“Because you’re incapable of love.” My voice sounded meek and flat.
Curiosity pulled me to lean forward. “Why do you believe that?”
Hudson straightened and removed his glasses, setting them on the desk. “I’m twenty-nine years old and have never had any inclination toward a woman other than to have her in my bed. I don’t do romantic relationships. I’m married to my work.” He walked slowly around his desk toward me. “That, and casual sex, are what fulfill me.”
I sorted through the oddity of the situation in my mind. Hudson Pierce wanted sex. With me. But not a relationship. But he wanted his mother to believe he had a relationship. With me. So that she didn’t realize her son was incapable of love. Which he was.
The whole thing had me spinning in a circle.
And the worst part was that I knew that I wasn’t capable of the casual relationship he was demanding.
Except…I thought back on the other category two men I’d been involved with in my life—the men that I’d been too attracted to. Joe, Ian, Paul—they’d all wanted a relationship in the beginning. If they hadn’t, if they had made a declaration from day one that they didn’t want more, would it have made a difference in how attached I became to them later?
I was justifying and I knew it. With Hudson, I was an alcoholic walking into a bar but deciding I could withstand temptation as long as all the bottles were sealed.
It was a lie I decided to try to believe. “No romance? I can do that.”
Hudson leaned back on the front of his desk again. He raised a brow, amusement in his eyes. “Are you also incapable of love?”
I met his gaze and ignored the little voice in my head telling me to run. “No, just the opposite. I love too much. Keeping love out of the equation is a very good thing.”
“Good. No love.”
He stepped forward and leaned toward me, a hand on each of my armrests, caging me. His stare was hungry, and a thrill ran through my body, as I realized I was about to be kissed.
But before that happened, I had to know something. When he moved closer, I put a hand against his chest. His very strong, rock hard chest. “Wait.”
“I can’t.” But he paused. “What?”
He was inches from my face, and the lips I longed to nibble on kept my focus as I spoke. “Why me? You could have anyone you want.”
“Awesome. I want you.” He leaned in again, his mouth brushing mine, his breath heating my skin.
He pulled back. Not far, only far enough to look at me. “I don’t know. I just do.” His words came out a whisper, as if he rarely made statements of uncertainty, and I doubted he did. “From the moment I saw you…” He trailed off as he brushed his fingertips across my forehead, his eyes fixed intently on mine, and I briefly wondered which moment—the night of the graduation symposium or when he’d first seen me in the club?
Whenever he meant, his bewildered possessiveness was sincere, and when and why didn’t matter anymore and the little voice screaming in my head was drowned out by the loud whooshing sound of desire pulsing through my veins. I leaned forward.
Hudson didn’t hesitate for a second, meeting my mouth with his. As doubtful as his words had been, his lips were confident and firm. He moved a hand behind my neck to direct me, deepening the kiss, stroking my tongue with his own. He sucked and licked into me, sending shivers down my spine and I imagined his wet, hot mouth on other parts of my body. I sighed.
Without his mouth leaving mine, he pulled me to a standing position. This was better. I could press my body into him, feel his lust along my belly, get the contact that I yearned for. I ran my hands through his hair and down along the base of his neck, enjoying the tingles shooting through my limbs as he moaned against my lips.
A sharp buzzer made us both jump and pull away. I put a hand over chest, my heart beating rapidly from the scare and from the intense kiss.
Hudson grinned. “The intercom,” he explained, his voice ragged. He moved behind his desk and pushed a button. “Yes?”
The secretary’s voice poured into the room again. “I’m about to leave, Mr. Pierce. Is there anything else you need?”
“No, thank you, Patricia. You may go.” He’d gotten control of his voice now. Amazing. I was still reeling.
Hudson put one hand on his hip and stared at me, as if wondering what to do with a problem in front of him. It both heated and chilled me simultaneously, to be looked at so intensely, to be considered so scientifically.
I hugged my arms around myself. “What?”
He shook his head. “Nothing.” He grabbed his jacket off the seat chair and extended his hand to me. “Come, Alayna.”
My body responded to his command before my brain could decide to. I took his hand, the warmth of it rekindling the fire he’d started in my mouth.
He led me to an elevator in the back corner of his office that I hadn’t noticed before. Inside the car, he entered a code into the panel and we traveled what felt like one flight up. The doors opened to a fully furnished loft, styled in the same modern design as his office below. Floor to ceiling windows lined one whole wall. The theme was echoed throughout the sprawling space, glass walls partitioning off a dining room, a sitting area, and peeking behind half-drawn curtains, a bedroom.
I quickly looked away from the bed, scandalized by the wicked thoughts that flashed through my mind at the sight of his personal space, and met Hudson’s gaze, aware of the amusement in his eyes. I flushed.
He walked to the kitchen and opened a cupboard pulling out two glasses. “Can I get you some iced tea?”
“Sure.” I wondered if he always had iced tea or if he’d stocked it specifically for me. I followed him to the kitchen, climbing up onto a sleek metallic looking barstool. “You live here?”
He opened the freezer and grabbed a handful of ice cubes, dropping half in each of the glasses. “Sometimes I stay here. But I don’t consider it my home.”
I looked around the loft again, realization setting in. “Hudson! Is this your f**k pad?”
“Sometimes.” He poured tea into our glasses and then turned to hand me one across the counter.
I took the glass from him, sipping eagerly, needing the moisture for my suddenly dry mouth. “And you brought me here because…?”
He took a swallow of his tea, and licked his lips. He raised a brow. “Why do you think I brought you here?”