Authors: Marie Hall
Trisha clapped her hands. “Hot, right?”
“Whatever,” Betty huffed, “he’s got womanizer written all over him. You can have him.” She went back to work, shoving the books in with force.
Trisha sighed. “Can’t. Date tonight. Too bad.”
“Besides,” Betty continued, irritated at herself because all she wanted to do was turn back around and look, “he’s clearly violent. He’s been in a fight and why haven’t you called the cops, anyway?” She rounded on Trisha with a snarl.
Trisha’s eyes widened and she held up her hands. “Whoa there, little lady. Slow your role. I didn’t call the cops, because he’s not a threat. He said he’s waiting for his ride to come get him.”
Betty rubbed her nose. It wasn’t Trisha’s fault, she knew that. It was just aggravating that even after the nightmare that was James she found herself turned on by a red hot mess. She sighed. “I’m sorry. Not your fault.”
Trisha’s lips thinned as she nodded.
“It’s just, he’s all beat up and,” she sniffed, “I smell alcohol, even here. He’s been in a bar fight, Trisha.”
“Yeah, so? Small town, it happens.” Trisha’s eyes were wide.
Betty tapped the spine of a book. “The closest bar is twenty miles down the road, thataway,” she pointed over her shoulder, “and secondly, drunks don’t make it a habit of raiding the library afterwards.”
Trisha rolled her eyes. “You worry too much. Look, I’m sure his friend is coming.” She punched Betty’s arm playfully. “Besides, it’s not like he’s here to rob us. Right? No cash.” Shaking her head, she walked back to the front desk, laughing as she went.
Betty frowned and eyed the stranger hard. Trisha was right. Lebanon, Missouri was many things... big, it was not. Not like she’d know everyone in town, but she’d have noticed him.
His eyes blinked, his hard gaze never turned from her face.
“I’ve got my eye on you,” she muttered low enough that there was no way he should have heard it five bookshelves down.
He chuckled and Betty’s spine went rigid as her legs grew soft.
Gerard moaned as sunlight pierced his closed eyelids. He couldn’t stop the groan of pain spilling from cracked lips as he rolled off the hard bench. It’d been his bed for the night. He’d expected Danika to return before the night was through. Earth hours were much shorter though than Kingdom ones and he probably shouldn’t be worried, but knowing that didn’t stop the uneasy knot from forming in his gut.
The sounds of chirping birds set his teeth on edge. He grabbed a rock by his foot and chucked it into the large oak full of nesting birds, they scattered with a loud squawk. Black tail feathers drifted lazily on the breeze behind them.
,” he muttered and grabbed his lower back. Gods what he wouldn’t give for a toothbrush and some rum.
“Oh, heck no.”
He scrubbed his whiskered jaw, the sound of a woman’s sharp tongue grated on his nerve sensitive skull. Gerard turned, only to stare into a pair of fine brown eyes. Very angry, fine brown eyes.
had her arms crossed, her black hair was pulled high into a severe pony tail. She was a tall one, and nicely curved. He couldn’t stop his grin when he gaze landed on a perfectly rounded pair of breasts. Too bad it was covered up by such an ugly red top.
“Hey,” she snapped her fingers, “my eyes are up here, jerk.”
Feisty. He looked that too. “
. But you’ve a lovely pair of breasts, can you blame a man for looking?”
“I...you--” A faint red blush stole up her swan like neck and settled in her cheeks.
“Mmm,” he trailed his finger up her neck, “such a lovely thing.”
She slapped his hand away. “You’re a pig.” She stomped her slippered foot and marched around him, heading to the door with the key in her hand. “If you don’t get the heck out of here, I’m calling the cops. In fact,” she turned swiftly on her heels-- Medusa couldn’t have been more frightening in that moment. Her black hair snapped behind her head like charmed snakes. “In fact... I’ve already called them.” Her fingers shook as she yanked on her purse strap and pulled out a small black object, waving it at him.
Gerard leaned back on the bench, crossed his booted heels, and enjoyed the sight of a woman bluffing.
“Yeah, I called when I pulled up. I saw you.” Her lips pressed into a tight line and then she shooed him. “Now, go. Go before they get here.”
“Liar,” he drawled.
Her entire body went stiff as a board, and then her eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. She flipped the device open. A glowing screen hooked his attention. What the devil was that thing? Did she think to scare him off with it?
Gerard bit his tongue to keep from laughing. He pushed off the bench and lazily walked up to her.
She pushed her hand further out, shaking the thing as if it were a weapon. “Get back. I told Trisha you were dangerous. Where’s your car ride? Huh? You were supposed to be gone.”
He licked his lips, stopping only when he felt the heat of her body invade his own. Gerard had spent a chilly night out in the open, he’d had no food for two days, and he was royally pissed at the fairy for dropping him off in this godforsaken place. But he couldn’t deny he enjoyed bantering with a beautiful woman, no matter where she hailed from.
“I noticed you yesterday.”
She trembled, he knew his words affected her. Could see it in the tightening of her lips and her heavy breathing, but even so she pushed her tiny palm against his muscled chest and urged him back. She’d not make this easy.
A good tumble-- that would help ease the past night’s humiliation. She was not the first damsel to pretend she did not want him.
He licked his lips and she went still. The morning was cool, crisp with the rich scent of pine and autumn leaves and now her. She smelled of flowers. Gerard touched the shell of her ear. Such a tiny exquisitely shaped thing. A diamond glinted from her lobe.
“Such a lovely creature,” he moaned, his body reacting instinctively to the soft touch of feminine flesh. Already he could picture sliding her panties off with his teeth, exposing the treasure within.
Her lashes fluttered. “What... is my name?” she whispered and he laughed.
... always wanting to be cosseted and praised first. He grinned, nuzzling the edge of her ear, inhaling the sweat scent of soap and flowery perfume.
Mon petite chou
,” his voice was thick with want. Gods, were his thighs trembling? He’d not ached for a woman like this in years.
He’d had beautiful women aplenty, one, two... sometimes three at a time. Gerard was not picky. But rarely did they make him weak in the knees like a lad seeing naked female flesh for the first time. He wrapped his big hands around her elegantly shaped waist and yanked her into him.
She fitted-- her every contour molding to his as if she’d been expressly made for him. He growled when she let out a tiny whimper. His cock so hard he thought he might explode from the pressure.
The woman mumbled something, but it was all nonsense in his muddled brain. The touch of her skin against the heated press of his lips was so soft, so yielding. He shivered, the intensity of his desire making him clumsy as he tugged at her shirt.
“Mmm, I’ll make you weep, my beauty,” he murmured, her flowery scent making him dizzy.
Her fingers slipped through his curls and he grinned as she lightly scratched his scalp. She liked it rough. So did he. Gerard fingered the bottom button of her shirt. Too much clothes, why did women always insist on covering so much?
But what had at first been gentle sex play, was now more than rough. It was pain. She wasn’t simply scratching, she was clawing, gouging groves into his skin.
“Ow, damn!” He released her and grabbed the back of his head.
Those pretty lips were fixed in a permanent scowl. “Are you freaking kidding me?”
He rubbed his tender head. “What? Do you not find me attractive? I felt your body tremble.”
Her eyes bugged. “First off, my name’s not cabbage.”
Gerard lifted a brow.
She laughed. “Oh yeah, jerk off, spent a year in Paris, I know what that mon petit chou,” she mimicked his voice in singsong, “means. It’s a lame, standard pet name. Everyone uses it. Especially when,” she stabbed her finger in his chest, “they don’t know the person’s name, you bastard. Just who do you think I am? A slut?”
She glowered and he swallowed the yes on his tongue. Admitting that wasn’t the best way to get laid. Gerard racked his brain. When was the last time a woman had rebuffed him? None, except for Belle.
His jaw clenched.
“Secondly, your breath stinks. Get a breath mint. Seriously.” She rolled her eyes. “Seducing me at eight o’clock in the morning. Gah, you’re so lame. Get the heck out of here, before I really do call the cops!” And with that she turned on her heels, marched to the door, and disappeared inside the library. The word made him want to gag.
Gerard balled his fists and bellowed at the top of his lungs. “Bloody hell,
. Get me out of here!”
But she did not answer and she did not come.
“It’s raining.” Trisha pouted blood red lips and glanced back out the library window.
“So?” Betty set her jaw and stamped an overdue notice on yet another envelope.
Trisha sighed. “Sweets, he’s harmless.”
“How the heck do you know that? He accosted me today--”
“Okay, first of all,” Trisha flipped a book into her library cart and held up her hand, “he’s been sitting out there all day.”
Betty deliberately turned her back on the window. She wouldn’t deny he looked pathetically miserable out there, sitting on the stoop, his large body shivering in the cold Missouri rain. And that maybe, just maybe, she was starting to feel kind of sorry for him. Or that his kiss had made her toes curl and that only by sheer force of will had she been able to push him off her. That she’d lied when she said his breath had stunk, the truth was he’d tasted of a fine aged brandy-- how that was possible, she had no clue. A French thing? And that even though his clothes were in tatters she’d never seen a hotter guy in her life. The shadow of his beard playing against her sensitive skin-- her stomach flopped just thinking about it.
Even bloody and bruised he’d moved that huge body with a skill unrivaled by any lover she’d ever known. Not like she’d had many, James had only been her second. But still. With just one touch he’d made her skin tingle and with a glance her blood hot, hot, hot. And the bulge in his pants... mmm, oh yes, she’d felt that too. She bit her lip, fighting the urge to look back. Knowing if she did she’d forget why she shouldn’t care.
The man was dangerous. If James had been dynamite, that man was a nuclear bomb. He was a player with a capital P. Something Betty could not afford to forget.
“Secondly,” Trisha continued, ticking off another finger, “who the hell speaks like that? Accosted? Seriously,” her green eyes twinkled, “and you say I read too many bodice rippers.”
“Whatever, Trisha. I’m going home.” Betty kept glancing at the clock, seemed like the more she looked, the slower it went. She’d eyed the clock with an obsessive nature today, desperate to get away. Not from the library, but from him.
Betty had fixated over sorting, organizing the next week’s activities. In short, she was all caught up with work and still had another ten minutes to go. “At seven, I’m clocking out.”
There hadn’t even been more than three customers today.
“Methinks the woman doth protest too much,” Trisha laughed.
“What?” Betty planted her hands on her hips, feeling the tingling start of a headache burn behind her eyes.
Trisha stepped out from behind the counter, flipped the closed sign on the door and smiled. Her brown and green Sunday dress made her look young and innocent. Gorgeous, exposing her perfectly shaped calves and Betty couldn’t stop wondering what he’d think if he saw her.