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«Copyright © 2014 J. Kenner The right of J. Kenner to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the ...»

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Then I sucked in a deep breath and told her about how my dad had gotten involved in a business deal with Ilya Muratti, and that Cole was supposed to be helping out, but was just pissing me off.

“Did this all start because your dad pulled some sort of con?” “What makes you say that?” “Cop, remember? And you told me once that your dad had dealings with Tyler on some real estate scam. I didn’t get the impression that either man was on the upand-up.” “Fair enough. And yes. It was a con.” And since I really couldn’t have asked for a better segue, I took the plunge and told her what had happened with my dad and the forgery of the will. And then I told her about my life.

The way I’d lived growing up. All the cons I’d brushed up against.

“I was on the grift, too,” I said, and it felt good to tell.

“For a long time, actually.” “I’m glad you told me,” Sloane said. “To be honest, I’ve suspected something like that.” “Really? Why didn’t you say something?” “I figured you’d tell me when you were ready.” She shrugged. “Guess I was right.

And now you’re putting it behind you?” “Hoping to. Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I came here. New house, clean slate. Stupid, maybe, but...” I trailed off with a shrug.

“It doesn’t sound stupid at all. Have you told Angie?” I shook my head. “You’re easier. We’re newer at this friendship thing, and even though I wasn’t certain, I kind of figured you already knew some of it.” “I get that.” “Angie’s a little harder.

We’ve been friends for a long time now, but I met her because I was planning on scamming her. I’m not sure how well that’ll go over.” Sloane’s smile was immediate and real—and made me feel one hundred percent better even before she spoke. “This is Angie we’re talking about. Jahn’s niece.

Soon to be Evan’s wife. I think she can handle the irony.” “When you put it like that...” I finished off my wine, thinking about what she said.

And agreeing that she was right. “Thanks. I’m still royally pissed at Cole, but I feel better about the rest of it.

So I’m glad I came.” “Me, too. It’s nice to have an excuse to end my workout early.” I started to stand, then sat back down again. “Listen, there’s one other thing. I think I may have said something I wasn’t supposed to.” “Oh. What?” “I told Cole I knew about the Firehouse. And then afterward, I realized that you might not have wanted me to say. I mean, he’ll have to figure I heard it from you, right?” “Probably, but don’t worry about it. I doubt he’s going to take out an ad in the Tribune announcing that he’s a member there, but it’s not a state secret.” “Good. I was worried I’d broken a confidence.” “Did he take you there?” I shook my head. “No. But —” I cut myself off.

“What?” “Can I ask a personal question?” I began, then continued when she nodded.

“Is it your thing? What goes on there, I mean.” “Let’s just say that Tyler opened the world to me in more ways than one. He pushes my boundaries, and I need that. Plus, I like it,” she added with a very wicked smile.

I thought about that, then gathered my courage. “I want Cole to take me, but I don’t know if he ever will.” “I don’t know a lot about Cole, so I may be wrong. But Tyler never really spent time there. It was more of an aside for him, you know? Like one more thing in the toy box.” “But with Cole?” “Whatever he gets there, he needs it. Maybe he’s afraid you can’t handle it.” I knew that what she said was true. But I was hoping that maybe—just maybe— Cole was starting to learn that I could handle more than he believed.

“I should get out of your hair,” I said.

“I won’t beg you to stay if you have stuff to do, but I’m getting light-headed. Why don’t we go down to the bar and have some appetizers?

Maybe even some sort of fruity, sugary, bad-for-you cocktail to really celebrate your upcoming closing in style.” “Can I ask you about the Firehouse?” “Can I ask you about growing up in the grift?” And since that seemed like a fair trade-off to both of us, we agreed. Sloane changed quickly into jeans, and we headed out.

We were randomly chatting about all sorts of things when we arrived at the Coq d’Or. The wedding, my house, general plans to spend a day at the beach. But all talk stopped the moment we stepped through the door and saw all three of the knights sitting right there at the bar, just as pretty as you please, as if Cole and Evan hadn’t caused me a shitload of grief —not to mention completely pissing me off.

“I don’t fucking believe it,” I murmured, my voice low.

I stalked across the room, then grabbed Cole’s glass. He looked up at me, his expression at first confused and then conciliatory.

“Kat,” he began, but I didn’t let him finish.

Instead, I tossed the drink in his face, drenching his face and his shirt in the bar’s finest whiskey.

fifteen “And that’s our cue to leave,” Sloane said, taking Evan and Tyler each by the arm.

“You guys stay,” Cole growled as he mopped his face with a cocktail napkin and grabbed my arm with his free hand. “We’re going.” I jerked free as he steered me toward the exit, then came to a dead stop right outside the door. “Goddammit, Cole, what the hell? You promised you’d tell me the plan. And then you up and move my dad without even contacting me? Do you have any idea how livid I am?” Around us, the after-work crowd was moving into and out of the bar, all of them shooting us wary glances as they passed by.

“Shit,” he said, taking my arm again. And this time, when I tried to pull free, he held fast.

The ladies’ room was just down the hall, and he slammed the door open, then practically tossed me inside.

“What the—” I began, then snapped my mouth shut when he followed me in.

A twenty-something woman who looked like she was fresh out of college gaped at him, then edged carefully around us to escape.

“In,” he said, stalking toward me so that I had no choice but to either back the rest of the way into the ornate restroom or get run over by him.

I entered.

The restroom at The Drake is as elegant as they come, with a long marble counter with multiple seats to give the women plenty of space to take care of both primping and gossiping. But what really makes it exceptional is that every stall is fully decked out as a little room, complete with toilet, vanity, mirror, sink, and even a little upholstered stool to sit on. Moreover, the door is floor to ceiling, giving a woman complete privacy.

Cole pushed open the door to the first vacant stall, then dragged me inside.

“Are you crazy?” I whispered as he locked the door behind us.

He didn’t answer the question. Instead he grabbed me by the waist, picked me up, and sat me on the vanity. I gasped, for the first time truly realizing just how much he had on me in terms of weight, size, and strength.

“Dammit, Cole,” I said, but I’d deflated a little bit.

He shoved my knees apart and stepped between them so that he was pressed up against the vanity and right in my personal space.

“You threw a drink on me,” he said, his voice so low and so firm that I knew he was fighting to control his temper.

“You deserved it.” “Why did you come to me about your dad?” “You know why,” I snapped. “Because I thought you could help.” “And just what the goddamn hell do you think it is that I’m doing?” “You can’t just muscle in and—” “All or nothing, Catalina,” he said.

“Bullshit. He’s my dad;

you can’t cut me out of the scenario, especially not when you said you’d keep me in the loop. You told me I’m a submissive, and maybe you’re right. But that’s in bed, Cole. Not out here. Not in the world.” I watched his face, saw the hard lines and angles tighten and his eyes narrow as he focused on me. “I’m not interested in taking away your autonomy,” he said.

“But I don’t do anything halfway, and I’m not going to spend time trying to secondguess what the rules of engagement are. I already know the rules.” “Is that a fact? What are they?” “Mine,” he said, and I could tell from the heat in his eyes that it wasn’t just the rules about my dad that we were talking about.

I licked my lips, trying to stay on track. “Dammit, Cole —” “Take off your clothes.” I froze. A little shocked and—damn me—a lot turned on. “The hell I will.” He took the hem of my Tshirt in his hands and pulled it up, revealing my bra. “Take it off, or I will.” I felt my sex tighten and my skin go hot. “Do it, then,” I said.

He did, yanking the shirt up, forcing my arms to follow, then tossing it on the floor near the door. He reached down and cupped my sex through my jeans. I was breathing hard, so turned on I was surprised my jeans weren’t soaked.

“Will you take off the bra, or should I just rip it off?” I reached back and undid the clasp, then pulled it off and tossed it on top of the shirt. “What are you doing?” “Exactly what I want,” he said as he unfastened the button on my jeans then eased the zipper down. “My rules.” He slid his hand inside the jeans and under my panties, then eased one finger inside me, his smug grin widening when he found me not just wet, but drenched. “Mine.

Say it, Kat.” “Yours,” I said, finding it hard to make a sound, much less form words.

“And once you’re naked, I’m going to fuck you. So hard it makes you scream, and everyone in here will know exactly what we’re doing.” “Cole, no.” But the words were for propriety only, and he damn well knew it. I was too turned on by what he said, and no matter what protests I might form into words, my body told the truth. And the way my sex throbbed and tightened around his finger in anticipation of what he’d described was the most eloquent admission of all.

He didn’t bother to argue.

He just bent down and tugged off my shoes, then eased my jeans over my hips until they were in a heap on the floor as well. He left my panties on, though, then pulled me off the counter and turned me around so that I was standing up and facing the mirror.

I saw myself there, my hands pressed flat on the vanity, my breasts full and heavy, my nipples dark with arousal. My face was flush, my eyes a little glassy. And Cole loomed behind me, still fully dressed, all power and control and pure masculine heat.

I heard the musical sound of his zipper, then the press of his cock against my ass.

“Spread your legs, baby,” he said, but I already had. I wanted this—I might have started out angry, but Cole had turned it all around on me, and now the only thing I wanted was to feel him inside me. The only thing I needed was to do as he said—to let myself go and just feel.

He made a low noise of satisfaction, then reached down and stroked me through my panties. “Oh, yes,” he said. “You’re ready.” “Yes,” I whispered, then gasped as he yanked the thin strip of satin to one side.

“Bend over. That’s right,” he said, and I felt the insistent press of his cock against me, and then the sweet, hard push as he thrust inside.

His hands were on my hips, and as he moved forward, he pulled me back.

He filled me completely, and the look on his face—such passion, such intensity— made me almost come right there.

He hadn’t taken off his pants, and the material rubbed my rear as he pistoned against me. The knowledge that I was essentially naked and he was clothed—that he was taking me in this stall, that he could take me anywhere he damn well pleased—shot through me, enticing and terrifying and oh-so satisfying.

He kept one hand on my hip, but the other snaked around to tease my sex. The sensations were almost more than I could bear. The tease of his fingers on my hard, sensitive clit. The rhythmic pounding of his pelvis against my ass. The almost painful way he filled me, going so deep inside me, and with such steady and relentless power.

And then—oh my god— then he abandoned my clit to reach around and pinch my nipples, holding tight and twisting slightly, so that the frenzy of heated fizzles that shot from my breasts to my sex added yet another sensation to the erotic symphony that was building within me.

“Does that hurt?” he asked, squeezing even tighter.

“Yes,” I whispered, hoping that the truth wouldn’t make him stop.

“Do you like it?” “God, yes.” “Look in the mirror,” he said, and I realized that I’d closed my eyes. I opened them and saw what had to have been the most erotic vision of my life. Cole’s hands twisting my swollen nipples. My legs parted, my sex damp. My body rhythmically undulating as I took Cole deeper and deeper.

And then, when he slid his hand down my belly to tease my clit again, my lips parting in passion and my entire body trembling with the insistent, building climax that threatened to sweep me away.

“Tell me what you see,” he said.

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