Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chapter 19

Oct. 19 – 11:30am

“Erik?” Alex hated how her voice shook but couldn’t help but feel nervous about facing him. It was hard to know what would spark his ire and what wouldn’t. She immediately looked towards the piano but found it quiet and its bench empty. Frowning, she closed the door behind her and stepped further into the room cautiously but still found no trace of her enigmatic host. “Mr. Devereaux?” Again she looked around the room with no hint of where he was hiding or if he was even still there at all. With a dejected sigh, she placed the mask on the piano’s keys and turned to leave. Just as she’d grasped the handle she paused and, hoping he was there to hear her, quietly apologized for her earlier behaviour. Her heart jumped in her throat when a leather-clad hand lay over hers to prevent her from opening the door.
            “I believe it is I who must apologize, ma petite,” Erik murmured softly in her ear, inhaling the faint scent of lavender in her hair before catching her shoulders and holding her still when she would have turned to face him. He couldn’t reaffix the mask without going to his room for the adhesive. “My words were unpardonable and your reaction, justified.” Without conscious thought, his hands slid down her arms and pulled her slightly closer to his body.
            Repressing a small shudder of pure desire, Alex closed the small gap between them until her back was flush with the hard muscles of Erik’s chest. The fire that ignited and ran across her skin linked every place their bodies touched. It burned so hot and felt so right, she was scared of the intensity even while savouring it. Her eyes were drifting closed when she felt his hands drop as he abruptly stepped away, taking the warmth with him. Confused, Alex turned around only to find that he’d moved across the room and was looking out the window.
            “Thank you for returning the mask, Alexandra.” His voice was cool and impersonal, dismissive. “If you would close the door behind you, I have some calls to make before I can join Da’ud and yourself for dinner.”
            Golden eyes gazed unseeing across the rolling hills of the Estate while his ears listened for the sound of the door closing. He had to step away, put distance between him and his lovely guest, before he lost the tenuous hold on his self-control. Clenching his hands into fists, he could still feel the softness of her skin through the supple leather of his gloves and the way her body fit perfectly against his. The faint scent of lavender clung to his clothing, filling his senses, and encouraging his imagination to run wild. What was it about her that drew him to her so helplessly? He’d had lovers in the past, many since…her but none have wormed their way so insistently into his thoughts like this one aggravating female. So lost was he in thoughts of her that he hadn’t heard her approach until her hand lightly touched his back.
            “Is…something wrong?” Erik pressed his forehead against the cool glass. Poor child sounded so confused; there was no way she could know how she affected him. No way she could ever know.
            “Whyever should there be something wrong, Ms. Roberts?” He half turned from the window, keeping his marred cheek in shadow. He needed her out of the room before he did something foolish. “I believe I’ve covered all the niceties, have I not? I’ve apologized for my boorish behaviour, thanked you for the return of my mask, and even notified you of my intent to join you for dinner. Was there something I forgot?”
            “Forgot?” Alex could feel the anger building at his casual dismissal. She wasn’t quite certain which dismissal bothered her the most: her from the room, her earlier suggestion, or their near embrace at the door. The fact that he seemed totally unaffected when her heart was still pounding added to the frustration that fueled her ire. “What you have forgotten, Mr. Devereaux, is that not everyone is a heartless automaton like yourself. That wasn’t your brother lying dead on the floor; it’s not your friend whose life is at risk, or already taken. It’s mine and I’ll be damned if I let you dismiss me from the room like a naughty child!” By this time, Alex had moved to stand directly in front of him, craning her head to glare up at him.
            “I want to know what these arrangements are that you so generously made on my behalf. I want to know just who is looking into what and why. And I want to know what the next god damned move is going to be because I’m sick of staying in this house twiddling my damned thumbs while you and Da’ud go off to play army.”
            “Are you quite finished with throwing a tantrum?” Erik spat through gritted teeth. He wasn’t about to let this girl lecture him on his job. A job he knew very well how to do whereas she knew nothing. Ungrateful child. “You are left behind because you would be a liability. I can’t speak for Da’ud but I don’t particularly want to get killed because you want to play at being James Bond. You aren’t told everything so that when you do something stupid, like you did at the Post Office, you can’t betray Da’ud or me as well as our contacts who are aiding us and you by default. And I will stop treating you like a child when you stop acting like one!” His golden eyes glowed with molten fire as he turned to fully face her. Good God but she was infuriating!
            “Child?” Alex stepped forward until they were nearly touching, heedless of the warning in the stance and glare of her host. “I’m acting like a child? Bullshit! How can you say I’m the one acting like a child when you run in here to pout because someone dared to challenge the all-powerful Erik Devereaux? My God, get over yourself! You bully everyone with your scowling and yelling until you get your way but then run off to sulk when you don’t. I don’t know how Da’ud puts up wi…”
Alex had turned to leave in disgust when she felt his hand close like a vise around her arm. Spinning her around to face him once more, she saw the utter fury in his eyes before he pulled her tightly against his hard body. His other hand gripped her hair painfully to hold her still while he plundered her mouth in a savage kiss. The kiss was a show of anger, dominance, and superiority; he wanted to hurt her, perhaps even scare her, but then…then he felt her body melt into his. The hands that had been pushing against his chest were slowly sliding around his neck. When she gave a small whimper and tentatively touched his lips with the tip of her tongue, he was lost. Erik ran his hands along her back, up to tangle in her hair, then down to the gentle swell of her rear, memorizing every curve as he gloried in her passionate response. When he raised his lips, he was rewarded with a moan of disappointment until he laid a fiery path of kisses down her neck.
Unaware that he had steadily walked them away from the window, he nevertheless took advantage when Alex’s legs struck the chaise and buckled. Erik half-fell on top of her, his lips never ceasing their assault as his hands eagerly sought the hem of her shirt. He lowered his head as he bared more and more of her lovely skin and placed heated kisses along the tops of her breasts. When Alex gripped his head and tugged him lower, arching her body in a desperate plea for more, Erik could do nothing but oblige. Pulling the lacy cup to one side, he licked and nibbled her nipple before taking the hard peak into his mouth. Her cry of pleasure urged him on and he nipped and nuzzled his way to her other waiting breast.
Erik’s shirt was unbuttoned and discarded on the floor; he could feel her nails scratching a passionate trail down his back, pausing only long enough for him to pull her shirt over her head. She felt so good beneath him that, for the moment, nothing else mattered. She was warm, she was willing, and he desperately wanted to bury himself in her warm body and take her until she begged him to never stop. With one hand holding her head so he could taste the sweetness of her lips, his other made swift work of the button and zipper of her jeans. Both groaned when he slipped beneath her underwear to dip a finger into her wet core. His fingers had already begun to play passion’s melody when the shrill ringing of his cell phone shattered the silence.

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