It Happened One Wedding Page 42

Damn.

A few minutes later, Vaughn found himself seated at the butcher block island in her kitchen, watching as Sidney pulled trays out of the refrigerator that were piled high with tiny sandwiches and minicakes.

“Any chance you’re going to pull something out of there that comes in an extra large?” He picked up one of the miniature cakes, a small dainty replica of a three-tiered wedding cake, and held it between his fingers. “I feel like a giant.”

She laughed—not a wry snicker or a bemused chuckle, but an actual full-out laugh that lit up her whole face. “I’ll be sure to pass along your complaints to the Lilliputian chefs.”

She took a seat on the barstool next to him and plucked a cucumber sandwich off the top of the pile. Vaughn scanned the stack, on the off chance there was a bacon-double-cheese or hot-Italian-beef finger sandwich stuck in there somewhere. No such luck. Instead, he settled for ham, brie, and apple.

“So how’s life in private equity treating you these days?” He reached over to the pitcher of orange punch that she’d set out on the counter and poured a glass for her, and then one for himself.

“Good.” She smiled proudly. “In fact, the investment committee at my firm just approved of the first deal I put together.”

Vaughn reached for his glass. “How big a fund are we talking about here?” He took a sip of the orange punch and grimaced. “What is that?”

“That is a virgin mimosa, and we’re talking about a four-billion-dollar fund.”

He was genuinely impressed, hearing that. “Look at you, Ms. Thing. That’s a lot of money you’re in charge of there.”

“This is true.”

“Are you nervous?”

She shook her head. “No.”

“All those people counting on you to deliver, and you’re telling me you’re not the slightest bit anxious?” Spotting a dry bar she’d set up on the built-in butler’s pantry that joined the kitchen to the dining room, he walked over and checked out the selection of liquor.

She turned on the barstool, facing him as he strode across the room. “That’s what I’m telling you.”

“Come on.” He grabbed a bottle and headed back into the kitchen.

“No, really. I do all my due diligence before committing to an investment, I evaluate the pros and cons, and then I spend weeks thinking about the ways we can develop and grow a company beyond what others might see. But once I’ve done my research and I’ve made up my mind, I’m all in.”

“Ah, yes. You and your research.” Vaughn opened her refrigerator and found what he was looking for—tonic water.

“Yep, me and my research. Hey, don’t knock the system—it works. If you do your homework up front, there’s less risk of encountering any unexpected surprises down the road.”

“Sounds like your approach to men.”

“It’s a sound theory. I see no reason why it shouldn’t apply to men, too.” She watched as he grabbed two rocks glasses and poured them each a drink. “What’s this?”

“Grey Goose and tonic. After the day we’ve had, I’m thinking we could use something with more bite than a virgin mimosa.”

Seemingly in agreement, she took a sip.

Vaughn took a seat on a barstool, resting his hand on the counter close to Sidney’s. “So.”

“So,” she said back.

He reached out and touched his thumb just above her upper lip. “You have a little smudge of cream cheese here.” He wiped gently, focusing on her full, very kissable lips. Then his gaze traveled up, to those gorgeous blue-green eyes.

Eyes that, oddly, were regarding him with amusement.

“Are you actually using the there’s-something-on-your-lip move on me?” Sidney asked. “That has to be the oldest move in the book.”

Seriously, this woman reveled in busting his balls.

He scoffed at her question. “Give me a little credit, Sinclair. Next time, I’ll let you walk around with food on your mouth.” Actually, there’d been no cream cheese—it had been a move.

One that obviously needed to be struck from the playbook ASAP.

From the way her eyes sparkled, she still wasn’t buying it. “I’m a little disappointed, Special Agent Roberts. Here I’d thought that a pro like you would—”

Fuck it. Vaughn hooked his finger around one strap of her tank top and pulled her in for a kiss.

That was one move, at least, he knew she liked just fine.

 • • •

WITH A SOFT moan, Sidney’s lips parted eagerly for Vaughn. He slid his hand to the nape of her neck, holding her firmly as his mouth took control, his tongue sweeping around hers in a hot, demanding circle.

She reached up and sank her fingers into the back of his dark hair, and before she realized what was happening, he lifted her up and settled her on his lap. She shifted, moving so that the thick ridge of his erection was right between her legs.

He groaned and broke away from her mouth, sliding his hands to her bottom. “Tell me to leave right now if you don’t want this to go all the way tonight.”

She closed her eyes, giving in to the flood of sensations as his mouth burned a path along her throat. “Take me upstairs,” she said raggedly.

He scooped her up, and she hooked her legs around his waist. She cupped his face between her hands, the kiss never stopping as he carried her to the staircase and up.

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