She: The Dangers of Dark Chocolate
His smile is so confident that it’s almost arrogant, and it makes me blush to imagine what his lips would taste like.
“May I get you a drink?” The teeth gleam predator-like in his face.
“Thank you, no. I already have one.”
Such a simple exchange: cliché even. So why does it make my heart race and my skin yearn for his caress?
“So I see,” he replies. He himself is also a cliché: very tall, very dark in the expensive-chocolate way, extremely handsome. “Except that your drink looks like a pumpkin.”
I laugh. “Of course it does. It’s meant to look like a pumpkin. What with it being a Halloween party and all. Gina went to a lot of trouble to set the scene.”
“She did a great job,” he brushes an imaginary cobweb strand off his sleeve. “Tell me, does it taste like pumpkin too?”
His voice is rich and intense, like the soul of a double espresso. And his lips… his lips are driving my hormones wild with desire.
I take a languid sip of my cocktail, let the orange liquid coat my tongue and throat. “Now that you mention it…”
The way he looks at me makes me hungry, too. The small red horns -- his only concession to the dress-up theme -- hint at unspoken taboos. My kind of guy.
His hand, when it touches mine for a second, sends a wave of heat through my body. I don’t even know this man, but his sheer magnetism can only mean one thing for me: trouble.
Make that Trouble with a capital T.
I sigh. That’s not for me, I can’t help thinking wistfully. I said goodbye to Trouble when I was twenty-one.
And now this man is threatening to destroy the peace I’ve worked so hard to attain.
“A girl like you should be drinking champagne,” he says. “Soup cocktails are not enough challenge for you.”
His eyes are flirting with me. Now is my chance to say that there is no champagne at my sister’s party, to which he will suggest going to his place where he undoubtedly keeps a selection of bottles on ice, and then….
“A man like you is dangerous,” I reply before my brain kicks in. Damn.
I expect him to ask why, but he surprises me. He takes my hand and places the briefest of kisses inside my palm. Electricity zips through me at the speed of light.
“Danger, madam, is my middle name.” He turns to leave.
I want him so much it hurts. I know I could stop him with a single word. Instead, I watch the man who could have been the man of my life walk away from me.
I should be relieved.
I’m not. My body is tingling all over, my heart is pounding in my ears. Damn me and my silly sense of what’s proper. Damn my parents, my upbringing. Damn it all.
I don’t even have his phone number.
The pumpkin cocktail beckons with promises of oblivion and drowned sorrows. I swallow, drink up, grab another.
“There you are, Clare.” It’s my sister. “I’ve been looking for you. There is this guy, a very nice man, I work with him. Anyway, he spotted you and is now dying to meet you. Come, let me introduce you.”
“Gina, I -” My heart is pounding in my chest. I’m sure she means the owner of the cutest set of buns. The one whose middle name is Danger.
As though in a dream, I follow her down the pumpkin-lined corridor and into the den.
“I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance,” I hear a thin, gallant voice.
I don’t even bother to raise my eyes. It’s not him.
I can see why Gina described him as a nice man, though. Courteous, attentive, without an ounce of naughtiness in his body or soul. My parents would approve: a perfect son in law, somebody who would reign in their rebellious child. Gina chose well on their behalf.
In fact, he reminds me of my first real boyfriend. My family chose that one too. He was kind and eager to please me. He treated me like a queen. I almost died of boredom.
And now here stands his exact replica, chosen by my well-meaning sister.
Nobody cares if I want my man to have little red horns.
Disappointment bitter in my mouth, I excuse myself as politely as I can. Then, having waved goodbye to Gina, I make a point of inspecting every room.
I find walls of artificial cobwebs, bowls of lime green goo that seems to move when you breathe, plastic spiders and bottles of mysteriously viscous red liquid. I find lots of people dressed as ghosts and witches and skeletons. I even find a fog-making machine.
But my handsome devil is not there.
I try to tell myself it’s for the best. Goodbye Trouble.
A Slave of My Own Desire
by Eve Summers (http://yewalus.kiwiwebhost.net.nz/Eve-Summers.htm)
Red Rose Publishing