Billionaire on the Loose (Billionaires and Bridesmaids #5)(13)


by Jessica Clare

“I know,” she whispered. Damn it, why wasn’t he kissing her? His face was close enough, and he was so handsome, even this close. She could feel the warm puff of his breath against her face, and he tasted like Guinness, and for the first time in her life, she didn’t hate Guinness. “I just have a lot of obligation wrapped up in it is all.”

“Obligation will be there in the morning. Might as well enjoy the rest of tonight.”

Taylor gave an unhappy little sigh. “Too bad tonight’s over.”

To her surprise, he chose that moment to lean in and lightly brush his mouth against hers. “Doesn’t have to be,” he murmured, breathing the words against her mouth. “Invite me up.”

And maybe she was crazy, but she was going to do it. “Okay. Got condoms?”

“Always.”

And that should have alerted her again that they weren’t compatible. But all she could think about was his big body, and how gorgeous he was, and how very, very much she wanted to go up with him.

Tomorrow, the world could implode on her. Tonight? She was going to enjoy the rest of her night. So Taylor grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled his mouth down to hers and gave him another kiss. Not one of the fleeting, featherlight kisses he’d given her twice now, but a real, honest-to-goodness kiss with tongue and promise. If she was going to do this, she was going to go all in, damn it. There would be no half-assing her hookup with the hottest guy she’d ever seen.

She was going to climb Thor like he was her own personal Asgardian.

Chapter Five

Despite the scorching-hot kisses on the street, Taylor was nervous about inviting the clearly more worldly Loch up to her apartment for an evening of no-strings-attached sex. She really wasn’t the type of girl who picked up men at bars. She’d slept with three guys in her life, all of them relationships.

Okay, four guys. There was that time with the guy at the Excelsior Convention, but he’d been smoking hot in his leather armor and she’d gone into it purely for a physical experience. Plus, once she’d gotten a good look at his teeth, she’d been uninterested. Dental hygiene was high on her list of boyfriend musts.

And Loch? God, the man had gorgeous teeth. Actually she was pretty sure he had gorgeous everything. Not that she was going to do more than hit it and quit it. Taylor had made that vow to herself before she’d even asked if he had condoms. This was not a guy in her league. This was not boyfriend for nerds material. This was DEAR GOD DON’T ASK QUESTIONS JUST NAIL IT AND BE THANKFUL material.

So she was going to nail it and not ask questions.

The elevator ride up to her apartment was awkward as heck, though. Taylor shifted uncomfortably as the small, dirty elevator climbed slowly up the jillion floors to hers. This probably wasn’t his regular scene, and she mentally winced at the thought of the dirty clothes on the floor of her tiny studio apartment, along with the stacks of dirty cereal bowls next to her computers. To be fair, she hadn’t been expecting company or she’d have cleaned up. She considered making him wait in the hallway for a few minutes while she frantically straightened. It wasn’t the worst idea.

“So how long have you lived in New York?” Loch asked, breaking the silence.

“Me?”

“No, the others in the elevator,” he said, grinning and pretending to look around at the empty elevator.

A hot flush crept over her cheeks. “Since college. I’m actually from South Carolina. Very small town. I wanted to get away, though. Not much opportunity there. So I’ve been here about five . . . six years.” Wow. Looking back, it was a little embarrassing. Six years and the best job she had with her computer science degree was tech support? Dang, that was disappointing. “Um, how about you? How long are you in the city for?”

He shrugged. “Until I grow weary of it, I suppose.”

“Ah.” Must have been nice to not have to worry about money. New York wasn’t exactly the cheapest place to just hang about. “And you’re like, Griffin’s cousin, right?” She’d met him once, at a party. “Isn’t he an earl? Does that make you a duke?”

He looked down at her, frowning slightly. “Bellissime only gives out titles to the royal family, and I’m actually a baron. Why?”

She shrugged. She had the vague impression he wasn’t too keen on discussing himself. “Baron sounds kind of badass. Do you get anything cool with that title?”

His smile tugged up again. “Just a coat of arms.”

“Oh man, your own coat of arms. I’d be throwing that shit on everything.” She grinned. “Personal checks, phone case, you name it.”

Loch laughed. “It’s really quite ugly.”

“Doesn’t matter. It’s just badass that you have one.” He made a sound in his throat that sounded like vague agreement, and she winced. “Am I making you uncomfortable? I can shut up at any point.”

“It’s fine.”

“You can back out at any time, you know. No hard feelings.”

His smile remained but his brows drew together. “Are you trying to get rid of me, Taylor?”

“No! Not at all! I’m just saying that if you ran away screaming at the sight of my Doctor Who decorating theme, I wouldn’t blame you.”

This time, his laugh was genuine. “Forewarned is forearmed. I promise not to scream in too much horror.”

“You say that now, but wait until you see it.” The elevator dinged, signaling her floor, and she got out, pulling her keys from a clip in her pocket. “I have to warn you that I wasn’t expecting company and I’m a bit of a slob.”

“As long as you don’t make me sleep on the floor, I’m sure it’ll be charming.”

“You can’t sleep on the floor. That’s where I keep all my laundry.”

He laughed again, and she moved to her apartment door quickly. She was down at the end of the hall, and she prayed like heck none of her neighbors would come out and see her with a man—

Actually, scratch that. If they saw her with Loch? She was pretty sure they’d be high-fiving her for her excellent taste in hookups.

But then the door was open and it didn’t matter. Taylor mentally steeled herself, hoping her apartment wasn’t as bad as she remembered. “Come on in.”

She stepped inside and breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn’t nearly as bad as she’d suspected. Most of her laundry was piled on one end of the futon that doubled as an extra bed for when a friend slept over. She was a little messy, but not too untidy. Her bed was unmade, but that didn’t matter. It wasn’t like they weren’t going to wreck it shortly anyhow. “Home sweet home.”