Room Service Read online


  He went still, then slowly lifted his head, blinking those sleepy, sexy-lidded eyes at her.

  “We can’t,” she said. “Not here.”

  He blew out a careful breath, looking hot, and just a little bothered.

  “There are probably cameras…” Feeling silly, she trailed off. After stepping clear, she smoothed down her clothes, staring ridiculously primly at the closed doors, which slowly began to open. She exited quickly, then whirled back to face him, only he’d followed her off and she plowed right into him. “It’s just that I never got to tell you. And you…”

  “What?” he asked, his hands coming up to her arms.

  God, it would sound so wrong now. She’d waited too long. Whirling again, she headed toward her room, fumbling through her purse to find her room card. He took it from her fingers and opened her door, waiting for her to go inside before following her.

  The beachy elegance of the room cut through some of her tension, which came back full force when she caught sight of her reflection in the wide seashell mirror over the dresser.

  Her hair, wavy on the best of days, had rioted, curling around her flushed face. Her eyes seemed huge and misty, dreamy, and her lips—still wet from his kiss—were full and puffy. Her sweater had a wet spot over one breast, and her nipples pressed against the material. She looked as though she’d just been thoroughly ravaged, which of course she had.

  Jacob came up behind her and ran his hands up her arms. “Look at you.”

  She was looking. She couldn’t look away. She blinked, but the same image presented back to her: one Emmaline Harris, rumpled and tousled, and smiling. No, that wasn’t right. No smiling. Not until she told him. She swiped the ridiculous grin from her face. “Jacob.”

  “Uh-huh.” His mouth was skimming her neck again, and the reflection of his dark head bent to her, eyes closed. Those long dark lashes against his cheeks, his tongue touching her flesh, made her shiver.

  “Jacob,” she said again, stronger this time, and turned to face him.

  But Jacob Hill in the flesh was even more compelling than his mirror image had been. His eyes were very hot, and his mouth curved in a little knowing smile that said I can make you come in less than three minutes.

  Given how close to that orgasm she actually felt, he could probably do it in three seconds. She took a big gulp of air.

  His eyes cut to her bed, freshly made by housekeeping, with what appeared to be a small basket in the middle of the mattress.

  With compliments from Sous-Chef Hill the note read, and she looked at him. “You sent this to me?”

  “It’s the makings for s’mores. You’ll love them.”

  She had to laugh. “Do you ever doubt yourself?”

  He frowned, thinking. “Sure.”


  “Well…” He strode closer, tracing a finger along her hairline. “Now, for instance. Because somehow I know you aren’t going to invite me onto that mattress with you.”

  “No.” Her voice was far weaker than she would have liked. “No,” she repeated. “I’m not. Jacob…” God, this was harder now that she’d touched him, kissed him. Now that she knew him. So much harder. “I’ve told you I’m a TV producer.”


  “What you don’t know is that I have one month to get my show off the ground or I’m fired.”

  “Some reality show, right?”

  “Yes.” She’d never wanted to say anything less than what she had to say now. “A cooking show.”

  A little furrow appeared between his eyes as he digested her words. “As in a chef in front of a camera whipping up cookies kind of cooking show?”

  “I was thinking something a little more interesting than that.” Nerves fluttered in her belly. She’d wanted to recruit him, but now she just wanted him.

  “Like what exactly?” His voice had cooled, the drawl thickened. He was irritated, with good reason.


  “Should I guess, Em?” His eyes grew icy, too. “You heard about Amuse Bouche, and the success we’ve had.”

  “Actually, I heard about you.”

  “And you thought I’d, what? Drop everything and coming running to Hollywood to smile for a camera on some cable show? Did you really?”

  “It’s a prime-time show, on a major network.” She offered him a weak smile, which faded when he just looked at her. “I’m doing this all wrong,” she said quickly. “I meant to woo you, to make it sound really appealing and interesting, which it should be. It’s TV, Jacob. A show of your own. Your input would be welcome, of course, and—”

  “My input would be welcome,” he repeated slowly, then shook his head. “Let me get this straight. You want me to go to Hollywood and cook in front of a camera like…like a caged animal.”

  She didn’t know how to respond to that.

  “Jesus,” he breathed, backing up a step, shaking his head. “You’re serious. You’re completely serious.”


  “Wow.” He prided himself on his street smarts, on his worldliness, on the fact that he was sharp enough never to be taken. But this sweet, beautiful woman had walked right through his defenses with one kiss.

  He was saved from having to admit that by a knock on the room door.

  “Em?” came a female voice. “Open up.”

  Em jumped, then whipped around and stared at herself in the mirror. “Oh, boy.” She stroked a hand down her sweater and shot Jacob an indecipherable look. “That’s Liza, my assistant, and also close friend.” She looked good and flustered, and distractedly shoved at her bangs.

  Jacob felt his body stir just looking at her, and had to back up another step. No. She’d pissed him off, so no more thinking about her that way.

  “I know this is crazy,” she whispered, putting her hands on his chest. “But please, give me a chance to explain everything to you.”

  No need. That first kiss in the elevator had been his own doing, an amusing coincidence he could see now, fate playing a joke on the both of them. But she’d had plenty of opportunities between then and now to explain her business here. That he, in fact, was her business here.

  But she hadn’t.

  The thing was, he didn’t blame her. He knew desperation, and he recognized it well, so the thing to do here, the only thing to do here, was cut his losses and get over it, and over her.

  Liza knocked again, louder now. “Emmaline!”

  “Give me a minute,” Em called to the door.

  “Why?” Liza demanded. “Are you having wild monkey sex in there with the hot stud-muffin chef?”

  Jacob choked back a laugh.

  Unbelievably, Em glared at him, as if this was his fault, and scrubbed a hand down her face.

  “Em, come on, I’m standing out here in my slut outfit,” Liza said urgently through the door. “I tried it on and I want you to see if it’s good enough to drive Eric out of his mind with crazed jealousy. I’m going to drag him to Exhibit A tonight, the basement bar where there’s nude dancing. People supposedly do it in the booths, can you believe it? Now I need you to take a look at me and make sure I’m not too over the top, so open up.”

  “Oh, my God—” Looking as if she’d hit the boiling point, Em broke off, moved to the door and hauled it open.

  Liza stood there in a canary-yellow micromini, cut nearly up to her crotch. A matching crop top, do-me lipstick and go-go boots designed to stop brain cells in their tracks completed the look.

  “Oh, my God,” Em repeated, looking her friend and assistant up and down. “Did you look in the mirror after you put that horror on?”

  Liza opened her mouth, but then at the sight of Em looking the way she did—as if she’d just had that “wild monkey sex” Liza had mentioned—she shut her mouth again. “I don’t think the subject here should be my outfit,” Liza finally said.

  “It’s not what you think,” Em said.

  “Really?” Liza moved into the room, nodded to Jacob