Home > Still Waters(7)

Still Waters(7)
Author: Anne Malcom

And that took me two years to save for.

So, I set my sights on someone I could offend. Who I should, in order to scare him off. And save myself from a lot of trouble. “Why did you do that?” I hissed at Keltan.

He folded his arms, and I struggled not to look at the way his muscles moved with the motion. “What?”

“Don’t play dumb,” I instructed, tearing my eyes from his tattooed forearms. “Despite your penchant for quoting Disney movies, you don’t seem to need to wear a helmet to bed. Why did you pay for my coffee?”

His eyes glinted. “Because where I come from, a woman doesn’t pay for a thing when a man is around.”

“And where is it you come from? The twentieth century?” I asked. “If so, I suggest you go looking for Michael J. Fox and a DeLorean. Because here, in the twenty-first, women have things like the vote, pants, and jobs which give them the ability to pay for their own coffee.”

I glanced down at my watch and decided it was time to move. Escape his presence before I did something really stupid like kiss the man I barely knew.

So, I did.

Move, that is, not kiss him.

Unfortunately, Keltan did the same.

“Aren’t you going to get one?” I asked, frowning up at his sharp jaw.

Even in my heels, I only came up to below his shoulder. I was used to that, large men towering over me. Although this one seemed to have a different effect, crowding me with his size without suffocating me. The opposite, in fact—I wanted to drown in it.

“One what?” he replied, opening the door for me.

I stared at him in protest for a split second, considering not walking through on pure principle, but I saw the resolve around his eyes and decided being late for work was not going to be worth it. Plus, the excuse “I was having a stare-down with a man about being chivalrous and misogynistic while dreaming about what his abs looked like without a shirt even though I’d only just met him” wouldn’t fly with my boss.

So I walked through the doorway, not slowing my pace, my heels clicking against the pavement. “A coffee. It’s akin to sacrilege in my eyes to walk into an establishment where they serve such a beverage, in the morning of all times, and not get one,” I continued, eyes on my car in the lot. A huge pickup was parked next to my black Ford Focus. I didn’t do fancy cars because I did fancy clothes, and I didn’t have the budget for both.

Three guesses who the fancy pickup belonged to.

I idly wondered if the size of the truck was to compensate for something he was lacking somewhere else. I glanced at his steady and confident gait, the way he walked with an air about him that exuded something more than masculinity. Like he could handle anything that came at him. Like he could dismantle a car bomb while pleasuring a woman.

No. He wasn’t compensating, I decided, considering he just made me wet from the way he walked.

“Already had a coffee,” Keltan answered, thankfully unaware of the state of my downstairs area.

I glanced up at him as I stopped by my car. “So?”

“One coffee is enough for me in the morning.”

I gaped at him. “One?”

He nodded once, grinning.

“You aren’t human,” I decided.

He laughed, throaty and masculine and delicious. If I could drink that out of my cup rather than my black java with an extra shot, I totally would.

“And you’re extraordinary,” he said once he finished laughing, his voice rough.

I stiffened at his words. At the crackling of the air between us. At the way I couldn’t seem to tear my eyes away from him. How I would do anything to stop myself from getting in my car and having to leave from his presence. Because I knew he was leaving today. I’d done some subtle digging of my own. Apparently he’d left the army and was opening a business in L.A.

I was a journalist; it was my job to find things out about people.

At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

“You can’t say that to people you don’t even know,” I said finally, voice sharp.

“You’re not people,” he argued. “And I know you. That you look fuckin’ amazing in leather pants. That you walk around and don’t even know you have a whole club of bikers drooling after you. That you strut around drinkin’ fuckin’ martinis, glass and all at a party where people have sex in dark corners. That you despise the thought of being saved, that you don’t like mornings and that you’re the most fuckin’ beautiful creature I’ve ever seen,” he mumbled, stepping forward.

On instinct, I stepped back, but the door of my car stopped me.

He was close enough that the gentle morning breeze flickered his tee against the think fabric of my silk shirt.

I kept staring, waiting for it to come. The perfect line that would get him away from me. That would snap this connection like brittle ice.

“People don’t say things like that in real life,” I informed him, giving up my search and just going for words and a cool tone that had saved me so often in the past.

His eyes glittered. “Well, Snow, I just said it,” he murmured. “What are you gonna do about it?”

I swallowed heavily. No words. How could I have no words? I could hold my own around bikers who spoke in innuendos, curse words and death threats, for Christ’s sake. Now was when I was rendered mute?

I didn’t even think he was carrying. I was stunned by a weaponless man. This did not bode well for me.

At all.

Keltan’s hand circled around mine for a second, sizzling the skin, then fastened around the coffee cup, lifting it from my grasp to place it on the roof of my car. The motion brought his bicep close to my face and imprinted his hard body onto mine, boxing me in.

“What are you doing with my sanity?” I snapped.

“You mean your coffee?” His breath was hot on my face and every inch of my skin sizzled with the fact that he was in my space.

I lost my grasp over why I shouldn’t sink into him, the presence that actually seemed tangible, a deliciously comfy man sweater to slip into.

To drown in.

“I know what I mean,” I said, my voice breathy.

His hand came to rest on my neck, his thumb rubbing where it met my chin. “Wearin’ a white tee, babe. Don’t want it getting stained with coffee when I kiss you,” he murmured.

I opened my mouth to say he most certainly would not be kissing me, but then I couldn’t speak because his mouth was on mine, and I lost all form of coherent thought.

It was like a drug. The way he tasted, the taste of coffee and cloves and man invading my senses. I molded myself against him, letting him leisurely own and plunder my mouth.

He pressed himself further into me, and I made a noise at the back of my throat, deepening the kiss.

Was it only the night before that I said I had learned how to swim?

Because now I was drowning and had no desire to surface.

But the surface came to meet me anyway with the empty air hitting my flaming lips as Keltan stepped back, rubbing his hand over his mouth, eyes wild.

He stared at me for the longest moment, the midmorning sun flickering behind his large form.

“Needed to stop,” he rasped finally. “Otherwise, I would have fucked you right there against your car.” His voice was little more than a growl.

My stomach did a somersault as I struggled to collect myself. My panties had been damp from his walk. After his kiss? They were history.

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