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“What are you suggesting?”
“If I break things off, people will assume I finally saw your ‘true colors.’ At the very least, Parker looks justified for the things he said. But if you break things off because you found someone else, that doesn’t make you look like a bully, just a manwhore.”
“Good point.” Since my reputation for debauchery is set, that’s probably our best out. I would have realized that sooner if being this close to Corinne wasn’t jacking up my libido and clouding my brain. “I’ll break your heart, then.”
“I had a semester of drama in college. I can act appropriately devastated.”
“For the record, I won’t relish even pretending to hurt you.”
Her dark eyes chide me. “You have to get into the role to be believable.”
She’s right. “I’ll work on an exit strategy…
Unfortunately, we don’t know how long it will take your brother to concede defeat and give you your inheritance. It could be weeks or months…”
“Parker is nothing if not stubborn.”
“Are you saying yes to being my fake fiancée now?”
“There’s a lot of ground we haven’t covered yet, and I still have concerns.”
Ailani appears again with our appetizers and sets them between us. “Be careful. These are hot.”
“Thank you. Would you also bring us a hula pie with two spoons after dinner?”
“Of course.” She nods.
“Dessert, again?” Corinne groans as soon as our waitperson leaves the room. “You’re killing my diet.”
“You don’t need one, trust me. But you have to have hula pie,” I assure her. “Macadamia nut ice cream on chocolate cookie crust, topped with hot fudge, toasted nuts, and whipped cream.”
She sighs like she’s in love. “If you thought I moaned like I was nearing orgasm the last time you watched me eat, just wait.”
“Why do you think I ordered it?” I quip.
“Spoken like a true manwhore…which brings me to my hesitation. How will we handle your sex life during our ‘engagement?’ You’ll have to be discreet or word will get out before we’re ready and—”
“It won’t.” We’re getting to the terms and conditions Corinne will object to. “But thanks to your brother, my profile is too high to walk into a bar and pick up a woman without half the internet knowing inside an hour.”
She nibbles that pouty lip like she knows I’m right and it’s a problem. “So what’s the plan? Will you just do without until my stubborn brother lets up?”
“Then I don’t understand how you’re going to manage this.” She presses her lips into a thin, white line. “Since your decision affects me, I have a right to know. But I guess you have women you can call—flings, friends with benefits, casual hookups…”
Is it my imagination or is Corinne less than pleased with the prospect of me in bed with someone else? Her expression says so. It’s perverse, but the fact she seemingly cares about who and what I do thrills me.
“Impossible. The second I touch any of them, they could run to the press, who will pay big bucks for the raunchy inside scoop of how I cheated on you. And our whole plan will be down the toilet.”
That’s the truth…but not the whole truth. I don’t want Emma, my last fling. Maxie, my usual friend with benefits, can’t keep her mouth shut. She already sold the story of our on-again, off-again sex life to a tabloid a few months back. And my last casual hookup, Jacinda, is leaving the island in a handful of hours.
But the biggest reason I’m pushing back? I want Corinne. I desire her in my bed, under me, calling my name, taking me deep, available to me day and night, scratching her nails into my back as she screams out in ecstasy. I can’t deny I’ll get the satisfaction of knowing Parker will picture all of that—and it will kill him. But actually taking this woman to bed and having her completely mine? That pleasure is all for me.
“What are you saying?” she asks with wide eyes.
But she knows; her trembling tells me.
“The only sex I’ll be having is with you.”
She blinks and sits back in her chair. “But it’s a fake engagement.”
“With benefits.” I smile. “Our relationship can’t seem fake or no one will believe us. Besides, the way I want you, princess, is very real.”