He eased his SUV to a stop outside Hayden’s town house and she pushed open the passenger-side door. “Are you coming in? Or are you afraid of losing he-man status by being cuffed by a girl?”
Brent’s forearm brushed her thighs as he reached for the glove compartment and popped it open. Hayden felt a simultaneous surge of arousal and panic when a silver pair of handcuffs were revealed. “One question. Is flash photography allowed on this ride?”
“Not unless you want a bloody stump for a hand.”
An amused smile lit his face. “I think in a matter of minutes, you’re going to be very glad I still have both hands. You might even change your mind about using those handcuffs.”
Her first instinct dictated she throw herself out of the vehicle and run screaming toward her house. Lock herself inside and watch reruns of The Facts of Life. But then an image of a shirtless Brent kneeling, hands cuffed behind his back, materialized in her mind. She felt another jolt of surprise when lust, hot and insistent, pooled in her tummy. In addition to shocking her, the heady response bred irritation. She hadn’t experienced the feeling in a long time, and the fact that her nemesis provoked it in her chafed.
Too late to turn back now.
“I won’t be changing my mind.” Hayden stuffed the handcuffs into her purse. “It’s too bad the NYPD doesn’t issue ball gags in addition to handcuffs,” she said, smiling brightly. “Not that your voice isn’t a seductive lullaby.”
“I haven’t had any complaints.”
“Then consider this your first.” Hayden exited the SUV, her heels tapping along the sidewalk. As she ascended the stone stairs leading to her front door, she felt him following behind her. She scanned the surrounding area, looking for her parents, who lived in the same neighborhood. If they saw her entering her town house with this swaggering hulk of a male, they would surely have some questions.
“Worried about being seen with me?” His jaw tightened and flexed. “Don’t worry, I’m sure your little lesson won’t take long.”
The jerk still thought she would back down from her own challenge. “It’s going to be over that fast, huh? Don’t worry, champ. It’s a very common problem among men. Happens to the best of them.”
She could practically feel the steam shooting from his ears. Smiling to herself, Hayden pushed the front door open and entered the dark foyer. The second the door closed behind her, Brent pushed her up against it, bracing himself with both arms on the door. Never having been this close to him before, she took a moment to absorb the jarring differences between them. His body, so incredibly hard and well-built, pressed against her softer, smaller frame. At least a foot taller than her, he would have to bend his knees to kiss her…or pick her up for their mouths to meet. Something needy shivered through her at the thought of him using all that strength on her. Even more tempting was the thought of leashing that power. Tempting it out of him.
“You’re testing my patience here, duchess,” he growled. “If you have any doubt about my ability to fuck the ever-loving sarcasm right out of you, I’ll be more than happy to clear it up.”
Hayden sucked in a breath. Until now, they’d been dancing around any talk of the main event, but he’d just put it in black-and-white terms. Was she willing to let it get that far? This wouldn’t be the kind of one-night stand you walked away from unscathed. If they took it to that level, she would be forced to see the knowledge of what they’d done written all over his arrogant face every time they were wrangled into spending time together.
“What’s wrong? Is this lesson you’re attempting to teach me over before it even began?” Patronizing laughter rumbled in his big chest. His hips pressed closer and she could feel his thick arousal. “Too bad. I thought I was finally going to solve the mystery tonight.”
“What mystery is that?” she asked against her better judgment.
“I’ve been wondering what it’ll take to wipe that self-satisfied expression off your face.” He bent down, let his mouth hover an inch above hers. “What gets you off, rich girl? Besides a shoe sale.”
with their bodies molded together, she ached for something she couldn’t name, his words burrowed even further under her skin. He found her vapid. Trivial. He thought she took her wealth for granted, when in reality, she spent every day of her life trying to deserve it. Prove herself worthy. And oftentimes…coming up short. He didn’t think she had the ability to feel anything? The need to prove him wrong, right then and there, shook Hayden to the soles of her feet. Her purse hit the floor with a thud.