Welcome back! If you’re here for the first time, please begin at the beginning. There’s also a list of scenes on the side to make the story easy to navigate. Enjoy!
When Charisse turned off the water he said, “It must’ve been hard to get this place started. I like the hint of Versailles. Do you have a partner?” he asked.
She smiled when he talked of Versailles. She’d tried to model the studio after it, but no one had ever noticed before.
And his voice had changed—he sounded curious rather than guarded. Before she answered, she pumped shampoo into her hand, rubbed her hands together until the shampoo foamed and then ran her fingers over his scalp.
Warmth charged from her fingertips all the way to her core. She had to stop herself from jumping in surprise. She’d shampooed hundreds of heads and never felt so connected. When her fingers massaged into his skin, she knew without him speaking where it felt best, where she should concentrate most. Crap, this was all wrong. She was a hairstylist, not a masseuse. She should just be giving him a regular wash and rinse.
She glanced at his face and saw he’d closed his eyes and allowed his mask to slip off. He appeared vulnerable, like someone capable of tenderness.
She remembered he’d asked her a question and thought it would be just the thing to bring back her professionalism. “I have a silent partner. Have you been to Versailles? I think it’s lovely.”
He actually sighed before he spoke, like he was as into the moment as she was. “The gardens there are my favorite place on earth.” His voice had shifted again. It was sort of dreamy but also like he was whispering a secret. She felt as if she’d touched on something important to him and decided not to break the strange intimacy by asking more questions.
She lifted his head up a little to shampoo the base. He’d relaxed so much that his head was heavy. His lips parted slightly as she took her time, enjoying his reaction that bordered on trust. Most suits never let their guard down this much in front of a stranger.
On the other side of the partition, she could hear a hair dryer over chatter. At least everyone had gotten back to business. She wondered if Marie was out there redoing her hair and makeup while she waited.
She eased his head back down to the sink and reluctantly withdrew her fingers. Time to rinse. As the warm water sprayed his hair, her fingers ran through the now silk like strands. Hopefully, he’d like the sensation as much as she did. The conditioner would soften it even more.
She pumped conditioner into her palm and took her time gliding her fingers through his hair. The heat in her core burned, making her realize she wanted this guy.
She yanked her hands away. She hated businessmen. And she was a professional hairstylist, not a prostitute. She was practically sexualizing a wash and rinse with a client.
Conor gave a light snore.
Charisse froze. It was good that he hadn’t noticed how much she desired him through the wash, but now she had a freaking billionaire asleep in her salon.
Charisse took a couple of deep breaths as her sister had when Conor showed up. The conditioner needed to soak in, so really, she didn’t need to wake him up right away. God, he was handsome. And he liked Versailles. She slipped into a daydream where they walked through the gardens together holding hands. Soon they found a secluded spot among a trellis of climbing roses. He sat down on a bench and pulled her body to him so she straddled his lap–
“Everything okay back there?” called Marie.
Charisse shook her head. Conor was supposed to be enamored with Marie, not her. She needed to finish her job and get him back out there so Marie could flirt with him and get him to take her to the cocktail party.
“Conditioning,” she called back. She glanced down at Conor. How had that not woken him?
She rinsed his hair, resisting all urges to slow down and enjoy the smooth strands she’d given him. She turned the water off and heard another soft snore.
She grabbed a fresh towel and drew out all the extra water. Another snore.
She’d just have to wake him. She stepped around so she faced him and put her hand on his shoulder. “Mr. Grishin,” she whispered. “Mr. Grishin, wake up.”
His eyelids opened, and he grabbed her wrist. “Who are you, and where am I?” All serenity had fled, replaced by a wildness that chilled her.
Charisse tried to force herself to remain calm, but her voice quavered as she spoke. “You’re at Ma Charisse. You fell asleep while I was shampooing your hair.”
His eyebrows drew together, and he looked confused. Then he appeared like he might hit her. She drew back, and he let her wrist go before she had to yank it away.
Charisse whispered, “I’m sorry. I was hoping you’d wake up while I was rinsing you. You must have had a long day.”
“Forget it,” he growled. “Let’s go cut my fucking hair.”
Please continue on to Scene Six!
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