Authors: Sasha Gold
Please note that this is a work of adult fiction and contains graphic descriptions of sexual activity. It is intended for mature readers aged 18 and over.
No sexual activity occurs between blood relations, and all persons depicted in this story are 18 years old or older.
Just three weeks shy of twenty-two, I should be over my fear of the dark and thunder. I’m reminded of that pitiful fact as I drive up to my mother and step-father’s house. At night time, especially during thunderstorms, I’m suddenly eleven years old all over again.
In middle school, I had a collection of nightlights that kept me safe, little cartoon heads that kept the bogey man away. I loved them, but felt ashamed, too. None of my friends seemed worried about the dark. What was wrong with me? The last day of eighth grade I threw them away. I think about them at times, especially during thunderstorms. The
as they hit the bottom of the trash can is still a vivid memory. The last one I pitched was my favorite, a faded and chipped Snoopy.
I pull up to the wrought-iron gate, turn up the music and snort with disgust.
Lightning stabs the sky and illuminates the sprawling home on the ridge. The split-second explosion of light confirms my worst fear – the house looks like the set of a horror movie. The roofline bristles with a half dozen chimney spires and the windows in the turrets gleam with the flash of lightning. Maybe every Victorian house looks haunted during a thunderstorm, but this monstrosity is empty. That right there gives it extra fear-factor points.
I pull the remote out of my glove box and click the front gate opener. This is no ordinary remote control. It is something Howard had custom-made… three different automatic gates,
overhead garage doors, and various controls for outdoor lighting. And still it fits easily in my hand.
For the next ten days I’m house-sitting. The idea sounded great at first, a chance to live in a historic house that comes with a cook and
but now I’m wishing I’d said no.
It’s not all bad though. I need to lay low for a while and this is a good place to do that. I just closed on the sale of my gentleman’s club to some high-rollers in Houston. Yesterday was my last day of work. Not everyone in town is happy I got such a sweet deal. I keep getting strange text messages from an unknown number. Every two or three days, I get some picture of a guy’s dick or a nasty text explaining what he wants to do to me. I try to block the number, but somehow his messages still get through.
Rain drums down on the top of my convertible as I pull up the driveway. My windshield wipers are on max and they can barely keep up with this wrath-of-God downpour. I pull past the front of the house to the garage and press the button to open bay seven. The first six bays are all occupied.
garage doors. I’ve never seen that many garage doors in a row.
Four of the glittering vehicles should be on the cover of some sort of collector’s magazine. They are really old, like from the 1930’s, and they look like they just came off the assembly line. Shit, they probably look better than they did when they were built, knowing Howard. The other two are the latest and greatest from Mercedes. The first thing he did when he married my mother was buy her next year’s model.
I turn off my car and push button seven to close the door behind me.
They had a one month courtship. She met him in the ER after he suffered a mild heart attack. He was her patient and both swear it was love at first sight. Mom went from working sixty hours a week as an RN to jet-setting with Howard Thornton. I was pretty shocked. She’d always loved nursing. It was her identity. But now… if she’s happy, I’m happy.
I walk the length of the garage stopping to look at each car, marveling at my mother’s own little Cinderella story. She worked hard and made good money, but she spent it quicker than she made it. We lived month to month. Rent was always late, and several times we got evicted.
I’ve moved too many times in my life. If there’s one thing I hate it’s packing and unpacking. After I get the check for the club, the first thing I’m going to do is buy a house. If things go my way, I’ll be able to pay back my grandparents and buy my own historic home somewhere in town. I picture a sweet, little brick cottage, or maybe a craftsman. I’ll pay for it with cold, hard cash. I won’t even have a mortgage payment. I’ll also go on a trip somewhere. I’ve never done that, either. Never gone to the beach or stepped foot on an airplane.
I came by this morning to drop off luggage and meet the
. La-di-da. Howard has a half dozen house keepers. One of them is helping me with a cleanse I’m planning for the ten-day stay, lots of raw vegetables and fruit smoothies… my body could use a fresh start.
Marion, the head housekeeper, helped me unpack two hundred dollars’ worth of groceries for this diet and offered to help with meal prep. She also showed me around the house and how to arm and disarm the security.
I stop at the door, punch in the code and push the door open. The little key pad flashes a message about alarm not set. Maybe Marion didn’t activate it when she and the rest of the ladies left that afternoon.
A blast of thunder shakes the house. I stop in the foyer. Down the hallway, a light flickers. Someone is watching television.
Maybe the maid left it on. When I came by earlier, none of the housekeepers said anything about staying late. I try to tamp down my fear. Another blast of thunder crashes and I feel the hard wood floors shake beneath my high heels. The lights dim and then go out.
“Shit, shit, shit.” I reach into my purse and feel around for the tiny flashlight I always carry. My hand brushes against a table and I set down my purse.
A movement behind me makes me jerk with surprise. The next thing I know, someone grabs me. I want to scream but a hand clamps my mouth.
Adrenalin surges through my veins. My thoughts slip into survival mode. Stomp my heel on his foot or head butt? I’m frantic and go with what seems best. Ramming my head back, I connect with a wall of muscle, not the man’s face. Holy hell – how tall is this beast? My move is met with a rasp of laughter.
“Try that again boy, and I’ll break your arm.”
I wilt. His hold on me is iron. Everything in my mind moves in slow motion.
“Hey… you’re a
” he muses and inhales deeply, dropping his hand from my mouth.
A whimper escapes my lips and my breath comes in soft pants. “Who are you?”
“You smell…amazing.” His lips skim across my neck. “You always put on perfume before you break into houses?”
The lights flicker and come on again, but it’s still plenty dark in the foyer. He still has me in a vice grip so I can’t see his face. I grit my teeth and wrack my brain. Who could he be?
“Are you the p-pool guy?” I whisper.
“I am if you want me to be.”
What an ass. I’m about to have a heart attack and he’s joking around. Clearly, he knows the house, so he’s probably not a burglar, but I can’t figure out who the hell he is.
His hand slides inside my jacket and strokes my side. I try to jerk free, but it’s no use. He tightens his hold, his hand coming dangerously close to my breast. When his hand edges higher, I lower my voice to the ‘don’t fuck with me’ tone I’ve perfected working with male clientele.
“Touch my breast and I’ll break your hand.”
It’s a ridiculous threat. I’m defenseless.
“I am.” I let out a breath. My heart rate slows a little. The man knows my name so he’s not just some intruder or random criminal. That’s good, though he still has his huge hand dangerously close to my right breast. “Who are
His hold loosens. “Well shit, so much for getting lucky.”
I jerk free and retreat, almost stumbling. Damn high heels. There’s a light behind him that silhouettes his massive physique. I have bouncers in my club that seem huge to me, but this guy’s a head taller.
My mind spins.
There’s a Luke who is in love with Charlotte my office manager. Always sends her flowers. Or is that Lyle? I forget. The girl has a lot of admirers.
Luke turns and walks into the kitchen, a string of very bad words coming from his mouth. I hear the fridge open and the hiss of a beer being uncapped. He rummages in the fridge, muttering.
A thunder-clap rents the air and the lights flicker again. I pray the lights don’t go out while trapped by some foul-mouthed beast, a man I’ve never met, yet somehow knows my name.
Howard has a son, but I think he’s Howard Junior. Maybe this is a cousin, or some other relation.
I go into the kitchen, tentatively. The intruder/possible relative is scowling at the contents of the fridge. He’s dressed in camo pants and a t-shirt. The shirt hugs the planes of his chest, the sleeves stretch across biceps that bulge as he lifts a jar of kiwi-kale juice. It’s only about eight ounces, but it cost five dollars. The thick, green liquid is tomorrow’s breakfast. He sniffs it and recoils.
My heart rate returns from the stratosphere, but I’m still pretty rattled. Luke’s forbidding appearance would intimidate just about anyone. Under the short burr of a beard, his jaw looks like it’s hewn from stone.
He opens a jar of peanut butter I had ground at the store today. His brows lift and his lips quirk in what I assume is approval. He sets it next to the open beer on the counter.
“Luke,” I say.
“Yes, Olivia.” He continues searching the fridge.
“Do you know Howard Thornton?”
“Yes, pretty well. He’s my Dad. Did he forget to mention me? Ah, here’s the cheese. Finally.”
I take a deep breath and laugh, slumping against the counter. A moment ago my life flashed before my eyes. I don’t know that I’ve ever been that frightened.
He plunks down the cheese on the counter. “Why are you here?”
He snorts, his disdain palpable. A minute ago, he was about to cop a feel and now he’s acting like I’m some low-life. I could ask the same of him. Why is he here? I want to know. Howard told me his son had been in the Navy and served overseas. He’d completed his service but instead of coming home, took a motorcycle trip to Alaska.
Howard kept the conversation short, and I could tell there were some bad feelings between the two of them, so I didn’t press. I also didn’t ask much more because I didn’t want Howard to ask questions about what I do. Now that I’ve sold the club, it’s a bit of a moot point, and with luck, it won’t ever come up.
Luke slices off a hunk of cheese and takes a bite, his white teeth sinking into the cheddar. Earlier some friends had taken me out for dinner to celebrate the sale of the club. I only had a salad and now, suddenly, I’m starving. My mouth waters.
“I guess this gives us a chance to get to know each other,” he says.
He keeps his gaze on me as he takes a swallow of his beer. “I was on my way back from my trip. My dad asked me to keep an eye on you. Something about weird text messages and the sale of your business.”
Ugh. I had dinner yesterday with my grandparents. It’s a Sunday night ritual and I got a message while I was there.
. My grandmother wormed it out of me and I told them the whole story about how the minute I accepted the offer for the club, I started getting messages. Gran must have called Mom.
“I don’t need you to take care of me,” I say, trying to keep my tone even.
“Yeah, well you shouldn’t have told your mom someone was bothering you. Now you’re stuck with me for a while.”
Panic curls inside me. The stay here was going to be like a mini-vacation. I planned on taking over the dining room with my house-hunting paperwork, sleeping in, getting primped for the closing on Friday. I can’t do any of that with Howard Junior or Luke or whatever his name is, prowling around the house.
“That’s your stuff in the guest room? What…you own an underwear store or something?” He smirks. “I’ve never seen so many panties before.”
“You went through my things?” I imagine his massive hands touching my belongings while a shimmer of awareness washes over me. My breasts feel heavy and even worse, my nipples tighten almost painfully. He notices. He
notices because his gaze drifts down the front of my linen dress and lingers.
“I guess…I did,” he says distractedly, his gaze drifting over my breasts. “I was trying to figure out who was here.”
He arches his brow, turns away and starts grating the cheese. I watch, momentarily struck speechless by this small, mundane action. The kitchen implement looks like a toy in his hand and the metal handle bends. I half-expect it to snap off.
“You’re going to break that.”
He keeps grating the cheese, and lowers his voice. “You offering?”
His question drips with innuendo and his gaze rakes down my body once more. This time, the trail of heat he leaves in his wake starts a wicked simmer inside me. Heat sparks along the length of my thighs.
This doesn’t happen to me. Ever. When I used to dance, I went by the name of ‘Ice’. Some men like that bitch vibe and although I didn’t get up on stage often, I made a lot of money when I did. I was more comfortable serving drinks, but even then, I kept a chilly distance between me and the customers.