I was a strong woman. Men hardly ever intimidated me, and seducing me was no easy task. But this man? This man had my attention for nothing more than a few minutes, and already my mind was filled with dirty thoughts and wild fantasies.
He stepped up to me, his face inches from mine. I felt his warm breath skid across my cheek, and the sensation stormed straight through my body, settling right between my thighs.
As he leaned closer, the warmth of his breath started to stir an array of sensations all through my body. My heart was now jackhammering against my ribs, my throat feeling like the damn desert.
When he lifted his arm, his gaze never leaving mine, I sucked in a breath. And then he reached behind me, his lips mere inches away, and pushed a button next to my head and said, “Monroe, open the door for Miss Valenti.”
I thought I died. I was dead. I died and collapsed into a giant puddle of pathetic womanhood.
The click of the door sounded behind me, and I was out of there faster than you could say “what the fuck was that?”
As my heels clicked down the hall, my heartbeat slowly returning to normal, I heard a second pair of footsteps behind me.
“You in town long, Miss Valenti?”
I took a deep breath, but I didn’t slow down. “You’re the detective, you tell me.”
“I’m guessing no more than a few weeks?”
“Is that you guessing or saying?”
He fell into step next to me. “I’m going to go with guessing.”
I stopped and turned to face him. “You’re good, Detective, I’ll give you that. But let’s say you’re right—and I’m not saying you are—but if I am the daughter of an Italian-American mafia boss, as you suspect I am, you’ve got real balls summoning me down here and then putting me in a damn interrogation room like a criminal. I’d say that wasn’t a very smart move, Detective.”
He studied my face, and I didn’t even blink. Heck, I didn’t even breathe.
“Are you threatening me, Karina?” Lord help me, but the way my name rolled off his lips was like eroticism on fucking steroids. It was like porn to my ears.
I took a step back and tried to ignore the tingles spreading through my bones like wildfire, and I squared my shoulders.
“Not at all.” I lifted my voice a single octave. “I’m merely stating that if what you said was true, you just made one hell of a rookie mistake.”
With my words hanging in the air like the threat it was meant to be, I turned on my heel and sashayed my curvy ass out of there. I could feel his eyes on me the entire time, until I exited the building.
The moment I stepped outside, I took a deep breath, letting the fresh air fill my lungs. The feeling that scratched against every bone in my body was too damn familiar. I’d experienced this before, the feeling of a man being able to electrify my body without even touching me. It was unnerving, yet exciting at the same time. But I learned the hard way that this feeling was also powerful enough to bring me to my knees. I promised myself I would never let a man affect me like that again. Too much was at stake, and I already had too many regrets because I gave in to that temptation once.
But, by God, my body felt like it was on fire just having Detective Stone’s eyes on me. He wasn’t even touching me, or close to touching me, for that matter. There was sweat running down my back, for God’s sake. That was how he managed to affect me within less than twenty-five minutes.
It was the eyes. It had to be those dark goddamn eyes. Devil eyes, that was what they were. Dark windows into the demonic world where he could make you offer up sweet, innocent little puppies with a single glance. Damn, I was pretty sure he would make you want to toss in a tiny kitten as well, just for good measure.
I exhaled and looked up to the sky. Was this the universe’s way of playing one sick joke on me, showing me no matter how hard I tried to put the past behind me, there was no way of escaping who I was? A woman drawn to the forbidden, charmed by the prospects of breaking rules, and resisting authority by walking on the edge?
No. Not again. Never.