Beautiful Bastard Chapter 33


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“What a p.r.i.c.k,” I hissed. “After his behavior last night? He has got to be kidding me.” Just as she was about to respond, Julia’s phone rang and she reached for it in her purse. The “Hey baby!” greeting told me it was her fiancé, and this would take awhile.

I glanced again at Mr. Ryan, talking and laughing with the blonde. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. He was even more attractive in a relaxed setting: smiling, eyes dancing when he laughed. d.i.c.k! As if he heard my thoughts, he lifted his head and our eyes locked. I clenched my jaw and turned away, tossing my napkin to the table. I had to get out of here. “I’ll be right back, Julia.”

She nodded and waved absently, never pausing her conversation. Standing up, I quickly made my way past his table making sure to avoid his eyes. I had just turned the corner and spotted the safety of the ladies’ room door when I felt a strong hand on my forearm. “Wait.”

That voice sent a jolt through me.

Okay, Chloe, you can do this. Just turn around and look at him and tell him to f**k off. He’s an a.s.s**le who called you a mistake last night and shows up with some blond bimbo today.

Straightening my shoulders, I turned to face him. s.h.i.t. He looked even better up close. I’d never seen him looking anything other than perfectly groomed, but he obviously hadn’t shaved this morning and I desperately wanted to feel the scratch of his stubble on my cheeks.

Or thighs.

“What the h.e.l.l do you want?” I spat at him, pulling my arm free from his grasp. Without the benefit of my heels I felt like he towered over me. Looking up at his face, I could see faint circles under his eyes. He looked tired. Well, good. If his nights were half as bad as mine, I was happy.

Running his hands through his hair, he glanced around uncomfortably. “I wanted to talk to you. To explain about last night.”

“What’s there to explain?” I asked, nodding my head toward the dining room and the blonde still sitting at his table. My chest twisted tightly, painfully. “Change of scenery. I get it. I’m actually glad to see you here like this—it helps remind me why this thing between us is a terrible idea. I don’t want to be indirectly f**king all of your other women.”

“What the h.e.l.l are you talking about?” he asked, looking back at me. “Are you talking about Emily?”

“Is that her name? Well, you and Emily have a lovely meal, Mr. Ryan.” I turned to leave but was once again stopped when he grabbed my arm. “Let. Go.”

“Why would you even care?”

Our argument had begun to attract attention from the staff pa.s.sing through to the kitchen. After a quick glance around, he pulled me into the ladies’ room and locked the door.

Fantastic, another bathroom.

I shoved him away when he stepped closer. “What do you think you’re doing? And what do you mean, why would I care? You f**ked me last night, told me all about how I couldn’t possibly want to go out with Joel, and now you’re here with someone else! I let myself forget you’re a manwh.o.r.e. Your behavior is completely expected—I’m p.i.s.sed at myself.” I was so angry my nails were practically cutting into the palms of my hands.

“You think I’m here on a date?” He exhaled heavily, shaking his head. “This is f**king unbelievable. Emily is a friend. She runs a charitable organization that Ryan Media supports. That’s all. I was supposed to meet her Monday to sign some papers but she had a last-minute flight change and is leaving the country this afternoon. I haven’t been with anyone else since the wi—” He paused to rethink his words. “Since we first . . . you know . . .” He finished, motioning vaguely between us.


We stood there, staring at each other as I tried to let his words seep in. He hadn’t slept with anyone else. Was that even possible? I knew for a fact that he was a womanizer. I’d personally witnessed his ever-expanding collection of arm candy at corporate events, not to mention the stories swimming around the building. And even if what he was saying was true, it didn’t change the fact that he was still my boss, and this whole thing was seriously wrong.

“All those women throwing themselves at you and you haven’t nailed even one? Aw, I’m touched.” I turned for the door.

“It’s not that difficult to believe,” he growled, and I could feel his eyes burning into my back.

“You know what, it doesn’t matter. It was just a mistake, right?”

“Look, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” He moved closer and his scent—like honey and sage—washed over me. I suddenly felt trapped, like there wasn’t enough oxygen in the tiny room. I needed to get out of here, now. What had Julia said less than five minutes ago? Don’t be alone with him? Good advice. I happened to like this particular pair of panties and didn’t really want to see them in tatters in his pocket.

Okay, that was a lie.

“Are you seeing Joel again?” he asked from behind me. My hand was on the k.n.o.b. All I had to do was turn it and I was safe. But I froze, staring at that d.a.m.n door for what seemed like minutes.

“Does it matter?”

“I thought we covered this last night,” he said, his breath warm against my hair.

“Yeah, a lot of things were said last night.” His fingertips moved up my arm and slipped the thin strap of my tank top off my shoulder.

“I didn’t mean to say this was a mistake,” he whispered against my skin. “I just panicked.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s not true.” My body instinctively leaned into him, my head tilting slightly allowing him easier access. “We both know it.”

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