want to know. Also advise me if any other properties on Willow Street become available.”

She nods. “There’s plenty of other properties for sale in Pott’s Point. I can email the best listings to you.”

“I’m not interested in anything else. Just send me what I’ve requested.” Without waiting for her reply, I leave her office.

Placing my phone to my ear, I wait for Jessica to pick up. “Did you get my text?” she asks.

“Yes. I also just discovered I require a new real estate agent. Can you compile a shortlist?”

“What happened to Margie?”

“If the gossips are to be believed, her drug habit has kicked up a notch. I wouldn’t be surprised, but I don’t really care what it is. She’s not on my side anymore and I need someone on my side.” I’ve worked with Margie for five years and not once in that time has she refused to divulge any information I need.

“Don’t you think that’s being a little rash? Maybe she ju—”

“Jessica, I don’t fuck around. You know that. Find me someone I can trust. And reschedule every meeting for tomorrow except the one with Brentley.”

“I’ve already started. Oh, and Jack dropped by. Said his appointment with Dr Winthrop was a waste of fucking time and he’s finding a new doctor. You might want to track him down because he didn’t look the best.”

I rake my fingers through my hair.  Today is slowly turning to shit.




I find Jack at home.

“What do you want, Ashton?” He scowls at me from the sofa before raising his drink to his mouth and draining the glass.

I move further into the living room to join him. “Whisky so early in the morning? I thought you usually reserved that for late night drinking.”

He stands and I don’t fail to notice he’s wearing the same clothes he wore yesterday. “I reserve whisky for when life really fucks me in the ass.”

I watch as he refills his glass and downs half of it in one go. “Jesus, Jack, what’s going on?”

Raising his drink, he says, “Cheers, mate. My manager just informed me he’s no longer my manager and that the movie I was supposed to start filming in a couple of months is no longer mine.”

I frown. “I thought you wanted out anyway?”

“I did. Turns out I didn’t know what the fuck I wanted until it was taken away from me.”

“And Dr Winthrop? Jessica told me—”

He scowls again. “Dr Winthrop is a fucking asshole. I’m not seeing him again.”

“Because he tells you things you don’t want to hear, or because he’s an asshole?”

He finishes his drink and slams the glass down on the coffee table. Glaring at me, because he knows I’m the only person in his life who won’t let this shit slide, he says, “Do you really think he’s telling me something I don’t know, Ashton? I fucking know. I live and breathe this shit every day of my goddamn fucking life.”

I push him harder. “So what, you know, but you don’t want to hear it at the moment?”

His chest pumps furiously as his anger rises. “Is that a crime? Would you want to hear that shit every time you went to the good doctor?”

“No, but I wouldn’t want to be fed fake hope, Jack. You’re bipolar. You can’t fix it, drink it away or get rid of it. It’s here to stay for life. And it’s about time you fucking dealt with it once and for all.”

We stare at each other in silence. My words sit between us like a gaping wound that needs to be healed. The kind of wound no one wants to go near because it’s too nasty and filthy to even know where to start fixing it. Or how.

Finally, he says, “I’m tired, Ashton. I’m tired of my own damn mind. And sometimes it’s easier to not hear how I keep fucking shit up.” All his fight is gone and that sends a chill up my spine. I need him to not give up. I need him to keep fighting.

“Let me find you a new doctor then.” My words come out in a ragged beg as I plead with him to let me help.

Still staring at me, but now through vacant eyes, he exhales a long breath. Waving his hand in the air, he says, “Fine. But make this one a woman. If I’m gonna spend my hours talking to someone, I at least want some tits and ass in the room.”

“I’ll book you an appointment for this afternoon. You need to shower and change into clean clothes between now and then.” No fucking way am I allowing him to surrender to this illness.

“I’m going back to bed first,” he mutters as he walks past me into the hallway. I watch as he heads to his bedroom. Once the door closes behind him, I pull out my phone and call Jessica.

“Did you find Jack?” She asks when she answers the call.

“Yes, and I need you to come over and babysit him today.”

She groans. “Really?”

“Yes, really,” I snap. “I’d do it myself if I could get out of work today.”

“You’re lucky I like you, Ashton. Jack is hard fucking work. You want me to come over now?”

“Yeah, I’ll wait here until you arrive.”

There’s no way I’m leaving him alone again until we get his mental state under control. Jack is far too important to me to lose.




By the time Jessica arrives, Jack has wandered back out into the kitchen where I’ve spent the last fifteen minutes searching for a new psychologist.

He glances at Jessica as she enters the kitchen to join us. “Hello, beautiful. I see Ashton has called in the big guns.”

She rolls her eyes before wrapping her arms around him and pressing a kiss to his cheek. “Ashton is lucky I like him and you’re lucky I love you.”

He doesn’t let her go when she tries to pull away. Rather, he slides his hands around her waist and rests them on her ass. “Why did I ever let you go?”

“Because you were dumb.”

A smile lights up his face and he chuckles. “I was. And now you’re into women so I have no chance at fixing my mistake.”

“Jack, I’m into women and men, but trust me when I tell you that I would never let you break my heart again. One doesn’t simply get over Jack Kingsley. My scars still hurt.”

His smile disappears and he lets her move out of his embrace. “Fuck, I’m a bastard.”

She nods. “Yes, you are. But somehow you still make us all love you.” Turning to me, she says, “You should get going. I’ve got this from here.”

I nod as I scribble an address and time on a piece of paper. Eyeing them both, I instruct, “Your appointment is here at four this afternoon.” I direct my next question to Jessica. “I’ll be home by seven, maybe earlier. Are you good to stay until then?”

“Yes.” The way she clenches her jaw, though, lets me know that this isn’t something she really wants to be doing. I can’t blame her. Jack threw her love away five years ago and took a chunk of her heart with him. While I know she’d do anything to help him, I also know that being with him is hard. It reminds her of everything they had and everything he did to kill their life together.

As the door to my home closes behind me, I hear her bossing Jack around and can’t help but smile. He deserves that. Thank fuck she agreed to today. I only hope she’ll be good for tomorrow as well, because giving up my plans with Lorelei isn’t something I want to do.


Chapter Fifteen




“Lorelei!” Jack greets me with enthusiasm as Ashton shows me into his living room. “Another double date.”

I smile at him as I take in Ashton’s house. It’s the first time I’ve been here. His home is the most masculine home I’ve ever set foot in. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s a mix of browns and greys with a hint of black in places. All cement, marble, glass, and sleek furniture. “Jack,” I greet him in a more subdued manner, but am equally happy to see him. Ashton’s hand brushes across my back as he guides me to the sofa. Lust pools in my belly at his touch. Tomorrow can’t come fast enough.

“Sorry Ashton had to cancel your dinner plans for tonight. I tried to tell him I’d be okay on my own, but it seems my friend thinks I’m going to do something stupid with my life.”

I take a seat and look up in time to see Ashton scowl. “Jack, don’t—”

Jack cuts him off. “Don’t what, Ashton? Tell her how fucked up I am?”

The air is thick with tension between these two. I decide to cut straight through it. Turning to Jack, I ask, “Is he right to think that?”

Jack stares at me. “To think I would kill myself?”

I nod. “Yes, that.” My heart beats faster in my chest at the topic of conversation. This hits a little too close to home.

He continues to stare at me and I wonder if perhaps I have misread him. Maybe he doesn’t prefer upfront and honest after all. However, when a grin fills his face, I relax. Glancing up at his friend, he says, “I fucking love her, Ashton.” And then to me—“I would never end my life, Lorelei. That’s a coward’s way out.”

I narrow my eyes at him. “But you’ll find other ways to fuck with it.”

Jack rubs the back of his neck, clearly bothered by that statement. Leaning forward, he says, “You just say it like it is, don’t you, sweetheart?”

I swallow hard. “Not usually, Jack. Usually I have more manners than this, but let’s just say this is a topic close to my heart and I don’t like to see people going through what you’re going through.”

“How do you know what I’m going through?”

I’m not sure exactly what illness he has, but it’s clear his mental health is suffering. “I can see the signs. I lived with them for most of my life,” I admit softly. This isn’t something I tend to discuss very often.

He cocks his head. “A parent?”

I nod. “My mother and my grandmother were both bipolar. Mum didn’t look after herself, whereas my grandmother did. A car accident ended up taking my mother’s life, but that was after two failed suicide attempts.”

Ashton, who has sat next to me, places his hand on my leg as I speak, and I’m thankful for his touch. It calms me, and my heart rate slows.

Jack leans back and blows out a long breath. “Fuck, I’m sorry to hear that. How old were you when she died?”

“Eight. My grandmother raised me after that and gave me the stable life I’d never known. Mum had always been all over the place, going from one guy to another and one job to the next. I think she was always trying to find a way to make herself feel better. She wasn’t a bad mother; she just wasn’t there emotionally for me.”

Jack’s eyes glaze over; he seems lost in his thoughts. “Sometimes it’s just about making yourself feel something. Anything. Because some days, when things happen to you that you know you should feel, all you have is this nothingness. There’s just this fucking dark void, a blank space. And all you want is anything but that.” He stands and gives me one last glance before looking at Ashton. “I’m gonna check out your gym.”

Ashton nods. “Let me know if you need anything.”

We watch him leave and I can’t help but think how scruffy he looks in his worn dark jeans, faded grey T-shirt, and day old stubble. Turning to Ashton, I say, “Is he seeing someone about this?”

“Yes, I found him a new psych today and he saw her this afternoon. He seemed to get on with her and they’ve scheduled appointments for the rest of the week.”

“Thank goodness. He doesn’t look great. I mean, compared to yesterday he seems to have gone downhill overnight.”

He leans forward and claims my mouth in a long, deep kiss. A kiss that causes me to struggle for air when he ends it. “Your face is better today,” he murmurs, his eyes searching my face.

I touch the skin there. The pain is gone, as is the redness. “Yes, thank God.”

Leaning back against the sofa, he says, “I don’t want to talk about Jack tonight.” I hear the exhaustion in his voice and even though I hardly know him, I sense how much this is affecting him.

Shifting sideways on the sofa, I place a hand on his chest. “Tell me about your day instead.” When he’d called me earlier to cancel our dinner and ask me to come over instead, I’d heard the conflict in his voice. It was pretty clear the last thing he wanted to do was change our plans, but seeing Jack now, I’m glad he did.

His eyes find mine and I see surprise there. “It was the kind of day I’d rather forget. Tell me about yours.”

“What was that surprise in your eyes just then?”

He spreads his arms across the back of the sofa and my eyes are drawn to his chest. Ashton is still dressed in what I presume he wore to work today: a black suit with white dress shirt. His jacket is open and his tie is loosened around his neck. Suits are my downfall and when he casually spreads his arms wide, his powerful body on full display, excitement flares deep inside me.

He’s mine.

Well, not really, but we’ve got a hot date for tomorrow so I’m claiming him for the moment.

He answers my question while I drool over his suit. “You asked me how my day was. It’s been a long time since a woman has asked me that—since one cared enough to enquire.”

I want to ask him how any woman he was with could not care enough about him to ask that, but it feels too soon for such a personal question. Besides, I’m not sure I want to hear about his past relationships just yet. I like to think of myself as a woman who doesn’t experience jealousy, but the thought of him with someone else is causing weird feelings. Feelings I’d rather not think about at the moment.

When I hesitate to say anything, he moves his hand and places it on my knee. “What are you thinking?”

Because I don’t want to tell him what I’m thinking, I push up off the sofa and straddle him. Surprise flares in his eyes again. He wasn’t expecting this and I love that I’ve done the unexpected.

I slide my hands over his chest and bend my face to his. “I was thinking how I don’t want to wait until tomorrow for your cock.” The fact I’ve just said that to him makes me feel bolder than I really am. I love sex as much as any woman, but I’m not really an initiator. And on top of that I’m not experienced with dirty talk. What I just said wouldn’t be dirty talk for many, but for me it is. I hope I don’t look as flushed as I feel.

His eyes hold mine. He cups my ass with one hand while his other arm remains spread out across the sofa. “I don’t believe you.”

I blink and try to sit back a little so our faces aren’t as close. That wasn’t what I thought he’d say and it confuses me that he didn’t take the lead and run with it. He doesn’t let me shift back though. His hand remains firm on my ass, keeping me close. “You don’t believe I can’t wait until tomorrow?” I practically stammer my words out; I’m feeling stupid for even attempting to talk dirty to him.

“No, I don’t believe that’s what you were thinking.”

I push against his chest in an attempt to move off his lap. This has gone from bad to worse because I really don’t want to admit the truth. When he refuses to allow me to move, I say, “Ashton, let me off.”

He holds me tight. “Tell me what you were really thinking.”

Heat flushes my skin again and I push even harder against him. The vein in his temple pulses as both his arms circle me. He then stands, taking me with him. My arms and legs instinctively wrap around him even though all I can think about is how much I want to escape his hold.

His eyes flash with determination. “I’m not letting you go until you tell me what I want to know, Lorelei. So start talking, baby.”

I suck in a breath at both his use of that word and the command he wields. But I meet his gaze and dig my heels in. “Put me down first.”

His brows rise. “You’re going to challenge me?”

I hold my ground, as determined as he is. “I’ll tell you what you want after you put me down.”

“No. You’ll tell me now.”

“God, you’re infuriating, Ashton. Put me down.”

He’s silent for a moment, and then—“Why are you all flustered? Did I say something to cause that?” His position isn’t as hard-line as it was a moment ago, but his tone is still demanding.

I sigh and all my fight leaves me. “If you really must know, I was feeling weird about discussing your past relationships, and then I tried sexy talk with you and it’s just not something I’m good at, and then it all went to shit from there. Now, can you please put me down?” Warmth fills my cheeks yet again. I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t said yes to tonight.

He finally sets me down but right when I think I’m escaping his clutches, he sits on the sofa and pulls me onto his lap again. “Let’s go over all that.”

“Let’s not,” I mutter as I hold his arms to steady myself.

His lips twitch as amusement flickers in his eyes. “First, let’s set something straight—I need more sexy talk from this mouth.” He runs his fingers across my lips before brushing his lips over them. “Understood?”

My fingers dig into his biceps as I nod. “Yes.” God yes.

“Do you want to discuss my previous relationships?”

“No, not really… No.” I stop talking because really it’s the only thing I should be doing right about now. The words coming out of my mouth tonight sound confused even to me.

His eyes search mine. “I’ve had two relationships in my life that lasted more than a couple of months. The first one was for a year and the second one lasted four years. That one ended about twelve months ago. I’m not going to lie, I’ve dated a lot of women in between.” I love his honesty and his willingness to share that information with me.

“It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted to know all that, Ashton. I was just wondering how any woman you’d been with wouldn’t want to know how your day was. But I didn’t want to ask that because it felt too soon to bring up a discussion on your women. And—” My mouth snaps shut before I admit what I was about to and I pray he lets it go. Of course, he doesn’t.

“And what?”

“God, why do you have to be so demanding?”

“Because I want to know everything going on in that beautiful mind of yours. You can tell me anything, Lorelei. There’s no judgement here.”

I still at his words. “How do you do that?” I ask quietly.


“Get inside my head like that.”

“You blushed repeatedly; it was a guess. Getting inside your head is something I’m still trying to do because believe me, you’re one of the only women I’ve ever met whose head I can’t seem to get in.” And there he goes again—impressing me with his honesty.

My body relaxes and I loop my arms around his neck before my mouth finds his. His lips part and my tongue sweeps over his as I shift closer to him. He deepens the kiss and runs his hands down my back to settle under my ass.

I could kiss Ashton for hours.

I could get lost in him.

And I’m sure I would except for the fact someone knocks on his front door.

“Fuck,” he mutters when he ends the kiss. He lifts me with him when he stands, and deposits me on the floor. “Don’t move. I’m getting rid of whoever it is and you’re going to practice your sexy talk.”

My eyes remain glued to the wide expanse of his back as he walks away. I sigh. That suit.

When I can no longer see him, I take a seat on the sofa and attempt to get my thoughts and emotions under control. Tonight has not gone the way I thought it would. Not even close. But I feel like in all my awkwardness we made some headway. Ashton managed to put me at ease, which is something not many men achieve. I might be a hopeless romantic and always searching for my soul mate, but I guard my heart ferociously, essentially closing a part of it off. The part that allows me to be completely vulnerable with a man. I’m pretty sure Ashton is going to attempt to bulldoze right through that wall.

He returns to the living room with Alessandra in tow. Her eyes widen when she sees me. Smacking her brother’s arm, she says, “I knew you had a woman. And thank fuck she’s a good one this time.” She pauses before adding, “Now, get me a drink, Ashton. Lorelei and I have a lot to catch up on.”

I can’t help it; I burst out laughing. Ashton’s sister is a breath of fresh air in life. I have no idea why she’s here, but I do know that tonight’s about to get really interesting.



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