Found in You: Page 21
"It won't come back to bite you. It's only me and you this affects."
"Tell that to Hudson. He would not like it if he found out that I signed a deal that even remotely involved you."
And suddenly I realized that if I didn't want Hudson to find out about Paul, I couldn't tell him about meeting with Celia either. It would open the door for him to find out the things she and I had talked about. Like Paul. And there was no way Hudson would take that lying down.
"Why would he care? As long as we keep it professional and at a distance like you said, this doesn't have anything to do with him."
"Because, while you and I both know that most everything that happened between us was my fault-"
"Most everything? Try everything."
I gave him a stern look. "You did cheat on your fiancé."
What an ass. "Anyway, Hudson doesn't see you as innocent. And it's not because I said anything to point you out, it's simply because..." I couldn't finish the statement. I didn't have the answer. "I don't know why. He sees the good in me for some reason." Good that I was beginning to doubt existed.
Paul chortled. "I didn't know from his reputation that he was a psycho."
I stepped forward, closing in on his personal space. "You know what? You need to shut the f**k up. He is not a psycho. I am not a psycho. You, however, are an ass**le. I can still back out of this shit. Go ahead and throw whatever you want to throw at me, I have Hudson Pierce on my side."
"And wouldn't he love it if the whole world knew about his girlfriend's criminal past? He'd be a laughing stock. Especially when I tell everyone how you sought out Party Planners Plus so you could work with me again."
My heart felt like I'd been dropped three stories. "But that's not true."
He shrugged again, that carefree shrug of someone holding all the cards. "People don't care if it's true. They love gossip, particularly when it's about the elite."
My mouth tasted sour. "I thought this wasn't blackmail."
"Not yet, it isn't." He leveled his gaze at me. "Does it need to be?"
A chill ran down my spine. I was trapped, as I'd known I was earlier, and I knew it even more definitively now. "Fine, Paul. I'll do the deal but on the terms I listed." Over his shoulder I saw Hudson striding our way. "I'm walking away now. Smile and head the other direction."
I didn't know if he did what I said because I left him, striding to meet Hudson before he came any nearer. "Hey." I felt breathy and lightheaded and not in a good way.
"Did you find the restroom?"
"Um, no." Thank god I hadn't really needed to go. "It's okay. I can wait until we get home."
I tried to turn him toward the exit, but Hudson looked questionably back toward where Paul was retreating.
Thinking fast, I filled him in with a story before he had a chance to ask. "That was one of the event workers. I was trying to get the dirt on Party Planners from him."
He raised a brow. "It seemed to be a rather animated discussion."
"Yeah, he was passionate about what he was saying." Then I realized it was probably me who had seemed animated. "I guess it got me riled up too. He says they're a great company all around. I'm more excited than ever to work with them." The lie felt heavy on my tongue, my gut twisting with the acid of it. It made me wonder how I'd spent so many years lying and manipulating people so I could be close to men who didn't want me. It had been so easy then. Now, with the man who did want me, it felt gross and disgusting.
Hudson bought my act, which made me feel all the worse for it. "That's excellent." He drew me into his side. "Want to know what I'm more excited than ever about? Getting home. More specifically, getting you home. Or, at least to the car."
"Me, too." Whatever he planned to do to me would take me away from everything else in the world. It would distract me from my secrets and the blackmail and the promises I'd broken. At least, I hoped it would.
We were still curled up together when Hudson's alarm woke us the next morning. He kissed me breathless before pulling me with him out of the bed.
"You start the shower," he ordered. "I'll start the coffee."
Grinning, I did as instructed, traipsing to the bathroom to pee first. Then I turned on the shower, waiting until the water was nice and hot before stepping in.
This. Was. Awesome.
Not only the double oversized nozzles that sprayed down on me, relaxing my sex-sore muscles, but the entire routine. Making love in the middle of the night, waking with my lover, preparing the shower for him, for us-I could do this every day.
I sighed softly at the idea, letting the too-soon fantasy of living with Hudson take me away for the briefest of moments.
"Well, the look on your face says you might not need me anymore for pleasure." Hudson stepped into the stall, immediately tugging me into his arms, as if he wanted to be in constant contact the way I did.
"This shower is amazeballs," I said, my eyes drawn immediately to the semi-erection pressed between us. Could I never get enough of seeing him naked?
"But it can never compare to what you do to me." My hand closed around his divine penis, my mouth watering as always at the size and shape of him.
He moaned, turning harder in my hand. "What if I did amazeballs things to you while we're in the amazeballs shower?"
It was hard not to giggle at his use of urban vernacular. It was so foreign, so unlike him. So absolutely irresistible. "There's not even a word for how amazeballs that would be."
After our shower, we went about getting ready for our day. Hudson named one of the sinks as mine, and side-by-side he shaved and I powdered, each of us wearing only a towel. Again, I thought how easy it would be to fall into this life. How natural.
He finished in the bathroom first and by the time I came out, he was dressed in a two-piece black suit that made my thighs twitch. God, the man was the yummiest thing on the planet.
Could he read my mind? "Oh, for breakfast?"
"Yes, for breakfast. Get your mind out of the gutter, precious. I've already spent more time than I allotted on you this morning."
I shivered at the memory of being pressed against the shower wall, his dick inside me. "Well, I'm glad to know there was an allotment."
"There was." He walked past me toward the bedroom door and I caught the scent of his aftershave. "Toast and grapefruit okay?"
"Perfect," I said, inhaling his amazing smell. "Meet you out there."
I threw on the only dress left hanging in the spare closet, wishing I had something a little more businesslike for my meetings that day. Which made me face the issue I'd been avoiding-my apartment. I needed to stop by there. I also needed to figure out what I was going to do about a place to live. My lease was ending and since my brother was no longer paying my rent, I'd have to find something more affordable.
It would certainly be easier to move in with Hudson.
But it would be a bad idea, I reminded myself. Too soon, too soon, too soon. Plus, he hadn't even made the offer.
Once dressed, my hair tied in a knot at my nape, I joined Hudson at the kitchen table. He'd already set out my breakfast with a travel mug of coffee.
"I didn't know what time you were planning to be out of here so I gave you that." He nodded at the travel mug.
"Soon. I have an appointment at ten-thirty with a graphic designer to go over new menus, and I want to make sure I have my presentation for tonight's meeting with Aaron Trent ready before that, because I have a crap load of other things to do this afternoon." I was rambling, a bit nervous about my day's to-do list.
Hudson raised a brow. "A crap load of things?"
"Yeah. I'm sure Trent will want a formal marketing plan, and I need to set up some interviews for an additional cook." I took a swallow of my coffee. "And I really should go home."
"Home." It wasn't a question, merely a repeat of my word, but his tone was darker, surprised. Disappointed maybe.
"I understood the reference. Why?"
I stabbed at my grapefruit with my spoon. "I don't know. I need to pick up my mail and check on things. Make sure the place is okay. You know, all my stuff is there."
I'd known the conversation would be awkward when I began it. Though it was necessary to go to my place, I didn't want Hudson to think I didn't want to be with him, that I didn't want to be invited back. The best way to get that across was to be straightforward about it. "I should get another change of clothes if you're inviting me to stay the night again."
Hudson dropped his own spoon with a noisy clank. "Inviting you to stay the night? What are you talking about? I gave you a key. You can come and go as you please."
I leaned forward, a big grin on my face. "So, then I definitely need a change of clothes. Because it pleases me to spend the night with you."
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