Home > Wicked Intentions (Wicked Games #3)(5)

Wicked Intentions (Wicked Games #3)(5)
Author: J.T. Geissinger

Angeline eyes me. She lets her gaze linger on my tattoos, the scars on my stomach, and my hands, which have spent near equal time on the keys of a piano as they have on an M16 rifle. She says softly, “Or maybe that’s what you want people to think.”

Our eyes lock. A strange sensation makes its way through my stomach. It’s fizzy. Fluttery. If I didn’t know fucking better, I’d describe it as butterflies.

“I’m leavin’ tomorrow,” I say abruptly, holding her gaze.

“Me, too.”

“So…ticktock, beautiful mademoiselle.”

She knows exactly what I mean. Her lips curve upward. “I appreciate your candor, Mr. McLean—”

“Ryan,” I correct her. “Good friends call each other by their first names, Angel.”

Her eyes do this incredible thing when she smiles. They sparkle like sunshine glimmering off water. Or is that the stars in my own eyes I’m seeing?

Sweet baby Jesus in the manger, I’m losing my shit. Pull it together, dickhead!

“Okay,” Angeline says. “As I was saying, I appreciate your candor, Ryan. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted. You’re very sexy.”

Her gaze travels hungrily up and down my body as she says “sexy.” If she keeps looking at me like that, I might have an accident in my shorts.

Then she lets out this sad little sigh and lifts a shoulder. “But I don’t do one-night stands. It’s not my thing.”

Like I’m gonna let that stop me. I immediately switch into problem-solving mode. “No one-nighters. No problem. You live in Paris, right?”

Her brows pull together. “Yes. Why?”

“I’m in New York.”

She cocks her head, waiting.

I say, “It’s only about an eight-hour flight between the two, and I’ve got a shit-ton of frequent flier miles. And since you’re a travel writer, I figure you probably do, too.”

She stares at me without blinking. Then she says, “We’ve known each other for ten minutes and you’re suggesting we enter into a long-distance relationship?”

I shrug but don’t break eye contact. “You want me. I want you. You don’t do one-night stands. You got a better solution?”

I’m not sure if her expression is horror or amusement. “You’re actually serious.”

“As a heart attack, Angel.”

Shaking her head, she lets out a small, astonished laugh and mutters something to herself in French.

I lean closer, wrap my hand around her arm, and give it a squeeze. When she looks at me, I say softly, “The way you move. The way you look at me. Your laugh. That kiss. I’m thirty-four years old, Angel, and I’ve had my share of women. Not a single one has ever challenged me, made me laugh, called me on my shit, looked at me like they understood me, and given me a boner that could cut glass while at the same time makin’ me feel like a teenager with his first crush. I wouldn’t care if you lived in fuckin’ Antarctica. This is gonna happen.”

Even if you are lying to me about who you are.

After a long time, she simply says, “Wow.”

I grin at her. “You just fell in love with me, didn’t you? You’re totally in love with me now.”

Her laugh is disbelieving. “Or I’m wondering where the nearest police station is so I can file a restraining order!”

“Nah. I’m tellin’ you, it’s love. A year from now, we’ll be back here on our honeymoon.”

She drops her face into her hands and groans. “Mon Dieu, please stop talking.”

From the pool comes a shout. “Whatever he just said, he meant, sweetheart!”

It’s Connor. Over my shoulder, I casually flip him the bird. His booming laugh echoes across the pool and through the bar.

I say, “Listen.”

Angeline looks at me warily.

“We’re havin’ dinner tonight in the hotel restaurant, the six of us.” I jerk my thumb in the direction of the pool and the gang of misfits I call friends. “Now seven, including you. After dinner, you and I will go up to my room, we’ll talk, we’ll have a drink, we’ll pretend like you’re not already madly in love with me and wild to have my babies.”

She interrupts me before I’ve got the last word out of my mouth. “There is something seriously wrong with you, Ryan McLean. Are you aware of that?”

“Yeah, but you still think I’m cute. Which means there’s somethin’ seriously wrong with you. Which makes us a perfect match.”

She starts to laugh and can’t stop. I go right on talking.

“Then you’ll decide if your one-night stand rule applies to the beginning of a long-distance relationship with the man of your dreams. And I’m just pointin’ out here that it wouldn’t be a one-night stand if it’s at the start of a relationship. Anyway. Whatever you decide, we’ll spend some time, get to know each other better, share a few stories, make out. Probably mostly make out.”

She continues to laugh. I’m having a hard time keeping a straight face too.

“So whaddya say, Angel?”

When she finally catches her breath, her eyes are alight, her cheeks are pink, and her smile is as brilliant as the sun. She says, “Okay, cowboy. You’re on. But don’t even think about stepping out of line with me, because I’m a knife-fencing expert. Put a hand where it isn’t wanted, and you’ll lose it.”

Now I’m the one laughing, but not because I don’t believe her. I do. And this is major progress.

It’s the first thing she’s told me about herself that’s the truth.

 

 

3

 

 

Mariana

 

 

There’s a part of me that’s thrilled about the way things are going. Ryan’s making this all extremely easy on me, that’s for sure. But there’s another part of me—a bigger part—that’s worried.

I like him.

For someone in my line of work, that can be deadly.

It’s not just the way Ryan looks or kisses, or his straightforward, no-bullshit style. It’s not only his wacky sense of humor or his obvious intelligence. It’s all that, plus he’s this big, macho Marine with a cocky swagger who’s strong enough to survive gunshots but touches me with true gentleness, both with his hands and his eyes.

The man has a sensitive side.

There’s nothing more irresistible to my cynical heart than rugged masculinity paired with tenderness. Every other man I know is ruthless to his core.

It’s times like these I wish I weren’t so observant.

“Dinner’s at eight,” says Ryan, smiling his signature cocksure smile. “What room you in, Angel? I’ll pick you up.”

No matter how much I like him, the odds of me letting this man into my room are about as good as the odds that lightning will strike me dead where I sit. “Let’s meet in the lobby.”

Before he can ask why, I lean forward and kiss him.

It proves an effective distraction.

He takes my face in his hands—another thing I like more than I should—and softly groans into my mouth as our tongues sweep together. Dangerous adrenaline floods my veins. I try to maintain intellectual distance, like an outside observer, but the man is a champion kisser. His lips are filled with mind-altering chemicals. They must be, because within seconds, I’m lost, clinging to him like I’m drowning and he’s the only thing that can save me from going under the next big wave.

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