Home > Promised (One Night #1)(9)

Promised (One Night #1)(9)
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

‘Yes,’ I whisper, shrinking when I see Del approaching, but he doesn’t look annoyed.

‘Livy, are you okay?’ He hunkers down and performs his own little grimace at my leaking kneecap.

‘I’m sorry,’ I whisper. ‘I don’t know what happened.’ He’ll probably sack me on the spot for causing such a spectacle.

‘Hey, hey.’ He straightens his body, his narrow face softening completely. ‘Accidents happen, honey.’

‘I’ve caused such a drama.’

‘That’s enough,’ he says sternly, turning to the wall and unhooking the first-aid case. ‘It’s not the end of the world.’ He opens up the box and fishes around until he lays his hands on an antiseptic wipe and tears it open. My teeth grit as he gently swipes it across my knee, the stinging making me hiss and stiffen. ‘Sorry, but it needs cleaning.’

I hold my breath as he undertakes my clean-up operation, finishing by taping square gauze to my knee and lifting me down from the worktop. ‘Can you walk okay?’

‘Sure.’ I flex my knee and smile my thanks before collecting a new tray.

‘What do you think you’re doing?’ he asks, frowning.

‘I . . .’

‘Oh no,’ he laughs. ‘God bless you, Livy. Go to the loo and sort yourself out.’ He points to the exit across the kitchen.

‘But I’m fine,’ I insist, even though I don’t feel it, not because my knee’s sore but because I’m not looking forward to facing my spectators or M. I’ll just have to keep my head down, avoid a certain steel stare and see my shift through with no further mishaps.

‘Toilet!’ Del orders, taking the tray and placing it on the counter. ‘Now.’ He rests his hands on my shoulders and guides me to the door, not giving me the opportunity to protest further. ‘Go.’

I force a smile through my lingering embarrassment and leave behind the chaos of the kitchen, stepping into the huge room and striving to hurry through unnoticed. I know I’ve failed – the feeling of sharp blue eyes prickling my skin everywhere confirming it. I feel like a let-down. I feel incompetent, foolish and fragile. But most of all, I feel exposed.

I navigate the plush carpeted corridor until I push my way through two doors and land in the ridiculously extravagant washroom, kitted out in cream marble and shiny gold at every turn. I almost don’t want to use the facilities. The first thing I do is take the fifty from my pocket and gaze at it for a few moments. Then I screw it up and throw it in the bin. I’m not taking money from a man. I wash my hands before presenting myself to the gigantic gold-framed mirror to retie my hair, sighing when I’m confronted by haunted sapphire eyes. Curious eyes.

I don’t pay much attention when the door opens, and continue to tuck some wayward strands of hair behind my ears. But then there’s someone behind me, casting a shadow over my face as I lean into the mirror. M. I gasp and jump back, straight into the body that’s just as hard and lean as I’d imagined.

‘You’re in the ladies’,’ I breathe, swinging around to face him. I try to put some distance between us but I don’t get very far with the sink behind me. Through my shock, I allow myself to drink in his closeness – his three-piece suit, his clean-shaven face. He smells out of this world, all manly with a touch of earthy wood. It’s an intoxicating cocktail. Everything about him sends my sensible being into a tailspin.

He steps forward, closing the already narrow space between us, and then shocks me by kneeling and gently lifting the leg of my trouser. I’m pushing myself back against the sink unit, holding my breath, just watching him run his thumb softly over the gauze hiding my cut.

‘Does it hurt?’ he asks quietly, lifting those incredible blue eyes to mine. I can’t talk, so I shake my head a little and watch as he slowly stands back up to his full height. He’s thoughtful for a few moments before he speaks again. ‘I need to force myself to stay away from you.’

I don’t point out that he’s doing a terrible job of that. I can’t take my eyes off those lips. ‘Why do you need to force yourself?’

His hand meets my forearm, and it takes every ounce of my strength not to flinch at the heat radiating through me from his touch. ‘Because you seem like a sweet girl who should get more from a man than the best f**k of your life.’

My lack of astonishment shocks me. Instead, I feel relieved, even if he’s just promised to f**k me and nothing more. He’s taken by me, too, and that confirmation pulls my eyes up to meet his. ‘Maybe I want that.’ I’m goading him, encouraging him, when I should be running in the other direction.

He seems to drift into thought as he concentrates on the soft trail of his fingertip travelling up my arm. ‘You want more than that.’

He’s telling me, not asking. I don’t know what I want. I’ve never stopped and considered my future, either professionally or personally. I’m drifting, that’s all, but I do know one thing. I’m on dangerous ground, not just because this unidentified man seems to be forward, dark, and way too stunning, but because he’s just said that he’ll do nothing more than f**k me. I don’t know him. I’d be inconceivably stupid to dive into bed with him, just for sex. It goes against all of my morals. But I can’t seem to locate the reasons to stop me. I should be uncomfortable with what he’s provoking from me, but I’m not. For the first time in my life, I feel alive. I’m buzzing, unfamiliar feelings attacking my senses, and an even more demanding buzz attacking me between my clenched thighs. I’m pulsing.

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