Jared touched the small of Jane’s back when he saw her expression cloud. “Is anything wrong?”
Ah. “Does it look familiar?” he asked.
“Could it be in a particular video ad—-”
Jane’s eyes widened. “The future update of H!”
He was about to answer when he heard Christian Ravenhearst say from behind them, “I’m pleased you recognize it, pet.”
Jared’s face became expressionless as he watched his friend draw Jane possessively towards his side. The look that Christian directed towards him was grim, which didn’t surprise Jared. Actually, he preferred it this way, too. It was better when everything was out in the open.
“Thank you for bringing my woman to me,” Christian murmured.
Jared bared his teeth in a smile. “It was my pleasure.”
The undercurrent in the air crackled with tension, and Jane’s head slowly turned from Christian to Jared. Was it just her, or was something seriously wrong here?
And then Christian looked down at her with smoldering azure eyes, and Jane forgot her concerns as she found herself succumbing to the sensual promise in his gaze.
Christian’s head lowered and she didn’t even think of resisting. Her lips parted, and his mouth closed over hers. The stroke of his tongue was bolder than usual, rougher, and more possessive.
She loved it, and she wanted more.
When he lifted his head, she couldn’t help thinking dazedly, Wow.
Christian turned to his friend with a cold smile. “Shall we go?”
“Of course.” Jared’s voice was tight.
Jane was bemused. These two were friends, so the animosity that she sensed between them—-
She mentally shook her head. She must still be imagining things, she decided, a late effect of her sexual hangover.
After taking hold of Jane’s hand, Christian led them all the way to the back, where a short hallway connected the casino to an annexed building. This turned out to be the restaurant, and Jane let out a small gasp of appreciation. This time, the interior transformed the place into a majestic Roman bath, and the servers were all dressed like gladiators, with olive wreaths around their heads.
The table setup was equally impressive, with silk tablecloth and expansive crystal chairs.
Jared surprised Jane by pulling out a chair for her the moment they reached the table, and she stammered, “Thank you, Mr. Westland.” She could feel Christian’s gaze boring through hers from the back, but it wasn’t like she could do anything. His friend was still the boss’ boss of her boss’ boss.
“Jared, remember?” The CEO’s voice was unnervingly husky. “You promised…”
Jane cleared her throat. “Jar—-”
“Let me place the napkin on your lap, pet.” Christian’s silky voice cut her off.
“Umm, sure.” She turned towards Christian as the napkin settled on her lap—-
His fingers cupped her knee, squeezing.
Jane tensed in her seat. The tiny touch was more than enough to make her senses burn alive, and her dismayed gaze flew to Christian. What did he think he was doing?
A waiter-slash-gladiator approached them then, and she murmured her thanks as she accepted the menu with its white leather folder. She opened it and gulped. After a few moments, she heard Jared and Christian give their orders, and Jane gulped again.
“And for the fräulein?” the waiter asked.
Jane reluctantly lowered her menu, and she felt her stomach squeeze as she found all three men gazing at her.
“What would you like to order, Jane?” Jared asked.
“Would you like me to order for you, pet?” Christian asked at the same time.
Be herself. She cleared her throat. But…what if it was always hard to be herself? What did that say about her?
“Is it bad,” she heard herself say, “if I can’t make up my mind—-”
Both men arched an eyebrow at her, and she wondered absently if they knew how identical they were.
“Because…” She took a deep breath and then finished in a rush, “I need to use Google Translate to understand the menu.”
“It’s in German,” she exclaimed. “It’s not normal for an American and an Englishman to understand German, okay?” Her tone was now defensive. “It’s just not.”
The two men said at the same time, “You’re funny.”
Jane was taken aback. “That’s creepy and hilarious at the same time.”
The two men scowled at her and then stared grimly at each other when they realized they were still unconsciously mimicking the other.
Jane wondered if she should be insulted. Were they being sexist, or was it a bromance thing? She received a glare for doing nothing, and yet the most they could do was stare into each other’s eyes?
“Fraulein.” The waiter’s hesitant voice made Jane glance back at him. “Perhaps I could translate?”
Jane beamed. “Are you sure? I thought I couldn’t ask you to do that because it’s…” she lowered her voice, saying confidingly, “…a social gaffe.”
The intimate tone of Jane’s voice flustered the waiter, and he stammered, “I would be more than happy to translate.”
“Translate away then,” Jane said cheerfully.
As he translated each line, the waiter’s thin chest began to puff with pride when he saw the attentive way Jane listened to him.