Home > White Nights (White Nights #1)(6)

White Nights (White Nights #1)(6)
Author: Anna Zaires

Worst yet, what little I do know about him is frightening. He’s a wealthy man from a place where wealth and corruption go hand in hand, and he’s pissed off someone enough that they want to kill him. How crazy would it be to get involved with someone like that?

Insane. Completely, totally, and utterly irresponsible.

Yet yesterday’s thought about throwing caution to the wind keeps wiggling into my mind. What if Joanne is right? It’s not as if I’m going to marry or even date the guy. All he wants is a brief sexual fling. I can sleep with him, get this strange craving out of my system, and go back to my normal life. I’m not ready for another relationship—the incident with Tony has left a sour taste in my mouth—and Alex isn’t looking for one. Would it really be so terrible to do something impulsive for once and give in to this attraction? To hook up with an attractive man?

Before I can think better of it, I give Alex an answering smile. “Hi. How’s Igor doing?”

Something dark flashes across his face before his expression smooths out and turns inscrutable. “He’s much better, thanks.”

His eyes travel down my body again, making me feel flushed all over. I’ve never felt so blatantly desired in my life, and it’s incredibly seductive.

When he looks back at me, there’s a cynical tilt to his lips. “What time does your shift end?” His voice is low and deep, his tone self-assured. Somehow, he’s sensed my weakening resolve.

I swallow. “At ten.”

I can’t believe myself. Am I really going to do this? Agree to a purely sexual arrangement with a man I barely know?

He flashes me a darkly sensual smile that makes my core tighten with desire. “I’d like to see you tonight. How about we grab a bite to eat after your shift ends?”

I hesitate. Despite his animal magnetism, there’s something unsettling about him, some hardness in the line of his mouth that makes me think he can be ruthless. How can I even think about getting involved with a man like that? Someone who’s a total stranger? What if he’s as corrupt and dangerous as Nadia portrayed the wealthy Russians to be?

As though sensing my reservations, he says quietly, “It will be just dinner, I promise. I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want.”

I blink, surprised. “A dinner at ten?” I thought grabbing a bite to eat was a euphemism for sex, at least the way he said it.

“Won’t you be hungry after your work is done?”

“Probably,” I say slowly.

I was planning on grabbing a quick sandwich at home before plopping into bed, but dinner with Alex sounds much more appealing. True, he unnerves me, but he also fascinates me. Surely a dinner won’t be a big deal.

“Then it’s decided,” he says, his tone brooking no argument. “I’ll send a car to pick you up here after work. The restaurant is nearby, but I don’t want you to walk alone. I’ll meet you there.”

Before I can reply, he heads down the hallway, his bodyguards trailing in his wake.

 

 

The rest of the shift drags. I keep watching the clock, my heart racing with a mixture of nervous excitement and feverish anticipation. I feel like a teenager again, waiting to be picked up for my very first date.

It’s not a date. Alex doesn’t date. This dinner is his attempt to convince me to sleep with him, nothing more.

Of course, one can argue that all dates are ultimately just that. All social niceties disguise a mating dance as old as time. Still, I prefer to think the men I usually go out with want more than just my body, that they enjoy my company and like me as a person. With Alex, I can’t pretend that’s the case. He’s been honest about his intentions.

In some ways, it’s liberating to know exactly where I stand with him. He doesn’t want a relationship, and at the moment, neither do I. We’re both adults and attracted to each other. Why shouldn’t I act on that attraction?

A memory of the way he touched me the first time we met flashes through my mind, the way he brushed his fingers over my cheek and how my skin burned afterward. If a simple touch can turn me on so much, how will it feel to kiss him? To feel his hands on my body? To have him inside me?

Stop it, Kate. You probably won’t sleep with him tonight. It’s just dinner.

Yeah, right. Just dinner with a man I find so hot I fantasized about him while changing bloody bandages. With a man who made me feel more aroused with a single look than my last boyfriend did with foreplay. A man who outright told me he wanted to take me to bed.

Yeah, just dinner.

Finally, it’s ten.

Rushing to the locker room, I change out of my scrubs, wash my face, and apply the mascara and lip gloss I always carry in my purse. Thankfully, I don’t need more than a light application of cosmetics, having been blessed with clear, even-toned skin and dark, well-defined eyebrows and eyelashes, the latter courtesy of my father’s mysterious genes. When I was a child, I disliked my coloring, wishing I had blond hair and blue eyes like my mother. As I got older, however, I grew to appreciate the olive hue of my skin and the thickness of my long, wavy brown hair.

I give myself a quick once-over in the mirror. My face glows with excitement, and my eyes sparkle with anticipation. Thank goodness I didn’t wear sweats and old Uggs to work. That’s my usual go-to outfit for days when I’m called in unexpectedly. Instead, I’m dressed in a form-fitting sweater, my favorite jeans, and a pair of Frye boots I got on sale last week. It’s not a fancy outfit, but it flatters my figure. Unless Alex is taking me to a fancy restaurant, I’m reasonably presentable.

I also shaved my legs this morning and got a Brazilian wax a couple of weeks ago, so I’m ready in that department if things progress that far.

With a last look in the mirror, I exit the restroom and head outside, hoping the car is already waiting.

 

 

As soon as I step outside, I hear my name being called.

I turn toward the voice. A sleek black car is parked at the curb. A tall, sandy-haired man stands in front of it, watching me with a sharp gaze.

Seeing me looking his way, the man comes over, his posture reminding me of someone in the military.

“I’m Yuri, Alexander’s driver,” he says in a heavily accented voice. “He’d like you to come with me.”

I nod, my heart pounding in my chest. I can’t believe I’m about to get into a car with a strange man to go on a date—no, not a date—with one of the wealthiest men in the world. It’s the kind of stuff I can tell my grandkids about when I’m old and gray.

Trying to act like I’m not freaking out inside, I say calmly, “It’s nice to meet you, Yuri. Where are we going?”

“To a Russian restaurant nearby.” He leads me toward the car and opens the door. “Romanoff’s. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?”

I stop in my tracks. I have heard of it. Nadia went to a wedding there once and showed me pictures of the place. Apparently, it’s one of the most popular places for major celebrations in the Russian community, famous for fine dining and over-the-top dinner shows. If I remember correctly, all the guests in Nadia’s pictures wore extravagant attire.

“Wait, Yuri, I think there’s been a mistake. I’m not dressed for that. Alex said we’re just grabbing a bite to eat, but this sounds much fancier.”

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