“Not exactly as nice as our flight in,” Mathew groaned as he lifted Jessica’s bag into the overhead compartment of the commercial flight. He was exhausted and a red-eye from Boston to Texas was not exactly what he’d hoped this night might turn into. But that was becoming a trend. Mathew Kalling was a planner, a player of chess when the rest of the world seemed to be muddling through a game of tic-tac-toe. Unfortunately, the cosmos hadn’t gotten the message and continued to throw curve balls straight at his head. Rather than launching a company in Boston with James West, his longtime business partner, he somehow found himself in Texas picking up the pieces at West Oil. And tonight, rather than hopping the company jet back to Texas and asking Jessica, his date to the charity event, back to his place, he was sitting on this plane, trying to stuff his carry-on under the seat in front of him.
But that’s what you do when your friend suddenly proposes to his new love and they run off to elope. There’s still a company to run in Texas, and you can’t exactly play rock, paper, scissors for who gets dibs on the jet.
There was a ray of hope for this night however. Jessica pressed against him slightly as they crammed onto the busy plane, and the scent of her perfume filled his nose as visions of her naked body filled his head. She was in no way typical, not at all what he’d call his type, but since the moment they’d first met weeks ago, she’d been on his mind. Thrust together, the two best friends of the eloping love birds just kept popping up together, and as busy as his life was right now he had to admit he didn’t mind setting eyes on her perfectly toned ass every chance he got.
The problem was, dirty fantasies don’t make for productive days. Mathew knew Jessica would continue to take up valuable space in his head unless he acted soon. Earlier that evening, by the time the charity event had ended, he’d decided the only way to refocus and stop thinking of the curve of her hips in the slinky black dress was to take her into his arms, embrace the growing lust, and have his fill of her. Jessica would be worth the work it would take to get her back to his place tonight. She was a strong-willed woman with convictions, but he could also feel the flow of desire between them. It was certainly mutual. He’d just need to convince her that a hot, intense adventure back at his place would be just what they both needed. How better to do that than a long flight, crammed together with glasses of wine flowing?
“I think I can survive in first class. I mean the private jet would have been nice, but I understand why Libby and James had dibs on it. If you run away to elope with a billionaire, you expect to be traveling in style.” Jessica had changed out of her formal gown and was now in an oversized off-the-shoulder T-shirt and ripped jeans tucked into some black worn-out boots. Mathew couldn’t decide which look suited her better. She had some chameleon characteristics, morphing into whatever the moment called for. But this grungy casual look seemed to be her most authentic.
“Spontaneity can end in some of the most exhilarating experiences.” He watched her face, looking for a flutter of her eyelashes or a deep intake of breath that sent her perfect and perky breasts heaving. But she had a good poker face. Turning her head away, busying her hands with something, she spoke with intention.
“You know a lot about that?” she asked, waiting a few beats before smiling coyly at him.
“Life’s too short to miss out on something that feels good.” He let his gaze brush over her body as he drank her in. Their chemistry . . . this heat had been growing with each of their encounters, and like any good experiment, there was about to be a bang.
“You underestimate my ability to peg people,” she said with an airy laugh that dulled the moment. “You are not spontaneous. You’re a numbers guy, a safe-bet person.”
“I am,” Mathew admitted, but the poorly veiled look of disappointment on her face made his excitement grow. “But only in business. In my personal life, I never say no to a thrilling opportunity.” That wasn’t entirely true but Mathew could easily decipher the map that would lead the two of them together to his bed, and he intended to blaze the trail.
The captain’s announcement interrupted them, and a flight attendant took their coats to be stored. The annoying bustle reminded Mathew to tame his desire because, unless they were about to join the mile-high club, it would be another six hours before he could sink his teeth into Jessica.
“They looked happy,” Mathew said matter-of-factly as though he were reporting the weather rather than remarking on his best friend running away to get married. It still hadn’t sunk in.
With far more enthusiasm Jessica replied, “Libby looked absolutely over the moon. I’ve known her most of my life, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen her so happy.”
“Good.” The shock of James running off to elope should have been consuming his mind. But now, as the sweet perfume on Jessica’s wrist wafted through the air, if asked about James West, Mathew might simply reply: Who?
That was dangerous. He’d seen plenty of men throw away promising careers by letting lust and passion overtake their thoughts and better judgment. He was more convinced than ever it was time to get Jessica Thorne on top of his body and off his mind.
It wasn’t his fault she’d permeated him so deeply. She was stunningly beautiful with dark eyes and coal black hair. Her dainty fingers wore too many rings, and her wrists looked bogged down by the dozens of bangle bracelets. He imagined the time she spent picking out the pieces and bet she was the kind of woman who had a story for each one.
As he tried to pin down exactly what it was that attracted him to her, he couldn’t. He’d known plenty of beautiful women in his day and fucked enough of them to know each had their own seductive qualities. But Jessica was more than just a wide-eyed smiling girl, licking her lips and hoping to get the rich guy to take notice of her. There were layers, a depth that kept his mind swirling to understand her, even when he tried to convince himself the only thing he wanted to understand was her favorite position.
Knowing Jessica these last few weeks was like trying a new dish, savoring something that sent your taste buds sailing but being unable to figure out the secret ingredient.
She opened her mouth and began to speak through a smile but stopped abruptly as a gravelly voice across the aisle rose up. “If you need a seatbelt extender you shouldn’t be allowed in first class. She should go back where all the other cattle are.”