Read Come As You Are Online

Authors: Melinda Barron

Tags: #Erotic Paranormal Romance

Come As You Are (5 page)

BOOK: Come As You Are

They are outside, on the balcony, laughing and joking

She isn’t allowed to do that with others

Only with me

She needs to be taught a lesson

If I can’t follow you out there, then I’ll use something else

To lure you back inside

And then you’ll follow directions

I promise you that

The pathetic wimp that wouldn’t leave hovers nearby

Looks like you might be good for something after all

Get over here

Right now

* * * *

“I think these inflatable beds are one of the best things ever invented.” Franco threw a pillow down on the mattress. Tempest sat on the balcony railing, watching as he brought out bedding.

Franco allowed her in the house only to walk from the garden to the balcony, even though it seemed as if he’d essentially blocked communication between her and the incubus. He also wouldn’t tell her whether or not he’d intercepted any more thoughts from the demon, which made her think that he had.

He was laughing and telling jokes, though, talking about his childhood in the French Quarter.

“So the restaurant belonged to your father before you, huh?”

“Don’t want to talk about the bed? Okay, as long as we use it, that’s fine with me.” She laughed at his response to her very obvious attempt at changing the subject. “Let’s talk about something else. Tell me what a news producer does.”

“Well, I used to set up interviews and decide which stories would be the best to put on the air. Plus, I’d send crews out to shoot news as it happened, like accidents and hurricanes, that sort of thing.”

He laid a blanket across the mattress, then sat down, taking off his boots. He still wore a tight T-shirt that showed off his muscles and jeans that stretched across nice, large thighs. She thought about what else those jeans encased, and then turned her gaze toward the house when she thought about him hearing her say, “I wonder what his prick looks like.”

“It’s average,” he said, stretching out on the cushion. “Nine inches, maybe, give or take. I’m pretty wide, though. I don’t know exact numbers, I’ve never measured. Would you like to now?”

He patted the space next to him and she dissolved into laughter. “No, I think measuring is out.”

“For now,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows. “But I know you want to.”

“Does it ever get old, knowing exactly what people are thinking?”

While he considered his answer, she wondered exactly what it felt like to be able to read other people’s thoughts.

“When I was a kid it freaked me out. But as I got older, I learned how to control it. I try not to intrude now. It’s rude, really, to press into people’s feelings.”

“You did it to me. Are you saying that you were rude to me?”

“I knew you were coming, and I heard you when you were looking for Quinn. When I saw you, I, um, wanted you.” He winked at her, and her nipples, which had tightened at his words, grew even tauter. “No sense beating around the bush. I know you felt the same thing.”

Tempest leaned against the post and looked down the street. The sounds of people partying on Bourbon carried over to them on the cool, evening air. It was barely after eleven, and the parties would carry on until early in the morning. She didn’t care, though. She loved living in the French Quarter.

“I feel a little strange about us being here together.” She’d had a little time to think about her immediate acceptance of his company. She’d never been one to sleep with a man she’d just met.

“I meant what I said earlier, that when we do make love, it will be because you want it, not because you’re under the influence of the incubus.”

Suddenly it felt cold outside. She wrapped her arms around herself and shivered.

“It’s not your fault, you know.”

This was a point where he being able to read her mind came in handy. “Why wasn’t I scared of him? I mean, a demon comes to me in my sleep and I just spread my legs and let him play?”

Franco sat up, sitting cross-legged on the bed. “The whole point is to seduce you. The incubus wouldn’t have done anything to frighten you. That wouldn’t have served his purpose. He wants you to want him, to open up to him so he can…”

“Get me pregnant.”

“More than likely, yes.”

“Why hasn’t he, um…you know?”

The look on her new friend’s face said he was carefully considering his words. Was there something he knew that he wasn’t telling her? And if so, why wasn’t he?

“You said you never saw a face? That’s because he doesn’t have physical form. You have to call his name to make his existence real. When that happens then he can take you. And he will. When that happens he’ll have complete control over you, so you need to make sure that, whatever you do, you don’t say his name. Ever.”

“I don’t even know his name.”

“Hopefully, since we’re out here, he won’t be able to tell you.”

Tempest sat down on the mattress next to Franco. “I can’t stay out here forever. I have a house to finish renovating, a B&B to open and hopefully some money to make. I can’t let this—thing—control me.”

When he put his arm around her, she felt the same wonderful sense of calm that she’d felt earlier. But that didn’t mean she was going to have sex with him. Not when she’d just met him.

“I understand perfectly.” Franco put his fingers under her chin and turned her face toward him. He gazed into her eyes. “I won’t let him near you, I swear. I can hear him, and something tells me I can piss him off. If it takes that to keep him from bothering you, then that’s what I’ll do.”

The fierceness of his words touched her very soul and made her spine tingle. No man she’d ever dated had offered to stand between her and a demon, even though they’d never had the chance. And she was pretty sure that, even if they did, they never would have. They probably would have run for the hills and left her standing directly in the incubus’ path.

“A woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart.” She probably shouldn’t have said that. It sounded too much like she was falling in love with him, which she wasn’t. She barely knew him.

“Excuse me?”

“It’s Shakespeare, from ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor.’ I’m just saying that, you’re a good person. Thank you.”

The smile on his face turned mischievous. “Well, I have ulterior motives. I want to get to know you, in more ways than just one. And to do that, I have to get you through this. I’m just saying…I’m not all that kind. Just remember that.”

He ran his tongue over his lower lip and they both laughed. Then he tackled her, covering his body with hers. “We’ll just pretend this is a big slumber party.”

“That’s going to be tough.” She tried to keep herself from grasping his hips and grinding herself against him. “I never wanted to kiss any of my—”

His laps came down on hers, hard and insistent, yet feeling gentle and sweet. She moaned softly, opening her mouth in invitation. He accepted it instantly, his tongue diving into her mouth, filling her completely. Her body reacted as she knew it would, her pussy growing instantly wet, her nipples tightening even more, begging for attention.

When the deep kiss was over, he placed several smaller kisses around her lips, not stopping until she moaned with need.

“Hi. I’m Franco Antonio LeBeau, age thirty-three. I was born in New Orleans and grew up here. Never went to college. I’ve worked at my parents’ bar, named Franco’s Grill, since I was sixteen years old. I can read minds. I believe in ghosts, and I think you are absolutely stunning.”

“Thank you.” She put her hand on the back of his neck, pulling his face down to claim his lips. This time it was her tongue that did the exploring, the feeling sensual and exciting as the kiss deepened.

When he lifted up and looked down at her, she smiled, hoping it looked as sexy as it felt. “Hi. I’m Tempest Adriana Gandy, age thirty-one. I was born in New Orleans and graduated with a bachelor’s degree, and then a master’s degree, from Tulane, both of them in English. I worked at WXBJ as a news producer for about six years before I decided that I wanted to run a B&B. That’s what I’m doing now. I can’t read minds and I’ve always believed in ghosts, but until today, nothing like demons.”

He kissed her gently, his mouth lingering over hers. It made her feel as if he could swallow her up at any second, and she loved the idea.

“What play is Adriana from?”

“‘The Comedy of Errors.’”

“My personal favorite has always been ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’”

“I hate to tell you this, but if the play was written about us, it would be very, very short. There’s not a lot of taming to do when the male lead already knows the female lead has the major hots for him.”

“Well, we can rehearse the real one, then. Are there spankings involved with this taming?”

It was hard not to laugh at the idea. “I don’t believe Will wrote any into that particular piece of work, and I know all his work, by heart.”

“Well, then we’ll have to improvise. Just follow my lead. I’m really good at this.”

Somehow, she didn’t doubt that at all.

Chapter Seven




I need to remain calm

If I allow this interloper to upset me, then things will not go well

I need to stay calm

I am in charge, and I need to remind my woman of that

I must be firm, but sweet

Temper is what left me in the position I’m in

Alone and floundering, stuck in this hell hole

She’s in his arms right now, but he didn’t fuck her

The stupid man would be no match for me

If I’d had the chance I would have filled her completely

I would have claimed her and let her know who she belonged to

Once I’m rid of the idiot, I will make that happen

But until then, it’s time to show her how much power I really have

And what will happen if she continues to ignore me

Candice, my darling, come to me

This will only hurt for a little while

* * * *

Being nestled in Franco’s arms was the next best thing to being in heaven, or so Tempest thought. Necking with him was sheer magic, and when he hadn’t pushed for anything more, she felt herself fall a little bit in love.

When they’d settled down, wrapping the blankets around them, he’d quickly fallen asleep. His deep, even breathing should have lulled her to sleep. Instead, she lay awake, listening to it, enjoying every second.

Who would have thought that, when she woke up this morning sore and wondering what was happening to her at night, she would fall asleep in the arms of one of the hunkiest men she’d met in years.

If she’d known Quinn had friends like this she would have invented a ghost, or in this case, a demon, a long time ago. She’d been in such a drought where men were concerned that she’d given up on them. There was no chance of her finding someone she could spend the rest of her life with, or so she thought.

Right now she doubted that fact. Sure, she’d known him less than twenty-four hours, but the instant attraction she felt for Franco Antonio LeBeau was unlike anything she’d ever experienced before. She was pretty sure he felt the same way, maybe not as much as she did, but there was a definite attraction.

Men, she knew, mostly thought with their little heads. But that didn’t seem to be the case with Franco. If so, he would have pushed to be inside her tonight. Not that he would have had to push very hard.

Truthfully, she probably would have said yes in about two seconds flat. Unfortunately, decisions made that fast usually spelled disaster for relationships. The fact that he was willing to stay with her to protect her from the demon, and was willing to wait for sex, was perfect.

A low moan brought a smile to her face. Maybe he wasn’t asleep. She needed to steel her will. If he made a move to take things deeper than they had with the necking session, she would need all her willpower to say no, that they needed to wait.

“Oh, ow, no, please no.”

Tempest’s eyes flew open and she tried to sit up, hindered by Franco’s arms that still held her close.

The next sound she heard was a wail of pain.

“Franco!” She put her hand on his chest. “Did you hear that?”

The woman’s voice sounded as if she was saying, “Please stop.”


He was sitting up now. “Where’s it coming from?”

“In the house. It’s a woman.”

A loud wail brought him to his feet and he rushed inside. Tempest was shocked at how fast he moved. She scrambled up, hurrying after him only to stop when he held out his hand.

“Don’t come in.”

“Why not?” Another wail greeted her question and she hurried inside, ducking through the window. Frigid air surrounded her and Tempest gasped in shock. It was colder in here than it was on the balcony. What was happening?

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