Authors: Karina Ashe
Keep Me in the Dark
In the Dark #2
by Karina Ashe
I thought I could take the fantasy, but everything is suddenly becoming far too real. It was supposed to just be about sex, but I'm starting to want too much, and I think he is too. But what happens when I start to want something more...and he refuses to leave the shadows?
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Keep Me in the Dark (In the Dark #2)
Copyright © 2015 Karina Ashe.
All rights reserved.
First ebook edition published May 2013 under the name "Love Me in Shadows (Behind the Mask, #1) by Tess Harper."
This book is a work of fiction. Names, celebrities, characters, places, businesses, trademarks and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons alive or dead is entirely coincidental. None of the celebrities, trademarks, works of art, artists, or businesses mentioned in
Keep Me in the Dark
endorse this book unless otherwise specified. All stock art and fonts were either purchased or made availalbe free for commercial use by the artists/designers. None of the models, photographers, artists, font designers, etc endorse Karina Ashe or her work unless otherwise specified.
His voice is thick with an accent that I think is Russian, sort of like my midnight lover, but other than that he sounds nothing like him. His voice is too high. It doesn’t touch my soul. Still, I shut my eyes and feel myself sink into it—that longing always in my veins, on the tip of my mind, like a shadow, whenever I think of him.
“Okay, one dance,” I say. “Don’t get any ideas.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,
It’s a different endearment. I don’t like it. I swivel my chair around, frowning, and put a finger over his lips. “Bad name!”
I giggle at how he says babe and he gives me a lopsided grin. He’s actually kind of cute, with short cropped hair, steely eyes and boyish features…and I’m fairly sure that isn’t just the beer goggles talking. He’s a bit more muscular than I’d like, but that’s alright. But best of all, he looks as out of place in the club as I feel.
I let him pull me onto the dance floor.
“You’re beautiful, babe.”
I laugh. I feel more tipsy than beautiful, and I suspect my grin is a little wider than it should be, and my face is most certainly an unflattering shade of deep, alcohol-infused red. Well, he wants to get some so I guess he’d say just about anything. “I’m not interested in doing all that, fine sir. Just dancing.”
He pouts and I level him with a gaze that says he needs to stop or I’m going to stomp off. I’m not good at dancing. Never have been. But my stiletto’s and the three or four or five shots I just downed definitely don’t make things easier. I teeter back and forth, waving my arms to keep my balance, feeling a bit like a stork.
The guy puts his hand on my shoulder. “Relax.”
I don’t like being told what to do by strangers, but his accent is nostalgic and I do want to relax. The strobe lights start pounding with the rhythm of the song. The beat cascades through me. I feel it in my blood. I throw my head back, and my hair sticks to my bare back, my neck, and my face. I roll my head forward and the guy grins and puts his hands on my hips. I move next to him. My dance is perhaps a little riskier than I’m used to, but I like being a little wild.
That last shot kicks in. I feel giddy as I stumble forward. He puts his hands on my shoulders and whispers something in my ear.
You’re not getting lucky
, I want to tell him, but I just giggle and push myself off. I turn my back to him and his hands find my hips. I’m too drunk to care, but when I feel his erection pressing into the small of my back, I decide that things have gone too far.
I look over my shoulder and shake my head.
“Come on, babe,” he slurs. There’s alcohol on his breath.
“I have someone,” I slur back.
“I don’t see a ring on your finger.”
A ring? Oh God, I had so much less than that to go on. I didn’t even know the fucker’s name! But did it matter? Hell no! He was all I wanted. “I like him a lot.”
“I can show you a better time,
. I can be good to you.”
Suddenly he seems too close. His eyelids are heavy as he looks down at me. His tongue darts between his lips as his eyes lose focus as they look at my mouth.
Oh shit. This was not going well. “I want to get back to the bar, it’s worried about me. I mean, my friends.” Wait, does that make sense? I decide to explain more. “They’re like, all over the place.”
The guy’s eyes soften with concern. “If he liked you back,
, he wouldn’t let you come to a place like this alone.”
“I said not to call me that! I’m
“Sorry,” he grins, and a dimple appears in his left cheek. “Babe.”
My semi-drunk, fuzzy mind starts to get irritated. “Are you threatening me?”
“No, not at all. Just saying that someone as pretty as yourself is going to get hit on if you go out, and if I were your man, I wouldn’t let anyone else get close enough to.”
“Don’t say that about him!” Raising my voice makes me unsteady on my feet. I teeter back and forth as I try to focus my attention on the man in front of me. What was it I wanted to say next? The lights above begin to sink in my peripheral vision, blurring as they spin. What is going on?
An arm snakes around my stomach, keeping me from falling.
I almost brush it off, but there was something familiar about it. I sink back into a warm chest, as a dark, glacial voice says, “Demetri.”
A shiver shoots through my body. I know that voice; these arms.
Demetri’s eyes go wide.
“She says she has someone,” my masked lover purrs. He lowers his head and for the first time I feel his lips, or at least I think I do, soft and sensual, right below my ear.
I shiver again. I feel branded by that touch.
“I’m sorry,” Demetri babbles. “I didn’t—”
The masked man’s lips leave my skin. My neck feels so cold in his absence. His grip on me tightens, and he says something in a language I don’t understand. His voice is hard but the menace in his tone frightens me. Demetri goes white and completely still.
I feel my lover cock his head, and Demetri turns and leaves.
There are people all around us. Their bodies brush against ours, unaware of what just transpired. Even I don’t know what just happened. I tighten my body, beginning to turn.
“Stop,” the man behind me demands.
His hand moves to the back of my neck. Hair spills over my shoulders. Through it, I feel his breath. “What are you doing here,
“My friends,” I whimper. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I think straight?
He leans forward. “What about your friends?”
“They took me dancing because they think you’re bad for me. I never say anything about you, and…” I don’t know how to finish. I can’t believe I just admitted all that. Thanks alcohol!
“Do you think so too?”
My mind is fuzzy. “Do I think what?”
“That I’m bad for you.”
“Maybe,” I admit, “but I don’t care.”
Bodies sway between us. The room is so hot—no, humid. There’s too much perfume and cologne. How could I dance for so long when it’s so hot? How can I breathe?
“Demetri was right.” My lover’s voice is barely audible over the music. “I shouldn’t have let you come here.”
“I was just dancing.”
His grip on me tightens.
“You’re not my keeper,” I tell him.
He doesn’t respond to that. “Meet me at the back of the club in five minutes.”
He brushes my hair over the back of my neck, tucking the shorter strands behind my ear. “Please.”
“What do I tell my friends?”
His hand slides down my bare back to my ass. “Whatever you want. Just make sure they don’t follow. I don’t want an audience.”
My heart beats wildly. “Oh.” Goosebumps spread where he touches me. I want what I know is waiting for me. I want him to take me right now. I want him so bad that I don’t care who watches. I back into him.
He growls. “Don’t test my reserve,
I’m about to say something, but he steps away, leaving me alone on the dance floor. I stumble a bit as I turn. I don’t see any sign of him, all I see are people dancing. How the hell did he disappear that quick?
My hand shakes as I reach for my phone.
As I’m trying to think up an excuse for my friends, Cassie messages me.
Where the hell R U?
hey cass goinfg home
I don’t take the time to correct my misspelling or to include punctuation. My hands are shaking too much from excitement, not the alcohol.
About twenty seconds later I get my response.
Im coming with! Guy just asked if I wanted 2 stick my hand down his pants.
I giggle, trying to form a response. Then I remember the man waiting for me in the alley.
I write. My hand freezes after I press ‘send.’ It’s just a little lie, I try to tell myself. It almost doesn’t mean anything. For a second, I almost allow myself to believe it.
R U in a cab?
I hiccup. She’s worried about me walking home. I swiftly type:
I don’t like u riding alone but I guess it’s OK. I’ll tell Anna
I sigh, relieved.
My phone beeps.
WAIT DID U GO HOME W SUM1????
I swallow. Shit, how do I answer this?
, I type slowly.
Men r gross.
Drink sum water & get sum sleep grl!
I smile. She’s worried about me. And then I remember that I’m still on the dance floor and I can’t let my friends see me! I book it to the back of the club, only tripping three four times but…who’s counting?
I glance around as I stumble down the steps in the back. This place really is nicer than the ones Dolly generally takes us to. The men’s room smells like Old Spice instead of urinal cakes. For some reason that observation makes me giggle, and giggling makes me fall into the darkness.
Strong arms wrap around me as I crash into some guy’s chest.
“I—I—” I don’t say anything. I recognize his smell, his touch. I glance up and see that familiar darkness. He’s wearing a mask again. What the hell? Does he walk around with that thing in his pocket?
“Are you hurt?”
I’m a little dazed. Where did he come from? I didn’t even see him! “I’m fine.”
“I shouldn’t have left you. I’m sorry.”
“It was okay. Like a scavengerr hunt.” Nevermind that I’m not a big fan of those, or for some reason I added an extra ‘r’ on the end of scavenger, making me sound like a confused pirate.
He makes sure I’m on my feet. “Let’s get you home—”