Hooked Up_ Book 1(9)

By: Arianne Richmonde



But the alarm on my face must have been obvious, as he asked, “Is everything alright?”

“Well, for just a second, I thought I’d lost the keys to my apartment. Ha ha. I mean . . . that second is still ticking,” I told him, my voice rising higher. “The keys don’t seem to be here.”

“One iced vanilla cappuccino, one iced coffee, and one black shaken iced tea,” the barista announced.

Before I’d even lifted my eyes from my purse, Sophie had grabbed her drink-to-go, and said, “Nice to meet you, Pearl. Maybe see you around sometime.” And she added in French to her brother, “À plus,” and she was off, out the door and onto the street.





ALEXANDRE





SOPHIE COCKED HER EYEBROW at me and smirked. I turned my attention back to Pearl Robinson and prayed that her French was limited or non-existent. I gazed at her, right into her clear blue eyes. Yes, I decided, I want this woman.

And she wanted me. I was pretty damn sure. She was jittery, nervous, tongue-tied—couldn’t get her sentences out straight. Why? Because I was running my eyes up and down her body, mentally undressing her, and she could sense the electricity. The heat. She was all flustered. She could read my mind. She was fumbling for something in her huge bag again. Her apartment keys, she told me. Was she planning on inviting me over?

“Nice to meet you, Pearl,” Sophie said, giving her the once-over. “Maybe see you around some time?” The innuendo was so thick you could have cut it with a machete.

Sophie sashayed out of the coffee shop and I exhaled with relief. Thank God, now I can get down to business. Real business.

“I got the drinks to go, but do you want to sit down?” I suggested to Pearl. “Have a better look for your house keys?” She nodded. “A man’s life is so much simpler—we carry everything in our pockets.”

Why I was so taken with this New Yorker, apart from her obvious good looks, I wasn’t quite sure—she had a quirky kind of charm. I liked her. And I decided right there and then—I didn’t just want to fuck Pearl, I wanted to get to know her too.

She eased her way into an armchair but was unsure whether to cross or uncross her legs. Like a schoolboy, I found my eyes wandering to her crotch and imagining what lay beneath, but she was too demure for that. Her legs crossed closed, and she smoothed that sexy pencil skirt over her thighs. I thought about fucking her again—I couldn’t stop myself. I wondered if what Sophie said was true: that Pearl would put out on a first date. I’d have to find out . . .





PEARL





AFTER WE FOUND a couple of free armchairs and sat down, Alexandre Chevalier’s cell phone buzzed. I took the opportunity—while he was distracted—to slip on my high pumps, just for good measure—no pun intended.

He smiled at me. “Excuse me, do you mind? I need to get this call.”

So polite. I didn’t even know him and he’d already bought me a drink and asked me if I minded him taking a call. He looked embarrassed because he spoke in hushed tones into the phone.

“What’s it like? Is it worth that inflated price?” he murmured.

I was looking through my bag but curious about his conversation, so kept an ear inquisitively cocked—like a dog. Finally I located those elusive apartment keys that were always giving my heart a run for its money. That pumping, lost-my-keys-lost-my-phone-lost-my-wallet adrenaline was going to give me a literal heart attack one day.

“Okay,” I heard Alexandre say, “I’ll buy it. Yes, even at that price. It’s a one off, I might not get this chance again. Yes, wire the money. Okay, bye, Jimmy. Thanks.”

I wanted to ask him what he was talking about, but didn’t dare be so snooping.

The look on my face, however, must have given away my curiosity, as he revealed, “A vice of mine. My sister’s sure to disapprove.”

“Oh? Why?” I asked innocently.

“She thinks cars are for getting from A to B, and one’s enough.”

“Buying another car, huh? How many do you already have?”

He looked almost ashamed. “More than I need.”

“A collection?”

“You could say that. But they are all works of art in their own right.”

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