Bonus scene from Scandal, book 1 in the Secrets & Scandal duology.
I took a minute to observe a sleeping Charles, who slumped against the car door. He snored. Loudly. I couldn’t resist reaching over to brush his hair from his forehead. The poor fool was adamant in denying what we had, and it was killing him inside.
It was clear he still wanted me but wasn’t sure how to handle it.
With a sigh, I went around the passenger’s seat and opened the door. He immediately slumped forward, and I caught him.
“Charles.” I shook him gently, noting the strong alcohol coming from his breath. I should have stopped him before he drank so much, but I’d wanted to give him a chance to figure out why seeing me with Jackie bothered him so much.
Plus, I’d invited Jackie out, and it would have been rude to abandon them and join Charles instead. I hadn’t fooled them in the least. They’d pleaded that they were tired and I should talk to the man at the bar who kept looking at us.
“Huh?” Charles blinked at me. “August?”
“Yes, it’s me. I’ll need your key to get you inside the house.”
I held him up while I dug into his pocket. Charles giggled, head on my shoulder. He turned sideways and licked my neck.
“Love you feeling me up.”
“Not feeling you up, Charles. Just getting your keys. You’re drunk, and I wouldn’t take advantage of you like this.”
“Boohoo. I want you.”
I ignored his advances, the kisses he placed on my neck, and sighed in relief when I came up with his keys. I hoisted him out of the vehicle, grunting under his weight as I carefully maneuvered him toward the front door without dropping him. Although dropping him might have probably sobered him up some.
I opened the door, and we stepped inside, the alarm system advising me I had twenty seconds to disable it before it went off.
“Charles, what’s the alarm code?”
The last thing I needed was to have the alarm company notifying the police.
“Here, let me.”
I stepped aside as Charles’s pregnant wife advanced toward us. She punched in the codes, then turned to me. I tried not to stare at her transparent silk robe. She was naked beneath. Thankfully, her immense belly kept her private area out of sight when I made the mistake of glancing down.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to intrude on you,” I said to her, turning my head.
“I don’t mind a little intrusion,” she replied and reached out a hand to squeeze my bicep, which bulged from supporting Charles’s weight. “Oh, you’re so strong.”
Was she coming on to me?
“I just need to bring Charles to his room,” I said. “Do you mind giving me the directions?”
“I’ll show you. I was just about to go up anyway since my hot date canceled on me.”
At least Charles and I kept our affair a secret, but she didn’t seem to care who knew she was stepping out on Charles. Although pregnant, she was a beautiful woman, and I figured she would have still attracted quite a bit of men to her.
With a grunt, I followed her up the stairs. I roused Charles enough for him to help me up as we maneuvered the stairs. It was no easy feat dragging his bulk along with me. I was breathing hard by the time we reached the second floor.
I trailed after Poppy, and we came to a stop at a door. She pushed it open and stepped in. I followed her inside. My first glimpse into Charles’s room. Although I was curious, I didn’t dare spend more than a cursory look as she watched me closely.
I pushed Charles gently on the bed, reaching for his shoes to remove it. I had them both off and on the floor before I recalled we weren’t alone. It was already weird enough that I’d taken his shoes off.
“Don’t stop on my account,” she said on a smile. “Maybe I’ll join you both?”
Jesus, she was a piece of work. I frowned at her and stepped back from the bed where Charles sprawled on his back. It would be uncomfortable for him sleeping fully clothed, but the last thing I needed was his crazy wife to make more insinuations and outrageous proposals.
“Not exactly up my alley. Charles is family.”
“Not real family,” she replied. “You know, it’s funny the way I keep finding you two together.”
I shrugged. “Coincidence. I was at a bar with a friend when I saw him. Thought Declan would want him home in one piece.”
“Aren’t you a nice boy?”
I bit my tongue not to retort. “I should go.”
“You sure I can’t tempt you to stay. Charles doesn’t mind that I take lovers.” She shrugged one slender shoulder and the thin strap of her robe fell off and slid down one creamy breast.
“Look, you’re an attractive woman but not really what I’m going for at the moment.”
“Hmm. Looking for older men with lots of money?”
Yup, it was definitely time to leave. Charles and I needed to be more careful where this one was concerned. She saw way more than she let on.
“Have a good night, Poppy. See to getting him undressed.”
Not that I even wanted to think about her hands on him in the slightest.
“Will do. I have no hardship at all undressing my husband.”
Was it my imagination or did she stress the second to last word? I shook my head and walked out of the bedroom before biting her bait. From what I knew of her, she would flirt with any man. I wouldn’t further complicate things by telling Charles about her bizarre exchange. Then he’d freak out and insist we needed more distance between us.
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