Hardwired

Author: P Hana

Page 12

   

Blake was unpredictable. He had been both devastating and extremely helpful to the cause, so I had no idea what to expect from him, especially if we complicated the relationship with sex.

“When you play by those rules, Erica, you give them credence. Guys fuck around all the time, and no one thinks twice about it. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to a night of hot sex.”

“Says the girl who rolled in at eight o’clock this morning.” I pointed my fork at her. “Seriously though, the business is more important to me than any fling right now.”

Alli paused for moment. “Maybe Blake isn’t fling-material.”

“I highly doubt that.”

“Blake isn’t some asshole frat boy. Maybe you should give him a chance.”

“You’re right, he’s an asshole billionaire. I’m not sure what’s worse.”

Alli rolled her eyes. I knew what was worse, but I hated that she was dredging up the past at a time like this.

“So have you heard from Heath since…you know?” I asked, hoping to steer the subject away from Blake.

“Yeah, he texted me this morning.” A slow smile spread across her face.

She was already smitten. Heaven help us all.

“Thanks for the memories?” I joked, and we both laughed. “Do you think it’ll go anywhere?”

“I’m not sure. He lives in New York, so who knows? We’re going to grab dinner tonight.” She looked up. “I mean, if you don’t mind. We can hang out if you really want to ditch Blake.”

I knew she was lying, like any decent friend would.

CHAPTER FIVE

Not surprisingly, Alli and I battled over my attire. We settled on a peach strapless high low dress, which we agreed was date appropriate but didn’t scream, “Let’s skip dessert.” I repurposed my nude pumps and fluffed my hair nervously in the mirror.

Blake knocked on the door at eight o’clock on the dot. He wore a simple white collared shirt rolled up at the sleeves and dark blue jeans. His normally wayward hair was smoothed carefully to the side, though it rebelled here and there in a way that was still sexy and fashionable. I’d spent the past several hours trying to predict what the night would bring, and now I couldn’t keep my thoughts remotely clean.

After a few moments of shameless ogling, I found his gaze trained on me, a mirrored reflection of raw appreciation. A rush of emotion hit me—butterflies, carnal desire, and an unsettling premonition that I could be getting in way over my head with Blake Landon. The man was sexy, rich, and confident, and my hormones had absolutely no willpower in his presence.

“Hi.” I held onto my clutch like a life preserver.

“Erica.” A hint of a smirk curved his lips.

“Blake!” Alli joined me at the door, giving Blake the once-over. “You guys look so cute!”

“We’re not going to the prom, Alli,” I mumbled, though it felt that way a little bit. Except the hottest boy in school was at my doorstep, and that didn’t seem quite right. Sure, I cleaned up nice and attracted my fair share of hot guys, but I’d taken myself off the market months ago to focus on work. I’d forgotten what it felt like to be physically appreciated like this. In fact, I wasn’t sure if anyone had ever really made me feel like this, and all Blake and I had done was kiss.

Blake offered his arm to me and motioned for our retreat. I hooked mine in his, and he led us down the hall.

“You kids have fun!” Alli called after us.

“I’ll have her home by morning,” Blake said, winking back at her.

I rolled my eyes at the idea.

Once in the elevator, Blake hit the number forty-five, the highest number on the grid, and we began our ascent.

Confused, I asked, “Where are we going?”

“The top floor.”

“What’s up there?”

“Uh, my room, actually.”

My excitement wilted. “Subtle, Blake.” I yanked away and crossed my arms. Perfect gentleman, my foot. God, I’m so naïve.

Blake laughed. “It’s not what you think. Trust me.”

I raised an eyebrow. “You’ve given me no reason to trust you.”

“I’ve heard that takes time, so maybe there’s hope yet.”

The elevator doors opened and led me to the end of the long hallway where he slid his key to gain entrance to the room. I followed him in, awestruck by the sprawling suite that could only be described as a modest palace.

We walked through an ornate entryway, and before us, a floor-to-ceiling wall of windows showcased the Las Vegas skyline. The sun had set moments earlier behind the silhouette of the barren mountains, imbuing the sky with gradients of gold and amber, while every major landmark on the manmade strip before us mimicked nature’s brilliance. A million little lights brought the night to life in this wild, addictive city.

“I thought this might be a better view than the restaurant,” he said quietly.

“It’s breathtaking.” My eyes scanned the horizon, thrilled by his choice. For the second time today, a giddy excitement bubbled inside me thanks to Blake. Still, I tempered my outward display, unwilling to give him the satisfaction of wowing me so easily.

“I’m glad you think so.” He guided me toward our table for two by the windows.

The two-story suite was draped in luxury and elegance. The motif featured warm washed out tones among a variety of textures, from upholstered mohair walls to cool cream marble surfaces that contrasted with the sleek and tastefully integrated modern electronics.

I coolly catalogued the suite’s amenities until a server delivered a champagne bucket from one of the adjoining rooms.

“Madam?” The server offered up a chilled bottle of Cristal Rosé.

“Please,” I replied.

He expertly filled our flutes to the brim.

“I took the liberty of ordering for us.” Blake tipped his glass to meet mine. “I hope you don’t mind.”

“I’ll let it slide.” In truth, I was relieved. I couldn’t think straight around Blake let alone figure out what kind of food I could eat gracefully in his presence.

“So, tell me more about Erica Hathaway.”

I sighed. Here we go. “What do you want to know?”

“What do you do for fun?” He licked his lips.

My body clenched from my fingertips gripping the chair’s edge to the heated center between my legs. My defenses were wearing dangerously thin around Blake. Why had I ever agreed to this? Well, I hadn’t, but I hadn’t exactly refused either. Regardless, here we were, and thus far everyone was on their best behavior except my libido.

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