The Price (Part 2)
Three days later, she was unrecognizable. She stood, shoulders back, in front of the full-length mirror, a champagne gown hugging curves she hadn’t known existed on her thin frame. Her breasts—who knew how full, how plump they could be when they weren’t smothered under a sports bra?—peeked from atop the form-fitting dress, given more attention by the shimmering diamond teardrop that left off at her cleavage.
She looked good. Better than good. Her hair shined, her skin glowed, and damn if the satin fabric teasing her skin like a million little fingers didn’t make her feel sexy. Desirable. Which, she had to imagine was the point of the whole facade.
Philip sauntered into the room and Marissa’s breath hitched in her chest. A suit had been one thing, but hair slicked back, a perfectly coifed beard, and donning a tux? Her breasts firmed and her nipples hardened at the sight. When he drew near and stood behind her with the vanilla wafting off him in waves, she almost came. Jesus, this man was made of different stuff than the rest of them.
She still wanted to fuck that smug smile right off his face. Take some of her power back. If only it wouldn’t give him exactly what she assumed he wanted. Still, she couldn’t deny the carnal reaction she had to him—to his voice, his scent, his presence. Not that she’d ever tell him that.
“You look stunning,” he told her. For the first time, she heard a distinct European accent, rather than just an ambiguous “other” lilt to his speech. French or Italian, perhaps. Given their location, she landed on the former.
“I look the part, you mean.”
“Must such a distinction be made?” He fastened the clasp at the back of her gown and turned her around so that she faced him. It was like looking directly into the sun.
Her skin ignited with heat where his hands touched her. He was strong, commanding, and she found herself falling under the spell, playing the role he’d paid her to play. But with more willingness than she originally thought.
She cleared her throat, brought her long, curled hair to one side. She trembled as he ran a finger along the outside of her bare arm.
“Where are we going tonight?” The night before had surpassed each of her expectations and it had only been dinner. How could she possibly go back to her shitty apartment and ramen after this?
“It’s a surprise. This isn’t business. I thought we’d have a little fun.”
She bit her tongue to keep from making a quip about how she wasn’t sure he had the word “fun” in his vocabulary. The offer was the nicest he’d made yet, and the idea of discarding business for pleasure agreed with her. The small trickle of moisture that lined her panties was proof of how much pleasure she wanted.
When they ended up at a club, bass pounding up from the street into her chest, she couldn’t hide her shock.
The smile that turned the corner of his mouth up was just as disarming. “You don’t like to dance?”
Her brows pulled together, her lips thin and pressed.
“I do. But in this dress? Why didn’t you give me something less formal to wear if you knew we were coming here?”
His gaze raked over her, his hand following in its wake. When he grazed the exposed skin along the side of her breast, she gasped.
“Because I knew how perfect this would look on you. Come on, let’s go.”
He helped her out of the car, not releasing her hand until they got to the door. A doorman nodded, ushered them in. Philip’s hand pressed to the small of her back, and the trickle of moisture became a small pool. Now she understood his choice of a backless dress. When his thumb slid beneath the fabric, teased the top of her ass, she stopped.
“Keep going. There’s much more to look forward to inside than out here.” The promise in his words mixed with the command he exuded, and she wondered just how much more there was for her to look forward to. She wasn’t as worried as she’d been when she first signed the contract. His absolute respect of her wishes, his manners and formality with her helped. But still, her nerves rattled in her chest at the idea of him making full use of the contract. However, excitement trilled along the edge of the nerves, taking the edge off. She wasn’t entirely sure she didn’t want that to happen.
They made their way through the bar, along the dancefloor and he stopped at a private booth in the back. They hadn’t passed one person after the doorman. The club was empty, but a full staff said that they were open.
“What are you drinking?” he asked her. His hand sat atop her thigh, high enough to make his point.
“A vodka soda, please. Where is everyone? This place isn’t very popular, is it?”
“It is. There’s usually a two-hour wait to get in, and even then, you have to know someone to gain access.”
“Where are they all tonight, then?”
“I bought the place for us.” His fingers clamped around her thigh, massaged her tight muscles.
She let those words settle around her, warm her bare shoulders. She’d never been able to buy enough groceries for the week, and this man could purchase an entire club for the night. She’d be offended if she weren’t sitting there, wearing more money than she’d ever seen.
Philip snapped his fingers and a server arrived, took their order. When he left, Philip’s attention fell back to her.
“I’m making this worth your time, aren’t I?”
Marissa nodded. Of course he was. Look at what she wore, where they were. An exclusive club in Paris with a handsome man. It was the dream come to life.
“I’d like very much to have you on staff, Marissa. Available whenever I might need you.”
She swallowed hard. Her mouth was sucked dry of all its moisture. Where was that drink?
“What about my job?”
“You could keep it, of course. If it brings you joy. Otherwise, I’m certain my salary would be enough to compensate you. And of course, I would put you up in an apartment more suited to my tastes so when I visit I can stay with you.”
“This is insane. I’m not for sale, Philip. And why me when you could have anyone else?”
“I want you. You bring out the, um, the better side of me.” He cleared his throat, his thumb rubbing higher on her thigh. “I knew it the first day I met you. No one has ever stood up to me like you do. I need that, Marissa. I’m willing to pay for it.”
The server arrived with their drinks, and Marissa shrugged the newest offer off her shoulders. What the fuck? She needed to buy time to think about what he’d just asked of her.
“Let’s talk about this later, please. I want to dance.” She stood up and sashayed to the dancefloor, her hips swaying to the beat. They were all promise, all invitation, if only he’d accept. Because, asshole or not, she craved him with a ferocity she was only just beginning to understand.
Instead, he sat still as stone and watched as she moved. Fine. She’d give him a show he wouldn’t forget so maybe she could let go of what he’d asked of her. To be his. On salary. Did he know what he asked was impossible? Still, a small ache just below her abdomen flipped and fluttered as she imagined being his. Indefinitely.
She dipped and rose with the music, ran her hands along the fabric that felt like a second skin. With every song, she grew more and more wanton, let her hands cup her breasts that were hard, full with lust. His offer washed over her, no longer the impossibility it had been twenty minutes earlier. She turned around, her back to him, and bent over, her ass in the air, her hips swishing back and forth. It felt good to be this free, to not worry what anyone thought of her.
When two firm hands gripped her waist, she rose into him, found her back pressed against his strong thighs and chest. His cock was hard against the small of her back, and she gasped at how long, how solid it was. His hands slid around until they settled atop her abdomen. When he moved them lower, the thin fabric the only thing separating his fingers from her flesh, she snapped. Became someone else.
She lifted the hemline of her dress until it hung on her hips, then spread her legs. He took her offer, slipping his fingers beneath the fabric, trailing them along her panty line. He tucked a finger inside the lace, her opening warm and wet for him.
He traced her folds as her back arched into him. Her breath came in thick, choppy gasps, the desire roiling inside her chest and pussy making it hard to breathe.
When he removed his hand, and her dress fell back around her feet, she sighed.
No. She wanted more, wanted him.
Screw the semantics, the pragmatism. She wanted him to fuck her until she forgot who she was back home.
He took her hand, her moisture covering his fingers. He pulled her off the dance floor, back to the small booth.
“That was quite a show you gave the bartender back there,” he told her. His voice was thick, husky. “But I want you for myself.”
She nodded as he closed the curtains around the booth.