OH MY GOD!
The billionaire chuckled softly at the flare of panic in her eyes. “Relax, babe. I’ve got you.” His hand subtly smoothed the dress down at the same time Tilly slowly and carefully rocked back to her heels, and she nearly slumped in relief when the moment of danger finally passed without her butt suffering any visual casualties.
“Thank God that’s over,” she told him feelingly as they resumed walking,
“I’m still waiting,” she heard the billionaire murmur languidly, and Tilly shot him a bewildered glance. Waiting for what?
A saintly smile unfolded over his lips, making him appear boyishly good-looking for an instance.
But then he said—
“For you to grovel in gratitude, of course.”
A choked laugh escaped Tilly even as she came to appreciate the undeniable truth behind the most common of proverbs. Leopards could never change their spots, devils could never hide their horns, and such was the case with Logan Hardwall, who, despite what his utterly urbane appearance implied, could never be trusted to play the gentleman.
“Just to be clear—” Tilly waited until they were inside the elevator before turning to the billionaire with lips prudishly pursed in feigned censure. “I’m holding you completely accountable over what happened. If you hadn’t threatened to speak about certain unmentionables—”
Logan smirked. Unmentionables? Hadn’t that term been retired a couple centuries ago already?
“There wouldn’t have been any risk of exposure in the first place, and so to answer your question—”
“I didn’t actually ask anything,” the billionaire pointed out.
She ignored that, saying, “No, Mr. Hardwall. I am not going to thank you.”
“Because of what I did earlier?”
“Which you considered something only a jerk would do.”
“Your words,” she said primly, “not mine.”
“But it’s essentially what you’re saying.”
Her shoulders moved in a delicate shrug.
“Since you already think I’m a jerk,” the billionaire drawled, “then I might as well act like it, don’t you think?”
Tilly was bewildered at first, unsure of his meaning, but when the billionaire actually bent down to reach for the hem of her dress, and she realized he was threatening to flip it up — she let out an incoherent sound, something between gasping, laughing, and squeaking.
Logan Hardwall really was a jerk, but God, he could be so cute about it!
“I give up! I give up!” Tears of laughter burned her eyes as she found herself actually swatting his hand away and stepping back to prevent him from reaching for her skirt again. “You have my undying thanks, o Great and Generous One. Happy now?”
In answer, the billionaire had the gall to look contemplative, like he was seriously considering having Tilly go down on her knees as well. Outrageous, incorrigible man. But rather than feeling furious or offended, she was painfully conscious of how this rare glimpse of the billionaire playing a roguishly charming knave had her helplessly entranced.
Everything she read about Logan Hardwall had painted him as this courteous but intensely private man who liked to keep everyone at a distance.
He was supposed to be all about the money, and even her newfound friends had warned her of the same things. Cold. Aloof. Someone who thinks his wife must be an asset to his business. Or, in this case, the kind of man who saw nothing wrong in buying himself a mail-order bride who was desperate enough to be at his beck and call.
And then there was the thing Harry wrote to her about Logan. I think he has the saddest eyes, so perhaps…you’re the one to make him smile?
And yet, things had somehow ended up the other way around. In the few times Tilly had been able to spend time in his company, it was Logan himself who kept making her laugh, alternating as he did between his dry sense of humor and a bluntly acerbic talent for banter.
When they were together…
He never seemed sad, Tilly realized, stunned. Irritated. Stunned. Chagrined. Aroused. The list went on and on, but not once had he appeared sad.
Logan caught sight of the odd glance Tilly threw his way as the elevator doors opened, and she stepped out after him. “What is it?”
She shook her head. “Nothing.”
Like hell that was true, Logan thought. When those words were spoken, there was always a catch. It was a fact of life, and smarter men had simply learned to be on guard every time a woman would say nothing was wrong.
With Tilly seated opposite the billionaire inside the limousine, she made sure to keep her legs together, not wanting to accidentally reveal even the tiniest flash of her private parts.
Classic example of locking the barn after the horse had bolted, she couldn’t help thinking with a wince. But even so. Memories of how he had so expertly pleasured her (and pleasured himself while doing so) were now as surreal as they were vivid, and it seemed even more of an illusion now, with the billionaire taking a call on his mobile phone…in what sounded like Dutch?