I need to get out of here and clear my head. I’ve been inundated with Desirae’s project and need a distraction to un-muddle my brain. It’s a massive undertaking encompassing the main house that features six private suites spread out throughout, with several levels from the basement up through three floors. Each suite has double walk-in closets, ensuite bathrooms, with either a sunken soaking tub or raised Jacuzzi. The main house has a dining hall that easily seats twelve people. We designed a formal living room on the main floor with a great room in the basement. The family room is on the second floor while the media room is on the third floor. Forget the fact that Des expects Andrea and I to design a state-of-the art gourmet kitchen, fit in a breakfast nook, and insert impressive aquariums to separate rooms rather than using basic walls. This place is going to be a functioning work of art by the time we’re done with it. Fortunately, the game room has been moved from the main house to the community building to ensure enough space to entertain everyone. Des wants an air hockey table while the guys want a pool table. Carina wants a projection screen on one wall so they can play video games while Jaxon wants old-school arcade machines in the corners.
That room alone is giving me a migraine.
I roll my shoulders trying to relax my body. Although I can find plenty of entertainment under the estate roof, it isn’t where I want to be. It’s hard being the odd man out nowadays. I have no wingman to hang out with. My best friend, Diego, is practically attached to the hip to Desirae; where there is one there is always the other. I don’t want to be the third wheel. Thanks, but no thanks. That leaves me looking for ways to entertain myself. I’m not one for nameless, sloppy sex. I’d rather have a casual, although consistent, fling than a carefree night spent with a stranger.
Desirae’s property is adjacent to Nic’s property and the estate. Combined, these two have close to 1000 acres. I mean who needs this much land? Apparently, they do. But I digressâ€¦ Nic has made the most of his property. While the estate may be his heart and soul, he’s not hurting for money thanks to the stables, the hunting cabins, the shooting range, paintball field, spa retreat, and orchards that all generate revenue. The damn property is its own mini compound. Many staff members live in private cabins away from the hustle and bustle of the plethora of amenities and attractions. Nic is freaking self-sufficient growing fruits and veggies, while farming salmon, hunting game on the countless acres, and raising some livestock. All to provide gourmet meals to the estate, hot meals to hunters, and organic foods to those having a spa day.
I slip through the hidden entrance of the massive hedge that separates her property from his. It’s quite a natural yet very effective border. The gnarly hedge ensures you can’t just slip through them. Security patrols along this side ensuring no unauthorized person gets through. Des is just as protective of her place as Nic is of his. Statues of naked gods and goddesses decorate the side of the estate’s private lawn while the back is more like a Garden of Eve. I walk aimlessly following the winding trail that heads toward the stables. The scent of hay and manure float on the breeze. It’s a pleasant change from the scent of sex and leather under Hedonismâ€™s roof. There is only so much I can handle of the estate at any given time. Right now, I’m maxed out.
Horses nicker as I enter the stable. Already the load lightens from my shoulders as I pat the soft nuzzle of the dark brown horse in front of me. “Can I help you?” A soft feminine voice inquires. I peer around the horse to find an unfamiliar face staring back at me.
“Um” I stammer suddenly lost for words. She has short pixie-like hair with bright blue eyes that glitter even within the shadows of the stable. Her eyes widen in surprise as if she recognizes me. It’s entirely possible considering that I’m always with Diego and the girls. Personally-knowing the owner of the estate gives one a special kind of status.
“Did you have an appointment?” Her nose scrunches in the cutest way. She seems unsure of herself as she shifts from side-to-side. It’s then that I manage to move my eyes from her pretty face to her body. My pants tighten at the sight of her ample chest. Jaxon would say this girl has an impressive rack. Her tight jeans show off curvy hips and luscious thighs. Damn.
She arches her brows waiting.
“What?” Her question slowly processes through my lust-addled brain. “No” I belatedly reply, “I just come out here sometimes to groom them. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Wouldn’t a guy like you rather spend your time over there?” She flicks her thumb toward the estate. Immediately my hackles are up. Judge perfect strangers much?
“What I do with my time is my business” I snap. She flinches at my harsh words but what did she honestly expect?
“I’m sorry” she contritely replies. “It’s just that I usually don’t find guests here unless they have an appointment.” Her cheeks heat with embarrassment making me feel like a total douche.
“I’m the one that’s sorry” I sigh running my hands through my hair, “Just stressed out. You didn’t deserve that.”
“I guess we’re both sorry then” she smiles, and for a moment it reminds me of someone I used to know.
“I’m Griffin” I step away from the horse and approach her with my hand extended.
Her face pales for just a moment causing me to pause. I don’t want to scare her or anything. She finally extends her quivering hand and shakes mine. “I’mâ€¦ m-my name is Dawn” she stutters.
“Beautiful name for a beautiful girl” I smile at her hoping to put her at ease. Her cheeks redden again. Damn this girl blushes easily.
“Thanks” she breathily replies. She looks around the stable at the horses. I’ve never seen her before, yet I feel like I know her somehow.
“Have we run into each other here before?” I blurt. I hate asking the whole do we know each other from somewhere since it might be considered a pick-up line.
“Here” she squeaks, “I haven’t worked at the stables for long.” She fidgets looking behind her. My dick presses against my zipper insisting that we should get to know her better. I can’t shake the feeling that I know her though. I want to ask more questions, but she looks ready to bolt or be on the verge of a panic attack. And even though she’s cute when she’s nervous I don’t want her to be uncomfortable around me.
“Do you like working at the stables?” I ask to defuse the situation. She’s acting more skittish than the horses.
“I’ve always loved horses” she strokes the magnificent black stallion next to her. “Mr. Reed put me in charge of the stables.”
“That’s wonderful” I genuinely praise. So many girls come to Nicholas in hopes of getting hired for the estate or the nightclub. He doesn’t have paid escorts on the ground but the things that happen within Hedonism come pretty-damn close.
“Thanks” she nods her head before heading to the corner of the stable. My eyes drift down to her backside. Damn those jeans fit her just right. I bite back a groan as she bends down to grab something. “So, you know how to properly groom them right?” She questions, completely oblivious to the scrumptious view she’s providing me.
“Yep” I croak hoping she doesn’t turn around while I adjust myself.
“Which should you use first?” She turns around holding two grooming items in her hand, but she doesn’t offer which is which. “Curry comb or dandy brush?”
“Curry comb” I reply motioning to the grooming tool with short teeth and a handle to slip our hands into.
“You passed” she smirks. She saunters my way with the curry comb in her hand. My mouth dries as her hips sway with each step. She passes me the comb completely oblivious to my reaction to her. “You earned the right to use the hoof pick” she mock exclaims.
I arch my brows not fooled at all by what she’s trying to do. I’m game though. I’ll pick out whatever muck is under the horse’s hooves if it buys me more time with her. “As long as you muck the stalls.” I fold my arms across my chest. Her eyes travel from my face to my torso. She blinks a few times before my words register with her.
Good, she’s affected too.
I flex my arms for good measure loving how her eyes devour me. I’m not built like Valentino and Rafe. I don’t even have the athletic build like Jaxon and Nicholas, but I’ve been told I’m easy on the eyes.
“I get paid to do that, so I don’t mind.” she finally has a comeback. She opens two stalls and leads the horses to me. She begins grooming one without saying another word. I pat the big guy in front of me and croon a few reassuring words as I slip the curry comb into my hand.
Dawn and I spend the next hour grooming the horses and giving them treats. It’s the best kind of meditation for me before I get back to work. Desirae is on our asses to get the main house completed before the start of their senior year of college. It’s a tight time schedule but I believe we can do it. Dawn might be the best kind of distraction. Sheâ€™s a breath of fresh air. I look forward to getting to know her better.