“I’m worried about you getting upstairs. What floor do you live on?”
I bit my bottom lip. He was going to want to help me upstairs because he was surprisingly kind. And I was going to want to invite him in. Which would be bad. Because there was really only one thing I wanted from Grant Caldwell and it wasn’t the hundred bucks in my pocket that he refused to take back.
He wasn’t my type. I wasn’t his type.
Wealthy businessmen and admittedly bohemian actresses do not have relationships.
But that didn’t mean they couldn’t have passion.
I kind of wanted to make out with Grant, old school, given how teen my crush was.
I should lie, say I lived on the first floor so he’d walk me to the front door and nothing more. I opened my mouth. My inner flirt won the fight as I told the truth.
“I live on the fifth floor.”
“Is there an elevator?”
“No. It’s a lot of stairs. Like, a lot.” Subtle. Not.
“Then let me help you upstairs.”
Okay, then. One last question. “Are you married?” I asked as I hobbled to the front of my building. He didn’t wear a wedding band but I’d learned that really didn’t mean much when it came to men.
Grant actually snorted. “No. And no plans of it, ever.”
Aha. We actually did have something in common. I didn’t really see myself getting married either. Who would I marry? Another actor who would be competing with me for attention? No, thanks. I wasn’t going to settle down, have kids, and move to Long Island ever, so that also eliminated a ton of potential candidates. And a rich guy wasn’t going to happen because I’d already spent most of my adult life having an imbalance of power with friends due to being perpetually broke. There was no way I was going to have a sugar daddy talking down to me because he paid for dinner.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” I asked then. So the marriage one hadn’t actually been my last question. Sue me.
“Nope. Not even dating someone casually. Why?”
It was obvious he knew why I was asking. His hand was still in mine and he was lightly stroking the inside of my palm with his thumb, the tempting bastard.
“Because I don’t think it would be cool for you to help me inside if you’re in a relationship. That’s getting a bit too personal. And I want you to help me inside.”
His nostrils flared. “I totally agree. So that means you’re single too.”
It wasn’t a question. He seemed confident. I nodded. “Single AF.”
“I would loveto help you inside.”
Yeah, baby. Dessert before lunch. Could I get any luckier? Aside from the sprained ankle and the lost work shift, that is. But I tried to remember the last time I’d had sex and nothing immediately came to mind.
Then I recalled with a wave of horror. Halloween the year before. I had been dating a guy for a month and I had been enjoying getting to know him. Until he’d passed out drunk while still inside me, then when I had rolled over, he had roused himself just enough to throw up on my back and shoulder.
The memory still made me shudder. I needed that to not be where my sexuality died.
I punched a number into the keypad for the front door. “You know I’ve been flirting with you for six months, right?”
He nodded, tugging a little on the bottom of his beard. “I suspected something. But for all I know you’re practicing for a rom-com audition.”
I yanked open the door and tilted my head. “Fair enough.”
My “Hi, Grant!” bit every week could potentially lead him to believe I was not entirely sincere. “You’ve never seemed really into me though. Which is fine. But you’re kind of hard to read. Give me a cue.”
“Is this you working on being direct? Like when you were practicing making eye contact?” he asked dryly.
“It’s not an act. I’m asking as me.”
Grant stared at me. His eyes were that rare green that something like two percent of humans have and they were narrowed now as he studied me. His hand came up and he cupped my cheek, which startled me.
The world seemed to recede as he swept his gaze over my lips and back up to my eyes. “Leah.”
“I don’t even like breakfast food.”
Huh? “What do you mean?” Oh my God, was that my voice? I could hear the breathy arousal in my words. My heart was racing as I tried to puzzle out what he was saying, fully aware and super excited that we were about to have a moment. One of those “cameras zooms in as they stare into each other’s eyes on a city street” moments. “You eat pancakes every week.”
“I come to the diner every Wednesday to see you.”
“Oh. You do?” I was legit going to swoon. Because, what? I had no idea. None. Zero. “But… you don’t flirt back.”
“Because I am trying to resist temptation.” His thumb ran over my bottom lip. “Or, I was anyway.”
He was very close to me. I could count his beard hairs if I wanted to. Which I didn’t. I wanted to kiss him.
He beat me to it.
Grant lowered his head and kissed me first.
I’ve kissed men for plays. I’ve kissed men on impulse. I’ve waited for kisses, trying to be mature. I’ve had mediocre kisses and meh kisses and great kisses.
This kiss was phenomenal.
It started off strong, and only got better. It was chocolate martinis and crepes in Paris. It was decadent and rich and had my eyes falling closed and my mouth drifting open.
Grant’s tongue swept inside to tease at mine, his fingers caressing my cheeks. I could smell his cologne, feel the press of his chest against mine, hear the crush of our clothes. My body felt like liquid, oozing into him, nipples hardening, a sharp ache blooming between my thighs.
I raised my arms, entwining them around the back of his neck, and went on tiptoes to better align my lips with his. The kiss deepened, went on and on, soft breath and questing tongues. Grant made a sound in the back of his throat, a groan of both arousal and frustration.
He broke away and I dropped back down to my heels, panting, staring up at him.
What the hell was that?