Beneath This Man

Chapter 19

Jesse skids to a halt outside The Manor where John is waiting for us on the steps. There are only a few cars, mine included. I forgot it was here.

'Come on. I want to get done and get home so I can have a few hours of you all to myself.' He grasps my hand and leads on.

'Take me home now then.' I grumble, earning myself a mild scowl.

'I'm ignoring you.' he mutters.

'Ava,' John nods as we pass, and then follows us in.

'Is everything okay?' Jesse asks as he leads me to the bar. It's empty, except for the staff flying around in a fluster. He sits me down on a barstool and takes one opposite me, resting my hand in his lap. I spot Mario polishing the optics.

'S'all good,' John rumbles. 'Caterers are in the kitchen and the band will be here at five to set up. Sarah has it all under control.' He waves Mario over, and I bristle at the mention of her name.

'Great, where is she?' Jesse asks.

'She's in your office sorting out the gift bags.'

Gift bags? What would you put in a gift bag for a party at a sex club? Oh God, I don't even want to know.

Mario approaches and swings his tea towel over his shoulder. His warm smile makes me return one automatically. He is the sweetest man.

'Do you want a drink?' Jesse squeezes my hand in his lap.

'Just some water, please.'

'Make that two, Mario,' He turns back to me. 'What would you like to eat?'

Well, that's easy. 'Steak,' I say all wide eyed and enthusiastically. That was the best steak I've ever had.

He smiles. 'Mario, tell Pete we'll have the steak twice with new potatoes and salad, both medium. We'll eat at the bar.'

'Of course, Mr Ward.' Mario chirps happily, placing two bottles of water and a glass on the bar.

'Are you happy to stay here while I go and check on a few things?' Jesse asks as he drops my hand in his lap and takes a bottle, pouring some water into my glass.

I arch an eyebrow at him. 'Are you going to have Mario guard me?'

'No,' he says slowly, flicking a cautious eye at me. I hear John's low rumbling laugh. 'There's no need now, is there?'

'I suppose not,' I shrug and look around the bar. 'Where is everyone?'

He stands and places my hand in my own lap. 'We close during the day on anniversary night. There's a lot to get ready.' He kisses my forehead and picks up his own bottle of water. 'John?'

'Ready when you are.' John replies.

He brushes a hair away from my face. 'I'll be as quick as I can. Are you sure you're okay here?'

'I'm fine.' I shoo him away.

They leave me at the bar among the chaos of staff, frantically polishing glasses and restocking the fridges. I feel like I should help, but then I hear my phone shouting from my bag and I pull it out, finding Ruth Quinn's name illuminating my screen. I should let it go to voicemail, it is my day off, but this could be my opportunity to get out of drinks with her.

'Hi, Ruth.'

'Ava, how are you?'

She's so friendly - too friendly. 'I'm good, and you?'

'Lovely. I received your fee structure and designs. They're wonderful!'

'I'm glad you like them, Ruth.' Her enthusiasm will be a pleasure to work with, I suppose

'So, now you've shown me how amazing my dire downstairs can look, I'm eager to start.'

'Okay, well if you could settle the consultation fee, I'm assuming you've received the invoice, then we can crack on.'

'Yes, I did. I'll sort a transfer. Do you have the company bank details?' she asks.

'I don't, Ruth. Could I ask you to ring the office? It's my day off so I can't lay my hands on them at the moment.'

'Oh? I'm sorry. I didn't realise.'

'It's okay, Ruth. It was a last minute thing. It's not a problem, really.' I assure her.

'Are you doing anything nice?' she enquires.

I smile. 'Yes, I am, actually. Just some quality time with my boyfriend.' That sounds weird.


Silence falls down the phone. 'Ruth? Are you there?' I glance at my phone to see if my service has dropped. It hasn't. 'Hello?'

'Yes, sorry. It's just that you said there was no man.' She laughs.

'No man trouble. I meant to say there's no man trouble.'

'I see! Well, I'll let you get back to your quality time.'

'Thank you. I'll call you next week and we can proceed.'

'Great. Bye, Ava.' She hangs up, and I instantly realise that I didn't pull out of drinks. She didn't confirm either, though.

I put my phone back in my bag and spot Mario on his way over with a box full of cocktail ingredients and fresh fruit. 'Ava, are you well?'

'I'm very well, Mario. And you?'

He heaves the big box onto the bar and I help him by pulling it towards me. 'Very well too, would you be...' He frowns. 'How you say...guinea pig?'

'Oh, yes!' I sound way too eager. I love all that mixing, shaking and tasting business.

He chuckles and passes me a small chopping board and a paring knife. 'You cut.' he instructs, handing me a basket of various fruits from the box. I collect a strawberry, hull it and chop it in half. 'Yes, this is good.' Mario nods at me as he starts pouring various liquids into a large silver container.

I work my way through the whole pile of strawberries, popping them in a sealable container as I go, then start on the lemons. Mario sings some Italian opera style song softly as we sit at the bar, me watching with interest between my chopping duties as he measures, pours and generally faffs about with various cocktail equipment.

'Now we do the good part.' He smiles, slamming the lid on the silver container and proceeding to shake it. He flips it up and grabs it and then tosses it over his head, before spinning quickly to catch it. I'm stunned by his little demonstration of barman skills. I would never have thought it. He knocks the container on the side of the bar and pours the dark pink liquid into a long glass with some mint and a strawberry. 'Voila!' he sings, presenting me with the glass.

'Wow!' I gasp at the sugar coated rimmed glass. 'What's it called?'

'This is Mario's Most Marvelous!' His voice gets higher towards the end of the name. He's proud of it. 'You try.' He pushes the glass towards me, and I lean in to take a sniff.

It smells lovely, but I remember the last time Mario insisted I try one of his drinks; it burnt my throat. I pick up the glass tentatively as Mario nods eagerly at me. I shrug and take a little sip.

'It is good, yes?' He dazzles me with his happy face and starts putting the lids on all the tubs of fruit.

'Yes!' I take a longer sip. It's delicious. 'What's in it?'

He starts laughing and shaking his head. 'Ah, no, no. This, I tell no person.'

'What have you got there?' Jesse's husky tone invades my ears from behind, and I swing around on my stool to see him stood behind me with his frown line firmly in place.

I hold the glass out and smile. 'You should try. Oh my God!' I glance up to the heavens to reinforce my point.

He recoils slightly, his frown deepening. 'No thanks, I'll take your word for it.' He sits down next to me. 'Don't drink too much.' He gives the glass a disapproving look.

My brain quickly kicks into gear, and I realise what I've just said. Oh, I'm an idiot. 'I'm sorry!' I blurt. 'I wasn't thinking.' I mentally throw myself over the bar and into the waste disposal unit.

Mario must get a waft of the tension because he soon disappears, leaving me and Jesse alone. I put the drink down and turn back towards the bar. The delicious cocktail doesn't taste so sweet now.

'Hey,' He pulls me off my stool and onto his lap, and I bury my face under his chin. I can't look at him. I feel so stupid. 'It's fine. Unravel your knickers, lady.' he laughs. His facial expression didn't say it was fine. Or was the look because I was drinking it? He leans back to look down at me and pulls my chin up with his finger. His eyes soften. 'Stop it and kiss me.'

I oblige immediately, feeling the back of his neck out to pull him down. I relax completely in his arms and soak him up, humming into his mouth. I feel him smile around my kiss. 'I'm sorry.' I repeat myself. I feel so stupid.

'I said, stop it.' he warns. 'I don't know what your concern is.'

He doesn't? My concern is his reproachful glare at the alcohol. 'Did you get everything sorted?' I ask.

'I did. Now we eat, and then we go home to bath and snuggle for a while, deal?' He looks at me expectantly.

'Deal.' That was an easy deal.

'Good girl.' He gives me a chaste kiss and shifts me back onto my stool. 'Here's our lunch.' He nods across the bar, and I see Pete carrying a tray in our direction. He places it down. 'Thank you, Pete.' Jesse says.

'It's my pleasure, as always. Enjoy.' He gives me a pleasant smile. He is so nice. In fact, everyone who works for Jesse is lovely, with the exception of one person, but I won't let her ruin my day on Central Jesse Cloud Nine.

I unroll my knife and fork and plunge straight in to the colourful salad doused in that yummy dressing. I need to find out what it is.


I look up around a forkful of salad and see Jesse pop his own fork into his mouth. I moan my appreciation. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life. He smiles at me.

'Jesse, are you happy for the band to set up in the far corner of the summer room?'

My shoulders tense as Sarah's shrill voice washes over me.

Fuck off!

My appetite has just run for the hills and my mood plummeted into subzero temperatures. Oh God, I hate this woman and now Jesse has admitted that he has slept with her, I really want to smash her face in.

'That's fine. I thought we agreed that?' Jesse turns slightly on his stool to acknowledge her. I don't. I stay facing the bar and start poking at my salad with my fork.

'We did, I was just checking. How are you, Ava?' she asks.

I scowl at my plate. Does she really want to know because I'll happily tell her. I feel Jesse's eyes on me, waiting for me to be decent and answer the witch. I swivel on my stool and plaster a big, insincere smile on my face. 'I'm good thank you, Sarah. And you?'

Her smile is as phony as mine. I wonder if Jesse is picking up on this. 'I'm fine. Are you looking forward to tonight?'

'Yes, I am.' I lie. I might be looking more forward to it if she wasn't going to be here.

Jesse pipes up, relieving me of strained pleasantries. 'I'm heading off. I'll be back at six. Make sure everything is in order upstairs.'

Okay, any hope of finishing my lunch has totally dissolved now. I'm going to be spending all night watching people drift off up the stairs for a visit to the communal room.

'The suites and communal room remain locked until ten thirty,' Jesse points his fork towards the bar entrance. 'No exceptions.' he adds sternly.

'Of course,' Sarah agrees. 'I'll leave you to it. See you later, Ava.'

I swivel slightly and smile. 'Bye.'

She returns my smile, but after last night, there is no getting away from the fact that we dislike each other, so all of this pretending is pretty senseless. I swivel back to face the bar as soon as I can to recommence poking at my salad. I have no doubt she's playing all friendly and kindly for Jesse's benefit. Surely he must see her for what she is.

'Why are you not looking forward to this evening?' Jesse asks quietly as he continues with his lunch.

'I am.' I say without looking at him.

I hear him sigh heavily. 'Ava, stop twiddling your hair. You did it when Sarah asked you and you're doing it now.' He nudges my knee with his, prompting me to freeze mid-twiddle and drop my hair.

I put my fork down. 'I'm sorry if I can't get excited about attending a party where every time someone looks at me or speaks to me, I'll be thinking they might want to drag me upstairs and fuck me.'

I jump as Jesse's knife and fork clatter against his plate. 'For fuck sake!' He pushes his plate away aggressively, and out of my peripheral vision, I see him reach up and start rubbing his temples. 'Ava, watch your mouth.' he huffs tiredly. My jaw is grabbed and yanked to face him. His green eyes are brimming with anger. 'No one will be doing any such thing because they all know you're mine. Don't say things that make me crazy mad.'

I shrink a little under his stern tone. 'Sorry.' I sound grumpy, but it's the truth. They could be thinking anything, how would he know?

'Please try and show a bit more willingness.' He shifts his grip on my jaw and cups my cheek. 'I want you to enjoy yourself.'

His beseeching face makes me want to slap my loser arse all over the bar. He's spent God only knows how much money on a stunning gown and dresses for me and this is a special night for him. I'm such an ungrateful cow. I crawl across to straddle his lap. He, of course, doesn't give a shit that my legs are wrapped tightly around his waist and we are sat at the bar.

'Forgive me?' I bite his bottom lip cheekily and circle his nose with mine.

'You're adorable when you sulk.' he sighs.

'You're adorable all of the time.' I toss back at him and seal our lips together. 'Take me home.' I say into his mouth.

He moans. 'Deal. Up you get.' He stands with me, and I release my thighs iron grip of his hips.

'Oh no!' I exclaim.

'What?' He looks at me worriedly.

'I've got to get some whiskey for Clive.'

'Have you?' His brow furrows 'Why?'

'It's my peace offering. Can we stop somewhere on the way home?'

He rolls his eyes and takes my hand. 'Clive's earned well out of this and he didn't even fulfil his brief.' Jesse starts walking us out of The Manor. I throw a little wave at Mario and Pete, and they return the gesture.

'How much did you pay him?' I ask.

'Not enough for him to do the job properly.' He flicks an accusing eye at me, and I grin, encouraging Jesse's roguish one to appear. 'Don't look at me like that when I'm in no position to take you, Ava. Get in the car.'

I gasp at his shamelessness. 'What about my car?' I look over at my Mini.

'I'll get one of the staff to drop it off.' He dismisses my concern and guides me down onto the passenger seat.

I'm relieved when we finally get back to Lusso. It would seem that Clive has unusual and very expensive taste in whiskey. We finally found the specific Glenmorangie Clive requested in a specialist off license in Mayfair and there was almost a disagreement about who was paying for it. Jesse eventually backed down. He sulked like a schoolboy, but he backed down.

'Clive, Glenmorangie Port Wood Finish.' I hand him the bottle.

His eyes light up like Christmas as he takes the bottle and runs his palm over the label. 'I can't believe you found some. I thought you could only get it on-line.'

I look at him in disbelief and it's hard not to notice Jesse's incredulous look. We've trailed three supermarkets and two off licenses trying to find that damn bottle, and all along he knew how difficult it is to get hold of? I leave Clive caressing his bottle of whiskey and board the elevator with Jesse.

'You should have got the cheeky bastard a supermarket special.' he grumbles irritably as he punches in the code. I notice it still hasn't changed, but I'm not reminding him again.

'Will Cathy be here still?' I ask. I hope not. I want to crawl inside Jesse and stay put for a while, but after our unexpected trip around London in search of the elusive whiskey, we haven't got as much time as I would have hoped. I know that is the cause of Jesse's downturn in mood.

'No, I told her to get off as soon as she's done.' he answers shortly. He's really grumpy.

We enter the foyer to the penthouse and Jesse balances my bags as he negotiates the key in the lock. He opens the door and I follow him in before taking the bags from him.

'What are you doing?' he asks on a furrowed brow.

'I'm taking these upstairs to the spare room. You can't see my dress.' I make my way to the stairs.

'Put them in our room.' he shouts after me.

Our room? 'No can do.' I call, disappearing into my favourite spare bedroom.

I immediately unpack my dress from the suit bag and hang it on the back of the door. I sigh and stand back to get the full view. He's either going to come on the spot or disintegrate on the spot.

I set about unpacking my corset, shoes and bag and leave the other dresses until later. I hear a small knock at the door. 'Don't come in!' I blurt and run to the door, opening it slightly. I find a smirking Jesse with his hands shoved in his pockets.

'Are we getting married?' he asks.

'I want it to be a surprise.' I wave him away. 'I need to paint my nails. Go.' He wanted willing, so he better not complain.

He holds his hands up. 'Fine, I'll wait for you in the bath. Don't be long, I've already lost an hour searching for fucking whiskey.' he grumbles, walking off across the landing.

I shut the door and retrieve my make-up bag from my handbag, finding the post that Clive handed me this morning. I put it on the chest near the door before settling on the bed to prep and preen.

I walk into the bathroom to find Jesse submerged in bubbly water with a disgusted look on his face. I pull my dress over my head and remove my bra and knickers, his expression changing from affronted to approving as I climb in the bath.

'Where have you been?'

'I was waiting for my nails to dry.' I settle between his legs and lay back against his firm chest.

He hums happily and tangles our legs together, wrapping his arms around me and sinking his nose into my hair. 'That's two hours I've lost with you that I'm not going to get back.' he mutters sullenly. 'No more painting nails and hunting down scarce whiskey.'

'Okay.' I agree. I know where I would rather be. 'Oh, I forgot. Clive gave me some post for you this morning. I shoved it in my bag and forgot about it. Sorry.'

'No problem.' He dismisses my concern. 'I love, love, love you wet and sliding all over me.' He palms my boobs and bites my neck. 'Tomorrow, we stay in bed all day long.'

I smile to myself, silently wishing we could do exactly that right now, but then I feel his heart beating against my back and it has me thinking about his beating heart comment. 'What was the first thing you thought when you saw me?' I ask.

He's silent for a few moments. 'Mine.' he growls and bites my ear.

I squirm above him laughing. 'You didn't!'

'I fucking did, and now you are.' He turns my face to his and kisses me gently. 'I love you.'

'I know you do. Did it ever occur to you to ask me to dinner instead of stalking me, asking inappropriate questions and cornering me in one of your torture chambers?'

He glances away thoughtfully. 'No, it didn't. I wasn't thinking straight. You made me crazy confused.' He shakes his head.

'Confused about what?'

'I don't know. You triggered something in me. It was very disturbing.' He leans back and I rest my head back again.

Triggered what? A heartbeat? I would think that a strange statement, but he triggered something in me too and that was also very disturbing. 'You gave me a flower.' I say quietly.

'Yeah, I was trying to be a gentleman.'

I smile. 'So the next time you saw me, you asked me how loud I would scream when you fuck me?'

'Mouth, Ava.' He laughs. 'I didn't know what to do. I only usually have to smile to get what I want.'

'You should have tried to be less arrogant.' I don't relish the thought of Jesse smiling and getting what he wants. How many women has he smiled at?

'Maybe. Tell me what you thought.' He nudges me, and I smile to myself. We could be here a very long time. 'Tell me.' he presses impatiently.

'What, so your head can swell further?' I scoff, earning myself a dig in the hip. I jerk sending water flying over the edge of the bath. 'Stop!'

'Tell me, I want to know.'

I take a deep breath. 'I nearly passed out,' I admit unashamedly 'And then you kissed me. Why did you kiss me?' I ask in disbelief, performing a little shudder.

'I don't know. It just happened. You nearly passed out?' he asks. I can't see his face, but I would put my life on the likelihood of his roguish grin being firmly fixed on his lush face.

I crane my head back. Yes, as I thought. I roll my eyes. 'I thought you were an arrogant arse, with your touching, tactless comments and inappropriate manners. But I was so affected by you.' I still can't believe how blind I was to my surroundings and Jesse's clues that suggested The Manor wasn't a hotel at all. I was too wrapped up in fighting off the unwanted reactions I was having to him - then giving in, then fighting again.

He starts circling my nipples with his fingertips. 'I needed to keep touching you to see if I was imagining things.'

'What things?'

'My whole body buzzed every time I laid a finger on you. It still does.'

'Me too.' I agree quietly. It's the most incredible feeling. 'Do you realise the effect you have on women?' I spread my palms over the tops of his thighs.

'Is it similar to the one you have on me?' He laces his fingers through mine. 'Do they stop breathing for a few seconds every time they see me?' He presses his lips onto my temple and inhales deeply. 'Do they want to keep me in a glass box so nothing and no one can hurt me?'

I almost stop breathing.

He sighs heavily, and I rise and fall on his chest 'Do they think their life would be over if I wasn't here?' he finishes softly.

Tears jump into my eyes and I struggle to catch my breath. Okay, the first one for sure, but the other two I think are probably reserved only for me. They are pretty strong words, considering we've known each other for a month. At the beginning, I thought he was after one thing and one thing only, but his behaviour soon told me otherwise, even if I did ignore it. This man was relentless, and now I'm so thankful he was. His business and drink issue are irrelevant now. He's still Jesse and he is still mine.

I turn myself over to my front and slide up his chest, his eyes following mine until they are level with his. 'You stole my lines.' I say softly. I need him to know that he isn't the only one in this relationship who feels unbelievably possessive and protective. It's crazy, this big domineering man, who has completely and utterly taken me, who has me surrendering to him without question or without much doubt. I've given him the power to completely destroy me. He's as important to me as I know I am to him. It just is. 'I love you so much.' I say firmly. 'You have to promise me that you'll never leave me.'

He scoffs. 'Baby, you're stuck with me forever.'

'Good. Kiss me.'

'Are you making demands?' His lips twitch, his eyes twinkle.

'Yes. Kiss me.'

He parts his lips in invitation as his closes the gap between our mouths. I lose myself in him. I wish we didn't have to go anywhere. I savour the heat of his minty breath and meet his circling tongue with equal sentiment as he slides his palms all over my wet back.

'I know it would make you very happy to stay here all night, but we need to think about getting a move on.' He palms by bum and pulls upward so I slide higher and he has access to my neck.

'Let's stay.' I plead unreasonably. I slide back down and catch a perfect rub of him against my entrance.

He sucks in a sharp breath. 'Oh, you have to let me out because if I stay, we'll be going nowhere.' He kisses me urgently and pushes me up so I'm sat on my heels in front of him.

'Stay then.' I pout, pushing against him, wrapping my arms around his neck and sitting myself on his lap. He makes a poor effort to stop me. 'I want to mark you.' I grin and latch on to his pec with my lips.

He groans and lays back. 'Ava, we'll be late.' he says with zero concern. I clamp my teeth around his flesh and suck. 'Fuck, I can't say no to you.' he moans, lifting me to position himself underneath me.

He lets me sink down on a united sigh, and I clamp down a little harder with my teeth, starting to work myself into a slow, controlled rhythm, up and down. He circles my waist with his palms and lifts and lowers me onto his body in time to my set tempo.

'Let me see your face.' he demands. I release my bite and kiss it, before bringing my head up to his level. 'Better.' He smiles.

I liquefy all over him, brushing his wet hair from his forehead and threading my fingers at the back of his head. Our movements remain synchronised as water laps around us and we watch each other closely, the pressure in my groin simmering gently until he flicks his hips up suddenly and my hands fly out to grip the edge of the bath. My cheeks puff out and he smirks at me before repeating the move.

'Again.' I demand impulsively as the rush of my imminent climax hurdles forward. I cry out and throw my head back when he complies. One hand shifts from my waist and drifts upwards until his palm rests on my neck.

'More?' he asks on a low husk.

My head falls back down. 'Yes.' I manage to gasp the word before he snaps his hips up. I close my eyes.

'Eyes, baby.' he warns gently, sliding his hand back down my front to my waist.

I open my eyes, finding Jesse's jaw tensed, his neck veins bulging. I'm lifted again and brought down to meet his rising hips. I cry out, fighting the impulse to close my eyes.

'Does that feel good?' he asks, rewarding me with another flick of his hips.

'Yes!' My knuckles whiten from my fierce grip on the bath.

'Don't come, Ava. I'm not ready.'

I concentrate on controlling the climax pushing forward, Jesse's steady, controlled movements not helping me in my attempts. His head falls back, but he keeps his eyes firmly on mine, lifting me, yanking me back down and grinding hard, time and time again. Together, we moan, my head becoming heavy from maintaining eye contact. I just want to throw it back and let go, but I've got to wait for the okay. I don't know how much longer I can.

'Good girl.' he praises me, gripping my waist harder and guiding me around on his hips. 'Can you feel me, Ava?'

'You're going to come.' I gasp, feeling his cock expanding inside me.

He smiles. 'Get your fingers around them nipples.'

I release the edge of the bath and pinch my nipples into stiffer nubs, rolling my fingers under his watchful eyes.

'Harder, Ava.' he demands, punishing me with another hard blow of his hips. I cry out, clamping down further, the stab of pains shooting straight down to my sex. 'Harder!' he shouts, digging his thumbs into my waist.


'Not yet, baby. Not yet. Control it.'

I swallow hard, tensing every muscle in my body, going completely rigid above him. I don't know how he's doing this. I can see the strain in his face and his tense jaw, and I can feel it in his throbbing cock. His control is incredible. I'm hurdling towards a furious climax, the pressure of my own grip on my nipples getting harder the closer I get. Then he slides his hand down to my inside thigh and moves it across to stroke lightly, the rise and fall of his hips causing the friction of his fingers to rub in time to his unhurried drives.

I start shaking my head in desperation. 'Jesse, please!'

'You want to come?'


He pushes his thumb to the top of my clitoris. 'Come.' he commands, with another thrust upwards, sending me delirious as my body explodes and I scream, the desperate cry echoing around the bathroom.

On a loud curse, he lifts me back up and yanks me down onto him, again and again and again. I yell at the shock, punishing blows and fall forward onto his chest, shaking uncontrollably. I feel him lift my dead weight slightly and bring me back down as he plunges up, holding himself into me, his solid thighs beneath me feeling severe against my limp body.

'Oh, Jesus!' he exhales loudly, water splashing around us. 'Ava, tomorrow I'm handcuffing you to the bed.' he pants. 'Kiss me now.'

I drag my head from his chest and find his lips as he slowly circles his hips, wheedling every last bit of pleasure from us. Now, I could go to sleep right here on his wet chest.

'Take me to bed.' I mumble around his mouth. There is not a chance of getting out of tonight, I know this.

'I'm ignoring you.' he replies sternly.

I clamp my palms on his cheeks to hold him in place while I smother his face with my lips in a desperate attempt to convince him that we should stay. 'Let me love you.' I whisper, moving my hands to the back of his head to grasp his hair. I just want to stay.

'Baby, don't. I hate saying no to you. Off you get.' He pushes me away from him so he slides out, and I grumble moodily as he lifts himself from the bath.

He hates saying no to me? Yes, only when I'm offering my body to him.

'Wear your hair down tonight.' he says, grabbing a towel.

I get myself out of the bath and turn the shower on. 'I might want to wear it up.' I retort, getting under the water to start shampooing my hair. As it happens, I am wearing it down, but I'm being insolent for the sake of it.

I yelp when his palm connects with my bum on a harsh sting. I rinse the shampoo from my hair and open my eyes to be confronted with a glowering, extremely displeased man. 'Shut up,' It's that tone that dares me to object. 'You will wear your hair down.' He skims his lips over mine. 'Won't you?'

'I will.' I breathe.

'I know you will.' He removes himself from the shower. 'You get ready in here, I'll use another room.'

'Not the cream room!' I shout in a panic. 'Don't go in the cream room!'

'Unravel your knickers, lady.'

I watch his wet beaded shoulders leave the bathroom and me to finish my shower.

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