Home > Managed (VIP #2)(7)

Managed (VIP #2)(7)
Author: Kristen Callihan

I’m still reeling from the low rumble of his voice—it tickles down my spine and flares along my thighs—when he moves away. “Do not drink too much or you’ll have a headache,” he advises before walking off, heading back downstairs.

I hate to admit, he takes all the excitement of being in the bar with him. Now it’s just a novelty situation that’s grown stale. I slide my half-finished drink away and hop off the barstool.

Downstairs, the seats in the little cabins have indeed been converted to beds. I hold in a squeal of joy. It’s an actual bed, with full-sized pillows and a brilliant white duvet trimmed in scarlet. A single red rose has been placed on each pillow. I swear, I’m about to hop up and down, but I catch a glimpse of Mr. Happy, who is standing at the threshold of our seating cabin, hands on his trim hips, brows knitted so tightly they almost touch.

“What’s wrong,” I ask him. “No hospital corners?”

He gives me a sidelong glare before turning his attention back to the beds. “I asked for my seat not to be converted. And the flight attendant is obviously operating under an extreme misconception.”

Glancing back, I finally notice what he’s talking about. I’d been so happy about the existence of a bed, I hadn’t realized that our two seats have been converted into one smooth double bed. There’s even a tray with an ice bucket of champagne on it.

A laugh escapes me before I can hold it in. “Honeymoon special?”

“You find this amusing?” His nostrils flare in annoyance, though he’s not looking at me, just mentally destroying the bed with his laser gaze.

“Honestly? Yeah, I do.” I kick off my shoes and crawl over the bed. It’s firm to the point of being stiff, and there’s a small ridge down the middle. But I’m not about to complain. Sitting cross legged on my side, I look up at his looming figure—he still hasn’t fully entered the compartment. “Come on. You have to admit it’s a little bit funny.”

“I’ll admit nothing,” he bites out, but then his shoulders lower and he steps into the compartment, turning to slide the doors shut with a definitive click. “And to think that woman was flirting with me.”

He sounds so disgusted, I have to laugh again. “I’m not following.”

He sits on his side of the bed and toes off his shoes, scowl still fully in place. “The flight attendant clearly assumes we’re together now, and yet just a moment ago she…” He trails off with a faint flush, which is kind of cute, almost as if he’s embarrassed. And yet.

“She hit on you in the hall?” My ire rises swift and hot—not jealousy. It’s the principle of the thing.

He grunts, glances at the bed, wrinkles his nose in distaste, and turns his back to it once more.

“That little hussy,” I say, glaring at the door.

At that he looks over his broad shoulder at me. A glint enters his eyes. “Jealous, Ms. Darling?”

“Hey, you pointed out how messed up it was!”

“Insulting it was,” he corrects. “She assumes I’m the sort to double-dip my wick. And obviously so shady, I’d do it in full sight of my current paramour.”

“Are you sure you’re not a duke?”

I can almost see him roll his eyes, though he’s facing the other way. “I’m going to ring her.”

“No, you’re not.” I get up on my knees.

He half turns, bringing one thick thigh up onto the bed. His expression is perplexed. “Why wouldn’t I?”

“Because this bed is the coolest thing yet about this flight, and I don’t want it taken down.”

The corner of his mouth lifts slightly. “They’ll set up a single bed for you.”

Yeah, and that sneaky flight attendant will smirk the whole time. “If you ask her to take it down, you’re opening the door for more advances.”

His eyes narrow.

“Unless, of course, you want that,” I say lightly. Nope. Not even a little jealous.

“She’s not my type,” he says with a sniff.

“You actually have a type?” It comes out before I can stop it.

“Yes,” he drawls. “Quiet, dignified, and discreet.”


He turns all the way to face me. “I beg your pardon?”

I burrow under the covers. They’re just the right weight and softness. Nice. “Pardon yourself. You said that to put me in my place. But I’m not biting.”

“You’re imagining things,” he grumbles as he sits back and, with clear reluctance, brings his legs onto the bed. “And annoying.”

“You just can’t manage me. That’s what annoys you.”

I pull out the cute little sleep mask provided in my kit and slip it on with a happy sigh. I’ll just ignore him for the rest of the trip. No problem. Silence rings out, and the drone of the engines comes back full force.

His gruff voice breaks our stalemate. “Are you going to drink any of this champagne?”

“No. I’ve been nagged into refraining from drinking too much, remember?”

A soft huff sounds. Then the bed dips as he leans close and picks up the tray. A clink and another bed dip and everything settles.

“I’ve never met a person I couldn’t manage,” comes his tight reply a few seconds later.

Not bothering to take the mask off, I extend a hand his way. “Sophie Elizabeth Darling.”

A set of teeth catch the edge of my hand and nip me. I’m so shocked I yelp, snatching my hand back. Lurching up, I whip off my mask to find him staring back at me with a bland look.

“Did you just bite me?” It comes out in an indignant squeak. Not that it hurt. He only nipped me, and playfully at that. Still. Really?

“That sounds like a rather juvenile thing to do,” he says, resting his head on his pillow.

“It was a rhetorical question,” I snap. “You bit me!”

His lips quirk as if he’s trying very hard not to laugh. “Best not to stick your hand in my face then.”

I gape at him for a full beat. “And you call me insane.”

His blue gaze meets mine. “Do you mind? I’m trying to get some rest.”

“I don’t like you,” I mutter, sliding my mask on.

“Lie,” he points out, mimicking my earlier tone. “You’ve told me repeatedly now that you find me blindingly attractive.”

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