Beyond the Ivory Tower

Beyond the Ivory Tower by Jill Blake Read Free Book Online

Book: Beyond the Ivory Tower by Jill Blake Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jill Blake
side. His fingers tangled with hers, coaxing her hands into complete surrender, palms up, on the pillow on either side of her head.
    His mouth gentled, eased back. “Goodnight, Anna.”
    What? He was leaving? No! He couldn’t leave. They were just getting started.
    The light clicked off. Cool air bathed her flushed skin. There was a rustling sound. A muffled curse. The soft snick of the door opening and closing.
    And then silence.
    She could hear the pounding of her heart, the whoosh of each breath.
    He’d be back. Any minute now. The hard-on she saw when he’d spilled his drink had surged back to life when he stripped off her fuck-me heels. She pictured herself reaching for the zipper, sliding it down, freeing him from the confines of his dress pants. His hand would wrap around hers, guiding her up and down his turgid length, showing her how he liked to be stroked. And then his other hand would find her thigh and slide ever so slowly higher, pushing the hem of her dress up, inch by agonizing inch…
    She fell asleep, still waiting for his return.

    The phone rang. And rang. And rang.
    Anna groaned and rolled over, fumbling for the receiver.
    She winced and shut her eyes against the shards of sun coming through the open blinds. Her temples throbbed, and her mouth felt as parched as a dried-out river bed.
    “Anna, are you there?”
    “Hi, Bec,” she rasped. “Could you dial it down a bit?”
    There was a beat of silence, and then Becca’s cautious voice, “Are you alone?”
    She risked another glance around the room before closing her eyes again. “Yes.”
    “You weren’t answering your cell,” Becca said. “The front desk put me through to your room. Are you all right?”
    That was debatable. On a humiliation scale of one to ten, where would she rank getting drunk and throwing herself at a man who looked like the “after” shot in a workout ad?
    At least she still had her clothes on. She popped one eye open to double-check. Yep. The dress was a little wrinkled, but definitely intact.
    She wondered what Ethan was doing this morning. Probably thanking his lucky stars for his narrow escape. Vague memories of the night before made her cringe. Good thing she was heading back to L.A. today. She didn’t think she could face him in the sober light of day.
    Which reminded her of what she’d nearly forgotten: there was a reason she didn’t date. As her sister would say, she sucked at it. Big-time.
    “Listen, Bec, can I call you back?”
    “What’s wrong?”
    “You sure?”
    That was the trouble with best friends: they could tell when you were lying. And they weren’t shy about sticking their noses into your business.
    “Fifteen minutes,” Anna promised.
    A hot shower, two cups of coffee, and three ibuprofen later, she felt slightly more human and in control.
    “You did what?” Becca shrieked, after hearing an abbreviated version of yesterday’s debacle.
    “Just a little louder, Bec. I don’t think the citizens of Kansas heard you.”
    “Wow. Ethan Talbot. I can’t believe I had to drag it out of you.”
    Anna switched to speaker phone and lifted her suitcase atop the bed. “It’s not like I planned it,” she said, gathering discarded items of clothing and tucking them into a laundry bag. “It just happened.”
    “Period cramps just happen. Weight gain just happens. Ending a three-year-old dry spell with Ethan Talbot doesn’t just happen .”
    “I didn’t exactly end the dry spell.” She shoved the shoes into a different bag. “He dropped me back at the hotel and left. End of story.”
    “Well, don’t keep me in suspense. When are you seeing him again?”
    “I’m not.” She debated dumping the unused box of condoms. It wasn’t as if she’d need them any time soon.
    Then again….She glanced at the expiration date. Two years. A lot could happen in two years.
    “Why not?” Becca prodded.
    “Because I’m

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