He had realized that a lot of women (and men) only wanted to get to know him to extract something out of him. For the longest time, he thought it was the cost of doing business, but it had left him a jaded man. Nina had changed all of that though.
He hadn’t meant to lie to her, but now he wasn’t sure how to get out of it. Hayden knew that she liked him. It was clear as day. And he did too, surprisingly enough. What had started out as a way to get Nina out of his system by seducing her had suddenly become a lot more complex. But how was he supposed to have known that all this time, she hadn’t known who he was?
Unfortunately, the decision was made for him. As they exited the airport, a driver held up a sign saying “Hayden and Nina”. It didn’t take a genius to figure out just how many Haydens and Ninas there could have been on the flight.
She stopped, stock still. Her mouth had dropped open, a
nd her eyes were wide. Nina turned around to look at him, hurt and confusion written on her face.
“Nina,” he said quietly, “I can explain.”
“What do you mean?” Her voice quavered just a little at the end.
“I was going to explain, to say, but I just didn’t have a good time…”
Hayden started to reach out to her, to pull her closer, but she pulled her hand back towards herself. He knew why she was angry. It seemed like such a cruel trick, to flirt with her when he knew that she was going to be his stepsister. That it would be wrong to continue on the path they were headed to.
Hayden’s file on her had been thorough. She didn’t have a boyfriend, and she never did before either. She was too shy and guarded to let anyone in, and over time, it had hardened into a shell that didn’t let anyone in. Her anger smarted, but he knew that he had nobody else to blame but himself. He should have spoken up.
“There’s no need,” she said. “I’m fine.”
She wasn’t. He knew she wasn’t. But Nina turned toward the driver and shook his hand, all traces of her feelings wiped off. Her walls had gone down, and Hayden was locked out.
The ride back was similarly icy. Even the driver seemed to pick up on the silence and gave up trying to point out interesting facts about St. Lucia after the first few minutes. Hayden wanted to try to explain, but he could see that it would only make things worse. Nina wasn’t ready to listen to anything he had to say, replying only with monosyllables.
He shook his head, frustrated by his own stupidity. Who did he think she was, just another silly bimbo girl at the bar? Nina was way smarter than that, and he had miscalculated. A lot. The only thing he could do was wait until they were alone again, or risk embarrassing her further.
At least they were in a beautiful place. Maybe that would allay her anger a little bit. The resort that her mother had picked out was spectacular. Not only was the resort ground completely separated from all the other hotels in St. Lucia, they would have their own private ‘sanctuaries’ as the hotel called them, complete multiple bedrooms, kitchens, and a living room that opened out to a private infinity pool. The best part of all this was that the suite was secluded from the others, and they would have their privacy. Hayden had hoped that they would be able to get to know one another by sharing the suite together.
“What is this?” she asked, as the bellboy finished dropping off their bags and closed the door behind him.
“I hoped that we would be able to get to know one another a bit better this weekend. It is the first time we’ve seen each other in person.”
“And you thought that I’d want to start by sharing a room?”
He had to admit that it sounded like a pretty stupid idea coming from her now. God, he just couldn’t think straight when it came to her!
“Well, I didn’t think that you’d want to sleep with me right away, no,” Hayden replied. He saw her look away, red suffusing her cheeks as his meaning became clear. She looked so sweet and perfect right then, he wanted to cross the room and sweep her into his arms. “Believe me, I know this looks bad. I hadn’t intended for what happened on the plane.”
“And what did happen on the plane?”
She looked so fragile and hopeful. He walked across the room slowly. Nina looked like she could bolt any second, and that was the last thing he wanted to have happen. Finally he stopped, even though she was close, so tantalizingly close. His heart and his body ached for her.
“Us…” he said softly. Looking down at her, he smiled, hoping that it would coax her’s out too. “Instead of just me and you, it became ‘us’ on that plane ride.”
Her eyes darted to his and away, as if she couldn’t believe she was hearing those words. Hayden couldn’t resist any longer. He had held out because he hadn’t been sure, because he didn’t want to rush things until they could have talked through what it might mean now that they were going to be step siblings, but none of that seemed to matter to him in that moment.
Cupping Nina’s face in his hands, he kissed her, soft at first, but harder, desire urging him forward…