Olivia once yearned for love and the perfect marriage. She thought she’d found it when she wed sweet, handsome Ethan, never dreaming his romantic demeanor masked an abusive demon. Through her dreams, Olivia found the courage to leave him. Now, on a cold Valentine’s night, still recovering after the divorce yet feeling empowered once again, Olivia enjoys her freedom from love, with no wish to share this otherwise romantic evening with anyone. But freedom comes at a cost, and Olivia’s frozen heart and hungry soul possess a thirst for something she’s afraid to name. In answer to the call she cannot deny, Martin, her vampire mentor, finally returns to claim his chosen mate. And Olivia is more than ready to pay the price for her darkest passions, and to gain immortality. Karma can be a bitch–just ask Olivia’s ex-husband. But will her bargain with a vampire bring her everything she desires on Valentine’s Day?
It was a decadent display with scatters of black lace inset at the most provocative places. Olivia reached out to touch the molten creation, wanting to convince herself it wasn’t made of liquid fire, the way it shimmered beneath the lone spotlight above.
She closed her eyes as she absorbed its ethereal texture, imagined what it would feel like sliding against her own skin. But reality broke through. When would she ever have the nerve to wear something like this? Why would she want to? It was a garment meant to entice, and that was something she had absolutely no interest in doing. Her glance landed on her hand, on her ring finger, which still showed a shadow of the ring she’d once worn. Alas, she let her hand fall away and the silken mass drifted back to embrace the shapely leg of the inanimate model posed on the dais.
And yet, Olivia couldn’t bring herself to turn away; her feet seemed glued to the spot. She imagined the look of the man she would be willing to don such a sinful garment for. The perfect man–the embodiment of all she had once fantasized about. Before she’d met Ethan. Before he’d dashed all her dreams with the first punch to her stomach.
A whisper of an image formed inside her head. She tried to shove it away. Her skin grew hot at the thought of the touch of her fantasy lover. For the first time in many months her pussy grew wet at the thought of a man touching her. She fought against the image, tightened her thighs, tried to force the sexual heat back into its frozen compartment.
Try it on, Olivia. You’d look beautiful wearing it. Wearing it, and nothing else.
Olivia whipped around, searching for whomever it was that had spoken in that European-accented, sexy voice.
She saw him standing near the jewelry counter. It had to be him. Exquisitely dressed in a black suit, a white silk shirt. Pale skin, glossy black hair, mesmerizing black eyes. Her heartbeat quickened as she met his gaze. Recognition was just beginning to claw its way to the surface of her mind.
Ethan had been blond with light blue eyes and an all-too-easy smile. This man was nothing like Ethan. Ethan had never looked as dangerous as the man staring back at her from the other side of the store. Ethan’s rages had come out of nowhere, always catching her off guard. This man–no one could ever take for granted. Everything about him screamed dangerous.
Run, Olivia, run. Her own voice screamed inside her head.
The dressing room, Olivia. Go there now.
She knew him. She recognized that voice. Her whole body recognized that voice, not just her mind. She couldn’t help responding. Primed like Pavlov’s dog. This man was inside her mind. Not a new presence, but one that had remained in hibernation all these many months, the memory shielded from awareness.
He hadn’t said a word. She never saw his lips move. And yet she felt compelled–compelled to go to the dressing room. Compelled to do as she was told. Without question.
“Closing time in fifteen minutes. Please complete your shopping and make your way to a cashier.”
Olivia heard the announcement, but it seemed to bear no relationship to her. Instead she moved toward the dressing rooms. None of the sales clerks stopped her. None of them looked at her as she passed them. She focused on making it to the farthest cubicle from the activity in the store.
Silence. Barely a whisper of sound. Perfect.
Olivia slipped inside, closed and locked the door, shutting out the last vestiges of the voices of the clerks and the echoing footsteps of straggling customers in the store. She closed her eyes, took a deep shuddering breath, then opened them again, and stared into the mirror, gazed at her own reflection. He didn’t have to tell her. This was it. She’d waited a long time. Slowly she removed her clothing.
Olivia dropped her purse and then her gloves. Her coat followed. Her black cotton shirt, her black and white checked wool skirt, her white nylon slip.
She stared at her reflection in the mirror–at the lacy white bra and matching satin bikini panties, the nude colored pantyhose. She took inventory of the scars at her hips, her shoulder, her thigh. The slender expensive gold watch on her wrist. A gift from Ethan after her last stay in the hospital for her broken shoulder. She heard the loud chiming of the antique clock at the center of the store. Cinderella came to mind. Time no longer mattered. She didn’t shudder when a cold draft of air skimmed across her skin, like ghosts trampling across her grave. Her nipples puckered. Excitement mounted.
All of it, Olivia. Every last piece.
She lifted her chin, straightened her shoulders, glared at her reflection. No fear. Never again.
Her pussy was still wet, soaking the satin of her panties, her lips engorged with blood, sensitive and puffy. It had been a long time since she’d felt this aroused. A very long time. Olivia’s heart was still safely frozen, but her body–her body was on fire.