As the air enveloped my cooling, naked body, I dropped my head in my hands. What the hell was I going to do? I couldn’t wear “that” dress. I wasn’t like her, all curves in the right places and confidence oozing from every pore. Why couldn’t she, if she had to pull this crazy stunt, just have placed a different top in the bag, maybe even red, because it was a nice Christmassy color. I could have worn that with my pants and shoes. Surely that would have sufficed as “coming out of my hole”, as she so eloquently put it.
Shivering, I glanced at my jeans discarded on the floor near the bedroom door. There was no way I could wear them. Not for an elegant meal. I scrabbled in the bag for my underwear. “Please let it be here,” I muttered.
But oh no. Dawn had switched my trusty full knickers for a lace thong and a matching black strapless bra.
I could have kicked myself for telling her my bra size when she’d asked me a couple of weeks ago. Oh, she was good all right, good at being a sneaky, conniving witch. “Hey, Ashley, they’ve got a sale on at Selfridges, all small sizes, what do you normally buy?” she’d asked as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.
I’d answered as I dragged myself from a deliciously naughty description of Lord Belton savoring his two favorite stable girls.
Well, I just wouldn’t go to dinner. I’d wrap myself up in the hotel robe and lounge on the bed with my e-books.
I stalked to the bathroom and reached for the robe with FH embroidered on the left breast. I would have time to finish The Millionaire’s Virgin Bride then read all the others I’d planned. It would be fine. In fact it would suit me very well. I slammed my hands into the robe and let the softness embrace me.
The phone trilled to life on the bedside table. I picked it up.
“Ashley, Ashley, is that you?”
“Ah, good, excellent, you made it through the snow then, it’s getting pretty heavy out there and you left later than me. You still looked up to your head in work when I passed by your office.”
“Oh, er, yes, just reading through positions.” Not alarm positions though, the sexual positions Tobias was dreaming up for his new wife’s first night of pleasure. He’d come up with a very naughty idea of bending her over the ship’s bridge. A plan of tying her hands to the rail and finding her elusive hot spot from behind. My stomach had flipped as he’d mulled over his plan and I was still waiting to find out if he carried it through. Would it hurt? Would she like it? Would it be the best position to find her G-spot? I’d heard all about G-spots but had no experience of finding my own.
Derek was talking again.
“Um, sorry, what?” I asked, rubbing my temples.
“I’ll come and collect you from your room if you’d like. Save you walking in alone.”
“Oh, er.” Bless him, he was old enough to be my grandfather and to be honest he sometimes treated me as if I was his granddaughter.
“What room are you in?”
I responded, “217,” automatically, then kicked myself for my hasty answer.
“Okay, I’ll be there in ten minutes. Be ready, poppet.”
“But, but I don’t think I will be—” The line rang dead in my ear, a sharp monotone hum. “Going for dinner,” I said quietly. Damn. I should never have picked up the phone. I should have let him think I was stuck in the snow or maybe even told him I was sick. Or I should have screamed that stupid Dawn had switched my outfit in her pathetic attempt at livening up my life.
I stalked to the minibar. Pulled out a tiny bottle of white wine and poured it into a tumbler. Glugging back the oaky liquid, I thought of the heroines in my books. What would confident-but-waif-like Saffron do in my position? Or the wild and untamed Henrietta from the Swashbuckling series? I pictured them in a luxury hotel, a sexy outfit and a room full of people downstairs. Would they stay in? Would they curl up with a book? Realization dawned on me as I polished off the wine. No, they wouldn’t stay in. My heroines wouldn’t even consider it.