Home > Just One Scandal (The Kingston Family #2)(7)

Just One Scandal (The Kingston Family #2)(7)
Author: Carly Phillips

She’d woken up to the sound of the two men yelling and realized she wore only her underwear beneath the covers of the hotel bed. Then she’d grabbed a robe and entered the main room to find Beck, one fine male specimen, wearing boxer briefs and nothing more.

“Chloe?” Beck’s voice called to her.

Knowing she had no choice, she straightened and turned to face him. “Hi.”

He grinned at her. “Hi.”

She bit the inside of her cheek and forced herself to ask the question she needed the answer to more than any other. “What happened last night? I don’t remember beyond you bringing me up here. Thank you, by the way. But did we…” A raging flush rose to her cheeks.

“Relax, princess. Nothing happened except I brought you up here and put you to bed.”

“Princess?”

His low, sexy laugh made her body parts tingle. “That’s what you looked like in your gown.”

“Umm … did you undress me?” she forced herself to ask.

He folded his arms across his chest, his muscles bunching in his forearms, his six-pack hard and firm. Never mind the bulge in his boxer briefs she was trying hard not to look at.

“I unhooked all those buttons. You did the striptease yourself.” He winked and she burned all over.

“I’m so embarrassed.” She placed her hands on her hot cheeks.

“Don’t be. Considering the day you’d had, I think you held up well. Except for the crying about how your safe choice in men turned out to be anything but.”

She winced, the memories of how she’d behaved coming back to her in flashes. “Oh, God.”

“It’s fine. Everything will work out,” he assured her. And when he said it, she almost believed him.

“Come on.” He grasped her elbow. “Let’s look at the room service menu. I’m sure you need something to eat. Then we can head back to my place.”

Her head jerked up. Though she’d told Linc she’d take Beck up on his offer to stay with him, she was far from having decided that yet. She’d just wanted her brother to give her time and space.

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Do you have anywhere else to go?”

“Well, no. Unless I take a hotel room.” She didn’t want a cold, sterile place to stay any more than she wanted her family’s worried looks and attempts at help.

He shrugged. “Your choice but I have a spare guest room, and the invitation’s open.”

“I’ll take it,” she said before she could change her mind. “I just have one request.”

“Name it,” he said.

“You can’t walk around in your underwear.”

He burst out laughing and the sight was incredible. He was so handsome with his jet-black hair on the longer side, his jade-green eyes and sculpted features. And when he let go enough to laugh like that? She was drawn to him even more.

But her brother obviously had issues with the man. She knew they were business rivals and also recalled them being friends in college until they’d had some sort of falling-out. Linc never talked about it. And for today, she didn’t want to know the details.

But there was something she was curious about. “Beck? Why did you help me last night?”

His expression grew more serious. “At first you’d just pulled us in to have fun. Once I realized how much you’d had to drink and when I saw someone make a play for you, I decided someone needed to keep you safe. I didn’t want anyone taking advantage.” He shrugged as if it were no big deal.

But to her it was. He clearly could have had sex with her and left her alone in that big bed. But he hadn’t. “And why did you stay?”

He ran a hand over his face. “I didn’t want you to wake up alone and be scared. I’m going to get the menu,” he said and disappeared into the other room.

Clearly she’d made him uncomfortable. Still, warmth settled in her chest, and gratitude that he was a decent guy rushed over her. She knew his business reputation and had heard Linc cursing over lost deals to Beck’s company more than once. So maybe he was a shark in the boardroom.

But he’d definitely been a saint in the bedroom. Since she’d been drunk, she was thankful. But she couldn’t help wondering what sex with Beck would be like if she were sober. Something a woman who’d been dumped not twenty-four hours ago shouldn’t be thinking about.

She ought to be beside herself with grief, pain, and hurt. Instead she was pissed and embarrassed, especially since the social media poster who’d dubbed her the Kingston heiress was someone she’d dumped after two dates. He’d started his site after they’d broken up, and because his sense of humor was dry and he was good-looking, people gravitated to him, and he’d gone viral. Well, whatever. She didn’t care what anyone thought. She just didn’t want pity.

She could take a step back now and admit that she’d never reacted to Owen’s body the way she did to Beck’s. Never imagined getting sweaty between the sheets with her own fiancé. Sex between them was perfunctory at best. Definitely not mind-blowing or life-altering. And something told her that tangling with Beck would be all those things and more.

Catching herself thinking about Beck again, she shook her head and reminded herself they were acquaintances. He was doing her a favor, giving her a place to stay, and she ought to appreciate him for that. Besides, it wasn’t like he was ogling her body, which was too bad. But still, she needed to focus on herself and her future.

She and Beck were going to be roommates. Nothing more.

* * *

After indulging in a delicious breakfast of pure carbs that helped her hangover, Chloe took a long, hot shower. She lathered away yesterday’s mess and washed the hairspray out of her hair with the hotel-provided shampoo. She used their conditioner, as well, and somehow managed to finger comb her long strands before pulling them up with a hair tie into a messy bun.

Before she’d gotten into the shower, the hotel had sent her belongings from the bridal room upstairs, giving her the basics she’d brought with her yesterday along with the carry-on suitcase she’d left with the concierge for her overnight stay here.

She changed into the outfit she’d planned on wearing for the flight to Maui that wouldn’t be happening: a pair of taupe jersey-knit leggings, a matching fitted tank top, a cardigan, and her favorite snakeskin boots. She refused to think about the fact that she and Owen were supposed to be enjoying their honeymoon together. Somehow in the time since he’d texted her and now, her concerns were more about where she’d take her life from here and not about how sad she was over losing her future husband.

She already understood she’d had a lucky escape with Owen finding what everyone should look for in a partner. How and when he’d handled the breakup, however, was what upset her. She’d have to send back wedding and engagement gifts, and her mother would go through the ordeal of explaining the end of their engagement and non-wedding to people. Not to mention the money wasted. God, Owen was an ass, and Chloe wished she could sue him for the cost but knew she never would.

When she walked out of the bedroom, she found Beck on the phone, looking out the window at the Manhattan view below. He wore his clothes from last night, a pair of dark fitted jeans that molded to his incredible body, tight ass, and thighs and a light blue men’s dress shirt, untucked, on top.

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