Darkness wrapped her arms around me like a lover I’d grown tired of. Too heavy, too cloying. If I’d had my pick of hiding places, I wouldn’t have chosen a freaking closet.
But beggars and choosers and all that.
Only a sliver of light underneath the door made my coffin seem like less of a permanent void. My heart kicked inside my chest, each beat like a punch against my ribs.
But it wasn’t fear.
Oh no. It was something deeper. Darker. More worrisome.
And it felt a hell of a lot like excitement.
The heat of the man who held his hand pressed over my mouth completely enveloped me, wrapping itself around me, not like the stifling shroud of a wet blanket but more like the safe cocoon of a weighted one.
I should have been terrified. Screw getting caught. I needed to kick, and scream, and raise hell because I could very well die in this closet.
No, you won’t.
Okay, maybe not, but it sure as hell felt that way. That was what I got for literally running away from a party. But in my defense, I was escaping Fenton Mills, my boyfriend’s boss. That man had far too many hands and had consumed far too many gin and tonics to care who saw him try to grab my ass.
If I was in the mood to be honest, I’d have to admit the crowd had started to get to me too. Dexter had promised to stay by my side, knowing how crowds made me crazy, but true to form, he’d gotten caught up talking to someone, had some scotch, and left me alone like a sitting duck.
So I’d gone looking for a little reprieve. A moment to breathe. Somewhere to hide. The office door was open, and then I’d leaned against the stupid statue, a ceramic of what looked like bodies intertwined. How was I supposed to know how fragile the damn thing was? I’d been startled by a noise and bumped the stupid thing and had to scramble to catch it.
I’d grabbed onto what looked like a handle just in time. Problem was, when I righted the statue…the handle came off in my hand. Only it wasn’t a handle at all. It was a dick. I had statue dick in my hands. Statue Dick.
As if that hadn’t been enough cause for panic, the noise I’d heard only drew closer with footsteps outside the door. Cold, clammy sweat popped on my skin, and I had to make a literal fight-or-flight, game-time decision. There was no fighting in my party shoes, so I’d chosen to flee. But I couldn’t very well go out the door I’d come through because then I’d have been caught, so I hid in the closet, in the dark. And I’d been prepared to stay there for however long I needed to.
I didn’t have to wait long. After minutes, the door opened and light spilled in, practically blinding me and giving me only a one-second glimpse at what I was certain would mean a trip to jail when a man so broad that he blocked out the direct light put me in darkness again.
He was well over six feet. His blond hair was a little too long. And his ice blue eyes pierced directly into my soul, freezing me where I stood and sending heat licking over my skin. I caught just enough of a jaw so square that it would make Henry Cavill jealous before he stepped into the shoebox-size closet that was definitely too small for one of us, let alone two.
His broad shoulders took up far too much room and made it difficult to breathe. Our bodies pressed up against each other, and the heat of him chased away the chill of my fear. But my thundering, tripping, skipping heartbeat stayed. My breath became shallow and thin. Probably because he was hogging all the damn oxygen.
I should have been afraid, but it was excitement that made my belly do flips and injected that hint of euphoria that lied to me and told me I could fly.
“What do you think—” I didn’t get to finish my statement because the Viking god in Armani placed his damn hand over my mouth and leaned ever so close. A wash of heat spread over my body as I molded against him because, quite frankly, I had nowhere else to go. I was hot and flushed and worried, but somehow, not scared.
“Be still.” The gruff, grumbly growl sent a spike of heat through me. But I did as I was told. I could hear movement in the office beyond. I didn’t want to be caught. The more I moved, the more noise I made. And the last thing I needed was evidence of the broken sculpture to be found. Evidence I still held in my hand.
So, I was stuck like that, pressed up against a total stranger with a chest broad enough to obscure me from view and tall enough to tower over me. Christ, he was big.
The voices and footsteps drew closer outside.
I held my breath. Oh shit. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. I couldn’t be caught in here. No way in hell could I explain any of this. There was no easy way to say, “Hey, sorry I broke your priceless statue’s dick as I was running away from your party.” So I was stuck. In a closet, in the dark. With a guy who could only be described as a Viking in a tux.
And was that his very large erection pressing against my belly? I swallowed hard. Oh yes, that was also most certainly his hand on my ass. I opened my mouth to bite his hand, and he admonished me with a whispered, “Shut up. Neither one of us wants to get caught, love.”
He had a point there. But his hand flexed on my ass, and I was not okay with it.
Except… Somewhere deep down inside, my inner libido was absolutely fine with it. It had been six long months since I’d had sex, boyfriend notwithstanding, and I was craving a man’s touch. But it was still wrong. The Viking wasn’t Dexter. I needed to get the hell out of there.
But there was one slight problem; whoever was in the office wasn’t going away, so I was stuck there with one of the Viking’s hands on my ass and the other on my mouth, and I was too afraid to breathe.
“You need to moan. You had better be a damn good actress.”
He couldn’t see me, but I still furrowed my brow before I opened my mouth to protest. Then suddenly, he lifted his hand off my mouth, but he didn’t release me. Instead, he slid that hand into my hair, angling his head so his face was in the crook of my neck. “You’re going to have to moan now.”
His mouth on my neck sent a spike of pure need that tugged low in my belly, and the moan that followed was completely involuntary. It felt good. Too good. His lips trailed along my collar bone. His teeth nipped my skin. I wanted to argue. To fight. To tell him to get his hands the hell off me because I had a boyfriend. But I was distracted by his mouth and the hand in my hair tugging it to the side, making a mess of what had taken me hours to artfully straighten and arrange.
But still the footsteps and voices grew closer, and the Viking whispered again. “Fake it till you make it, princess. Make me believe you.”
His hand tightened on my ass, squeezing and pulling me flush against him. The hard length of his erection was like steel against my belly.
He throbbed against me, and before I could wiggle away, the door cracked open and light streamed in like a ray of sunshine. I finally understood what he was doing.
This was for show. This was our way out. Our way to keep from being caught. We had to fake this and fake it well.
I moaned loud enough to be heard. The door opened a little wider, and I ducked my head into his neck too. My breathing was ragged as he ravaged my neck. Later, when I came to my senses, I would tell myself I hadn’t rocked against his erection.
All I heard then was a chuckle from someone, and muffled words as the door closed again and any hint of light was gone.
The Viking Adonis should have released me then, but he trailed his nose up the column of my throat again until he hit the shell of my ear, and then his lips whispered, “Very well done, princess.”
He released me suddenly. But his jacket caught on my pin as he shoved open the door, and I squeaked. “No, no, no.” But I heard the soft ping as my pin hit the floor, and the sound made tears well in my eyes. “Shit.”
“Are you okay?” His voice was brusque, distracted.
I fell to the ground, trying to find it. “No, I am not okay. You broke my p—”
He tapped his ear as he gave me a hard look. “I’m really sorry. But I’ve got to go.” And then he was gone, leaving me completely alone with my mother’s broken pin in the palm of my hand. I wobbled in place, unable to get a sense of my bearings as tears welled in my eyes
What the hell had just happened?