The Consequence of Seduction
I returned Max’s point with a wave and sighed against Reid. “Think when he’s married he’ll cut off the apron strings?”
“If not I’ll just burn them,” Reid said thoughtfully. “Or maybe just drop him off on a farm so he has space to run.”
“He’d like a farm.”
“Well, he finally likes animals again, so it just might work out.”
“I’m not going to ask.” I laughed against his chest. “I’m afraid of every answer where Max is concerned.”
The music swirled around us, some crazy techno beat that had Max and Becca bumping and grinding way too close to where I was sitting. The LED screens switched to a dark red that matched my dress; the air felt electric, alive with possibilities.
“You know . . .” Reid whispered in my ear above the music. “I used to be in a boy band.”
“I was their best dancer.”
“Were you?” I bit my bottom lip to keep myself from laughing. “Prove it.”
“Thought you’d never ask.” He stood and held out his hand, like a gentleman.
Laughing, I took it, thinking he’d swing me around and we’d share a joke about how we’re old and don’t know how to dance or expend that type of energy anymore.
Instead, Reid started slowly rolling his hips behind mine.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run away or press against him.
So I did nothing.
Like a real invisible nerd, who’d suddenly been discovered by the captain of the football team, I froze.
Reid placed his hands on my hips, his breath tickling my ear. “Let the music move you.”
“Uh.” I wanted to ask how. I’d never been asked to a school dance and I’d never actually danced in public. I wasn’t that girl, the woo girl who partied on the weekends and stuck her face out of limos and shouted into the night air just because she could.
“Come on.” He tugged me harder against him, his lips moving fluidly down my neck as his hips ground slowly into me, moving faster as he lifted my hands into the air and twirled me around.
I finally relaxed enough to let go.
We danced for a few songs while Reid continued torturing me by touching every inch of my body that he could without being indecent. By the time the fourth song ended I was ready to lose my mind.
The teasing had to stop.
“Drinks!” Max shouted, waving us over to the table, where he’d apparently ordered several rounds for everyone.
Control was my thing.
So drinking more than a few drinks in one night seemed . . . well, the exact opposite of being in control. I pulled one of the bottles of water and chugged, only to have it slapped out of my hand.
“No!” Max scolded me. “Girls who wear Dolce don’t drink water.” He shrugged. “Probably don’t eat either, but that’s not the point. The point”—he shoved a drink into my hand—“is that part of this night is about you letting go and being awesome. So be awesome.”
“The man has a point, Sebastian.” Reid lifted his glass into the air.
I sniffed the drink.
“What was that?” Max frowned. “Did you just smell your drink?”
“Well, what if you drugged me?”
Max laughed. “First, I would never drug one of my best friends—”
“We aren’t best friends,” I said shaking my head no.
“Second”—he elbowed Reid—“your innocence is showing. It’s impossible to smell drugs in your drink unless you purposely pour NyQuil into the glass, but people who do weird shit like that end up in prison, and you don’t want to end up in prison, do you?”
I had no idea how me getting drugged had turned into me going to prison, but I went with it. “Are you there?” I asked sweetly.
Max seemed to think about this for a while, then slowly shook his head. “No, not at the time of your arrest.”
“Oh, good, then I choose no NyQuil.”
“Aren’t you glad I was present during DARE week?” He grinned. “Even won the damn bear because I pledged to be drug-free for LIFE.”
“Yet you’re drinking.” I pointed at his glass.
“This?” He lifted it into the air. “Amateur. This is cranberry juice. Like I would drink in Vegas when I have to babysit you guys.” He knocked his drink back. “It’s my gift, take it or leave it.”
“I’m confused.” I looked to Reid, but his eyes were narrowed in suspicion, so maybe I should be more than confused. Alarmed? Maybe alarmed was the better word.
“Chill.” Max held up his hands. “My crazy days are over, all right? I just know this one”—he pointed to me, so clearly I was the one—“won’t let her hair down, so to speak, because her job is to be worried about publicity and actors not wearing underwear.” He lowered his gaze to Reid’s pants. “Dude, you are wearing underwear, right?”
Reid didn’t answer.
“See?” Max rolled his eyes. “Now, say you two were drunk and Reid started stripping in the elevator—”
“There will be no stripping in the elevator,” Reid interjected.
“And his light saber just pops out!” Max shuddered. “Can you imagine the ramifications?”
“The empire strikes back?” I joked.
Colton’s eyes got wide as he eavesdropped on my conversation, then steered Milo far away from us.
“Ha.” Max cackled. “Good one—ain’t nobody gonna be striking with that saber, feel me? At least not in public, that’s what you have me for!”
“So let me get this straight.” I cleared my throat. “You’re not drinking, so you can watch me and Reid and make sure he doesn’t pull out his light saber?”
Max frowned into his drink. “Well, it’s not like I’m going to watch him whip it out, but you get the picture.”
“Great mental picture.” Reid groaned. “Really, it’s like you’re trying to kill sex for me.”
“I always had a thing for Chewbacca.” I felt my cheeks heat.
“Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Max mimicked Chewbacca, then slapped Reid on the back. “May the force be with you, my son.”
“Reid, I’m not your father—”
“But . . .” Max handed us both new drinks, apparently I’d sucked mine down during his speech. “I’m more like the Obi-Wan to your Kenobi.”
“What’s a Kenobi?” I asked.
“It’s what happens when his light saber meets your . . .” Max squinted. “Force.”
“Good talk, Max.” Reid slapped him on the back, turned him around, and then waved down Becca to take him off our hands.
Becca started kissing him, they danced, and I was sure Max forgot all about his weird offer to help.
“It’s kind of cute,” I said once Max was out of earshot.
“What?” Reid tilted back his drink. Even the man’s throat was sexy as he took a large gulp and turned those aqua eyes in my direction.
“Max’s protectiveness, his plans, his schemes. I mean, it’s cute in small doses.”
“And yet, he does nothing in small doses. You should have seen him pre-Becca.”
I gaped. “He used to be worse?”
“You have. No. Idea.” Reid chuckled. “Now finish your drink. More dancing and then . . . who knows what?”
The rest of the evening was fuzzy . . . I remember a few more drinks, and I remember Jason icing his face because he ran into a door. Milo and Colt called it early, leaving me alone with Reid, Max, and Becca.
Somehow we all ended up at some rooftop bar where scantily clad women were dancing.
Max started chucking dollar bills into the air. I believe his words were, “Make it rain.”
Becca smacked him.
And then I ended up with a few dollar bills after I jokingly did a little dance in front of Reid.
He stuffed them down my dress, then yelled, “Another!”
Two hours later we were still dancing, but my heels were off
We’d lost Becca and Max somewhere between Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock.
“Wow!” I gasped. “Look at the fountain!”
“The Bellagio?” Reid yelled back at me, my body slamming against his back as we picked up speed, then stopped in front of the fountain. “I forgot, you’re a Vegas newbie. Pretty cool, huh?”
He talked as if he hadn’t been drinking all night.
While I was seeing, like, ten fountains, a unicorn, and Danny Ocean after pulling off the con of the century. Hey, George!
“Something funny?” Reid slowly let me down to my feet.
I kept giggling. “Nothing, just thinking about Ocean’s Eleven.”
“Hot men who masquerade as jewel thieves make you laugh?”
“It’s weird you called them hot.”
“Quoting every woman alive.” Reid held up his hands. “Just being honest.”
“We should swim.” I nodded, slowly making my way closer to the fountain.
“Oh, no.” Reid grabbed my arm and tugged me back. “Not in the fountain, they frown upon things like that.”
“But I want to swim!” I laughed. “Naked.”
People glanced over at me.
Reid grinned. “We have a huge tub in our room. I promise I’ll even turn the lights off and then give you a flashlight so that it looks like the Bellagio.”
“But what about the music?”
“Phantom of the Opera music?” I crawled up his body, landing in his arms as my legs straddled him. He hefted me up and kissed my mouth.
“Why, Sebastian, I didn’t know you were a fan.”
“He wears a cape. Who isn’t a fan of the Phantom?”
“He’s also psychologically unstable.”
“Again.” I laughed. “He wears a cape.”
“You know, for a shrew you sure laugh a lot.” Reid’s forehead touched mine. “Jordan, I’m happy to announce I think the taming is finished.”
“How’d I do?” I joked.
“Well, I think I have one more thing I need to check.”
“What’s that?” I whispered.
“Come back to the room and I’ll show you.”
“Where else would I go?”
He sobered. “I hope that’s always your answer.” Reid set me back on my feet. “Now, crawl on my back like the crab you are and I’ll walk us back.”
“I don’t really hate roses,” Jordan said once we were in the elevator. “I mean, I’ve never been sent roses, so . . .”
I gripped her hand tighter. “That’s a shame.”
One of her heels fell out of her hand. She bent over to pick it up, then apparently decided standing was too much and just sat on the floor.
“I think that bath may have to wait,” I said in a soft voice. “Don’t want you drowning or anything.”
“I’m not even tired.” She yawned, her eyes watering as she gazed up at me with such innocence, such trust that it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I felt that look, really felt it, in my soul. I wanted to be deserving of that look.
And I wanted it directed at me every day.
Every freaking day.
The gut-wrenching feeling from earlier suddenly disappeared and was replaced with a revelation.
I was falling in love with her.
Jordan laughed and leaned back against the elevator door. “If you sent me flowers, I’d forgive you for anything . . . well maybe not anything, but close. Isn’t that pathetic? All it takes is stupid flowers. But they’re so pretty . . . and thoughtful. I didn’t mean it. A real girl. A special girl would appreciate flowers on a first date.”
I was already there.
Mascara was smeared underneath her eyes, and her hair was still growing, pointing in every direction, the crazy waves making me want to dive my hands into the length and just pull.
Like a crazed man.
“And chocolate?” My knees popped as I leaned down and held out my hand. “What if I gave you a box of chocolates?”
Jordan blinked up at me with her wide brown eyes. “Are they all caramel?”
Laughing softly, I shrugged. “Every last one.”
Her eyes teared up. “You mean it?”
I had an odd feeling this wasn’t just about chocolate anymore. “Yeah. I do.”
The elevator dinged once we reached our floor. I helped her to her feet and grabbed the other stray shoe as we made our way into our suite.
When we walked inside, it was quiet, and the lights were low.
“So.” Jordan turned to face me and then slowly began taking off her dress. I froze in place. “You said I needed to let my hair down. Does that include my dress too?”
It pooled at her bare feet.
She stepped out.
Wearing only a plunging black corset and a matching black thong.
I gulped and told myself to look away. Nothing good would come from sleeping with her while she was drunk.
My mind flashed the message to my body a dozen times, but my feet still moved toward her.
My hands still reached out.
And my mouth—refused to listen.
So I kissed her.
Picked her up with one hand while using my other to dig into that gorgeous head of hair and slowly walked us down the hall toward my bedroom.
She tasted like the first time I kissed her . . . and I wondered if she’d always taste that way to me, sweet with the tartness of a lime on her tongue.
Her legs clenched around my waist, her mouth opening wider as I deepened the kiss, unable to control my thoughts, my body, anything.
I tossed her on the comforter and pulled my shirt over my head, then hovered over her, wondering if I was making an epic mistake in taking what she was offering when she might not remember it later.
My conscience was screaming at me.
Then again, so was she. The hellcat reached for my jeans. “Reid, hurry up!”
“Sex should never be rushed.” I gently pushed her hands away. “It should be savored.”
“So savor me.” Her eyes were unfocused.
I couldn’t do it. Damn it.
“I will . . .” I was going to be aching all night because of that woman, but I needed her to be fully aware of who she was sleeping with—and not just that. I wanted her to scream my name and freaking remember that it was me who gave her pleasure. Me. And it would only ever be me who would make her feel that good. “But why don’t we take a short nap so we don’t get tired?”
She snorted. “That’s a stupid idea.” Another yawn.
“I’m just full of them tonight,” I lamented to myself as I pulled her against my body and kissed her neck. “Just a quick nap.”
“But I’m not even tired,” she argued.
Her hair smelled like honey.
Body heavy, she slumped back against me.
Good thing we didn’t sleep together, because I was pretty sure no matter how I rocked her world—she would have fallen asleep midrock.
“I think I love you,” I whispered.
She let out a little mewl and turned her head in to my neck.
Ha, the taming of the shrew. What a joke.
Why tame what’s already perfect in its own wild, crazy way? I chuckled as a piece of her hair tickled my face.
I’d risk it all for her.
And I wouldn’t regret it for a damn minute.
“Wakey, wakey, chicken shakey!” a voice yelled.
The bed started shaking.
“Earthquake!” I gasped, and then fell onto the floor in a heap of blankets. The minute I thudded I almost wished something would fall on my face. My head
“Aw.” Max tugged the comforter from my face. “Get in a fight and lose last night, slugger?” He winced. “Damn, that hair could have its own Twitter following. I think I’d hashtag it #thething.”
“Why?” I croaked.
“Well, it kind of resembles the Thing, or is that Cousin It?” His eyebrows drew together in thought.
“Not why would you name it that, just why, why are you in my room? Speaking.”
“Well,” Max said as he took a seat on my bed, “Reid ordered room service and he knew you’d want actual Starbucks, thus he took the elevator down to the main lobby to acquire his lady’s favorite drink.”
“Why are you speaking in a British accent?”
“I said acquire and lady in the same sentence. It’s what the Brits do.”
“Says the Canadian,” I grumbled.
“Isn’t it fun how both countries get me?” Max grinned. “Now, for real, I’m doing you a favor. No wars have been fought or won over a chick after she wakes up still drunk from the night before, and you have actual eyeliner in your hairline. Somehow it went from here”—he pointed to my eye—“to here.” He pointed to my forehead. “And it’s not your best look. Plus . . .” He helped me to my feet. “You smell like cheap liquor and prostitutes.”
“Your fault. You shoved dollar bills in my hands,” I said weakly.
“I was under the impression you wanted to participate.” With a heave, he had me in his arms. And was walking me toward the bathroom.
“What’s goin’ on?”
“Fairy godmothers don’t get time off, though I think we really should talk to the union for better benefits. We have to pay for our own fairy dust—take it from me, that shit’s expensive.”
It was too early for Max.
“All right.” He set me on the counter, then turned on the shower. “Now, I won’t cross my brother by tossing you in there naked and scrub-a-dubbing you until you bleed. But you have around four minutes”—he glanced at his watch—“possibly seven, if I can stall him at the elevator.”
“He gets back and sees this.” Max turned me to the mirror.
I gasped in horror.
“You’re welcome.” He winked. “Now, hurry up. Oh, and it’s hot as hell out, so wear shorts.”