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Flawless: Chapter 20


Dad: Summer, what did you do to that poor boy?

Summer: I don’t know what you’re talking about. But I do wish everyone would stop talking about a man in his thirties like he’s a child. Or a dog.

Dad: Okay. You’re defensive too. Got it.

Summer: I’m not being defensive. I’m just pointing something out.

Dad: Defensively.

“Where the hell do you think you’re taking me?” I ask right as we clear the doors into the cool night air. Cool air that I desperately need after Rhett Eaton just set my entire body on fire.

I’m mad at him. I’m hot for him. And those two things blend until they’re almost indecipherable.

Rhett’s breath puffs out in front of him as we face off. “Away from Emmett. Before he tells you about the cowboy hat rule.”

I scoff. “What the hell is the cowboy hat rule?”

“You wear the hat, you ride the cowboy.”

My eyes bulge in their sockets. “What?”

“You heard me. You wanna take Emmett for a ride, Summer?” His voice is pure venom, and I lurch back, not recognizing this tone on him.

“What if I do?” I’m not backing down just because Rhett’s going all caveman on me. “Seems an awful lot like none of your business, seeing as how the minute you had a chance you were all over some blonde buckle b—”

I go to hold up a hand between us, the one still holding the stupid whipped cream, and close my eyes. “You know what? It doesn’t even matter. For a minute there I had a major lapse of judgment and just . . . forget about it.”

Spinning on my heel, I turn and storm toward the crosswalk, relieved that our hotel is across the street. I jam my finger at the button, willing the light to change as quickly as possible so I can get the hell away from Rhett before I tumble right into the deep well of poor decision making that I’m staring down into.

I feel him come to stand beside me, but he says nothing. We walk in tense silence. The chirping sound of the walk signal is our only companion as the thumping music from the bar fades. My fingers wrap tightly around the whipped cream can, and I envision it being Rhett’s neck for a moment, but truthfully, that just makes my palms sweat.

Why does he have to be the first guy since Rob who gives me butterflies in the chest? And not the same kind I got as a horned-up teenager staring at pictures of him. These butterflies almost hurt. They feel like they’re writhing beneath my skin, taking over my stomach, impeding my vision.

Because all I can see is Rhett. On the back of my eyelids when I sleep, and with me all the fucking time when I’m not asleep.

It’s like he’s become an extension of me, a necessary part of my personal ecosystem. Infatuation by proximity. It’s like I never even had a shot.

We walk into the hotel, him just a step or two behind me. We don’t look at each other, we don’t talk, but the most intense sense of anticipation grows in my chest. Expanding, pressing, aching.

I want it to stop and carry on forever all at once. I want to peek at him, but I think if I do, the reality of what we’re about to do might scare me out of whatever trance I’m in. Whatever sense of resolve I’ve come to.

We wait at the bank of elevators with one other person, and when we step into the space, Rhett and I take opposite walls. I cross my arms under my breasts, the cool metal can pressing against my ribs and seeping through my shirt while I stare at him across from me.

The other man takes the space in the middle. He looks tired, ready for bed, not nearly as amped up as Rhett does. Rhett looks like a downed power line sparking in the dark.

And I think I’m about to pick that line up and let the electricity course through me.

When the man realizes he’s standing in the middle of two people eyeing each other like they might set one another on fire with the power of their sight alone, he straightens up. I catch him peeking at us, head swiveling as he peers at each of us.

When we reach his floor, the elevator dings, and I swear he shakes his head as he gets out, like he knows there will be some sort of brawl between us.

When the doors slide shut behind him, my body tingles—the tips of my fingers, up my inner arm, into that dip behind my elbow, before shooting straight into an ache beneath my bra straps.

Rhett stares at me like no man has before in my life. And for all the times I couldn’t decipher his look and thought he was glaring at me with irritation, or frustration, or distaste . . .

I realize I was wrong.

He’s staring at me like he wants me. Really wants me. Like he aches for me. Like he might melt, just for me.

My breathing quickens, eyes scouring his features. Heavy brows, straight nose, deep, warm eyes, all that scruff. God knows I’ve stared enough at him over the years, and he just keeps getting better. Firm broad shoulders, narrow waist, and long, lean muscles.

When the elevator dings, I startle and swallow hard, watching his Adam’s apple bob in a similar fashion as he holds a hand out to gesture that I go first.

My lips press together, but I exit, mind whirring with what to do next.

I should go to my room.

I should go to his room.

I should take a freezing fucking shower.

I should run straight down this hallway and jump through the window like James Bond getting away from a super villain because no matter what I do, this is going to end poorly. I just know it.

Rhett Eaton will ruin me if I give him the opportunity, and I don’t even know what to do with that.

I think I might want him to ruin me.

As we walk toward our side-by-side rooms, I focus on breathing. I’m so hyperaware of his presence I might forget to breathe if I don’t actively remind myself to do it.

When I finally reach my door, I place one palm flat against it to hold myself up as I wait for him to walk past me. This is hands down the most out of control, confounding feeling in the world. I want to stare at him all night long, and I want to squeeze my eyes shut and never look at him again.

“Rhett, I—”

“Go to bed, Summer.”

I snap back, surprised by what he’s saying. “Go to bed?”

“Yes. Before I do something distinctly ungentlemanlike to you.”

My brows shoot up, taken aback by his directness.

“Like what?” My voice comes out quiet and uncertain. Our slightly hostile banter is my comfort zone, but alone with a man like Rhett Eaton, looking at me the way he is, well, it’s way the hell and gone out of my wheelhouse.

Sex with Rob was rushed and unsatisfying.

The friends-with-benefits situation I had during law school ended with unrequited attachments.

And that one-night stand I had was . . . just bad.

I don’t know where the hell that leaves me with Rhett. I don’t know what I want from him. But I know I don’t want to go to bed.

Not alone anyway.

A muscle in his neck jumps and he crosses his arms, shirt bunching around his biceps. “I’d start with those pretty fucking lips.”

My lashes flutter and a whimper stalls out in my throat as I try to work out how I should respond to that.

I opt to take the bull by the horns. With one step forward, my hand darts out and I yank the saddle-brown cowboy hat off his head and place it on mine. His leather and licorice scent rushes in around me, and I sigh.

I’d like to bottle that if I could. Sweet and earthy and so damn masculine all at once.

He growls when I step away wearing his hat and push my back against the flat wall between our rooms, letting a small smirk play on my lips. Reveling in the way his eyes heat when I do.

With two steps, he’s towering over me. My head tips back to take in all his agitated glory.

“You know what I’m sick of, Summer?” His hand comes to my throat, fluttering over the skin so gently that I arch toward him to increase the pressure.

“What’s that?”

“Having you think I’m out fucking everything that moves when I’ve looked at nothing and no one since the first day I laid eyes on you. I stepped into that godforsaken boardroom, and you practically demanded I become obsessed with you.”

I gasp for air, rendered speechless.

His finger pads stroke my neck with such tenderness that I blink up at him, more emotional than I banked on.

“Do you know what else I’m fucking sick of?”

“What?” My question is a breath, a whisper—a plea.

His hand moves up, and his thumb pushes down firmly on my chin, gently forcing my mouth open wide. There’s something crude about it, but the way he’s looking at me as he does it has me trembling with anticipation, my pussy wet and slick when I squeeze my thighs together.

“Having to spend all day, every day, with you and this smart mouth . . .” His spare hand yanks the can of whipping cream from my sweaty grip. He holds it up, hitting me with the most sinful grin.

“And not being able to use it the way I want to. To fill it the way I want to.” His voice is husky, but I barely have time to register it because the whoosh of the pressurized cream filling my mouth permeates the air between us.

When he stops, he presses my chin back up, closing my mouth. “How does that taste, Princess?”

“Mm,” is all I can manage as my tastebuds dance with the creamy sweetness, while every nerve ending dances with scorching electricity.

“Good girl. You wish that was my cum, don’t you?” A strangled whimper lodges in my throat as I nod back at him, trapped in his amber gaze. Then he leans in close, breath damp against my lips and growls, “Swallow, Summer.”

Sharp anticipation races through my veins, and I make this desperate little moaning sound as I swallow for him. “Are we done playing games now?” His voice is heavy, full of promise, raising the hair on my arms.

I nod, nervously licking at my lips and unable to drop his gaze.

“Good.” His thumb strokes the sensitive spot beneath my ear as he grips the back of my neck. “Now, tell me honestly, Summer. If this were your last moment on earth, what would you want me to do?”

I don’t even need to think about it. I know what I want from him.

“Ruin me.”

“Good. I’m about fucking done being a gentleman with you. And the only thing I’m ruining you for is anyone else.”

He swipes his key card and shoves us through the door.

And it looks like I’m going to his room after all.


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