“I never got to tell you that I was sorry about your dad. He was a good man.” Jason had lost his father just as he graduated from college, and she hadn’t seen him during that year because she was in her first year at the university. Unfortunately, she hadn’t even heard about his father’s death until the funeral was over; Grady informed her during one of their routine phone calls.
“He was a very good man,” Jason agreed. “But he wasn’t a great businessman. When I took over his company, it was nearly broke.”
“How?” she asked in a shocked voice. Jason’s family had lived close to hers, right down the street in a mansion just as big as their own. His dad had been as wealthy as her father. “He was rich.”
“He wasn’t,” Jason confessed roughly. “He was trying to keep up the façade, but he had some bad investments, sunk a lot of money into companies that didn’t fly.”
“Oh, God. I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Did my brothers know?” Hope knew any one of her brothers would have stepped in and helped Jason out.
“Nobody knew. You’re the only person I’ve ever told other than the upper management of his company. Even my mother never knew. I couldn’t bring myself to let her know that my dad didn’t leave her with much,” he confessed reluctantly. “I just tried to pick up the pieces after he died. I did some risky things, took some calculated bets that paid off. Then I did it again and again.”
Hope was willing to bet that they weren’t all that risky. Jason was brilliant, had a sharp mind for investing. If he thought a company would fly, he had reason to believe it. “So you rebuilt the company and became wealthy all over again. By yourself.”
“I got lucky in a few areas, but yeah. Then I started my own investing. I found out I was damn good at making some money into more money. A lot more money.”
“Have you ever had a bad investment?” Hope was now awed by what Jason had accomplished. She’d thought he was a rich boy who’d gone on to become a richer man.
Jason shrugged. “Rarely,” he said without any false arrogance. “If I do, I cut my losses quickly and move on. That’s one thing my father didn’t do and it nearly ruined him.”
“How do you know if an investment is good?”
“It’s mostly analysis,” Jason answered nonchalantly.
It was more than that, and Hope knew it. If it could be done strictly by analysis, a hell of a lot more people would be rich. Jason had a gift for sniffing out good investments, an excellent gut instinct combined with that analysis. “You have a talent, Jason. I think you’re incredible. What you’ve accomplished is almost impossible, yet you did it.”
He was silent for a moment, almost as if he didn’t know how to answer. After a few minutes, he rose and took her with him.
“I think we’re both waterlogged,” he grunted. He placed her gently on the side of the pool so she could get out, and hefted himself out behind her.
“I need a shower,” she muttered. “If I don’t, the minerals irritate my skin.” She stood and quickly opened the doors of a mini closet next to the pool. One towel she tossed to Jason; the other she used to quickly dry her hair. She wrapped the fluffy material around her body, and then snatched a bottle of water from one of the shelves. After she drank half of it, she passed it to him. “It’s not cold, but it’s hydration.”
Jason chugged the rest of the bottle quickly and tossed it into the nearby trash. He ran the towel over his body roughly and then wrapped it around his waist.
“A shower sounds good,” Jason said abruptly. He grabbed her hand and hauled her toward the door. “Let’s go.”
Hope nearly lost her towel as she was hurtled forward to follow in Jason’s wake.
Jason had always considered himself a thinker, a man who calmly considered his options before he made a decision. Rarely was he short-tempered or was his mind muddled. However, Hope Sinclair—Hope Sutherland, that was—slowly and thoroughly made him completely lose his head.
Slowly, his perception of her morphed in his mind, but his dick felt the exact same way about her as it always had: beyond ready, completely willing, and so damn able to be inside her that he was ready to snap.
He had so many reasons to be angry with her now:
She’d lied to everybody—check!
She was a completely different person than he’d thought she was—check!
She was independent and stubborn—check, and check!
The problem was, she was still Hope: still the funny, sweet, and bighearted woman she’d always been. She was also talented and ballsy, which he admired. Honestly, he had to admit that if he only passively looked at the situation, he could probably understand why she’d wanted to pursue her career anonymously and not tell her brothers. She was right. They would have wanted to protect her, and they definitely would have made pursuing her career difficult for her because of those protective instincts. The problem was, he didn’t look at the whole situation indifferently, and he wanted to physically restrain her from ever doing anything risky ever again.
In addition, her mind-boggling Jekyll-and-Hyde attitude about sex drove him completely insane.
She wanted him.
She responded to him.
She looked at him with fire and heat in her eyes.
He could bring her to an incredible climax with his mouth.
Still, he couldn’t f**k her. What. The. Hell? Something was happening with Hope, and for the life of him, he couldn’t figure out exactly what it was that stopped her from letting go of her inhibitions. She wasn’t a virgin, so her hesitation wasn’t caused by a lack of experience.
It was going to be up to him to show her how incredible it could be between the two of them. Hopefully soon, before his dick shattered from constantly being as hard as a rock.
Worse, he could feel her tension, her needs, and it made him almost frenzied to make her come, hear her moan his name when she did.
Jason wanted to turn the shower on full blast to the cold setting, but he didn’t because he was dragging Hope into the shower with him. He dropped his towel and divested her of hers before he stepped into the warm water and pulled her in behind him.
Jesus. If he didn’t touch her soon, he would lose it. He watched as she reached for the liquid soap and lathered her body. Taking the bottle from her, he squeezed a generous amount into his hands and helped her.
“Jason,” she said tremulously. Her eyes opened to give him a startled look as his fingers glided over her br**sts.