Naked Page 3

I swallowed hard, desperately wishing for water. Bingo, Mr. Blackstone. You read me like a cheap comic book. Whoever you are, you’re good.

“I just need two aspirin and some water and I’ll be fine.”

He shook his head at me. “When did you last eat some food, Brynne?”

“So we’re back to first names again?”

He gave me a tolerant look but I could tell he was pissed.

“I had a late breakfast, okay? I’ll make something when I get home.” I looked out the window. The light must have changed because we started moving again. The only sounds were of his body shifting as he turned the corner. And it was way too sexy of a sound to keep my eyes averted for long. I chanced a peek. In profile, Ethan had a rather prominent nose but on him it didn’t matter, he was still beautiful.

Ignoring me now, acting as if I wasn’t sitting two feet from him, he efficiently drove us. Ethan seemed to know his way around London because he didn’t ask me for directions once. I could still smell him though, and the scent did things to my head. I really needed to get out of this car.

He made a rude noise and pulled into a strip mall. “Stay here; I’ll be just a minute.” His voice sounded a little edgy. A lot more than a little, actually. Everything was edgy with him. And commanding. Like he told you what to do and you didn’t dare argue.

The warmth of the car and the coziness of the leather seat felt nice underneath the thin skirt I’d worn tonight. Ethan was right about one thing, I would have died on my walk to the Tube. Here I sat in the car of a virtual stranger, who’d seen me naked, bullied me into taking a ride, and now coming out of the convenience store with a bag in his hand and a grim look on his face. This whole situation was weirder than weird.

“What did you need to get in the store—”

He shoved a bottle of water into my hand and opened a single packet of Advil. I took both without a word. He watched me gulp down the pills. The water was gone in under a minute. He set a protein bar on my knee.

“Now eat it.” His voice had that don’t-fuck-with-me tone again. “Please,” he added.

I sighed and opened the white chocolate Power Bar. The crinkle of the wrapper filled the silence in the car. I took a bite and chewed slowly. It tasted divine. I had needed what he’d brought me. Desperately.

“Thank you,” I whispered, feeling suddenly emotional, the urge to cry bubbling up fiercely. I held it down as best I could. I kept my head down too.

“My pleasure,” he said softly, “everyone needs the basics, Brynne. Food, water…a bed.”

A bed. The sexual tension was back, or maybe it never left. Ethan seemed blessed with the talent to make the most innocent word sound like hot, sweaty, mind-blowing sex you remembered for a long, long time. He sat beside me and didn’t back the car out until I’d finished the last of the protein bar.

“What’s your actual street address?” he asked.

“41 Franklin Crossing.”

Ethan took us out of the strip mall lot and headed back onto the street, bringing me closer to my flat with every revolution of the tires. I leaned into the soft leather and closed my eyes. My phone vibrated in my purse. I fished it out and saw there’d been a text from Benny.

Ben Clarkson: u home ok?

<end text message>

I shot back a quick ‘yup’ and closed my eyes again. I could feel my headache begin to slip away. I felt more relaxed than I’d been in hours. Exhaustion wore out I suppose, because I would have never allowed myself the indulgence of falling asleep in Ethan Blackstone’s car if I could possibly help it.


Someone smelled very good as they touched me. I could smell the spice and feel the weight of a hand on my shoulder. But the fear rose up anyway. The blast of terror that brought me screaming into consciousness arrived right on schedule. I knew what it was but still the panic ruled me. I should know. The feeling had been with me for years now.

“Brynne, wake up.”

That voice. Who was it? I opened my eyes and faced into the blue intensity of Ethan Blackstone not more than six inches away. I pushed back into the seat to make more distance between me and that gorgeous face. I remembered now. He bought my picture tonight. And took me home.

“Shit! I’m sorry I—I fell asleep?” I fiddled for the door handle but I didn’t know this car. I scrambled blindly to get out—to get away.

Ethan’s hand shot over and covered mine, stilling it with a firm touch. “Easy. You’re safe, everything’s fine. You just drifted off is all.”

“Okay…sorry.” I panted some deep breaths, looked out the window, and then back to him still watching my every move.

“Why do you keep apologizing?”

“I don’t know,” I whispered. I did know, but couldn’t think about it at the moment.

“Are you okay?” He smiled slowly with a tilt of his head. I swear he liked the fact that he rattled me. I wasn’t so sure if I didn’t. I so needed to get away from this situation right now, before I agreed to all manner of things. Something along the lines of: Take off your clothes and stretch out in the big back seat of my Range Rover, Brynne. This man had a way with control that severely unnerved me.

“Thank you for the ride. And the water. And the other stu—”

“You take care of yourself, Brynne Bennett.” He pressed a button and the lock clicked. “You have your key ready? I’ll wait until you’re inside. What floor is it?”

I dug my key out of my purse and replaced it with my phone which was still on my lap. “I live in the top studio loft, fifth floor.”


“Well, yes, but she’s probably not in.” Again, wondering what loosed my tongue in sharing personal information with a virtual stranger.

“I’ll look for the light to come on then.” Ethan’s face was unreadable. I had no idea what he was thinking.

I pushed the door open and got out. “Goodnight, Ethan Blackstone.” I left his car at the curb and headed up the steps of my building, feeling the stare of his eyes as I walked. Sticking the key in the door, I looked back over my shoulder at the Rover. The windows were so dark I couldn’t see inside, but he was in there waiting for me to get in my building so he could leave.

I opened the foyer door to five flights of stairs ahead of me. I slipped off the heels and did it barefoot. The second I entered my apartment I hit the lights and locked up. I literally collapsed against the wooden door for support. My heels dumped on the floor in a clatter and I exhaled a huge sigh. What the hell just happened?

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