This Man Confessed (Page 113)
He grins. ‘Yes, and you trample all over them.’
I laugh and make my way from the room. ‘My trampling ritual is a little milder than yours.’
* * *
Paradise just gets better. Whilst letting Jesse have his way by keeping me locked up at the villa was really very tempting, I wanted to explore with him, walk along holding hands, have lunch and be together in another way. It’s not happened very often since we’ve found each other and though he had a little sulk about it, I know he’s taken pleasure from me in another way today. His arm around my shoulder has kept me snuggly tucked into him and when we ate at a beach bar, he made me sit closely next to him so he could keep his contact.
It’s dusk by the time we’re bumping down the pot holed road, back to the villa. The familiar fragrance hits my nose as we slip through the wooden gates and drive down the cobbled road beneath the canopy of green and white.
‘Have you had a nice day?’ he asks, shutting the engine off and looking at me almost hopefully.
‘I have, thank you. Have you?’
‘I’ve had the best day, baby. But now I get to pick what we do for the rest of the evening.’ He unclips my belt and leans across to open the door for me. ‘Out.’
I follow through on his order, ejecting myself from the soft leather. ‘What are we doing?’
‘We’re going to play a game.’ He’s on my side of the car now, looking down at me with a crafty, raised brow.
‘What sort of game?’ I’m too curious, and it’s obvious.
‘You’ll see.’ My hand is grasped, and I’m led to the villa. ‘Meet me on the rug in the lounge.’ he instructs, dropping a kiss on my bewildered face and leaving me like a loose part by the front door.
Where’s he going? My frowning face watches his back disappear out of the room towards the bedroom, and with little else to do, except follow through on his instruction, I drop my bag and make my way over to the designated rug, sitting myself down in the soft, thick, pile. My curious mind is racing, but not for long. He reappears shuffling a pack of cards.
‘We’re playing cards?’ I ask, trying not to sound disappointed.
‘Yes,’ His short, simple reply is an indication that we will, indeed, be playing cards, no matter how much I protest. Cards?
‘Wouldn’t you rather binge on me?’ I try temptress tactics, with little confidence. I know when I’m going to win, and now isn’t going to be one of those times.
He eyes me warily as he lowers his arse to the rug, leaning up against the back of the couch with his long legs spread at full length in front of him. ‘We’ll play strip poker.’
I’m promptly fidgeting in my seated position. ‘I don’t know how to play poker.’ I’ll lose, but is that such a bad thing? ‘It won’t be a fair game if I don’t know how to play.’ I decide that it will be a bad thing. He’s smug, and I want to wipe that cocky look clean from his face. My competitive side has just raced to the surface.
‘Okay,’ he says slowly, shuffling carefully to match his thoughtful word. ‘How about pontoon?’ He must catch my confused face because he smiles a little. ‘Twenty one? Stick, twist, burn?’
I look at him blankly. ‘Nope, sorry. I have no idea what you’re talking about.’ I stretch my legs out and lean back on my hands. ‘Snap?’
He laughs, that head thrown back, fanning temples laugh—the one I adore. ‘Snap?’
‘Yes, I’m really fast.’
‘Ava, let’s save snap for when the babies arrive.’ He chuckles to himself and deals us two cards each. ‘Okay, I’m the banker and you need to take a look at your cards.’
I shrug and pick them up, noting a ten and a six. ‘Okay.’
‘What do you have?’
‘I’m not telling you!’
He rolls his eyes. ‘We’ll call this a trial run. Tell me what you have.’
I hold my cards to my chest. ‘A ten and a six.’ I say suspiciously.
‘You add them together?’
He’s going to regret this. He might be already. ‘Yes, you add them together.’
‘Right. In that case, I have sixteen.’ I flash him my cards.
He nods his acknowledgment. ‘So the winner is the one who is the closest to twenty one when all players have made their move.’
‘What moves?’ I restrain my grin when he flops his head back, looking up at the ceiling in exasperation.
‘The moves I’m about to explain, Ava.’
‘Oh, okay. Explain away.’
His head comes back down and he blows out a tired breath. He’s definitely regretting this. I bet he’s wishing he’d have opted for bingeing. ‘Right. You have sixteen and you need to get as close to twenty one as possible, without going bust. Bust means over twenty one. Got it?’
‘Good. With a total of sixteen, you should twist, which means I deal you another card. Got it?’
He pushes another card towards me, and I pick it up stealthily, like he doesn’t already know what I’m holding in my hand. ‘What have you got?’ he asks.
‘A king.’ I’m not a card genius, but I know that makes me bust. I throw my cards on the floor. ‘I didn’t want to twist.’
‘You can’t stick on sixteen, Ava.’
‘But at least I wouldn’t be bust!’
‘No, but it’s likely I’ll beat sixteen, so you may as well risk it.’ He turns his own cards over, revealing a jack and a queen.’