Double-click to start typing
Double-click to start typing
Double-click to start typing
Double-click to start typing
Double-click to start typing
Double-click to start typing

Trish F Leger-Author

Clickrishe to edit subtitle

Excerpt page

Members Area

Newest Members

Recent Blog Entries

Recent Photos

Recent Forum Posts

No recent posts

Excerpt Page

This is the page where you can find excerpts from my stories. Enjoy!

I also have a few extra snippets on my Blog page. But from now on I will post excerpts here.

***


Liana Morgan, Amber Druid (HER DRUID TEMPTATION)


She loved New Orleans, always had. From its debauched decadence, to the hauntingly sad aura that always hung over the area, Liana never failed to feel a tug on her heartstrings whenever she visited the famed city.

            Even on a Wednesday night, the French Quarter was packed with people. Tourists, peddlers, and thieves, who looked for a chance to test their skills, watched from all directions as Liana made her way to a hotel that would be her home for the next few days. Almost two blocks from her hotel the smell of roasted peanuts and beer, fresh from the tap, hit her nose when she turned the corner. Her Druid senses sprung to life, instantly tapping the air around her, testing it, seeing what it could glean from the cheerful, abundant life that poured into the city streets looking for fun.

            Something amid the mad chatter of noise caused her to take notice. It was faint, and as a precaution she never slowed her stride, but her senses held onto it. Seconds later, as she passed yet another bar, she realized what the feeling was. An Amber Druid was near. Liana took a deep breath filled with yeasty alcohol and fried shrimp, and steadied her suddenly alive nerves. Another Druid was not a bad thing. It simply meant that she wasn?t alone in this city.           

            Shrugging off her nervousness, she smiled at a man offering haunted tours, but kept walking. She watched many people, mostly couples, and young men and women, living it up in the famous, old part of New Orleans. She?d once been young like them, young and adverse to the idea of growing old, but that was long behind her. Now she was part of an ancient line of Amber Druids, beings whose power and strength were the stuff of legends and myths.

            A niggling intrusion broke her musings. For some reason, fear sunk deep into her body. Looking around slightly, Liana saw the flags waving valiantly from her hotel balcony just less than a block away. The fear lessened a bit as she strode firmly towards the welcome sight.

            You are being ridiculous. You never have anything to fear from another Druid.

            But what if it wasn?t the Druid? What if her internal receptors were lighting up for a different reason? Liana didn?t halt her forward momentum. But seconds later a gentle whisper caressed her ears.

            ?Fancy seeing you here, Red??

            The tone and subtle nuances of the accent were too slight to recognize, but only a few people called her ?Red,? she turned slightly, opening up every part of her Druid ability to see clearly around her. Other than partiers and tourists walking the street and sidewalks, she didn?t see anyone that looked familiar. Clutching her small purse in her now sweating hands, she itched to glamour herself, but knew she wouldn?t be able to control it for long. She also nixed the idea to move quickly and soundlessly, appearing almost as a breeze of air to humans, one of the Amber Druids many traits. There was no reason to run, at least not yet. So there was also no reason to deplete her powers on a stupid hunch.

            Just as she was turning around to continue on her way, her eyes snagged upon a tall man half hidden in the shadows in between a courtyard and a brick town-house. Liana?s nerves quivered. Her Druid senses instantly fired on all cylinders. He was tall, well over six feet, with dark clothing and dark hair, so he blended spectacularly well with the shadowed vicinity around him. Her nerves shot up once again, and the ingrained urge to engage, to protect herself, trumped everything else.

            Well, this was her friend. This shadow man was the Druid she had felt earlier. She could almost taste his attentiveness from over fifty feet away. There was also an eddying emotion that she sensed swirling around him. Was it sexual in nature, Liana thought, because that?s almost what it felt like. Then he moved and Liana?s eyes lowered to slits. Recognition swamped her.

            Traven Campbell. That son of a bitch.

            Rage boiled deep in her gut. Why would he try and confuse her like that? Why would he want to cause her to question another Druid?s sanctions? Why? Because he could do it, and knowing that it would annoy her was something Traven always strove to do. Damn infuriating Druid!

            With annoyance simmering above her, where she knew he could see it, Liana gleefully flipped him off, then turned and purposely ignored him as she continued on to her hotel. She managed to compose herself somewhat as she reached her suite of rooms. But her shaking hand, as she swiped her key card, told her that she hadn?t calmed herself as well as she thought she had. Images of Traven flooded her mind, but even as Liana tried to push them away, they persisted.

            Traven, an Amber Druid like Liana, was over one hundred and forty years old. With his swarthy complexion, black-as-night hair that tended to be worn a bit long, and startling green eyes, he drew attention as easily as hummingbirds to nectar. He had a penchant for getting under anyone?s skin, be it by giving attention to a woman, or by annoying the hell out of someone, which is what he usually did to Liana.

            There had been a time, when she first met him over fifty years ago, when she had been drawn helplessly under that bright green gaze. But after seeing how he went through women, Liana had put up her walls. Being an Amber Druid meant being immortal. She hadn?t been offered this life; it had been given to her, and she knew she wanted someone with whom to share her future with.

            There was no way in hell that Traven would ever settle down. So there was no need to waste her time. But Lord, she wouldn?t mind one chance with him. But she knew her emotions would come into play; they always did, which is why she only had serious relationships.

            But think of it Liana?..all of that hot, hard male flesh, just waiting for your touch. Wouldn?t you like to see, to touch?to taste?

            Her tongue tingled at the thought of licking those hot muscles. She groaned and went to her small wet bar. Going through the sample bottles, she tore open the top on a small bottle of Vodka when suddenly her instincts went haywire again. Goddamn annoying male! He was close; she knew it. She took a deep pull of the Vodka, felt the burn of the alcohol, then slowly put the bottle down. If he wanted to play, then they would play.

            She was going to give Traven Campbell a taste of what she had felt for the past half century.

***

Drake Thompson and Nadia Morales (HER DRUID DESIRE) This conversation is about the loss of a pet from Drake's Vet Clinic in which Nadia was supposed to adopt.


He ignored the voice in his head, grabbed his keys from his pocket, and strode from the building, heading for the one woman that he shouldn’t seek out.

            Thirty minutes later his big rig was pulling up in front of her small, cottage style home on the outskirts of Beaumont. He had known for years where she lived, but actually driving up in her driveway gave him a funny feeling in his chest.

            Going to her door, he glanced around, noting the small touches she had given the old cottage. Azaleas and Iris’s were blooming in landscaped portions of the front and back yard, and tall, mature oak and maple trees gave the place a homey feel. He glanced back to the door and liked that the front door was painted bright red, which offset the rest of the neutral home. Apparently Nadia had a flash interest in color. For some reason that made him smile.

            He could sense her on the other side of the door. And for a few seconds he felt her curiosity until she got closer to the door, and when she looked through the peephole, he felt that curiosity turn to raw anger.

            Staring bemusedly at the door while she opened it, Drake wiped his expression and kept his thoughts to himself.

            “Hey,” He told her, when she opened it fully and glared at him from her diminutive height. It was almost laughable, really, that she could stare him down when he was more than a foot taller than her.

            She nodded in his direction but didn’t smile. Peering around his body she pointedly glanced at her front drive. “Are you lost?” Then she pulled those green eyes back to his.

            Man. The animosity in her stance, permeating the air around her almost choked him. Was she blaming him for Belle’s death? Surely not, surely she understood that he had been out of town, and he hired only the best to work in his clinic. His eyes catalogued everything about her and, he sensed the blood flow in her body as he watched a ruddy blush climb over her neck. She was pissed, highly so.

            “Why would I be lost?”

            Her lush mouth firmed in anger. “You never came to visit before, so how was I to assume that you knew my address?”

            He ignored that angry statement. “Can I come in?” If it was possible her eyes got greener than they were before. But he knew that was emotion trying to spill over from the inside. She scoffed. A soft noise that told him a lot about what she was feeling. Then she gave him a tight smile. “Whatever you need, you can surely tell me right here.”

            He was shocked. Never before had Nadia turned her anger on him. Belle’s death must be hitting her harder than she wanted to admit.

A breeze fluttered the old tee shirt she had on that was loose around her body. While the purple color brought out the paleness of her skin and the black length of her hair. Her old cutoff shorts showed him long, sexy legs, and he tore his gaze away, coming back to her face.

He cleared his throat. “I know about Belle.”

There it was. That brief flash of pain that she held so deep inside. He knew it wasn’t good for her to do that, but she was stubborn, and always had been. Morales’s daughter had grown up with spunk, he knew that, but it was surprising to see it, when all he saw from her was the polite façade that she showed to society.

“I know. They did everything possible to save her.” Her throaty deep voice was raspy. In that instant he realized she had cried all night over Belle. He watched her look back to the inside of her house, and he knew she was hedging about leaving him standing on her front step.

“If you know that, why am I still standing on your front step instead of in your house?”

Her manners were bred into her, and even though she was vibrating in her anger, she slowly opened the door fully and moved to the side. Drake walked in and immediately felt as if he were drowning in sorrow. Her acute pain was so deeply imbued in the house that he could feel it in the air around him. 

“I would ask you if you want something to drink, but I don’t feel all that hospitable at the moment.” Her eyes watched him closely as he stood in her living area, feeding off all of that negative sensation she was sending him. Drake watched her watch him, still amazed at her hostility. He could sense her pain underneath the anger, and had the insane urge that he should hug her, make her understand that everything would be okay.

“It is hard to lose something that you were looking forward to having around.”

She scoffed again. He was coming to hate that sound.

“Look, maybe you should get out, go out tonight, find some friends and have fun, Nadia. You don’t need to be home alone right now.”

Apparently that was the wrong thing to say. She turned the full force of her green eyes on him and Drake felt the heat of her emotions sting his skin. He had never, ever beheld such pain before, and he had been around for a long time. Even when her parents had passed, she had been wracked by hurt, but this was pure anger.

“You have no say over me Drake. And don’t pretend worry when we both know that you only think of me as baggage from your past.”

            Whoa. Yes, there was some definite fury here. He needed to tread lightly, if he got caught up in her emotions too much, she might learn more about him then he wanted her to know.

            “Whatever you’re saying is based on pain. I am concerned for you, Nadia. You are like family to me.”

            She stood behind the sofa and sent green daggers in his direction.

            “That’s funny. I’m like family to you? What the hell ever Drake. Don’t try to pull your head games over on me.” She threw her hands up, as if she were done talking.

            “This is no game, and I have no idea why you are so pissed at me. I employ the finest Vet’s in three states. Belle was in the best care possible. I had no id--.”

            “No idea!” She screamed it, finishing his sentence for him, and then continued her rant.

            “Of course you didn’t.” Her finger pointed in his direction, and Drake could see her chest rising with harsh breathing. “You were up in New York, with Ms. Vintage Valentino, probably fucking her brains out! Of course you were too busy to see about one little dog that you promised to me!” Green eyes slammed like lasers against his brown ones. The tension in the air went up about ten notches.

            “You don’t know what I was doing in New York, and even if I was ‘fucking Ms. Vintage Valentino’, like you say, it is none of your damn business.” Seething anger pushed through, tingeing his voice with a gravelly drawl, trying to come to the surface. Drake held tight to his control. He could feel his skin tightening, the blood rushing through his system, and his gums burning, but he kept it under wraps.

             “That was a promise, Drake.” Tears swam in her eyes, but she didn’t stop. “You were supposed to let me have her. I needed her, don’t you see? You were right, I needed Belle.” She touched her upper chest. The tears that threatened now spilled over her cheeks, but instead of giving into harsh sobs, she held her ground. Those eyes of hers seemed to be huge green orbs in her small, slight face.

            His anger dissipated. He felt glued to the floor in the middle of her living area. Emotion swam in the space between them as he watched her hold onto some vestige of her tattered pride. Her small delicate chin wobbled, and Drake felt his hands twitch. The need, the compunction to hold her, to console her, rose to unbelievable heights inside of him. Never had he thought he would see this strong woman break.

            “You were away, gone, and she was there.” Nadia pointed in the distance, while her green, pain filled eyes rose to his, and Drake felt as if someone had hit him with a Mack truck. ‘I’m sorry’ seemed so minute, so puny, and wide off the mark in the face of such sorrow. He had known that she needed Belle. He hadn’t known how much. Now it was clear that she was going to fall apart if something didn’t happen soon.

            “Nadia, I—“

            “Please, just leave. I can’t do this right now.” Her voice that had ripened with anger was now whispery thin. He felt her falling slowly apart, even as he saw it with his own eyes.

            Standing there he knew, without a doubt, that she would not welcome any reassuring gestures from him right now. And even though he hated to do it, he turned and went back to her front door. Stopping at the door, he turned and took in her hunched shoulders, head facing the floor while tears brimmed over her eyes. The power coursing through his body at that moment told him that he could ease her pain and anger, if only she would allow him to touch her. The shield she had surrounding her chased that idea from his mind. She would sooner touch a snake than his hand right now.

            Clearing his voice he told her, “Don’t hesitate to call me if you need something, Nadia.”

            A burst of condescending laughter edged from her throat, but she didn’t reply. Drake opened the door, and walked out of her house, dreading each step that took him away from her while she was in this state. He knew he could help her, but she didn’t want that. He had to acknowledge what she wanted and not push her, even if that might make her hate him even more.

***

 Ramsey and Vivienne (HER DRUID FANTASY)


Vivienne smiled but could feel an undercurrent of something snappy and electric running between her and McMurray. There was no way to tell if he or anyone else felt it, and she sure as hell wasn’t going to bring it up. She took him in covertly and with eyes slightly shielded. He was striking tonight, but of course he was that at all times, with his dark grey three piece suit, pinstripe vest underneath, blinding white shirt peeking out from behind it and diamond stickpin in his lapel. Burnished red, brown and bronze strands made up a sexily mussed head of hair while under deep, brooding brows, his green eyes flashed with an inner fire.

                This wasn’t the same man that had called her on sales that were forthcoming. This wasn’t the same man that smiled beguilingly at her whenever she couldn’t help but start a bid war between them. This wasn’t the same man that she had confronted weeks ago in a fit of betrayal.

                No, this man was fierce and corporeally compelling.  Something in the air tonight, or maybe since their incident where she had railed at him, had changed his features and mannerisms towards her. He wasn’t coolly pleasant and politely interesting anymore. This man was dangerous. And that scared Vivienne.

                A searing pain exploded behind her eyes and Vivienne gasped softly, trying to dispel the sound. Damn, it had been weeks and she had thought the pain would have disappeared by now.

                “Are you alright?” Joshua asked worriedly as he interrupted his conversation with Brenan to question her.

                The searing pain turned to a steady throb, but it was manageable. “Yes, I’m fine. Go ahead and keep talking, I’m going to sit for a second.”

                Vivienne took the chair closest to her and carefully sat, hoping as she did so that the pain would lessen so that she could continue to enjoy her night. After a few minutes of keeping her eyes closed she was able to manage the painful feeling and open her eyes again.

                McMurray was watching her interestedly as he stood beside Brenan and Joshua. Those green eyes of his were cataloguing everything about her and at this moment Vivienne couldn’t stand to see that look on his face. After their row a few weeks ago and them not speaking since, she seemed to be floundering in view of him. She couldn’t help but think that she had caused this animosity between them.

                But at least you have Joshua to spend time with…

                But he still wasn’t McMurray.

                A hand swum in her vision and Vivienne had to stop the urge to lean away from it. Dizzily, she looked up and noticed McMurray standing right before her.

                “Here, sip this, it might help relax you.” He was holding out what appeared to be a glass of brandy.

                Her nose instantly rebelled. “I’m perfectly relaxed, thank you.”

                His face turned inscrutable and then mulish. “Don’t be ridiculous, take the drink and try it.”

                She looked at him with blurry vision then at the glass he was holding, letting him know that she still wasn’t too happy with him. Under her breath she muttered, “Damn arrogant man.”

                A smile quirked up one corner of his mouth, and Vivienne wondered at his amazing hearing. “You have no idea.”

                Instead of commenting, she grabbed the proffered glass and took a dainty sip. Fire burned down her esophagus and into her stomach. She had to admit, she took it like a lady, but her eyes burned even more for the effort.  After a few minutes spent in some semblance of silence, and a few more sips, she felt some loosening of the muscles in her body and neck. Apparently McMurray was right about the relaxing part of the drink.

                “You know that we will be thrown together at more events, so there is no reason for you to give me the cold shoulder the entire time.”

                She refused to look in his direction as he came to stand beside her. She would not give him the satisfaction. But deep inside she wanted to glance over just to stare at his beauty.

                “Actually, I think I can get used to this. Vivienne Rockport without anything to say is a novel idea.”

                The ass! Speaking about her as if she ran her mouth all hours of the day, she did nothing of the sort. She would not look in his direction. She would not.

                “So how long have you and pretty boy been together? He doesn’t seem to be your type at all Vivienne. I’m almost disappointed.”

                Her eyes flew in his direction. “It isn’t any business of yours how long Joshua and I have been dating. And as for you being disappointed, that is because of your extremely low standards. Maybe if you would move them up a bit you wouldn’t have that problem.”

                She knew she had hit a nerve by the flaring of his nose and the tightly controlled look he was giving her. But being the woman she was, she continued to list Joshua’s good points, ignoring the twinge of happiness it gave her to note that she was making him extremely angry.

                “He is kind, generous with his time, he makes me laugh and we have fun together. Those are just some of his finer points. If I tried to list them all, we would be here all night.” There, she thought to herself, take that!

                Green eyes glowed in her direction and with the lights in the club so low, Vivienne had to wonder how they were catching all of that light. What an odd color? He must be wearing contacts.

                “Well, it seems that pretty boy is doing all the right things then, so we have nothing to worry about.”

                “You aren’t my father McMurray. I don’t need your parental guidance.” Vivienne had no idea why he was infuriating her so much at the moment. This was a mean side to McMurray that she had never seen.

                “You’re Goddamned right that I’m not your father.  There is nothing the least familial about my thoughts at the moment.” He basically seethed at her while the music and other conversations and people faded in the background. “While we are on that subject, how is the sex? More than likely mediocre I’m assuming.”

                Vivienne’s eyes whipped open wide. What the hell?

                “How dare you…?” She questioned, drawling out the word ‘dare’ until it sounded like three words rolled together. Attempting to get off of the stool upon which she was sitting, she wobbled and almost face planted herself on the floor as anger and pain washed over her.

                His hands came out to steady her and she shoved him off, but not before he touched her skin. “Get your hands off of me…don’t you dare touch me!”

                Those eyes of his were a roiling mass of green now, but Vivienne was so upset she barely noticed. All she felt was anger and pure pain. And hurt, hurt at how she had allowed herself to feel so much for one man. He wasn’t the same man, he wasn’t! How could she have wasted all of this time on him?

                “Vivienne, I’m sorry…sit back down and let me help you.” She missed the worried look in his eyes as she moved away from him, albeit a bit drunkenly, even though she wasn’t close to tipsy.

                “Don’t you fucking touch me! I can’t believe you, you of all people treating me as you would treat a stranger.” She turned her eyes on him and let him feel the full force of her pain. “You are an asshole…funny how it took me so long to figure it out.”

                With that, she managed to find her way back to Joshua’s side and pleaded with him to leave. The night couldn’t end soon enough for her.

***

                You are an asshole.

                Ramsey poured himself a double and then swallowed it down. Craving the burn it was giving him. As his eyes watered, he looked over the remarkable view from his penthouse. The city never slept, its lights twinkling like hundreds of living flames kept open to the elements. His mind drifted for a moment, lost to time and memory, and he relaxed somewhat as deep rolling hills and ragged mountain cliffs rose up in his mind’s eye. The deep burr of a Scottish wind played across his skin and instantly he wanted to go there, but he stopped himself.

                You are an asshole.

                His saw his first, his only wife in his memory. Wild red hair wrapped around a bonny frame. Soft, luscious mouth that had been more than able to dole out compliments and insults as well, she had been as fierce as any Highland competitor and as soft and gentle as any wild Scottish hare. But even with all of her attributes, she hadn’t been able to stay with him.

                Ram blinked and set down the glass on the counter beside him. He hadn’t thought of Catriona in years. It was odd and telling that one argument with a woman would cause him to dwell on thoughts of his first wife. Especially when said woman was as much a spitfire as his Catriona had been.

                You are an asshole.

                He hadn’t meant to hurt Vivienne. He had known the minute she had walked into his space that something was off about her. Her vitals were all over the place, heartbeat at times through the roof, and then so light, light enough to cause him worry. Her beautiful translucent skin had been pasty up close. Her breathing was choppy. But the one thing that had thrown him off was her emotions. Usually he couldn’t read too many of them, she had always been adept at hiding them from sight, but tonight they were all over and out there for him to read.

                There had been fear, pain, need and a staggering amount of hope that he had been able to pick up off of her skin, like the smell of a fine perfume. All at once, it was a lot to take in, but if he had been given more time, he might have been able to dissect it a bit. Leave it to him to fuck that up.

                Seeing her with that guy had killed all thoughts of him being courteous. For some reason Joshua had set him off. Ram had felt ready to kill in seconds. Hell, he was still primed and ready to go, which of course had led him to his finest moment in her company…ever.

                The abject pain on her face was planted in his frontal lobe. He would be haunted by it for days. He was sure. The worse part was when his fingers had touched her skin. Pure pain had rippled through him. An amalgam of throbbing had vibrated under his skin. He had known then that she was sick.

                You are an asshole.

                For once he didn’t doubt what a woman had spoken to him.

***

 Brenan McKinnon, Scotsman and Amber Druid, and Julianna (HER DRUID SEDUCTION)

 

“Why do I get the distinct impression that you don’t care much for me?”

                Well, he sure didn’t waste anytime on getting down to the seriousness of the matter. Jules composed her shocked face and thought of something to say.

                “It’s not that I don’t care for you Mr. McKinnon, it is more that you don’t seem to be serious about this whole matter.” She watched his eyebrow rise at her words. It wasn’t the exact truth but it was damn close. She couldn’t spit out that she wanted his body, so that would have to do.

                He leaned back in the booth, his powerful frame almost rippling with suppressed power. She got the impression that he was coiled to spring, ready for anything. Now that she thought about it, the light from the low hanging lamp above them cast an unearthly shadow over his face. Was it her imagination or had his eyes just flashed gold at her?

                Your imagination is working overtime.

                That must be it. Looking at him now in the half light he really didn’t look all that eerie but in the right shadows she just thought that he might.

                “It sounds to me like you are dodging the issue.”

                Why couldn’t he just let it go and leave her alone? She drew circles in the condensation on her glass, trying to dodge that issue he was talking about. Looking up into his eyes she made sure she had his attention.

                “I never dodge an issue” God help her if lightning came through the ceiling right now, “I’m a detective. I meet everything head on.” Ignoring that humorous smirk on his handsome face she took another sip of her drink.

                “I’m sure you do. You seem headstrong and difficult.”

                The nerve of the man! Jules gave him a hard glare. “I’m neither of those things but in a world ran by men I have to be tough. If it seems like I’m headstrong and difficult to you than I could care less what you think, and why you think it.”

                He leaned closer, letting his elbows land on the table. Those blue eyes of his were snapping with some smartass comment that Jules was sure he wanted to say badly. She watched him with an inner fascination. He seemed so different from the other men she had known, confident, aware of his sway with the feminine side of humanity, and so damn charming that she had to keep looking behind him to check for a line of bullshit.

                “I like a woman with backbone.”

                Jules wasn’t quite sure what to say to that statement, so turning the conversation seemed like a good idea.

                “Like the woman that was beside you when I walked in? She seemed like she could be fiery enough sometimes.”

                He turned to look at the other woman and then turned back to Jules with a smile on his face. “She is a bit upset with me at the moment.”

                “Why, did you deny her some fabulous shopping trip to Gucci or somewhere equally nice?” Jules couldn’t stop the snippy tone from entering her voice when she said that.

                Humor lit his blue eyes. “No, actually she is jealous that I have to conduct my business with such a beautiful woman. She’s always been jealous of other women.”

                That shut her up. She knew she was passably pretty but not beautiful. The creature that was miffed at him right now was more along the lines of beautiful. Looking at his eyes she watched as the humor dissipated and was replaced by a sober light. He was serious. He thought her beautiful. Shock kept her mouth shut for a minute. Shock that this man, this dangerously attractive businessman with his tailored suits, charming smiles and she was sure, bevy of women hanging on his every word, thought she was beautiful. Startled, she looked down and noticed that she had pulled the straw out of her drink and she was dripping soda everywhere.

                “Shit” She whispered, dabbing at the wetness that had fallen onto her jeans and shirt. Leave it to her to look like a fool in front of a man.

                He reached for more napkins and rose over the table to try and help her. Hell, she didn’t need his hands anywhere near her. “I’ve got it” She all but growled at him. He sat back down with a glower of his own.

                After making sure she was all taken care of she tried to ignore the stunted silence that had sprung up between them. She kept telling herself that it was better like this. Too bad she didn’t believe it.

                “She’s not mine. She never has been.”

                “I didn’t ask.” But it made her feel a bit better to know.

                “No, I just wanted to clear the air between us. I know that women tend to be offended if a man comes onto them and that man is already linked with someone else.”

                She shot him an icy glare. “You can come on to me all you want, sparky, but that doesn’t mean I’m biting.” She liked the annoyed gleam in his eye whenever he heard her nickname for him, which of course meant that she would use that name from now on whenever she spoke to him. Hell, if she had to build walls between them, annoyance worked well for that.

                “Sparky?” He questioned.

                She shrugged her shoulders. “It sounded good at the time.” Then tried to hide her smile when he grimaced, obviously he was aware that if he wanted to score with her he would need to placate her. So he was going to give in and let her call him names, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to score, at least, not with her. But of course he didn’t know that yet.

                “I’ve had worse nicknames.”

                “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me at all.” She muttered, saying it loud enough for him to hear.

                His certain, cocky grin melted her insides and she had to remind herself that he was off limits, as to why, well she couldn’t quite remember why. It seemed that she was forgetting quite a lot of things where he was concerned.

                “You wound me.” He told her with his hand above his heart.

                She rolled her eyes. “Whatever, and the names you probably had, more than likely I wouldn’t be able to speak in public.” She tried not to laugh out loud at the shocked expression on his face.

                “You honestly believe that I would be the recipient of such atrocious names? You never know, the name I’m referring to might be something along the lines of ‘sweetheart’ or ‘cutie pie’, maybe something equally embarrassing like those.”

                She almost, almost spit her soda out across the table between them. She barely contained her laughter, but as it was she had tears in her eyes from holding it in. “You will have to excuse me if I don’t believe you. I keep picturing it in my mind and it’s not working.”

                “I’m sure that you had plenty of those nicknames before, am I right?” He turned the tables on her so easily she almost missed the change over. “’Sweetheart’ would apply to you, so would ‘cutie pie’ as would some other choice words.”

                Trying to ignore how sexy it was when he called her sweetheart, she injected a sarcastic note into her voice. “I can just imagine those choice words of yours.” Her heart was tripping all over itself though, despite her calm exterior.

                He was casually leaning over the table and Jules had to keep her eyes trained on his lapels instead of letting them wander over his scrumptious firm lips and that strong jaw. His shirt was opened, maybe two buttons, and she could see firm tanned skin and dark chest hair peeking from the opening. Her fingers clenched. The need to reach out and touch, feel that warm skin was strong.

                He moved slightly and her eyes moved up to look into his.  Damn, he was gorgeous. How was it possible that God had made such a beautiful man? How could he have committed this atrocity knowing that mere mortal women would take one look and want him instantly?

                “How about vibrant, strong, striking, which you are of course all of those things” Her shock must have shown on her face.  “Weren’t expecting that, were you?” He asked her with a questioning look. “You are all of that, only I have the distinct feeling that you never allow anyone close enough to see it.”

                Her brain was sending out signals to her body, telling her, warning her that this man was dangerous. Don’t listen Jules, he does this to everyone. That is how he worms in under their skin. All of that sweet talk and it is no wonder why women fall into his bed. Even with that valid point being screamed into her brain it didn’t stop the giddy feeling that filled her up. His eyes were still somber and she had the feeling that he was totally serious with his compliments. It was hard, but she pushed aside the warm fuzzies he invoked in her and gave him a deadpan look.

                “You know what sparky? You just keep to your beauty over there and leave me to my very comfortable, very quiet personal life. I have more than enough on my plate than to listen to you spout bullshit.”

                She catalogued the shock in his eyes and as he moved to sit back in the booth there was the barest flash of gold once more, until he blinked and it faded. Jules ignored the goose bumps on her skin.

                “Once you know me better you will understand my sincerity, I never lie.”

                “Since you are a player, with your God-like looks and easy charm you never have to lie to get a woman. Still with those same looks you could lie your ass off and any woman would be easy pickings.” The tirade slipped easily from her lips but before he could voice his opinion on the matter Ramsey showed up.