“Wake up, baby.”
My eyelids fluttered open as a finger softly traced the shell of my ear. And I realized I was lying on the backseat of Rossi’s car with my head pillowed on Blake’s thigh. I sat up and did a catlike stretch. Glancing out of the window, I frowned as the car pulled up outside a tall, glass building. “Where are we?”
I lifted a brow. “Your place?”
“Whoever called you tonight will be pissed that their devious move didn’t pay off and make you run from me. You think I’d take you to an apartment that he broke into at least twice?”
Well, I hadn’t thought that Blake would bring me here. Sarah’s place, maybe. Or even my mother’s house. But not here. Purse in hand, I let Blake help me out of the car and said, “’Night, Rossi.”
The driver nodded at me. “You take care now.”
Hand in hand, Blake and I headed for the building. A tall, graying doorman flashed us a wide grin and opened the door with a simple, “Evening, Mr. Mercier.”
“Thank you, Leonard,” said Blake.
Inside, Blake pulled me past the desk, exchanging a nod with the male receptionist there. Still hand in hand, we then rode a private glass elevator up to the top level. It quickly became apparent that the entire floor belonged to him.
As he unlocked the door, I stepped onto the hardwood floor of the foyer, inhaling the scents of citrus and wood polish. Blake ushered me toward the living area. I felt a slight warmth seep through the soul of my shoe and paused. “Underfloor heating?” Oh, heaven. I kicked off my heels and let out a happy little sigh as the warmth eased the aches in my feet.
“Drink?” Blake offered.
“No, thanks,” I said, taking in my surroundings. The living area was bright and open with mind-blowing skyline views. Plush, comfy-looking white sofas were set on a large black rug. It should have looked bland, but it didn’t. Maybe because of the paintings, glasswork, and fresh flowers. A widescreen T.V. was placed in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, so that anyone looking at it also got to drink in the panoramic views.
“Nice,” I told him, aware that he was watching me closely. I did a slow turn, catching glimpses of the top-of-the-line kitchen, charming dining area, and the glass spiral staircase. Immaculate and luxurious, the apartment no doubt included every upgrade and every feature imaginable.
Unlike with the office in his club, it didn’t lack personality. Didn’t look like a stage or showroom. It reflected Blake well—clean, neat, stylish, bold. If I could one day afford a place with a view like that, I’d be a happy girl.
Swallowing up my personal space, he stroked my throat. “You’re tired.”
As I was yawning, I couldn’t even deny it. Honestly, I was so zonked I didn’t object when he lifted me into his arms and carried me up the staircase. Just like on the lower floor, every surface was free of dust, smudges, and clutter. The place was spotless and smelled amazing.
“Your cleaner and I should really talk and exchange tips,” I said as he took me into the bedroom, which was as tasteful and elegant as the rest of the place. Like the man himself, the furnishings were masculine, stylish, and had character. He stood me at the foot of the massive bed and then peeled off my clothes. As I sank into the comfiest mattress in the history of ever, I almost groaned.
Still standing, he tilted his head. “I like the look of you in my bed.”
I really liked resting on it, so all was good in my world. He began to unbutton his shirt, revealing taut muscle and sleek skin, and I went from exhausted to alert in a second flat.
“Mine to do with what I wish,” he added.
I could only nod, my attention on the gloriously male, ripped body he was revealing inch by blessed inch.
“So, you’re a writer. What’s your penname?”
I didn’t tear my eyes away from the striptease as I answered, “You won’t have heard of it.”
“Probably not,” he allowed. “I’m not much of a reader, and I stick to non-fiction books anyway.”
I gaped. “Not much of a reader? How can I ever trust you?”
He chuckled. “Penname?”
He crawled onto the bed, hovering over me, and pressed a light kiss to the hollow of my throat. “Why horror books?”
“I didn’t really choose the genre. Not consciously.”
“I’m guessing you use a penname because you don’t want your career tainted by your association with Bale. And because you’re not good with attention.”
I inhaled sharply as he curled his tongue around my nipple. “I like this kind of attention.”
“Good. Because I’m going to fuck you fast and hard. And then you’re going to sleep, because you’re exhausted.”
Sounded good to me.
Muffled voices woke me the next morning. It took me a moment to realize where I was, and it was awfully disappointing to also realize that I was alone. I was a big fan of morning sex.
I was also, just as Blake had said, curious as a cat. So it was kind of a reflex to strain to hear whatever conversation was taking place somewhere outside the room. All I could be certain of was that one voice belonged to Blake and that the other voice belonged to a woman. Tara? I couldn’t be sure.
I edged out of bed, pulled on my thong, and slipped on one of Blake’s shirts. As I stood on the landing overlooking the large living area, I could hear the voices better, but there was no one in sight.
“… how can I not be intrigued when I get a call from Tara, telling me that my baby stepbrother laid a claim on a girl? Tell me about her.”
Ah, this had to be Emma.
There was a brief hesitation before Blake responded. “Her name’s Kensey Lyons. She’s twenty-six. She waitresses at Chrome Canvas Bar.”
“Which tells me nothing,” Emma grumbled.
“I have a job for you,” he said, sober. “I have two names—Ricky Tate, and Noah Linton. I need you to find out everything you can about these people. I’ll write down some basic details so you have a starting point. Make this job a priority.”
“I’ll get my darling husband right on it. He’s the best PI I have. Can I ask why this is so important?”
“It’s possible that one of them is stalking Kensey.”
“Really? Jesus. Who do you think it’s most likely to be?”
“I don’t know. But they’re both in her life for similar reasons. You’ve heard of Michael Bale, right?”
“The serial killer?” asked Emma.
“Yes. He’s Kensey’s stepfather. Her mother married him when Kensey was a toddler.”
“Really? That must be one hell of a cross to bear. Poor girl.”
I blinked at the unexpected sympathy. Usually, people made disparaging remarks.
“Wait, I knew I recognized the name ‘Lyons,’” Emma went on. “She’s Maxwell Buchanan’s kid—the one he didn’t acknowledge.” A pause. “I’ve never liked that family, especially Joshua. Never liked his ex, Libby, much either.”
Oh, I was going to like Emma.
“I’d like to meet Kensey, Blake. We need to set something up. When will you next see her?”
A long pause. “She’s here.”
“You actually brought a woman here? Oh, this just keeps getting better and better. Well, go get her.”