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“I want you to thank me for watering your goddamn plants every day. Every. Day.” I fired back. “I even make time to do it on the days I’m not assigned to your room since you bought fifty fucking perennials and you clearly don’t know how to take care of them at all. If you think they’ve managed to survive all this time because of your charm, you’re sadly mistaken.”

“Gillian...” A vein in his neck swelled.

“I’m not finished talking, Jake,” I said, beyond pissed and unable to stop. “I want you to thank me for closing the windows whenever it rains since you have a terrible habit of always leaving them open, for arranging all the books in your library by color so the sunlight won’t damage the spines, and for collecting all of your mail and organizing it by date. I bring it up from the mailroom and leave it on your counter to make it ten times easier for you. You can’t possibly think it’s the mailman who goes through all that trouble.”

“Also,” I said, crossing my arms. “I want you to thank me—again and again, for refilling your Coke can supply whenever it gets low. You haven’t had to buy any Coke in months. Months. And you only buy specialty cans for some reason. They’re very hard to find in this city.”

He stared at me, not saying a single word.

“You could also thank me for filling out some of your unfinished crossword puzzles, but if you want to leave that particular ‘thank you’ out, I can deal with that.”

He was still staring at me, his eyes narrowed.

“And since we’re speaking of crosswords, and you’re clearly having trouble with this concept,” I said, “a two-word phrase. Eight letters. Popular saying that expresses gratitude.”

He uncrossed his arms, and his expression slowly softened as a slight smile tugged at his lips.

“With all due respect, Jake...” I swallowed, glancing at the door. “Your ‘thank you’ needs to be verbal. Otherwise, I’ll be standing here until I get it.”

He let out a low laugh and picked up the corkscrew, slowly uncorking the wine. He poured one glass and handed it to me. As he poured a glass for himself, he kept his eyes on me, his sexy smile unwavering.

I downed my drink in one nervous gulp and he poured me another. Then another.

“Just so you know...” I said, feeling bolder after drinking a third refill. “A few glasses of wine are not equivalent to a thank you.”

“Trust me.” He tipped his glass back. “We’re going to get to that...” He took my glass from me and placed it into the sink. Then he clasped my hand and pulled me after him.

“For the record,” he said, gesturing toward the white frames on the walls. “That’s Dubai, The Philippines, Moscow, and...Ironically, the bottom right one is Tokyo.” He rolled his eyes and pulled me across the room, into the private library.

Letting my hand go, he looked at the bookshelves, then back at me. “Thank you for your attempt at trying to be thoughtful while stealing shit from me.” He picked up a crossword booklet from a chair and tossed it into the trash. “And for filling out my fucking crossword puzzles without me having to ask. I’m not sure how I’ve ever survived this long without you.”

“Thank yous aren’t typically delivered with venom.”

“They’re not typically delivered with fucking either.” He pressed me back against the bookshelf and stamped his mouth over mine, making me forget whatever else I’d planned to say.

His tongue slid between my lips, demanding full control of this kiss, and everything around me suddenly became a blur. His teeth tugged at my bottom lip as his eyes met mine.

“You’re a goddamn thief and a liar, Gillian...” he whispered against my mouth as he slid his hand between my thighs and tore off my soaked panties. “A goddamn thief and a liar.”

I started to respond to him, but I couldn’t. He pushed me back against the bookshelf again, forcing hardcovers and paperbacks to topple onto the floor, and he repeated his words again.

“Have you brought anyone else to my fucking condo?” He pushed my dress up to my breasts, pausing to unhook my bra.

“No...” I stared at him as he pulled my dress over my head, as he tossed it across the room.

“Why don’t I believe you?”

“It’s true... I haven’t brought anyone else here.” I moaned as his mouth met mine again, as he kissed me harder, not letting me go until I was nearly breathless.

He stepped back, looking me up and down, and then he unzipped his pants. “Turn around and grab the shelf.”

I didn’t move. I was too captivated by the sight of him unzipping his pants—the sight of him pulling out his cock. Holding back a gasp as I saw how huge it really was, I watched as he pulled a condom out of his pocket and put it on.

“Gillian...” His eyes met mine and he moved close again, gripping my waist and spinning me around. “Grab the shelf,” he whispered harshly into my ear. “Now.”

My hands gripped the shelving and he pressed his mouth against the back of my neck, keeping his hands against my hips as he spread my legs wider.

Slapping my ass cheek, he pressed his cock against my soaked slit, and without warning, he slid all the way into me—stretching me and making me scream.

I gripped the shelves even harder, crying out as instant pleasure rushed through my veins. I tried to move, to adjust to the length of him, but he held my hips hostage and began pounding into me.