Back in her husband's bed(6)

By: Andrea Laurence

 “Okay, I’ll radio to have your bags brought upstairs. I assume you left them with the bellhop?”

 Annie opened her mouth to argue, but he was already barking orders into a push-to-talk cell phone at his hip. He’d told her she would stay with him as part of the cover. Somehow she hadn’t let her mind process that part of the deal yet.

 Her mind raced, thinking of the private suite that sat dark and quiet down the corridor. Nate owned a home in Henderson, but she knew he usually stayed at the Sapphire when he was working, which was all the time. As she could recall, there was a full kitchen, living and dining rooms...but only one bed.

 She frowned, kicking herself for not getting all the details before agreeing to this. Now she had no negotiating power at all. “Where will I sleep?”

 “The bedroom.” Nate said the words as though it were the most obvious answer in the world.

 Nate’s gaze had been cool and detached since the moment they got upstairs. He was obviously more interested in power and revenge than seduction, but even then she wasn’t comfortable with the idea. “And what about you?” she pressed. There. That should be clear enough.

 Nate’s lips twisted in a faint grin. “I don’t sleep, remember?”

 That was almost true. He did have the ability to make it on only three or four hours of sleep a night, but he did sleep. “You sleep enough.”

 This time he grinned wide, his perfectly aligned smile blazing white against his tanned skin. “We’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

 The smile was not enough to charm her. He was being deliberately evasive. She glanced down at her watch. It was after seven. She was a night owl, but even then the time was coming sooner rather than later. “I’m going along with your plan because you’ve given me no choice, but I am not sleeping with you, Nathan Reed.”

 His heavy brows rose in response to her declaration. “I hadn’t planned on seducing you.” Nate stood up and rounded the coffee table. He leaned over her, trapping her between the long lengths of his arms.

 Annie eased back into the couch, but there wasn’t anywhere else to go. She could only breathe in his cologne and remember that same scent on her pillows as she slept in this very suite. Back then, Nate had the ability to play her body like a musical instrument he’d studied his whole life. She’d never been with another man who could bring her pleasure like he had. What they had was explosive. Mind-blowing.

 The closer he came to her, the more she wondered if that connection had severed during their time apart. It didn’t feel like it.

 His gaze raked over her body. “But if I did...what’s so wrong with that? It’s not a crime to sleep with your own husband, Annie.”

 She felt a surge of electricity run through her body when he spoke her name. He’d said it the way he had in the past, with the low, soft tones she remembered him whispering into her ear as they made love. Whatever it was between them was still there. For her, at least. She couldn’t even respond with him so close.

 “Besides,” he continued, “I don’t seem to recall you complaining much about it before.”

 Her mouth suddenly felt dry. Annie ran her tongue quickly across her bottom lip. Even after all this time, she still wanted him. There was no question of it. “That was a long time ago,” she said, her voice a little too breathy to ring true even to her own ears.

 “We’ll see about that.” Nate stood up, pulling away from her and breaking the spell. Annie felt him take all the oxygen in the room with him as he stepped back and scooped his drink off the table. He took a sip, the ice clinking in the mostly empty glass, and turned his back to her. He was as calm and unaffected as he would be conducting a business deal.

 Then she understood. She was right; this wasn’t just about busting cheaters in his casino. There were other ways to go about catching them that didn’t require them to pose as the married couple they were. Methods that didn’t make him touching her necessary for their cover.

 No, Nate wanted to make her pay. To get the small sense of justice he’d been lacking for the past three years. She couldn’t exactly call it torture, but he would be using every weapon in his arsenal—from seduction to indifference—to ensure she was uneasy and off her game. She would get her divorce, but the next week would be anything but simple. The odds were she could kiss this tournament win goodbye. Her focus was already shattered and it hadn’t even begun.

 The chime of the elevator startled her. Annie looked over to see Gabe, the head of security, enter the foyer with her luggage. He was one of the only people with the card to access Nate’s private suite.

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