Working It (Page 22)

Working It (Love by Design #1)(22)
Author: Kendall Ryan

Braydon’s knees brushed mine and I couldn’t help but notice the dark wanting in his deep blue gaze. It made my skin tingle.

“I should go look for my friends.” My voice had gone all husky and low and I cleared my throat. “Thank you for the beer.”

Braydon lifted my hand from my side and pressed it to his lips. “Anytime, jellybean.” His playful words, the glint in his eyes, and the soft press of his lips against my skin sent a zip of heat rushing through my core.

I swallowed roughly, my eyes lingering on his. When I finally moved away, it was on shaky legs.

Crossing the room, I headed straight into the more dimly lit VIP lounge area. Mirrored walls and spinning disco balls threw off little flecks of color that bounced across the room. The effect was disorienting.

I spotted Ben on the far end of the room seated with a group of guys and girls on one of the white leather sofas. He hadn’t yet noticed me, and when I got closer I spotted thin lines of white powder drawn on the table in front of them. While Ben and I had never discussed drug use, I had assumed he didn’t use. Now I wasn’t so sure.

He held a glass of amber-colored liquor and his eyes were a bit glazed. Panic gripped me, my stomach dropping to my feet. Maybe I didn’t know him at all. When his eyes met mine, recognition crossed his features. He sat up straighter in his seat, pulling away slightly from the waiflike girl tucked in by his side.

“Emmy.” He reached a hand toward me and I took it, easing in between him and the model beside him. I didn’t know her name but her face was familiar. I was pretty sure I’d seen her in the Prada show earlier. Rather than squeezing myself between them, I remained standing, wedged between the sofa and low coffee table near Ben’s knees. He looked up at me, his smile somewhat somber.

Suddenly I didn’t want to be there. I wasn’t part of that scene. Drugs weren’t okay with me, and sitting back and enjoying a drink felt like I’d be condoning the coc**ne use going on around us. And I certainly didn’t. Call me stuck up, prudish, whatever you want, but going back to my room and taking a bubble bath sounded a lot more appealing than hanging out with these people.

“I think I’m going to go.”

Ben rose, unsteady on his feet. “Then I’ll take you back.”

I gripped his bicep, keeping him steady. It looked like I’d be the one taking him back. I’d never seen him this drunk. And something in me didn’t like it. I worried for him. How much had he drank, and should he be drinking so heavily on his medications? I helped him maneuver from where we stood in the space between the table and sofa.

As we made our way through the center of the room, I looped an arm around his waist to keep him walking on a straight path. I’d never seen him so smashed, and I couldn’t say I was a fan. I knew from experience there was nothing fun about taking care of someone drunk, and likely to be sick later.

Yay, me.

Ben staggered toward the door, clutching a hand around my hip. “Thanks, baby.”

I was willing to guess he hadn’t eaten a thing all day. I swear, no one fed these models. At least I hoped that was all this was—too much alcohol on an empty stomach. I fought to keep us both heading in the right direction, keeping my hold on Ben, my handbag and trying to balance on my stiletto heels. I felt a large hand close around my elbow.

“I’ve got him.” The familiar deep voice from earlier—Braydon—said from behind me.

I released my hold on Ben and allowed him to step between us. He tossed one arm under Ben’s shoulder, easily guiding him to the elevator.

I trailed behind them, slightly embarrassed.

“Too much to drink, buddy?” Braydon asked him once we were all inside the elevator.

Ben gave a nod, recognition flashing in his eyes as he appraised the man standing before him. “Bray.”

Braydon stepped closer, pulling me inside the doors while keeping his hold on Ben.

Braydon’s hand remained glued to my hip, holding me near him. The heat from his hand simmered up my side, pushing my n**ples against the lace of my bra. My body was curious about him, even if my mind was wrapped up with Ben.

“You gonna share this one with me?” Braydon asked Ben, his eyes still on mine.

Ben shoved an uncoordinated hand into Braydon’s shoulder. “No, a**hole.” His voice was flat, not amused.

Had they shared women before? And why was this information like a shot of adrenaline to my system? These two beautiful men worshipping the same woman? Holy shit. I felt weak.

I bent down to adjust the strap of my sandal digging into my ankle. Keeping one hand on Ben’s shoulder to steady him, Braydon reached for me, relieving me of the handbag that dangled awkwardly from my arm. He slipped the strap over his wrist and winked at me. “Let me help.”

I met his kind eyes and smiled, seemingly at a loss for words around this tall, fair-haired, gorgeous man. A man who currently had a pink wristlet dangling from his thick forearm.

“Which hotel are you guys at?”

I gave him the name, still wondering how he knew Ben and why he was being so nice to me.

“I’ll get a car.”

I’d taken the Metro here but figured trying to get a drunk Ben on and off the subway wasn’t an adventure I particularly wanted to experience right now. Or ever. Not to mention he didn’t need paparazzi. We wouldn’t want someone to realize who he was and start snapping pictures—especially given that Paris was crawling with photographers during Fashion Week.

I sat in the back of the car, wedged between the two men. Ben took my hand and held it in his lap. He leaned his head back against the seat rest and mumbled apologies to me.



I was too aware of his body heat next to mine, his leg occasionally bumping my thigh. “You don’t think he . . . took something, do you?”

“Drugs? Nah. Ben doesn’t touch that shit. Never has.”

I wasn’t sure how Braydon knew that, or the extent of their relationship, but his confidence set my mind at ease.

When we reached the hotel, I woke Ben and he seemed to have sobered up a bit on the twenty-minute ride back. Once inside the room, he fell heavily onto the bed, leaving Braydon and me standing awkwardly at the foot of the mattress, staring at each other.

“Emmy, come here . . .” Ben pulled me down onto the bed with him and nuzzled into my neck, breathing in the scent of my hair. His hand moved from my waist down to my behind, cupping my bottom and giving it a gentle squeeze.

He turned to address Braydon. “Thanks for the lift, but time to go, Bray.”

Braydon chuckled softly. “I don’t think so, man. It’s called whiskey dick. You’re not getting any tonight. Besides, you wouldn’t be much use to her.” Braydon’s navy-blue gaze met mine and I shuddered.

Ben’s grip on me tightened. “I always make Emmy come.”

Gah! “Okay, story time’s over.” I excused myself from Ben’s grasp as my cheeks heated. Apparently Ben needed a muzzle when he was drunk. I crossed the room and grabbed the phone. “I think I’ll order some room service. See if giving him something to eat helps.” I looked at Braydon. “Would you like something?”

Braydon smiled lightly, removing my purse from his arm and handing it to me. “Sure. I could stay for a bit.”

I ordered sandwiches and bottles of water and we sat on the bed and ate. Ben nibbled at his, but I was happy to see him drink an entire bottle of water. He then stripped down to his boxer briefs and lay down on the bed, obviously not shy about getting undressed in front of another man. Braydon and I exchanged a smile. I was relieved to have the company, and to have Ben safely tucked into bed.

The shrill ring of a cell phone startled my eyes away from Braydon’s. Ben leaned over the side of the bed and dragged the phone from his discarded pants pocket before groaning and tossing the phone on the bed beside him.

Braydon reached for the still-ringing phone and checked the screen. “It’s Fiona.”

“It’s after midnight. What could she possibly want?” I couldn’t help the disdain in my voice.

Ben exchanged a knowing glance with Braydon. There was something big yet completely unspoken being communicated between them.. “Don’t tell Emmy about Fiona,” Ben muttered softly.

“I think you just did.” Braydon’s eyes met mine, studying, watching for my reaction, but I gave him none. “Call me if you need anything. Ben has my number in his phone,” he said, finally.

I nodded, still too stunned to speak.

I wanted to go to my own room, to shower, to change. Maybe have a good cry. But Ben tugged me down to the bed just seconds after the door closed behind Braydon and folded his body around mine.

“You feel so good,” he murmured, his lips brushing the skin at the back of my neck.

I let him hold me, unable, or unwilling, to tell him to let go.



I had the next several days off, and now that the craziness of Fashion Week was behind us, Emmy and I enjoyed some sightseeing in Paris. I felt bad about getting so drunk at the afterparty. Emmy had taken good care of me, and I wanted to make it up to her.

We lounged on a blanket on the expansive lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower, her lying in the warm sun and me quietly reading beside her. I felt her watch me as I read. I was used to being looked at, critiqued . . . but the way Emmy looked at me was different. I skimmed the pages, feeling her gaze take in the way my lips moved as I read, watching my fingers turn the pages. She lifted her sunglasses, wanting an unobstructed view.


“Have you and Braydon really shared a woman?” she asked, eyes squinting on mine.

I set the book down beside me. “Yes.”

“More than one?”

I wanted to be honest with her. “A couple. Does that bother you?”

“No.” Her eyes darted away from mine, looking longingly at the sunglasses she’d discarded. There was something she didn’t want me to know.

“It is something you’d like to try?” I asked.

She swallowed heavily. “I don’t know.”

Individually, Braydon and I were no match for a woman. But together, the two of us were devastating. We’d attracted some of the world’s hottest supermodels. It was all in good fun, but something about doing that with Emmy felt wrong. She caused the alpha male in me to want to mark my territory. She was off limits, not to be shared. But unless I read her wrong, I could tell the idea of Braydon and I moving against her, two rock-hard cocks to stroke and suck, was getting her hot. I cataloged her reaction. Her pulse quickened, fluttering wildly against her neck, and her n**ples pebbled against the front of her tank top.

“Interesting. I wouldn’t have taken you for a threesome type of girl.”

“I’m not.” Her voice was tiny, a little broken murmur of uncertainty. She bit her bottom lip, her eyes blinking up at mine in complete surrender. She may have never considered it before, but it was obvious she was now. I was willing to bet if I reached a hand inside her panties, I’d find her wet.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. She wasn’t mine. I’d made that clear. And now I was being a selfish prick. If this was something she wanted, I should give it to her. If only to prove to myself that I could.



“Fiona called last night after midnight. And Braydon didn’t seem surprised she was calling.”

My gaze dropped from hers down to the blanket. Shit.

“She’s not one of the women you two shared, was she?”

My heart throbbed in my chest. She’d asked me directly about Fiona and I didn’t see any way to avoid it. I knew she wasn’t going to be happy, though, and I didn’t enjoy the thought of hurting her.

“Did you and Braydon sleep with Fiona?” she prompted.

“Would that bother you?”

“To know that you had sex with Fiona? Yes.” Her voice was firm and I could only imagine the many thoughts swirling inside her head. “Was it just once?” Her wide gray-blue eyes blinked twice, finding mine.

With Braydon? “Yes.” I knew I wasn’t being entirely truthful, but my answer to her question was honest. It was the best I could do.

She twisted her hands in her lap.

I couldn’t help reaching for her, cupping her jaw to lift her chin. “Hey. Are you okay?” I whispered.

She nodded. “I guess so.”

I smiled and leaned in to softly kiss her mouth. “It wasn’t a big deal. Okay?”

Emmy stayed quiet. I prayed we could move past this. I didn’t want my past with Fiona f**king up my present with Emmy. She straightened her posture, but I couldn’t help but notice the movement shifted her farther away from me on the blanket.


The fact that Ben had been intimate with Fiona was devastating. I couldn’t help picturing Ben kissing her, his mouth moving over her throat, his hands gripping her hips. I squeezed my eyes shut. My breath caught in my throat like someone was sitting on my chest. She was the anti-me, my nemesis. How could he have been with someone like her?

During the last several weeks, I’d convinced myself that Ben and I were growing closer—if not a real couple, at least moving in that direction. But if he was willing to share me with his friend, how serious could he actually be about me?

Maybe that was exactly why I shouldn’t question this. If Ben was okay with it, shouldn’t I be? This was all just casual exploration. I was in Paris, the most romantic and seductive city in the world with the opportunity to enjoy the company and intimacy of two male models. I knew what Ellie would say. Go for it! So why was my stomach in knots? And why did my mind keep replaying the subtle way his jaw had tightened when I’d acted open to the idea? Part of me wanted this—if only for the chance to read Ben’s reaction, to see if this really was okay with him.

I quieted the portion of my brain yelling at me that this was nothing more than a sick little competition. The need to conquer something that Fiona had done wasn’t healthy, and I hated myself for thinking that way. I shouldn’t need to compete with her. It was childish and petty, but it was how I felt. No denying that fact.