Found in You

Found in You: Page 10

"It is not. Trust me." This time I kissed him, licking along his upper lip.

When he pulled away, his eyes were clouded with desire. "Dinner's ready, precious."

He led me to the dining room where the table was set with a bouquet of white orchids, two lit candlesticks, an opened bottle of wine, and two place settings at one end.

He waved his hands toward the candles. "These would have a more dramatic effect if it weren't so light in here."

"Yes, it's terrible that your penthouse has floor-to-ceiling windows that let in so much sun," I teased. "Honestly, it's lovely." Our eyes locked for a moment, caught up in each other.

Jesus, if we kept looking at each other like that, food would have to wait. I was already feeling moist in my panties.

Noticing the aroma of fresh herbs, I broke our gaze and looked toward the quiet kitchen. "Where's the cook? Did she abandon you?"

"She did not. She cooked and then she left. Our plates are waiting under the warmer." He pulled a chair out, gesturing for me to sit. "I presume I can manage the service without her."

I kept my eye on him as I sat. "Honey, you don't need anyone's help with service."

"Hey now." He tapped my nose with his finger as he delivered his reprimand. "Food first. I need my energy to keep up with you. But if we get through dinner, perhaps there will be dessert."

"A naughty dessert, I hope."

"No hoping necessary."

Hudson poured white wine into my glass before filling his own. Then he disappeared into the kitchen returning a few minutes later with two plates of food. He set a plate in front of each of us and then sat down. Together we dined catty-corner from each other, tangling our legs under the table. We chatted about our day and when I told him about my bachelorette party ideas for the club, he was both supportive and impressed.

"Do you want me to get you in touch with my company event planners? Not that they'd be helpful in the pre-wedding party arena."

"Nah, I got some things set up already."

He took a swallow of his wine, and I guessed it was difficult for him to let me keep the reins on my project. But when he set down his glass, he seemed resigned. "Let me know if you change your mind."

The meal was delicious-chicken breast stuffed with sundried tomatoes and artichokes. Sautéed zucchini and jasmine rice accompanied the chicken. I'd stayed at work all afternoon, arranging meetings for the week, and had skipped lunch. It wasn't until I was eating that I realized how hungry I'd been.

"This is so good, Hudson," I said when my plate was half-clean. "Wherever did you find this cook?"

"She used to be sous-chef at one of my restaurants. Things didn't work out with her and another staff member, so she works privately for me now."

I thought for a moment about what I knew from Hudson's portfolio of businesses. "Fierce?"

"That's the one."

Fierce was one of the hottest restaurants in the city. The head chef had a reputation for being a complete hard-ass. I didn't have to ask if that was the reason she'd left.

My work-oriented mindset of earlier lingered into the conversation. "Would she consider working at The Sky Launch?"

"Then who would cook for us?"

I ignored the rush I had from the way Hudson referred to us as an "us," and pressed on. "For private events then. It doesn't have to be a full-time gig."

"I like the way your business brain works, Alayna. But why don't we put the job away for the night? I'd like to spend time with the other sexy parts of my girlfriend."

That shut me up. It was the first time he'd called me that-girlfriend-and holy wow, what it did to me. My chest warmed with what felt like a radioactive level of heat, spreading down my limbs and up into my cheeks. Girlfriend. I was Hudson Pierce's girlfriend.

Pretending he didn't know what his statement had done to me-he knew, he so knew-he continued with the common conversation that boyfriends and girlfriends exchanged after a day apart. "Other than work, how was your afternoon? I noticed the books came. Did the delivery go okay?"

I nodded as I swallowed my food, following it with a sip of wine before answering. "They did, and yes, it went fine. Celia accompanied the delivery."

Though his face stayed even, he stopped chewing for half a second. "Oh?"

I had guessed that Hudson wouldn't be that happy about Celia stopping by. Ever since she'd spilled the beans about his manipulative past, he seemed to fear what she'd say to me. No matter what I said, he didn't understand that nothing she could say to me about him would ever change how I felt for him. Perhaps I shouldn't have told him about her visit, but that didn't feel right. I was already keeping my history with David on the down low. I didn't want another secret.

The only thing to do was convince him Celia and I could be trusted together. "She surprised me. I guess I was in the shower when she buzzed up so she let herself in."

His brows furrowed. "I need to take away her key."

"Yes, you do." I didn't like worrying that she could stop by any time she wanted. "But it wasn't bad. In fact, we had a nice chat."

Hudson's entire upper body tensed. "I don't like that. At all."

I'd only seen that possessiveness of his a couple of times before. It was frightening and thrilling, sending bolts of hormones to my lower regions and raising my arousal levels to full alert.

It was also unnecessary. "Don't get all panicked. It was fine."

"I don't want you two to spend time together. Remember, in my script you aren't friends." He stabbed at the air with his fork, enunciating his point.

I clucked my tongue. "Come on, that's not fair. I only want to feel close to you and she's your best friend."

He shook his head once. "She's my only friend. It's different."

I stroked my foot up his calf, hoping to lighten his mood on the subject. "She didn't give away any deep dark Hudson secrets."

"Says you."

"She only said she was happy that you'd found me." I paused to let that sink in. "She thinks you deserve someone."

Instead of softening, his expression hardened. "That's a deep dark Hudson secret right there." He leaned closer to me, speaking low. "So deep and dark, it's a lie. I don't deserve you and I never will."

"Shut up." I rolled my eyes then placed my hand over his. "You deserve much better than me. You're out of my league and everyone knows it."

"Alayna-" His tone was a warning.

I narrowed my eyes. "How about instead of arguing over who deserves whom, we agree that we fit pretty damn well together and leave it at that."

"I don't want you spending time with Celia."

Damn, he was serious. So much for getting insider knowledge over coffee. On the other hand, who was he to tell me that I couldn't spend time with someone?

But we were trying to make a relationship work. If it was important to him then..."All right, I won't spend time with her. And I don't want you spending time with her either."

"I can live with that compromise."

"You can?" I tried not to sound surprised.

"Yes. I barely see her anyway. From now on, if I have to see her, it will be with you."

"Agreed." It wasn't as much of a sacrifice for me as it was for him. She wasn't my friend.

"Good." Then a wicked gleam filled his eyes. "We do fit pretty damn well together."

"Now who's getting naughty?"

He set down his fork and looked at our nearly empty plates. "It is time for dessert."

"Hold that thought. I'll be right back." I wiped my mouth with my napkin and got up from the table. The hall bathroom wasn't visible from the dining room so I hoped that's where Hudson assumed I had gone. Instead, I went to the master bedroom, to my closet. I grabbed the lingerie set from its drawer and changed as quickly as I could.

I stopped in front of the bedroom mirror to fluff my hair into as close of a sexy tousle as my straight strands would allow and noticed, damn, I looked good. The teddy was a coral baby-doll flyaway that pushed my already perky boobs up to soaring heights. The middle opened to expose my flat belly and the matching lace thong. Hell, I'd do me.

I slunk back to the dining room and found the table cleared and Hudson at the bar making a drink, his back to me. Awkwardly, I tried to come up with some stripper pose, but when he turned toward me, I'd only managed to c**k my hip and put a hand at my waist.

He nearly dropped his glass, his eyes wide. "Holy, f**k, Alayna. You look so goddamned hot, you've surpassed naughty and gone straight to sinful."

"Why, thank you." I swayed toward him, his lustful gaze never leaving my body. When I was close enough, I pulled on his tie, beckoning him forward. His brow arched in surprise, but he let me lead him back to his chair and push him to a sitting position.

Leaning forward so his view was all tits, I ran my hands up his thighs to his waist where I undid his belt and began working on his fly.

"What are you doing?" His voice was hoarse, his eyes pinned on my cle**age.

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