Room Service Read online

  “Um…” She eyed a row of anal plugs, each bigger than the last, and swallowed hard. “No, thanks.”


  “Yes.” She cleared her throat. “I’m good.” She managed to look him in the eye. “You?”

  For the first time all night, he tossed his head back and laughed, the sound real and rich and warming her belly.

  And in that moment, she knew. Whether he liked it or not, whether he even knew it yet or not, she’d passed his test.


  EM LOOKED AROUND HER at the porn shop. She was going to do it, she was going to buy something, just to see the look on Jacob’s face when she did so with mature ease and without embarrassment.

  Oh, he was standing there, so positive that he’d shocked her, so confident that she’d never have the guts to actually do it.

  Ha! Watch her.

  She stalked right up to the counter, telling herself she’d purchase the first thing she saw that she could name, heart racing at the selection of vibrators right in front of her. Gulping, she pointed to the one called The Rabbit—the rabbit?!?—and said, “That one.”

  Behind her, Jacob choked, but when she looked at him, he’d pulled himself together.

  “Problem?” she asked loftily, taking out her credit card.

  Jacob put his big, warm hand over hers and pulled out his wallet. “No way. This baby’s on me.” His eyes locked on Em’s as he said to the woman behind the counter, “Add batteries.”

  Em was too mortified to argue with him, and the next thing she knew, she was walking out of there with a brown bag heavy with The Rabbit, and a body zapping with sexual energy.

  Unbelievable, but she was twenty-seven years old and had just bought her first vibrator.

  “Don’t worry, you’ll like it.”

  “I wasn’t worried.”

  His dimple flashed. “Were, too.”

  Damn it, did he have to read her mind, and then toss her own humiliating thoughts back at her?

  He leaned in. “If you need any help with that thing, you just let me know.”

  Before she could formulate a response to this, he directed her into a bar.

  A live band played with more decibels than talent, and the youthful, free-spirited crowd danced and laughed and talked over them. The servers wore jeans and suspenders—and no shirts. Including the women.

  “Thought you could use a drink after that last adventure.” Jacob gestured for the bartender, then looked at Em.

  “A beer,” she said, definitely needing it.

  Jacob lifted up two fingers. When the drinks came, he looked at her over his bottle as he drank, his eyes filled with laughter and heat, God, so much heat.

  She downed her beer. “I could probably use another.”

  “It’s supposed to bring you pleasure,” he said.

  “The beer brought me plenty of pleasure.”

  “The vibrator.”


  “Gotta have trust, Em. There’s easy pleasure there.”

  “Fine for a man to say. It’s simple for you to—” She clamped her mouth shut. Had she just been about to say it, really? That it was easier for a man to masturbate?

  Interested, he cocked his head. “What is it easier for men to do, Em?” His expression assured her she was still providing him with great entertainment. “Jerk off?” Leaning in so she could see nothing but that sinfully perfect face and yummy mouth, he whispered in an extremely naughty voice, “If you can’t say it, how do you expect to be able to do it?”

  “I can do it,” she said, then wished she hadn’t, because his grin widened.



  “Because like I said, I could help—”

  “I said I’d be fine! Now I need another beer. Please,” she added in a more civil tone.

  He tossed down the money to cover the beers they’d already consumed. “If it’s serious drinking you’re in the mood for, let’s hit Patrick’s.”

  She had no idea what exactly she was in the mood for, but it would be nice to assuage the odd ache deep inside her belly.

  The one between her thighs was another story.

  Patrick’s was busy, too, with a very different crowd than the morning one. This crowd was tougher, younger, and looked far more apt to cause trouble. As they sipped their beers, Em noted that the trouble always seemed to be started by Maddie’s two sons, who were bartending, when they weren’t brawling.

  After a lull in the noisy wildness, Jacob surprised Em by asking about the auditions.

  “They went well,” she said.

  “Is that the line you gave your boss, or the truth?”

  “The line I gave my boss.” She sighed. “I’m hoping to get luckier tomorrow.”

  “And if you don’t?”

  “Maybe you’ll change your mind.”


  “Just kidding.” She shot him a half smile. “Sort of. Listen, what’s so bad about being a TV chef anyway?”

  “Other than the fact it’s all a sham?”

  “A sham?”

  “Sure. The TV chef easily whips up some tasty-looking dish, impressing the viewers. He should, he’s a trained pro. But you and I both know, due to time constraints and the boring factor, he’ll skip all sorts of basic steps that the viewer has no idea how to perform, then tries it at home and experiences complete disaster trying to replicate it. I don’t want to do that to people.”

  He’d really thought about this. “You wouldn’t have to—”

  “It’s the advertising dollars that’ll matter, or product placement, or something. Not the art of cooking.”

  She opened her mouth again, then slowly shut it in silent admission that it could be true.

  “I’m just not interested,” he said more gently. “At all. I’ve been there, done that, as far as cooking for performance, and I don’t want to go back.”

  She nodded, remembering the juggling act he’d demonstrated. She knew how he’d grown up now and completely understood. And because she did, she would never want him to do this, either.

  “So what are you going to do?”

  She lifted her head with determination. “Hold auditions in Los Angeles. It’ll give us more of a pool to choose from.”

  “Listen, I’m sor—”

  Reaching out, she put a finger to his lips. “It’s okay, I get it.” And that was the thing, she really did. She knew Nathan wouldn’t, but she did. “I’ll make this work another way. I’m determined.”

  “You know,” he said, watching her, “I believe you will.”

  “You do?”

  “Oh, yeah.” He stroked a finger over her jaw. “You’ve got something I recognize and know well.”

  Her breath caught at the touch. “What’s that?”

  “Determination. Passion. Hunger to succeed.”

  She understood him, and loved the feeling. But he understood her, too. Was there anything more sexy than that, a man who really knew her? She found herself fighting a broad, stupid smile. “You, Jacob Hill, are a very kind man.”

  He stared at her, then let loose with a laugh. “First you think I’m sweet, and now kind. Who are you looking at?”


  “I’m not either of those things,” he said with a slow shake of his head. “In fact, ask around.” He shifted his weight on his bar stool, and suddenly his legs, long and hard were entangled, with hers.

  Leaning in, he insinuated a muscled thigh between hers. His lips brushed against her ear as he spoke. “In fact, I’m probably the furthest thing from kind—or sweet—you’ll ever meet.”

  His low, husky voice brought a set of shivers to her spine. But she couldn’t think past the feel of his thigh between hers, or the hand he’d set against the bar at her back, ostensibly to hold his balance, but in reality trapping her within the confines of his body.

  His gaze dropped to her mouth as he slowly pressed his thigh higher between hers. A rush of arousal surged through her. They were