This story is presented weekly in draft
(unedited) form. Each installment is available for one week until the
next is posted. Miss one? Email me, and I’ll hook you up. Enjoy!
Dunning Manor, Book 1
Under His Wing
“Bed?” Katie looked at his hand, and back at his face, her arms still holding her knees to her chest. “My bed is too small. We can’t share. And I don’t have a guest room. Can’t we just sleep out here, on the couch? The ottoman seems to work well enough…”
Thomas frowned. “Your bed is narrower than your sofa? Why?”
“That’s not what I meant.” Katie shook her head. “I just think we’ll be more comfortable out here, is all.”
Squatting down in front of her, Thomas took the hand he’d sought a few seconds earlier. “I’ll sleep on the floor, if that makes you happy, but you need to get good rest tonight, and that means you need to sleep in your own bed. Come now. Don’t argue.”
Too tired to put up any more of a fight, Katie let him help her up and then led him down the hall to her room. As soon as he saw the bed, he’d realize there was no way he’d fit. Flipping the light switch, she stepped back with a gasp, bumping into Thomas.
“I take it this wasn’t your doing?” he asked, gently pulling her back into the hall, and then stepping around her to move through the doorway.
“No,” she said, peering past him at the chaos of clothing, books and accessories, all strewn about like a tornado had touched down.
“I’m no neat nik, but I’m not anywhere near this bad. It must have been Peter. He knew where the key was. I can’t believe…” she stopped, not wanting to voice the fact that she’d slept with the man who wanted to sacrifice her for his art.
Thomas gathered up the pile of clothing and other sundry items off the bed and dumped them on the floor to the side. Then he reached up and began peeling off layers of clothing, as if Katie wasn’t even there.
But she was. And she stood transfixed as his back was bared to her, tribal-style designs swirling across the broad expanse with every movment he made. What a gorgeous, glorious creature he was, no matter what form he took. When he moved to push his pants off his hips, she stared, licking her lips at the thought of what might be revealed.
“It’s not fair,” he said, his voice low and soft. She jerked her head up at his words, noting the smirk as he watched her watching him over his shoulder.
She swallowed, her mouth dry. “What’s not fair?”
He broke eye contact to look forward again, letting his trousers slide down his legs. Her gaze immediately went to that perfectly molded, sculptured bottom, and the continuation of the tribal pattern started above.
“You have too many clothes on, Katie Watson. Undress. Unless you require my aid for this as well?”
She was pretty sure her face was the color of a ripe tomato. It felt like one of those atomic fireballs she used to get out of the dime machines as a kid. Still, she considered taking him up on it. Surely this man would make her forget everything wrong in her world, even if only for a night.
But then what?
“Thanks, but no th–”
He turned around, hands on his hips and one leg out, looking entirely too comfortable with his buff, extremely well-endowed self. No woman in her right mind could say no to that, could she? What were the odds she’d get another chance to be with such a man?
Gargoyle, a little voice in her head whispered. She nearly giggled when she whispered back.
“On second thought…” She stepped closer, wanting to look away from his intense stare. Unable to look anywhere else. Raising her hands, she placed them on his chest, remembering how different he felt from other men. Cool and hot at the same time, like a rock at sunset that had been sitting in the sun.
He nodded once, and then his lips were on hers, his arms pulling her in, his scent making her brain go foggy. She gave herself up to the sensations.