Countdown: A Persistent Attraction Excerpt #2
Feb 11, 2008 Filed under: excerpts, historical
One Day Until the Release of A Persistent Attraction
Here’s a second excerpt to get you ready for the big day….
Rhys ran after Amanda. He wasn’t letting her go until he knew why she’d come. As much as his clouded mind wanted to believe she’d finally succumbed to his sensual lure, he knew better.
He reached her as she started down the steps to the street. He caught her waist and pulled her against him.
Once she caught her breath, she began to struggle. “Let me go.”
“You’re not leaving until you tell me why you came.” He fought to ignore the delicious sensations coursing through his body as she writhed against him, rubbing her tight, barely covered derrière against his thighs.
“You are in no condition to help me,” she snarled.
“Stop this before we draw unwanted attention. I’m not letting you go until you agree to talk to me.”
He watched as she glanced from side to side, likely looking to see if they had attracted onlookers. Eventually, her struggles ceased. “Fine. If you promise not to touch me again, I’ll come inside and talk to you.”
“You ask much considering how you are dressed, but nevertheless, I won’t touch you even if you beg me too.”
“You needn’t worry about that.”
“Ever so confident, are we?” he asked, before turning to go back into his house.
She followed him into his study and eyed him closely as he sank into a leather chair.
“Can you possibly be sober enough to comprehend what I’m saying?”
He cursed his stupidity. If only he’d known she was coming, he never would have drunk so much. What had made him want to lose himself in the bottle anyway? The answer nagged at his consciousness, but he couldn’t quite catch it. His mind was filled with base urges that made him want to use Amanda’s body in a way no man should.
Why did she look so angry? Oh, right, she’d asked him a question. What was it? Sober. Was he sober? No, definitely not. Maybe he could fake it. He sat up straighter. “Get on with your story. I’m tired of waiting.”
She looked ready to murder him, but the rapid rise and fall of her chest had him mesmerized.
“I would ask Aunt Claire for help, but as you probably know, she’s been in poor health recently. I refuse to endanger Elise. Mark and Cassandra have enough to think about, and they are too far away. You were the only other person I could think of.”
She said the last sentence as if the very idea of speaking to him disgusted her.
“I’m sorry you are faced with such an odious option. I’m still waiting to hear what this problem is.” He stood and leaned over his desk to grab the whiskey decanter. “Would you like some?”
“No thanks. I prefer not to dull my senses when I’m near you.”
“No, you mustn’t give an evil rake a chance at seduction.”
Her pink cheeks brought him satisfaction.
“I received this note the afternoon before the Leightons’ ball.” She extracted a piece of paper from the waist of her breeches and handed it to him.
It was warm from her body. The feel of her heat made his cock harden instantly. He unfolded the paper and forced his tired eyes to focus on the words.
When he finished reading he was ready to use his bare hands to strangle the man who’d written it. The cold terror that ran down his spine sobered him. “Why didn’t you come to me the day you received this?”
“I thought it was a joke. I figured some man I’d jilted sent it to frighten me.”
“Damn it, Amanda. You were almost killed.”
“I’m fine. But I received a second letter today. That’s why I came. He wants me to meet the same demand in three days.”
“And you want me to help you find him before then?”
“Yes.” She kept her jaw tight as though her response pained her.
An evil idea came to him. He had every intention of finding this bastard and making him pay dearly for harming Amanda, but her situation had given him a wonderful opportunity to toy with her. For just a second, reason broke through his alcohol-laden haze. He knew better, but he couldn’t stop himself.
“I deserve some payment for my assistance, don’t you think?”
“What?” Amanda’s eyes widened.
“Every day that I’m helping you, I will be given one chance to seduce you.”
She shook her head back and forth vigorously. Her fists clenched at her sides. He watched her attempt to get her anger under control. For a few moments, he thought she would send the vase on the table next to her toward his head, but she reined herself in.
“You told me that if I ever needed help, I should come to you. I should have known better than to trust you. Mark may think you have a heart under your detached façade, but he’s wrong.” She stood and grabbed her cloak from the back of her chair. “I’ll handle the problem myself.”
He cursed himself and considered following her once again, but decided against it. Instead he rang for Meadows. When the valet appeared, he said, “I want Miss Halverston followed and guarded. She should be in the sight of one of my men any time she leaves her aunt’s residence.”
“Yes, sir. Anything else?”
“No, that is all.” He sat at his desk and proceeded to drain the rest of the whiskey. His last thought before he passed out over the hard wooden surface was that he could never drink enough to forget the feelings Amanda stirred in him. Feelings a man like him should never have.