Sinful Abandon(6)

By: Jeannine Colette


He’s brushing his fingers over the plastic of a Rihanna CD, like it’s an artifact. Without asking, he turns on the CD player and puts the disc inside. I haven’t listened to this album since college. The Barbadian singer’s voice bellows out from the speakers, and Ryan goes back to exploring the room.

He’s nice to look at. Tall with a muscular frame that’s more lean than bulky, he’s strong and secure with a face like a Calvin Klein model. Man, why do the poor ones always have to be so damn handsome?

“You don’t have any pictures,” he states.

I motion to the scenic one above the sofa and wonder how in the world he is missing the giant picture.

“I mean, personal pics, like with friends, family, travel. You know, the kind of pictures people place around their homes?”

“I don’t like people, so why would I have pictures of them?”

“Not even your parents?” he asks with the rise of perfect brows.

“My dad sucks, so, no, not even them.”

He does another glance around the room. “So, all of these things are just props to attract a wealthy man?”

I raise a finger and give him a wide-eyed and open-mouthed face that says, Bingo!

He leans back on his heels and takes a lingering drink from the tumbler, his lush lips kissing the crystal. Those piercing eyes are steady on me. “You ever been in love, Heather?”

“You ever been cheated on, Ryan?” I refill my drink.

“No.”

“Of course not. Look at you.” I take a fresh sip.

“If you’re basing this on beauty, then I can’t believe a man would ever be dumb enough to cheat on you.” His eyes assess me. No, they appraise me from the tips of my toes, up to my shapely hips, and dip across my swollen breasts, landing on the doe-eyed expression I’m giving him. From the look on his face, he means what he said.

I swallow down any notion of attraction I might have just gotten from that look. “Who said I was cheated on?”

“With that question, you did,” he says with a smile.

I hate observant people because you have to watch your every word.

“Shit happens,” I say. Then, I raise a finger. “I’m not sleeping with you, so flattery will get you nowhere.”

That damn smile widens his face again. He takes a step toward where I’m standing in the middle of the room. “I don’t want to go to bed with you. I want to know you.”

“Why?”

“I have absolutely no idea, but I’ll tell you this.” His voice is deep and low. “I’ve never met a woman like you. You’re different from the other girls. I’m hoping you’ll tell me enough to quell this aching curiosity inside me.”

“Different good or different bad?”

Instead of answering, Ryan moves closer. Our eyes are level, but his body overpowers mine by the energy he’s exuding. My insides tingle, and it’s the good kind of tingle, the kind that makes me want to unleash my corset and climb the man in front of me like a cheetah in heat.

I inhale a breath and remind myself why I can’t be attracted to any ordinary Tom, Dick, or Harry.

Or Ryan, for that matter.

“You have cards?” he asks.

My brows furrow in confusion.

“Blackjack. I’ll play you. A win for a sin.”

I like this guy. I’ve been in his presence for under an hour, and I can’t get a read on him. It’s fun, being kept on my toes.

Placing my drink down on the coffee table, I grab a deck of cards from a nearby drawer, hand it over and take a seat on the couch. Ryan shuffles the deck, like he’s a professional dealer, and hands out two cards each.

I hit. He stays.

He wins.

“Why a rich man?” he asks.

He waits for my answer.

“I grew up watching my father have unhealthy relationships with women and alcohol. I escaped my personal hell by reading People magazine and watching Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

“Rich people have problems, too.”

“Not money problems. I had a job at ten and paid our rent because the deadbeat would blow all his money. By the time I was sixteen, I moved out and supported myself. Haven’t seen him since.”

“Where’s your dad now?” His interest in my life is uncharacteristic for the men I usually spend my time with.