Page 12 of Dirty Promise

“Where are you going?” he asks.

“Um, home?”

Like last time, he doesn’t seem eager for me to leave. In fact, he seems kind of disappointed when I tell him I’m going home.

“What about me reading to you in bed?”

I laugh, but when I look over at him, he’s holding my copy of Pride and Prejudice in my hand. “You were serious about that?”

“You thought that was a pick-up line?”

I shrug. “Kind of.”

“And it worked?” he says, sounding surprised.

Truth is, he didn’t need a pick-up line to get me back into his bed. My mind was already halfway there before he said a word, but instead of telling him that, and inflating his already giant ego, I say, “It was better than any line anyone has used on me before.”


He chuckles. “You really need to step up your expectations and find a better caliber of men.”

I gesture to him. “Obviously.”

He laughs and leans forward, grabbing my arm and playfully yanking me back into his bed. I curl up beside him, nuzzling into the crook of his arm to get comfortable, breathing in the scent that is so uniquely him. A scent I’m becoming addicted to.

He starts reading. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife …”

For the next two hours, he reads to me. When he’s done, he says, “Well, what did you think?”

“All the women sound like stone-cold gold-diggers to me.”

His smile sends a warm quiver through me. Like his scent, his smile is also addictive. I wish I were funnier, more clever, like Elizabeth Bennet so I could make him laugh and smile all the time.

“Yeah, I guess they were, but I promise you, it’s one of the best love stories ever told,” he says.

I prop myself up on my elbows, tempted to kiss his arm. But even though he’s reading a love story to me, and we just had sex, a gesture that small feels too romantic, as though I’m asking for more than he might be willing to give. I don’t want to frighten him off. Even if this is just a hook-up, I wouldn’t mind it becoming a regular thing.

He looks at the clock. “I have a client in an hour. Want to grab lunch with me really quick?”

After that work out I could really use something to eat. “That sounds good.”

We go to a bistro next to the tattoo shop. It’s a cute Asian/American fusion place. Everyone who works there knows his name and his regular order. I order the Korean soup.

Once we get our food he says, “We should do that more often—read, I mean.”

The way he says it, all hooded eyes and husky voice, makes me think he’s not talking about reading.

“We should,” I agree.

“I hear it’s fundamental—reading, I mean.”

I laugh and shake my head. He smiles and the flutter in my heart is back. Go away. I’m not supposed to fall for him.

“I’ve heard that too,” I say.

There’s an awkward silence. He opens his mouth to say something, then closes it. He does this a couple times before asking, “How’s the soup?” I’m fairly certain that isn’t the question he wanted to ask, but for some reason, he’s holding back.

“Spicy.”

Picking up his phone, he stares at the black screen. “We should probably exchange numbers so you can text me when you want to do that again,” he says.

“Reading, you mean,” I say.

He erupts into a smile. I caused that. Look people, look what I did. I made that happen. You’re welcome.

We exchange numbers then share a strawberry tart for desert. He picks up the bill, refusing to even let me see it. Paying for my meal feels a lot like a date.

I walk him to work. As we walk, our fingers graze. I don’t know if it was done accidentally or if he meant to do that. My mind and heart are tangled up, and whatever is happening between us gives me the same feelings as a first crush. I’m giddy and afraid all at the same time.

We go through the alleyway to get to his building and stand at the back door. He pushes my back against the wall and kisses me, his lips tasting like strawberries. It’s a sweet, tender kiss that makes me feel exposed and vulnerable. Can he tell I’m falling for him?

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