Season of Desire: Complete Edition (10 page)

BOOK: Season of Desire: Complete Edition
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‘I’ve had a lot of strange requests in my time,’ he says, still laughing. ‘But this is the first time one of my clients has asked that. And your turn of phrase is priceless.
Pleasure me.

Humiliation stings me at the way he says it. I’m suddenly aware that I’m standing in front of him, practically naked, demanding that he have sex with me.
Oh God, that’s what I should have said – just plain ‘have sex’. Too late now.
I deal with the embarrassment in the only way I know: I toss my head and say imperiously, ‘I’m glad you’re so entertained by me but it makes no difference. I’ve told you what I want. Now do it.’

He raises one dark eyebrow at me.
God, I love it when he does that. It does very curious things to my insides.
‘I thought we were past this kind of behaviour, Freya.’

‘Well, we’re not.’ I gather my dignity as well as I can, standing there in my bra and knickers. ‘Nothing has really changed between us. I’m still your boss and you still have to do as I say.’

As the words come out, I instantly regret them. Part of me wonders why I act like this but it’s so ingrained in me, I can’t seem to prevent myself using my status to control things and people, even if I know it doesn’t really get me what I want. The amusement fades from his eyes and his smile disappears. Now there’s something more like anger. Or is it disappointment? To my dismay, he reaches for his shirt and begins to put it on. ‘No, you’re right,’ he says tersely, buttoning it up in short, sharp movements. ‘Nothing has really changed, has it? I thought for a moment there that I’d misjudged you but maybe I was on the right track all along.’ He stops buttoning long enough to fix me with a stony look and says quietly, ‘Employing people is not the same as owning them, Freya. It seems to me that you don’t understand that. You are not some Roman empress surrounded by her obedient slaves, as much as you might like to think you are.’

I lift my chin and my hands go to my hips. ‘Of course I don’t think that. I know the difference. I know how to be a good employer.’

‘Really?’ He goes back to his buttons.

The way he says it provokes me. ‘What do you mean –
really
?’

He shrugs. ‘Some of the staff at your mountain retreat might beg to differ. Not that you would care.’

‘What do you mean? Who would differ?’ I demand, outraged by the suggestion that anyone could be anything other than delighted to be working for the Hammond family.

‘I’m not going to name names, I don’t intend to get anyone into trouble. But if you think people don’t mind being treated like faceless, nameless servants, kept up late on a whim, sent on stupid errands that you’re too lazy to do yourself, or made to tidy up after you because you can’t be bothered to lift a finger yourself – well, you’d better think again, that’s all. People aren’t fools. They have thoughts and feelings and opinions, and they certainly have an opinion about
you
.’

I draw in a shocked breath. I’m appalled and offended. ‘What rubbish! How dare you make such nasty accusations? Withdraw them right now!’

He sighs. ‘Are you ever going to stop issuing your ridiculous commands? You’re a little nursery dictator, a spoiled child who only knows one way to get what she wants. Maybe if you opened your eyes, you’d see how your behaviour affects other people.’

This is too close to the bone for me. I snatch up my top and start putting it on, managing to get my arms twisted up in the sleeves in my fury. My desire for Miles is dampened down very effectively by his attitude. ‘I won’t listen to this. You just want to make me feel bad! I can’t believe I actually wanted you to sleep with me! I must be an idiot.’

I wrestle myself into my top and emerge just in time to see that sardonic eyebrow shooting upwards again. A few minutes ago it made me shivery with lust. Now I’m infuriated by it.

‘Do I understand that her ladyship is rescinding her previous orders?’ he drawls, his Scottish accent lengthening every word and loading each one with something that seems to me like insolence. ‘Are my pleasuring services no longer required?’

‘Don’t talk to me like that!’ I stamp my foot angrily. I realise that I’ve been standing on the cold dirt floor for some time.

Miles laughs again as he picks up his jumper and puts it on, sliding it over his head in one easy movement. Then he reaches for his jacket. ‘You know what? I feel like a fool. For a moment I thought I’d got you wrong. I thought something had changed between us. But you’ve made it very clear that’s not the case.’ As he puts his jacket on, he gives me a look that brings me up short suddenly: it’s full of a power I’ve never seen before and it almost makes me gasp. I feel a kind of fear shimmer through me, as though I’ve been playing with a tame tiger that has just turned round and shown me its bared teeth. The atmosphere becomes charged with something I can’t identify. It’s not fevered lust now but a sense that we’re preparing ourselves for combat and he’s letting me know that he’ll be a challenging adversary.

He turns and goes to the door. As he reaches it, he turns again to face me and stands very still. Those bright blue eyes, hard as granite, are fixed on me again.

‘Let me make something clear to you, Freya Hammond. I’m not your slave, for sex or anything else, and I’m not here to service you, like some pathetic gigolo. No one can ever order me to sleep with them, and certainly not you.’ He lets those words hang in the air for a moment before adding, ‘I’m going out now to assess the weather and scout out the area while it’s clear. You’d better get dressed. You’ll freeze your arse off dressed like that.’

With that parting shot, he opens the hut door, letting in a gust of freezing air, and is gone in a moment, leaving me standing open-mouthed, staring after him, speechless with impotent fury.

 

At first, I’m glad Miles has gone. I pull on my jeans, buttoning them up furiously.

He drives me crazy! I knew from the moment I met him he had attitude and I was right! Well, as soon as we get out of here, I’m going take great pleasure in sacking his ass.

I imagine the scene. I’m standing at my father’s side as he sits behind that huge desk of his – a desk that shows who really wields the power round here. Together we watch as a thoroughly cowed Miles comes in and stands before us. He glances meekly at me. I know that he can see in my eyes that he’s about to get what’s coming to him.

‘Daddy,’ I say coolly. ‘This is the one. You must sack him at once.’

‘Anything you say, honey,’ responds my father. ‘If that’s what you want, that’s what you get. He’s toast.’

I smile at my father. ‘Thank you, Daddy.’

Miles stares down at his hands, his shoulders bowed. He’s utterly beaten.

My father looks up at me, frowning a little. ‘Just one thing, honey. Why am I sacking him?’

‘Because . . .’ I falter a little. ‘Because . . .’ Then I say firmly, ‘He disobeyed my orders.’

‘Did he?’ My father looks grave. ‘Why, that’s awful. He must certainly be dismissed in that case. And what were your orders?’

I blink hurriedly and say, ‘Well . . .’

‘Yes?’

‘I . . .’ Even in my fantasy, I have no idea how to tell my father that I want this bodyguard sacked because he refused to have sex with me when I demanded it. It just isn’t the kind of father–daughter conversation I can envisage. My imagination fails and the picture in my mind disappears.

I know what’s more likely to happen. Now I can see Miles sauntering in, his right eyebrow lifted in that arrogant way, a sardonic look in his eyes. He’s totally in control and completely self-confident. My father is asking him why he wants to quit, and Miles looks at me with a piercing gaze and says quietly, ‘Why don’t you ask Freya, Mr Hammond?’

‘Oh, damn it all!’ I say loudly, pulling on my boots. I can’t even successfully
imagine
a triumph over him. ‘And damn Miles to hell!’

For a while, I let my anger stew, taking pleasure in thinking up ways that I might be able to bring him down and give him a little taste of the humiliation he’s given me. Once I’m dressed, I begin to warm up again and the little room is becoming quite cosy with the blaze from the fire. I pick up a log and throw it on, noticing that there’re only a few dry ones left. Miles will need to bring some more in from outside so that they can start steaming out their moisture in the warmth of the fire. I wonder where he is. He’s been gone a while. I lie down and try to imagine all the things I’ll do when I’m out of here, dozing and dreaming while I wait for Miles to come back. I spend a while trying to remember what was in my diary for next week, what my plans were. It’s strange how distant and unlikely they all seem now. Was there ever a time when I could do exactly what I wanted – walk out any door, go any place, please myself entirely? There’s a different reality now. What will it be like when I get back to my old life? I picture myself telling all my friends about this crazy adventure, all the drama of the crash and the luck of finding the hut, and the way we were rescued.

Rescue?
says a little voice in my head.
What rescue?

I jump up and look out of the little glazed window. Earlier the view was of complete glistening whiteness, pure in the morning light. Now, the window is filled with a yellowish-grey colour that seems to be moving. I realise that the snow has started falling again. The wind is picking up too – I can hear it battering about in the chimney. The storm is back. There won’t be any rescue while it’s raging outside and I have the distinct sense that it’s just getting started. It could last all day. We’ll be here another night at least.

I sigh. A night. Memories of being close to Miles in the darkness flood back into my mind and set loose that powerful longing again.

What the hell
is
that feeling?

I’ve never known anything like it: this intense yearning for Miles’s physical presence. I thought I felt that way about Jacob, but what I felt for him was nothing like this desperate desire to be close to Miles. I could happily spend days away from Jacob, as long as we texted and emailed. But the magnetic pull towards Miles is something else: only being close to him will do. I want the nearness of his body so much.

If only he weren’t so incredibly annoying . . . if only he didn’t take so much pleasure in pissing me off!

Just thinking about him feeds my hunger for him but I suspect that whatever we had last night is unlikely to be repeated. After what just happened between us, is he likely to want to get close to me again? We had that amazing, delicious encounter and then he had to go and spoil it. I remember the taste of his mouth, the sensation of his lips on mine and those strong arms around me, and I realise that I’m moaning gently at the thought. One hand is rubbing at my shoulder, over my neck, down over my breasts. My sex gives a little judder to remind me that I’ve teased it horribly today. I’m on the edge of instant arousal. My hand plays over my thigh and I wonder if it would make things easier if I got rid of this troublesome need for Miles by unbuttoning my jeans and letting my hand slip inside to my white knickers. I could let my fingers play over their soft surface, tantalise myself a little, feel my bud swell up to meet my fingertips. It’s already tingling in anticipation, I can feel it. I imagine how I would caress it lightly, swirling my fingertips over it so that it buzzes with pleasurable vibrations. I’d feel the honeyed juices rise to meet me, taking a little on my fingertip to allow me to circle the bud all the more easily. I’d increase the pressure slowly, letting it harden under my teasing, and feeling the pulses of pleasure it sends out grow in power . . .

Oh God, I want to do it . . . I need some relief from this hunger . . .

But it wouldn’t be enough. He’d only have to walk through the door and I’d be enslaved by need again instantly.

Then my lust dies away in a sudden sensation of unease. How long has he been gone? I’ve had such complete faith in him, and such trust that he’s indestructible, that I haven’t been worried. Now, though, I realise that he’s been gone for a long time, over an hour. Long enough for my rage against him to die down a little and for my desire to rekindle.

I gaze out of the window again.

It’s snowing hard out there. He said that there was almost no visibility when he went out this morning, and that was before it started snowing again. He can’t be scouting in this weather, he won’t be able to see a thing.

Anxiety flickers in the pit of my stomach.

What else did he say he was going to do?

I can’t remember anything else. He’s been gone much longer than it would take to look around. My anxiety flares up into fear. What if something’s happened to him? Perhaps he tripped and fell, maybe he’s broken a leg. He could be lying out there alone in the snow . . .

A mental image presents itself: Miles, pulling himself through a snow drift, in agony from an injured leg, his clothes no match for the fearsome power of the elements. He’s fighting it but it’s no good – he’s gradually freezing to death.

Oh my God – what shall I do?

I stand up, agitated, and begin to pace around the small room. If he’s out there, I’ll have to go out and find him. There’s nothing else for it.

What good will it do if you both freeze to death outside?
asks the voice in my head.
Besides, even if you find him, you won’t be able to carry him. He’s much heavier than you. You should wait here.

BOOK: Season of Desire: Complete Edition
9.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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