She had asked for something interesting, after all.
“Us,” Christian said silkily. “It’s the both of us who need to lie.”
“Okay, fine. What do the both of us need to lie about?”
“Nothing too ornery,” Christian murmured. “You only need to pretend that we have a good enough relationship for us to marry—-”
“If it helps,” Christian drawled, “then I dare you to marry me.”
A thin, gold tablet was placed next to each button on the elevator, and on the very top was the word Penthouse, next to C. Ravenhearst.
So that was his last name, Jane thought. It definitely sounded British, but more than that, the name Christian Ravenhearst didn’t sound like the ideal match for someone whose name was as ordinary as Jane Cooper.
So that should tell her, right?
The elevator whipped them to the sixty-fifth floor in a few minutes, and when the doors slid open, Jane felt like she was stepping into a world where only the most elegant living beings could exist. An enormous crystal chandelier, suspended from the twenty-foot-tall ceilings, illuminated the living area, which was dominated by white velvet cushions and a frosted glass center table. Priceless artwork hung on the wall while expensive vases graced the mantel that served as a divider between the sleek entertainment system and the brick-paneled digital fireplace.
It was, in a word, breathtaking, and made Jane feel like she was trespassing. “Maybe,” she heard herself say, “I should come back another time.”
“Your home’s amazing.” She paused. “So much so I think I should only come here when my outfit costs five digits.”
“Oh, please. Don’t feel like you need to ask for my permission either.” Jane didn’t hesitate to throw his words back at him, saying sweetly, “Just laugh.”
But Christian’ gorgeous features were once again marked with nothing but courtesy. “May I get you anything to drink?”
“Coffee would be nice,” she said after a moment. “As long as it’s not black.”
“Excellent. Follow me please.” Christian flashed a smile that was distractingly sexy, and she hastily lowered her gaze before she ended up gaping.
Christian’s kitchen was just as elegant as the rest of his penthouse, with marble cabinets and drawers on one side, and induction stoves and other state-of-the-art appliances on another. A ten-foot-long island with a marble countertop was built at the center, surrounded by white velvet stools.
“Have a seat, pet.”
The words should have made her feel she was being patronized, but strangely…it didn’t. Maybe it was because of how harsh he had been with Merry?
Swinging her stool around so she could follow his movements, she belatedly noticed the professional-grade espresso machine in the corner, and asked curiously, “Aren’t English people supposed to be into tea?”
“I like it enough,” Christian answered with a shrug, “but I’ve found myself gravitating towards tea at a rather early age.”
Gravitating, she repeated in her mind, more than a little impressed. Was that a product of a fancy British education?
Her eyes widened when he switched the machine on. “You know how to use it?”
“It’s in my kitchen, isn’t it?”
“I thought it was just for show, or you had a butler or something.”
Christian only rolled his eyes.
‘Nuff said, she translated with a grimace.
When he presented her with a cup of caramel macchiato—-
It even had coffee art, and pretty intricate at that!
“I hate you,” she said without heat as he took a seat next to her. She reached for her coffee and took a slow sip.
It tasted perfect.
“I do really hate you.”
Christian leaned back, asking lazily, “Why?”
“Because you’re perfect,” she answered unhesitatingly, “which means you can be yourself.”
“Are you not being yourself with me?”
“I am, but…” She wrinkled her nose. “You’re more an exception than the rule. I was able to be myself with you because we weren’t supposed to meet—-” She broke off.
“The workings of destiny,” Christian murmured.
“Or maybe fate just had a bad case of diarrhea and thought it would be fun if it threw us together for a loop.”
Christian chuckled. “I’ve never had this much fun with a woman.”
“I’ve heard that from other guys, too,” Jane shared. “But guess what? It’s Merry who—-” She broke off again and stared at her now half-empty cup. “What the hell is in this?” She had never been this talkative with anyone outside her family and closest friends.
“Truth serum,” Christian volunteered.
Jane glared at her macchiato. “I knew it.”
Christian suddenly reached for the cup, and before she knew it, her fingers were following its ascent as she found herself helping him take a sip.
“There,” Christian told her when they put the cup down. “We’re even.”
“Do you care to ask me anything then?”
She drank the last of her coffee as she mulled his question over. Finally, she asked, “Why do you need a fake fiancée?”
Christian bared his teeth in a smile that somehow made Jane want to lean away.
“What I need is a wife, and the fake part is negotiable.”