Room Service Read online

  She didn’t understand it, but he had this unsettling way about him of getting her to do what he wanted.

  What was that?

  She had no idea, but she waited. But only because she wanted to.


  HE’D MADE HER SQUIRM, Jacob thought, intrigued. He walked into the restaurant kitchen, grabbed a plate and loaded it himself, intending on sitting with her to watch her eat, and to see if he could make her squirm again because it was damned arousing.

  She was arousing, with her wide, expressive eyes, her full lips that she kept licking nervously. Her voice. Her taste. The way she looked at him. As if he was some forbidden treat tempting her to the ends of her restraints.

  He moved back into the dining area, which was filled with contented diners, and felt that same surge of fulfillment he got every single night. She was still sitting there, watching him approach with both wariness and something else, something he recognized well. Awareness.

  Let the dance begin, he thought, and smiled as he sat. “Try this. Bouche S’mores. House-made marshmallow, fresh graham crackers and imported semisweet chocolate, all melted over an open flame.”

  “House-made marshmallow?”

  “Yes.” He met her gaze. “We get a lot of requests for marshmallows via room service, melted of course.”

  She stared down at the plate, a lovely flush working up her cheeks.

  “People are very fond of melted marshmallow,” he said. “Specifically, they’re fond of licking them.”

  She gave a slow blink. “Oh. Um—”

  “Off of each other,” he clarified. “Not the plate.”

  She reached out to touch the stack of marshmallow. Felt the soft, warm, gooey texture. She cocked her head as if considering exactly how to lick it off another person and, just like that, the tables turned, and Jacob was the one squirming.

  “Interesting,” she said, throwing him further off balance. “Seems a bit fattening, but I’m sure it’s worth it.” She bit her lower lip, each of her thoughts chasing another across her face.

  She was picturing it. With him.

  He sank a fork into his fun creation and leaned across the table, touching the marshmallow to her lips. She opened her mouth, tongue darting out to catch a dollop.

  Their gazes locked, and when she moaned in delight at the taste, he nearly moaned, too, at the look of rapture on her face.

  “Delicious,” she said when she’d swallowed. “But I have a feeling you already know it.”

  Ah. She was quiet but not shy, and that in itself was another unexpected turn-on. “Yes. I know it.” When she laughed, he decided he liked the sweet, musical sound because it wasn’t silly, it wasn’t fake. It was real.

  She was real, and damn if he didn’t want to know more about her.

  “I don’t even know who you are,” she murmured, clearly having some of the same thoughts. “And yet here we sit, discussing your marshmallows and their incredibly diverse uses here at the hotel.”

  A conversation he most definitely wanted to have, but…“You don’t know who I am?”

  She slid him a self-deprecatory smile. “Okay, so you’re Chef Jacob Hill.”

  “Which leaves me at a disadvantage.”

  She smiled. “I doubt you’re ever at a disadvantage.”

  He laughed and relaxed, realizing his instincts had been right. He was going to enjoy himself with her, immensely. “What’s your name?”

  “Emmaline Harris. Television producer.”

  “Emmaline,” he repeated, liking the way her name rolled off his tongue. “Are you enjoying your stay here at Hush?”

  She seemed surprised that he hadn’t jumped on her profession. But they were nothing if not discreet here at Hush, where they hosted celebrities and movie stars all the time, and she guessed he wouldn’t bring it up again unless she did.

  “Yes, I’m enjoying myself,” she said. “It’s very lovely here.”

  Lovely. Not a word he’d have used to describe the more adventurous and eclectic services the hotel had to offer, which meant she was either being coy, or she hadn’t experienced any of it. “Are you staying for business or pleasure?”

  At the word pleasure, her tongue darted out again and nervously licked her lips. “Business.”

  “That’s a shame.”

  She laughed, a little nervously now. “Yes.”

  It should have given him pause that he’d flustered her, but instead, it excited him. He was thinking of all the ways he could fluster her some more when she spoke again.

  “I’m here to find the next new reality TV star.”

  Reality TV. The genre appealed to him about as much as a trip to the dentist. “Hmm.”

  “You don’t like reality TV?” she asked.

  “Actually, I’m not into any kind of TV,” he admitted. “Not my thing.”

  “What about if you could be on it?” she asked. She was watching him carefully. “On your own show.”

  “Sounds like a nightmare.”

  “Oh.” She looked at him for a long moment, assessing for God knew what. Speculating on the mysteries of the female mind was always a bit like tiptoeing through a minefield. “Tell me something,” she said. “Do you kiss every strange woman you meet in the elevator?”

  “Ah.” He’d been waiting for her to broach the subject. “That.”

  “You must have known we’d have to talk about it.”

  He lifted a shoulder.

  “What if I’d been married?” she asked. “Or attached?”

  “Are you?”


  “Then no harm, no foul.”

  “Is that a life motto for you?”

  “Pretty much.” He smiled.

  She returned it, but he could still see the wheels spinning. Her eyes were clear on his, such a mossy, pretty green. The rest of her was pretty, too. Shoulder-length brown wavy hair with long choppy bangs that she kept shoving out of her eyes, a narrow strong face, with a most lovely mouth, as he had reason to know. She had good height on her—another bonus for him at six foot four—and plenty of curves, he was happy to note. He didn’t approve of skinny.

  “Why did you do it?” she asked, taking another bite of the s’mores, which meant that while she might be a tad shy, she went after what she wanted. He liked that. “Why did you kiss me?” she pressed.

  “Because I wanted to.”

  She laughed, and took another bite. “Do you always do whatever you want?”

  He thought about that. “Mostly.”

  “There was another reason you kissed me,” she insisted.

  “Okay, yes.”

  She waited, a brow raised.

  “You see, I have these two extremely nosy, bossy, interfering people in my life,” he admitted. “They’re very annoying.”

  “Then why are they in your life?”

  He sighed. “They’re my friends.”

  That wrangled a laugh out of her. “Okay, I’ll buy that. I have two of those myself.”

  “They think because I’m single that I need to be fixed. In their mind, that fixing requires a woman.”

  “So? You’re a big boy. Say no.”

  He smiled. “Tell me something, Emmaline.”

  “Em,” she said softly, staring at his mouth as if maybe she liked his smile.

  He hoped so, because he liked hers, very much. “Em, then.” Yeah, that suited her even better. Em was even softer, more feminine. It fit her to a tee. Which didn’t explain why he wanted to sit here with her all night. “You ever successfully say no to the people in your life?”

  “I’m a sucker when it comes to the people I care about.”

  Why the hell that attracted him, too, he had no idea. “Exactly.”

  She was still shaking her head. “You’re no one’s sucker, Jacob Hill.”

  “No, I’m not. But I still care about my friends.”

  Her eyes softened. “That’s very sweet.”

  “Actually, I’m the furthest thing from sweet you’ve ever