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“What was that groan for?” She turned to him, eying him as if he were a mystery she had to solve.
He stopped out front of her door and dropped the bags he was carrying. Surely, she could take them from there. “Nothing.” He turned to leave before they could get into another argument.
“Don’t say that.” She called after him, teasingly. “It’s always something. Just say what’s on your mind. I’m a big girl. I can take whatever you’re dishing out tonight.”
He turned back to her. Why couldn’t she drop it? Why couldn’t she let it go so he didn’t have to say something he didn’t really want to say?
“Come on, Gavin. Get it off your chest.” Her eyes were half-lidded from the alcohol, but the fire behind them still burned hot. “Mmm, yes, your chest. We wouldn’t want anything tarnishing that now would we?”
“You, okay? You’re my problem.” He cringed. The words hurt him to say, but they were the truth.
“What about me?” she questioned, taking a step toward him. She put her hands on her hips, challenging him.
Why did everything have to turn into a grudge match with this girl? Well he wasn’t going to back down this time. He was going to say what was on his mind and then maybe she’d finally get the message.
“Everything. Everything is always about you. Don’t you see?”
She sucked in a quick breath. “Why, because I asked you to go shopping with me?”
“No.” Gavin took another step closer, hoping maybe he could get her to actually listen to what he said instead of only hearing the words but not the meaning. “Because you don’t seem to care or realize not everyone is as rich and materialistic as you are.”
“I do realize and care, thank you very much.” She straightened her shoulders and stood tall as if she were trying to make herself bigger than she was. She still barely came up to his shoulder, but it was sort of cute that she tried. If only she wasn’t so frustrating all the time, he might be able to enjoy her being this close to him. “I thought the watch would look good on you, that’s all. Excuse me for trying to add a little style to your otherwise boring wardrobe.”
Now she was going to get an earful. No one insulted his wardrobe. That was mean and uncalled for.
Gavin took a step forward, his chest almost touching hers as he towered over her. “I don’t really need your help, but thanks. I’m happy with my boring clothes and my fifty-dollar watch. Unlike you, I don’t need to prove my worth with a bunch of fancy trinkets.”
Tali jabbed her finger into his chest, poking his breastbone hard with a sharp fingernail. Her touch wasn’t all together unpleasant, but he would have enjoyed it more if she were touching him in a slightly different manner. Say a gentle scratch along his ribs with those nails instead. Now he wanted to groan for another reason. The fantasies starting to flood his mind were tempting. Very tempting.
“I am not trying to prove my worth to anyone. You don’t know anything about me.”
“Don’t I?” He edged closer to her, unable to resist the draw of her temper fighting him, pushing him. He wanted to tame her temper. “Don’t I know you’ll buy whatever you want, spend without considering the cost, and assume everyone else wants to do the same?”
Tali pushed her hand flat against his chest in an attempt to make him step back, but he held his ground and the only thing she succeeded in was finding his pounding heartbeat beneath her hand. She paused for a moment, and he held his breath waiting to see what she’d do next. He didn’t have to wait long. She followed the ridges of his toned muscle, her fingertips brushing over the hard ripples of his stomach, sending a wave of electricity through him. He wanted her to keep going until she’d explored everything he had to offer. But she stopped.
“No.” She closed her eyes as if she tried to fight feelings she had for him. Possibly the same feelings he was unexpectedly feeling for her. Yet, she let her hand linger where it was, teasing him and torturing his flesh. “No you don’t know me at all.”
Tali took a deep breath, leveling her gaze on his. She suddenly looked too serious, like she was going into battle. “You think because you spend one day with me you know me, but you don’t. Sure I spend a little money, but there’s a lot more to me than that. Too bad you’re too much of an arrogant asshole to ever find out.”
Arrogant? She should talk.
Gavin narrowed his eyes at her, his gaze never straying from hers. “Maybe when you prove to me there’s more to you than money, I’ll finally believe it.”
“Maybe when you finally stop thinking you’re hot shit, I’ll have the chance to prove there’s more to me than you think, but right now I can’t seem to get out from behind your giant ego.” Tali’s chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath.
He watched mesmerized as her breasts fought against the tight corset he’d tied hours early. He suddenly wanted to rip the material from her body to free her of its confines.
Without thinking it through, Gavin crushed his mouth against hers, stealing her breath. He flicked his tongue across her lips and her mouth opened, inviting him in. He tangled his hand in her hair as he explored every crevice of her mouth then gently bit her lower lip.
Tali went limp in his arms and he held her tighter against his body, his hand pressed firmly into the small of her back, holding her to him—every hard inch. He moved against her, pressing her up to the wall beside her door. Even with her every contour melting into his, he still couldn’t get close enough to her to satisfy his growing need.
“Damn right I’m hot shit,” he muttered still kissing her and loving every second of how she responded to him. “And I plan on proving as much to you right now.”
He needed her. Damn it. She could ignite a flame in him so hot they might accidentally set the sheets on fire. That was fine with him. Tonight he was going to tame that smart mouth of hers.
“Gavin,” she said into his mouth. “Get the door.” She thrust a plastic keycard into his hand.
He broke away from their kiss and slammed the card into the lock, twisting the handle sharply when the light flickered to green. Pushing open the door with one hand, he pulled her through the opening with his other.
“The bags. I can’t leave them in the hall.”
“You and your stupid bags.” He growled not giving a hot damn about the bags, but he bent to grab them, throwing them through the doorway anyway. He didn’t want anything to distract them from this moment and if having her shopping bags safely inside would comfort Tali, then by all means, he’d bring the damn things into the room.
“Well I’m not about to leave that kind of merchandise out in the hall for people to take. I might be free with my spending, but I’m not going to throw money away.”
“If you say one more thing shopping related, I swear I’ll walk out of this room no matter what we’re in the middle of. Got it?”
“Got it.” She smirked. “So aren’t you supposed to be proving to me how hot you are right now? ‘Cause so far I’d say you’re still just about lukewarm.”
“Lukewarm, huh? Is that the best you can come up with?” He knew she was trying to goad him on, but his body responded regardless. Oh, he was going to prove how hot he was all right, even if doing so took all night—even if convincing her took multiple tries.
He let the door slam behind him and eyed Tali. She stood near the bed, her breathing fast as she watched him. He wanted to pounce on her like a cheetah claiming its prey, but he wouldn’t. Instead, he would let her sweat out the anticipation for a few moments longer.
Good God, the woman looked so damn hot he could barely stand the reaction she caused inside of him. With her fitted corset top showcasing the rounded mounds of her breasts, the skinny jean hugging her ass, and the knee-high black boots, she could have been some kind of modern day superwoman—her super power being the ability to seduce men with a single eyelash bat.