“Jansen, is it possible you are dining alone?” Cheyenne could hardly contain herself. Ryan could no longer stand to watch. He picked up his drink.
“Actually, sadly, I am, Ms. Christy.”
Ryan wished the guy would just shut off the fucking sexy voice. Ryan’s pants were becoming uncomfortable and that was pissing him off even more.
“Please, call me Cheyenne.”
Funny, Ryan thought. Her voice sounded awfully strained. He wondered briefly what was wrong, but he refused to look at her. He raised the full glass carefully to his lips. He didn’t want to spill a drop.
Cheyenne continued. “Would you like to join us?”
Ryan sucked scotch right into his lungs and dissolved into a fit of coughing and wheezing, complete with tears.
By the time he got himself under control, a new place setting had already appeared at their table, along with another chair in which Jansen now sat.
“You don’t mind, Ryan, do you? No one should eat alone.” Cheyenne’s tone sounded pouty but well pleased.
Jansen seemed pretty proud of himself as well. “Are you all right? I had the bartender upgrade your drink—a bottle I brought on board from my own private collection. I probably should have warned you. I guess I assumed you would sip, not guzzle.” He chuckled.
Still wiping tears away, Ryan glared at Jansen’s concerned smile. Damn this guy. He obviously flirted with anything that moved. And now he had the audacity to turn it back on him? “That was not the reason I choked, Mr. Branwyth. Thank you, but I never asked you to upgrade my drink.” Ryan’s face felt on fire.
Jansen flinched as if he had been taken back by Ryan’s words. “As if” being the operative words. Even so, good!
“Please, Ryan, call me Jansen, and I know you didn’t ask for the upgrade.” Jansen’s tone seemed apologetic. “But I wanted you to have the best.” He leaned forward, closer. “Like I said, this is from my private collection, not available at the bar. Have you ever had eighteen-year-old Glenlivet?”
Eighteen-year-old scotch? Fuck. Sounded special and… elegant. “No, but—”
“Oh, Jansen!” Cheyenne gushed. “Thank you for your amazing kindness! What did you give me?” Cheyenne had reached out and taken hold of Jansen’s arm. He couldn’t help but turn to her. Then she leaned close while she swirled her finger in her drink, brought her finger to her mouth and proceeded to suck on it with her eyes closed. “Mmmmm. Tastes absolutely fantastic.” She slowly pulled her finger out, then slipped it back in. Again, she opened her mouth so they could both watch her wrap her tongue around the digit, as she continued to moan. Ryan was nearly sick for her sake, mortified to be at the same table. It was apparent of course, what she was doing. She was openly seducing Jansen. And now knowing the real Cheyenne, this little act was stomach turning at best. How could someone so beautiful be so repulsive? He shook his head and looked away. He really couldn’t take this anymore. He needed to escape from this mess.
“Actually, Ms. Christy,” Jansen drawled. “I know little to nothing about vodka. You have the bar pour. Which, from what I understand, is still quite good. I believe it comes from a local distillery.”
Could it be Jansen had not been affected by Cheyenne’s little act? Even so, it was almost worth having witnessed it to see the look of complete and total shock on Cheyenne’s face. But that expression quickly morphed back to seductive after a brief pass through what Ryan would have guessed was anger. Ryan knew the big guns were going to come out now. When Cheyenne had something—or someone—in her sights, she was relentless. He almost felt sorry for Jansen.
“I… I see. Well, I could teach you what you don’t know.” She moved her hand to Jansen’s palm and began using a finger there as well, tracing little circles in a very slow motion. “I’m quite good at teaching… things.”
Ryan startled when Jansen jolted back in his chair. He sat wide-eyed when Jansen’s face turned ashen in color, and then his eyes narrowed at Cheyenne. He wasn’t sure what just happened, but something had.
“I have no doubt you are.” Jansen remarked as he pulled his hand from her touch and turned back to Ryan, as if he were waiting for Ryan to chime in on this stupid conversation.
Ryan just stared at him, not knowing at all what to say. Then suddenly he remembered Jansen asked him a question. “Um… no, I haven’t had eighteen-year-old scotch. Ever. Wow.” Because eighteen-year-old liquor had to be expensive. “I’m sorry, Mr. Branwyth. I mean Jansen. I didn’t mean to be rude. Thank you. This was very kind of you.”
“Not at all and you don’t have to thank me. I wanted to do something nice for you and I was happy to see you like scotch. I knew you would like this.”
Ryan realized Jansen was watching him with a heated stare that did far more for him than Cheyenne’s seductive play with her fingers ever could have. But being that Jansen had also flirted with Cheyenne, even invited her to drinks later, he could not allow himself to be fooled—not by Cheyenne anymore or Jansen Branwyth. Besides, with someone like Cheyenne about to pounce on you, no red-blooded man could resist or would be allowed to escape. He certainly hadn’t. Her persistence wore people down and she always ended up with what she wanted, mostly because people gave in, including him. It was the reason he was here in the first place. He saw all of that now. How utterly fooled he had been. And even though he felt nothing in losing Cheyenne, he was ill to his stomach at not having a chance with Jansen. Sigh.
Ryan closed his eyes for a moment, reining in his emotions and the sting of tears behind his eyes. His mind might get it all now, but neither his tickly nerves nor his body wanted to give up. His entire being seemed to think it was used to this man’s touch after nearly three months of imagining Jansen’s hands and mouth on him. He couldn’t stay at this table. However, to leave, he would have to stand up, and standing would reveal the direction his thoughts had journeyed.
Except, sitting here and watching Cheyenne swoop in for the kill definitely was not possible.
He opened his eyes, being careful not to look at Jansen. “I am sorry, Cheyenne, Mr. Branwyth, but I need some fresh air. Please continue your dinner without me because I think I will excuse myself for the duration of the meal.” He rose unsteadily to his feet. He had half a mind to run. “Please don’t mind me. Have a great meal.” He picked up his drink and left the table.