Body Check(8)

By: Elle Kennedy

Hayden laughed. “Whatever you say.”

With a quick wave, she threaded through the crowd toward the door. When she stepped into the cool night air, she spotted Brody standing near one of the potted plants in the entrance, his hands slung in the pockets of his jeans. A shiver tickled her belly as she took in his profile. He really was spectacular. Her gaze lowered to his lips. She wondered what they would feel like pressed against her own. Would they be soft? Hard? Both?

“Hey,” she said, her voice wavering.

She took a step forward just as he turned to face her. His expression, appreciative, anticipatory, sizzled her nerves. “Your car or mine?” he asked in a rough voice that made her toes curl.

“I don’t have a car. My friend drove here.” A squeak, her voice had come out in a damn squeak.

“My car’s over there.” He nodded, then began walking toward the parking lot. He didn’t check to see if she was following. As if he just assumed she was.

This was her chance to walk away. She could hurry into the bar and pretend she’d never asked this man to come back to her hotel. She could phone up Doug, have a heart-to-heart, maybe entice him into engaging in some phone sex…. Ha! Fat chance.

She hurried to keep up with Brody’s purposeful strides.

“Nice car,” she remarked when they reached the shiny black BMW SUV.

“Thanks.” He pulled a set of keys from his front pocket and pressed a button. The car’s security system beeped as the doors unlocked, and he reached for the passenger door and opened it for her. Hayden settled against the leather seat and waited for Brody to get in.

After he’d buckled his seat belt and started the engine, he turned to her and asked, “Where to?”

“The Ritz-Carlton.”

He raised his eyebrows but didn’t say anything, just pulled out of the parking lot and made a left turn. “So where are you from, Hayden?”

“I was born in Chicago, but I’ve been living in San Francisco for the past three years.”

“And what do you do out there?”

“I’m a junior professor at Berkeley. I teach art history, and I’m also working toward a Ph.D.”

Before she could ask him what he did for a living, he said, “Sounds exciting.”

She got the feeling he wasn’t talking about her career anymore. Her suspicions were confirmed when his gaze swept over face and dropped to her cleavage. Under his brief—but appreciative—scrutiny, her nipples tightened against her lace bra.

She played with the sleeve of the green wool sweater she’d brought instead of a coat, focusing on the scenery along South Michigan Avenue, afraid to look at him again. If he got her this aroused from one hooded glance, what on earth would he do to her in bed?

Gosh, she couldn’t wait to find out.

The rest of the car ride was silent. They reached the hotel, and Brody pulled into the lot and killed the engine. Still, neither of them spoke. As she unbuckled her seat belt, her pulse began to race. This was it. An hour ago she’d been complaining to Darcy about the lack of sex in her life, and now here she was, walking into the lobby of the Ritz with the sexiest man she’d ever encountered.

Her heart thumped against her rib cage as they rode the elevator up to the penthouse. Shooting her a quizzical look, he said, “You must make good money at Berkeley.”

She simply nodded, her expression vague. She didn’t want to tell him that the lavish penthouse actually belonged to her father. Her dad had lived here up until three years ago, before he’d married Sheila. He kept the place so Hayden would have somewhere to stay when she came to visit. But she didn’t want to tell Brody, mostly because that would lead to questions like what does your father do? Which would then lead to questions about her dad’s hockey team and that was one topic of conversation she tried to avoid.

With the exception of Doug, most of the men she’d dated over the years had gone a little crazy when they found out her father owned the Warriors. Once, she’d dated a man who’d badgered her constantly to get him season tickets—which had driven her to promptly break up with him.

She understood the sports obsession that came with most males, but just once it would be nice if she were the source of a man’s infatuation.

The elevator doors opened right into the living room. Decorated in shades of black and gold, the room boasted four enormous leather couches in the center, all positioned in the direction of a fifty-six-inch plasma television mounted on the far wall. The suite had three large bedrooms, as well as a private covered balcony with a ten-person hot tub. In the corner of the main suite was a wet bar, which Hayden made a beeline for the second they stepped inside.