“Nice to meet you.” My words came out raspy; I swallowed and tried to regain my composure. Smiling politely at him, I turned back to Brad, a question in my eyes.

He chuckled. “Julia, Marc and I have a long history. He was the prior owner of Saffire, but was generous enough to part with it.”

There was a deep laugh behind me, and I turned to see a perfect white smile split Marc’s face. “Generous? Your offer gave me little choice, my friend. But you have done very well with it, and I applaud you for that.” His eyes twinkled at me. “Have you been to Saffire?”

I blushed. “Yes. It is impressive. You did a wonderful job.”

He scowled good-naturedly. “It’s taken a few steps upward since my name was on the title. But Rain, this is my baby.” He spread his arms to indicate the club. “Unless ...” he said with a sly look to Brad, “you intend on adding it to your list of assets.”

Brad laughed, curving his arm around my waist. “No, Marc. I don’t have the time for anything but this woman right now.”

“Yes, I was admiring your ring, it is beautiful,” Marc said, his eyes dipping to my left hand. “Congratulations seem to be in order. You must be quite a woman if you tied down this stallion.” He sat on the closest chair, his eyes returning to mine, a knowing smile playing over his features.

“More than you know,” Brad said, squeezing my side gently and passing me a flute of champagne.

I smiled without comment, taking a sip of the cool bubbly.

A man appeared, bending over to speak rapidly in Marc’s ear. His gaze on me, I saw the moment when his eyes changed, urgency darkening their blue depths. He nodded and the man stood, taking a few steps back.

“I apologize, but something needs my attention.” Marc stood with an apologetic smile. “Please enjoy the champagne. I should wrap up this issue in the next hour or so. Brad, if you both are interested, I often entertain in the upstairs suite. I would love to share a few drinks with you later.”

Brad nodded, reaching out to grasp his hand. “As always, it is great to see you.”

I extended my hand, but Marc moved closer, planting a soft kiss on my cheek. “It has been a pleasure,” he said softly, the scent of his cologne lingering as he withdrew.

“Thank you for the table.”

He flashed that perfect smile and then left, the strange man in his ear, quick words speaking urgently as they disappeared into the crowd. I leaned back into the crook of Brad’s arm and sipped the champagne, glancing around the club, a sea of sequins, flirtations, and sexuality.

“What’d you think of Marc?” Brad’s eyes held a hint of mischief.

“He’s a little intense. Working hard that Rico Suave vibe he’s got going on.” I took a sip of champagne and looked out at the crowd.

“Did it work?” Brad’s voice was low and dangerous, and I turned to see him watching me closely, a hint of a smile playing over his mouth.

“What do you mean?”

“He wants to f**k you,” Brad said matter-of-factly, leaning back in the seat and tipping his glass back, his eyes on mine.

“What? No he doesn’t.”

“I assure you, he does. You didn’t see his face when you walked up. How his eyes drank in every inch of you.”

I shrugged, fighting the shot of pleasure that traveled through me. “Whatever.”

“You don’t understand.” Brad lowered his voice, moving his mouth to my ear, taking a soft bite of my neck, then playing his tongue lightly over the spot. “It isn’t just a desire of his. It is a possibility. One that he recognizes. He is like me, Julia. He goes after what he wants. And he understands that a ring on your finger doesn’t exclude him from the party.”

My mouth dropped, and I leaned back, putting distance between Brad and myself. “You told him? About what we’ve done?” I narrowed my eyes and Brad laughed.

“Easy, princess. I haven’t told him anything. But I’ve known Marc for over ten years. We have run in similar circles, have shared women several times, sometimes several women.” I felt a small bit of jealousy at his words, at their past, which didn’t, in any way, include me.

“You’ve ... seen him f**k?”

“Yes.” He took a swig of champagne.

“And?”

“And ... what?” His eyes danced with humor.

I groaned. “Don’t make me spell it out. Is he ... good at what he does?” I leaned closer, giving permission, and felt his hand return, sliding around my waist and pulling me tightly to him.

“He is very good at what he does.”

“Better than you?”

He shrugged. “Maybe you should find out.” His hand grew rougher, squeezing my skin possessively, the change catching me off guard, a sharp intake of arousal stealing all breath from my body.

I bit my lower lip, and stared into the flute of champagne, remembering Marc’s lips against my hand, and the intensity of those dark blue eyes. “Well,” I said, swirling the flute gently between my fingers, “then maybe we should head upstairs.” Then I tilted the glass back, letting the bubbles of champagne pop and slide down my throat.

Chapter 13

An hour later, I straddled Brad’s body, and he leaned back into the sectional, his eyes drugged with arousal, watching me, the line of his mouth barely affected by the smile that lay there. He ran his hands freely over the front of my dress, dipping inside my low and loose neckline and cupping each breast in turn. “God, you are beautiful.”

I said nothing, only gently moved against him, feeling a slight vibration run through us as the bass rocked a particularly loud note. I could feel the energy of the club, the muted hum of music, of a thousand bodies of barely-contained madness—dancing, kissing, falling in love—underneath us.

“Kiss me,” he commanded.

I shook my head with a smile. “No. Keep touching me.”

A second hand joined his first, both palms sweeping up and cradling my br**sts, the pull of the fabric joined with the rough skin of his palms temptingly perfect. He growled, low in his throat. “Like this?” He squeezed, a little rougher on my ni**les, my breath catching.

“Yeah.”

“Then kiss me.” He bucked up with his hips, throwing me forward, his upper body lifting, his mouth looking for mine, but I turned my head, gave him my neck, giggling when he nipped it.

“Not yet,” I whispered. “I’m not going to kiss you until his c**k is deep inside of me.”

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