For some reason, the fact that she kept throwing Cade’s name into the conversation grated on his nerves. “Is that so?”

She glanced up at him, leaning against the sofa. “What do you care? You have your heiress and you need to fuck her for your business deal, right? Go right ahead. I won’t stop you.” She gestured at the doorway of the kitchen. “I’ll even cheer you on. It’ll make it easier for me to focus on Cade.”

“So you think your path is clear because another woman showed up?” Reese moved a little closer to her, until they were practically nose-to-nose. And she was vibrating with angry energy, which just made him even more aroused and drawn to her. “Is that why you keep bringing Cade’s name up? Because you want to lash out at me?”

She stared up at him, the look on her face challenging. “Maybe I do. Or maybe I am thinking I should invite Cade to go skinny-dipping and see what I get out of this.”

He scowled.

She scowled back.

And then she reached for him, and he reached for her, and suddenly their mouths were on each other, furiously kissing. He felt her teeth sink into his lower lip, heard his own groan of pleasure as her body pressed against his, and the kiss turned wilder and even more strangely erotic. Fuck, but the woman could do the best angry kiss in the world, and his body was practically jumping out of his skin at her touch. Audrey gave a soft whimper that was at odds with the furious kisses she was pressing on him, her tongue gliding into his mouth.

He sucked on it, determined to gentle her.

She melted against him, her breasts pressing against his chest. Her mouth fitted to his and their tongues met, slicking back and forth in a way that made the melding of their mouths seem somehow perfect together.

She just fit him. She fit him perfectly.

And he had to pull away. Reese took a step backward, gently detangling from Audrey, disappointed that he had to do so. “I’m sorry. It’s not fair to you for us to do this. As much as I want to drag you up over this sofa and fuck you right here, it’s not fair to you—or Camilla—if I do it.”

Audrey considered him for a moment, a wry smile twisting her mouth. “That sounds stunningly admirable for a guy who’s juggling two women.”

He ran a hand down his face, exhausted at the thought. “It’s not like that. I figured when Camilla ran out, we were done. How was I supposed to know she’d waltz back in here a few days later, pretending like I’m late for our next date?” God, the girl was exhausting him and she’d just shown up. He hadn’t realized how glad he’d been that she was gone until she’d returned.

“So what’s she mean to you?” Audrey’s voice was quiet, serious. “Be honest with me, Reese. I can handle it.”

“You want honesty?” He gave her a rueful look. “She’s arm candy and a business deal that I want pretty badly. If I could get the business deal without Camilla I’d take it in a heartbeat. But because she’s the strings attached to it, we were just playing around. I was flirting with her, showing her a bit of attention.”

“Like a gigolo.” Her voice was flat.

“Jesus, not like that.”

“Really? Gigolos have sex for money. Isn’t that what you’re doing?”

“You think that girl out there wants a serious relationship?” He gestured to the doorway. “Hell no. She wants a fling with a sexy guy. Nothing more, nothing less. Something to gossip about to her friends. She doesn’t give a shit about me or how I feel. Her expectations aren’t the same as yours.”

“I have no expectations,” she said coolly. Then she ruined it by blurting, “So did you sleep with her?”

“Not yet.” And he was suddenly fucking thankful for that. “You interrupted us in the hot tub, remember?”

“Oh.” She considered him, then said, “Well, it’s your fault we’re in this situation.”

“Me? Are you kidding?”

“No, I’m serious.” She crossed her arms over her chest, drawing his gaze there. Damn, but she had a magnificent chest. It was hidden by the shapeless pajamas, but now that he knew what was underneath there? He couldn’t stop thinking about those large, perfect globes bouncing as he stroked into her.

Ah, hell. Now he was thinking about her breasts again. He forced himself to focus.

“It’s your fault that we slept together, because you dared me.”

“I didn’t dare you to sleep with me.”

“No, but you dared me to kiss you, and then you dared me to go skinny-dipping with you.” She gave a delicate shrug. “It was a natural event in the chain of things, but my point is that if you hadn’t dared me, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

“It takes two to tango, you know. You’re not blameless in this.”

“I never dared you once!”

“You’re right,” he said, throwing his hands up. “Let’s just blame it all on me. It’s all my fault.”

“You want me to take a share of the blame, then?”

She was getting riled up, which just made him want her even more. Damn. He hadn’t been kidding about tossing her over the couch and fucking her. He shifted his weight, determined not to reach into his pants and adjust himself. “It’d be nice.”

“Fine then. How about a dare for you?” She gave him a challenging look, then flicked her fingers at him. “Seal the deal with your heiress. That’s the dare.”

“That’s the dare? Are you kidding? You want me to sleep with someone else?”

“That’s the dare,” she agreed. “You sleep with her, you win. I’ll let you choose what you win. I—”

“Anal sex,” he said immediately, waiting for her to freak out. Most women did as soon as anal was mentioned.

Her cheeks pinkened, but she continued. “Like I was saying, if you win, you choose. If I win, I get to choose something.”

“And what do you choose?” He leaned close to her, so close that he was seconds away from kissing her soft mouth.

“I think you have to stay here and be my slave for a day.”

It was his turn to smirk. What a childish sort of request. She wasn’t very good at this game. “That’s all you’re going to ask for? You do realize that if I win, I get to fuck the heiress and you again? Don’t you want to ask for something bigger than that?”

She gave him a sad look. “Reese, does it matter what I ask for? Honestly? We both know you’re not going to lose.” Audrey reached up, caressed his cheek, brushed her lips against his, and then left the room.

And he was left dumbfounded for a long moment, because he had no idea what to think. Audrey didn’t expect to win their bet. She’d agreed to have sex with him—anal sex—if she lost, and she didn’t expect to win. But he had a feeling that if he slept with Camilla, that bet would be the last time he’d see Audrey ever again.

It’d be a bittersweet victory. He’d have his business merger. He’d have Camilla.

And he’d lose Audrey. She’d go through with the bet—his firecracker didn’t back down from a challenge—but after that? She’d be long gone.

And for some reason, that bothered him a hell of a lot more than the thought of losing the cruise line deal.

Chapter Nine

“You sure you’re okay?” Daphne asked Audrey for the millionth time that day. “You seem kind of moody.”

“I’m fine,” Audrey repeated. She stuffed her hands in her coat pockets and watched her breath puff into the chilly forest air. “I just had to get out of the cabin for a bit, you know. It was . . . stifling.”

“You mean because of the bimbo?” Daphne pulled out a cigarette as they paused on their walk. They were circling the edge of the lake, enjoying the afternoon sunshine and the crisp cold front that had settled in. There was no snow yet but they were assured it was on its way, and they decided to take a walk before things got too chilly.

Mostly, Audrey just wanted to get out of the house. With the addition of another person—a loud, gossipy person—it made the cozy house miserable. Camilla chewed gum as if it were trying to get away from her and texted on her phone constantly. She sucked up to Daphne as though she’d never met a star before, and then spent the rest of her time trying to sit in Reese’s lap and cuddle with him.

To be fair to Reese, he seemed a bit . . . pained by Camilla’s attentions. It looked as if he tolerated them, but just barely, and that made Audrey feel a little better.

But only a little.

“I can’t believe he fucked you and then he’s just going to let her crawl all over him like it’s no big deal,” Daphne said in a bitter voice, then lit her cigarette. She took a long drag, then pulled it from her lips and flicked the ashes to the ground. “And you’re just sitting there and taking it. Aren’t you mad?”

Oh, she was mad. But what could she do? “It’s complicated,” Audrey found herself saying in a calm voice. “I knew Reese was a fling when I met him, though.”

“But you just slept with him last night—”

“Okay,” Audrey exploded at her twin. “I’m fucking hurt, all right? Is that what you want to hear?”

“It beats that insipid, ‘It’s complicated’,” she mimicked, making a face. “I mean hell, Audrey, it’s all right to get mad sometimes, you know.” When Audrey sent a nasty look her way, she shrugged. “I just wish I could help, that’s all.”

“Well, you can’t,” Audrey said, staring out at the lake glumly. “It’ll either work itself out, or it won’t.”

“What about the thing with Cade?”

Audrey shot a look at her sister. “What do you mean?”

“Do you still have feelings for him? Maybe you should turn to him.”

For some reason, that made Audrey feel weird. Turn to Cade after sleeping with his best friend? Confess that she’d been hurt by Reese and fall into Cade’s arms? “No,” she said after a moment. “I wouldn’t feel right about it.”

It wouldn’t feel right on several levels—it’d be unfair to Reese, and for all that he was letting Camilla fling herself all over him, she didn’t feel like he was a bad guy. Too caught in his own web, maybe, but not a bad guy. And it wouldn’t be fair to Cade, either. He’d pull his white knight act, determined to fix things somehow. And she hated to think how he could possibly fix a broken heart.

She stopped herself, then shook her head. Her heart wasn’t broken. Her heart wasn’t even involved.

“Cade’s a good guy, you know,” Daphne said quietly. “You two would be perfect together.”

Audrey gave a faint smile. “I always thought the same thing.” But for some reason, that didn’t sound nearly as interesting to her anymore. She thought of Reese’s roguish smile and the way he constantly strove to drive her absolutely up a wall. Maybe that was what she needed—someone to push her out of her neat, orderly life and make her spit a bit of fire. She had to admit that she felt more alive around him.


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