“Fuck you.” She said it quietly, but loud enough for him to hear.
He smirked. “I didn't think you'd be ready so soon.”
She looked up, startled by the innuendo. Even though she knew she shouldn't be after last night. Seeing him in full sun like this was overwhelming. He was even more beautiful than she'd remembered in all the glimpses in much dimmer lighting.
“You know you want me,” he said, a smug self-satisfied smirk on his face.
She looked back down at her plate, trying not to think about how he'd made her scream the night before, the way his hands had felt on her, the intense urge she'd had to just beg him to fuck her. How long would she be able to hold out before making that humiliating little request?
Shedidwant him. It was so sick she didn't know how to even categorize the wanton lust that surged through her in his presence. He shouldn't have this effect on her. And yet he did. The worst part was that he knew he did.
He finished eating before her and rose to put his plate and glass in the sink. She watched him slink like a jungle cat to the other side of the kitchen. Of course he would look like a predator. Hewasa predator. And she was practically panting to be his prey. What a fucking idiot she was.
When things turned bad, she would remember this moment and the stupidity and shame of not fighting him every step of the way. The night before she'd had the excuse that she didn't want to sleep alone with the storm, even as stupid as that sounded now over breakfast. But from now on, she had to resist. Every single step. Everything he tried to do. If she just gave in to him, what did that say about her?
It would have been different if they'd met a different way—if she didn't know what he was. But she did know.
She quickly looked back at her plate as he returned to the table.
“Are you finished with the syrup and butter?”
“Yes,” she mumbled, taking another bite of pancakes.
He took them off the table and put them in the fridge, and again she watched him.
“I've got a bit of work to do in my office, so feel free to explore the house when you're done eating.”
When he'd finally left her alone, she let out a long shuddering breath. Suddenly her hands were shaking from the adrenalin. She got up and paced back and forth next to the table. He scared her on a level no one had ever scared her. And it was as much what he was as it was how attractive she found him. He made her nervous in ways she didn't have names for.
She put her plate and glass in the sink and went to explore the house to try to settle her nerves. As she peered in room after room, she tried to convince herself things were okay. After all, she was away from Joey and safe from Little Tony. She had a very nice place to stay with an absurdly beautiful man who she knew could protect her and provide anything she needed.
And that would be fine, except for the inconvenient other facts. Murder. Kidnapping. Ambiguous molestation. Maybe? Shehadbegged him to let her come, after all.
There was a large fitness room on the first floor that led out to the pool. Without thinking, she opened the sliding glass door to the outside patio. A shrieking siren started to wail. Astrid fell to her knees and covered her ears as if she could burrow through the floor to get underground and make that horrible noise stop.
A few minutes later, the sound stopped and Angel found her still balled up on the ground.
“I'm sorry. I didn't think. I was just exploring.” She cringed, waiting for some retribution to fall.
“I'll redo the security and figure out something in the next day or two so you can go outside when I'm home, but not off the property.”
“Okay.” Like there was anything else she could say.
He went back down the hallway, leaving her alone in the fitness room. She'd been afraid he'd be angry when she forgot and opened the door, but he'd been completely stoic.
Astrid took a few moments to collect herself and continued exploring. There was a study/library combo on the other end of the house. The décor was a bit more traditional than previous rooms. Next to that was a very elegant formal room that looked a bit like a ball room and contained a black Steinway piano. A few feet from the piano was a pole that went from the ceiling to the floor. Along the far wall was a fully-stocked bar.
At the end of the bar was a door. As she moved toward the door, Astrid's pulse started to race. There was no reason this should happen except that the pole next to the piano seemed like some sort of warning buzzer. She'd seen enough of Joey's life. She wasn't the naïve girl she'd been when she'd met him. She couldn't pretend the pole was just some random support for the room. It was exactly what it looked like it was. A stripper pole.
Even knowing she should just leave that door alone, she crossed the room to it and turned the knob. It was locked. Astrid was almost relieved. But as she turned away, she saw a small glass bowl on the bar with a key sitting inside it.
That couldn't be the key to that door. If he wanted to keep a door locked in his house, why would he keep the key right next to it? That begged the question of why he even needed an interior door locked at all when he lived alone. He certainly hadn't been expecting company so maybe he hadn't thought about the key. Maybe the key wasn't even to that door but for something else entirely.
She should just leave the room.
But she couldn't. Not with that key gleaming from the bottom of the glass bowl. She felt like Alice in Wonderland faced with a cookie with a message saying “eat me”. It was foolish to do it but impossible not to. If that key went to that door, now she had to know what was behind it.
Astrid took the key from the bowl and unlocked the door.