Home > Wicked Intentions (Wicked Games #3)(9)

Wicked Intentions (Wicked Games #3)(9)
Author: J.T. Geissinger

“I prefer the term social engineer.”

Angeline carefully sets her spoon on the edge of her dessert plate. “How interesting. I’ve been thinking about writing a book about hackers, actually. Which branch of the government do you work for?”

Tabby’s way too smart not to notice the sudden change of vibe from Angeline, but she’s also too smart to let that show. She says brightly, “Well, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you!” Then she laughs.

Angeline stifles the small tremor in her right hand by sliding it into her lap and curling it into a fist. “And you, Darcy? Do you work for the government, too?”

Darcy snorts. “Girlfriend, I couldn’t work for Uncle Sam even if I wanted to. I’ve got waaay too many skeletons in my closet. It’s like a damn boneyard in there. Nope, I’m a food blogger. And me and my baby, here”—she tenderly kisses Kai’s temple—“just published our first cookbook!”

Angeline’s smile looks like someone is holding a gun to her head and ordering her to act normal on pain of death. “That’s wonderful. So you’re writers, too.”

Kai politely belches behind his hand. “I’m a chef. Darcy does the writing. She’s the one with all the talent.”

Darcy pets his golf hat like he’s her favorite Chihuahua she dressed up and brought to dinner. “Aww, baby, that’s so sweet! But without your recipes, there would’ve been no cookbook. You’re the talent. I just transcribe your genius onto paper.”

Kai is incandescent with pride. Meanwhile, I’m too focused on every nuance of Angeline’s reaction to this conversation to pay much attention to anything else.

She’s pretty good at concealing her emotions, but I’m better at reading people. And right now, the thing she most wants to do is bolt.

I reach out and give her clenched fist a squeeze. Instantly, it loosens. She threads her fingers through mine and sends me a small smile.

I lean over and murmur, “You ready to go?”

“Yes.” She gazes gratefully at me, like she’s surrounded by highway bandits and I’ve just charged in on my white steed, brandishing a sword.

“Well, kids, this has been fun,” I say, addressing the group. “Sayonara.”

I stand, pull a wad of cash from my wallet, throw it on the table, grab Angeline’s hand, and pull her to her feet.

“Guess we’ll say our goodbyes in the morning!” Connor calls out after us as I stride away from the table without a backward glance. The sound of everyone’s laughter fades quickly as I lead the way through the lobby, Angeline by my side.

When we get to the elevator bank, I stab my finger on the call button. Beside me, Angeline is silent and tense. The doors open, we get in, and the doors shut behind us. As soon as we’re in motion, I turn and press the emergency stop button. The elevator jolts to a halt.

Angeline lets out a little yip of surprise and grabs the handrail for balance. Then she flattens herself against the wall as I advance. Her eyes widen. When we’re chest to chest, toe to toe, I say, “Let’s play a game, Angel. It’s called Truth or Dare.”

She swallows.

I say, “I’ll go first. I choose Truth. Ask me anything you want, and I’ll answer it truthfully.”

Angeline silently searches my face for a moment. I wonder what she sees.

In a husky whisper, she asks, “Can I trust you?”

“Now that’s an interesting question.” I brush my fingertips across her jaw, slide my hand into her hair, and cup the back of her neck. “I could ask you the same thing. But since it’s my turn, I’ll honor the rules of the game and give you an answer.” I lean in and softly press my lips to hers. Against her mouth, I say, “It depends.”

An alarm buzzes. We ignore it.

“Depends on what?”

“How you define trust.”

She drops her tiny handbag and grabs fistfuls of my shirt, her arms braced against my chest, pushing me away at the same time she’s pulling me closer. “That’s not an answer.”

I dip my head and skim my nose down her neck to her collarbone. She shivers but tries to suppress it, which makes me smile. I wrap my arms around her body and nuzzle my face into her hair. My hands find the full, round perfection of her ass, and squeeze.

Into her neck I ask, “Can I trust you?”

She arches against me, moaning softly when she finds me hard for her. When I open my mouth over the pulse on her neck, her next moan is almost drowned by that damn buzzer.

I lift my head and stare into her eyes. “Can I trust you, Angeline?”

“Of course you can,” she says, staring earnestly back at me.

I throw my head back and laugh. “Fuck, I love the way you lie!”

Then I kiss her until we’re both panting and the buzzer gets too loud to ignore. I press the button for my floor and turn back to Angeline with a smile.

“Okay, sweetheart. Since we’re obviously not gonna do too well with Truth, let’s move on to Dare.”

My gaze drops to the neckline of her dress.

 

 

5

 

 

Mariana

 

 

The look in Ryan’s eyes is savage. I know exactly what’s coming next.

Time to apply the brakes.

I place a hand flat on his chest, lock my elbow, and level him with a look. “Let’s not move on to Dare. Let’s just have a drink, cowboy, and slow this rodeo down.”

Beneath my hand, his heart thuds like there’s someone inside his rib cage whacking it with a sledgehammer. Mine is doing the same thing. Not only because he turns me on like nobody’s business, but also because I’m unsettled.

This man can sniff out a lie like a dog sniffs out a rat.

And worse than that? Far worse?

He knows I’m lying, and he doesn’t care.

I don’t know what to make of that. I don’t know what he has planned. All I know is that I’m far out in rough water, there’s a dangerous riptide, and something with a mouthful of sharp, hungry teeth is closing in.

Ryan takes my hand from my chest and kisses it. He sends me a dazzling game-show-host smile. “Sure thing, darlin’. I can go slow. I can go as slow as you like.”

His smile turns filthy. Unexpectedly, I laugh.

“You have a dirty mind.”

Chuckling, he pushes the button to start the elevator’s ascent. “Angel, you have no idea.”

But I do, and it intrigues me. Just one more part of the problem.

When we arrive at his room, I watch in fascination as he takes several minutes to disarm and unlock a series of electronic and mechanical security devices hidden behind various pieces of furniture and on all the doors, including the one to the bathroom. His paranoia seems like overkill, even to the woman planning on drugging his drink.

Amused, I ask, “Were you expecting company? Other than me, I mean.”

He turns to me with a twinkle in his eye. “Better safe than sorry, in my experience. You never know when someone with sticky fingers might take a stroll through your door.”

My heart stops. It starts back up with a painful beat, then flutters erratically while I draw a breath.

I decide the best way to handle this is with a frontal attack. He’ll know if I’m bullshitting anyway. Looking him dead in the eye, I say, “I’m not here to steal from you.”

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