Read Wreckless Online

Authors: Zara Cox

Tags: #Erotica, #Literature & Fiction

Wreckless (16 page)

BOOK: Wreckless
9.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

So what the hell was going on?

Had she grown tired of him? He stepped back from her, fighting the urge to kiss her awake and demand to know why she’d been freezing him out.

With a final glance at her, he started to back out of the room.

Chicken noodle soup. His mother had always sworn by it. He might not make it how she used to, but he could put together a passable one. He could have it ready when Lexi woke up. Yeah, he’d mellow her with his chicken soup.

Or you can mellow her with sex.

Yeah, that too. He wasn’t going to discount any weapon in his arsenal. But the sex would have to wait until she was better.

He grasped the doorknob, ready to shut it when he spied the cards on her dresser. He went over and plucked one from the shiny surface.

Happy thirtieth birthday.

He froze.

Dammit!

Her birthday had come and gone without even registering with him. Or had he blocked it out deliberately because he hadn’t wanted to remember how they’d spent her last birthday – champagne, her favorite truffle chocolates, sex, sex, and more sex with a million
I love yous
thrown in? Casting his mind back, he tried to remember the day of her birthday. Wednesday. They hadn’t met that day.

How had she spent the day? Alone? With friends? Hell, did she even have any friends in LA? Shame engulfed him. Since they met up again, he'd only wanted one thing from her. The rest of her life had not mattered to him.

Until now.

He glanced over at her and resisted another urge to wake her. He’d been so busy getting his pound of flesh, so to speak, that he hadn’t stopped to take in the small details. Another card was from her grandmother. The suffer-no-fools, yet lovable old lady who would’ve been
his
grandmother, his family, if he’d married Lexi. Regret settled deep, touching a dark part of him he thought he’d buried.

The other cards were from her boss and a group signed card from her coworkers. Unless she’d disposed of any others, she’d received a total of four cards for her birthday.

Placing them back on her dresser, he shut the door behind him. He'd tried to tell himself he didn’t really care, but he knew it was a lie. Somehow, he’d have to make it up to her.

He pulled his phone from his pocket. As he yanked open the fridge, he punched in his sister’s cell number. She answered on the third ring.

“You okay?”

“Sure. Don’s coming over for dinner. He’ll be here shortly.”

“That’s great. Listen, I need ideas for a birthday present.”

“Who for?”

“Who do you think?”

She laughed. “She’s
your
girlfriend. Why are you asking me?”

Technically, Lexi wasn’t his girlfriend, not yet, but he intended to remedy that. Soon. “Look, are you going to help me or not?”

“Fine! What were you thinking of? Big and splashy, or small and fabulous?”

He shrugged, even though she couldn’t see him, and pulled open the vegetable drawer. The contents made him grimace. “I was thinking maybe a fancy dinner, or maybe I could take her shopping, you know, do that personal shopping thing you like so much. Or hey, she likes spas, right? Maybe I can book her a weekend spa package in the city somewhere.”

“Lame, lame, and lame.”

He straightened and shut the fridge door. The chicken noodle soup would have to be ordered from Paolo’s, his favorite bistro. “What d’you mean lame? I didn’t see you complaining when I ordered the personal shoe shopper for your birthday.”

“That’s because you’re my brother. But I wouldn’t expect my boyfriend to buy me shoes for my birthday,” she huffed. “That's what I do with my girlfriends.”

“Fine, then what do you suggest?” His patience was beginning to wear thin. Maybe his sister was the wrong person to ask. He could ask Fiona—

“Well, if you really love her—”

His heart lurched. “Whoa there, I don’t recall using the—er, that word at any point in this conversation.”

“No, because you like to live in denial. Okay, if you care about her, find out what she wants and give it to her.”

“Would you just stop being so damned cryptic and just tell me what you mean? Do you mean like naming a star after her or some such crap?”

Enzo gritted his teeth when she snorted in his ear. Why had he called her? He could just have gone to the mall and picked out a nice perfume or a spa basket or something.

“Now you’re going beyond lame.”

“Fuck it! Then what? Hey wait, she’s a realtor right? Maybe I could get an architect to design her dream house.”
Or what would’ve been our dream house.
The stab of pain came out of nowhere. He froze.

He heard a gasp followed by shocked silence.

“Wow, that’s not bad, brother. Not bad at all. I’m actually quite impressed.”

“Nah, scratch that idea. Besides, it’s obvious you’re not impressed enough, huh?”

“Well, that is what you’d do for the woman you loved. But seeing as you say you
don’t
love her, I was thinking more of a life long secret wish?”

“What’re you talking about?”

Five minutes later, he hung up, very much aware his mouth gaped wide open as he stood, stunned numb by what he’d just heard.

 

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

Lexi smoothed her hands down the satin material of her boy-shorts and tried to calm her jumpy nerves. Enzo would be here in five minutes.
Dress sexy
– that’s all he’d said. So she’d worn fishnet tights and shorts with a red waistcoat over a sheer mesh top – no bra – and now she wondered whether she’d taken a blind turn at sexy and strayed into slutty-ville.

The doorbell chimed. She tugged on the hem of the shorts, then gave up. Too late to change now. The heels of her red stilettos clacked on her floorboards as she went to the intercom. “I’ll be right down.”

Once again, she’d let Enzo slip past the guard she’d
intended
to place around her emotions. But what sane woman could resist a man who’d nursed her back to health with homemade chicken noodle soup, albeit homemade in
Paolo’s
kitchen, glorious bubble baths, and just yesterday, a full body massage that
hadn’t
ended with sex.

She’d been surprised to find him still in her apartment when she woke on Monday. Even more surprised to see him occupying her dainty antique chair, fast asleep, an abandoned health magazine propped open on his chest.

When a quick glance had shown it to be just past midnight, her surprise had turned to worry. He’d wake with one hell of a cramp if he’d sat in that position for most of the eight hours she’d been asleep. Feeling groggy, she must’ve made a sound when she sat up because he immediately woke up. He’d fed her chicken soup and dry toast, followed by a cup of herbal tea, after which he’d helped her to the bathroom and back to bed.

That tender, almost loving side of him had seriously undermined her willpower, but she’d been determined to stick to her plans of leaving for New York, especially with Ian now in the picture.

Her plan had been on schedule, until her boss called to tell her he was sending David Mancini in her place. She wasn’t well and needed to look after herself, her conscientious boss informed her. Unfortunately, with Enzo in the room at the time she could hardly have told her boss she needed to get away as quickly as possible because she feared a broken heart. By the time she’d recovered, it had been too late to change her boss’s mind.

So here she was, still in LA and in a chauffeur-driven car with Enzo beside her on the way to the belated birthday surprise he’d planned for her.

“So where are you taking me?” she asked. He just smiled and reached for her hand. “Why won’t you tell me?” she pressed.

“I told you, it’s a surprise.”

“Okay, tell me this. Why the car and driver?”

“I don’t intend to drink and drive.”

 

Enzo tried not to think of the night ahead. His mind still reeled from what his sister had told him. He shrugged mentally and tried not to let images crowd his brain. Everyone had a wish, a fantasy. He was about to make Lexi's come true, despite everything inside him screaming for him to take her and run in the other direction.

Just before he rang her doorbell, he’d called
La Rambla
. Everything was in place.

“Will you at least give me a clue?” The slight note of panic in her voice made him glance at her again. Maybe this surprise wasn’t such a great idea. What if it backfired on him?

He wasn’t so hot on surprises himself so he understood.

According to Cara
, La Rambla
was the best salsa club in LA. He tried not to think about the other thing she’d told him. He’d done his own investigating and, frankly, things could go either way. Lexi would either love it or hate it. Glancing at her, he decided to come clean. Somewhat.

“Salsa,” he said.

Her eyes widened, but after a moment they lost their haunted look. He knew his insensitive quip about drinking and driving had hurt her, and he felt like a heel. Raising her hand, he kissed the back of it.

“You’re taking me to a salsa club?” she asked.

“Yeah.”

“But...why?”

“Why not? You love salsa.”

“I know, but…don’t you think you’re taking this thing a bit too far? You stayed in my apartment all week looking after me, now you’re doing this?”

He frowned. “What’s wrong with that?” Wasn’t that what boyfriends and husbands did, take care of their women?” If tragedy and betrayal hadn’t derailed them, they’d be married by now, even started a family. Bitterness and a whole load of regret twisted inside him, but he pushed it away. Tonight wasn’t about dwelling on the past. It was about giving his woman what she wanted and moving to embrace the future, hopefully with her at his side.

“What’s wrong is that we’re not a couple anymore, remember? You don’t have to do this. We can always go back home, order take out?” Hope lightened her voice.

Hell, no. He couldn’t have turned back if he tried. After what his sister had told him, he needed to know. “Relax,” he said. Whether to reassure himself or her, he wasn’t so sure.

“Tell me what’s going on,” she demanded.

He kept his gaze straight ahead. “I told you, we’re going to a salsa club.”

“Did you ever stop to think I don’t dance anymore? Or even like salsa?”

His eyes whipped back to hers. “If that’s true, then the night’s wasted. Is it?” he asked when she said nothing.

“Well, I haven’t danced in a…while. Over a year, to be exact.”

Since the accident, she meant. For some reason, the admission both pleased and saddened him. But he wasn’t going to dwell on the past, he repeated to himself.

“So, maybe it’s time to make up for it.” His hand settled on his thigh and, from the corner of his eye, he saw her follow the movement. His own eyes traced her fishnet-covered thighs and shifted to ease the instant hard-on. Nothing would’ve pleased him more than to ask the driver to turn around and take them home. After a week without sex, he was jonesing for some serious horizontal salsa. But—

“So where’s this place?”

He grinned, pleased to hear the panic had left her voice. “That part, I’m not revealing. You’ll find out soon enough.”

 

The lights turned green, and their driver took the intersection into downtown LA. Lexi looked out the window, frantically trying to think which salsa places she’d seen around town. Since leaving London, she’d lost interest in her much-loved hobby. She turned her head when Enzo slid a CD into the sound system. Throbbing salsa music filled the car. Anticipation heated her blood. Against her will, the music suffused her senses, bringing with it memories of dancing with Enzo.

She looked up to find his heated gaze on her. He was remembering too. She gripped her seat to stop herself from doing anything foolish, like blurting out “remember when?”

“So, have you been to this place before?” Although she didn’t want to know whether he’d been there with another woman, she couldn’t stop herself from asking.

“No.”

“Then…?”

“A little bird told me about it.”

Bird as in a
bird
he knew intimately?

“No, nothing like that.”

“You read minds now?”  She sure as hell didn’t want him to read hers and find out how often she’d obsessed about who he’d been with before she’d arrived in LA, or if he saw other women when he wasn’t with her. They never spoke about that – another of the no-go areas in their relationship.

“Not as much as I’d like to.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well, for one thing I’d love to be able to get inside your head and find out what the last couple of weeks have been all about. You didn’t return my calls, didn’t want to meet up, and you turned nasty when I showed up on your doorstep.”

“I didn’t turn nasty. Not even when you accused me of seeing Ian Pulbrook.” She turned her face away, so he wouldn’t see how that had hurt.

“No, there was something going on with you even before I confronted you about Pulbrook. He hasn’t been in touch, has he?” he tagged on with a tight voice.

The last person she wanted to talk about was Ian Pulbrook. “You know he hasn’t. You’ve been in my apartment all week.” And as far as she knew, the crank calls had stopped. She hadn’t received any more calls after Enzo answered her phone and told her there was no one on the line.

“Good.”

Silence reigned for a few minutes.

“So?” he prompted.

“What?”

“Is something bothering you? Tell me.”

“No.”

“No you’re not telling me, or no, nothing’s bothering you?”

“How about, I just want to enjoy this…this thing you’re cooking up and not think about anything else?”

He eyed her for several seconds, and then nodded. “That works for me. But sooner or later, you’ll have to tell me.”

She breathed a sigh of relief when he turned the music up and pulled her close. A few minutes later, they pulled up in front of a very large, square, red-bricked building. From the outside, ivy creepers clung to the three-storey and within the vines, red and gold lights had been strung to create a stunning effect.

BOOK: Wreckless
9.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison
Dangerous to Touch by Jill Sorenson
Blue Water by A. Manette Ansay
Becoming a Legend by B. Kristin McMichael
Gone by Lisa Gardner
Melt Into You by Lisa Plumley
The Spoilers / Juggernaut by Desmond Bagley