Out of the Fire (Perilous Connections)

BOOK: Out of the Fire (Perilous Connections)
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Chapter One

 

 

Daphne

 


Oh my-!”

I stop
before the incredulous words can leave my mouth. His face is inches away from my own, my eyes widen as I stare into his. I have never seen eyes so … so beautiful before. They are a rolling, turbulent grey with a startling ring of white silver around them. It takes me a few seconds to catch up to the anger simmering in their frightening depths.

I suck
in a dry breath. My frozen senses suddenly kick into overdrive, I gulp and snap upright, but my gaze remains pinned on the solid wall of man crammed inside the narrow rectangle of my maid’s trolley.

He doesn’t
blink, his gaze bores into mine, and grows harder than the steel my granddad use to bend, that had put my father through school. I stop the thought half formed, a tightness that has nothing to do with my sudden fear zaps through me.

I dart
a terrified glance behind me towards the door, it’s about ten feet away. Maybe I can reach it before he is fully free.

He is
still halfway stuck inside my trolley, behind him I spot the crumpled ruin of the snowy towels that I had stacked fresh and spotless from the laundry at the crack of dawn, irrational ire rises inside me at the sacrilege but I quickly shove it aside in favor of the much more pertinent fact that a male, most likely a guest at my hotel whose room I have never serviced is slowly unfolding giant portions of his body from my trolley.

His
reasons are irrelevant.

I take
off, the breath harsh, grating in my lungs. The door grows before me, but the sound of his pounding footsteps shoves my adrenaline to new heights, I gasp, a strangled cry tears itself from my throat, I fling out a hand towards the door as if I could snatch it closer to me, throw myself through the safety it represents. I lunge for it, balancing precariously on the tips of my worn out white sneakers, cruel, powerful hands snatch me backwards, I cry out, but at the same time anger pounds into my veins, I fling out a fist, strike the air, fears fills my throat, I pirouette, clench my fist into a tight wad, ready to smash it into his face. He catches my blow in mid-air, making me wild, I open my mouth wider than I’d ever had not even on that day-

His hand slams
over my lips, slapping back the scream, the sting on the sensitive flesh brings tears to my eyes, I brutally blink them away, as I confront the horrendous fact that I am caught.

F
ear, hard, and impenetrable crashes around inside me, my heart thumps so loud I literally feel it twist itself into a painful knot in my chest.

Grey eyes glare dangerously
down into mine. “Shut up!” The words are harsh; but the voice is husky … beckoning.

Despite myself
, against the emotional laws of the universe my breath already cruelly blocked by his overly large hand, hitches.

I ruthlessly ground out my asinine response.

He thrusts his strong square face downwards mere inches from mine. “Now listen little miss, I’m not going to do you any harm but you’ve got to be quiet, understand?” He peels my eyes with that stormy gaze which has turned to flint.

Chill
s run down my spine, I swallow painfully and though there’s nothing in my throat but fear and disbelief, I know I must do something.

I nod to the
crazy, and most likely high guest, then I take a surreptitious sniff at the roughened skin of his fingers plastered against my mouth, no weed, just the scent of jasmine soap, my hotel’s staple, but my senses linger and underneath the jasmine I seek and catch an elusive whiff of something elemental and expressive, I cannot place the scent, its raw but not in the conventional sense, rather its almost organic, and I don’t know how I know this but whatever it is, it is coming from his skin, then it hits me. It’s his scent, raw, clean, almost animal in its simplicity. It seeps into my veins and I close my eyes for a few seconds against the staggering effect, it’s totally disconcerting. Moments pass before I blink them open and find him watching me intently, perhaps wondering if it’s me who has gone crazy and not himself.

My mind in turmoil I am seized with the urgency
to escape, no matter what I have to do.

I measure
the distance between my storm eyed captor and my forehead, three perhaps four inches, if I lean forward half way I can head-butt him, smash that large, dominant roman nose back into its socket. I summon my strength and rear back.

His eyes narrow in a heartbeat, he abruptly pulls back into safe territory.

He shakes his head in stern disapproval. “I have sisters, don’t even think about it,” he barks.

Deflated and ticked off,
I hiss something garbled and nasty sounding.

He chuckles, the sound deep and mellow
, his eyes which had been mostly grey a second before now sparkle as the silver comes out, eerily illuminating and softening the hard planes of his face, making him heartstoppingly handsome.

M
y air waves stops and constricts before sputtering on. What on earth was happening to me? I have seen hundreds of handsome tourists in the months I’ve worked here, and even rebuffed the advances of a few.

He
leans closer until I can see that his light golden tan disappears flawlessly into the roots of his darker golden hair.

My eyes narrow
as I swiftly assess my rapidly deteriorating situation.

He
is confident that I have been subdued, that I am no longer a threat to his arrogant nose or square face for that matter. His eyes are cold in his strong, handsome face, devoid of even a sheen of moisture completely at odds against the pervasive sweating so common to many guests in our perpetually eight six degrees, humidity laden weather.

He is watching me like a committed hunter
. “You’re gonna help me get out of this damned place,” disgust curls his wide, thin lips, as his gaze leaves mine briefly and flicks across the room.

For some reason m
y
eyes remain stuck to the arrogant line of that thin mouth. It looks soft, not wet like Jermaine’s, probably because he hadn’t licked his lips once, an unfortunate and disgusting habit which Jermaine had gotten into over the last several months.

I blink m
yself back to reality, process his request. He wants me to sneak him off of Sunset Cave?

He nods,
reading my thoughts. “What time does your shift end?”

I jer
k a finger towards his gorilla sized hand still clamped over my mouth.

His eyes narrow
threateningly, he gives a sharp shake of his head. “Use your fingers,” he orders.

I
bristle, I had become an adult in a hurry over these last nine months and no one but my lecherous supervisor had dared to talk to me like that. I lift my chin and wait a few seconds determined to show him that I am not afraid of him, that he cannot make me do whatever his crazy mind has cooked up.

He
raises a thick, silky looking brow in challenge, his fingers over my mouth imperceptibly tighten. Panic blood races through my veins. I am barely five six, a hundred and ten pounds. My eyes travel up his t-shirt covered chest, stop at the wide muscled hewed shoulders, then back down to the taut midsection, narrowing strongly into the creases of a perfectly fitted brown khaki, even beyond to his sneakered feet, large feet, not unlike the ham sized hand still clamped over my mouth.

I need
to give in, at least until I can think of a viable way to escape this beast of a man. I splay the five digits of my right hand before clutching it into ineffectual fists once more, my nails bite into my palms. Irresistibly another thought shoots across my mind, those beautiful grey eyes …

His brows draw down into a ferocious scowl over said eyes, glistening frighteningly now, my heart hiccups and my gaze drops
to the rigid muscles of his forearm tanned that same beautiful color and sprinkled with fine white hairs.

He growls, then mysteriously heaves a long sigh
bringing my gaze skittering back up to his as I am absorbing the feel of his soft, not unpleasant breath warming my cheeks, ruffling the tiny tendrils that had escaped my bun during this morning spent scrubbing those filthy tubs.

The coldness leaves
his eyes but now I can see a soul deep weariness, or is it resignation? But it is gone before I can try to use it.

He eyes me with dismissal
. “You don’t really think you can harm me with those tiny paws, do you?”

I remain mute, whether from fear or stubbornness I don’t know.

He shakes me halfheartedly to underscore his point, his strength. My head snaps softly to the side and suddenly out of nowhere and to my insurmountable horror tears start to fill my eyes, remorselessly they burn a path up my throat, clotting then sneaking under all the walls I’d built for months. They are tears of rage and shame but mostly I sense deep down in my bones that they have been borne from facts that have nothing to do with a crazy grey eyed guest holding me prisoner inside a supposedly vacated room, they have finally risen to the forefront because once again I am going to be made to comply with the wants and needs of another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

Nate

 

“Oh, come on!” The words are hissed cruelly from between my teeth which clench together with a snap.

I feel her jerk.

Bright amber eyes frantically search mine.

There is some fear there, but the fight is stronger.

I barely suppress a groan of dismay.

This
one is going to be a handful, that much is obvious from the attempted head butt and eye gouging, and they I suspect are but samples of what she would do if I release her. She is definitely not one of those tongue-tied silly maids I had been depending on twisting to my will.

The sweep of
her lashes brush the sides of my fingers still clasped over her mouth as she decides to shield her pending intentions from me. I try not to react but my blood, latent for these several months, sizzles, I can literally feel the first wave of steam lifting off the surface.

Another mute groan.

Why now?

Stacy was gone. T
hank the Lord. She had long since ceased to arouse even a speck of desire within me.

Her gaze lifts
to mine again and I forget Stacy and the need to breathe.

A fat tear has the nerve to trickle down her cheek
! I viciously suppress the utterly stupid urge to wipe it away, nonetheless it breaks apart against my fingers still clamped over her mouth and I wince at the minute, exquisite sensation.

T
hose startling eyes jump to mine, they are like unfiltered honey and they are awash with crushed vulnerability, unlike anything I’ve ever encountered in these parts or anywhere else for that matter.

I am mesmerized as I watch them
fill, I can literally track the water level up her eyeballs, see them redden instantly from the burn of her emotions.

I feel
like an ass, an evil, manipulative ass. Which I guess I am. After all why else would I be holding her hostage, my hand clamped over her mouth, stopping her cries, her flight. But I can’t think of her delicate emotions right now.

She does not matter.

I steel myself, shake my head curtly to dissuade a further emotional outburst.

She hiccups adorably
into my palm, I growl, she stiffens and becomes quiet except for those eyes still fixed on me.

I summon al
l of the pent-up energy which has been driving me remorselessly, which had made me stuff my six four frame into a freakin four feet cart. I shudder. In retrospect I should have taken my chances with the tiger sharks, it would have saved me from the tears and bruises.

I comfort
myself with the thought that my options had been few, the cart or a hairy swim of thirty or so miles to the nearest harbor. I’d endured much worse in Brazil.

But more importantly I need her now. There are
several things that only an islander can give me.

Still a
care worn hag would have perfectly suited my needs, not an amber eyed temptress who looks as innocent as the first wave of an approaching hurricane. I make my face hard; a gift a very former friend had told me was scary as hell and luckily effortless.

She stiffens beneath my hand but doesn’t
look away. She is fearful yet defiant at the same time. A grudging respect for my little captive maid rises inside me. I lower my arm, she opens her plump lips wider than I would’ve thought possible.

BOOK: Out of the Fire (Perilous Connections)
7.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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