~Minchia. Shit. ~
My remaining doubts about the girl evaporate when I hear her crying. If I made a mistake, it’s a really fucking big one. Because I seriously don’t want to have to explain to my head of HR why I stripped one of our employees and held a gun to her head. ~In my bathroom. ~
I’ve seriously gone off the deep end this time. The insomnia is fucking with me—making me paranoid and itchy. I need to get my little brother Stefano out here to help me run the place so I can sleep at least an hour a night. He’s the only one I trust.
“Hey.” I make my voice softer. The girl’s standing under the spray of water, soaking her Harley Quinn pigtails and the pair of light blue satin panties she’s still wearing.
Fuck if I don’t want to yank them right off her and see what’s underneath.
I’m pretty sure she’s in shock, and who could blame her? I terrify my employees on my best days and that’s without tearing off their clothes and flashing a weapon.
Her chest shudders as she lets out a silent sob and it gets under my skin, same way her sniffle did. Somehow, I don’t think undercover feds or any kind of professional would pee on my floor and cry in my shower. So yeah. I seriously fucked up here.
I reach past her and shut off the water, soaking the entire arm of my suit jacket in the process. “Hey, don’t cry.”
A better man might apologize, but until I’m one hundred percent sure there’s not something off here, I keep it in. I yank the shower curtain open, and pull her out to stand on the bath mat while I wrap one of the towels from the floor around her. Because she seems to still be in shock, I hook my thumbs in the waistband of her wet panties and tug them down her trembling legs. I must not be as depraved as I think, because I somehow manage not to look at what she keeps under them when I lower to a squat and grip her ankle to help her step out of the dripping fabric.
I toss them in the garbage can. Earlier, I threw a towel over the place where she peed, and her eyes dart there now.
I know she’s gotta be completely humiliated by it, but the truth is, she’s not the first person I’ve made piss themselves. I guess she’s the first female. The only one I’m sorry for scaring.
She’s trying to stifle her sobs, which, of course, only turns them into snorts and choked gasps. Now I really feel like a first-class asshole.
“Aw, bambina.” I grab the two corners of the towel, and pull her against me. Her wet skin dampens my suit, but all I can think about is how soft her lush, naked form is against my body. The exhaustion in my limbs ebbs, cleared by the flames of white-hot desire. “Shh. You’re okay.”
She trembles against me, but her sobs quiet.
“Did I hurt you?”
She shakes her head, her wet pigtails splattering a drop of water onto my cheek. Her gaze tracks to it. A loose section in the front flops over her eyes.
I shift my grip on the towel to one hand and use the other to brush the hair back from her face. “You’re okay,” I repeat.
She blinks up at me with long-lashed blue eyes. I love having her up close and captive where I can study her better. She’s as beautiful as I originally thought, with porcelain skin and high cheekbones. It’s not just beauty that makes her special. There’s some other quality that makes her seem so out of place here. A fresh-faced innocence. Yet she’s not overly naive or young. She’s not dumb, either. I can’t put my finger on it.
I don’t release her. I don’t want to. The heat of her body radiates through my damp clothes and crowds my mind with the dirtiest of thoughts. If I were a gentleman, I’d leave the room and let her get dressed, but I’m not. I’m an asshole with a hotel casino to run.
And I still don’t know who the hell this girl is or how she ended up in my suite. And seriously, heads are going to roll for this. Even more because the girl suffered for it.
Right. If my brain were working better, I might acknowledge I’m the only one who can take blame for that part, especially since I’m still holding her naked and captive.
“It’s just a girl who looks like you doesn’t normally clean rooms in Vegas,” I offer as the lamest excuse ever. It’s true, though. I’m sure there are more girls like her out there. But I don’t see them around here. All I see are the fake-boobed hustlers trying to work some angle. The professionals. Women who use their bodies like weapons. And I have no problem with them. I’m happy to use their bodies, too.
But this one—she’s different.
Her full berry lips part, but she doesn’t say anything.
I can’t keep my hands to myself. I run my thumb across her lower lip, trace it back and forth over the plump flesh.
Her pupils dilate, giving me encouragement to keep touching.
“A girl like you is usually on the stage—some kind of stage—even if it’s just a gentleman’s club.”
Her eyes narrow but I don’t shut up.
“Girl like you could make a shit ton selling herself.” Mary, Queen of Peace, I want to kiss the girl. I lower my lips but manage to stop above hers. A kiss would definitely not be welcome. I may be a scary prick, but I don’t force myself on women. “You know how much a guy like me would pay for a night with you?”
This time I really went too far. She tries to yank back from me. I don’t release her, but I do lift my head. She presses her lips together a moment before saying, “May I go?”
I ease back, but shake my head. “No.” It’s a decisive syllable, short and curt.
She flinches. The dilated pupils narrow back to fear. I don’t like her afraid nearly as well as I like her trembling and soft, open to me, the way she was a moment ago. It’s a subtle distinction, though, because I do love the power position of having her here, at my mercy.
“I still need some answers.” I back her toward the sink counter, then pick her up by the waist and plop her bare ass down on the cool marble top. The towel flaps open when I release her, and I get another eyeful of her perfect, full breasts as she scrambles to find the corners and pull it closed.
I shake my head to clear the fresh flood of lust rocketing through me. My cock’s gone rock hard. I’m a man used to getting everything he wants, which usually includes women. The fact that this one isn’t available makes me want her even more. “Seriously,” I mutter. “I’d pay five large for a night with a girl like you.” Even as I say it, I know I’d never want her that way. I’d want to coax the willingness out of this one.
And that’s my strangest thought yet. Because I never, ever spend time dating.
“I’m not a prostitute,” she snaps, blue eyes flashing.
Her anger pulls me out of my sleep-deprived fantasy. I blink several times. “I know. Just saying you could make a lot of money in this town.”
I shake my head. What the fuck am I saying? I don’t want this girl to become one of those women.
And she just wants to get the hell out of here. So I need to get back to my interrogation.
“Who are you and why are you here?”
She draws in a shaky breath. “My name is Sondra Simonson. My cousin, Corey Simonson, works here as a dealer. She got me this job in housekeeping while I wait for something better to open up.” She speaks rapidly, but it doesn’t sound rehearsed. And it has enough details to ring true. “Marissa is my boss, and I offered to help her clean the rooms up here because the regulars are out sick. Her kid got a concussion and she had to leave me up here by myself. All I did was clean.” She lifts her chin, even though her pulse flutters at a frantic pace in her neck.
I wait for her to go on, not because I’m still that suspicious, but because I like hearing her talk.
She babbles on, “I just moved here from Reno…I taught art history at Truckee Meadow Community College.”
I tilt my head, trying to assimilate this new information. It only adds to the wrongness of this girl being in my room. “Why is an art history professor working as a goddamn maid in my hotel?”
“Because I have terrible taste in men,” she blurts.
“That right?” I have to work to keep from smiling. I lean my hip up against the counter between her spread thighs. When she blushes, I know she must be thinking about how close her pretty little bare pussy is to the part of me most eager to touch her.
I’m even more fascinated by this lovely creature now. What kind of guy does an art history professor fall for?
She swallows and nods. “Yeah.”
“You follow a guy here?”
“No.” She lets out her breath with a sigh. “I bailed on one. Turns out we had an unshared interest in polyamory.”
I lift an eyebrow. She’s studying me right back, her blue eyes intelligent now that the fear is wearing off.
“Let’s just say finding him banging three girls in our bed will be forever burned into my mind. So”—she shrugs— “I took our car and headed to Vegas. But karma got me because it got totaled when I arrived.”
“How is that your karma?”
“Because half that car belonged to Tanner and I stole it.”
I shrug. “Whose name was on the title?”
“Then it’s your car,” I say, like I’m the guy who makes the final ruling on all things to do with her ex. “So that still doesn’t explain why you’re in my bathroom.”
Or maybe it did. My brain is still short-circuiting from lack of sleep. The real truth is probably that I don’t want to let her go. I’d like to string her up in my room and interrogate her with my leather flogger all night long. I wonder how that pale skin would look with my hand prints on it.
Too much, Tacone. I try to pull back. The room swims and dips as my vision trails. Fuck, I need sleep.
She blinks rapidly. “Because you won’t let me leave?”
I was right. She’s smart.
The corners of my mouth twitch.
“Housekeeping is the only place I could get a job on short notice. I’d rather work as a dealer. Think you can hook me up?” Now she’s getting sassy.
Funny, I don’t have the urge to take her down a peg the way I usually do with employees. Unless, of course, it involves her naked and at my mercy.
Oh yeah. I already set that up.
But the suggestion of her working as a dealer irritates the fuck out of me. I don’t know if it’s because she’d be ruined by Las Vegas in a month, or because I really want to keep her in my room. Cleaning my floors. Naked.
She flinches because I say the word too hard. I’m definitely having a difficult time modulating my behavior. But she just shrugs. “Well, this is temporary, anyway. Just until I earn enough to get a new car and find a teaching job.”
Okay, even not trusting my instincts, I think she’s who she says she is. Which means I have no good reason to keep her prisoner here. I step back and take another long perusal of her now that I know more about her. Seriously. I want to keep her.
But considering the things I just did to her, she’ll probably quit the second she leaves my suite. I point to her crumpled dress and bra on the floor. “Get dressed.”
Before I do or say anything else to traumatize the girl, I leave the bathroom, shutting the door behind myself.
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