Book 2: HITS Excerpt:
Turning my head, I rest my cheek against her skin. I’m a sick fuck, ’cause the smell of sex, of us, coming from between her legs is oddly satisfying.
“You’ll just have to make it up to me.” I can hear the smile in her voice.
I release her knee and roll to my stomach. Leaving my cheek against her thigh, I bring one hand to the right cheek of her ass.
“How long have you worked at the club?”
My question catches her by surprise. The muscles beneath my cheek and hand tense.
“A few years.”
I don’t like how guarded she sounds.
“Are you from here?”
I brush my thumb over her skin, feeling the muscles relax a little.
“Where are you from?”
“You aren’t comfortable with questions.” It’s not a question.
“Why are you in L.A.?” she asks, turning the tables.
“Promotion. Music stuff.” It’s not a total lie, but part of my contract with the show is keeping my identity as a judge a secret.
“So, you’ll be heading back home soon.” This isn’t a question.
“Tell me about you, Liza.” I trace invisible patterns on her skin.
“Not much to tell.” I feel her shrug and then she sighs. “I came to L.A. thinking I would be famous. Turns out, a lot of people have the same idea.” She laughs quietly.
“How did you find the club? To be honest, I wouldn’t have given that fucking place a second glance from how it looks on the outside.”
“Waitressed with a girl who told me about auditions. I went to check it out and the rest is history.”
The room falls silent, but it’s not an uncomfortable silence. It’s too fucking comfortable.
“Do you often go back to hotels with people who come to watch the show?”
It’s a shitty question and I know it, but being with her is too easy. Time with my snake charmer is up.
Her body stiffens.
“Why would you say that?”
“I didn’t say anything. I asked a question.”
“You know exactly what you’re saying.” Her body disappears and my head hits the bed. I immediately miss her presence.
“Don’t get pissy. It’s just a fucking question.” Rolling onto my back, I rub my face. I want to jump up and drag her back to me.
“Fuck you, Jackson. You got what you wanted from me, don’t be an asshole about it now.”
The bed shifts and I angle my head, watching her walk toward the bedroom door. Without thinking about why I need her to leave, I roll from the bed and catch her around the waist. She squeals as I lift her into my arms.
“What the hell are you doing?” she asks, more confused than mad.
“I didn’t say you could leave.”
Kneeling on the bed, I lay us both down onto the mattress.
“I don’t take orders from you. I’m not a whore or whatever you want to believe I am.”
I pull the rumpled blanket over our naked bodies, tucking the white cotton around her.
“What are you doing?” she asks, her voice exasperated. “I was leaving, just like you wanted me to.”
Mid-tuck, I freeze. She figured my shit out.
“I’m not stupid,” she whispers.
“No.” I settle in and wrap my arm around her, making sure she doesn’t get up. “You’re worse.”
She exhales loudly and I know she’s going to speak, curse me, and do what I need her to do, but I won’t let her leave. I can’t.
I cup her cheek, bring her face to mine, and press my mouth to hers, ending the conversation before it starts. Something inside me shatters. My chest burns and I deepen the kiss.
This kiss is different—sensual, soft, explorative. It’s goddamn meaningful. Holding her face, I bring my body flush to her side, but it’s not close enough. I wrap one leg around hers, pulling her into me.
Breaking away from each other, I drop back to the pillow and hold her head to my collarbone. We breathe heavily into the silence.
And if I wasn’t fucked before, I am now.
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