Home > Dirty Little Secret (Forbidden Desires #1)(11)

Dirty Little Secret (Forbidden Desires #1)(11)
Author: Kendall Ryan

The one bright spot? Emma. She’d turned out to be the perfect companion for the event last weekend, able to keep up with conversations on wide-ranging topics from politics to literature to professional football. It was impressive. As a librarian, she was well-read, and though she was quiet, there was a deep intelligence that burned beneath the surface. I found it incredibly sexy.

We talked, we laughed, we ate . . . hell, even that had been sexy. No daintily eaten salad for Emma. She bit into that cheeseburger like a champ. Even made a cute little groaning sound when she chewed that had the blood rushing from my head straight south.

All in all, it was a great evening. Emma might need the money, but she was both beautiful as well as cultured—far more so than me or my brothers. We were raised on the wrong side of the tracks, but that didn’t stop us from trying to infiltrate the upper-crust East Coast scene. And with the right clothes, Emma had fit in perfectly.

I’d come into this idea thinking I’d nudge my brother back into the real world again. Get him excited about Emma and life. But she really might be a great asset for us.

My brain shot back to the end of the night when I’d walked her to her door. I didn’t know what had possessed me. Maybe it was the way her tongue had swiped that full bottom lip. Or the delicious scent that had been pouring off her skin all night. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t help myself. I’d bent low and brushed my mouth against hers.

It was a bad move. It only made me want more. For her to invite me inside so I could explore those sweet curves . . . find out if I could get her to groan like she had in the car. To see exactly what she looked like under that dress.

But I could read the indecision written all over her face, so I didn’t press for more. If Gavin decided he truly didn’t want her? Of course I would sleep with her, but only when she was begging me for it. I wasn’t about to play second best to anyone.

And who knew? That day might come sooner rather than later. I’d only seen them together for a few minutes one time. Maybe I’d misread things and he really didn’t give a shit.

I toweled off quickly and swiped the steam off the mirror to floss, but then my cell phone vibrated from its spot on the granite vanity. I shot a glance at the screen and realized I’d missed some texts and a call, all within the last thirty minutes.

All from Gavin.

I let out a laugh and shook my head. Wasn’t there some saying about curiosity killing the cat?

Chapter Nine


“Get that booty down. Give me ten more!” Tony barked.

I huffed out a breath, straightening the plank position I held until my stomach muscles quivered and my thighs screamed in protest.

Bethany let out a grunt beside me, and I shot her an icy glare. She’d gotten us into this mess, talking me into a buy-one-get-one-free coupon at the new gym near the library. Now we were in personal-training-session number two of ten we’d purchased, and I had no idea how I could make it through eight more of these. I was about three seconds away from running for the bathroom to toss my cookies. It was only the memory of that late-night burger and fries that kept me going.

“Three, two, one. Good job, ladies,” Tony said, satisfied.

Exhausted, I collapsed onto the mat in a trembling heap.

“See you on Thursday.” Tony sauntered away, clearly proud of himself for the level of torture he’d inflicted on us.

“That wasn’t so bad, right?” Bethany grinned, sitting up.

“You might have to carry me out of here, but other than that, yeah, it was great.” I rolled my eyes. I couldn’t wait to get home, shower, and collapse into bed with an ice pack.

When Tony had asked about our fitness goals, Bethany had spouted something inspiring about wanting to be stronger. My goals weren’t so lofty. I just wanted to look better naked, but I figured saying my goal was sex with the lights on wasn’t going to cut it.

“I need those updates you promised me,” Bethany said, toweling the sweat off her forehead.

I’d successfully dodged her questions all day about my “date” with Cooper this past weekend, feigning that I was too busy to get into it, but now she knew no one was at home waiting for me, and my time was hers.

Turning to face her on the mat, I pulled my knees to my chest. “It was actually really nice. He was a perfect gentleman, easy to talk to, and we got along well.”

“Did he kiss you?” She grinned.

A tiny rush of butterflies hit my belly. “He did. It was . . . nice.” I hadn’t been kissed softly like that, so tenderly, in what felt like forever.

“What’s next?”

“I have an event I’m supposed to attend with Gavin.”

“Look at you. Just jumping right in. I love it.”

I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be like that. You know this is—”

“All for the house,” Bethany repeated in a mocking tone. “Right, I’m just saying, getting your toes wet is good. It’s going to help you take the big leap into real-life dating.”

“I wouldn’t hold your breath.” I grabbed my own towel, but used it as a pillow to collapse back onto my yoga mat.

“Em, it’s almost been a year since—”

“Don’t say his name,” I blurted. Then, realizing how silly that was—what was he, Voldemort?—I sat up and said, “Look, I’ll date eventually, but this isn’t dating. It’s a business arrangement to fix my grandmother’s brownstone and bring it back to its former glory. Seriously, who in their right mind would agree to be a tether ball between two intimidatingly hot and oversexed brothers?”

Who, indeed?

Despite my words, I was only half convinced that my own reasons were quite as pure as I was making them out to be. What if I was just a glutton for punishment?

I flopped my arm over my eyes as Bethany let out a squeal.

“So, they’re oversexed? And intimidatingly hot, huh? I knew it.” She raised her eyebrows.

I let out an agitated sigh. “I can’t say anything around you, can I?”

“Fine, fine, I’ll let up, but tell me this. Are you nervous?”

I considered her question. When I logged in to my bank account this morning and saw the thousand-dollar deposit from FD Industries, I’d felt strange, but not strange enough to call the whole thing off.

Money like that was going to restore all the moldings in my house and maybe even get a few of the rooms a new coat of paint. And that was just from one night. If I could get through ten dates, the place could really be the home I wanted it to be—the safe, warm space I remembered.

And after Nathan? I needed someplace safe and warm.

Even more of a reason to stay the hell away from Gavin Kingsley, a little voice in my head whispered.

I shut that voice down and focused back on Bethany, moving my arm from my eyes to consider her question.

Was I nervous?

“Not exactly.”

“Anxious, then,” Bethany countered.


But as I thought of Gavin’s brooding sexuality, his intense stares and cool demeanor, a rush of goose bumps broke out over my skin. He wasn’t warm, wasn’t like the sweet, smiling Cooper, and there was no hope of a fast-food date afterward. Worse? I wasn’t sure I wanted there to be. Part of me was growing addicted to the seasick feeling inside me when I thought of him. Like an ache so deep, there was only one way to make it stop.

I swallowed hard and shook my head. “Why should I be?”

Bethany’s brows pulled together. “Because they’re like . . . sharing you?”

A hot shiver raced over my skin that had absolutely nothing to do with my workout. “Like I said, I’m a hired companion. I’m not dating them both.”

She nodded, still looking unsure. “And they’re both okay with this?”

Bethany knew the entire arrangement. My first instinct had been to guard their proposal like a secret, but I knew I needed advice and someone to turn to in case things got messy. Bethany was that person for me. It’s not like I could tell my mother about Forbidden Desires and the men who ran it.

I chewed on my lip. “Yeah. It’s not sexual or romantic. I’m just like a walking billboard. That’s all. I have to smile and be pretty, and then they fork over the cash to fix my place. Simple.”

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