Dirty Pleasures (Page 13)

He nods. “Yes, but in this case it’s even more of a nuisance because the activist shareholder is also my uncle.”

My eyebrows shoot up. “Your uncle?”

His smile is grim. “Yes. The uncle who was responsible for my upbringing from the age of ten to eighteen.”

I like words, mostly because I like to twist them into songs that convey some kind of emotional reaction. Creighton, I’ve come to notice, chooses his words carefully. He didn’t just say the uncle who raised me.

“I’m assuming you’re not close.”

“You’d assume right. He made his money in the foreign currency exchange markets, and then got an ego boost when I did the same thing—regardless of the fact that he didn’t teach me a damn thing himself. Once I took my company public, he decided he wanted a big enough piece of it to piss me off.”

“It sounds like your relationship is . . . complicated.”

A muscle in Creighton’s jaw ticks. “You could say that.”

“So, is this the kind of trouble that’s just annoying? Or is it serious?”

Creighton shifts, crossing his arms over his chest. “In all honesty, I’m not entirely certain yet. Up until now, he’s just been a nuisance—demanding that I start selling off some of the businesses the company owns, which is something I refuse to do to silence him. But now, suffice it to say he’s trying alternative tactics.”

Once again, I dissect Creighton’s words carefully. What he isn’t saying is coming through just as strongly.

“Do these alternative tactics have something to do with me, or us getting married?”

Creighton’s chest lifts and falls on a breath. “He’s finding some ammunition in that, yes.”

I’m actually surprised by his candid answer. I expected him to dodge the question altogether.

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

Unlike a few minutes earlier, I’m not being sassy in the slightest. If there’s something I can do to help, I will—and not just because Creighton’s name being dragged through the mud now means that my name is being muddied as well.

“I’ll figure it out.” He looks at me. “But thanks.”

I start to shrug but it turns into a yawn. “Just holler if there’s anything you think of.”

Creighton studies me. “You’re tired.”

It’s not a question, but I reply anyway. “Yeah, first show after a break. It’s easy to forget how exhausting it is. Not to mention the rehearsal, sound check, meet and greet, and everything else.”

“Then I guess you should call it a night.”

“I need to be in Dallas by noon for a radio interview. I hope that’s not an issue.”

He shakes his head slowly. “Not an issue. It’s a quick flight. We’ll be there in plenty of time.”

“Okay then.” I push the chair back from the desk and stand, tugging the belt of the robe tighter and staring at my silver-polished toenails. I glance up at Creighton. “I guess I’ll just be going to bed.”

I take a hesitant step toward the bedroom, waiting for him to grab me by the belt, yank me against his chest, and growl something about me forgetting about his dessert.

But he does none of those things. Instead, I’m treated to an absent nod.

“I’ll try not to disturb you. I’ve got a few hours’ worth of work ahead of me.”

Really, Creighton? Really? After your orders to strip earlier? I give him a moment to change his mind. He doesn’t. Okay, then.

“No problem. I sleep like the dead. Nothing wakes me. Comes from three months of sleeping on a bus with a bunch of snoring men.”

Creighton’s features tense, obliterating his previously relaxed expression. “That’s changing tomorrow too. Your new bus will be waiting after the concert.”

My mouth starts moving before my mind can tell it to shut up. “That’ll be great. I won’t have to worry about keeping my orgasms silent anymore.”

The corners of Creighton’s mouth curl into a crooked smirk. He pushes off the desk and closes the distance between us.

“No, Holly, that certainly won’t be an issue anymore. In fact, I’ll have a hell of a problem if you aren’t moaning for me tomorrow night on that bus.”

I can’t keep up with the man’s moods, but it’s the smirk that does me in. I shiver at his words as they whisper over me. My hand, which seemingly develops a will of its own, reaches for the button of his jeans.

And . . . his fucking cell rings again.

I drop my hand. “I guess that means I’m going to bed alone, then.”

He reaches for his phone, checking the screen. “If I didn’t have to take this call . . .”

I shrug. “I could use the extra sleep anyway. They’ll want to do photos at the radio station, so I need to look like I could pass as a chart-topper.”

Creighton slides his finger across the screen of his phone, and I turn away.

“Hold on a minute, please.”

I pause, not knowing if he’s speaking to me or the person on the phone. Peeking over my shoulder, I see him slide the phone onto the desk and step toward me. He tucks his hand in the belt of my robe and tugs me toward him in the exact move I envisioned only minutes ago.

“I’m taking a rain check on my dessert,” he says, and slants his mouth over mine.

I open to him and his tongue delves inside, tasting my mouth so deliciously that my thighs squeeze together, and I can feel the slickness growing between my legs. Cupping the back of my head, he grips my hair and tilts me the opposite direction, not wasting a breath as the kiss deepens and intensifies. I’m lost in the moment when he releases his grip on me.