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Discovering Mr. X: Chapter 6

TANNER

Since the night at the club, I haven’t been able to get Snow—or Rachel—out of my head. I don’t know what the hell’s wrong with me. It’s clear she doesn’t even remember our brief meeting a year and a half ago, but then she was in such a rush that she barely looked at me.

Fuck.

I’ve never been so pathetic over a woman I never expected to see again, a woman I barely know anything about. Although, that’s not strictly true. I know some things about her, like her innermost desire is to be independent and take care of herself. It’s so fucking sexy. Yet, I was the one who unknowingly stole her dream from right in front of her. No wonder she was so mad.

The sight of her in that tight, red dress, the fire in her eyes when she laid into me, God, I would love to see that fire really in action. My cock stiffens at the thought. That woman has passion, all right. I just need to persuade her I’m the perfect man to unleash it with.

I stretch my arms back behind my head and blow out a breath as I stare out of the window of my office, London sprawled out below. I need to do something. This is insane. I’m not going to get any work done wondering about when I will see her again. Plus, there’s this fucking guilt I feel over buying the house I know she’s been saving years for.

I slide my fingers down my pen, turning it upside down and repeating the motion again and again as I wrack my brains for an idea. I smile as one hits me, and I sit forward, pressing the intercom to my PA.

“Yes, Mr. Grayson?”

“Penny, could you get me the auction house on the phone, please?”

“Of course, one moment,” Penny replies.

Snow might have given me a frosty reception so far; she will be a challenge, and I never can resist one of those.

Time to heat things up.


“Hello?”

Even her voice is sexy. She sounds so different when she’s not fighting with me.

“Hello Rachel,” I say slowly, a smile spreading across my face as her pause tells me she’s trying to place my voice.

“Matt? I’m not falling for one of your prank calls again.” She huffs, and the line goes dead.

What the…?

She hung up on me. I dial back, and she answers on the first ring. I cut in before she speaks, “Don’t you dare hang up on me again, and who the hell is Matt?”

There’s silence for a moment before she speaks.

“Mr. Sixty-nine. How did you get this number?” Her tone is cold; she sounds pissed.

“You told me to use my imagination,” I reply.

I don’t fancy recounting the long dinner I had with Blondie from the auction house. I had to endure three hours of her laughing like a hyena and grabbing at my cock under the table. There would have been a time I would never have turned down an easy shag, but all I could think about was getting the hell out of there once I got what I went for—Snow’s number.

She’s turned me into a fucking soft cock. God help me.

“So… what? Am I meant to be impressed that you found my number? Probably sweet-talked someone at the auction house.”

What?

I clench my teeth. I need to up my game.

“So, what do you want, anyway?” she asks, sounding irritated. “To gloat some more over your huge… portfolio?” I can hear the smirk in her voice. God, this woman is infuriating.

“Actually, I was phoning with a proposal for you.”

“What could you possibly have that I would be interested in?” she snaps back, but I sense she’s intrigued, judging by the fact she hasn’t hung up again.

“Well, a friend of mine has got a house coming up for sale, but he needs a quick sale and wants to avoid paying agent’s fees.”

“Why’s he need a quick sale?” Her voice rises in suspicion.

“He needs the cash quickly to invest in another business deal he has going on. If he goes to market, it’ll take too long. He’s only just found out about this other deal, so he’s missed the local area auction for another six months,” I explain.

“So, what’s your proposal?”

I lean back in my chair and cross my legs as a sense of satisfaction fills my chest. I’ve got her.

“I thought you and I could look?”

“You can just give me your friend’s number, and I can arrange a viewing myself,” she answers quickly. “No need to put yourself out,” she says with mock sweetness, “I’m sure you’re a terribly busy man playing big boy monopoly with all your houses.”

I adjust myself as my cock twitches in response to her downright snarky attitude. Drew was right that night in the club. She is feisty.

“Well, if you’re going to be like that—” I trail off.

“Hang on,” she cuts in, and I feel my smile widen. “I suppose your input might be useful, given the number of houses you must have seen over the years.”

“Over the years? Just how old do you think I am?” I frown, checking out my reflection in the shiny glass of my desk.

“Old enough to know that I won’t fall for any of your charming—run your hands through your hair shit—that might usually work for you.”

“Just give me your address, Rachel.” I sigh. “I’ll pick you up in the morning at ten.”

She reels off a street address to me, and I write it down.

“Hey, you never told me who Matt was?” I say. But all I hear is the beep of the phone. She’s hung up on me.

Again.


Ten minutes to ten the following morning, I knock on the door to Rachel’s house, and her friend, who I recognize from the club, answers.

“Hello Megan,” I say, extending my hand out to her, “it’s nice to see you again.”

She takes it in hers and smiles at me—at least she has good manners. “You too, err?”

“Tanner,” I say. “My name’s Tanner, but my friends call me Tan.”

“You’re early… Tanner,” Rachel calls from inside the house, “you’d better come in while I grab my things.”

“Thanks.” I nod at Megan as she stands back for me to enter. It’s a pleasant house that shows two girls live here from the vase of flowers on the hall table and one of those reed things in a bottle that smells. My eyes are drawn to a framed drawing on the wall. It looks exactly like Rachel and Megan in red flight attendant uniforms.

“Did you draw this?” I gesture to the artwork.

“Yeah,” says Megan, her cheeks flushing, “I’m an illustrator. I used to fly for Atlantic Airways, the same as Rach, but I left a few months ago when I got a job at a large design company.”

“That’s incredible; you’re very talented,” I say sincerely. I mean it, this girl is good. The picture seems so lifelike. She’s captured something in Rachel’s eyes. It almost seems intrusive to look at it for too long.

Her blush deepens. “Thank you, Tan, that’s a nice thing to say.”

“It’s the truth,” Rachel says as she comes down the stairs.

I try not to stare. She’s wearing ripped black jeans and a white t-shirt gathered into a knot near her tiny waist. I can just glimpse the dip of her belly button underneath the bottom of her t-shirt and imagine running my tongue up her toned stomach, dipping it in to taste her. Her eyes flash up to my face, and I have to disguise the deep swallow I’ve just taken, pretending to clear my throat instead.

“Ready?” I ask.

“You bet,” she says as she throws on a denim jacket. “See you later, Meg.” She gives her housemate a quick kiss on the cheek.

“Nice to meet you again,” I say to Megan as we head outside.

“So, how far away is your friend’s house?” Rachel asks the second the door closes behind us.

“Not even three minutes in the car,” I say as I unlock my black Aston Martin and hold the door open for her. Her eyebrows rise at the gesture as she slides into the passenger seat.

“Just as well, seeing as I don’t know you. Less time for you to abduct me in your fancy car. I carry pepper spray, you know. And I fight dirty,” she says as I get in behind the wheel.

“Oh, I’m sure you do.” I stare straight ahead. I start the engine, and the car purrs to life. I pull out onto the road, stealing a sideways glance at her. Her expression has softened slightly, her eyes are studying me, her red lips slightly parted.

Fuck, she’s beautiful.

“What are you looking at?” I ask.

She raises an eyebrow at me. “I’m wondering why you decided to help me after spectacularly fucking me over the other day.”

I groan inwardly at the way her lips move when she says the word “fucking”. It’s almost more than a man can take.

God, I want to fuck you over, Snow, just not in the way you mean.

“I’m disappointed you have such a low opinion of me. It was just business at the auction,” I say matter-of-factly as I pull over to the side of the road and park the car.

“What’s today then?” she asks, her eyes studying my face suspiciously.

“Today is pleasure,” I say smoothly.

She smirks. “I’ll be the judge of that.”

I feel the corner of my mouth lift in amusement. “You do that, Rachel,” I reply, and I notice her smirk fade as she studies my face. “Anyway, you can save your evaluations until later. We’re here.”

I lean across her to point at the house we’ve parked in front of—two streets away from where she lives. As I do, I catch a hint of her perfume; jasmine mixed with musk, sexy as hell. I adjust myself in my jeans as I move back to my seat.

Rachel’s still staring out the window.

“I can’t afford this, Tanner,” she whispers as she looks up at the pale-grey painted terrace house, shiny black railings leading up the steps to its front door.

“I know what your budget is from the auction. I wouldn’t have brought you here if it couldn’t work. I told you, my friend needs a quick sale.” I try to sound reassuring. “Come on, I’ll show you inside; he gave me the keys.” I climb out and make my way around to open Rachel’s door for her. She beats me to it and is already standing on the pavement, her eyes still fixed on the house.

I look at her face and its delicate features. Her brow is wrinkled, and her lips pursed. She looks childlike and worried. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, of course,” she answers quickly before turning towards me and giving me a small smile. “Can we go inside now?”

We head up the steps to the front door, and I unlock it, holding it open so Rachel can go in first. As she passes me, I try not to breathe in. The last thing I need is to get a hard-on from the scent of her. She glances at me as she passes. “Thanks.”

I gaze at this new, quieter, polite version of her. “You’re welcome.”

We head through the hallway and into the front room, which is flooded with light from the large window. Rachel walks over the polished floorboards as her eyes dart around.

“It’s hard to imagine when it’s empty like this.” I point over at the wall, “but just picture your sofa over there and a tall lamp. Some bookshelves built into those alcoves over there, on either side of the fireplace. You could make it really cozy.”

She says nothing, just nods as she walks into the next room, a dining room, leading into a newly re-fitted kitchen at the back of the house. She’s looking out of the window at the garden as I come to stand next to her. She’s wearing flat shoes today, accentuating how petite she is next to me.

“It’s south-facing; you’ll get the sun all day,” I say, looking over at her.

“Nigel will love it,” she murmurs, lost in thought.

Whoa, hang on. Have I completely missed something here? Nigel? Don’t tell me Snow has a boyfriend. Motherfucker. My jaw tenses at the idea.

I cough. “Who’s Nigel, your boyfriend?” I ask in the most innocent, not-fucked-either-way voice I can muster.

“I don’t have a boyfriend. He’s our house rabbit.” She turns to look up at me for the first time since we came through the front door.

My jaw relaxes. She doesn’t have a boyfriend.

“A what? Don’t they live in hutches? Or even better, out in a field somewhere?” I say, distracted by her sweet red lips. I wonder what they would look like wrapped around my cock.

“He would hate that. His favorite place is sleeping on the sofa. You should see the size of him; he’s practically a cat.” She takes one last look at the garden. “Show me upstairs?” she asks, turning back to me.

My cock stirs again as I imagine a very different intention her words could have.

One day, one day soon.

“After you.” I gesture politely, following behind as Rachel walks back to the hallway and climbs up the stairs ahead of me. I have the perfect view of her tight little ass in her jeans.

It pays to have manners sometimes.

We look around the three bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. The house is in good shape. It just needs fresh paint and some nice furniture, and it’ll look great.

“What do you think?” I ask as we head back out the front door and towards my car.

“I think it’s too good to be true. What’s the catch?” she says, looking up at me.

“Well, the catch is my friend still has to accept your offer. But I know if you said Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand and could complete the sale in a month, he would probably accept.”

She rubs her lips together and looks back at the house. “Okay.” She brings her eyes back to mine. “Let’s call him now.”

I pull out my phone and bring up Rich’s number, hitting dial before bringing the phone up to my ear. Rachel takes a step closer to me. So close, I swallow and close my eyes briefly as the scent of her perfume invades my senses. I can practically feel the heat radiating between us as she rises on her tiptoes towards my face.

Holy fuck, yes!

I’m about to close my eyes and lean forward into her kiss when my phone is plucked out of my hand.

“Hello… Rich?” Rachel says as she checks the name on the screen and brings the phone up to her ear, her eyes glinting at me. “This is Rachel,” pause, “oh, he did, did he?” She laughs at whatever Rich is saying.

He better not be chatting her up, or I swear I’ll kick his ass next time I see him.

“Well,” she says, “yes, I do like it, and I have an offer for you.”

“Three twenty,” I whisper the number to her.

She arches an eyebrow as she looks me straight in the eye. “I’ll give you Three Hundred and Fifteen and not a penny more. And I can complete the sale in three weeks. Do we have a deal?”

My eyes widen as she smirks at me. She completely ignored what I said and purposefully did her own thing. Something heads would roll for if it happened at my company. Yet I can’t help noticing how fucking turned on I am right now.

She smiles, her eyes never leaving mine. “Thank you, Rich. Speak soon.” She ends the call.

“I’ve just bought a house, I’ve just bought a house!” she cries and wraps her arms up around my neck, pulling me into an embrace. My hands drop to rest on her waist, and my head gets buried into her hair as she pulls me in close.

She feels so soft and warm in my arms—fucking perfect.

Almost as quickly as it started, it’s over, and she pulls away from me and takes a step back.

“Thank you, Tanner,” she says, looking up at me.

I’ve regained my composure, but my heart races inside my chest from how good it felt being so close to her. “Don’t mention it. Rich needed a buyer, and you were in a position to make an offer. It just made good business sense.”

“I thought today was about pleasure,” she says, repeating my words from earlier.

I can’t help but smile.

She’s right; today was a pleasure for me.

She has no idea just how much.


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