I cocked my head and challenged Chance, laughing. “Yeah, sweet talker, how about something romantic?”
Zelda changed the background we were standing in front of. No longer were we standing in front of the famous old, neon Las Vegas sign. We were now transported to a honeymoon suite of some sort. The background had a photo of a large bed filled with rose petals and candles were lit all around the room. It was so ridiculously cheesy, I couldn’t help but laugh. “Come on. It’s our fake honeymoon night. There’s our bed. Don’t you have something romantic to say?”
Chance glanced back, got a load of the scene and turned back to me. “I’m not exactly the romantic type.”
“What a surprise.”
Chance’s eyebrows lifted and then he stared at me for a second before he leaned in to whisper in my ear. “How’s this for wedding night romance. If that were our bed, and I was lucky enough for you to be my wife.” He paused and took a breath in, exhaling warmth on my neck. “If I was lucky enough to get to have you, I’d own every inch of that body. For the first time in your life, you’d give up that control you cling to so tightly. I’d demand it, and you’d willingly give it to me.” He practically growled the rest. “That bed. I’d fuck you full of romance.” He pulled his head back to look at me. Our noses were touching, but neither of us leaned in to formalize the connection. It wasn’t necessary.
Zelda interrupted, “Beautiful. I think I captured the moment. I guess you’re a romantic after all, Mr. Bateman.”
Chance smirked. I stood in place, unable to move. “Lucky for me, it seems my bride likes my brand of romance after all.”
We were both sober by the time we arrived back at our hotel, although a big part of me still felt off kilter. I was drunk, just not from alcohol any longer. We were both still wearing the cheap metal bands that were keepsakes from our fake wedding, and when we arrived at my hotel door, Chance scooped me up off my feet.
“Gotta carry my bride over the threshold.”
I wrapped my arms around his neck and sagged into his chest as he unlocked the door with one hand. “Wonder what the history of this is. So the man can show off how strong he is?”
“I think it started because the wife was nervous about losing her virginity.”
I snorted. “Well at least we don’t have to worry about that one.”
Chance’s eyes bore into me. He didn’t even try to hide the jealousy. It gave me an idea. “Do you want to get married someday?” I asked.
“Someday? I thought I just did.” He set me down just inside of my room.
“I mean for real. I wonder who will be carrying me over the threshold when it’s my real wedding.”
Chance’s eyes were serious. “I don’t want to think about it.”
I kept pushing. “Maybe my new firm will be chock full of eligible bachelors.”
“You mean like Harrison?”
I shrugged and sat down to take off my four-inch heels. “I’ve decided I’m not going to let him keep me down any longer. I’ve been moping around for two months. When I get settled into California, I’m going to get back on the horse.” I looked up and grinned. Chance was still standing near the door. “What, no dirty comment about me getting back on the horse and taking a good ride? You’re slipping, Cocky.”
His jaw flexed. “Maybe you should take up with that magic wand again, rather than rushing into things.”
I stood and walked to him, turning my back and pulling my hair to the side. “Can you unzip me?” The room was silent for a long moment before I felt Chance’s hands touch me. One gripped my hip firmly, almost as if he had to hold on tight to keep it in place. The other reached up to my zipper. The sound it made as he slowly unzipped was positively erotic.
Seriously, what was wrong with me?
Neither of us moved. We stood there with thick tension swirling around us.
“Chance?” I breathed. I didn’t even recognize my own voice; it was so low and husky.
His fingers dug deeper into my hip. It almost hurt, but turned me on at the same time. I waited for him to say something. Anything. I kept waiting. Neither of us moved.
“Chance?” I tried to turn around and face him, but his hands kept me in place.
“Don’t. I need to go, Aubrey.” He paused and blew out a deep breath. “The guy who gets to carry you over that threshold for real, is going to be one lucky bastard.”
I didn’t turn around until I heard the door to my room click closed behind him. I hadn’t wanted to let him see my tears.
It was a good two hours before I heard him return. The door between our adjoining rooms was cracked open enough so I could hear him moving around. My head was spinning, and the thought of never seeing him again after tomorrow seriously had me sick to my stomach. I’d spent more than a year with Harrison, and the day I moved out didn’t hurt half as much as this did.
Lying in my own bed, knowing Chance was so physically close, yet I couldn’t touch him, made me crazy. I kept on replaying his words over and over in my mind, dissecting each and every conversation I was able to recall. He’d told me I was beautiful. He’d spelled out the things he fantasized about doing to me in vivid detail. He’d said the man who I wound up with was lucky. His words told me he wanted me. His eyes told me he wanted me. His body, his breath, the way he stared at my body like he was clinging to his last thread of control.
I was damn certain he wanted me—that much I’d finally accepted. He just…couldn’t. Couldn’t was the word he’d actually used. Like it was wrong to allow himself. I knew he was trying to protect me from whatever was holding him back. But I didn’t want to be protected anymore. What I wanted, was to be fucked into oblivion. And it was time I took control of the situation. I am woman, damn it. Hear me roar.
With adrenaline pumping through my veins, I slipped into my bathroom, washed my face and let my bedtime ponytail loose. I lifted my nightshirt over my head and stared at myself in the mirror. The underwear I was wearing were cute—a pale pink lace demi cup bra with matching boy shorts. But I was done beating around the bush. I shimmied out of my underwear, unhooked my bra and took in my reflection. Roar.
My cheeks were flushed, my body was toned, and for the first time in a long time, I liked what I saw. There was no time left. I had to do it now before I chickened out. With each rise and fall of my chest, courage was starting to disappear. I looked at myself one last time, took a deep breath and headed for the door that separated us.
Here comes the lioness.
Chance was walking out of the bathroom as I walked in. He had nothing on but a plush white towel wrapped around his narrow waist. It was dark, but the lights coming from the Vegas strip outside of the bedroom windows illuminated the room enough so I could see. Droplets of water glistened from his chest. He was quite literally breathtaking, because my heart was beating wildly in my chest, and it felt like all of the oxygen was sucked out of my lungs when he caught sight of me.
We stared at each other wordlessly for a moment. The flex of his jaw as he tried to hold my eyes was a testament to how hard he attempted to resist. But he lost the internal battle he had waged when his eyes dropped. I watched each and every second as he took me in. First, my breasts—perky nipples taut and waiting—greeted him. His chest heaved up and down. I felt the caress of his touch on my skin as his eyes continued their descent lower. He took his time to appreciate the narrow of my waist, curve of my hip and flatness of my stomach. Both of our breaths were shallow and fast when his eyes reached still lower, falling on my thin landing strip. Between my legs was soaked, and we hadn’t even touched yet. I almost lost it when he licked his lips.