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“Gillian?” He suddenly looked down at me, his fingers still pressed into the skin of my thighs, his cock still buried deep inside of me. “Can I put you down now?”

I nodded and he slowly pulled me off of him, setting me down onto the floor.

He handed me my skirt and I handed him his tie. I slipped into my blazer and spotted a new, silver and black Audemars Piguet adorning his wrist. My count was now up to eight.

Knowing he was probably going to leave me in seconds, I walked over to the mirror and quickly reapplied my makeup and fixed my blazer. I took out a few wipes and attempted to soak up the scent of sex and sweat from my skin, adding a few sprays of perfume, and then, when I realized he was still staring at me, I turned around to face him.

“Did you know that the average Audemars Piguet watch costs ten thousand dollars?” I asked.

“Gillian...” He narrowed his eyes at me.

“I’m just stating a random fact I thought you should know.” I stepped back and he walked over to me. “Would you like to know another random fact?”

“Does this fact involve going over our rules again? The one about not asking about shit outside of sex?”

“Every now and then you’ll have to talk to me, Jake,” I said. “It’s what you agreed to give me, so you’ll need to start answering my questions.”

“I have no problem with talking to you.” He pressed me against the sink. “And I’ll answer all of your questions, as long as they’re within reason.”

“And...” I hated how his being so close to me turned me on instantly, how I almost forgot what I wanted to say. “And it wouldn’t kill you to continue trying to be civil, to ask me questions for yourself every now and then since you never seem to ask me any.”

“I ask you plenty of questions.” He looked into my eyes, his gaze heated and dark.

“I ask you if you want me to fuck you against the sink or the wall. I ask you to stop screaming when I bend you over, and I ask you if you’re okay after we’re done so I can move you off my cock... That’s more than civil.”

He stepped back and grabbed the handle of his luggage, heading for the door. “See you in Dallas Sunday. C5.”


A week and a half later...

I stood him up in Dallas. Then I stood him up again in Atlanta. I didn’t answer his emails when he asked why I wasn’t where we agreed to be, and now, as I sat alone in my Denver hotel room, I was regretting not taking advantage of the stress relief.

My mom and sisters were back at it, calling me every hour on the hour—sending me annoying little reminders about that stupid proposal I didn’t give a damn about, and Miss Connors had just written me up for the second time. My offense? My lipstick wasn’t “red enough” and looked like “someone literally kissed it off of [you].”

Hitting ignore on my mother’s tenth call, I noticed she and Brian had sent me a few text messages.

Mom: Ben called me a few weeks ago and said you dumped him...

Mom: Gillian, we need to talk about this. Didn’t you say his Dad is a force to be reckoned with on Wall Street? We both know someone like you needs to marry well...

Brian: Hey, Gill-doll. Quick question...I’m bringing Samantha’s parents up for the celebration, too, so I need you to be completely honest with me...Is your apartment good enough for the family to stay in? I can’t afford for the mayor to think our family is nothing less than the best.

Brian: Oh, and Mom said you dumped Ben? Bad move, Gillian. Bad move.

Hurt and annoyed, I immediately called Meredith, in need of someone to vent to, but there was no answer. I called her two more times, just to make sure, and it went to her voicemail both times.

I scrolled through my list of contacts—not feeling as if any of the flight attendants I simply shared small talk with would be willing to listen, and my finger paused as I reached Jake’s name.

Not giving it a second thought, I hit “call.” It rang once. It rang twice, and before I could come to my senses and hang up, he answered.

“Hello, Gillian.” The deep, sexy sound of his voice caught me completely off guard. “Hello? Gillian?”


“I believe you called me.” There was a smile in his voice. “May I help you with something?”

“I’m having a bad day and I really need someone to talk to.”


“Don’t worry, you’re my absolute last resort and you technically don’t have to respond to anything,” I said. “I just need to get a few things off my chest and then you can hang up. Are you there?”

“I shouldn’t be.”

I took that as a yes.

“Well, first—” I adjusted my pillows and lay back. “I’m sorry for standing you up in Dallas the other day.”

He laughed. “Surely that’s not one of the things you need to get off your chest, Gillian.” He sounded as if he was in bed, too. “And I would be more inclined to believe that you were sorry if you weren’t continuing to text me, “Fuck you and your lack of talking,” every couple of days since.”

I smiled and held back a laugh.

“I have a flight in six hours,” he said. “Hurry up and spit out all of your unnecessary words so I can hang up and go to sleep in peace.”

“Okay...Wait. Can I ask you something minor first?”


“Who in your family was it?” I asked.