Standing with Ada, Sophia said to the table, “Everyone, this is Ada, Cassandra’s friend. I’m not sure if we all met at the wedding, so I’ll just do a round of introductions.”
Sophia pointed to everyone and fired off their names. It wasn’t until she got to the end and pointed to Liam that Ada felt a rush of heat. She had been so anxious to get ready and find her way to the restaurant that she didn’t realize the striking man who’d made her blush at the wedding was right smack in front of her.
Liam stood up and pulled out the chair next to him, inviting her to sit. With her eyes cast down and suddenly feeling overwhelmed, she said, “Thank you.”
“I thought I saw you out by the pool earlier,” he said.
Ada’s eyes widened. Now Dan was also looking at her. Damn. “Um, yes. I passed by on my way from the bookstore.” She released a chuckle and decided to just let the cat out of the bag. To Dan she said, “I would have said hello, but you were”—she searched the ceiling before turning her eyes back to Dan—“occupied.”
“Only for about five minutes.” Liam laughed.
“Eight,” Dan said.
Ada’s shoulders relaxed in response to their cavalier attitude. “I didn’t see you,” she said to Liam.
“I was in the pool,” he answered. Picking up the bottle of wine from the table, he offered to fill her glass. “Wine?”
“Yes, that’d be great. Oh, wait. I didn’t think to bring my drink ticket.”
He began pouring. “I won’t tell,” he said with a wink.
Her heart actually fluttered. Over the past months, she had convinced herself that she’d only imagined how handsome he was, but now being next to him she realized she may have underestimated the sentiment. Somehow he’d managed to make her feel calm and flustered all at once.
“What brings you to Oasis?” he asked.
“Curiosity,” she answered.
Out of the corner of her eye she could see Sophia looking over in their direction, reminding her that the purpose of the stay needed to be kept secret.
Liam raised an eyebrow at her answer.
“Cassandra told me so much about this place, and I had to see for myself.”
“Alone? No boyfriend?” Liam’s eyes migrated to her plump lips.
“Yes,” Ada unconsciously bit her lower lip. “He had other things going on.”
She sipped her wine. The idea of mentioning Jason seemed so wrong at the moment. She half expected Liam to lean back or stiffen about the boyfriend admission, but he seemed unfazed.
Liam narrowed his eyes, and he donned an amused grin. “You’ve left the boyfriend behind to come here out of curiosity.”
“Is that so strange?” She’d meant to have some conviction in her voice but fell short.
He brushed his hand along his jaw as he lingered over her features. “And what are you curious about, Ada?”
“What brings you to Oasis?” she asked.
“Is that what you’re curious about, or are you changing the subject?”
“Both.” She kept her eyes on him while she sipped her wine.
“Business and pleasure. Dan and I are the financial advisors for the resort.”
“Oh, wow. That’s…you’re in finance?”
Ada thought of men in finance as boring and drab, and Liam was anything but. Despite his blue eyes and light hair, there was something devilish about him in a very sexy way. It was taking a lot of energy for her to stifle her attraction to him.
His eyebrows knitted, and he smiled. “You seem surprised by that.”
The arms of the server placing their entrees in front of them briefly interrupted their conversation. The aroma of the steak called to her. Ada began cutting into it. The need to dig a bit deeper about people at the resort nagged at her.
“And the pleasure?” she asked before biting into a succulent piece of her steak.
Liam set his knife and fork down. He grinned at Ada. She patted the napkin at the edges of her mouth as she finished her bite. Leaning over in his chair, he brought his lips to her ear. His eyes closed for a second and inhaled her fresh scent.
“Yes,” he whispered.
Ada knew her cheeks had to be red as her hair. She thought she posed the question nonchalantly, and his brazen flirtatious response set her skin aflame. Reason went out the window. All she wanted was to know exactly what he meant by pleasure because she had a wet-panty-feeling it would be divine.
“So, Ada,” Zoey said from across the table, “how is Cassandra doing?”
With relief, she reoriented her attention to Zoey and dished all about Cassandra’s New York life. For the rest of the meal, Ada clung to Zoey, grateful for conversation. If she spent any more time under the gaze of Liam, her heart might go into a full blown arrest.
Their plates were cleared and replaced with dessert. Brent and Ada passed. Sophia shook her head at Brent and then looked at Ada’s empty place setting.
“You, too? This guy”—she put her thumb up to Brent—“stays away from sugar.”
Liam looked at Ada and for the first time noticed the definition in her arms and shoulders. She wasn’t bulky at all. However, a clear outline of muscle showed.
“You lift?” Liam asked.
“Now you seem surprised,” she chided.
He was. Maybe it was the fair skin that made her seem dainty or her quiet demeanor that didn’t scream regular weight lifter.
“I like the challenge.” She said with a shrug. “It’s the one hour of my day where I can put aside my work and simply follow the coach’s instructions.”
That got his dick’s attention. Whether she meant to or not, and most likely not, she admitted to enjoying giving up some control.
He spooned out a helping of his crème brûlée. “Try a bite at least.”
“I’m fine. Thanks.”
Ignoring her, he held the spoon up.
“Are you going to feed me?” she asked with her eyebrows raised.
“Open,” he said in a clipped tone, his gaze not leaving hers.
And just like that, she opened her mouth to accept the spoonful of dessert. Ada looked down at her lap as she relished the taste on her tongue, not of the dessert but of the feeling she got from Liam.
“Ada,” Sophia chirped. “They’re all going to the club if you’d like to go.” She gestured around the table to everyone except for Brent.
“Great,” Ada said.
Well now, Liam thought, how far will her curiosity go?
Ada rubbed her wrists the second they were free and hastily darted back in the direction of the couches. In a few quick strides, Liam was beside her. He clasped her elbow.
“Don’t,” she said without looking at him and shrugged out of his hold.
“Hey,” he said, grasping for her again with more force and spinning her to face him. A part of him was shocked by his effort to capture her attention.
“You’re so arrogant,” Her eyes brimmed with annoyance.
“Really?” he quipped.
“Yes, really. How dare you chain me up and put your hands all over me.” Ada yanked her elbow again and folded her arms across her chest.
Liam regarded her. Putting his hands low on his hips, he said, “Ah, are these the claws, kitten?”
The urge to put her right back in the cuffs and explore exactly how turned on it made her flashed through his mind.
“I’m not a submissive. Don’t treat me like one.” She set her glare dead on his eyes.
“Right, kitten. Tell yourself that when you peel off your wet panties tonight.” A hint of anger dripped from his words. Now he was annoyed because she was annoyed!
“That’s clever, Liam. Are you capable of nonsexual discourse?”
Once the words were out, Ada wished she could hit a rewind button and unsay them. It was a snobby and rude comment. She peered in the direction of the club exit, desperately wanting to be alone and mentally regroup.
Liam gave a mirthless chuckle and shook his head at her. He’d definitely pushed her, and if she didn’t want to admit the truth of her attraction, then there wasn’t much he could do…right now. Fuck she was hot when angry. Normally, he wouldn’t put up with a bratty submissive, but with Ada his dick began to harden in response to her stubbornness.
She covered half her face with her hand. “That was rude of me to say. I’m sorry.” She took a deep breath. “Friends?”
His right eye slightly twitched as he studied her. He could see her growing impatient waiting for his reply. Good.
Ada swallowed hard when a wicked grin formed on Liam’s mouth. His strong cheekbones and full lips made her think he was the devil incarnate—a sexual devil. She closed her eyes when he leaned forward. When he whispered, his breath passing by her ear sent a heat wave through her.
“We’re friends if before you go to sleep tonight, you’re able to resist playing with your clit and imagining my cock relieving that sweet ache between your legs right now.”
He straightened and relished the stunned expression on her face. “And when I see you tomorrow, I’ll know if we’re friends.”
Her jaw hung open. She didn’t realize it until Liam brought a finger under her chin to push it closed. “I take it back,” she said. “I’m not sorry.”
“Very well.” He shrugged.
Ada huffed and turned to leave. One more time, Liam clasped her elbow. She looked from his hand on her and back up to his face.
“Believe me, Ada. I’ll be able to tell.”
“Oh!” she snapped and walked away.
For the entire walk back to her hotel room Ada fumed and muttered, “Smug prick,” too many times to count. After slamming the door shut, she went to the bed, kicked off her shoes, and lay there staring at the ceiling. In her mind, she replayed an endless loop of Liam’s brazen sexual talk.
She picked up the phone and dialed Jason’s number. After the third ring, she mentally prepared a message for his voice mail, feeling slightly relieved that she wouldn’t have to talk to him in her current state.
“Hello?” Jason answered.
Ada sat up on the bed. “Hi, babe. It’s me.” Shit. She shouldn’t have called.
“Hi there. I didn’t recognize the number. Are you okay? Why aren’t you calling from your phone?” A lot of background noise cluttered the reception.
“There’s a no-cell-phone policy here. Long story.” She reclined on the bed. “Are you at the pub?”
Jason’s family owned three pubs, and his parents were priming him to take over one of them.
“Yep. Busy night. Hold on a sec…” Jason covered the phone with his hand. Whatever he said was muffled. “So, are you relaxing? Having fun?”
“Um-hmm,” Ada glanced at her nails. She had thought hearing Jason’s voice would soothe her, but it was inexplicably doing the exact opposite. “Well, I just wanted to check in. I’ll let you go.”
“Okay. When are you back?”
“I’ll bring over takeout. We can watch a movie.”
“Sure. Sounds good.” Her words felt empty, her mind full of someone else. Alarmed, she quickly added, “Love you.”
“Yeah. Love you. Sleep well.”
After hanging up, Ada went to the bathroom, turned on the shower, but then looked at the grand tub and thought that treating herself to a bubble bath might be better. While waiting for the water to fill, she went into the main room and retrieved one of the books she’d bought earlier. All settled in the tub, Ada picked up where she’d left off in the erotic romance novel. The story resumed right at an explicit sex episode. Hard. Cock. Pumping. Ada’s body warmed, and it couldn’t solely be attributed to the hot bath water. She tossed the book to the side and reclined her head at the edge of the tub. She settled her hand right on her pussy. Widening her legs and biting her lower lip, she made lazy circles on her clit with her fingers. Soon her body surrendered to focusing on the pleasurable tension building. She lifted her other hand out of the water and rested over the back of the tub behind her head. Remembering the soft leather around her wrist drove her finger to circle her clit faster. Liam. Standing over her. His right hand up her dress. His left hand under her jaw. His lips demanding her to…