Chapter 10 - Seven Nights of Sin (Penthouse Affair #2)

Later, I roll my suitcase down to Bianca’s little sedan, and we make the short drive to Dominic’s luxury high-rise building.

“Okay, I have to ask. Are you sure you want to go through with this?” Bianca’s hands are on the wheel and her foot is on the brake pedal. We’ve just arrived outside of Dominic’s apartment building and I’m about to step out.

My hand slips from the lock on the door. “What do you mean?” I’m not used to Bianca being the voice of caution in our friendship. Actually, she’s the opposite.

She lowers her sunglasses to the tip of her nose. “I know things have been shaky . . . between work and Mr. Man. I just want you to be sure about it. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

I sink back into my seat, grateful for her concern. “I’ll admit, I’m kind of nervous. This isn’t really me . . . or it isn’t who I thought I was.” I meet her eyes, continuing in a braver voice. “But now, I’m learning things about myself on the daily. This new Presley is someone I’d like to get to know a little better. So I figure, why not follow my instincts and go on an all-expenses-paid trip with the hottest guy I’ve ever met?”

Bianca throws her head back and laughs at that.

“And,” I say, “I feel like leaning into this.”

“The adventure?”

“Yeah.” And the guy.

Bianca leans over and wraps me in her arms, and for a second, I feel safe and warm and loved. After the tumultuous few days I’ve had, it’s nice. Having her approval during this wild chapter in my life is everything to me. I squeeze her tight.

“I’m thankful for you,” I say, finally pulling back.

“Aw, I’m thankful for you too. Now go get some dick.”

I bark out a laugh and exit the car. Yeah, right . . .

Unfortunately, Bianca doesn’t get to examine Dominic in person like she wanted. After being let in by the doorman, I ride up to the twelfth floor alone, just me and my worn-out suitcase. I pause at his front door, my fist hovering inches from the door.

Come on, Presley. It’s hardly leaning in if you can’t even knock on his door.

Before I can make a decision, the door suddenly opens.

“Thought you’d be there,” Dominic says, those sharp eyes appraising me. “Come in.”

I follow him inside, taking note of the comfortable clothing he’s wearing for our flight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a pair of jeans. But, damn, his tight glutes are just as awe-inspiring in denim as they are in dress pants. And to make everything worse, the cotton T-shirt he has on perfectly hugs his broad shoulders and firm biceps.

I can’t help but wonder what he’d look like peeling it off.

I don’t have a lot of time to ogle this new look before I’m distracted by Lacey and Emilia’s small voices down the hall. They’re not the cheerful voices I remember from my brief visit with them.

Of course, they wouldn’t be happy to lose their father for an entire week, I get that. They must be so confused. Work trips aren’t really within the realm of a two-year-old’s understanding. I wonder how Dominic is feeling, having to leave his two little girls for an extended trip like this.

“Stay here,” he says, relegating me to the front hall. He disappears around the corner, his voice a low hush compared to the whimpers of two toddlers.

Despite his order, I tiptoe after him, leaving my suitcase at the door. Curious to see what the interaction with his daughters will be, I peek around the corner.

“Don’t go.” Lacey whines, her tiny hands clasped around Dominic’s fingers, who crouches before her.

Emilia sits sulking on the floor next to Lacey, her eyes wide and wet with tears. I can hear Francine bustling around in the kitchen, giving the family the space they need for this tearful moment.

“I’m going to miss you both too,” Dom murmurs, kissing each little girl on top of the head. “You have to promise to call me every night, okay?”

The girls nod vigorously, their curls bouncing around their faces. My heart warms at the sight. Dominic so easily made his girls feel better—not by being patronizing or cliché, but rather by admitting his own feelings to them.

If only he were like this with people his own age.

He turns to see me watching him, and my breath catches. “Let’s go.”

The limo ride to the airport is awkward and quiet. We sit in silence, a stark contrast to our more recent highlights in limos. He barely speaks to me at all, even when we arrive at the airport. We only make eye contact once, when he offers to lift my luggage onto the counter for me.

“Please,” I say, my voice cracking with disuse.

His gaze seems to pass right through me, as if I’m merely a stranger in line he happened to do a favor for. Now, as we make our way down the aisle to our first-class sleeping pods, I’m itching to speak to


Have you been to London before?

Where will we be staying?

What’s going on in your head right now?

There are so many unanswered questions desperate to slip out of my mouth and onto my growing list of regrets. But there’s no opportunity for even casual conversation when he slides into the seat behind mine.

He doesn’t want to talk to me; he’s made that plain. And he’s making it abundantly clear exactly what his expectations are concerning me.

Then why the hell am I here?

I turn away from his pod, refusing to waste any more time staring at his profile. If he wants to acknowledge me, he will. I won’t beg for his attention.

No, I’ll eat my dinner in silence and watch a mind-numbing movie about someone with bigger problems than my own, or I can read the book I brought with me and get lost in the pages. I won’t spare another regretful thought about this situation I’ve willingly placed myself in.

As the plane takes off and rumbles with turbulence during the ascent, I sink into my seat and close my eyes, welcoming the escape of the roaring noise to drown out my own thoughts. Even as I slip off into sleep, I can’t help but wonder . . .

What will tomorrow bring?