“Good to see you, Mr. Merit,” the bellman says in greeting.
Chris rounds the hood and tosses the keys at him. “Don’t go on any joy rides, Rich.”
“No sir,” Rich agrees, grinning, and Chris slides him a tip I’m pretty sure is a hundred dollar bill. One sixth of my weekly pay for parking the car. “Luggage is in the trunk.”
“I’ll have it up right away, sir,” Rich assures him. “Are you doing an event at the gallery I haven’t heard about?”
“Not this time,” Chris replies. “For once, it’s all pleasure.” Chris laces his fingers in mine and waves at Rich.
We head toward the check-in desk. “A show?” I ask, unable to douse my curiosity.
“They have a gallery on the property.”
My eyes light up. “It seems wine and art go hand-in-hand.”
“A little too much for my taste,” he mumbles under his breath and it’s not the first time I’ve gotten a negative vibe from him about the association.
We are treated like royalty at the front desk, or rather Chris is. I am warmed by the way he keeps me close to his side, always touching me, as if he can’t stand not to be with me.
By the time we step onto the elevator, headed toward the penthouse suite and he leans against the wall, pulling me against him, my h*ps to his, I am all melted butter, and dripping chocolate. Yes, it’s a silly saying Ella had used when she’d first met her doctor, but it’s fitting. Ella. I miss her, and wish I’d hear from her, but Chris strokes a hand down my back, molding me closer, and my mind is pretty much mush.
He nuzzles my neck. “I cannot wait to get you alone.”
My hands settle on the hard wall of his chest and I peer up at him. “I thought we had reservations.”
“We do.” He pulls my ear to his lips again, and I know there must be cameras and recording devices. Of course, there are. “Which is why I’m going to f**k you hard and fast. We’ll go slow later.”
I gasp at the wicked words and my sex clenches, wetness clinging to my panties. Hard and fast. Oh yes. Please.
The doors ding a warning and open. Chris takes my hand and all but drags me down the hallway. The walk is eternal, the Alice-in-Wonderland tunnel of forever, before he slides a card through the door lock and we are inside. Before I can blink, I’m against the wall, with Chris pressed deliciously against me, his thick erection nuzzling my belly, his mouth devouring mine.
I moan into his mouth, the taste of him rich with desire, hungry for me. Me. That’s what makes me hottest of all, beyond his hands stroking my body, palming my br**sts and ni**les. How much I taste his desire for me. How much I feel his need.
“No one has ever made me lose control the way you do, Sara.” The confession is sealed with another scalding kiss, and oh yes, I am melting.
A knock sounds on the door. “Bellman.”
“Fuck,” Chris hisses, pressing a hand to the wall, and I sense him reaching for control, and have this sudden desperate need to keep him from finding it. This sudden certainty that the only way I will ever know this man as I want to is to take his control.
“Come back later,” I call out, and press my lips to Chris’s, my hand sliding down his hip and around to cup his shaft, stroking the thick ridge through his jeans.
He growls low in his throat and pulls his mouth from mine, and his eyes are dark pools of turbulent passion. He’s mad. Holy shit. He’s furious. “Losing control and you taking it from me are two different things, Sara. You won’t ever take it from me.” He shoves off the walk and stalks to the door and opens it, whistling to get the bellman’s attention.
Frozen to the wall, I feel shell-shocked. The dark Chris, the dangerous damaged Chris I keep forgetting exists, is back. What just happened to set him off? And damn it to hell, why does it turn me on when it shouldn’t?
The bellman is in the door with our bags and I haven’t moved. I feel his eyes on me and I know I must look a disheveled mess. Somehow, I focus on the room, bringing the amazing detail into focus. Vaulted ceiling encase me and to my right is a living area and full kitchen. A California King-size bed is to my left, a stucco fireplace in the corner in front of it, and beyond that a private patio overlooking the mountains.
The hotel door shuts and Chris locks it. My heart is thundering in my chest. I can’t look at him. I don’t think he wants me to look at him. I don’t know why. It’s just a feeling.
He rolls my suitcase to the center of the room and unzips it, pulling out a pair of cream-colored strappy high heels he drops on the floor, and a pale yellow chiffon dress he lays on top of the case when he closes it. “Put them on.”
I force my eyes to his. “You want me--”
“Yes.” I wet my dry lips. Okay. He wants me to dress up. Sounds like a good excuse to escape and regroup and boy, does regrouping sound appealing. I walk to grab the dress, intending to head to the bathroom, wherever it is.
“Right here,” Chris says. “Where I can see you.”
I gape and try to clarify again. “You want me--”
“Yes. I want.”
He sits down on the bed and I realize he intends to watch me undress and dress again. This is about control, about him demonstrating what he has and I do not. He needs it. He needs it on some deep level, and I am not going to deny him. For reasons I’ve yet to understand, giving Chris control doesn’t bother me, but I know in my heart, it keeps me at a distance. This is his wall, his barrier, his great divide; I am beginning to wonder if I can ever conquer his barriers. Right now though, I’m happy to let him conquer.