Torrid - Book Two(7)

By: Jayne Blue


“Tora,” he whispered against my ear. His arms came around me and pulled me close, pressing the length of his body to mine. “Where’d you go? I couldn’t find you.”

I shifted, stretching my legs out and turning. “Just here. You were snoring again and I couldn’t sleep. But you found me all right.”

He squeezed me against him so tight I had trouble catching my breath. “My wife belongs in my bed. We’ll buy you earplugs, but you’re sleeping with me every night now if I have to tie you to the bed posts.”

My heart raced as his words conjured up the memory of Jack doing exactly that to me and how much I enjoyed it. With Seth, though, I felt suffocated.

“I can’t breathe, baby,” I said, squirming until he loosened his grip. I sat up. “I’m sorry. I was just so tired.”

“Come on,” he said, rising. He held out his hand for me and pulled me out of the bed. “I’m not taking no for an answer.” He led me across the hall back to Miranda’s room. Seth’s steps faltered, still sluggish from the martinis. But he climbed into bed without any help and patted the space next to him.

One thing I hadn’t lied about – I was exhausted. Mercifully, he didn’t pull me to him again and when I fell back asleep, I didn’t dream of Jack this time.

***

We took a quiet breakfast on the veranda. I had to give Mary Barlow credit this morning. She assembled a crew late at night and they’d cleaned the yard so well you’d never know we hosted a wedding here just a few hours ago. She also made herself scarce this morning and I hoped she’d seen the writing on the wall. As far as anyone knew, I was officially Mrs. Seth Manning now. I had no intention of keeping anyone loyal to Miranda working in the house anymore.

“Are you pleased with how everything turned out?” I said.

Seth took a beat to look up from his tablet before answering. “It was good, I think. I’ve got a campaign manager lined up, that’s the important thing. And everyone seemed really positive about my chances.”

I think Seth was at a different party than I was last night. He obviously didn’t remember the looks of shock and horror he got after insulting Judy Glanville and manhandling his new bride. I couldn’t worry about that. Whether Seth was or wasn’t the next U.S. Senator from Illinois didn’t matter to me at all.

“So what’s next?” I asked.

Seth didn’t answer, his attention diverted back to whatever he had up on his tablet. I tried again.

“Seth, you were really upset the other night about ... oh ... what was his name? George Pizzaro? Pizzaro ... that doesn’t sound right? What was it?”

Seth looked up and narrowed his eyes at me. “When was I upset?”

Careful. Seth’s blackouts seemed to be getting worse along with the amount of alcohol he consumed. “You said something about George ... help me out with his last name. You said you were upset that he wasn’t going to be able to come to the wedding. Did he end up coming? You introduced me to so many people it slipped my mind to ask.”

Seth’s face darkened. “Pagano. Not Pizzaro. And no. He didn’t show.”

“Is that bad for you? Is he somebody important?” I gave him the blankest smile I could muster. If this were a real conversation, it would be so easy. Seth needed someone to tell him what to do. Left to his own plans, he unraveled. If I was actually trying to help him get elected, I’d turn on Miranda Mode. I wasn’t. I needed him weak and talking.

“Yeah, baby,” he said. “He’s important. That son of a bitch’s money can pretty much sew this thing up for me.”

“Is there anything we can do? I mean, maybe he really just was busy.”

Seth laughed and actually patted my head. I white-knuckled my coffee mug, suppressing the urge not to brain him with it. “Pagano needs to be told what to do, sweetie. I just need to be alone in a room with him for five minutes and I’ll fix it all. It’s okay, though. I’m going to get the chance in a few days.”

“Oh?” I sipped my coffee.

“I told you, I’m taking you to The Maples for a sort of working honeymoon. We’ll do something that’s just for us when I get this senate seat locked up once and for all.”

I nodded.

“I suppose you’ve never been near the Blue Ridge Mountains,” Seth said.

I shook my head.

“You’ll love it. There’s a Legacy Foundation retreat next week. All the party bigwigs will be there and I’m going to attend a few events. You can spend your days at the spa or go swimming ... whatever.”

“Sounds wonderful,” I said, downing the last of my coffee.

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