Ma’am?” The desk agent interrupted her thoughts. “I’m sorry, but the other hotels are booked solid as well.
“Great, just my luck. Thanks for checking anyway.” Charlie turned away from the front desk only to run into something that felt like a brick wall. She would have fallen backwards if two strong arms hadn’t wrapped themselves around her. Charlie looked up to see whom she had run into. Damn, it was the pretty boy from the bar. Her heart beat a tattoo against her chest.
Oh dear, I hope he isn’t following me. This is the last thing I need.
“Thanks.” She pushed away from him, but not before Charlie noted how solid he felt. Why were her palms suddenly sweaty and her breathing abnormal?
“Can I be of some assistance to you?” His voice was deep and as sexy as the rest of him.
“No, thank you.” Charlie would have walked past him had he not been blocking her way.
“I couldn’t help but overhear you at the reception desk and I think I may have a solution to your problem.”
“Whatever solution you may have, I’m not interested.”
He went on as if she hadn’t spoken. “There’s a convention in town and all the hotels within walking distance are booked solid. I was fortunate enough to get one of the last available rooms in this hotel, which just happens to have two double beds. I would be happy to share with you tonight.”
“No, thank you.” Her voice came out in a weak croak. She hoped she sounded firmer to him than to her own ears.
This man was obviously out of his mind if he thought she was going to share a room with him. No matter how handsome he was, he could be a sex maniac for all she knew. Ted Bundy stood out in her mind.
“Don’t be so stubborn. You know as well as I do that you shouldn’t be driving. Where will you go?”
He had a point, but still, how could she know he wouldn’t try anything? As if reading her mind he said, “Look, I know what you must be thinking but I’m not some raving lunatic. You are a very attractive woman, but believe me, I need sleep more than anything else right now. I have an early flight to catch tomorrow. Besides, I’m placing myself in as much jeopardy as you are lady. How do I know that you won’t rob me blind?”
“I am not a thief!”
“And I’m not a sex fiend. Unwilling women aren’t my scene. Also, if I might suggest, you need to sleep off all the alcohol you drank tonight.”
Charlie felt like a jackass. She hadn’t meant to offend him; after all, he had been nice enough to pick up her tab at the bar. Charlie was generally a good judge of character and intuition told her she could trust this man. “I’m sorry. You’re very kind to offer me a bed for the night. I really appreciate it.”
“Does that mean you’re accepting my offer?”
“Yes, I am, that is if I haven’t pissed you off. I meant no harm, but you never know these days.”
He smiled at her. “It’s okay. Since we will be roommates for the night, you should at least tell me your name. I’m Jake Fox.” .He held out his hand to her.
“Charlie Brown.” She took his hand and laughed at the expression on his face.
“You’re joking right?” He smacked his head as though realizing how rude his question was. “Sorry,” he apologized quickly.
“Don’t worry about it. I get that quite a bit. Charlie is short for Charlotte, but no one but my parents call me Charlotte. Even then, they only use it when they’re mad at me. As you can imagine, my parents have a twisted sense of humor.” She smiled, feeling shy all of a sudden.
An indiscernible expression flickered in his blue eyes as Jake looked down at her, but it was nothing that made her feel ill at ease. He smiled back. “It suits you. Well, let’s go, Charlie Brown.”
To Charlie’s surprise she felt comfortable with Jake. All her reservations about staying with him slid away as he led her to his room. She shouldn’t have trusted this stranger on such short acquaintance, but she did. Charlie couldn’t explain the feeling, but his very presence put her at ease.
When they arrived at Jake’s room, he opened the door, motioning for her to enter first. Charlie hesitated for only a second. She looked at him and he smiled at her. Her heart twinged. It was the alcohol, she was sure of it.
“Don’t worry, I won’t bite if you don’t want me too,” he teased, as he nudged her further into the room.
“Well, you can’t exactly blame me for being a little nervous. I’ve never shared a hotel room with a stranger before,” she pointed out.
“Well, aren’t I taking as big a risk as you are? How do I know you won’t take advantage of me?”
She shook her head, seeing the playful gleam in his eyes. “Okay, you big idiot. I give. You’re going to have to turn your back while I undress, though.”
He pouted. “Do I have to?”
* * *
Something woke Jake up. He sat up in bed, disoriented, and shook his head to gather his senses. It was still dark outside, the moonlight seeping through the curtains. Looking over at the clock on the nightstand, Jake saw it was only midnight. It took him another moment to remember he had a roommate. He soon realized she was the one who’d caused the disturbance.
Charlie wept softly into her pillow, but it was still loud enough for him to hear. He’d always been a light sleeper. Jake flipped the light switch on and slid out of his bed, unmindful of the fact he was only wearing a pair of boxers. Taking a seat next to her, he gently shook her shoulders, concern for her filling him. “Charlie, are you okay?”
She turned around then, tears clouding her beautiful dark brown eyes. “Did I wake you? I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry. Please go back to bed.”
“And leave you crying your eyes out? I don’t think so. You were upset at the bar and it’s obviously still bothering you. Won’t you tell me what’s wrong?” When she didn’t reply, he sighed. “I won’t go back to bed until you tell me. We can sit here like this all night if you want.”
After what seemed like several minutes, Charlie finally spoke. “It’s my second wedding anniversary.”
Jake pulled away abruptly as if he had been slapped. She was married? What the hell was she doing here then?
“Where’s your husband?” He felt an irrational sense of betrayal. It bothered him more than he cared to admit to know she was some other man’s wife. It didn’t make sense, but jealousy rarely did.
“He…he died a year ago tonight,” Charlie said through held tears.
“I’m sorry.” Shame washed through Jake at the brief moment of relief he felt. Charlie was obviously miserable.
He pulled her into his arms to console her. The warmth of her body against his nearly made him forget he was supposed to be comforting her. Charlie relaxed, seeming to melt as she surrendered to her apparent misery, bursting into loud, body-shaking sobs. Jake was not normally equipped for dealing with emotional females, but with Charlie, he felt protective. He wished he could make things better for her, but what could he do?
Jake tightened his arms around Charlie and began to rock her back and forth in his arms while she bawled. She clung to him tightly, releasing anguish like he’d never heard before.
Charlie cried as if her heart were breaking. Her gut-wrenching cries tore at his heart in sympathy. He stroked her hair and dropped light kisses on her head in an attempt to soothe her. He held her for several moments before her tears subsided into weak sniffles.
Jake suddenly realized she was only wearing a pair of panties. Her soft breasts pressed against his chest, her nipples burning holes into his flesh. He was also painfully aware that her lips were resting unconsciously against his throat. He could feel his body tightening in response to her nearness. If there were time for carnal thoughts to invade, this certainly wasn’t it.
He looked down at her, noticing Charlie was unaware of the effect she had on his body. When her tongue came out to moisten her lips, the tip grazed his throat. Jake shifted uncomfortably when his cock stirred to life. More than anything he wanted to bend down and capture that pink tongue between his teeth and suck it.