He lifted his head, and he looked better. “I’m good. Really. Go get some sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.” He smiled and waved me off. I smiled back, and we left.

James held my arm on our short walk back to the hotel. He had a firm grip on the back of my arm, just above my elbow. He seemed to like that spot. “Stephan and I spoke at length. He knows I would never take advantage of you when you’re impaired.” James seemed to feel the need to explain this to me. “If I didn’t know otherwise, I would think he was your older brother,” he continued. “How long have you two been close?” he asked.

I sent him a sideways glance. He was fishing for information about me, I could tell. I didn’t play that game. Especially when I knew next to nothing about him.

“A long time,” I answered vaguely. That’s the best he would get. I had already sobered up considerably, so he’d missed the boat on any carelessly thrown information. Especially since I was planning to never drink again. I was already mortified by some of my antics that night, and I wasn’t even completely sober yet.

“You need to get on the pill.” He abruptly changed the subject, his voice authoritative.

I sent him another sideways glance. This glance was on it’s way to a glare. “My body, my business,” I told him stiffly.

“When we’re having sex, it will be my business as well. And you need to get started. It can take weeks to months before it becomes effective.”

My glance became a glare. “For your information, I’m already on the pill. I have bad periods, and it helps make them milder. I’ve actually been on them since I was a teenager… for personal reasons.” Reasons I would never tell him. Like the fact that Stephan and I had lived in an abandoned building with a bunch of other homeless people and I’d been terrified of being raped and getting pregnant. I hadn’t been able to sleep for the fear. A trip to the free clinic had given me a great deal of peace of mind. About the pregnancy aspect, at least. “But you are outrageous, you know that? I’ve never agreed to have sex with you.”

“What personal reasons?” he asked. Of course he would zero in on the thing I was the least willing to talk about.

“I prefer to keep those reasons personal.” I stuck my tongue out at him.

His hand squeezed my arm in a warning. “You are exasperating.”

“Let me bombard you with a bunch of personal questions and see how you like it,” I shot back.

“Give it a try. I think the tradeoff might just be worthwhile for me.”

I fell silent at that.

We made our way into the hotel without a word. I nodded at the girl working the front desk as we walked by. Her name was Sarah, and she knew Stephan and I. We’d even gone out with her a few times. She gave me wide eyes. She probably thought Stephan and I were a couple, as so many people did.

“Hey, Sarah,” I called out, without stopping.

“Hey, Bianca,” she called back.

“The security here is deplorable,” James said as the elevator doors closed on us. He was shaking his head in dismay.

I giggled. “What did you expect? It’s a crew hotel in downtown manhattan. The security isn’t deplorable. It’s non-existant.” I giggled harder. Rich people could be funny.

He gave me a disgruntled look. “It’s terrifying. Anyone could come in here.”

I just kept giggling. “That’s what locks and police are for. If you think this is bad, you should see some of the places Stephan and I have stayed.” Oh shit. I hadn’t meant to say that out loud.

His intent eyes searched my face. “Where? What do you mean? Do you still stay in those places?”

I shrugged, trying to blow past the whole thing. “Um, not really. I guess this is our least secure crew hotel at the moment.” The thought made me start giggling again.

He held a hand out for my key card, and I gave it to him without a word.

“I would prefer if you stay at a more secure place when you visit the city. I’ll arrange it,” he said, shocking me.

I shook my head. “No. No. No,” I told him clearly. “I don’t know what you think is going on here, but you are not going to take control of my life. You can just rule out that scenario right now.”

His mouth set in a hard line. “We’ll talk about it when you’re sober.”

He was crazy, I decided. “You can talk all you want. That is not happening.”

He noticed the open connecting door as we entered my room. He gave me a questioning look, going through the door, as though he had the right to search the place.

“Stephan’s room?” he asked from Stephan’s room.

“Yes,” I answered.

He came back in, closing and locking the door without asking. I just went to the bed and lay down, closing my eyes.

“I need to set my alarm,” I told myself out loud, reaching for my little bag. I had dropped it on the floor somewhere between the door and my bed.

“I’ve got it,” James told me, and I heard him moving around.

I heard the little sound that meant my phone had been plugged into a charger.

“Thank you,” I murmured, eyes still closed. “You can go now. I’ll wake up on time. I’ve never been late to work. I’m not gonna start the habit tomorrow. As soon as my head stops this spinning, I’ll be falling asleep.”

He didn’t respond, and I heard him moving around my room. He went into the bathroom, coming out just a moment later. The bed dipped as he sat beside me on the bed. I felt and smelled a cool, makeup removing wipe on my face.

I tensed up in surprise. What’s he doing? He gently wiped my entire face, even wiping my eyelashes carefully to remove my mascara.

“You hardly wear any makeup,” he said absently. “You have a lovely complexion.” That was such a sweet thing to say that I had to snort.

“Look who’s talking, Mr. Beautiful,” I said.

“Perhaps I’ll just call you Mrs. Beautiful,” he said to me, leaning down to kiss just the tip of my nose.

I felt him get up again, returning after just a moment. When I felt his fingers on the button of the waistband of my shorts, my eyes shot open, my hands moving to block him. The only light in the room came from the bathroom, but I could still make him out.

“What are you doing?” I asked slowly.

He brushed my hands away, unbuttoning my shorts and sweeping them down my legs in a quick, smooth motion.

“Taking care of you,” he said mildly. “I told you and Stephan that I would. I’m getting you ready for bed right now. And if you start throwing up all of that poison you drank tonight, I’ll take you to the bathroom and hold your hair out of your face for you. Hold still. I’ll have you changed faster if you don’t fidget so much.”

Strangely, I obeyed him, and he had me out of my clothes and into the thin cotton shift I had packed as a nightgown.

He removed my bra like a pro, never touching a thing beyond my back and shoulders. He barely jostled me as he did it. It was rather impressive. He even folded my shorts carefully, and hung my blouse up, as though he did this everyday. He tucked me in carefully.

What a strange billionaire, I thought to myself.

When he finished, he came to stand over me. He looked down at me, hands in his pockets, looking like he wasn’t sure what to do next. It was a strange look for him.

“You can sleep here,” I told him. “If you can handle the lack of security.” I couldn’t help but tease him about that.

He sucked in a breath. “Do you mind if I just sleep in my boxers? It’s much more comfortable, and I swear I won’t try a thing. Tonight.”

Did I mind? I was dying to see his body. I just had to know if he was that tan everywhere.

“Okay,” I said in a breathless voice.

He didn’t hesitate after that, stripping off his shoes, socks, shirt and slacks in short order. I wished fervently that the lights were on, never taking my eyes off of him. He slid onto the other side of the bed from me, lying on his back on top of the covers.

“Go to sleep,” he told me.

“Are you tan like that everywhere?” I asked him, just on the edge of sleep. If he answered me, I never heard him as I drifted off.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Mr. Moody

The sound of my alarm woke me from a deep sleep. I never slept that hard, and coming out of it was something I was unaccustomed to. I knew instantly that it was gonna be a rough morning by the pounding in my temples.

The clock showed five a.m, but my body still thought it was two a.m. A twenty-four hour layover was never enough time to adjust to the time difference.

I wasn’t surprised to find that James had left, though I was strangely disappointed.

Since there were no longer any lingering effects of alcohol buzzing through my system, I knew I had a problem. I was starting to like that kinky rich bastard.

I went directly into the shower, pinning my hair up and keeping it carefully dry. There was no way I’d have time to dry it if I washed it.

I threw my shift back on my slightly damp skin, planning to wear it until it was time to change into work clothes. I was so used to sharing adjoining rooms with Stephan that it was just second nature for me to stay at least partially decent while I got ready.

My bathroom door was slightly ajar, so when my hotel room door clicked open and then closed, I froze in alarm. I peaked out of the door, both surprised and relieved to see that it was James.

He joined me in the bathroom without asking. Even Stephan wasn’t so familiar with me, so it caught me off guard that he would join me so casually in the bathroom right after I’d showered.

He handed me a cup of coffee and two white tablets. He set two bottles of water on the counter.

“The pills are for the hangover,” he told me. “And the water will help. You’re dehydrated.”

I took the pills, downing most of the first bottle in the process. A long drink of the coffee and I felt nearly human again.

I saw that he had changed his clothes. He was back in a suit, looking fresh and well rested.

“You went back to your place?” I knew little about him, but I did know that he lived primarily in New York. My eyes were on his impeccable suit. It was a soft gray, his shirt and tie blue today. I’d never gotten a chance to get a good look at him without his clothes on. Dammit.

As I looked at him, my eyes moved up to his in the mirror. We were both facing it, and his lovely turquoise eyes were glued to my body with an intensity that made my eyes follow his.

My thin shift, combined with my slightly damp skin, had, not surprisingly, made my nightgown transparent. I might as well be naked, I thought, a little stunned.

And he was drinking in the sight of me hungrily, as though he’d never seen anything so appetizing in his life. It was an intoxicating feeling, to put that look in his eyes.

He stepped in directly behind me, his eyes steadily on my chest. My breasts felt heavy and I wanted him to touch them so badly.

I unconsciously arched my back a little, my shoulders going back, my chest forward, my nipples clearly visible as they rubbed against the thin fabric of my shift. They were pebbled to hardness, and tightened even more as I watched them.


Tags: R.K. Lilley Up in the Air Erotic
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