“Do you do this often?” I ask Jerico as he strolls along with me. Each of us have a glass of champagne in hand, but that doesn’t stop him from putting his other hand on my bare lower back, which is super sensitive to his fingers.
“Charity events?” he asks to clarify and I nod as I look at a set of front-row tickets to Adele along with backstage passes. I don’t even bother to look at the bids, because I couldn’t even afford to touch it.
I’m surprised Jerico does fancy events like this. Not that he’s not suave and sophisticated as well as rich, so he can afford to do these things. But the man I know is completely satisfied to stay tucked in his club, running his business and fucking until his heart is content, so it’s just a little odd. Not the charity itself. Given his military connections, I get why this would be important to him.
The next item we come to is a pair of boxing gloves that are old and worn. As I look closer, I note they’ve been signed by Muhammed Ali. I gasp as I lean forward to look at them, and then my eyes glance down to the paper where people can write their bids. There are several already, but the last one makes me swallow hard.
“You a fan?” Jerico asks, nodding at the photo of Ali hanging on the wall above the gloves.
“Of boxing,” I tell him with a smile. “I love it, and well… Ali was one of the greats.”
“I would have never pegged you as a fan of boxing,” Jerico muses. “Hockey, maybe. Football, I can see. But not boxing.”
“Hello,” I reply tartly with a roll of my eyes. “This is Vegas. Boxing is huge here.”
“That it is,” he murmurs before taking a sip of his champagne.
“Not that I’ve ever been to a live event, but I’ll usually go to a sports bar and watch.” I turn to look back at the gloves, knowing they’ll fetch a very good price. “I hope more people bid on those gloves. Totally worth more than that.”
“I’m with you,” Jerico says. “I paid almost twice as much for them at a non-charity auction.”
My head snaps around, the champagne sloshing in my glass. “You donated those?”
“Yup,” he says with a shrug. “I have all kinds of sports memorabilia, and this was definitely a worthy cause. I’m sure these gloves will go for a lot more. There are some serious spenders here tonight.”
He’s not kidding. The number of jewels being worn by the women is almost blinding, and some of the bids I’ve seen have been in the tens of thousands of dollars. It’s mind boggling to me.
Jerico and I walk around a bit more, and he bids on a painting by a local artist I didn’t particularly care for, but that stuff is so subjective anyway. He also steps aside for a moment and talks privately with the man in charge of the auction, but I don’t suppose it was a necessary introduction to me. And then someone is at a microphone, asking everyone to take their seats at their assigned tables for the meal to be served.
We’re at a table with six other people who Jerico knows. It hits me suddenly that he’s not just a hermit who hides in The Wicked Horse, but a real businessman. He owns a prominent security-consulting company and is probably very involved with the community if he’s attending functions like this.
I sit quietly, feeling like Julia Roberts in Pretty Women as the men discuss business and politics and the women talk to each other and ignore me. I only hope to God they don’t bring escargot because I definitely cannot eat it, and I don’t feel like being embarrassed by flinging a shell across the room.
When the salad is served, however, the chatter across the table dies down and Jerico turns slightly toward me as we eat. Leaning over, he whispers, “I hate all this polite chitchat.”
I have to swallow down a giggle before I whisper back to him. “Well, suck it up and eat your salad.”
Jerico responds by putting his hand on my leg, giving it a squeeze, and then using his fingers to pull at the silk of my gown. He gets it to rise right to my knees and then his hand is snaking under. I slap a hand on his wrist, look around the table to see everyone engaged in food or personal talk, and then I make a decision.
Not to stop him but to pull his hand up higher. I do this while watching Jerico’s nostrils flare and his eyes darken with arousal. But he does nothing more than squeeze the inside of my thigh before taking his hand away. I grin at him in satisfaction when he leans over once more to whisper, “Would you have really let me finger you under the table?”