To Catch A Cheat Part 13
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He exited his bedroom, noted the closed door to her room and the dog snoozing on the floor. Was this the way it was going to be? This This was her plan of action for dealing with the electricity between them? Camping out in her room, while Trent and the dog maintained the fort? He sat at the desk and thumbed through his DieHardAtlanta contracts, but his mind was on the woman holed up in her room. Maybe she planned to keep him at bay, but that wasn't how things were going to be, not by a long shot. He grinned, remembering the horrified look on her face when the salt-and-pepper puppy scampered into the living room with that odd-shaped pink vibrator clamped in his mouth. Marissa's buddy, Amy, said it was to keep Rissi from being tempted. was her plan of action for dealing with the electricity between them? Camping out in her room, while Trent and the dog maintained the fort? He sat at the desk and thumbed through his DieHardAtlanta contracts, but his mind was on the woman holed up in her room. Maybe she planned to keep him at bay, but that wasn't how things were going to be, not by a long shot. He grinned, remembering the horrified look on her face when the salt-and-pepper puppy scampered into the living room with that odd-shaped pink vibrator clamped in his mouth. Marissa's buddy, Amy, said it was to keep Rissi from being tempted. Tempted Tempted. So even Rissi's friends thought that he could tempt her this week, and that she'd need something to combat that temptation. Good to know. Because Trent was going to do more than tempt; he was going to conquer that black-haired, dark-eyed h.e.l.lion. It'd been a long time since a woman had piqued his interest as much as Rissi Kincaid. He couldn't remember any woman in his past who was so feisty, so intriguing, or so s.e.xy, and he was more than ready for the challenge she presented. If If she came out of her room. she came out of her room.
He checked the clock. Ten minutes until their first morning show check-in with Coleman and Speedy. Trent scanned the furnished apartment. He had to hand it to the station; they were prepared. Obviously, the producers had put a lot of thought into getting this place ready for Trent and Marissa's coexistence. It was decent-sized, for corporate housing, and had all of the necessary conveniences to conduct business. Wireless high-speed Internet allowed Trent and Marissa to stay on top of their regular business dealings, while a fax machine and speakerphone provided the means to communicate with the DJs at the station each morning.
The format for Trent and Marissa's week was fairly simple. Each morning at nine, they would receive a call from Coleman and Speedy. The conversation would transpire via the speakerphone on Trent and Marissa's end and over live radio on Coleman and Speedy's. During the broadcast, the DJs would provide Trent and Marissa with their "a.s.signment" for that day and ask for feedback from the two regarding their cohabitation at the apartment. Obviously, the agenda for the radio station was to get the two hooked up before the week ended, and therefore keep their seven-figure media campaign offer. What the station didn't realize, however, was that their agenda matched Trent's, to get "hooked up" with Marissa before the week ended.
The k.n.o.b jiggled on her bedroom door as she unlocked it, eased it open, and stepped through. She'd changed clothes, trading the jeans and T-s.h.i.+rt she had on earlier for a hot pink tank top and khaki shorts. This was Trent's first glimpse at long, smooth, tan legs that seemed to go on for days. While she wasn't extremely tall, no more than five-seven, her legs would certainly hold their own against those of any runway queen. Trent nodded his approval.
"What?" she asked, crossing the living room and sitting comfortably on the couch. Her dog pried an eye open, then slowly roused and moved toward her. Obviously, he didn't want to miss the opportunity to lounge in her lap. Lucky dog. "Come here, Petie." She leaned over and picked him up, nuzzled him with her cheek, then settled him against her thighs and looked at Trent, still eyeing her. "What?" she repeated.
"I'm simply adjusting to the transition. Merely a half-hour ago, you were ready to detonate, frustrated with this whole situation, and with me. Now, you're all calm and relaxed. It's quite a contrast from the woman who looked like she wanted to die when her dog came out of her bedroom with a vibrator in his mouth."
She tensed, only slightly, but Trent noticed.
"No way. Already?" he asked. So, temptation didn't waste any time.
Those dark eyes widened, and her hand stopped stroking Petie's back. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Sitting in the desk chair, Trent swiveled around to look directly at Rissi. Her cheeks were pink, entire body relaxed and stress-free, lower lip a bit redder than the upper one, as though her teeth had grazed it when she . . . climaxed. "You've been playing with Pinky." It wasn't a question; it was a matter of fact, and the truth of it pleased him immensely. Merely their brief interaction earlier, with Amy, her son, and the dog in the room, and Rissi had needed an o.r.g.a.s.m. Just imagine what she'd need if he really turned up the heat. He smiled.
Her jaw dropped, then she glared at him as though she'd like nothing better than to wrap her hands around his throat and squeeze. "It had nothing to do with you, you-you-egotistical son of a-"
The phone rang loudly. "Hold that thought," Trent said, as Marissa gasped in frustration, and he punched the speaker b.u.t.ton. "Liars and cheats," he answered, grinning at the woman on the couch turning redder by the second. From embarra.s.sment? Or from anger? He guessed the latter.
Speedy chuckled loudly through the speaker. "Liars and cheats, huh? That fits."
"Thanks," Trent said, never taking his eyes off Rissi.
"It wasn't you," she mouthed.
"Right," he mouthed back, thoroughly enjoying this little game.
"So, Trent, did both of you get moved in okay?" Coleman asked through the line. "And I will remind you that you're on the air."
"Yes, the move went fine. I got here early this morning, and Rissi arrived about an hour ago. We've been fairly busy getting settled, though I'd say she has been more busy than I."
"Ma-ris-sa," she corrected. Those dark eyes burned with fiery heat. She'd kill him for this, and Trent would love every minute of it.
"Is that so, Ms. Kincaid? You're busier?" Coleman asked. "Already started your workday there? We're pleased your boss allowed you to telecommute for our sake."
She cleared her throat. "I've been getting set up for work," she said, her voice steady, though her eyes still shot daggers at Trent.
"She works real real hard to make sure she achieves her goal," Trent added, stifling his chuckle. "I'd say she's probably one of the most-hard-working-women I've ever met. Determined to reach her goal, no matter what." hard to make sure she achieves her goal," Trent added, stifling his chuckle. "I'd say she's probably one of the most-hard-working-women I've ever met. Determined to reach her goal, no matter what."
If possible, her cheeks got redder.
"Wow, sounds like you've won him over on your work ethics," Speedy said. "But you two still hate each other? Or is our little game already over?"
"We definitely still hate each other," Rissi yelled toward the speaker. "With a pa.s.sion."
"She's very very pa.s.sionate, from what I've seen," Trent said. pa.s.sionate, from what I've seen," Trent said.
"Is that so?" Coleman asked. "Well, have the two of you discussed Trent's comment on Friday that he actually didn't cheat on you way back when, Ms. Kincaid? I know our viewers are interested in learning what he meant by that."
"No, we haven't discussed it yet," she admitted. "In fact, I don't plan to talk to Mr. Jackson any more than necessary during this week."
Speedy's cackle rang through the speaker. "Well, I'm afraid you're going to have to talk to him a few times in order to do your daily a.s.signments. Today's a.s.signment, in fact."
"Today's a.s.signment?" she asked, while Petie started to squirm in her lap. She placed him on the floor, and he promptly trotted to the door. "Just a second, Petie," she said.
"Petie?" Coleman asked.
"Your dog is there?" Speedy asked. "Coleman, do we even allow dogs at that apartment?"
"Well, Speedy, I'm not really sure. We've never had a reason to ask."
Marissa visibly swallowed, and looked miserable. Trent could tell she really loved that little puppy, and that she didn't want to go through this week without him. He cleared his throat. "It's a small dog, and he's well-trained," he said, and prayed that he was telling the truth. Petie was definitely still in the puppy stage, which meant chewing stage, accidents on the carpet stage, and all of those other negative puppy stages. But he was a cute dog, and more than that, Rissi wanted him here.
"So, if he does mess something up, are you saying you'll pay for it, Jackson?" Speedy asked.
"Yes," Trent answered without hesitation, while Rissi gave Petie a soft smile.
"He won't mess anything up," she said. "He really is a good dog, and right now, he needs to go out."
"By all means, take him out," Speedy said. "We'll just give you today's a.s.signment over the air right quicklike; does that work for you, Coleman?"
"Sure," Coleman said, then added, "Today's is pretty easy, and it'll make our listeners happy, since we've had a mult.i.tude of calls from people wanting to know what Trent meant when he said he never cheated on you."
"I know you said you added him as a joke, Ms. Kincaid, but regardless, the two of you obviously have a different recollection of what happened back then, and our listeners want to know why. And that's it, all of today's a.s.signment. Oh, and by the way, this will require talking," Speedy said.
"I know, but if I'm lucky, it won't require much," she said. "And I've got to take Petie out now."
"Not without Trent, you don't," Speedy said with another irritating chuckle. "From now on, the two of you can't go out alone, remember? That's the rule."
Marissa looked as if she wanted to scream, but she didn't. "Well? Are you coming?" she asked Trent.
"Duty calls," Trent said toward the speaker. "So, are we done for this morning's check-in?"
"You're done," Coleman said. "Just be sure to take Petie out before our broadcast tomorrow morning. I've got a feeling that one will take a while."
"Will do," Trent said, disconnecting.
"Oh, no," Rissi said, frowning at the fidgety puppy. He yelped, nudged the door with his head, then yelped again.
"What?" Trent asked.
"I forgot Petie's leash." She scanned the room, either looking for something to use as a leash or willing Petie's to magically appear.
"He can use the patio," Trent said. "There isn't much gra.s.s, but it should be sufficient."
She knitted her brows. "What patio?"
"The one through here." He stood and headed toward his bedroom. "Come on. I don't think he's in the mood to wait."
She scooped up the puppy and followed him into his room. "No way."
"What?" Trent pulled the drawstring on the blue curtains until they pleated at one side, then he opened the French doors and waited for Rissi and Petie to pa.s.s through.
She did, but she snarled at him as she went. "Your bedroom has a patio? And you were here first. You could've given me this room, if you wanted to, but you picked the best one for yourself. Typical."
Trent held up his palms defensively. "Listen, when I brought my stuff in, I noticed the two bedrooms, one blue and one pink."
"One is turquoise, and one is peach," she corrected.
"Fine. But the way I saw it, one was male; one was female. I opted for male."
"Hmph." She put Petie on the ground, and he trotted directly to the small patch of gra.s.s at the left edge of the patio, sniffed, then started doing his thing, while Marissa took in the ma.s.sive hot tub declaring dominion over most of the deck. Several potted trees branched out over the enormous tub, and Trent had already envisioned the two of them naked beneath their branches. Was Rissi thinking the same thing?
She whirled toward Trent. "Did you grab the blue room because you knew its patio had a hot tub? And the biggest one I've ever seen?"
"Hey, if you want in, I'll share."
"That's not what you thought twenty minutes ago." He leaned against the fencing enclosing the small s.p.a.ce, crossed his arms, and waited for the battle. d.a.m.n, she was cute when she was mad.
"Sure it is," she countered. "I thought you were despicable last week, I thought you were despicable this morning, and I thought you were despicable twenty minutes ago."
Trent merely shook his head. "No," he said. "You didn't."
"I promise you, I did." She marched toward the hot tub, dipped her fingers in and growled. "It's perfect."
"Like I said, I'll share." He smiled. "And do you really expect me to believe you were thinking of how despicable I am when you were fooling around with-what was it again-Pinky?-because I'm betting that you were thinking of me in a way that's not at all cla.s.sified as despicable. Desirable, yes. Despicable, no."
"You have to be the most arrogant male I've ever met."
"I prefer confident," he said.
She didn't respond, but made a kissing sound toward Petie, who abandoned his sniffing venture and ran to her feet. "Come on," she said to the dog. "I've had enough fresh air." She turned toward the door, and Petie ran inside.
"Go ahead, but we still have to talk," Trent said, "for today's a.s.signment."
Her back stiffened, and she stopped walking. Then she took an audible breath and turned around, her jaw clamped tight and eyes blazing. If it weren't for that cute little curl teasing her forehead, she might have actually looked fierce. As it was, she simply looked s.e.xy. "Let's get it over with," she said, then moved to one of the two wicker patio chairs and sat down.
"Want to call your dog?" Trent asked, moving the other chair to face hers.
"No, he's fine. And this will be better anyway, just the two of us, getting today's a.s.signment over with. By the way, I meant what I told Speedy. I don't want to talk to you any more than necessary."
"Whatever you say. I guess you don't need me to talk to you when you take care of business in your room, huh?"
Her cheeks flared again, eyes narrowed.
"Okay, that was low," he admitted. And fun, not that he'd say that out loud.
"Whether you believe it or not, that had nothing to do with you. Now, let's take care of the a.s.signment." She twisted on the chair cus.h.i.+on, then pulled her legs up to tuck them under her bottom, as though she were totally at ease and ready for anything he threw her way. Trent could see her as a little girl, long black hair in wild curls down her back, sitting the same way on the gym floor when the cla.s.s waited for instructions in PE. Dare he mention that now? Let her know that she really did make an impression on him way back then? As the feisty girl with the excited dark eyes, so alive and ready for life? Trent looked at those eyes now, still dark and excited . . . but there was something else staring back at him now. And the realization slammed him like a fist to the chest.
Rissi Kincaid was afraid.
Of him? Or something else?
"Like I've said repeatedly, I added you to the database as a joke. I admit I shouldn't have put you on the list, because we were were just kids, but I didn't lie about what happened back then. And I really would like to get this over with now, if you don't mind," she said saucily. just kids, but I didn't lie about what happened back then. And I really would like to get this over with now, if you don't mind," she said saucily.
Trent didn't take time to second-guess instinct. He acted on it, and d.a.m.ned the consequences. "You're right. We should get this over with." He stood from his chair, took a small step to stand in front of her, then leaned closer, bracing both hands on the armrests of her chair while watching those dark eyes widen even more.
"What-" she whispered. "What are you doing?"
"Getting this over with."
His mouth touched hers softly, exploring. He sensed her tense beneath him and vowed to make that go away, at least toward him. He sucked her lower lip, again gently, not wanting to scare her, but to show her that he truly wanted her to feel the impact of this kiss, the impact of what the two of them could share, if she'd stop fighting . . . and let him in.
She moaned, a low, soft sound that eased from her throat, then she opened her mouth and deepened the kiss, her tongue sliding moistly between his lips.
A sound pierced the moment, but Trent was too into the kiss, too into having Rissi Kincaid, to decipher what it was. But the woman beneath him wasn't as lost in the moment, because she jolted with the intrusion, and the next thing Trent knew, she had drawn blood.
Reality bites . . . and so does Rissi Kincaid.
-TRENT J JACKSON
She bit you?" Keith repeated, while Trent seriously debated whether confiding in his friend about this particular stumbling block in his personal life was the smartest of moves. He ran his tongue over his swollen lower lip, still tasted a hint of metallic blood from this morning's encounter, and nodded. "Oh, yeah, she bit me all right."
Marissa Kincaid had been on the verge of giving in. Trent had sensed her body yielding, the fire inside her sparking to life with that kiss. She'd been very close to forgetting whatever held her back and letting heated desire take control. In fact, Trent would have expected the two of them to be naked and in the hot tub within minutes, at the rate things were heating up. Then Petie decided to check out what was happening on the patio, barked, startled Marissa out of her trance, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Keith's laugh rumbled through the phone. "Well, what did you expect? The woman can't get that multimedia campaign if the two of you get together before the week ends." Keith paused, then asked, "How would would Coleman and Speedy know whether you got together or not? I mean, surely they wouldn't rely on the honor system when they're talking about that kind of money." Coleman and Speedy know whether you got together or not? I mean, surely they wouldn't rely on the honor system when they're talking about that kind of money."
"They're not relying on it at all," Trent said. "In fact, I have a copy of the contract we both signed right here." He lifted it from the desk. "This paragraph follows the section on distribution of prize money, i.e., the advertising campaign," he said. "If, within the twelve months following the cohabitation period, the two parties are found to be fraternizing as evidenced by photographs and/or reputable eyewitness accounts, then all proceeds accepted shall be refunded to the prize distributors and further prize monies shall be forfeited."
To Catch A Cheat Part 13
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To Catch A Cheat Part 13 summary
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