I was happy for Milena. For both of them. And because of that, I overlooked the fact that Milena’s husband Alex was probably most definitely for sure a Brazilian mob boss. Who had once been Raul’s boss, I reminded myself. Which meant that Raul might also be mixed up in the Brazilian mafia. And everyone knew it was bad form to sleep with a Brazilian mobster who was also your best friend’s brother.
I cleared my throat. “I never said Gregg was my ex.”
“Excuse me?” Raul’s eyes narrowed. His voice had dropped an octave.
Whoa. Hot when angry.
“Look, Raul, I haven’t even given Gregg a chance to explain himself yet.”
“Explain himself?” Raul’s nostrils flared, and I could’ve sworn that his irises lightened for a split second. Then a phone went off. “What’s there to explain?” He retrieved a phone from his pocket. Without so much as checking to see who was calling, he pressed a button to silence it and set the phone on the table. “He cheated. He’s fucking history.”
Protective much? God, he was getting me wet all over again. He was only Milena’s half-brother. Did sleeping with half-sibs really count?
“It’s more complicated than that,” I said, squeezing my thighs together to tamp down the pulsing in my sex.
“No, it’s not, Bethy.”
I got distracted staring at the angry line of his luscious mouth and momentarily forgot what we were talking about, because I blurted, “I like it when you call me Bethy.”
I liked it when he got all angry and protective, too.
His phone vibrated against the table. I glanced down to see a FaceTime request from “Princess Elsa” flash across the screen. He quickly declined it and flipped the phone over, screen side down to the table. He ran a hand through his hair. “Bethy, I—”
It buzzed again.
“Did you want to get that?”
He sighed and shook his head, looking annoyed. “It’s just work. It can wait.”
He had programmed his work in as Princess Elsa? “That was work? At this hour?”
“How long has he been cheating on you?”
Five months at least. “I’m not sure.”
Ouch. “Can we talk about something else?”
“Fine. Let’s start with his address.”
I groaned and downed the remains of my Johnnie Walker. “How about we start with another drink?”
“Deal,” he agreed as a man in a suit was approaching our table. “Stephen, I’m busy,” Raul said, not bothering to turn and look at him. “Go order us another round and then go back and wait with the car.”
The man stepped forward nonetheless, extending a phone.
Raul’s jaw tightened. Slowly, he turned and leveled the man he’d addressed as Stephen with a look so cold it made me want to recoil.
“Sir, I apologize for the interruption.”
“But she’s threatening to blow cities up unless you sing the Frozen song with her. Chaos wants to talk to you about it.”
With an infuriated eye-roll, Raul stood and yanked the phone from Stephen’s hand. To me, he said, “Please don’t go anywhere. I’ll only be a minute.” I got the impression, based on the weighted glance he threw at Stephen, that it was now also this man’s job to make certain I didn’t go anywhere.
Which might’ve explained the weird manner in which Stephen just stood there standing over me after Raul was gone, like he was guarding my person.
“Hi, Stephen, I’m Bethany.” I extended my hand to him in greeting. He nodded once in acknowledgement but didn’t take my hand. “Please, have a seat,” I offered, gesturing to Raul’s vacated chair with my awkwardly outstretched hand. He kept standing. O-kay then. I gave him my biggest, brightest I-can-win-you-over smile. “How do you and Raul know each other?”
It was clear the man worked for Raul in some capacity, but I wanted him to confirm it. He didn’t. Fine then. New tactic.
“So what’s with the ‘Sir’ business?” I asked, raising my volume to a level that ensured I would be heard by as many people as possible around us. “Are you Raul’s sub? It’s all good with me if you are,” I told him when he looked momentarily stricken by my public outing. That’s right, buddy, this girl is not so easily deterred. And never ignored. “You can be his full-time bitch. I’m only planning to use him for revenge sex tonight. Possibly tomorrow morning, too, if he’s as good with his cock in reality as he is in my imagination.”
“I’m better,” Raul’s voice startled me as he abruptly returned and reclaimed the seat across from mine, passing the phone back to Stephen, his rankled sub.
Stephen walked away, leaving me alone with Raul: my best friend’s super-hot, totally off-limits older brother whose cock I’d just admitted to fantasizing about. And who was now assessing me with an intensity that made my clitoris hum. I knew I needed to stop this flirtation and steer him back into the best friend’s brother safety zone fast. But instead, I quipped, “I have a fantastically pornographic imagination.”
The corner of his mouth lifted, but the intensity of his gaze didn’t falter. His face was directly in front of mine now, although I wasn’t sure how that had happened. Nor was I certain how or at what point his hand had wedged itself between my thighs underneath the table. Yet there it was. Inching ever closer to my soaked panties. “I’m counting on it, Bethy. Why don’t we fuck all weekend and see whose imagination is dirtier?”
“I—I’m on call this weekend.”
“I’m happy to pay by the hour.”
“Being on call at the hospital doesn’t work like that. I’m in medicine, not prostitution.”
He laughed. It was a beautiful, throaty sound that somehow made me feel like whatever we were about to do was okay. Made everything that was wrong with my life and this entire situation feel less overwhelming and scary.
But God, I really didn’t want him to be in the Brazilian mafia. My hand shot down to halt his between my legs.
“I don’t like violence,” I told him. “I can’t sleep with a mobster.”
He pulled back to look at me but didn’t withdraw his hand. I couldn’t read his expression. At first it looked like confusion. Maybe regret. But then he reassured me by saying, “I’m not a mobster, Bethy.”
“Really?” It came out overly eager. Hopeful. “So what do you do for work?”
He frowned. “Lately, I ah …” His eyes flitted about, scanning the club. “Well, I guess you could say I work as a teacher.” His brows drew together. “But I’m more like a friend and mentor,” he clarified, his free hand scrubbing over his jaw. “For a special-needs child. She’s ah … a prodigy. Highly intelligent. Super-talented. But she has difficulty with … social interaction.”
Oh, fuck, there went my heart again. And my grip on the wrist of his hand between my thighs. “Wow. That’s such important, commendable work, Raul. I never even knew you’d studied special education. Is it normal for you to get calls from your students on weekends and late at night?”
“Mmmm … no, it’s a unique situation in that I more or less mentor my current student full-time.” He grimaced slightly. “I’m more like … a manny.”
“A manny. You know, as in a male nanny?”
“Oh. That’s so … progressive of you.” I sounded out of breath. It was both the shock and relief of his revelation and the fact that his fingertips had just grazed my outer pussy lips through the thin fabric of my thong underwear. I could do this. I could have revenge sex on my cheating fiancé with my best friend’s half-sib who was employed as a manny. “So sensitive of you …”
I gasped as his fingers yanked the strip of silk fabric aside to skim along my naked, drenched slit.
“That’s right, Bethy.” His breath was warm against my ear. “I’m still the same sweet, progressive, male-feminist surfer who grew up down the street from you in Santa Cruz.”
“You were never that sweet.” I was panting. “You fucked most of my babysitters.”
I felt his laughter against my neck as one of his fingers entered me.
“Caught you making out with one when I got up to get a drink of water once.” Why was I still talking? How was I still talking?
“And now you are a babysitter,” I pointed out, unable to resist taunting him over the irony. Because I loved to hear him laugh.
He didn’t disappoint. He chuckled over my earlobe caught between his teeth. The sound made me feel warm all over. Safe.
His thumb found my clit. Another finger was working its way inside me to join the first, and suddenly I felt so hot and needy. Full inside. And yet so greedy for more as he began to work his fingers. Exploring. Stretching. Moving smoothly in and out.
“And now you’re the one I’m going to fuck, Bethy.” He said it like it had already happened. “Here. Now. In the middle of this club.”
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