Hidden Obsession (The Club #2) (2 page)

BOOK: Hidden Obsession (The Club #2)
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Chapter Four

I’m still thinking about Conrad when I finish work later that evening. It’s almost eleven, and being that it’s a Friday night, there is a decent crowd.

After I sign out, I make my way toward the premiere bar and order myself a lime and soda as I listen to the conversations going on around me. It’s a full house tonight, which is common for the weekend. I glance around, amazed at the cross-section of people the cub attracts. People of all ages are here to live out their deepest, darkest fantasies. Sometimes I try and guess what a person is into just by how they’re interacting with other people. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m totally off the mark.

“Raven?”

I turn around, my heart racing, because I know that voice. If there is one person I don’t want seeing me here it’s him. Conrad.

“Hey,” I say, mustering up a smile as I force myself to meet his gaze.

His light green eyes twinkle at me as he revels in my discomfort.

“So…studying, huh?”

“I do study, I just need to support myself somehow,” I reply, my voice cold. “Anyway, I work here as part of security. Want to tell me why
you’re
here?” My voice is so sweet it drips sugar.

He laughs and rubs his neck. “Fair point. Why am I here?” He glances around, shaking his head. “There is no real answer that won’t leave me sounding like a kinky pervert, so I’m just going to change the subject.” He grins and I sigh.

God, that makes him even sexier.

“So, what time to you finish?” he asks, eyeing my black corset.

“I’m actually just done for the night.” I curse myself as I feel my cheeks heating up. Why does this guy have me so hot and bothered?

“Up for a drink? You know, so long as fraternizing with the clientele isn’t going to get you in trouble.”

“When I’m not working I can do as I please,” I say, biting my lip. Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s even true. I know engaging with members while I’m working is not allowed, but nobody has said anything about when I’m
not
working…

“Let’s go then.”

I jump as he takes my hand and leads me back downstairs.

“So, how did you come to work here?” he asks, cocking his head.

“A friend back home knows one of the owners and was able to score me an interview.”

“There aren’t many female security staff here,” he comments. “How do you handle the ones who need removing?”

“I’m not a security guard as such,” I explain. “My job is to go unnoticed, sort of like an undercover cop. I report anything suspicious to security. Besides,” I shrug, “it’s very rare that we have to kick someone out. The exclusivity of the club means most people who are here know how to behave.” I wave my hands around. “There’s nothing else like this place, you know?”

He grins as we reach the bottom stair and head over toward the main bar.

“Your turn: how did you find this place?” I ask, glad for the attention to be off me.

“I came with a colleague a few months ago. Actually, it was my boss.”

“Your boss?” I laugh. “Was that kind of awkward, coming to a place like this with him?”

“It was in the beginning,” he admits, laughing, “but once I got past all that I was just thankful to him for showing me this world.” He pauses, throwing me a glance. “So, are you strictly only here for work?”

My face heats at what he’s asking me. How am I supposed to answer that?

“I’ve…participated once when I was very drunk, after a lot of encouragement from a co-worker,” I say. I can’t believe I just admitted that.

“You have to give me more than that,” he groans. “Which room? What happened?”

“I’m not divulging any details,” I giggle. “And honestly, nothing really happened. It was barely anything.”

I take a seat on one of the barstools as he does the same. From downstairs, you’d have no idea of the world that exists upstairs. Just a normal club with plenty of dancing and drinking, the bar does well in its own right.

“What can I get you?” asks Conrad.

“A beer, thanks,” I reply. I don’t drink much, but when I do, beer is one of the only things I can handle. “So, you never did tell me why you’re here.”

“Yeah, I thought I did pretty well to avoid that question.” He winces and I laugh.

I’m shocked at how relaxed I am around him. I feel like we’ve known each other longer than a day—and that we met under different circumstances.

“What can I say? I’m a guy with a hearty sexual appetite.”

I love his honesty, and he has this rawness about him that is so damn attractive. I listen to him talk about his life, not even caring that he changed the subject on me again.

“So what about you?”

“Pardon?” I stutter, embarrassed that I wasn’t listening closely enough.

“Am I that boring?” he jokes.

“No, I was just thinking how nice it is to meet a guy I feel at ease around,” I say. As soon as the words are out there I want to grab them back. I sound like a lunatic. The guy is going to run a mile. I settle down slightly when he laughs.

“I said I could really go something to eat.”

“Ah, burn up a bit of an appetite?” I quip and he laughs again.

“Something like that. So, you know any decent eateries open at,” he glances at his watch, “three in the morning?”

“Sure, there’s this awesome place just down the road that do an awesome burger.”

He nods and drinks down the last of his drink. “I’m keen if you are. I’m parked underneath.”

“Oh, I have my car with me too. Maybe I should follow you?” I suggest.

He shrugs. “Or I can drop you back here when we’re done.”

“Okay,” I agree, ignoring the butterflies in my stomach. “Sounds good.”

**

“This is your idea of a fine eatery?” he laughs, as I direct him into the parking lot of McDonald’s.

“It’s about the only place open at this time. Besides, I promised you a decent hamburger,” I defend myself. I can hear him chuckling as we get out of his car. I follow him inside, loving how safe I feel with this tall, attractive man at my side. I’ve lost count of how many times this place has served me a very late-night dinner from the drive-thru because I was too scared to get out of my car and venture inside.

I ask for a cheeseburger while Conrad orders nearly everything on the menu. I giggle, trying to push a five-dollar bill into his hand, which he refuses to take.

“My treat. Call it our first date.”

Date? A shiver races through me, but I force myself to calm down by thinking of all the reasons why relationships don’t work for me.
God. He made a joke about a date and I’m preempting our wedding.

“I’ll get us a table.” I grin.

I pick a booth near the back of the diner and slide in. I take the moment I have alone to check him out from a distance. He’s so sexy that I can’t help but think naughty thoughts when I’m around him, and his personality is infectious. I’d forgotten how nice having company could be.

I glance outside and shiver. It’s still dark and I can barely make out Conrad’s car parked in the lot. Is he out there watching me? Probably. What if seeing me with Conrad makes him break?

“Here we go.”

I smile at the tray overflowing with food and reach for my lonely little cheeseburger.

“Get eating,” I laugh.

He doesn’t need any encouragement as he piles fries into his mouth.

“So, tell me more about who you are. How long have you been a detective?”

“Three years,” he replies. “I was a cop before that. It’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do. My dad was a cop, and so was my grandfather. It was kind of expected of me.”

“Are you’re parents around here?” I ask.

He shakes his head. “No, back home in LA. I’ve moved around a bit for work, but I like where I am now.” His eyes sparkle as they lock with mine. “What about you? Are you close with your family?”

“My parents died when I was fifteen,” I explain.

His face falls and I immediately feel bad.

“No, it’s fine. It was so long ago that I’m fine talking about it. We were close, but since they died my only real family is my aunt. And I don’t speak to her as much as I should,” I admit with a grin.

“I’m guilty of that too,” he says, rubbing his jaw. “Mom is always yelling at me for not calling more. I think that’s a guy thing, though.”

“Maybe,” I giggle. “You have any brothers or sisters?”

“Nope. Only child. Another reason why my parents hound me so much.”

We continue talking until we realize we’ve been sitting there for nearly two hours. I can’t believe how easy he is to talk to, and secretly I’m disappointed our little date is over. He drives me back to the parking lot, getting out to open the door for me. I smile at his chivalry.

“I had fun,” I admit, leaning against my car.

“Me too,” he grins. “We should go out for burgers after running into each other in a sex club more often.”

I laugh. When he puts it like that…

He leans in and presses his lips against mine, catching me off guard. My heart pounds as I lift my hand to his face, my fingers brushing over the soft stubble lining his jaw. I fall deeper into the kiss as his hands creep around my waist. It’s been so long since I kissed anyone, but it feels so right with him.

“Wow,” he mutters, pulling away. He looks dazed, and I can’t help but giggle. The fact that he looks as affected by that kiss as I was makes me feel less insecure. “I hope to be doing that again sometime soon.”

“Maybe. If you play your cards right. Will you call me?”

He steps forward and presses his lips against mine again as his fingers caress my neck. “I’ll definitely be calling you.”

**

 

Parking my car, I exit the garage and start the few blocks back home. The sun is just starting to rise, but it’s still dark enough outside for me to spook myself at every tree rustling in the wind. I’m halfway to my complex when I see him. Just out of the corner of my eye, I see him duck behind a Dumpster on the other side of the street. He keeps himself hidden in the shadows, but I know he’s there.

I break into a run, my heart racing. My only focus right now is getting myself back inside my apartment where I can appropriately freak the fuck out. Trying to run in heels proves difficult, so I kick them off, discarding them on the footpath as I sprint inside my building.

“Miss, are you all right?”

The doorman appears, scaring the fuck out of me. After I retrieve my heart from the floor, I nod and force a smile onto my face.

“Uh, yes, just a little early morning jog,” I mumble.

He glances at my bare feet and smiles.

“Please do not let anyone up without talking to me first.” I slink away before he replies, only letting my guard down once I’m safely inside the elevator.

I make it inside my apartment, but I feel no calmer because I can’t get it out of my head that he’s been inside my place. What’s to stop him from doing it again? The first was just his way of showing me I have no control over him—and he’s right. He holds all the cards and I have nothing.

Digging my phone out of my bag, I locate the card Conrad left me and punch his number into the keypad. I’m not worried about waking him, considering I only left him less than an hour ago. He answers right away.

“I was expecting to hear from you again, but not this fast,” he jokes.

“I think he was following me,” I say breathlessly. I sit down and cradle my head in my hand, trying not to cry. Most of the time I’m strong enough to at least pretend he doesn’t get to me, but for some reason tonight I feel fragile.

“Where? Are you back home?” he asks.

“Yes. I’m sorry for calling you—”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll come over, okay?”

“Thanks,” I whisper. I hang up the phone and stand up. After checking all the windows are locked, I turn on all the lights and make myself a coffee. It’s nearly five in the morning and the sun is beginning to rise, but there is no way I’m getting to sleep anytime soon.

A few minutes later there is a knock on the door. I’m surprised at how quickly he arrived and annoyed the doorman doesn’t appear to be taking my requests very seriously. How many other people does he let up? My hand on the door, I’m about to open it when I freeze. What if it’s not Conrad? The thought of coming face to face with my stalker makes me dizzy.

“Raven?”

Conrad
. I sigh with relief and swing open the door, practically throwing myself into his arms.

He wraps his strong arms around me and helps me over to the sofa. “Shh, you’re okay.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I mutter, rubbing my head.

“Fear and anxiety can do crazy things to a person,” he murmurs, handing me my coffee. “Are you sure caffeine is a good idea?” I shoot him a look and he chuckles. “Just saying.”

“I don’t know what else to do,” I mumble. “This is driving me crazy. Why won’t he just leave me the hell alone?”

BOOK: Hidden Obsession (The Club #2)
8.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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