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Authors: Denyse Bridger

Stolen Rapture

BOOK: Stolen Rapture
7.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





New Dawning International Bookfair










Denysé Bridger


Copyright © 2011 Denysé Bridger






Pulsing music, and an explosion of blinding camera flashes signaled the start of the show, and the main runway came to life with color and activity. Applause rippled the air like waves buffeting a shoreline, and through it all, the sea of voices hummed like white noise. Deluna had done this enough times that it lacked glamour and awe. She simply made certain the models moved in smooth precision, the procession a well-oiled machine.

She was filling in at this show. She'd come as a buyer, not a dresser and stage manager. But, it gave her a unique view of the collection, and she'd found clothing for the photo-shoot she'd been lucky enough to land.

An icy tingle shot up her spine, and she turned from the models, searching for the source of her unease it didn't take more than half a minute to lock gazes with the most stunning man she'd ever seen. He stood over six feet tall, had dark brown hair, and sculpted features that were the stuff of sighs and dreams. At the moment, he watched her, occasionally glancing at the runway. But there was a marked lack of real interest in his expression as models paraded past; if anything, he looked bored and restless.

His eyes were striking, one as blue as the summer skies, while the other was a brilliant shade of emerald green. It made his stare even more compelling.

* * *

The show ended with a flawless presentation. An hour later, she was attending the reception that inevitably followed all successful fashion shows. While the models moved among the buyers, she took in the flow of material, planning photos for the next day's shoot. A cool kiss of air touched the back of her neck. She knew before she turned that she'd find him near her.

"Can I get you a drink?"

His voice poured over her like chocolate silk, smooth, perfectly modulated, rich and seductive. She blinked, wondered for a moment if he had actually spoken, or if the magnificent voice was in her mind.

"I'm Cordeaux Vincente." He extended his hand to her.
She took the proffered hand and smiled. "Deluna Jordan. What brings you to this show?"
He laughed, making her feel slightly foolish.
"I'm sorry, that really isn't any of my business."
"No, it's a reasonable question. I work for Falcon's Flight."
Her eyes widened. "Wow. So you're checking out the competition?"

He grinned. "In a manner of speaking. Rahve likes to know if anyone's pushing product that looks a little bit too familiar."

She considered that revelation for a moment, then nodded. "Makes sense, he's very popular."
"More than he likes at times."
"I find that hard to believe," she noted dryly.
Cord's incredible eyes narrowed. "You know Rahve?"

"Not really." She paused, and a huge grin spread across her face. "Rahve Falcon doesn't usually notice mere mortals like me. I've seen him around. I'm a photographer, I'm here to buy for a new photo shoot, and I was roped into helping out when the dresser and stage manager ran off to get married!"

"Would you like to run off? We could have dinner?" he suggested.

She looked around, the models were still mingling with potential buyers. There were the hangers on that were at every show, and the designer, her old roomie Dane Grayson. Dane was the image of bliss, and she knew him well enough to understand the enraptured look in his eyes–he was calculating the potential sales from tonight's successful show. He caught her eye and headed her way. She turned to Cord and placed a hand on his arm.

"If it looks like he's not going to shut-up, please take me away!" She was sincere, and he nodded, sipping a drink to hide his smile when Grayson joined them.

"Perfect, Deluna!" He pulled her into a tight hug then kissed her cheeks. "I knew the moment you walked in the day was saved!"

She laughed and shook her head. Dane was a charmer, always effusive, but he genuinely cared, and his flirty warmth always made her feel special. "Dane, you'll never lose your gift for exaggeration, will you?"

"Only truth, sweetheart, and you know it." He looked at Cord with cautious eyes. "I don't think I know you, do I?"


Deluna lifted her hand to cover a spurt of laughter when Dane's expression became one of flustered indignation. He looked to her with pleading eyes and he fidgeted with his jacket, smoothing it unnecessarily.

"Congratulations on the show, darling," she said to Dane before he could demand answers. "Cord and I are heading out now. I've left a list of what I'd like for the shoot tomorrow. Ciao, caro!" She blew a kiss as she grabbed Cord's arm and steered him to the nearest exit.

She laughed when they made it into the cool evening air. He leaned against the side of the building and watched her, amusement evident in the curve of his smile.

"Are we really having dinner together, or was that just your escape route?"
Containing her mirth, she grinned and nodded. "I'd love to have dinner with you, Mr. Vincente."
He rolled his eyes and the sheer beauty of his dual-color of his gaze hypnotized her for endless moments.

"Cord, please. If we're going to have dinner and you're going to use me to get away from other men, we should at least be on a first name basis, Deluna."

She stared at him for a moment, measuring his words, and how serious they might really be. He had an edge to him, part of what made him so alluring, but all she saw now was real humor.

"I know a lovely Italian place not far from here, how's that sound to you?" She smiled, adding, "And, since I've used you to help me get away, I'll buy."

"My car's over here," he said, taking her by the arm, "and it won't be necessary for you to buy dinner."

The amusement was gone, and she swallowed the wise-ass remark that had sprung to her lips.

* * * * *

"So, what is it this woman does again?" Rahve asked with little real interest, but considerable amusement. Cord had been distracted for a week or more, since Rahve had sent him to the Grayson show. Cord glared at him and he laughed at the irritation in the other man's expression. Rahve shrugged and turned his attention back to the figures in front of him.

"We need to come up with something truly spectacular for the new line," Rahve murmured as he rapidly read the accounting figures, his agile brain processing numbers as quickly as the machine in front of him.

"Are you worried?"
Rahve's smile was sardonic. "Are you?"
"I want to design something for Deluna's next show."
Rahve sat back in his chair and eyed the younger man. "Tell me about her."
It wasn't a request and they both knew it.

"Why don't you come with me and you can judge for yourself?" Challenge hung between them for a few minutes, then Rahve shrugged and rose from his seat. Cord was startled for about a heartbeat of time. He stood and grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair. "Have dinner with us."

Rahve's smile was contemptuous. "She doesn't know what you are, does she?"

"She knows everything she needs to know."

Scornful laughter lit Rahve's predatory eyes. "I haven't met a human yet who is that accepting of us, so I'll assume she doesn't know it's her blood you're lusting after more than her cunt."

"Stay away from her," Cord warned, "I'll tell her when I want her to know."
"You invited me to dinner," Rahve reminded him, laughter in his tone, "so let's go."
"I've changed my mind."
Rahve ignored his remark.

"What are you going to do if she falls for me?" Rahve asked as they headed for the parking garage under the Falcon's Flight office building.

"Kill your ass," Cord quipped. It was an old game, one he hated. Over the years, he'd lost more than one woman to Rahve's charm and power.

"Address?" Rahve asked when he'd stopped laughing.

Cord gave it to him and while he watched Rahve walk to his Ferrari, he wondered if Deluna would fall for him. Falcon had a remarkable effect on women, and she wasn't likely to be any more immune than most others. Rahve was an impressive male, six foot three, dark blond hair that was cut neat and stylish. He was built like a Roman statue, and he had more money than god…yeah, women loved him. For all kinds of reasons. A shadow whispered across his soul, an almost tangible harbinger of foreboding that made his teeth grind. Cord didn't like the vulnerability of fear, and he hated it even more when it was born in jealousy. Deluna hadn't even met Rahve and he was already worrying about her reaction to his boss.

"If you don't intend to leave the parking garage, we might as well go back to the office."

There was an unmistakable snarl in the tone, and Rahve's voice snapped him back to reality as sharply as a gunshot. Cord flipped him off and headed for his car, anger going up another notch when the sports car roared out of the garage ahead of him.

Less than a half hour later, they were in the small parking lot behind the theatre and studio where Deluna worked. Rahve was standing next to his car, looking the place over. They had taken fewer than a dozen steps toward the entrance when Rahve's phone shrilled from his pocket. He opened it and listened, his scowl deepening with each second that passed. Cord waited, wondering if they'd be heading back to the office.

"I have to handle something," Rahve said, snapping his phone shut. "Will have to meet your girl another time."

"Do you need me to—"

Rahve shook his head. "Not necessary. Enjoy your evening, Cord."

* * *

Deluna looked up from the contact sheets she was examining when she sensed someone in the doorway of her office. "I thought you weren't coming tonight." She straightened, and her smile was something she couldn't control had she wanted to. Cord took her breath away every time she saw him. Tonight, dressed in casual jeans and leather jacket, his raw sensuality hit her like a physical blow.

He leaned against the doorframe and she dropped the pages, letting them flutter to rest with the other piles on her desk. "Are you alone?"

"Were you expecting someone else?"

She arched an eyebrow and shook her head. "You did say earlier if we were going to have dinner you'd be here an hour ago, and that you might be bringing your boss."

"Rahve was called away just after we got here. Guess you'll have to settle for me."
"I think I can live with that," she replied.
"You sure?"

She looked closer at him, sensing something dangerous in his mood. He was angry and edgy, but there was more to it than that. His entire body screamed predator as he lounged in illusory ease, his odd eyes traveling over her in blatant appraisal.

"What if I told you I wanted to fuck you right now, how would that make you feel?"

She sucked in a gasp of air, swallowed it before he could hear it, she hoped. The intense fire in his gaze took any teasing from the statement and she squirmed a little at the rush of heat that flared inside her and created wet warmth between her legs. Her nipples tightened, and her breasts felt heavy. Her skin suddenly seemed stretched too tightly over her flesh.

BOOK: Stolen Rapture
7.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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