“You’re not inadequate, Jack,” I whisper. “Not in any way.”
A brisk laugh leaves him. “I’m a work in progress, is that it?”
I shake my head. “That implies I want to change you. I don’t.”
He searches my eyes. “What do you want to do, angel?”
“Uncover you.” I lift up on my toes and tease our lips together. “And you’re already letting me, just by telling me you feel inadequate.”
His nod is serious. “I feel horny, too. Does that earn me points?”
Several people turn to stare at my giggle. And I realize we’re standing in the middle of an extremely busy lobby, pressed up against each other with Jack’s hand caressing my butt through my flowery, lightweight skirt. I try to disengage, but he resists, drawing me tighter, tighter, until I can feel the muscles of his stomach, the thick rod pressing up between us. “Jack…” I say, breathily.
“I had a business partner. A friend from college.” Sensing he’s telling me something important, I hold my breath and wait for him to continue. “He sold shares of our company out from under me when I trusted him. More than anyone. And that trust was…really hard to give.” A muscle bunches in his cheek. “I found out about it by accident and sold the whole company overnight, leaving him with nothing. Then I dedicated five years to obliterating every startup he assembled. I made it my business to decimate him. Over and over again.”
I reel at his words, at the chill in his tone. And more, I reel over the pain it must have caused him to be screwed over by a friend. “What happened?”
“I stopped. That day six months ago, when I saw you for the first time. Ruining him didn’t seem important anymore.” I hear him swallow. “But I’m worried that, uh…level of maliciousness did something to me, baby. Maybe it’s irreversible.”
“No, it’s not, Jack. You were hurt. People lash out when they’re hurt.”
He makes a sound. “They don’t always have billions of dollars with which to do it.”
“That’s true. Then again, they don’t always have billions of dollars to fix it, either.”
His chest expands. After a beat, he pulls me closer, making it hard to breathe, and I get the sense he’s trying to absorb something from me. “Your first surprise is a recording session. In a professional sound booth.” He kisses my temple. “I might have an evil streak a mile wide, but I know what’s inside me for you is…right.”
I’m almost too dumbfounded to hear the second part of what he’s telling me. “Are you…serious? A recording session?” My throat threatens to close up. “Now?”
One side of his mouth lifts in a lopsided smile, his blue eyes hopeful. “Happy?”
In response, I throw my arms around his neck and squeal.
* * *
My two hours in the sound booth is a dream come true.
There is a professional sound engineer who helps explain the equipment and helps position me the appropriate distance from the microphone. I take out my phone and pull up a favorite passage from my most recent five-star book and recite it into the microphone, after which the engineer gives me some advice on my pacing and tone.
“You have a great voice,” she adds. “So easy to get lost in.”
Jack meets my eyes through the glass, his nod of agreement filling me with a fluttering herd of butterflies. The two hours of training seems to speed by, the words coming easier and easier, my voice growing clearer and more confident with every take.
Recording audiobooks has always been a kind of abstract wish. A dream career that would probably never actually come true, but when the two hours is over and the sound engineer gives me the file to take home, it begins to blossom as a possibility. An actual, real possibility. And I’m so happy, I can’t stop kissing Jack in the elevator back down to the lobby.
Jack’s hands tunnel through my hair, completely ruining my bun and leaving my long hair loose around my shoulders, while his hips pin mine to the wall of the elevator, our mouths mating in a wet, frenzied dance, my hands twisting in the front of his shirt.
Obviously spoiling me is very effective, because I’m ready to go home. I’m ready to go home and let him come inside me again. I want to give him pleasure after the best morning of my life. And it’s not only the generosity, it’s the thought behind it. Doesn’t he realize how much he’s proven about his character by gifting me something that proves he pays attention? Proves that he cares about this dream of mine and wants to help me believe in it?
Jack rocks against me, groaning into the crook of my neck. “Fuck. Do you know how hot it made me, listening to you read that love scene? Hearing that innocent voice of yours saying the word cock?” His teeth rake me, tugging on the lobe of my ear. “Say it now.”