To Catch A Cheat Part 18
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"Touch it, and you'll end up with a nub where your finger used to be," she said, pulling the plate toward her, picking up the sandwich, and chomping off a big bite.
Trent laughed. Have mercy, she was a pistol. "For the record, don't think I didn't notice that Petie was snoozing in his doggie bed when you woke him up and dragged him to the patio, before we'd finished the interview and, consequently, before I had a chance to answer Lily's accusation."
"So Petie didn't really have to go out, but I'd heard enough for one day, and I'm sure Coleman and Speedy didn't mind. You were the star of this morning's broadcast anyway. You and Lily, that is."
"Are you going to eat and listen, or am I going to have to wrestle your sandwich away?"
"Try it and die," she said, taking another bite. Petie whined from the floor, and she picked off a piece of turkey and tossed it his way. "This really is an amazing sandwich."
"Thanks. Now, what I was about to say, before you rudely interrupted-again-is that while I may have cheated on Lily, it wasn't with her sister, not her biological sister, anyway. She was talking about her sorority sister in college. I met Lily at the University of Georgia, and we went out for a while, I don't know, a month or so. Then I met another girl one night at the frat house, and one thing led to another, and we ended up together. And yes, I cheated on Lily, but I was in college and hadn't really settled down. Those aren't the best of years to use in judging a person's character, you know. h.e.l.l, I didn't even remember it until she called in on the show this morning, and honestly, she was dating someone else almost immediately after it happened. It was one of those college things. I cheated, I admit that. But I'm not a 'serial cheater,' as you call them on your site. I cheated once in college. As far as I know, that's the only time, and I really don't plan to cheat on anyone else again."
"Who says cheaters plan it?" she asked, and gave Petie another bite of sandwich.
"h.e.l.l, Rissi, are you saying that you're not going to give me a chance to get to know you better based on what happened with Lily?"
She swallowed, tilting her head as though deciding what to say, and then she shrugged in a why-not-tell-you move. "Okay. I'll admit it; I'm attracted to you, but but I'm obviously attracted to cheaters. And, like it or not, you do now fall in that category, and I don't want to go through that again, Trent. I really don't." I'm obviously attracted to cheaters. And, like it or not, you do now fall in that category, and I don't want to go through that again, Trent. I really don't."
Trent ate some more of his sandwich while trying to determine his next approach. The woman was stubborn, as hardheaded as they came, and yet he wanted her more than he'd wanted anything in a very long time. Call him crazy, but he was going to make her at least give him a chance. Preferably before the week ended. "Okay," he said, "how about a compromise?"
"s.e.x. Why don't we just have s.e.x?"
He didn't pick the best moment for this request. She had a mouth full of tea, and it appeared to take all she had not to spew it in his direction. Instead, she pounded her chest and attempted to swallow. Then, with her dark eyes watering in much the same way they had last night when the pizza took a wrong turn, she squinted at Trent and questioned, "Wh-what did you say?"
"I said s.e.x," he answered, more secure in the proposition than before. This was, after all, a good idea. "Obviously, this living situation is stressful for both of us, particularly since we're both attracted to each other." He paused to let her absorb that, then continued, "You know I'm attracted to you, and you admitted that you're attracted to me."
She covered her mouth with her hand. Was she smiling? Or was she hiding her shock? Well, at least she wasn't biting her nails, which Trent had already defined as her I'm-not-at-all-comfortable-with-this gesture. So, was she comfortable with it?
"Well?" he prompted.
"I'm not going to have s.e.x with you. If you'll remember, us getting together keeps us from getting the prize, and I'm getting that prize."
"Actually, I believe the way the contest is worded, we can't win the prize if we start having a relations.h.i.+p, or if we have one in the twelve months following the cohabitation period. That is is what it says," Trent said smartly, his idea sounding better by the minute. "But I'm not proposing a relations.h.i.+p. I'm simply proposing s.e.x, something we both want and something that would obviously relieve the tension in this place. You have to admit there's a lot of tension. I mean, watching you bang that keyboard proved to me that you've got your share of stress happening here." what it says," Trent said smartly, his idea sounding better by the minute. "But I'm not proposing a relations.h.i.+p. I'm simply proposing s.e.x, something we both want and something that would obviously relieve the tension in this place. You have to admit there's a lot of tension. I mean, watching you bang that keyboard proved to me that you've got your share of stress happening here."
"Our system crashed today, and I had to fix it. That is stressful, but it isn't an everyday occurrence, thank goodness."
"So we have s.e.x tonight, to relieve today's stress," Trent said. "Then if you don't have any additional stressful days during the week, we're done."
Petie barked from the floor, and Marissa tossed him another bite of sandwich.
"I am not having s.e.x with you," she said flatly. "And for your information, there are other ways of relieving stress."
"I don't care how good Pinky is, there's nothing like the real thing, and you know it." He leaned back in the chair and waited for her next argument.
She didn't disappoint. "I wasn't even thinking about Pinky."
Trent chuckled. "Okay, let's say you can go a day without using Pinky . . ."
"A day? How bad do you think I am? I could go without Pinky for the rest of the week if I had to."
"Care to prove it?" he asked.
She lifted her gla.s.s, took a sip of tea, obviously stalling. Trent waited; he was in no hurry. He had all night, and if he played this thing out right, a good portion of the night might be spent getting cozy, or cozier, with Rissi Kincaid.
"Prove it?" she finally asked.
"Yeah. It'd be fairly easy to do. All you need to do is let me be Pinky's guardian for the week. I'll give her back Friday morning, before we leave."
Frowning, she gave Petie more turkey. "Why don't I just give you the batteries?"
"Nice try, but I'm betting you've got more batteries stashed somewhere in your room, and on top of that, I have a feeling a resourceful lady like yourself would probably know how to put Pinky to use, batteries or not," he said, and was royally rewarded when her cheeks flamed with guilt. "Aha, I'm right."
She snarled at him, then got up from the table and started toward her room with Petie trotting alongside. Within a minute, she emerged, sans Petie, who'd apparently taken a trip to the patio. One arm was behind her back, and Trent held out his hand awaiting his prize. Rissi dropped the oddly shaped vibrator into his palm.
Trent stood, crossed the room, and, knowing she watched his every move, unlocked his computer bag and plunked Pinky inside. Then he relocked it, started back to the breakfast nook, and winked. "Okay then. Now that we know you won't be relieving your stress with Pinky, I want to put my offer back out on the table. s.e.x, with me, without the relations.h.i.+p ties. Just something to help you relieve the tension from your day."
"You'd do that for me," she said sarcastically. "What a giving man you are."
"That's what I'm wanting to show you."
"Uh-huh," she said, nodding. "Well, it isn't happening. Not this week, and not in this life."
Trent leaned forward, placed his elbows on the table, and steepled his fingers beneath his chin. In other words, his negotiating stance, though Rissi had no clue. "Tell you what, I've got another idea that would help you unwind. Granted, it won't work nearly as well as s.e.x, but it'll do, and oddly enough, I'd probably enjoy it as well. Well, not as much as s.e.x, but like I said, it'd do."
She eyed him suspiciously, but curiosity shone through her gaze. "Okay, I'll bite. What's your other idea?"
"A soak in the hot tub."
Her dark brows dipped a notch, as though she were looking for the ulterior motive. Then she ran a hand through her hair and smiled. "A soak in the hot tub sounds good," she said. "But I can do that without you."
"Actually, I'm fairly certain Coleman and Speedy meant for us to share the hot tub. I mean, it may be accessible from your room, but it's obviously for the apartment's occupants, and I'm one of those occupants." He paused, and pretended to be pondering his next words, though he'd known exactly what he would say from the time he started this spiel. "But if you're afraid you won't be able to control yourself in a hot tub with me, I can totally understand . . ."
She laughed, a deep, rich Julia Roberts laugh that bubbled freely and made Trent smile. "Not be able to control myself? Are you serious?"
"Just thinking aloud," he said with an innocent shrug. "Why else wouldn't you let me get in a hot tub with you?"
She backed away from the table and picked up her plate, then she reached over and picked up his. "You cooked; I'll clean. And after I'm done, I'll relieve my tension in the hot tub."
"And?" he asked, watching the way her hips swayed in gray gym shorts as she headed toward the kitchen.
She stuck her head around the corner. "And if you want to get into the hot tub, too, I won't stop you." Then she moved toward the table and grabbed the gla.s.ses. "I'm not afraid of you, Trent Jackson."
Trent merely smiled and watched her disappear into the kitchen. "Yeah, darling, but maybe you should be."
Nothing says s.e.x like a little red dress, except, perhaps, a skimpy red bikini.
-AMY B BROOKS
Marissa pivoted from one foot to the other, taking in her reflection in the skimpy red bikini. Why had she let Amy help with the packing? And why couldn't she have brought at least one one-piece suit for this week? She'd packed three bathing suits, and every one of them was equally tiny. Funny, they didn't seem that microscopic when she wore them at her apartment complex. But then, she was concerned with getting a decent tan, not protecting herself from shark-infested waters. In this case, the waters were the ones splas.h.i.+ng and bubbling and amazingly warm on her patio. And the shark, well, there was no need to second-guess who filled that bill in this scenario, or wonder whether he'd attack. The question wasn't if, but when. And would she survive?
A rumbling knock on her bedroom door made her jump, and caused Petie to pounce on a pillow. He'd only figured out how to jump onto the bed this week. Previously, he could get down, but not up, and he was currently celebrating another victory of his paws on the comfy square . . . and he was probably celebrating the knock as well, since he knew that meant company.
Company. Shark. Cheater. Hottie. So many nouns to choose from, when it came to Trent Jackson.
"Are you letting me pa.s.s through, or have you chickened out already?" he asked from the other side of the door.
Marissa grabbed her sheer black cover-up, whisked it on, and opened the door. Then, as Trent nodded and entered, she realized that she'd been worrying for the wrong reason entirely. Trent Jackson seeing her in a skimpy bikini wasn't the problem. The problem was her seeing him-and that he was hot. Sizzling. Mouthwatering.
He walked right past her to pet the dog on her bed.
"Hi, Petie." He rubbed the scruff of Petie's neck, while Petie's tongue lolled out in contentment. Marissa's tongue was lolling, too, though she was doing her best to control it. Evidently, with this morning's drop of the towel, she'd been too focused on his a.s.s to really take in everything else, as in biceps bulging out nicely, broad and powerful shoulders, a back that was well-sculpted and tan and toned, and then there was the royal blue swimsuit that covered an a.s.s . . . that she remembered all too well.
They really needed to move on to that hot tub. At least he'd be chest-deep in water and mostly covered.
"You ready to go onto the patio?" she asked, and was pleasantly surprised that her voice sounded calm.
"Sure. You coming, Petie?" he asked, walking toward the patio door.
Petie leaped off the bed and scampered outside, totally obeying his nonmaster. Marissa didn't complain. Every minute Trent had his attention on her dog was another minute his attention wasn't on her, and another minute for her to gain her composure before stepping into that bubbling hot water with a sizzling hot man.
Marissa took another glance in the mirror before starting out. She looked cool enough, for someone whose insides were churning wildly. Why had she agreed to soak in a tub with him? As if she didn't know. Because somehow, he'd convinced her that she had a choice: hot s.e.x or hot tub.
Why did she choose the tub again? Oh, right. Because she wasn't going to have s.e.x with Trent Jackson. Now if she kept reminding herself of that, she'd be fine. She started toward the patio door, then remembered there were no towels outside. No way did she want to get out of the tub dripping wet and potentially excited without a towel nearby. And no way did she want Trent Jackson to get out of the tub dripping wet and potentially excited without a towel nearby either. She darted to the bathroom, grabbed two of the oversized turquoise beach towels from a wicker shelf, then headed outside with the determined goal of merely enjoying the tub, rather than enjoying Trent.
No s.e.x with Trent, she silently chanted. No s.e.x with Trent, no s.e.x with- No s.e.x with Trent, no s.e.x with- Have mercy, he looked good in a hot tub. He smiled as she neared, and this time, the power of that smile shot all the way to her very center. Not good. She placed the towels on the patio table, then attempted to casually remove her cover-up, but because she was so turned on at the moment, she felt as though she were doing a striptease for the guy staring at her from the tub, and dammit if she wasn't enjoying the way those smoky eyes set her body on fire.
Completely unaware of the s.e.xual tension surrounding him, Petie lounged on the pebbled concrete with his legs stretched out in front and behind him. Nice to know someone was so comfortable with this situation. Marissa stepped over him, then entered the tub and sank into incredibly warm water, all the while aware of Trent watching her every move, her every breath.
"You're making me uncomfortable," she said, edging down so the water covered her shoulders. Mercy, this tub was big. And so was the man in it.
"I haven't even touched you." He propped his arms on the side of the tub as if showing her that he wasn't even making an effort to touch her. "See?" he said, holding up his palms. "My hands aren't even in the water." Then his foot brushed against hers, and she jumped as if she'd encountered a jellyfish in the swirling liquid. The effect was almost the same. A stinging stab through her entire body, coupled with the fear of the unknown-the unknown being what might happen if he did try to touch her, in more than a foot-against-foot kind of way.
"Marissa," he said smoothly. "Do I scare you that much?"
"No," she said, shaking her head as if trying to convince herself it was true. "Of course not."
"Good, because I suggested soaking in the tub to help you relax, but you sure don't seem relaxed now."
"Maybe it's the fact that you asked me to have s.e.x merely fifteen minutes ago," she said. "That's not exactly something I'm accustomed to, someone boldly asking for s.e.x-only s.e.x-with no strings attached."
"Rethinking your answer?" he asked.
"No. Definitely not." And there you have it; she was unquestionably a liar. And there you have it; she was unquestionably a liar.
"Then what?" he asked.
"It's just that all of this is, as you must realize, a bit awkward. And to tell you the truth, I'm kind of shocked at how quickly you jumped from having s.e.x to merely sitting in a hot tub. It's not as though the two go together."
"They could," he said, and his right hand dipped into the water, those long fingers teasing the rippling waves, while Marissa's mouth watered. His fingers shouldn't turn her on, right?
"Stop that," she said.
"Stop what?" He looked genuinely confused, but then his fingers stopped moving on the water, and he smiled. "Oh, honey, if that does it for you, you really should let me help you relax, beyond the tub."
Marissa cleared her throat. "The tub is fine, though I still think it's odd how quickly you moved from having s.e.x to having a soak. They don't go together, as I said. Or at least tonight they don't."
"All right," he said, "I'll tell you, but right now, I'm getting hot." And with those provocative words, he eased forward and dropped off the ledge seat in the tub, completely submerging himself in the hot water, before rising again, his dark hair slicked back and wet and his entire body soaked. He ran a hand down his face. "There. That's better. You should try it. Or are you one of those girls who doesn't get her hair wet?"
Not one to be outdone, Marissa eased forward and dropped beneath the water's surface. The whirring jets rumbled in her ears, hot water covered her completely, and Trent's leg rubbed against hers. This time she didn't jump. Instead, she let her skin touch his and enjoyed the completeness of water and heat and man. It was a wickedly wonderful combination. Reluctantly, she emerged and sucked in a thick breath of air.
"Better, huh?" he asked, while Marissa worked her fingers through her hair and acted as though she hadn't intentionally allowed him to touch her beneath the surface.
"Good. Okay, so you were asking why the jump from s.e.x to hot tub, right?"
She nodded. "Then we need to talk about your hopes and dreams, and then I'm going to bed."
"Is that an invitation?"
He laughed, and she enjoyed the sound. This was was really nice, after all, enjoying his company on the patio, with Petie lounging nearby and the night air surrounding them. More than that, Trent had evidently switched on the twinkling lights that filled the canopy of tree limbs above the patio. Marissa leaned back and stared at the tiny lights, while the pulsating water eased her tension away. Oh, yes, this felt really nice, after all, enjoying his company on the patio, with Petie lounging nearby and the night air surrounding them. More than that, Trent had evidently switched on the twinkling lights that filled the canopy of tree limbs above the patio. Marissa leaned back and stared at the tiny lights, while the pulsating water eased her tension away. Oh, yes, this felt right right, even if she was with Trent.
"You remember when you were a kid, and your mother would take you through the checkout line at the grocery?" he asked, and oddly enough, he suddenly sounded like the same boy who used to sit and chat with her throughout their entire playground period in elementary school. It was a sweet memory, so Marissa smiled.
"Yeah, but you're really changing the subject here, aren't you?" she asked, still looking at the trees, the sparkling lights, the perfect location for romance. Or for two old friends to chat, which seemed to be the direction this conversation had headed. Worked for her. She couldn't handle much more of Trent's temptation.
"I'm not really changing the subject," he said, then laughed. "Do you think looking at those trees is going to keep your mind off of the two of us sitting in this tub?"
"It's very pretty out here," she said. "You should focus your attention on the trees, instead of on my chest."
"But it's such a nice chest."
"I knew you were looking," she accused.
To Catch A Cheat Part 18
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To Catch A Cheat Part 18 summary
You're reading To Catch A Cheat Part 18. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Kelley St. John already has 82 views.
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