EPISODE FOUR

Chapter Ten

Ashton

 

I settle into the driver’s seat of my Aston Martin and glance at Lorelei sitting next to me. She consumed a lot of wine at lunch and is pretty messy now. Unfortunately, it means we’re going to have to cut this date short so I can take her home. A shame, because we were finally getting somewhere. I’m hoping it wasn’t just the alcohol that loosened her up.

She meets my gaze and smiles. “Thank you for driving me home.” Her words are a little slurred.

“I would hardly leave you to catch public transport alone.” She informed me that while she can drive, she prefers public transport or cabs. I wouldn’t have left her here sober, let alone drunk.

Her head lolls back against the headrest and she continues to smile. I’m fairly sure I could say anything at the moment and she’d give me that drunken smile. Lorelei is a happy drunk.

I turn the key, but before we exit the carpark, my phone rings.

Jack.

“What’s up?” I ask as I answer it.

“Assshhhton.” He’s drunk, too. I hear the sounds of a noisy pub in the background. “I need a lift. You far?”

I lean my head back. “That depends on which pub you’re at, Jack.”

“Oh, is it that one… No, it is that one near your office,” he says, laughing at his own mix up with his words.

I check my watch. “I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes, depending on traffic. Try to stay away from the alcohol.”

“Yes, boss.” He’s still laughing, clearly amused at himself.

“We have to make a slight detour,” I say to Lorelei after I end the call.

She shrugs. “I don’t have anywhere to be.”

We drive in silence for most of the way to the pub. Lorelei seems content to stare out the window, taking in the busy Sydney streets. My mind has wandered to Jack, concerned at his mental state.

“Who are you picking up?” Lorelei asks.

I glance at her. She’s still watching me with that beautiful smile. “My best friend, Jack. He’s in town for a visit and by the sound of it he’s spent a fair bit of time today at the pub.”

Her eyes narrow at me. “You sound disappointed by that.”

I grip the steering wheel tighter. “I am.”

“Because?”

I come to a stop at a red light. Turning to give her my full attention while I have the chance, I say, “Because the last thing Jack needs right now is alcohol.”

She’s quiet, thinking. “I like that,” she murmurs.

I frown. “What?”

“I like what I can hear when you talk about your friend. You obviously care deeply for him, because it’s right there in your voice.”

A horn blares, diverting my attention from the conversation momentarily. When I turn back to Lorelei, she’s smiling at me. Jesus, this woman could get herself into trouble while out drinking. Her beauty is intoxicating and the way she loosens right up with some alcohol in her could lead men to try and take advantage of her. I make a mental note to keep track of her at all times going forward.

We sit in silence, each simply watching the other. When the light turns red I miss it but she doesn’t. “Light’s green,” she murmurs. My gaze lingers on her for a second too long. The car behind honks to express their frustration.

I finally drag my gaze away and concentrate on the traffic, which isn’t as bad today as I thought it might be. We arrive at the pub where Jack is within ten minutes. He’s waiting outside for us, leaning against the brick wall of the building. He eyes us instantly and stumbles across.

“Ashton never told me he had a hot date today,” he says to Lorelei as he spreads out across the back seat.

Facing him, she says. “And he never told me he had a hot-as-hell best friend either.”

I glance in the rear-view mirror. He’s watching her like he wants to fuck her, but I know he never will. Jack and I have the same taste in women, and we’ve shared one before, but it’s not something we’ll ever do again. Lessons from the past guarantee that.

“Do tell… how long have you two been seeing each other?” Jack asks.

“We’re not seeing each other. It’s more of a situation where Ashton thinks he’s going to get some, but he’s living in fantasyland.”

I raise a brow at Lorelei. “Me and fantasyland have never been friends.”

“Well, I think you’ve recently taken a detour.”

“It’s a dead-end there and I’m not looking at a dead-end right now.”

Her hand absently moves to her collarbone and she fiddles with the necklace she’s wearing.

Jack chuckles. “Hate to break it to you, sweetheart, but from where I’m sitting you two are one step away from fucking.” He leans forward and shoves his hand at her. “I’m Jack.”

She shakes his hand. “Lorelei. And I hate to break it to you, Jack, but I don’t enjoy casual sex, so it’s not going to happen.”

“Ah, you’re more the commitment type?”

“I’m more the find-a-man-who-is-satisfied-with-one-woman kind of woman.”

“And you don’t think my friend here could be satisfied with one woman?”

“I’ve only just met your friend, Jack. I don’t know him well enough to make that call, but he’s smooth as hell and that makes me think he’s a pro at wining and dining women.”

“You might be pleasantly surprised, Lorelei,” Jack says. His eyes meet mine in the mirror. He always has my back.

“So I can hear a slight accent there, Jack. Where are you from?”

“I’m Aussie but I live in LA at the moment.”

She’s silent for a moment and I glance at her to find her squinting at Jack. “Are you that actor?”

I can hear the grin in his voice when he answers her. Jack’s ego loves recognition. “That would depend which one you’re thinking of.”

She clicks her fingers as if the name is on the tip of her tongue. “Shit, I have it… help me out, Ashton.” Before I can reply, she exclaims, “No, wait! I have it. Jack Kingsley.” She swivels her body to look at him. “Am I right?”

“I think I should perhaps be a little offended that you’re still not absolutely sure.”

“Oh, God I’m sorry. It’s the damn alcohol. I never drink… well, clearly that’s not entirely true, because this is the second time in a week I’ve been drunk. And let’s just say the last time ended up far messier than today.” It seems alcohol really loosens Lorelei. I have a feeling we’re about to learn more about her than she’d perhaps prefer if Jack has anything to do with it. He has a way of getting women to reveal their innermost thoughts.

“What does messy look like on you, sweetheart?” he asks, proving me correct.

“You do not want to know.”

“Try me.”

I glance at her again. Her hand covers her face as she remembers. Jesus, I now need to know what it was if it’s causing this reaction in her.

“Let’s just say I embarrassed myself by agreeing to something that, in the end, I didn’t go through with. The next morning was one of the most mortifying mornings of my life.”

“And here I was thinking you don’t do casual sex,” Jack says, echoing my thoughts.

“I didn’t end up sleeping with him.”

“Ah, but you had the intent if you woke up with him the next morning.”

“I was so damn drunk I didn’t know what I was doing.” And that right there proves my earlier thoughts correct—Lorelei drunk is a recipe for disaster.

I’ve reached her apartment and I pull the car into a space that is conveniently empty right outside the complex.

As I switch off the car, she says, “How did you know where I live? I didn’t tell you.”

Jack chuckles. “Lorelei, sweetheart, you and I need to sit down and swap notes on Ashton. If you don’t think he knows everything there is to know about you, you’re the one living in fantasyland.”

I exit the car and walk around to her side. She opens the door before I reach it, and I place my hand on her back to steady her after she stands.

Her eyes find mine. “I can manage on my own.”

“I’d rather make sure you don’t fall.”

“I might be drunk, Ashton, but I’m still capable of looking out for myself.”

“I have no doubt,” I murmur. My hand stays where it is as I walk her in.

Jack comes with us, clearly attached to Lorelei already. When we reach her front door she fumbles in her bag for her keys. I take the bag out of her hands and locate the key for her, ignoring the irritation she levels on me.

She puts her hand out and says, “Can I at least open my own door?”

My lips twitch. Her fight turns me on more than I’ve been turned on in a long fucking time. I hold up the key and she swipes it from my hand. A moment later, she opens the door and I step into an apartment that is as different to my home as you could get.

Lorelei’s home is colourful and cluttered. But not cluttered in a messy way; rather it’s immaculately tidy, just packed full with books, art, photos, plants, pillows on couches, candles, and more colour. So much colour.

She leads us into her kitchen where I discover more plants, along with recipe books. Large windows line one wall in here and a window seat scattered with cushions sits under the windows. Lights hang low over a long wooden island bench and I can picture her cooking here. I imagine Lorelei to be an amazing cook from what I’m seeing so far.

Jack whistles as he takes it in. “When are you having us over for dinner?” At her frown, he adds, “Tell me this isn’t all for show. You do cook, right?”

“Oh, that… Yes, I love to cook. Nothing for show here.” She looks genuinely confused as to why anyone would bother to put on a show in their home. She hasn’t met the people Jack and I usually associate with.

I track Lorelei’s movements while Jack wanders off and leaves us alone. She fusses for a few minutes, tidying the books and papers on the island bench.

When she looks up at me, I’m surprised to see uncertainty in her eyes. I’ve never seen this emotion in her—Lorelei always appears confident and sure of herself. “Thank you for lunch,” she says softly.

I close the distance between us. “It won’t be our last.”

She stills and her breathing slows. “I am beginning to think you aren’t the man I assumed you were.”

“What did you assume?”

The uncertainty disappears from her gaze. “I thought you were an asshole. An arrogant asshole who pushed people around until you got what you wanted.”

My lips quirk. Her honesty is refreshing. Most women just talk dirty to me. I’m all for dirty but this is far more interesting. “And now?”

She cocks her head as she considers that. “Now I think you’re just a man who knows what he wants and your laser focus on it means you don’t always realise the things you are saying or doing brand you as an asshole.” She steps closer, which means our bodies are almost touching because we were already damn close. Her hand lands on my chest a second later and I take a deep breath to steady myself. “I think that although the world thinks you’re this put-together man with more money than he’ll ever need, you’re actually a man with issues just like the rest of us who can’t actually use that money to buy the things he needs in his life.”

Our eyes lock. Those beautiful green eyes of hers see so much. I feel more exposed in this moment than I usually allow myself to be. “Do you want to know what I thought of you the first time I met you?”

That damn uncertainty flares in her eyes again. “Sure, knock yourself out.”

I shake my head. “Don’t do that, Lorelei.”

She frowns. “Do what?”

“Don’t doubt yourself.”

Her chest rises as she takes a breath. “I don’t doubt myself.”

“Yes, you do. But you have no reason to.”

“Ashton, the day we met was not a good morning for me, so I can only imagine what you first thought.”

“I’d love to see what you consider a good morning, because what I saw that day was a sexy woman who stands up for what she believes in and who doesn’t waver from her convictions.”

She grips my shirt. I doubt she realises she’s doing it. “And now? What do you think now?”

I lean my face a little closer. “Now I want to get to know you a hell of a lot better.”

I dip my face so I can experience those lips of hers that have been driving me crazy in one way or another since I first saw them. I expect her to resist, but she doesn’t. Instead, she opens herself up to me.

Fuck, she tastes so damn good.

I sweep my tongue across hers and she moans as her body angles towards mine. I slide my hand around her waist and pull her hard against me while deepening the kiss. When her hands move to my neck and then up into my hair, I groan into her mouth.

Lorelei’s lips are demanding. She can protest as much as she wants, but she’s in this as much as I am. When she ends the kiss she's breathless. I know she’s full of shit when she says, “I think it would be best if we didn’t get to know each other better.”

I hold her close when she attempts to step out of my embrace. “Bullshit. You want this just as much as I do.”

Her hands push against my chest. “I won’t deny I’m attracted to you, Ashton, and that that kiss was something else, but I told you where I stand on casual sex.”

“You think that’s all I want from you?”

She pauses, confused. “Isn’t it?”

I tighten my grip on her waist and slide a hand down over her ass. “Lorelei, the last thing I want from you is casual sex. I can get that anywhere. I can’t get you anywhere. I want you in my bed just as much as I want you in my life.” I claim her lips again before adding, “I’m not taking no for an answer. You will learn that while I’ll allow you to fight me, I’ll never allow you to deny me when I truly want something.”

 

Chapter Eleven

Lorelei

 

 

I am never drinking again.

Sliding my sunglasses on, I enter the markets and scan the crowd for Sienna. The sun is shining too brightly for me today. I don’t have a hangover, but I don’t feel my best, and the sun is not helping.

“Lorelei!”

I turn at the sound of my name and find Sienna walking my way. “Morning,” I greet her. “Don’t even go there,” I mutter when she scrunches her face at my appearance.

Frowning, she says, “What happened to your face?”

“A face mask.”

“You had a reaction to it?”

“Yeah. I was drunk, though, when I put it on. It tingled, but in hindsight that was probably a burn I was feeling without realising.”

She stares at me in shock. “You were drunk?”

“I know, I know. So unlike me.”

She grins and grabs my arm. “Girl, we need to talk. Something has clearly happened here that I am unaware of and I wanna know what it is.”

A couple of minutes later, after pushing her way through the busy market, she finds us a table to sit and chat at. I dump my bag on the table. “I had lunch with Ashton yesterday and drank almost a full bottle of wine. After lunch he took me home and kissed me. It was hot and that’s a whole other story, which I’ll get into in a moment. In my drunken state, I decided a facial would be a good idea after he left.” I point to the rash on my face. “And now I have this.”

“Putting Ashton aside for a moment, is your face sore? It looks it.”

“Yes, it’s really tender today. I wasn’t game to even attempt foundation to try and cover some of the nastiness.”

She leans forward, resting her elbows on the table. “What the hell possessed you to do a mask while you were drunk? Most people would just pass out or some shit.”

“I couldn’t pass out because my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about Ashton. The man kissed me!”

Sienna laughs. “You make it sound like he fucked you.”

“He practically did! You have no idea.”

Her eyes widen and she turns to look behind her for a moment. “We need coffee for this! I’ll be back.”

She’s out of her seat before I can blink. When she returns, her eyes hold excitement as she exclaims, “Now, tell me everything.”

“He’s different to what I thought. I mean, he’s not a complete asshole from what I can work out. And he has this awesome best friend. You can’t have a great best friend if you’re a dick, right?” At her nod, I continue, “So they took me home and walked me in. When Jack left us alone, Ashton kissed me after telling me he wants more than just a casual hook up. And let me tell you, that kiss was the best kiss I’ve ever had.”

She holds her hand up. “Wait, I’m a little confused here. Jack is his best friend? And he was at lunch, too? How did this lunch eventuate?”

I fill her in on what happened yesterday, adding, “His friend is that actor, Jack Kingsley. You know him, right?”

“Yeah, I’ve seen some of his movies. You know me, though, I’m not really up on movies or actors so the name is familiar, but I might not recognise him if he were to walk past us right now.”

“I didn’t recognise him at first, but that could be because I was drunk.”

“So this kiss? On a scale of one to ten, what would you rate it?”

“A twenty.”

“Wow, it must have been good. You’re a hard woman to please.”

“You have no idea. It wasn’t just the kiss… it was the way he touched me and spoke to me, too. Goodness, the man is lethal.”

She laughs. “This is gonna be fun.”

“What?”

“Watching you deal with a man like Ashton Scott. You’re not a pushover, so for him to have you all worked up like this tells me a lot. When are you seeing him again?”

“We have no plans.”

“Right, well I want updates. I need to know the minute he calls you.”

I run my fingers through my hair and take a deep breath. “I’m totally out of my depth here, Sienna. I’ve never dated a man like Ashton. Hell, I’ve never met a man like him. Until yesterday, I didn’t want anything to do with him, but now he’s all I can think about.”

“What do you mean by “a man like Ashton”? You dated Boston for three years.”

“He wasn’t anything like Ashton.”

“Sure he was. Well, except for the asshole bit, he definitely wasn’t that. But he was confident and sexy as hell.”

I shake my head. “Boston was many things, but he wasn’t as… God, I don’t even know what the right word is. Ashton is so in your face. He’s—”

“Bossy?”

I laugh. “Yeah, bossy. But so much more than that, too. He’s the kind of man you can’t help noticing the minute he walks into a room. He’s powerful. I can’t do powerful.”

She grins. “Well powerful can definitely do you.”

I drink some coffee before admitting what I’m truthfully scared of. “I don’t want to be consumed by a man. You know what I’m like.” I have this way of losing myself when I’m with a man and I don’t want to do that again.

“I do. Your inner hopeless romantic does tend to take over sometimes and lead you astray. But you won’t know unless you try, babe. I say give him a go. And honestly? I think you need a powerful man like Ashton in your life. You’re too strong and independent yourself to have anyone less. Boston walked away when he should have fought for you. I have no idea what is down the track for you and Ashton, but if you guys get serious I could never see him giving up without a fight.”

“Oh, God, he’d just bulldoze his way through. That’s a whole other problem with him. I don’t want to be pushed into anything.”

“Okay, let’s calm down and be rational here. You’re thinking too much. Just have sex with the guy and see if you like it. He might suck in bed and then all this worry would be for nothing.”

I pull a face. “You seriously think Ashton would suck in bed?”

Her eyes sparkle with humour. “I’m not the one who he fucked with his mouth so I have nothing to base my opinion on, but I’d say no, I don’t think he’d suck in bed. One has to test these things, though. Am I right?”

“You know I’m not a fan of jumping straight into bed. I want to get to know him first.”

She rolls her eyes. “Of course you do.” Her sarcasm fills the air.

“There’s nothing wrong with slowing things down,” I mutter. We’ve had this discussion many times. I’m pretty sure we’ll never agree on it.

“And there’s nothing wrong with taking a test drive.”

As I sit thinking about what she’s said, I wonder if she’s right. And the fact I’m even considering sleeping with him so soon stuns me the most. Ashton is already bulldozing his way into my life and I’m beginning to think I’m helpless to slow him down.

 

***

 

A few hours later, I stare at myself in the mirror and grimace. Gently touching my cheek I wish I could go back to yesterday and not apply the facemask I did. My face is so red from the reaction my skin had to it. And sore. I can barely touch my skin without it hurting.

I head out to my lounge room. An afternoon in front of the television sounds like exactly what I need. Some quiet time away from people.

I’ve just settled on the couch with a travel documentary when a knock sounds at my front door. I ignore it. Mostly because I don’t want to move off the couch but also because I’m not expecting anyone. It can’t be important. However, they don’t leave. The knocking only grows more insistent so I eventually give in and make my way to the door.

I’m surprised to find Ashton on the other side of the door. “You don’t give up easily, do you?” I say, recalling my conversation with Sienna today. I could never see him giving up without a fight.

“I can’t say it’s in my nature, no,” he replies. He frowns. “What happened to your face?”

My hand absently moves to cover a cheek. “A mask and I had a fight. The mask won.” I cock my head. “What are you doing here?”

His intense eyes lock onto mine. “Organising dinner for tonight.”

I quirk a brow. “You couldn’t do that over the phone?”

“No.”

His intensity flusters me. I don’t know what to say to that so I take a moment to try and figure out a response. I mean, who doesn’t just pick up the phone to organise a date?

He doesn’t wait for me to reply. “I’ll pick you up at seven.”

I bite the inside of my lip, still flustered. “Do you organise all your dates like this?”

A flicker of amusement touches his expression. “If you’re asking whether I knock on a woman’s door and tell her what time I’ll pick her up, the answer would be no. I usually just phone or have my assistant send flowers to organise dinner.” He pauses for a moment. “I also usually give women the opportunity to say no.”

His meaning is not lost on me and my breathing slows. “Oh.” Again, lost for freaking words.

He takes a step closer to me and drops his gaze to my mouth. “Do you like Italian?” He drags his eyes from my lips after he asks this. The heat I see there causes my knees to weaken. I can’t recall the last time a man looked at me the way he is. In fact, I’m not sure a man has ever watched me like Ashton does.

“Yes, it’s one of my favourites. But we’ll have to make it seven thirty.”

He continues to watch me with the intensity that causes my pulse to quicken. “I’ll see you at seven thirty.”

As he’s leaving, I call out, “I’m good with a guy calling to organise a date. Just so you know.”

He halts and looks back at me. “I’m not. I can’t see you over the phone.”

And then he’s gone.

And I’m standing here more confused by my own reactions than ever.

 

Chapter Twelve

Ashton

 

 

I exit my car as I reach into my pocket to grab my ringing phone out. Placing it to my ear, I say, “Alessandra. What’s up?”

“I’m just calling to let you know Bradley left his coat at your place today. Malcolm will drop by tomorrow morning to collect it because Bradley’s being a pain about wanting it back.”

“I’ll leave it with Roberta.”

“I’ll get Malcolm to bring her some fudge. Your housekeeper is one of the only people alive who loves my fudge.”

“Why are you cooking?”

She groans. “School bake sale. Bane of my fucking existence.”

I enter Lorelei’s complex and jab the button for the lift. The fact I can enter her apartment complex without any issues concerns me. The front door is secured with a keypad, but the door is never fully closed. I make a note to mention it to her.

“Bradley seemed a little off today.”

“I think he’s getting a cold. He loved hanging out with you and Jack today. So did Sadie.”

I enter the lift and press the number for Lorelei’s floor. “They should come over more often.”

“What are you doing? You seem a little distracted.”

“I’m on a date.” Almost.

“Where’d you meet this one?”

“Fuck, you say that as if I’ve got a different woman every night, Aly.”

“You have to admit you’ve come close.”

“I will admit I’ve dated a lot of women, but not a new one every night.” I step out of the lift and head to Lorelei’s door.

“Well, okay, maybe I’m a little off there. I’d like to see you settle down again. With a good woman. And not someone who only wants you because of who you are.”

I’ve reached my destination. “Goodbye, Alessandra.” I end the call and knock on Lorelei’s door. She doesn’t take long to answer it and I stand staring at the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.

My gaze sweeps over her body, taking in the black dress painted over her curves and the heels that accentuate her toned legs. Heels I’d like to slowly remove before making my way up those legs.

“You’re early,” she says.

I check my watch. Quarter past seven. “No, I’m late. I said seven.”

“And I said seven thirty.”

I close the distance between us and place my hand on her hip before snaking it around her waist. “We both know you had nothing on between seven and seven thirty.”

She grips the bicep of my arm that I have around her. It’s like she’s trying to push me away while at the same time keep me close. “I might have.”

“Are you ready? Or do you need fifteen minutes?”

“Just let me get my bag,” she says before turning to leave me.

I want to follow her.

I want my lips on hers again.

But I don’t. Instead, I wait with patience I don’t possess for this woman. Patience that I know I am going to have to work on, because Lorelei has made it abundantly clear she doesn’t want just sex—that she wants to spend time getting to know me first. And as much as I want so much more from her than sex, my need for her body is intense.

She doesn’t take long to return and a minute later I’m tracking her steps as we make our way to my car. When we hit the footpath and she sees the car, she turns in surprise. “A double date?”

I eye Jack leaning against my Aston Martin and shake my head. “No, I don’t share, Lorelei.”

Jack pushes off from the car and grins at her. “We definitely don’t share, sweetheart. I’m only along for the ride because my best friend thinks I’ll spend the night drinking or taking drugs if I’m alone.”

Surprise flares in her eyes as she glances at me. “Really…” Her voice drifts off and I wonder what she’s thinking. One of the things I like about her is that I can’t always figure her out. She keeps me guessing.

Jack shrugs. “He’s right; I do have a problem with those things. This is a little extreme, though.”

Before I can respond, Lorelei speaks. “No, I don’t think so. I hope my friend would look out for me like Ashton is for you if I had a problem.”

Jack mutters something under his breath about me taking things to the extreme as we all settle in the car, him in the back, Lorelei next to me. The argument he and I had before leaving tonight is long forgotten, though, which is our way. We’ve always had our say and then moved on without holding onto shit. He didn’t want to come tonight, but I forced him. I refused to take no for an answer.

 

***

 

I listen as Jack and Lorelei laugh over a story he’s shared about an embarrassing moment he had at the Oscars once. The sound of Lorelei’s laughter hits me in the gut. And not for the first time. It seems every time I hear her laugh I’m affected this way.

“Ashton, just drop me off on the way to Lorelei’s. No fucking way am I getting in the way of you guys tonight,” Jack says from the back seat of the car. We’ve just left the restaurant.

I meet his gaze in the rearview mirror. He mouths, “Take me home.”

I decide to do as he’s asked and steer the car in the direction of home.

Lorelei turns to face him. “You won’t be getting in the way of anything, Jack. Ashton knows the score tonight.”

My lips twitch.

I know the damn score off by fucking heart.

“Sweetheart, were we at the same dinner tonight?” Jack asks.

“Yes,” she replies hesitantly.

“You two couldn’t keep your eyes off each other tonight, Lorelei. If I hadn’t been there, you probably would have spent the night sitting on his lap.”

I glance at her in time to see her hand move to her throat. She catches me looking and sucks in a breath before facing the road again.

We drive in silence the rest of the way to my place, all lost in our thoughts. When I pull into the driveway, Jack jumps out and rounds the car. I roll the window down when he taps on it. “I won’t wait up for you,” he says with a grin, leaning his face into the car.

“Keep out of trouble.”

His grin fades. “I can control myself, Ashton.”

“I won’t be long.”

He straightens. “Like I said, I won’t wait up. Don’t hurry back.”

I watch him walk inside before shifting the car into reverse. As I back out of the driveway, Lorelei says, “How worried about him are you?”

I glance at her. “Tonight, not so much, but in general I worry a lot.”

“Why not tonight?”

“His mood is easy tonight. You put him in a good mood.”

“Really?”

“You sound surprised.”

“Well, I hardly know him so I wouldn’t expect to have an effect on him.”

“Lorelei, not many people know the real Jack. He has hundreds of so-called friends, but I could probably count on two hands the number of people who know him better than you.”

She’s silent for a beat. “I find that so sad.”

“Yeah, it is.”

Shifting in her seat to face me, she says, “You surprised me again tonight.”

“How?”

“By bringing Jack with you. I don’t know many guys who would have done that.”

“Trust me, I wanted you all to myself.”

“But you didn’t let that stop you from looking out for him.”

I pull up at a red light and look at her. “Jack is one of the only people I would do that for, so I’m perhaps not as good as you think.”

She smiles. “Well, I’m reserving judgement.”

The light turns green and I continue towards her apartment. We arrive five minutes later and I make my way around to her side of the car to open the door. She exits the car before I hit her side, though, and frowns at my expression when she meets my eyes.

“What?” she asks.

I ignore her question and guide her inside. I’ve never been a man to open car doors for women before, so my actions are perplexing to me also.

The elevator ride is excruciatingly long. Being so close to Lorelei and not touching her takes all my control. As I step out of the lift and follow her, my gaze is drawn to her ass and down her legs. I groan inwardly; this will be the hardest part of tonight.

She turns the key in the door, pushes it open and then turns to face me.

Our eyes meet.

“Thank you for dinner,” she says softly.

My eyes drop to her lips.

I need to taste those lips again.

Hooking my arm around her waist, I pull her close. “You’re mine again tomorrow night.”

Her eyes widen a touch and her breath catches. “What if I’m busy?”

I don’t let her go. “Are you?”

She hesitates for only a second. “No.”

“I’ll pick you up at seven thirty.”

“I’ll be ready at seven.”

Fuck.

My arm tightens around her and I bend to kiss her. She leans into me and loops her arms around my neck while kissing me back. A moan escapes her lips and my cock jerks to attention. Hell, my dick has been semi-hard all night.

Suddenly, her arms leave my neck and she pushes against my chest while she ends the kiss. I pull away and look down at her, questioningly.

“Sorry,” she says, a pained expression on her face. “It hurts my face to kiss you.”

“Fuck,” I mutter. I’ve completely forgotten about her face. “Sorry.”

“Yeah, it sucks. I won’t be doing one of those masks again in a hurry.”

“Good to hear. They’re a hazard to men,” I murmur, my arm still around her, my eyes not leaving hers.

She stares up at me, her breaths slowing down. Then she surprises the hell out of me. “Do you want to stay for a drink?”

I lift a brow. “As in a real drink?”

Her lips curl into a smile. “Yes, an actual drink. I’m sorry I don’t have alcohol, but I do have tea, coffee, water, mil—”

I press a finger to her lips. “I’ll have a coffee.”

Her smile fills her face and she leaves me to head into the kitchen. I rake my fingers through my hair. This taking it slow business isn’t something I’ve ever had a woman request. But fuck if it isn’t making me want her all the more.

 

EPISODE FIVE WILL BE LIVE ON THE 30TH MAY

 

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