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Discovering Mr. X: Chapter 21

RACHEL

“I think I’m in heaven.” I sigh as I lean back against Tanner’s solid chest and look out at the night sky through the window. He’s run the bath right to the top for me and filled it with bubbles.

“Does that mean I’m your God then?” he says, wrapping his arms around me and leaning to kiss the side of my face.

“Where do you get these lines?” I scoff. “Surely, they’ve never worked.”

“Drew,” he answers quickly, trying to shift the blame before laughing.

“Figures.” I laugh before hesitating for a moment… It’s now or never. I fight to keep my voice casual. “What was all that about at the party with Drew?”

“What do you mean?” Tanner asks as he tries to move the bubbles away from my breasts.

I smile and move his hands back to the sides of the bath, where I link my fingers through his. “Stop. Haven’t you seen enough for one night?”

“I will never have enough of you, Rachel.” He nips my ear with his teeth. “Now, why are you thinking about Drew when you’re naked in my bath, trapped between my thighs?” he asks, flexing his thighs around me to prove his point.

“It was just that thing he was asking Lyndsey and Katie about. You know, the selling panties thing?” I say, my mouth dry.

Tanner clears his throat and shifts behind me as though he’s uncomfortable. “Oh, that? That was just Drew being Drew. Why do you ask?”

I pause. How do I play this?

“He just seemed quite interested, that’s all. I wondered what you thought about it?” I turn my face to the side to look up at him, but I can’t see his eyes properly from this angle.

“What do I think about it?” Tanner murmurs as if deep in thought. “I think people invest in all types of businesses, sometimes for very personal reasons.”

“But what do you think of that type of business? Say, if I had done it, for example?” I turn my face back away from him and screw it up, so glad that he can’t see me.

He clears his throat again. “Why are you asking, Rachel?”

“Well, you made that comment about Mandy forgetting her purse sometimes.”

“All the fucking time.” Tanner laughs a humorless laugh.

“I was just wondering whether you thought of that as the same thing?” I ask, removing my hand from his to scratch at my wrist.

“It’s not the same thing,” he says without a thought. “Mandy was out for what she could get without considering what I wanted. It’s nothing like a business agreement two parties invest into with mutual benefits.”

I relax back into his chest a bit more. “I see.”

“Why are you asking all these questions, Rach?” He leans round to kiss the side of my face. “Are you trying to tell me you do it?”

“Do what?”

“Sell your panties,” he says, his voice deep.

It really is now or never.

“What if I used to? But not anymore?” I add quickly, leaning forward to turn the top half of my body around and look at his face.

Tanner’s brow furrows as he looks at me. “You used to sell your worn panties?”

I hold my breath and nod.

“When was this?” His face is blank, unreadable. He’s using his business negotiator’s face on me. I’m screwed at guessing what he’s really thinking.

“It started over eighteen months ago until I bought the house.” I swallow.

He continues staring at me.

“And how many men did you send your panties to?” He emphasizes the “many.”

“Does it matter?”

“It does to me.” He glares at me.

Fuck, he’s pissed.

Damn this new relationship—whatever the fuck it’s called—thing we have going on. I never had to tell Chris any of this. I just feel like I should be honest with Tanner. I have this urge to want to be honest with him.

“One,” I say.

“Only one?” Tanner’s eyes bore into mine.

“Well, I’m obviously not as good at running my own business as you, because yes, I only had one client,” I say sarcastically.

If he’s going to be a dick, then I can handle it.

“Why just one?” He pushes.

“He said he’d pay extra if I promised to only sell to him, and I always keep my promises,” I say, feeling my temper rising.

“So, there was only ever one?”

“For fuck’s sake, Tanner. Yes! There was only ever one,” I snap.

He reaches forward and brushes his thumb over my lips, his face softening. “What happened to him?”

“I told him I wanted to stop as I’d saved enough to buy my house,” I say underneath his thumb, not sure whether it’s safe to relax yet. “That was my goal all along, and I reached it.” I study his eyes, which are now staring at me.

He sits forward suddenly and brings his warm lips to mine, kissing me slowly, sensually.

Okay, I’m confused. Is he pissed off or not?

“Doesn’t it bother you?” I ask, breaking away from him.

“Are you asking me whether the thought of another man having pairs of your panties with the scent of you on them bothers me?” His eyes on my lips as though he’s going to kiss them again any second.

God, this is weird.

“Yes, that. Does it bother you?”

“Yes, it does fucking bother me, Rachel,” he whispers, leaning his forehead against mine. “I don’t want to think about another man having anything of yours ever again.”

“You’re not going to be a wanker about it?” I ask, not quite believing it. I expected him to hit the roof.

“No.” He shakes his head as one hand reaches up to cup my cheek. “I’m not going to be a wanker about it.”

Then he kisses me again, and all thoughts of panties and Mr. X vanish.


“I’m so over this pregnancy insomnia thing already,” Holly moans, her tired eyes looking through the screen at me.

“I didn’t think it started yet?” I say, leaning back against the pillows on Tan’s bed.

“I know, lucky me!” She gives me a fake smile. “I’m only just coming up to my third trimester. I hope it eases off soon,” she says through a yawn.

“So, where’s Jay? Please tell me he’s snoring like a pig in bed. Mr. Perfect has to have some flaws,” I joke and watch her eyes light up.

“Rach! He does not snore like a pig.” Holly giggles. “He is in bed, though. He’s been insisting on getting up with me every night, and I’ve had enough. I told him he needs his sleep, what with all the filming he’s doing for the TV show. Plus, he needs to get it while he can because once the baby is here, I have a feeling things are going to be quite different.”

“I can’t believe you’re going to be a mommy soon.” I smile at my best friend.

“I know.” Her eyes widen. “Scary, huh?”

“You’ll be amazing, Holls. I can’t think of better parents for this baby. He or she is going to be so loved.”

I smile sadly. I can’t help thinking of my mom and wondering how different life could have been if she hadn’t died when I was a baby. I’m not even entirely sure what happened, as the story has changed so much depending on who tells me. I’m not sure my old caseworker knew for definite. I’ve heard everything, from a fall to a car accident to a brain hemorrhage.

“He or she definitely is.” Holly looks down at her stomach. “So, what are you doing for the rest of the day? I take it you have plans with Tanner as I don’t recognize those pillows behind you?” Holly raises her brows with a smile as she looks back up at me.

“Yeah, okay, busted.” I laugh. “I spent the night at his place for the first time last night.”

“And?” she probes.

“And what?” I ask, looking at her.

“Oh, come on, Rach! This is me you’re talking to, remember? You can’t pretend this isn’t a huge deal for you?” she says excitedly. “What’s his house like?”

“Fancy and rather huge. It’s ridiculous, really.” I smile. “He must rattle around here by himself.”

“Not now that you’re there to keep him company all night long,” Holly sings mischievously.

“Stop.” I shoot her a look before rolling my eyes and smiling. “Okay, I’ll admit, I kind of enjoy spending the nights together. For some weird reason that I haven’t worked out yet.”

Holly smiles as she listens to me. “I think I may have an idea why you like it.”

I look at her eyes, which are now bright and eager, all signs of her previous sleep-deprived state gone. “No, no, no.” I shake my head. “Don’t go getting ahead of yourself. I like him, and we have fun—when he isn’t annoying the hell out of me.” I glance to the doorway to make sure Tanner hasn’t returned from downstairs.

“Whatever you say, Rach.” She smiles, now taking her turn to roll her eyes at me.

“No, really, Holls. It’s not that serious. We haven’t put a label or anything on it. It’s not like I’m calling him my boyfriend,” I say quickly, not sure who I’m trying to convince more—her or me.

“Rach, relax. So, what if you like him more than anyone else you’ve met before? I’m so happy for you. You’ve found someone you want to stay all night with. Someone you obviously feel quite comfortable and want to share things with.”

I run over her words in my head. Someone I feel comfortable with? Share things with? Is that who Tanner is to me?

“You know, Holls, I did share something else with him last night.” I cast my mind back to our bath.

“Oh, yeah?”

“I told him about the panty business.” I lower my voice, even though I know he won’t be coming back yet. He said he had some business calls to make in his office.

“You did?” Holly’s eyes widen. “What did he say?”

“That’s the thing.” I shrug. “I thought he would be all pissed off about it. He’s such a hothead about some other things.”

“Says you?” Holly giggles.

“Yeah, yeah, anyway,” I carry on, “he didn’t even seem that surprised. He was more bothered about how many clients I had rather than the fact I had done it.”

“Hmm,” Holly muses. “Maybe he just thinks that since it’s in the past that it doesn’t matter now?”

“Yeah, maybe. I would have just expected him to be more bothered, you know. The first time we spoke on the phone and I mentioned Matt, he almost bit my head off, wanting to know who Matt was.” The corners of my lips turn up at the memory.

“So, he’s jealous when it comes to other guys then?” Holly asks.

“Well, I thought so. But then he kept his cool when he met Chris at the house party, so who knows?” I sigh. “This is why I don’t do relationships. All this second-guessing shit. Casual sex is much simpler.”

“Maybe, but nowhere near as good, Rach. Admit it; it feels good to have Tanner on your side. Building up that trust in each other.” Holly smiles at me encouragingly.

“Yeah, it has some merits, I suppose. Although, guess what he wants to do today?” I moan.

“Do I want to know?” Holly giggles.

“Oh God, he wants to do that all the time!” I laugh. “But I’m talking about the fact he’s told his mom we will both go to her house for lunch!” I hiss.

“He wants you to meet his mom? Rachel, that sounds lovely. Doesn’t it?” Holly asks, looking at my face.

“I don’t know,” I groan, looking up at the ceiling. “I’ve never met anyone’s parents before. Plus, he’s really close to his mom. Like super close.”

“What’s wrong with that?” Holly pauses for a moment. “Wait, Rach, are you worried his mom won’t like you?”

“No! Of course not,” I say quickly, chewing on my lip.

“It’s okay if you are, you know? I was worried about meeting Jay’s family for the first time,” she confesses.

“Yeah, but come on, Holly. This is you we’re talking about. You’re every parent’s dream. Me, on the other hand, not so much.” I frown.

“And why not?” Holly says, screwing her nose up. She’s such a gentle soul, but when it comes to her family or friends, well, “look out,” is all I can say.

“I’m hardly the ideal lunch guest, am I? No family of my own, a fucked-up past with no actual normal relationships, just a string of fuck buddies I’ve lost count of.”

“You have a family! You have me. And Matt and Megan,” Holly says.

I know she’s right. She’s like a sister to me. And Matt, well, he’s the annoying brother, I guess, and Megan has become such a close friend since living together.

“Thanks, but you know what I mean.”

“They’ll be lucky to have you there. Will you tell me how it goes?” she says, a yawn creeping back over her pretty face.

“Yes, I will provide a detailed debrief later.” I smile. “Now go back to bed. It looks like you might be in with some luck if you try to sleep again now.”

“Thanks.” She smiles at me. “Love you, Rach.”

“Love you too.” I hit the end call button and sink further into the pillows.

When Tanner told me his mom was expecting us for lunch today, I was pissed he had made plans without even asking me. But the more I think about it, the more I’m kind of pleased about it. What I told him last night in the bath certainly didn’t have him running a mile. And judging by the extra energy he had afterward—and again this morning—I would say it hasn’t altered his attraction to me at all. If anything, he seems even more intense than usual. I’ve never had this with anyone before. It’s both exhilarating and terrifying.

I look up as the door opens. Speak of the sexy devil. He’s wearing a pair of grey sweatpants and nothing else. His chiseled abs and strong ‘V’ running down into the low waistband are on full display. He is hot, steamy, and erotic sex in sweatpants. His eyes are dark, and his brow is furrowed as he looks up at me.

“How was Holly?” he asks.

“She’s good. I think our chat may help her get some sleep now. It’s the middle of the night over there.” I look at Tanner, who’s nodding as though he’s listening, but I can tell he’s distracted, his mind elsewhere.

“What’s wrong?” I ask as he comes and sits on the edge of the bed next to me. The warm, slightly spicy smell of his skin makes my nipples harden underneath his t-shirt I’m wearing. I watch the muscles in his back ripple as he leans his elbows onto his knees and lowers his head into his hands.

He lets out a low groan. “We’ve just been let down by an artist at work. Fucking creative types,” he hisses through gritted teeth. “He was supposed to be doing a giant commission for us to go in the foyer of this new hotel in London we’ve got the re-modeling contract for. It’s the official re-opening in two weeks, and he told us this morning that he can’t do it. We hired him months ago. There’s no way we can get someone else at such brief notice.”

“Shit. I’m sorry, Tan. He’s a real dick for letting you down at the last minute,” I mutter, sitting up. I instinctively wrap my arms around Tanner’s back from behind and hold on to his chest. I press gentle kisses between his shoulder blades, wishing I could kiss away all the tension built up there.

“It will not look good for the company,” he says, pulling my hand up from his chest and kissing my fingers.

An idea hits me. “Megan could do it!” I say suddenly, sitting up straight.

Tanner turns his upper body around to look at me. “No, Rach. It’s an enormous job. It would take her hours, and she already has work.”

“She does this week. But she’s off on leave next week,” I say, my voice gaining speed as I plan it all out. “She’s talented too, Tan. You know she’d do something incredible!” I look at him, excitement growing in my eyes.

“You really think she’d want to take this on? It’s a huge ask.” He looks at me, and I can see hope forming in his eyes.

“There’s one way to know.” I pick my phone up off the bedside table and hand it to him. “Call her.”

I sit and listen as Tanner calls Megan. I hear her excited squeal down the phone as he tells her about the brief and which hotel it will be showcased in. Then I hear him tell her how much his company is offering as payment, and I have to hold my cough in.

Fuck, maybe I should have gone to art school.

He hangs up and throws my phone down onto the bed, then turns and pulls me across his lap, his eyes glittering. “You, my sexy little Snowball, are a genius.” He smiles as he brings his warm lips to mine and kisses me hard, his skilled tongue parting my lips and probing my mouth with deep, devilish confidence. He pulls back and looks deep into my eyes. “I owe you big-time.”

“Big-time?” I tease, wriggling against his erection, which is pressed into the back of my thigh.

His eyes darken. “There’s still plenty of time to start thanking you before we go out. If you have something in mind?”

“What do I have in mind?” I murmur, looking down at his lips. “You know, I’m feeling quite tired this morning. Some horny fucker kept me up late.” I smirk as he leans forward and nips my bottom lip between his teeth. I feel a rush of moisture between my legs and instinctively moan against his lips as I run my fingers along his jaw.

“Sounds like a lucky, horny fucker to me.” He grins, slipping a hand up my t-shirt and straight to my breast, where he rolls my nipple between his thumb and forefinger.

I tip my head back, and Tanner’s lips graze along my neck, his warm breath dancing over my skin between his kisses as he works his way up to my ear. “You know, if you’re feeling tired, maybe it’s a good idea if I use something that will stop you from being tempted to exert yourself too much,” he whispers.

I move my head, so my eyes meet his. “Sounds intriguing.”

He gives me a sexy grin before laying me back onto the bed and pulling the t-shirt up over my head. I watch him stand back up, his eyes running down my body and back up again. It’s another great opportunity for me to eye fuck him as well, while he’s topless and in sweatpants that can’t hide his enormous erection. He reaches down into his bedside drawer and pulls out a thin piece of black lace.

“Are those?”

“Yes, they are indeed.” He grins, bringing the lace panties I wore to the whisky tasting up to his nose and inhaling deeply, his eyes fluttering closed as he groans gently. “I told you, they were my consolation for you being gone in the morning.”

“I can’t believe you’ve kept them in your bedside drawer.” I look up at him as he leans over me and brings my wrists together above my head.

“They’ve kept me good company on the nights we’re apart.” He smiles as he wraps the delicate fabric around my wrists, binding it, so my hands are held together.

“Have you got yourself off while holding them?” I ask, the panties I’m wearing now soaked with arousal at the idea of him touching himself and thinking of me.

His eyes stare at me intently as he speaks slowly. “Yes, Rachel. I’ve stroked my cock until I’ve come. I’ve done it while holding them, smelling them, and remembering you wearing them while I fucked you that night with my tongue.” His voice comes out deep and gravelly, like he’s trying to restrain himself. His eyes stay glued to my face as he slides his sweatpants down and releases his cock. I can see the wet beads of arousal on its tip. He climbs onto the bed and slowly slides my panties down my legs before leaning over and dropping them into his bedside drawer, pushing it closed.

“Oh, God,” I moan quietly, unable to do much with my hands tied except drop my legs wide on the mattress, hoping Tanner will soon give me some relief to the pulsating in my pussy.

“Tell me how you want it, Rachel,” he says, coming to kneel between my legs.

I arch my back off the bed. “I want it now, Tanner. Fast, hard, and dirty. Stop fucking around and give me your cock,” I groan.

He laughs as he lifts me and places a pillow underneath my bum. “You’re very impatient, you know that?” He trails a finger from my chin, down over one nipple, and to my pussy. I buck off the bed, willing him to sink his finger deep inside me or touch my clitoris. Instead, he removes it and tuts. “What’s the magic word?”

“Wanker,” I fire back, fuming that he’s teasing me.

He laughs, a deep, sexy laugh. “That’s my girl,” he says as he lifts my ankles together, placing them over one of his shoulders, and slides his cock deep inside me in one slow push. I moan at the sensation of complete fullness—the incredible stretch and slight burn at the size of him inside me.

“Fuck yeah.” He lets out a ragged breath as he draws back slowly before sliding back in again. His eyes are cast down, watching where our bodies meet. I arch off the bed, my wrists still held tight together over my head. I’m completely under his control, unable to move anywhere. I have to trust him completely, and it’s a fucking turn-on.

“Harder,” I moan.

Tanner speeds up in response, sliding in and out of my body with increasing speed, his moans growing louder. All I can do is throw my head back and enjoy the sensations his cock is creating. So good, it feels so, so good.

All too soon, he takes his cock out and pulls the pillow from under me, flipping me in one quick, powerful move so that I’m lying on my front on the bed. “Let me see that gorgeous ass,” he growls, pulling me up to my knees in front of him. I rest on my elbows and part my legs for him. “That’s it, baby,” he says darkly, sucking in a breath. “Show me your pussy, soaking wet for me.” He rubs the tip of his cock over me, sliding it through my wetness.

“Fuck me, Tan,” I groan impatiently. He chuckles and slides into me until his balls are kissing my skin. “You feel so good,” I moan, pushing back against him, wanting him even deeper. He picks up the pace, slamming into me with hard, punishing hits. The headboard bangs against the wall as he clasps my hips tightly and fucks me how I asked.

“Such a tight little pussy,” he murmurs in awe, pounding into me, his breathing growing ragged.

It feels so good, so deep. I can feel my orgasm building, and it’s going to be intense. I just know it. I can feel tingles spreading over my entire body. I clench around him.

“Fuck, Rachel,” Tanner hisses.

I moan his name loudly; I’m so nearly there. He moves one hand, and I feel an extra fullness as he slides what I think must be his thumb inside my ass.

God, it feels good.

I feel like I’ve got even more of him inside me, totally at his mercy as he uses my body to pleasure himself.

“Tan,” I moan as his cock rubs against my G-spot. He pumps his thumb in time with his cock, and I feel any control I had, leave my body, the sudden urge to pee coming over me. “Tan!” I scream as I come hard and release a sudden gush of wetness all over him.

“God, Fuck!” he hisses, sounding taken aback but delighted. As my orgasm rips through me, making my legs shake, he groans deeply, and I know that he’s coming too. I murmur his name as I shudder and convulse around him, one of his hands firmly clutching my hip, the other still on and inside my ass. He keeps thrusting into me as we both moan and ride down together.

“Rachel.” He lets out a big breath as our bodies slow. “That was fucking incredible. I didn’t know you could—”

“Neither did I,” I pant back, just as surprised by my squirting as he is. I’ve heard about it and almost come close with my vibrator before, but never actually done it.

He slides his thumb and cock out of me, and I feel an aching emptiness from where we were joined.

“Stay there, baby.” The mattress moves as Tanner gets off the bed and goes into the en suite, appearing a moment later with a warm washcloth. He tenderly cleans me before pulling me down onto the bed with him and wrapping me in his arms.

“I don’t want you to ever leave me,” he whispers as he carefully unties my wrists, drawing each to his lips so he can kiss them in turn.

“I’m not going anywhere, not until my next flight, anyway.” I smile.

“I mean it, Rachel.” He gazes at me. “You’re everything I want.”

I swallow as I look back at him.

I want to open my mouth and speak, but I can’t.

All I can do is stare at him as I say the words silently in my head.

You’re everything I always said I never wanted, Tanner Grayson.

Only, do I still mean it?


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