Kate walked through the front door and straight to the kitchen. It wasn’t even five o’clock yet, but she desperately needed a drink. Pouring a glass of Zinfandel from a half empty bottle, she thought that simply might not cut it tonight. Within fifteen minutes she was emptying the rest into her stemless glass. Sitting at the kitchen table in silence, she watched the bitter winter wind violently whip fluffy light snow around the yard. It looked like someone had shaken up a snow globe and she was reminded of the Beauty and the Beast one she had as a child. Goddamn Disney and the dream of happily ever after they push on young, impressionable girls.
So desperate for the mind numbing effects of the alcohol, she hadn’t even bothered to take off her boots and now there was a puddle of melted snow spreading out beneath her on the cold tile floor. But it didn’t matter, because she seemed to have a singular focus.
Try as she might, she simply could not stop thinking of Dev. Of his eyes or his smell or his touch. She was obsessing like a fifteen year old with her first real crush and it was just plain pissing her off. The only thing Kate was obsessed about was research.
Now she could think of nothing else. Maybe it had just been too long since she’d had sex and now her lady bits were begging to be used. And used hard. Maybe Erin was right and one amazing sweaty session of the wild thing was what she needed to get refocused. And maybe she was so full of shit that the whites of her eyes were turning brown.
Sighing heavily, she unceremoniously finished her second glass of wine and opened another bottle. She had a paper to write, she had homework to grade, she had a grant to think about. But all she wanted to do instead was sit and daydream, like a lovesick puppy about a man she could never have.
Jesus, Kate. Get a goddamned grip.
Pouring her third and what should be her final glass, but probably wouldn’t be, she headed into the bathroom and filled the Jacuzzi tub with steaming water and lavender vanilla aromatherapy bubble bath. Lighting some candles and turning on Michael Bublé—don’t judge—she quickly disrobed and eased slowly into the scalding water, groaning with relief. Bubble bath, wine and a sultry crooner…what more could a girl want?
Why…one very tall, very erotic, very virile man with onyx eyes peering up at her from between her thighs of course.
Kate spent the next thirty minutes sipping wine and reliving her carnal dreams with this incredible man—like she hadn’t done that hundreds of times over the last four months. She ran her hands over her nakedness, wishing they were his. Unable to stop, one slipped below the water and stroked her slick center. She remembered Erin telling her how quickly she’d gotten off from the jets of her tub and at the time that had sounded ridiculous. But now, badly needing to take the edge off, Kate stretched her legs, positioning her sex perfectly between the maximum speed stream of water and Oh. My. God. Within thirty seconds an incredibly hard orgasm tore through her, sending warmth spiraling throughout her body. Head falling back, she reached for the controls and turned off the pulsating water, recovering slowly from the quick rush.
Damn. Erin was definitely onto something.
Glass long empty, water cooled and feeling a bit less tense, Kate decided it was time to leave her wallowing and soak up the alcohol she’d consumed with some food. Except she didn’t have much in the house, so she’d either have to do take out or run to the store. And since she’d consumed three very substantial glasses of wine in the last hour, take out it was.
Forty-five minutes later, long hair pulled into a messy bun and dressed in black yoga pants and a ratty yellow Golden Eagles sweatshirt that had seen better days, the doorbell rang. Expecting to see a delivery boy from the Jade Garden, her favorite Chinese restaurant with the best cashew chicken and egg drop soup to ever to pass her lips, she quickly opened the door without checking the peephole.
And immediately regretted it. Oh God. Breathe Kate. In, out...in, out.
Instead of the deliveryman, standing on her front porch was the man of her dreams. Literally and figuratively. And in one hand dangled her food.
“Hello Kate,” he drawled, full lips turned up on one corner.
He stood there in the same breathtaking suit she’d seen him in earlier, but with a heavy, long black overcoat shielding him against the elements.
“Hi.” Her voice was breathy. Lord, he was just sinfully good-looking.
“I think I have something you want.”
There was no truer statement ever made than that one. She wanted, all right. Oh, how she wanted. He laughed as she stood quietly gaping at his sheer perfection.
“I was talking about the food, but by the way you’re devouring me with your
hungry eyes, I can see maybe food’s not all that’s on your mind.”
He strode confidently through the door, but not before leaning down and running his nose seductively along the unencumbered expanse of her neck, inhaling deeply. A sexy, low rumble sounded in the back of his throat.
“Mmmm, you smell good, Kate.”
Good god. Cue the fan.
He stood back, his burning eyes roaming over every inch of her body. Her hideously clothed body. Go her.
Finding her voice, she finally asked the question that had been burning in her mind for the last sixty seconds.
“How did you know where I live?”
He smiled mischievously and sauntered quietly through the living room into the kitchen. He was as comfortable as if he’d been there a dozen times before. Having no choice, she followed him but stopped in the doorway and watched as he efficiently found a plate and silverware and set them on the table before dishing up her food.
“What are you doing?”
He looked up from his task, confusion clouding his face. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m feeding you.”
She couldn’t help the small smile that passed her lips. She should be irritated and in truth she was, but irrational delight overrode any other emotion she felt. But that didn’t mean she was letting him off the hook. He seemed very good—too good—at dodging her simple questions.
He gestured for her to sit, but she wasn’t about to fall in line that easily. “You haven’t answered my questions.”
He walked toward her, but gliding would have been a more accurate description. He moved with such stealth and grace, it was almost unnatural. Stopping only inches from her, his piercing gaze pinned her so firmly in place so she couldn’t move even if she’d wanted to.
“Really? Because I was certain that I had,” he said in a low, deep voice that went straight to her loins.
Unable to speak, she could only shake her head in disagreement.
Unable to speak, she could only shake her head in disagreement.
Leaning down so close his breath feathered her lips, he reached up and drew the back of his fingers lightly down her cheek.
“Where you live is public information, Ms. Martin and as for what I’m doing here? I haven’t been able to get you out of my head since the moment I laid eyes on you.”
“Oh,” she whispered, mouth suddenly dry as the Sahara. She felt dizzy and didn’t know if it was the wine or his scent affecting her. Probably both. His evident desire for her was heady and she found herself making excuses on why it might not be so bad after all to sleep with this man.
Just when she thought he’d lean down to kiss her, he took a step back taking his body heat and unique scent away with him. Disappointment stabbed deep. She wanted his mouth on hers more than she’d ever wanted anything else. Even more than she’d wanted that little electronic Barbie car as a child, the one you could sit in and drive around your neighborhood? And she’d wanted that a hell of a lot.
“Now, why don’t you take a seat and eat before your food gets cold,” he motioned as he pulled out the chair like a gentleman.
Not knowing what to make of this bizarre encounter, she walked to the small round table and took a seat. He sat just to her right and all of a sudden she wished she hadn’t drank so much wine. While the haziness clouding her brain was absolutely in part due to him, it was also undeniably the alcohol. A woman didn’t face a man like Dev without a very clear head unless she wanted to end up underneath him in short order. And while she so did, she worried with her inhibitions lowered she’d make a mistake of epic proportions and end up hating herself in the morning.
Because nothing had changed between this morning and now, saying no was exactly what she needed to do, but she was wound so damn tight that she wasn’t at all sure she’d be able to.