The Billionaire Stepbrother: Chapter 14


They eventually made it out of the hotel room and into Hunter’s car. They held hands and sang off-key to the music on the radio as they flew down the highway towards the city. Bailey could not remember ever feeling this relaxed or sated…or happy.

There wasn’t anything specific she could put her finger on. There was no event that had prompted this happiness, it was just a general feeling of well-being and for once she wasn’t going to over-analyse it. She just wanted to enjoy it and enjoy him.

It seemed like Hunter now invaded every part of her life. He owned her body, he dominated her thoughts and he was even a big part of her work life, and it didn’t feel in the least bit suffocating.

She had always wondered if the only reason she and Nick had worked was because they spent so little time together. She had a history of keeping very strict boundaries around friends and family, rationing time with them so as not to get too involved in their lives and not allow them to get too involved in hers. She had learned her lesson about sharing too much with people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, share her vision. Pearls before swine and all that.

But Hunter had blown through all her carefully constructed fences and rather than feeling off kilter or exposed, she actually felt stronger. It was a relief to find someone who wasn’t afraid to dream big like she did. Her family had spent so much of her formative years trying to hold her back and discourage her from taking too big a risk that she had begun to believe that everybody was like that. Getting to know Hunter and to see what he had achieved in such a short time was inspirational and validating. It was nice to finally have someone on her side.

He squeezed her hand and brought her out of her musings.

“Where’d you go?” he asked, shooting her a quick glance.

She smiled at him and squeezed his hand back. “Just thinking.”

“About?”

“Life,” she replied.

“Oh so nothing too deep then,” he chuckled.

“So where are we going?” she asked shaking off her thoughts and taking in her surroundings.

They had left the highway and were now winding through a light industrial area.

“I’m taking you to meet a friend of mine,” he replied, “and to replace all those chocolates you ate.”

She blushed, her cheeks flaming, “God,” she said, “how embarrassing.”

He laughed and she shot him a glare, which only made him laugh harder.

“It was one of the highlights of this trip,” he chuckled.

Hunter released her hand and down shifted as he slowed to turn into a parking lot and Bailey’s eyes rounded as she took in the sign that hung proudly over the clump of buildings.

“Ashby Chocolates?” she gasped and then turned to him. “You know someone from Ashby Chocolates?”

“I do,” he said as he pulled the car to a stop beside a bright yellow Lamborghini.

“They are my absolute favourite chocolate in the world,” she gushed. “So much better than that crap that Ainsley has for her bonbonnières.”

“I thought you said Belgian chocolate was the best?” he asked looking at her with that damned quirked eyebrow.

“I was drunk,” she replied with a shrug. “And I suppose, in a pinch, Belgian chocolate will do but it still pales in comparison to Ashby Chocolates.”

He laughed and shook his head. “Jonathon is going to love you. Come on.” He opened his door and got out and Bailey followed suit.

He walked around the car and took her hand leading her into the showroom of the very expensive and exclusive Ashby Chocolates. The doors opened and the heady scent of chocolate wafted over them. Bailey closed her eyes and drew in a deep lungful before exhaling on a sigh. She heard Hunter chuckle beside her and her eyes snapped open. She blushed when she realised they were not alone.

“Hunter,” the other man said with a smile, “good to see you.”

Bailey stood back as the two shared a man-hug and a few slaps on the back.

“Jonathon, I’d like to introduce you to Bailey Sheppard. Bailey, this is Jonathon Ashby.”

Bailey had been beginning to smile and had started to extend her hand to shake the other man’s when his name registered and she froze.

“Jonathon Ashby?” she whispered.

Jonathon laughed and Hunter rolled his eyes.

“You’ve heard of me then,” he said with a wink. He took her extended hand and brought it to his lips.

“Lay off,” Hunter growled, but Jonathon just smiled as he let her hand go.

Jonathon was a really attractive guy, but Bailey could tell that he was a player. His dark hair and grey eyes would have most women swooning at his feet. Bailey cleared her throat and snuck her hand through the crook of Hunter’s elbow.

“It’s nice to meet you,” she replied and his eyes twinkled with mischief.

“So you’re the one,” he murmured, giving her a once over.

“I’m the one, what?” she asked, but he only smiled.

“So, Hunter,” he said, moving his eyes off her and onto his friend. “Did you bring me a sample so I can match it?”

Hunter pulled a wrapped, heart shaped chocolate from his pocket and handed it to Jonathon.

“A pink heart? Really?” Jonathon rolled his eyes before turning away and walking towards the double doors marked ‘Staff Only.’ “How predictable.”

Hunter put a hand on the small of Bailey’s back and guided her through the doors, following along in Jonathon’s wake.

“He’s a bit of a chocolate snob,” Hunter stage whispered in her ear.

“I can hear you,” he called back over his shoulder, “and I am proud of my snobbery.”

Bailey giggled. She might not fall into bed with a guy like Jonathon, but she was beginning to like him.

Jonathon led them into a storeroom that was stacked to the rafters with clear tubs filled with foil wrapped chocolates. He stopped in front of a tub that held identical pink heart shapes and turned to look at them.

“How many?” he asked.

Bailey fidgeted beside him before answering.

“Fifty?” she said.

“Fifty?” Jonathon replied. “You ate fifty chocolates in one sitting?”

“Ah, well,” she blushed and Hunter had to hold back a smile. “I actually don’t know how many I ate,” she replied. “There was champagne involved…lots of champagne.”

Jonathon shook his head. “Fifty it is,” he said and began scooping out the required number.

“Do you make all these here?” Bailey asked as she looked around the room.

“We do limited runs in this workshop,” Jonathon replied, “but we mostly make truffles here. The solid, foil wrapped shapes, come from our Sydney factory, our cream filled and hard centred ones are produced in Melbourne.” He handed the bag of hearts to Bailey. “Would you like to see where the magic happens?”

Hunter rolled his eyes. Jonathon made it sound like they were walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and he knew damned well that it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I’d love to,” Bailey said.

Jonathon winked at him and then led them over to a door. They entered an airlock and he handed them plastic overalls, shower caps, gloves, booties to go over their shoes and goggles for the eyes. He also handed Hunter a special beard cover and Hunter grimaced. Once they were all kitted out, they followed him into the processing room.

Jonathon had started out hand-making his chocolates, but when the operation and demand got too big he had to switch to machines. They were all state of the art and more computer than machine, but Jonathon had insisted on only the best. These machines had proved to be the closest to hand-making as he could get. He still hand-made specialty lines and he had a whole staff of specially trained chocolatiers to do just that, but they were too expensive for most people.

“This is where the coverture chocolate gets melted down,” Jonathon said indicating part of the machine, “We import the coverture from Merveille where it’s made.”

“You don’t make it yourself?” she asked.

“Of course we do,” Jonathon answered, “but we make it in Merveille and then send it here.”

They watched as moulds traversed the conveyor belt to be coated in chocolate, filled with ganache, sealed with more chocolate and the finally expelled at the end. Hunter had seen the process before but it took on a whole new meaning as he watched Bailey take it all in.

“What flavour are these?” she asked as another batch was knocked out of their mould.

“Tequila Shots,” Jonathon replied.

“What?” Bailey asked and Hunter smiled.

“The ganache is flavoured with tequila, lime and a hint of salt,” Jonathon explained, “It’s one of my more adventurous flavours.”

“Who comes up with these recipes?” Bailey asked.

“Me, mostly,” Jonathon replied.

“He has been known to spend days in his test kitchen,” Hunter added, “but it’s always worth it.”

“Can I try one?” Bailey asked.

Jonathon picked one up off the line and handed it to her. She popped it in her mouth and closed her eyes and the noise she made sent Hunter’s blood south, hardening his ever-ready cock.

“It tastes just like a tequila shot,” she said when she opened her eyes, “but with chocolate. I need to buy some of these.”

Hunter chuckled as Jonathon beamed. She was adorable and he couldn’t help but think that the taste of tequila reminded her of the night they met.

“I’ll buy you whatever you want,” Hunter said, pulling her close and kissing the top of her plastic covered head, “as long as you save those noises for when we get home later,” he whispered in her ear.

She shivered and he chuckled. Jonathon cleared his throat.

“Seen enough?” he asked, and when they nodded he led them back to the airlock where they stripped off the protective gear.

Once they were back in the showroom, Hunter hung back with Jonathon while Bailey perused his glass display cabinets.

“I like her,” Jonathon said, nudging Hunter with his elbow. “She’s sweet.”

“Yeah,” Hunter said on a sigh, “she’s fucking adorable and I can’t get her out of my mind.”

Jonathon laughed, “Not a bad problem to have,” he said.

“I suppose not, if she feels the same.”

“You doubt her?”

Hunter shrugged. “I just don’t know if Nick is out of her system or not. They were together a long time.”

Bailey looked over at them then and smiled, her eyes alight with joy and an impish grin on her face.

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” Jonathon said.

Hunter wanted to believe him, but he couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that she hadn’t fully resolved her feelings for his stepbrother. And if that was the case then he needed to take a step back and gain some control. He knew he was already falling in love with her, but he refused to give her his whole heart until he knew where things stood with Nick. If he had to walk away, he would.

“Oh my God,” she squealed and Hunter looked over at her. “I have to get some of these!”

He walked over to see what she was looking at and nearly choked. “What the hell, Jon?” he asked, looking over at his friend.

Jonathon smirked at him. “It’s part of our ‘Too Hot to Handle’ line.”

“They’re chocolate cocks,” Hunter blurted out.

“They are,” Jonathon confirmed, “with chilli flavoured cream centres. Very popular with the Hen’s party crowd.”

“They’ll be perfect for tonight,” Bailey insisted. “I’ll take two dozen, please.”

Jonathon boxed up her purchases and Hunter handed over his credit card, but Jonathon waved him away.

“You’ll owe me,” he said with a shrug.

They shook hands and said their goodbyes and Hunter led Bailey back out to the car.

“Where to now?” he asked.

“What’s the time?”

“Nearly lunch time,” he replied.

She bit the corner of her lip and he couldn’t help but lean over and kiss it. “I’ve been wanting to do that for ages,” he whispered.

She sighed and kissed him again before he pulled away.

“The bridal shower is at four,” she said, “and I don’t have a gift yet.”

“Okay, so gift shopping it is.”

She turned and beamed at him. “You know it’s a mixed shower, right?”

“What?”

She laughed. “So you need to get a gift too.”

He rolled his eyes as they drove out of the carpark. Fabulous. A fucking mixed bridal shower. At least he’d get to spend the time with Bailey and he was sure there would be alcohol.

They wandered hand in hand through the department store, but nothing remotely interesting jumped out at Bailey and screamed ‘the perfect gift to get your ex and his fiancée’. Nick and Ainsley had a bridal registry set up for both the shower and the wedding, but it was all the usual boring shit like towels and china and glass. The last thing Bailey wanted to do was spend her money on something so generic. She was over Nick and she didn’t really like Ainsley all that much, but gift giving was a serious business to her and she was determined to find them the exact right gift.

“What about this crystal vase?” Hunter asked picking up a Waterford Crystal cut vase.

“Too tacky,” Bailey responded.

“Tacky?” he scoffed. “It’s eleven hundred dollars.”

“Exactly,” Bailey said. “Who would be tacky enough to put something that expensive on their bridal shower gift registry? They’re tacky, not the vase. I refuse to indulge their tackiness.” She sniffed and moved on.

She couldn’t believe some of the stuff that Ainsley had included on her list and it made her even more determined to get something that wasn’t on the list and wasn’t returnable.

“There’s nothing here,” she complained turning to Hunter with a pout. He leaned in and pressed a sweet kiss on her mouth and she let her eyelids fall shut. She loved his unabashed public displays of affection. After being with Nick in a secret love affair, it felt nice to be shown off in public.

“All right then,” he said, slinging an arm around her shoulder and directing her towards the exit. “Then where do you want to go?”

They walked out of the department store and into the shopping mall. Crowds moved around them as they stood and took in the rows of shops. Bailey saw a Bodyshop and suddenly had an idea.

“I know the perfect gift,” she said, “But we can’t get it here.” She grabbed his hand and started pulling him to the escalator.

“Wait. Where are we going now?”

“We need to drive there,” she said impatiently. “Come on, I’ll direct you.”

They took the escalator down to the parking garage and he paid for the parking before she dragged him to the car.

“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” he asked.

Bailey smiled at him mischievously and shook her head. “Just follow my directions.”

They drove out of the underground garage and she guided him through the traffic. They headed back towards the light industrial area near Ashby Chocolates, but turned into a different precinct. When she told him to pull over, he gave her a shocked look and she giggled.

“Come on,” she said with a wink. “Don’t be such a prude.”

He followed her into the showroom reluctantly, but Bailey couldn’t help grinning.

“You’re buying them a bridal shower gift from a sex shop?” he whispered in her ear.

“No,” she replied, “we’re buying them a gift from a sex shop.” She raised up on her tippy toes and kissed him on the tip of his nose.

“And what exactly are we buying?”

“A couples pamper pack,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “It’s really not as kinky as you’re thinking. It has his and hers intimate massage oil, candles, bubble bath, lingerie and…you know, other stuff.”

He grabbed her wrist and pulled her close and she could smell the scent of his sandalwood aftershave which seemed to have a dizzying effect on her.

“What other stuff?” he whispered.

She shrugged. “Just some, ah, marital aids.”

She expected him to get angry, but instead he chuckled.

“Marital aids?” he asked, cocking his eyebrow in that way that always made her hot. “Is that what they’re calling them now?”

She grinned at him. “Ainsley seemed a little…unprepared…for marriage with Nick. I thought I’d be a pal and help her out.”

Hunter dragged a hand through his hair and shook his head, a wry smile on his lips. “Okay, I’m in,” he said.

Bailey clapped her hands and then pulled him into the aisles, grabbing things off the shelves and putting them into a basket. She had made one for a friend of hers just recently and it had been a hit. Ainsley would probably be too much of a goody-two-shoes to get much benefit out of the ‘marital aids’ she’d included, but she knew Nick would get a kick out of it. Nick wasn’t opposed to getting dirty on occasion and if this little basket of goodies freaked Ainsley out a little, more’s the better.

Bailey picked up a particularly shiny little piece of merchandise and grinned.

“A butt plug?” Hunter asked in surprise.

“A butt plug with a great big rhinestone on the end,” she said. “Now, that’s classy.”

Hunter chuckled and Bailey shivered at the sound. She’d noticed a few little treasures in here that she wouldn’t mind getting for herself…things that she thought Hunter might get a kick out of too.

“Why don’t you go and choose some edible underwear,” she said, sending him off to the other side of the store.

While he wasn’t looking she slipped some intimate massage oil and a nice little vibrator into the basket that she would surprise him with later.

She walked over to where Hunter was standing, perusing the available edible underwear choices.

“Strawberry or Passionfruit?” he asked turning to her.

“I think Ainsley would definitely be a strawberry girl,” she said, plucking off a packet and slipping it into the basket.

“And what about you, Blue, what flavour would you be?” he said, his voice low and husky in her ear, his hot breath on her neck.

“Tequila,” she replied. “Definitely tequila.”

He laughed, throwing his head back, his mouth open wide and she couldn’t help laughing with him. Tequila would never be the same and she was glad she’d bought some of those tequila shot truffles from Ashby Chocolates…she had plans for them later.


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