Authors: Sandra Bunino
Tags: #Erotica, #Fiction
“No, really. I know I can act like a pompous jerk sometimes. I misjudged you, Stephanie, and I sincerely apologize.”
Stephanie was about to respond when she heard a voice below.
“Hello! We’ll have you out in a moment!”
The elevator slowly descended and came to a halt. A faint light came from the space between the two doors that grew brighter as the doors were pried open. Stephanie and Jason looked up from their seated position to see two of the hotel’s handymen looking down at them. Stephanie was the first to stand. She grabbed her laptop and purse as she thanked her rescuers. One of the men held his hand out and helped her step out into the lobby. “It’s so good to be out of there! I’ll stick to the stairs from now on.” She was on her way to the staircase when she heard her name.
She turned to see Jason standing just outside of the elevator. Damn! To her dismay, her heart fluttered just looking at him. She raised her eyebrows at him and gave him a ‘what the hell do you want now?’ look.
“Please come have a drink with me. It’s the least I can do, and I think you need something to calm your nerves.”
“I need to go upstairs and e-mail my boss.”
“The power is still out and judging by my phone, there’s no cell service either. You won’t be able to send an e-mail now I’m afraid.”
Stephanie looked around the candlelit lobby. She was so happy to be out of the elevator that she hadn’t noticed the lights were still out, and the entire hotel’s main entrance was beautifully illuminated by candlelight. Waiting out the power outage in the bar was a more attractive option than walking six flights of stairs, only to sit in a dark room.
“Okay, one drink,” she said as she walked past him toward the hotel lounge.
Just like the lobby, the cozy lounge was basked in flickering candlelight. Low tea lights lined the bar and there were five votive candles of varying sizes on the baby grand piano where the pianist played her favorite Billy Joel song. Stephanie ordered a pomegranate martini as she took a seat at the bar.
“Beer for me.”
“Senor Royce, I understand Miss Thomas and you were stuck in the elevator for a while. You okay?”
“Yes, we’re fine, Carlos, thanks.”
“Mr. Martin said your drinks are on the house tonight, for your trouble, Senor.”
“Mr. Martin?” Stephanie asked.
“Max Martin. He owns the Del Santos,” explained Jason.
“Seems like you spend a lot of time here?”
“I have business nearby; the Del Santos is one of my favorite places to stay.”
“I’m surprised you don’t go to the Ritz Carlton. Isn’t that more your speed?”
“I love hotels like this. The charm, elegance and magic of the Del Santos are hard to reproduce.” He raised his beer to Stephanie. “Here’s to hurricane season in Miami.”
She lifted her glass and touched it to his. “Cheers.”
“So, tell me about this job of yours that has you traveling all over the country.”
They talked at length about her job as a pharmaceutical rep and some of the funny events she experienced in different cities. She actually enjoyed Jason’s company. He was sincere and attentive, not the same cocky personality she observed just a short time ago in the elevator. They talked and laughed comfortably with one another for at least an hour.
“I don’t understand something, Jason. You were so arrogant and cocky when we first met, but you’re so different now. Why?”
“You want the truth?”
“This may come out sounding really awful, and I don’t want to go back to asshole status with you, but I’m just used to acting that way around beautiful women. You see, most of the women I meet at bars and hotels really don’t want to know me. They want to have a good time, allow me to spend a lot of money on them, and then we go our separate ways. It’s a game and I play my part.”
Stephanie looked straight ahead as he spoke. She understood why he felt the way he did because she knew women like that. Most of Stephanie’s friends were single and plenty of them searched out good-looking rich men, especially when they were away from home. They loved to tell her tales of their incredible, sexy trysts and even one-nighters. She had a girlfriend that swore by them. She could hear her say, “You just don’t know what you’re missing, Stef. Sometimes you just need to blow off steam with a random hottie. Get it out of your system. No strings attached.”
Turning to him, she said, “You’re stereotyping all women into that category. We’re not all like that, you know.”
“I do know. It just seems like those are the ones I’m meeting lately.” His eyes locked on her gaze. “I hope my luck has changed.”
Stephanie took another sip of her martini while glancing over to the window. The storm showed no signs of letting up. In fact it seemed to grow more fierce. As if on cue, she heard a thunderous crack of thunder and the rain angrily batted at the window. Stephanie bought some time by asking Carlos for another martini. She lost count of how many times he’d refilled her glass. Is this the third or the fourth? She knew one thing for sure, Jason Royce was sexy as hell. The way his blue eyes sparkled in the candlelight against his tanned features rocked her to her core.
Stealing a glance at his strong, muscular build beneath his sports jacket caused her breath to catch in her throat. Until today, she hadn’t thought of another man this way, not since before she was married. As if in a trance, she couldn’t break her stare. However, she quickly became aware of his smile. He watched her drink him in, which made her blush and turn her head in embarrassment.
Jason moved closer and spoke slowly in his silky voice. “I wonder if you might dance with me.” She nodded and took his hand.
He led her to the dance floor illuminated only with candlelight and the occasional flash of lightning. Placing one hand in his and the other on his back, their bodies started out a respectable distance apart. Before long, Jason’s warmth drew her in, and she couldn’t ignore the electricity forming between them. Tentatively, she stepped closer and lightly rested her head against his neck. Jason took this as a cue to guide her hand up and over his shoulder. Suddenly, his strong hands urgently pulled her against his rock hard body. The force of his embrace awakened a passion that lay dormant inside her until now. Stephanie couldn’t fight the fire building within her. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, inhaling his musky scent while caressing his neck with her fingertips. Her face grazed up the side of his neck, stopping at his jawbone. Jason’s touch seared her skin as his fingertips skimmed up her side to her neck and came to rest on her chin. With his thumb and finger, he guided her face upward and she opened her eyes. His smoldering gaze burned a trail down her body. Uncomfortable with the intensity of his stare, she looked away.
Her eyes shifted back to meet his gaze as he lowered his mouth and softly brushed his lips against hers, questioningly awaiting a response. Accepting his invitation, she parted her lips and moaned softly. His lips were soft and enticing. It had been a long time since she was kissed like this. She surrendered her tongue to his and felt desire fill her belly as an overwhelming passion grew by the moment. Breathlessly, she pulled away, embarrassed by her body’s reaction to the kiss. She looked down and placed her forehead on his chin.
“I don’t know why I did that. I need to go sit down.”
Jason followed her back to the bar where she ordered a club soda. As the heat rose in her face, Stephanie wondered if she looked as flushed as she felt. After taking a couple of sips she said, “I’m getting tired and those drinks went right to my head. I think I’m going to kick off my shoes and huff it up the six flights to my room. Good night, Jason.”
“Hold on, Stef. What happened just now, the kiss, it was incredible. You don’t really want to get up and leave, do you?”
Stephanie forced the feelings of fiery yearning aside and summoned the strength to look him square in the eye. “You probably have a different woman in your bed every night, but I’m not that type. I don’t do things like that. Not to mention that I’m married,” she lied. Cursing her momentary lack of judgment during their dance, she wondered how she allowed herself to get caught up in the moment. The music, candlelight, his delicious scent, dark hair and strong shoulders, it was all too much to take, but she wasn’t giving into temptation. That would put her in the same category as her ex-husband. Stephanie got off her stool and headed toward the lobby when she felt powerful fingers encircle her wrist.
“For the record, no, I don’t sleep around with a bunch of different women. Forgive me, I thought there was something between us, but I must have read your signals wrong because I thought you felt it too”-- He let go of her wrist and put one finger up --“Hold on a second, please, don’t leave yet.” He gestured for her to sit back down at the bar then he leaned over and spoke quietly to Carlos. He seemed to be giving him detailed instructions. Nodding, he pulled out a crisp hundred-dollar bill and slid it across the bar. “This is for you, Carlos. Please bill the charges to my account.”
“What are you up to?”
“Just trying to make your life a little easier. Relax, no games. I promise.” Jason extended his hand and motioned to the dance floor.
Stephanie looked at him suspiciously. “I know I’m a bit tipsy, but I still have my senses about me.”
“Good, then I won’t be accused of taking advantage of a drunken woman,” he said and smiled at her. “Please come dance with me while we wait for Carlos to return.”
He brought her back to the dance floor and pulled her close. Stephanie closed her eyes. Her breath quickened as his hand traveled down the length of her back and rested right above her ass. God, it’s been so long, too long, since I’ve been touched like this. Carlos returned and handed Jason a key.
"Come on, I'll show you to your room."
Stephanie’s eyes narrowed and she gave him a suspicious look.
"Here’s the key to the last available room in the hotel on a low floor. It’s a suite on the second floor where you can spend the night. I’ll take you up. Really, I just want to make sure you get in okay."
Jason grabbed a candle off of the bar and lightly placed his hand at the small of her back to guide her toward the lobby. The sweeping staircase to the second floor was the focal point of the hotel’s main entrance. The stairs and banister were made from chestnut and stained a deep warm brown. Feeling a little lightheaded, Stephanie held onto Jason for support as they climbed the long flight together. She stumbled on a step, but he caught her before she fell. A smile crossed her face when they reached the top. "I thought I was going down, these shoes have caused me nothing but trouble today. If I didn’t like them so much, I would toss them."
The key turned easily in the lock, and Jason pushed open the door to her suite. A flood of soft flickering light surprised Stephanie and beckoned her inside. She scanned the small sitting room that featured an overstuffed sofa and armchair. A trio of candles rested on the coffee table along with an ice bucket and with what appeared to be an opened bottle of white wine. Next to it sat a single wine glass. Stephanie looked from the wine to Jason, arching her eyebrows. “What’s with the wine?”
"For you, that’s why there is just one glass. Have a good night, Stephanie." He brought her hand up and lightly kissed it with warm soft lips. She couldn't tear her eyes away from his mouth that burned hot on her skin. Her thoughts returned to the kiss they shared earlier that night. In just a few hours her opinion of this very sexy man in front of her changed. She pegged him for an arrogant jerk and now, she wasn’t sure how she felt. One thing was for sure, she didn’t want him to leave.
"I feel horrible about taking the last room and that you have to walk up twelve flights of stairs to the penthouse. You’re welcome to stay. Here, I mean," she gestured to the couch.
Jason made his way over to the coffee table, picked up the glass and slowly poured the wine. He handed her the glass with an unwavering gaze. "As long as you’re okay with it, I think I'll take you up on your offer. I'm sure I'll be gone before you wake in the morning."
She averted her gaze and smiled shyly. "Its fine, thanks again for arranging the room for me."
Stephanie walked into the bedroom and closed the double doors that separated them. Safely behind closed doors she paced the room. Feeling as if she was going to explode with pent up energy, she took a couple of sips of wine to calm her nerves. This is one of those once in a lifetime moments. I’m in a beautiful suite with a sexy man and no means of contacting the outside world. Just go with it. But something was holding her back. Was it that sleeping with him would put her in the same category as Gary? That son of a bitch cheated on her with a woman he met at work. No, there was a big difference between the two scenarios. She was single and free to see whomever she wanted. What was holding her back was something Gary said to her right before she threw him out of their home. He said this new relationship made him realize he didn’t think he ever truly loved her. She had never been so angry and so hurt. She’d grabbed the closest thing available, a small vase with fresh flowers, and flung it at his head. The vase missed him by an inch and hit the wall instead. Shards of glass and water exploded on the wall and dripped to the floor. He stepped over the mess toward the front door. Before he left he turned to Stephanie and said, “You do know you’re crazy don’t you? You’re crazy and a lousy lay.”