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Pleasing Mr. Parker: Chapter 7

Griffin

hallway and punch open the staircase door, not wanting to wait with her for the elevator. What does she think she’s playing at? Suggesting I would be in a relationship with Emily and then do whatever God-forsaken kinky shit she’s heard Reed getting up to next door? She must think so little of me from her short time here, if that’s the kind of man she’s decided I am.

I fly down the stairs, across the lobby and out into the street. There’s a direct route into the hotel from the private residence’s wing, but I need the air to calm down. I put my hands onto my hips and suck in a deep breath through my nose as I force my feet to slow down and walk around the building to the main hotel entrance on the other side.

“Good morning, Mr. Parker.”

I pause on the sidewalk as I nod back a greeting.

“Morning, Earl. How are you today?”

I’ve known Earl since I was a boy, when my dad ran the hotel. He still insists on calling me Mr. Parker, even though it sounds wrong coming from him. He used to pick me up when I skinned my knees from running around the hotel too fast, and make me and my brothers hot chocolate in the restaurant kitchen when we were waiting for Dad to finish late night meetings.

He smiles as he runs a hand over his stubble.

“Oh, grand, grand. Can’t complain. I meet the most interesting people doing this job, as you well know. I remember the day your dad brought you boys here when they were filming that movie. We had Tom Cruise abseiling down the east wing wall. Drew quite a crowd. He does all his own stunts, you know?”

Earl’s kind, weathered face beams in delight, and my earlier frustration ebbs away.

“I remember. That was a great day.” I smile as I recall how excited we were to be coming to watch the filming.

“Rumor has it we may have some more action unveiling on this very carpet?”

I chuckle at his raised brows and glowing cheeks.

“Well, the rumors may just be true.”

“I knew it!” He clicks his fingers as his eyes twinkle. “Make sure you put in a good word for me, won’t you? If they need any extras.”

“I’ll remember to tell the producers.” I pat him on the back.

Exciting news travels fast. I’m due to announce to the staff this morning that the LA FBI TV show, Steel Force, is coming to film some scenes at the hotel soon. The main actor, Jay Anderson, is well known, and has an army of devoted fans. All the spare rooms at the hotel booked up the second there was a sniff of the show coming here. No one at the hotel except me knows the exact dates they’re coming to film. Yet, people have still booked up in case they get a chance to see Jay. Little do they know he’s having his own floor with a private elevator and back entrance—anything to maintain our high-profile guests’ privacy when they stay with us.

A flash of white draws my attention to the side, as something wet lands on my shoulder, splashing the side of my face.

“Argh, what the…” I swipe my hand over my cheek and study the shoulder of my blazer. “Fucking pigeons!” I curse, lifting my gaze up to where a speckled white and gray one eyes me beadily from its new perch on a windowsill.

“We’re getting on top of it, Mr. Parker,” Earl says.

“With an exterminator, I hope.” I grit my teeth as the bird brain coos at me from a safe distance. “Rat with wings,” I mutter.

It tilts its head side to side, then turns and lifts its tail, dropping another shit from its feathered ass onto the carpet as I jump to the side.

“You know, it’s supposed to be lucky?” a voice says.

I turn and am pulled into Maria’s hazel gaze. She gives me a small smile, seeming unfazed by our interaction outside her apartment a mere ten minutes ago.

“Not for the bird when I remove its head and use it as a ping-pong ball,” I reply as she passes me and heads inside the hotel, her long dark hair tumbling down her back in loose waves.

“She’s right, you know.” Earl comes to stand next to me. “Maybe you’re about to get some good news.”

I look at him and shake my head. “Don’t you start, too.”

His chuckle echoes behind me as I stomp off into the hotel, complete with pigeon shit on my face.

And it’s not even eight am.


“We’ve got something. It’s not much, but we’re working on it.”

I purse my lips as I stand at the window, my hand gripping the phone until my knuckles turn white.

“Good. Do whatever it takes. And do it fast. I need to know.”

“Yes, Mr. Parker.”

I hang up and throw the phone down on my desk. It clatters against the glass as I drag my hands back through my hair. It’s been months and nothing. Nothing.

What the fuck am I paying them for?

There’s a knock at the door.

“Come in!”

Fuck’s sake.

I clench and unclench one fist as I try to push the phone conversation to the back of my mind—for now. The last thing the hotel needs is for me to lose my head.

“Mr. Parker?”

“It’s Griffin!”

Maria pauses at the door, her head jerking back as though my words hit her like a slap to the face, before she pulls her shoulders back and walks into my office, closing the door behind her.

Regret swirls in my stomach. “I’m sorry, I—”

“Bad start to the day?” She looks at me. “I understand. Here.” She holds out a cloth and a small bottle.

“What’s that?” My eyes drop over her delicate hands.

“According to Will, it’s the one thing that can save your suit.”

Her hands stay outstretched as I stare at them. It’s the first time I’ve noticed her wear pink nail polish. Usually it’s red, or a cream color that blends in with her skin. I’ve always wondered why women wear that. It makes their hands look like an ’80s mannequin. The pink suits her. It’s softer. She seems softer today. I look up at her face. The frown she often wears in my presence is missing.

She tuts and rolls her eyes when I don’t move, brushing past me and walking around my desk to my chair.

“What are you doing?”

I watch as she tips the bottle and decants some contents onto the cloth and then blots the shoulder of my blazer, which I slung on the back of my chair after brushing off as much bird crap as I could.

“I’m apologizing.” She narrows her eyes as she concentrates on the stain, which is growing fainter with each blot.

“Apologizing?”

She flicks her eyes to mine, then back to my blazer as a trace of pink moves over her cheeks. “For saying you were like a zoo of horny baboons.”

“Right.” I cross my arms over my chest. “Anything else?”

She finishes cleaning my blazer and straightens up. Her gaze drops to my forearms where I have rolled my shirt sleeves up, and her lips purse as she snaps her eyes up to meet mine.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

Heat spreads through my veins in response to the fluttering pulse in her neck. Such delicate skin covering something so full of fire and passion.

“You’re not sorry for implying I’m a liar and a cheat?”

One side of her mouth lifts into the trace of a smile, her eyes trained on mine.

“That’s worse than being called a baboon?”

“To me, it is.”

She nods as the other side of her mouth joins the first, crafting a beautiful smile onto her face.

“Then, yes. I’m sorry about that, too. In fact, I’m most sorry for that.”

“Reed, on the other hand.” I blow out a breath. “Feel free to call him a baboon as much as you like.”

Her eyes sparkle, and she tips her head back to laugh. The sound makes my chest light.

It sounds fucking awesome.

“I’ll remember I have your blessing for that next time I see him. Or hear him.” Her laugh dies down as the two of us stand and look at each other.

I allow my attention to indulgently rake over her hair, which is tumbling down around her shoulders.

“You look—”

The intercom on my desk buzzes, cutting me off.

“Yes?” I hit the button, connecting Harley on speakerphone.

”Is Maria still in there with you?”

I raise my eyes and hold Maria’s gaze as I answer. “Yes, she is. Do you need her?”

“I’ve got Todd Wright on the line. He wants to know if she got his message about sharing a cab to JFK. He’s booking it now.”

I grind my teeth together as Maria raises her brows and nods agreeably.

Silence.

“Mr. Parker?”

Maria stares at me, her pupils dilating as that fluttering pulse in her neck tries to steal my attention again.

“Tell him yes, Griff—”

Tension seeps through my jaw, radiating down my neck and to my finger, which is poised over the intercom button.

“No, Harley. You can decline his offer. She has her own car booked.”

“Okay, I’ll tell him.”

Maria frowns at me as I cancel the intercom with a hard jolt.

“I could have shared a cab with him. It would make sense.”

My hands go to my hips. “No.”

“You said I had my own car booked. I don’t.”

“You do now.”

“Says you?” Her brows shoot up her forehead as she shakes her head at me.

“Yes. Says me.” I stare back at her, refusing to be the first to look away.

The corners of her eyes pinch as she huffs and looks to the ceiling. “You know, last time I checked, I was a grown woman.”

I can’t help my gaze dropping to the exposed skin and hint of pink lace camisole visible by the top button of her shirt.

I bet her breasts are fucking incredible. Full and fuckable, with tight nipples that would roll over the contours of my tongue as I suck on them.

“Last time I checked; you were too,” I answer, bringing my eyes up to meet hers.

Her bottom lip drops open, pink tinging her cheeks, but she recovers quickly, pulling her mouth into a straight line.

“You don’t need to answer for me.”

The heat of her anger fills the space between us. Reaching out, toying with me. Asking me to dance with the devil.

“Todd doesn’t want to take no for an answer.”

“It’s just a cab to the airport!” Her voice rises as she glares at me.

I thrust my hands into my pockets so she can’t see them clenching into fists. She is all fired up, passion burning in her eyes with enough heat to power hell.

‘It’s never just anything,” I hiss.

‘He’s a business contact, Griffin. Don’t insult me by implying there is anything more to this trip than understanding the pricing discrepancies. The ones that I discovered.” She taps her chest with a pink nail.

“And you did an incredible job finding them.” I walk around my desk so I’m standing next to her. “I know what men want, Maria. They can’t be friends with a beautiful, single woman. He’ll want more from you.”

“What if he does? I can handle it. Alone.” She takes a step closer to me, her voice dropping as she narrows her eyes at me. “You know, I’m thinking of putting a donations box in the spa lobby.”

I narrow mine back at her. God, she’s pushing it. Why can’t she just do as she’s goddamn told without all the dramatics?

“What for? Please, enlighten me,” I clip out each word.

She leans closer, close enough that I could see down that pink lace camisole if I were to lower my gaze.

I press my lips into a firm line as the heady floral scent of her perfume invades my senses.

I swallow, meeting her gaze as she pants in front of me, her perfect tits shaking with the effort of holding back her full anger.

“For the ‘Pigeon Appreciation Awards’ I’m running,” she snaps.

Then she spins on her heels and stalks off, leaving my office door wide open.

“You do that!” I shout after her.

I stare at the open doorway, surprised there isn’t a trail of smoke behind her.

Pigeon Appreciation Awards?

Fucking hell.

I shake my head with an unimpressed grunt.

Well, she’s not getting a cab with Todd, at least.

I pick up my jacket, inspecting the now-perfect material on the shoulder, all trace of bird shit gone.

Lucky, my ass. This day just keeps getting better and better.


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