For three hours, I show Bailey all I can of the city I grew up in, including sharing a pie at Lou Malnati’s.
“Did you come here a lot as a kid?” she asks as she cuts her slice with a knife and fork.
I chuckle as I shake my head. “My parents wouldn’t be caught dead in here, but my nanny, Leonie, would bring me sometimes when I was a kid. I came a lot more when I was a teenager, most of the time with friends when I was back in the city.”
“Back in the city?” she queries.
“Home from boarding school,” I clarify.
“Oh.” Her low murmur makes it clear we grew up in different worlds.
When we finally make it to the Blackwood Hotel—initially founded in 1903—I give her a tour around the lobby, pointing out the artisan craftsmanship in the moldings, the custom period furniture, and the artwork that graces the walls, even though I’m eager to get her naked.
It’s only when she yawns that I gallantly offer, “Let’s get up to the suite. We’ve had a long day.”
Going to be an even longer night.
“Thank you for showing me the city,” she says as we ride the elevator up. “And the pizza was delicious.”
“You’re very welcome.”
We enter the suite. Three feet in, Bailey stops and looks around at the opulence with her mouth hanging open. Far more so than Vegas, the Chicago Blackwood will always boast the finest of everything. Silk wallpaper, imported Persian rugs, Italian marble flooring, hand-carved moldings, and precious artworks.
Without asking her preference, I walk over to the wet bar and pour us each a small glass of port. Not to stall the inevitable, but to relax us into the conversation that needs to happen.
She thanks me when I hand her the glass and takes a small sip. Holding my glass, I point toward a short hallway. “The guest room is in there, as are your bags. But you’ll be staying in my room.”
Bailey inhales sharply, taking a bit of port down the wrong pipe and immediately starts coughing.
I help her along with firm pats to her back as she sucks in air. When she finally gets her breath back, she asks, “Say what?”
“Honestly, Miss Robbins… your elocution is much more refined than that.” I smile over the rim of my glass before I take a drink.
She scowls before pointing out, “Must I remind you that we have a very explicit agreement. In writing. Signed by both of us. That we have a sexual relationship within the walls of The Wicked Horse and everything outside of that is business.”
“I do recall that agreement,” I quip dryly.
“And furthermore, we are on a business trip, Mr. Blackwood.” She lifts her chin, her mouth pressed in a pinched, prim line. “I take my duties seriously.”
God, she’s fucking adorable.
I step closer, take her glass, and turn to the wet bar to set them down. When I face her, her expression is wary, but she holds her ground—chin still lifted in what I’d almost term to be defiance.
“Miss Robbins,” I murmur, taking another step, placing a hand on the side of her neck. “Bailey,” I clarify. “We’re off duty in private. I am dying to fuck you. If you’re honest with yourself, you’re dying to fuck me, too. I’m sure we can make a little exception to our agreement.”
“Slippery slope,” she points out, trying to be a voice of reason where reason is simply not needed.
“I hope some things get very slippery indeed,” I say in a low voice, and there it is… her lips quirk upward.
Still, she takes a step back from me. “Declan… this is moving past the boundaries we established.”
“Fuck boundaries,” I growl as I take two strides to put myself right back in front of her. Her head tips back, her lips part, and I can see it in her eyes. She’s ready to toss them out the window, too.
But letting this play out just a bit more may be enjoyable, and I also think it would be fun to spice it up.
“Now,” I say to her in a low tone laced with warning. “You can fight me on this if you want. But I’m stronger than you are, and you’ll lose.”
Something flashes in her eyes—a story plays out. First shock, then realization we could have a bit of a scuffle if we wanted, and, lastly, heat. Pure, unfiltered heat as she imagines how it might go if she were to actually fight me.
I move fast, bending at the waist, and she gives a tiny shriek as I hoist her over my shoulder. She makes the mistake of wiggling, an attempt at escape, so I slap her on the ass with just enough of a bite she gasps in a good way.
My long legs get us into the master suite quickly, and I toss her onto the bed. She bounces once, makes as if she’s going to roll away from me, but I’m on her fast.