It was also one of the social events of the year. For two days the women vied to wear the finest clothes, to ensure invitations to their own events, or to attend the events considered the most exclusive among this particular set.
It was a fucking bitch-fest was what it was.
Lilly kept her back to the door as the draft blown in from the hall receded, signaling that Travis had closed the door without so much as a click of the lock.
Turning to him slowly, she saw that he wore the same clothes he’d had on during the explosion. The faintest hint of dust and smoke wafted to her sensitive nostrils as she nearly smiled at the sight of a smear of soot just over his left eyebrow.
“The shower is through there.” She nodded to the open doors to the bathroom. “Make use of it if you like.”
He dropped the bag to the floor and laid the plastic-covered evening clothes over a chair by the door, then stared at her silently.
Vulnerability hit her like a punch to the gut. She could feel it washing through her system, tearing at the confidence she felt she had never had trouble keeping intact before.
Her fingers tightened on the belt of her robe as he stepped closer, his hands pulling at the bottom of his t-shirt and tugging it over his head before dropping it to the floor.
He paused then, sat on the end of the bed, and within seconds had the heavy boots off his feet.
“The butler turned his nose up at me,” he drawled in gen
uine amusement. “I have a feeling he didn’t think much of my dirty clothes.”
“You arrived in a Viper, though.” She shrugged. “His favorite car. He’ll forgive you for a little soot and dirt.”
“Ahh.” He nodded. “So all I have to do is arrive in the correct vehicle?”
“Pretty much,” she agreed. “Since I had your limo and your driver, I wondered how you would get here. Where did you have that baby stashed?”
“A small shed in the back,” he informed her as he straightened, standing in bare feet as he dropped his socks to the floor beside the boots. “I see you’ve had your shower.”
She touched her hair self-consciously. “I have to get ready. Hair, makeup, all that crap. It takes a while.”
She couldn’t believe she felt so damned vulnerable. Where was the smooth, confident woman she had been hours before? Why in hell did everything inside her seem to melt when Travis got that look in his eyes, the one that assured her he was thinking of doing some very naughty things to her body?
And he was doing this while standing there in bare feet with a bare chest, the soft mat of hair that sprinkled across his chest inviting her fingers to touch and explore.
“Your family’s party is turning into a hell of an event,” he stated as he moved closer, stopping within inches of her.
“It always does,” she answered, her voice too breathy, too weak to suit her. “And the final day it becomes a complete mess, if I remember. There are dozens of last-minute requests for guests by invited guests.”
“Are they often accepted?” he asked as he reached up to scissor his fingers around a curl that fell along her neck.
“Sometimes.” She swallowed tightly.
She wanted him again. God, she wanted him until she couldn’t think or feel anything but that need.
She swore she could feel the rasp of his chest hair against her nipples, though her robe separated them, could feel his cock pressed against her, her pussy swelling in hunger.
She didn’t give a damn about the party right now.
That thought had her stilling. She had never had such a thought before, at least not before that last party she remembered, hours before her father had died.
She wasn’t thinking right, she wasn’t acting right. In a way she couldn’t blame her mother and uncle for being so upset when they had to face the woman she was becoming. The question, though, was why wasn’t she upset herself?
“Speaking of last-minute guest invitations.” His lips quirked mockingly. “Santos Bahre and Rhiannon McConnelly have managed to procure invitations.”
She did freeze then. Staring back at him silently, unblinking, as she absorbed the information.
“How interesting.” She breathed in hard and deep. “And what should I expect when my former employers arrive tonight?”