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Asking for Trouble(3)

By´╝ÜTessa Bailey

Tonight, they’d finally declare a winner of this ongoing battle of wits and wills.

When she unbuttoned the top two buttons on her shirt and let the material gape, Brent’s beer bottle froze halfway to his mouth. His Adam’s apple bobbed a little as he glimpsed her exposed flesh. That’s right, I’m wearing my best matching underwear set, sucker. And I’m finished backing down.

Her voice dropped to a seductive purr. “It would be so much more fun to show you.”

Well, I’ll be damned. She’s not completely made of ice.

Brent tried not to be obvious as he shifted in his seat to accommodate the swelling flesh between his legs. Unfortunately, tonight didn’t mark the first occasion Her Highness had made him so hard he couldn’t sit still. It did, however, mark the first occasion she’d done it intentionally.

Across the table, her eyes issued an unmistakable challenge. What the hell was her game? Any other night, she would have turned her pert little nose up at his baiting question and given him her patented ice-princess frown. Something was definitely up.

Since the night they met, the two of them had mixed about as well as orange juice and toothpaste. He rigged explosives for the NYPD Emergency Service Unit. She flitted about all day organizing charity functions and dinner parties for Manhattan’s elite. He lived in a blue-collar neighborhood in Queens. She lived in a massive town house in one of the wealthiest parts of the city. He wore jeans and T-shirts. She wore tight, knee-length skirts and expensive blouses. If the circumstances were different, she would never share a table with him.

That was the part that got to him the most. Every word out of her mouth, every haughty glance in his direction, was designed to let him know she had better things to do. Better people to spend her time with.

Then there were those fucking stockings. The thing about her that drove him absolutely crazy. An anomaly he couldn’t figure out. From her perfectly styled chocolate-brown hair down to her knees, she looked prim and proper. Like she spent hours at the gym, all the while refusing to give anyone a peek of what all that hard work had yielded. But that careful polish ended with her legs. Tonight, tightly woven fishnet stockings disappeared up underneath her skintight gray skirt. Other days, she wore sheer black tights with a thick line running down the backs of her calves. Frankly, it infuriated him that she couldn’t just stick to one look. Die-hard prude or closet sex kitten. Which was it?

His mind drifted back to the gauntlet she’d just tossed down on the table. It would be so much more fun to show you. If she thought he wouldn’t accept her challenge, she was in for a huge surprise. If for no other reason, he’d swallow his dislike of her for a chance to mess up her artfully coiffed hair. There was another reason, however. Hayden might irritate him at every turn, but damn if he didn’t spend an inordinate amount of time wondering what it’d be like to have her beneath him. All that holier-than-thou hostility channeled into something productive for once.

Oh yeah, he’d love the chance to pound out this ridiculous, inconvenient attraction for someone he didn’t even like. Maybe then he could stop fantasizing about her every time they were in the same room. Picturing her bent over his dining room table in her stockings. Only her stockings. Giving him that look that said I’ve been such a bad girl, Brent.

When he didn’t answer her question right away, he saw her confidence falter. Yup, definitely up to something. Bluffing him? Maybe she thought it would be funny to get the non-Ivy League-educated roughneck hot and bothered, then prance out of the bar, leaving him with an epic cockstand. Not going to happen, baby.

Well, the epic cockstand was unavoidable, but at least it would be on his terms.

“What exactly is your idea of showing me, duchess?” He smirked. “Silk sheets, candlelight…the gentle strains of Kenny G. I’d love to see how the other half fucks.”

Something flared behind her eyes as she sat straighter in her chair. Brent barely had the willpower to keep his eyes off her breasts as they pressed snugly against her blouse, putting her smooth cleavage on display for him. When her tongue skated across her lips, leaving them glistening, he swallowed hard. “On second thought, who doesn’t love a little saxophone in the bedroom?”

Hayden’s finger slid through the condensation on the side of her wineglass. “How do you know?”

“Know what?”

Her eyelids drew up slowly as if weighed down by arousal. “How do you know we’ll even make it to the bedroom?”

His mouth went dry. “Come again?”

“That would be the plan.”

As soon as the heat-inducing words left her mouth, Daniel and Matt returned with their round of drinks. Brent wanted to growl at his friends’ shitty timing. He and Hayden both retreated, him reluctantly leaning back in his chair, Hayden crossing those mysterious legs. Damn. Just how far was she willing to take this game? He might not like her, he might resent the hell out of her superior attitude, but he’d sure as hell love to find out once and for all what lay at the top of those stockings. No way would she let him get that far, though. Wouldn’t want his dirty, workingman’s hands on her perfectly toned thighs.