Chapter 8: The Devil You Know – part 2
Addison awoke slowly with Egyptian cotton sheets caressing her skin. She rolled and stretched, but didn’t find her lover beside her. Mildly disappointed, she ran one hand over the rumpled bedclothes. Memories and lingering psychic energy swirled in her mind. Strong, knowing hands glided over her skin… lips, teeth and tongue drank her… a muscled body pressed her to the bed while she writhed beneath him… suspended over him as she rode him to completion, his hands gripping her hips hard enough to bruise… being desired, sexy, beautiful…
“Shane,” she whispered, then gasped awake. No. The angular face in her half-light memory softened into Daniel’s distinguished, green-eyed countenance. Her eyes snapped open. Daniel’s bedroom. Bloody hell.
“I didn’t expect you to be up so soon.” Addison turned to find Daniel towel-drying his hair in the bathroom doorway. A droplet of water trailed down his toned chest to disappear into another towel around his hips. “I tried not to wake you.”
Addison jerked her eyes up to his face. “Why?”
“It was a long night.” The smile he flashed was reassuring, yet disconcerting. “Thought you’d want to get some sleep. I had Svetlana take Ashlynn to school.”
“I had a lie in?” Her brain slowly connected the dots. “Bullocks!” Addison threw back the covers and scrambled across the king size bed. “I have to get to the office! There’s a staff meeting, and–” She slid off the bed and searched the room for her clothes. “Ashlynn needed something purple, and she always forgets show–”
“Addie.” Daniel’s chuckle sounded behind her as his hands fell on her shoulders. “Relax. Svetlana remembered Purple Day and show and tell.” His hands turned her to face him, then pulled her close. A bead of water trickled down his muscled chest. Addison fought the urge to lick it away. “Your department knows you’ll be late. Tanaka’s taking care of things until you get there.”
Addison willed herself to move her eyes from Daniel’s toned body to his face. “Sends the wrong message, the boss calling me off, don’t you think?”
Daniel gave her bottom a squeeze. “Or it reminds everyone of where you are on the food chain.” His mouth captured hers in a searing kiss that left her breathless.
“Suppose I should thank you for being so thorough?”
Daniel’s fingers danced up her back as he nipped her ear. Addison shivered with delight. “Later.” He dropped a kiss on her shoulder before releasing her. “I, unfortunately, do have to go into the office. If it’s not one crisis, it’s another.” He push an errant lock of hair from her face. “We’ll have dinner tonight. The four of us. Ashlynn will like that, I think.”
Myers won’t, Addison sneered inwardly. “Sounds lovely.”
“Lovely?” He smirked, then strode to the walk-in closet, dropping the towel along the way. Addison admired the muscles flexing in his buttocks before he stepped out of view. Blimey, but the man is beautiful. Perhaps the previous night wasn’t a mistake. He’d been making an effort with Ashlynn, and had been pleasant company more often than not. On the occasions she’d skimmed his surface thoughts, there was no animosity or annoyance. Still, something nagged at her as she stood starkers in Daniel’s bedroom.
Daniel stepped back into the room, buttoning the cuffs of an emerald green shirt. He cant his head toward the closet. “There are clothes for you. Stay as long as you’d like.” Smiling, he raked his eyes over her body.
Embarrassment washed over Addison. She summoned the sheet to her hand to cover her remaining baby weight.
“Don’t,” Daniel said as he walked up to her. “I like the view.” He punctuated his words with a smack to her rear, then headed out.
Addison took her time showering, replaying the previous night’s events in her head. As much as she wanted to blame the wine, she knew alcohol wasn’t responsible. She missed Myers… after a fashion. She missed having a lover. Being seduced. Desirable. Myers had made it clear that her unattractiveness had driven him into the arms of that out of proportion slag. But Daniel–this Daniel–wanted her. He made her feel like a woman, like he had years ago.
Deja vu enveloped Addison. After wrapping herself in a robe, she hurried to the spacious closet. A week’s worth of her clothes–from tailored Italian work suits to jeans and polo shirts–hung neatly on hangers beside Daniel’s arsenal of designer apparel. The shoe rack held her trainers, dress pumps, and a pair of slippers. Addison moved to one of the drawers built into the back wall–“her” drawer years ago–and opened it with a shaking hand. Her undergarments and pantyhose stared back. She slammed the drawer shut.
After dressing, styling her hair, and applying makeup, Addison marched to Daniel’s office. She was surprised when his assistant sent her inside immediately.
The king of the facility sat behind his wide mahogany desk, which was appropriately sized for his spacious office. Daniel gave her a welcoming smile and motioned to his earpiece.
Ignoring Daniel’s end of the phone conversation, Addison moved to the floor-to-ceiling windows making up the far wall. The view from the top floor of the administration building was spectacular. Sunlight gleamed on the whitewashed modern structures occupying the interior of the island. A swath of palm trees and tropical foliage ringed the complex. Beyond that were pale, sandy beaches punctuated by craggy outcrops, and the Caribbean stretching to the horizon. Paradise, she mused. Shouldn’t I be happy?
Once the conversation ended Daniel walked up behind her. “I wasn’t expecting you, Addie.” He laid one hand at the base of her neck and rubbed small circles with his thumb. Addison found it distracting at best. “Everything okay?”
“I don’t want to be your queen.”
Daniel’s confusion washed over her. “What?”
Addison faced him, then stepped back to put some distance between them. “Last night was a mistake, Daniel.”
He stared for a moment, then sighed. “Just when I think you can’t surprise me anymore. I expected this, but not so soon.”
Addison crossed her arms under her breasts. “How long have you been planning this?”
“My clothes were in your closet, Daniel. Shoes and pants and one of my bloody hair brushes on your vanity!” She took a breath so she wouldn’t end up shouting. “Was it all planned?”
Daniel barked a laugh. “Your belief of how the world revolves around you is truly amazing. I didn’t plan it. Though really, most women would be flattered.”
“I’m not most women,” Addison smirked.
Daniel shook his head as he returned to his desk. “I’m well aware.” He sank into the chair and turned to one of the computer monitors. “Perhaps you should attend to your department now.”
Addison glared at the side of his head. “Prat,” she grumbled, then turned toward the door. The surge of frustration she felt from Daniel gave her pause. It wasn’t the emotion itself, but the intensity of it. Realization dawned, and she rounded on the bastard. “What did you do to me last night? I couldn’t feel your mind when we were shagging.”
Daniel sneered as he swiveled his chair to face her. “There was a time when you wouldn’t have cared as long as I got you off. Which I did, repeatedly. I’d almost forgotten the hellcat you are in bed. The reminder was fun.” He sat back, hands clasped behind his head. “I didn’t do anything other than have you begging for more. Not that that precludes having a means to keep you out of my head. Just in case.”
Addison gulped, struggling to maintain her composure. “You manipulative–”
Daniel stood, glowering. “Don’t cast stones, Addison. You’re no better than I am. The only difference between us is your current pathetic state. Myers broke you, and we both know it.”
Addison forced words from her mouth. “Th- that’s not true.”
“Really?” Daniel smirked. “Wake up, Addie. There is no fairy tale ending. That’s not what brought you to my bed the first time, or why you’ll come back.”
“I’m not coming back,” Addison insisted. “It won’t happen again.”
Daniel eased back into his chair. “You’ll be back. You know where you belong.” He pushed a button on the videophone console. “Naveen, see Dr. Harris out.”
Addison blinked back tears of humiliation. She would have teleported on the spot if the bastard’s security allowed it. Instead she donned her ice queen facade and let the nancy-boy assistant escort her through the reception area and into the hallway. A moment later she stood alone in her bedroom, which she proceeded to tear to pieces.