How can I?
That realization creates a pit of sadness and indecision in my stomach and I rub at the spot, willing it away. Jack seems to sense the direction of my thoughts and moves to stand in front of me, his hand cupping the back of my neck, massaging those tense tendons with his thumb. “Is everything okay, angel?”
Not wanting to discuss my mother just yet, I press my lips together. “Your house is beautiful.”
He raises an eyebrow. “You’ve only seen one room.”
“By the time you show me every room in this house, your three days will be up.”
A shadow passes over his face. “Touché.” He drags his lips over mine, kisses me softly while his thumb continues to work kinks from my neck. “Maybe I should only show you the good ones, huh?”
I give him a look. “Let me guess. Your bedroom?”
“We’ll get to that. But nope.” His grin is devilish. “The game room.”
His smile isn’t merely gorgeous, it’s infectious. “Game room?”
Without another word, Jack takes my hand and guides me to a staircase leading downstairs. We travel through a den, complete with a temperature-regulated wine cellar and an actual bar with stools and elegant lighting, finally reaching what can only be described as a vast underground arcade. There are pinball machines lined up against one wall, along with vintage video games. A black, floor-to-ceiling screen.
An old, ripped couch faces it, looking completely out of place in a sophisticated mansion. I look at it pointedly and Jack rubs at the back of his neck. “Had this couch in my first apartment. College. I don’t get many chances to game anymore, but when I do…”
“It takes you back?”
“Yeah, I guess. All I had to worry about then was passing tests. Not a billion-dollar investment in sight.” His gaze travels over my face. “Some worries I definitely don’t mind having, though.”
My pulse scatters. “You like worrying about me?”
“Like? No. I love…having the privilege.” He reaches out, tracing my jawline with a sweep of his thumb. “A lot, Maisy.”
I’m going to spend the next three days feeling constantly breathless, aren’t I? “If you’re trying to convince me to make out with you on your college couch, forget it.”
His crack of laughter catches him off guard. “No, I think I’ve put you through enough today without covering you in ancient Cheetos dust.”
Right. He has put me through a lot. I started the day thinking I would be two million dollars richer by the end of it. Instead he’s put conditions on the money. That shouldn’t be something I let go so easily, even though it’s so tempting to let him sweep me away. “What about the pinball machines?” His jaw pops as I breeze past him. “You collect them?”
“Another throwback to college?”
Moving to stand beside me, he shakes his head. “More of a diversion. Something to take my mind off work on the weekends.”
I nod. “How else do you take your mind off of it?”
Jack points to a door. “Through there is a rock wall. I spend a lot of time climbing. Or in the attached gym. Or swimming…”
There seems to be more he wants to say. “And?”
He’s contemplative for a moment. “It’s just that I can’t remember the last time I even used the pool. Or the last time I bid on a vintage game. For the last six months, my hobbies have been eclipsed by Maisy Whitaker.”
“Oh,” I whisper, my knees turning to gelatin.
Jack blocks my view of the room, raking his lower lip through his teeth. “I’m trying out this new honesty thing,” he says. “What do you think?”
“I think you should pace yourself,” I whisper.
His gaze is riveted on my mouth. “Why? Does it fluster you?”
He looks down at the hem of my short dress and growls.
The staunch hunger he’s displaying reminds me Jack hasn’t allowed himself pleasure since Friday night. Three full days. What I’ve learned about male habits comes from romance novels. If that knowledge is to be trusted, a man as young as Jack is accustomed to pleasuring himself at least once or twice a day. Is he in pain? I don’t like knowing that.
Swiftly, I set aside my guilt.
Who exactly am I feeling sorry for here? A super-rich, extremely good-looking mansion owner who broke his promise. And won’t give me the full amount of money I earned?
“You’re frowning at me,” he drawls, with an amused expression. “God, I’d love to know what’s going on in that beautiful head.”
“I’ll tell you.” I strut past him. “For two million dollars.”
His low laugh follows me across the room. And eventually so does he. “Maisy—”
“What’s in there?” I point to a metal chest in the corner.
Jack clearly doesn’t want to be diverted from the main topic, but he sighs and answers anyway. “I had a company picnic last spring. A lot of the employees brought their kids, so I had some games on hand.” He walks over and flips open the heavy lid. “I bought out the Nerf section at the toy store.”