I set down my champagne flute, untouched, and waited, my arms folded across my chest.
But what he said next surprised me. “What kind of life do you envision for yourself? What’s your dream future?” Instead of immediately hounding me about my utter disrespect for the sanctity of marriage, he wanted to listen.
I wasn’t prepared, which sort of pissed me off. Not only because it occurred to me that I could have misjudged Nathan Sinclair, but also because I didn’t exactly have a checklist of plans for myself. I just had things I liked doing that I wanted to continue doing, uninterrupted.
“What is it I want from my life?” I repeated back to him, buying time to think about it.
And then when I did think about it I realized I didn’t need the time. I knew exactly what I wanted. “My own stuff, my own space, steady kinky sex in different locations. Happy? I’m leaving.” I spun on my five-inch heels and walked toward the exit. Irritated.
I didn’t know why I was so worked up, maybe because the whole topic was a sore spot. Maybe because even though he hadn’t given the speech yet, I knew it was coming eventually. I didn’t fit into the traditional world with my viewpoints about happily-ever-afters. I already knew that.
Or, maybe I was worked up because people rarely believed it about me when I told them. They always thought that I was lying to them or lying to myself, but I really didn’t want what society believed I should want in the way they thought I should want it, and I didn’t want to have to argue about it with Nate, because I did truly like him. And I didn’t want to have this conflict. But liking him didn’t mean I wanted to give up who I was just to make him happy.
Instead of talking it to death and arguing my side, it was easier just to go. Get it over with. I could cut the ties now before I liked him even more. Before the string didn’t just tug me back from the clouds, but let all the air out of me, too.
I rushed out into the lobby, assuming he’d let me go, but he followed. And really, that’s what I probably should have expected. He’d already proven he was the kind of guy that chased. Shoe or not, Nate Charming liked his fairytale kink.
And I’d just performed the most cliché move of all for a sexed-up Cinderella—I’d run from the freaking ball.
“I’d like a try.” It was the stranger with the green eyes.
Of course the night would ramp up right when I announced I was leaving. I looked up at him expectantly, but he didn’t approach. I realized he was waiting for my invitation. He was definitely new. Everyone else knew Miss T was one of the most ready and willing participants in the room—to the point where some tried to take advantage of it. I never needed to issue invitations, but I often needed to reinforce boundaries.
“What are you waiting for, then?” I sat up straighter, ignoring Chuck’s grunt of complaint.
The stranger came forward with slow, swaggering steps. When he reached me, he loosened his bowtie a little before lowering himself to one knee at my side. He placed his arm next to mine on the chair, his fingers barely grazing my skin. Goosebumps sprouted up my forearm all the way to my neck, and he hadn’t even bent in to whisper yet.
And then he did. His breath skated over the shell of my ear, and my heart tripped unexpectedly in my chest.
How long had it been since that had happened from just the feel of someone breathing against me?
“I’m going to kiss you one way or another tonight,” he said, low and with such surety a shiver ran down my spine. “It’s your decision whether it’s now or later.”
So. Not just a voyeur then.
He sat back to study my features. My jaw was slack, and I scanned his expression, searching for a hidden motivation. My body tingled from head to toe. I was used to men—strangers—wanting me. I was used to them approaching me. I was used to them telling me how much they desired me.
Why was this man so different?
Maybe it was because those other men always looked everywhere in the room. When their eyes landed on me, I knew I was just one of many options.
He’d looked around the room. I’d watched him throughout the night. But nothing had interested him. I could tell by the way he was still wearing his jacket, by the way his eyes were only now beginning to dilate as they stared into mine.
He’d studied the room and decided nothing here had interested him but me.
That was definitely not the kink that usually got me off. That was Cinderella-story kind of kink. The fairytale kink with a happy ending was traditional, but a kink all the same—being chased. Being placed on a gilded pedestal. I never wanted to be somebody’s Only One in the Room. I liked having my own space. I liked being able to disappear when I wanted. I liked not having chains or boundaries. I was turning thirty-five soon. I wasn’t a starry-eyed teenager anymore. I knew what I wanted from life and love and relationships and sex. And it wasn’t a pedestal.
About The Author
USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.