The launch for Happy Hour (Charity Case #3) is only a week away. While you wait enjoy a healthy serving of our silver fox…
“You’ll find there’s nothing out of the ordinary. No sexual favors. No exchange of money. It’s a straight deal. I secure you the venue and you grant me five favors.”
I flip through the contract, my gaze running down the pages and see that he’s telling the truth—there’s no sex mentioned, nothing about nakedness, and no dollar figure.
“What kind of favors do you have in mind?” I ask.
His smile reappears. The same one he had in court the day when he secured my ex-husband far more than he deserved.
“That’s where trust comes into play.”
Is he kidding?
I place the contract down and slide to the end of the booth. “No deal.”
His large hand lands on mine, stopping me from leaving. “Listen.” There’s a desperation in his tone that keeps me in place.
“I will not sign up to be your prey. Some plaything you call on a whim demanding I do something embarrassing or demeaning.”
His hand tightens over mine, but I yank myself free.
“Fine.” He snatches up the contract, and clicks his pen, then scribbles something down, initials it, and hands it back to me.
I read over the added verbiage that states that no favor will be embarrassing or demeaning, his illegible initials scrawled next to it.
“You’ve left me no choice. I could ask you out on a date, but you’d deny me. Five favors that all entail you seeing a side of me outside of the man you think I am. That’s all this is. We both know if we ripped up that contract and I asked you to go out with me you’d never give me a fair chance even if I could manage to convince you.”
He sips his drink. “Why?” he asks back, raising a brow.
Back to his damn one word questions.
“Yes, why are you going to this much work to prove to me you’re not who I think you are? You don’t even know me.”
“I know more than I should at this stage of our relationship.”
His eyes dip to his drink and I’m reminded of the fact he probably hired a private investigator on me, same as my lawyer did with Todd. He probably knows my habits. Knows about my dog Lucy. Hell, he probably knows what tampon brand I use.
“To answer your question, I’m attracted to you and I think we could be good together.”
I study his face for a moment, waiting for the punchline, but he seems sincere, which throws me. “A divorce attorney who believes in true love and marriage?”
“More assumptions. I said nothing about marriage, nor would I ever—to anyone. I’m just giving you the chance to know the real me so that perhaps I have a chance with you.”
I stare across the table at him, testing to see if he’ll crack. He doesn’t even flinch.
If I wasn’t attracted to Roarke Baldwin, this would be an easy decision, but despite my better judgment, I am. The chance to maybe sleep with him and get him out of my system could be a win-win for us both.
“We have one thing in common.” He tilts his head in askance. “I will never get married again.”
“Then your decision should be simple.” He nudges the contract in front of me.
I read it over, every sentence, every word. He’s right, there’s nothing that will secure him anything other than five favors, and the papers clearly state that none of them will be monetary or sexual in nature.
I hold my hand out for the pen without looking at him.
I’m strong and the worst that can happen is that I sleep with Roarke Baldwin. That’s not so bad. I could live with myself after—I think.
I sign the contract, pushing down the feeling that I’ve just done something there’s no coming back from, and slide it back in his direction.
“See, that wasn’t that hard.” He folds the contract up in thirds and shoves it in his front pocket. “I’ll make sure you get a copy tomorrow.”
I down a big gulp of my drink. “And the venue?”
He pulls out a card from his vest pocket and slides it to me. “Call this number tomorrow. They already have you booked. They just need some specifics.”
“Have a great evening, Mr. Baldwin.” I slide out of the booth unable to sit across from the silver fox any longer without my willpower crumbling and begging him to forget the five favors, just take me home.
“Leaving so soon?” he asks with a cocky grin, like he can read my mind.
“Yes. Goodnight.” I turn and take one step away from the table.
“You don’t even want to know the first favor?”
I stop immediately and turn to face him again, securing my clutch under my arm. “Is favor number one that you’re going to keep me here against my will?”
He chuckles. “No.” He slides out and stands, his hand running down the length of my arm and I suppress a full body shiver. “Favor number one is that I can call you Hannah and you call me Roarke. There’s no more Ms. Crowley and Mr. Baldwin.”
“Fine. Goodnight Roarke.” His name falls off my tongue way too easy, and I can’t help but wonder what it would sound like if I was screaming it while he drove into me.
I am in such deep shit with this man.
He leans in, his light scruff scratching my cheek before his soft lips land where my cheekbone meets my hairline. “Sweet dreams, Hannah.”