Authors: Jackie Williams
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Romantic Suspense, #Teen & Young Adult, #Contemporary Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense
Eventually he had crept back to the spare room
and stared at her from the doorway for several minutes before he walked into the room and quietly lay on the bed beside her. He didn’t want to wake her, he just wanted to be with her. His heart pounded out an erratic rhythm as he wondered what she would do if she woke now and found him lying there so close to her. He listened to her gentle breathing and entwined his fingers in her rich, dark hair, gathering it to him, moving his face into the luxurious strands but not touching her body at all.
Tiredness suddenly overwhelmed him and he relaxed into the bed as he could feel himself drifting off to sleep.
And then she moved. She rolled over towards him and for a moment he stopped breathing, waiting for the angry shout that would tell him that she was awake, but instead she drew a deep sighing breath. She moved even closer and snuggled into his chest, her cheek moving against his t-shirt as she made herself comfortable.
Hesitantly, unsure of his motives, he wrapped his arms around her
, letting her adjust her head to rest on his shoulder. She moved again and put her hand onto his chest, splaying her long elegant fingers across his pectorals, drawing a deep pang of longing from him. She rested there for just a moment and then his heart was hammering hard again as she lifted a slim leg over his thigh. She was almost lying across him.
His skin flamed at her touch, even though he was still wearing his clothes. He held her lightly, not daring to move, his hands touching her slender back through the soft material, barely understanding the emotions now running through his mind. He knew that she was acting unknowingly, but he liked it anyway.
More than liked it! Christ!
She was driving him to the very edge of reason.
He tried with great difficulty to calm himself but it was easier said than done. He could barely stop himself from ripping off his own clothes and then hers and making love to her right then. Instead he fought to quash the rising tide of passion that surged through his entire being. He bent his head to capture the scent of her hair once again.
Her soft breathing settled back to a regular pattern and he breathed with her as he drifted off into a deep and restful sleep, only waking as the slight rustle of fabric moving
gave her away.
He watched her while she dressed, admiring her slim but curvy body and wondering at the same time why she was leaving. Although he had rather expected that she would go, he wished she would stay beside him.
Normally the women that he invited to his home had to be
prised out of the house the next day, very nearly kicking and screaming and clinging on to him as though he were some kind of life preserver. He knew it wasn’t really him they wanted. They wanted his money and the lifestyle that went with him and he wasn’t willing to share it with someone less than perfect.
Perfection was something he sought in everything. It was one of the reasons that for the last year he had not started a relationship or slept with a woman. Sex had become so shallow, meaningless almost. Just
a quick gratification of an out-of-control desire. Although he was a generous lover and never took his pleasure for granted, afterwards it always seemed to have been just a sweaty half-hour that never really satisfied him.
He didn’t think that making love to Caroline would be like that at all. She was too passionate, fiery even.
This feeling in his heart was a new experience for him. The need to make love to Caroline was almost overwhelming, but he knew he would have to work hard to make her love him first. He could tel
he would never just leap into any man’s bed for a quick romp. He’d bet anything that the relationships she might have had in the past were built on more than just casual sex.
e had decided long ago never to have sex again if he couldn’t find the love and proper satisfaction went with it. He hoped she felt the same way.
But right at this moment, as she was leaving him, he wondered if he shouldn’t speak up to let her kno
w how his heart was jumping furiously in his chest and how he only wanted to hold on to her forever.
He decided to let her go without making any sound, confident that she would be ringin
g him within the next hour. He left his phone by the bed, quickly stripped off his clothes leaving them piled on the floor and moved over into the space where she had lain. He breathed in her wonderful scent and feeling her warmth still in the covers, he at last fell back to sleep.
The shop was crowded with hungry customers when Caroline eventually arrived late in the morning the next day. Cathy grinned at her and gave a mischievous wink over the heads of two young girls choosing chocolates.
pulled on an apron and latex gloves and slid in behind the counter to help.
come on, spill the beans. How did your night go after I left? I got your message.” Cathy questioned her immediately from the corner of her mouth, the grin still evident.
Caroline frowned back at Cathy and hissed.
“I didn’t give you any message! And the evening was truly awful! You’ll never believe it when I tell you what happened.” She turned away and served two of three people without commenting further. It was a good half an hour before the shop was less crowded and she could give Cathy all the gory details from the moment he had sat down with her and their row at the nightclub to when she had sneaked from his fabulous house in the middle of the night. At first her friend was totally shocked.
“God, Caroline!” Cathy gasped and drew her hand up to her throat. “I would never have guessed drugs like that were used round here. But thank God for your
saviour. You were so lucky that he was there!” When Caroline reached the part where he was lying in bed with her, she was less sympathetic.
“When he phoned me, I thought you’d
gone home with him on purpose. His voice was so deep and sultry I thought that you he must have just worn you out with the most fantastic sex and he was ringing me to tell me that you were going to be late for work. Now you’re telling me that you really were in bed, half naked, with Mr. Gorgeous Cavendish himself, and nothing happened! Except that he made you tea and toast and then you ran away. Are you mad or what? Is there something wrong with you or him or both?” Cathy’s meaning was clear.
Caroline was outraged.
“I was drugged! I wasn’t thinking about sex, thank you very much. I barely noticed him lying there.” Her voice notched up a pitch as she lied to both Cathy and herself.
Cathy rolled her eyes. “Not notice him!” She almost shrieked. “Are you blind? Just look at the guy. Six foot something.” She waved her hand about well over the top of her head. “And all those muscles! He’s fabulously handsome, and rich too
. How could you possibly not notice him or not think of sex?”
Caroline shook her head in despair.
“We don’t all have a one track mind Cathy.” She gulped as she thought of all the muscles too and how he’d held her so gently with them. “And in case you didn’t realize, he’s the one closing us down.” Caroline stared at her friend triumphantly but Cathy just shrugged and replied.
“Even more reason to sleep with him then, if you ask me…
God, you can be a bit slow on the uptake sometimes Caroline. You had the perfect opportunity to influence the guy and you blew it. Big time.” She sighed deeply.
Caroline opened her mouth to protest and then closed it again when she realized exactly what her friend was saying.
“I am not going to sleep with a guy just in case it’ll make him change his mind over a multi- million pound deal. And if I had jumped in the sack with him, I still don’t think that even with all the advantages I have,” she stuck out a curvaceous hip, pouted her full lips and shook her long glossy hair at Cathy, “that I’m hat good in bed.” A small smile played about her lips.
, glad that her friend could see the funny side of things again.
“Well, you could have tried anyway, and even if it still didn’t work out for the shop, at least the sex might have been great.”
Caroline laughed back at her friend desperately trying not to remember the heat of Adam’s body or of the way she had draped herself all over him as she had slept.
“Hmm, actually I’m pretty sure that the sex would have been fantastic, and okay
you’re right about the muscles too, but I think it’s too late to do anything about it now anyway. I didn’t give him my address and I’m not going to phone him, so there’s an end to it.”
Cathy smiled slyly.
“Maybe you didn’t leave him an address, but it won’t take him very long to find out where you live. You gave your address to that driver remember, with all his money he’s only got to ask and after the row that you had with him he knows that you have a shop down here too, so you won’t be that hard to find… Especially as he’s standing outside the right now.” She looked over Caroline’s shoulder as she responded smugly.
Caroline whipped up her head from where she was concentrating on placing chocolates in a small pyramid.
Sure enough, the sporty black Mercedes was at the kerb right outside their front door. Adam was standing, arms folded across his chest leaning on his shining car and staring directly at Caroline. She flushed to the roots of her hair. She tried to ignore her embarrassment and him but Cathy shoved Caroline hard in the back and hissed.
“Go on you idiot, it’s not me he’s waiting for. Get out there now. Go save our shop and all that.”
Caroline raised her eyebrows but then untied her apron, pulled off the thin gloves she was using and gave her friend a withering glance. She stalked out from behind the counter and walked back out of the shop again.
Adam was frowning at her, his grey eyes as hard as steel. He didn’t look at all friendly as he dropped his arms and stood back as he opened the car door for her. He spoke in an icy tone.
“Get in.” He obviously wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
She gave him as hard a stare back in response and then, not really knowing why, she sat down on the smooth leather. She had barely pulled her feet inside the car before he
had closed the door, walked round the front of the motor and climbed into the driver’s seat. He didn’t take his glowering eyes off her for a second until he had pulled his door shut and turned on the engine.
He slid the car into gear and Caroline felt herself pushed back in her seat as they roared along the seafront. She twisted her hands in her lap as she waited for him to speak first but he remained quiet and just frowned even more deeply when he took his eyes off the road for a second to glance at her. After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence he began tapping the steering wheel with frustrated fingers. The regular
rhythm grew louder in the quiet, until it was banging in time with the beat of her heart and Caroline couldn’t stand it anymore.
She unknotted her hands and ran her fingers through her hair
“What? What have I done now?” She asked eventually.
Adam glanced at her again and then spoke through his teeth.
“It’s not what you’ve done. I
what you didn’t do.” He paused while he stamped on the accelerator and shifted up a gear. “I asked you to call me. I even put my number into your phone.” He sounded very annoyed and then without any warning he flung the steering wheel around and screeched into a parking bay overlooking the sea, braking fiercely and stopping with a great jolt.
Caroline thumped her hand on the dashboard to brace herself as she was flung forwards and then immediately stopped by the seatbelt. She stifled a gasp as the thick webbing bit through her shirt and into her skin.
“Now just hang on a moment.” She rubbed her shoulder where the seat belt had pulled tight and for a moment Adam wished he hadn’t stopped the car quite so abruptly but he forgot that as she glowered at him and began to defend herself. “Just because you saved me from two potential rapists doesn’t mean I have to do everything you tell me. You didn’t have to do it. I didn’t ask you to.”
His head shot up and he gl
ared right back at her, his breath coming in short angry gasps, his hands hard on the steering wheel, the tension standing out white in his knuckles as he tried to control his temper.
He took in a deep, controll
“You mean that you would have preferred it if I’d left you with them?” His voice came from between gritted teeth and a vein
throbbed at his temple. He couldn’t even think of those two repulsive men without wishing he had ripped them both apart with his bare hands. He clamped his teeth together hard.
Caroline lowered her gaze, her hair dropping over her
face as she stared at her hands trembling in her lap. Feeling very foolish she bit at her bottom lip and stammered.
“No, no, that’s not what I mean at all and you know it.” Her voice was a whisper and her eyes brimmed with tears as she thought of what might have happened to her if he hadn’t been there. “But you don’t own me because of it.” She lifted her head and spoke defiantly. “And I didn’t need to phone
you any way. You knew I was fine because that driver of yours will have told you so. That was no cab company car.” She accused.
m’s expression suddenly softened. He gave a sheepish smile.
Ahh… Got me. I’d forgotten about that. I bet Alf used the Bentley. He loves that car. But you still should have phoned me. I was worried about you.” He sounded genuinely concerned as he put the pad of his thumb to her face and wiped a tear gently from under her eye.
Caroline gave a watery smile back.
“Oh Adam. I’m not a child, I’m twenty-five. You sound like my dad… He’s always fussing and treating me like I’m still a naughty teenager.” She paused suddenly curious. “How old are you anyway?”
He was looking out of the windscreen at two seagulls sitting on the sea wall and didn’t answer immediately. She waited patiently as he seemed to weigh up answering her at all.
“Well I’m not old enough to be your dad at least… I’m thirty two. Positively ancient.” He declared, sounding as though he were confessing to something dreadful. His huge shoulders slumped forwards as he watched the seagulls take flight and glide off over the sea. “Don’t you ever wish you could just fly away like that?” He sounded so very weary with everything. His dark eyes stared enviously towards the now soaring birds.
Caroline looked at him quizzically for a moment,
at this super rich, super confident, super huge man, and wondered what he was really thinking about, then she followed his gaze out over the water.
The waves were crashing in against
the rough stone wall, sending fountains of spray flying up above them. The birds were now tiny dots high in the sky.
and then gave a wistful smile.
“I don’t know about flying away but a few years ago I wanted to travel.
After going to college I always thought I’d work my way around the world learning how to make the traditional cakes of every single country I visited, but I ended up catering for children’s parties and never had the time or the money to go. Now I’m so busy with the shop, I’ve not really had time to think about it.”
Adam breathed in deeply, obviously thinking hard.
“I know exactly what you mean, but ‘Confections from the Continent’ Hmm… It has a nice ring to it. And then you really could fly round gathering your expertise.”
Caroline raised her eyebrows and rolled the words around inside her head. They sounded delicious.
“Yes, I suppose I could. Can you imagine all those fabulously different pastries and cakes?” She sounded wistful and she let out a breath as she came back down to earth. “But then it’s still work.”
Adam shook his head.
“I agree but at least it’s work that you want to do. Sometimes you start a ball rolling and it gathers speed so fast you end up losing all control. You find yourself at the front of it, heading it up but then it suddenly catches up with you, building its momentum until it overtakes and crushes you and everything else within its path.” He stared out over the sea. “At least if you fly away by yourself and really learn your craft you can control it rather than it control you. Have you ever really thought about what you want to do?” Deep lines furrowed his high forehead.
Caroline rubbed her own forehead. She wasn’t sure if another headache was starting or if it was just Adam making her think hard. She realized that he
was saying something very deep; something he had obviously experienced himself.
“Why, have you?” Her voice was soft and she felt herself relax back in the luxurious leather seat. Whatever his deep thoughts, she was comfortable beside him and didn’t want to move. She rolled her head sideways and looked at him. “D
o you really want to fly away?”
Adam kept his eyes on the horizon.
“Just sometimes… When that ball really gets moving up on you.” His voice was far away and Caroline looked over at him again, trying to fathom his mood. He sighed deeply. “I’d better take you back to your shop or your friend will think I’ve kidnapped you.” He turned and smiled at Caroline, who immediately thought that she wouldn’t mind being kidnapped by him at all.
She smiled back at him and shook her head.
“I don’t want to go back yet. I don’t often have the time to sit and do nothing. I want to stay here and watch the sea with you.” The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them and she flushed bright red.
Adam’s smile faded slightly.
“Yes… I know what you mean. It’s relaxing.” He looked away from her burning face and stared out, not really looking at anything at all but his shoulders were suddenly less tense and sighing deeply he settled back in the seat.