Acheron’s regular routine took over the remainder of his evening. Half an hour spent addressing the pile of urgent paperwork waiting in his study, another half hour doing business calls with managers who lived in different time zones, and a fifteen-minute workout at his personal gym to cap off the night.
But throughout it, memories of Pippi climaxing on his mouth had shadowed his every thought, and they only became more vivid the moment he stepped under the shower. He had never been this enamored with a woman before, and he couldn’t help feeling a little unnerved by the intensity of his obsession with Pippi.
You’ve put a spell on me, Pippilotta Jones.
A humorless smile twisted his lips at the thought, but even so he sought to purge all memories of her as soon as he hit the bed. Part of his strictly enforced discipline was being able to sleep at will rather than wasting any precious seconds on pointless bedtime ruminations.
Tonight, however, was different, his mind replaying over and over the minutes Pippi had belonged to him, and before Acheron realized what was happening, he was already reaching for his cock and doing something he hadn’t done since he was a boy.
He imagined it were Pippi’s fingers wrapping around his manhood, and the movements of his hand jerked faster. He thought of Pippi’s lovely lips parting wide open to take him all the way down her throat, and he came with a guttural growl.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Logic told him that time would make him eventually lose interest in her, but the thought didn’t please him at all. If anything, it made Acheron feel inexplicably restless and dangerously unstable – two things that he had never been, even when all the fucking odds had been stacked against him.
Control was the only thing that had kept him alive in all those years. Control meant not letting emotions get to him. Control meant playing by the rules. Control meant never showing any sign of weakness.
He needed to be in control where Pippilotta Jones was concerned. That was a fact. But what was frustratingly becoming less clear to him was whether he wanted it as well, and Acheron found himself brooding over this even more when, upon reaching for his phone, he saw that he had missed a call from the only person in his past that had threatened his control.
Pippi had a hard time sleeping and an even harder time getting rid of the giddy smile on her face. She turned to her side with care, not wanting to accidentally wake Vik, who was sleeping in the bunk below her.
Outside her window, a midnight sky of stars spread into the distance. Its beauty was beyond words, and it made foolish dreams easier to indulge in.
Before that fateful night of meeting him, Acheron Simonides had only been this vague figure of exacting authority to her. She had enough glimpses of his face on company newsletters to know what he looked like and grudgingly appreciate the sheer physical perfection of his features.
But that had been all.
He was a rich man, ergo someone she wasn’t interested in.
Which was probably why, Pippi acknowledged to herself ruefully, seeing Acheron turn on the charm was as much a shock to her as it had been to her family.
Rich men were bastards. That had always been a given in the Jones’ family. But somehow, Acheron had proved himself the exception, and he had been so genuinely nice that even hard-to-please Vik had been grudgingly bowled over. Within minutes, he had made everyone feel at ease, so much so they had forgotten to be self-conscious about entertaining a billionaire in their old, quaintly charming ramshackle of a house.
If Acheron had given her a house or a yacht, the pleasure of it wouldn’t even been half of what Pippi had felt, seeing him help Rue with her homework and listen attentively to Aunt Agatha’s concerns about her latest beau.
A low vibrating buzz from her iPhone made Pippi jerk in surprise, and she winced when below her she heard Vik mumble in protest.
“Sorry,” she whispered even as she couldn’t help reaching for her phone, hoping and dreading it turned out to be him.
And Lord save her, but it was.
Acheron: Are you still thinking of me?
Pippi: Probably as much as you’re thinking of me.
Acheron: You’re bad for my ego.
And you’re bad for my heart, Pippi wanted to say but didn’t quite dare to. Despite the intimacy they had shared, everything still felt new, and she knew it would take some time before she could fully let herself go around the billionaire.
Pippi re-read Acheron’s last message more carefully, knowing what the words spelled out in letters…and in something else.
Pippi: Are you okay?
Pippi: I don’t think it’s your style to send text messages to any girl.
Acheron: No. It’s not.