A famous and infamous restaurant. She inhaled the sumptuous air. Delicious dishes composed an ever-changing menu. She was escorted to a private alcove off the terrace. The individual dining rooms catered to the needs of couples for complete privacy. Notoriously decadent.
The waiter knocked. Then there was a lag time before entering. She had heard Wyatt clearly say to enter, but here they stood in the corridor with the waiter glancing at the floor.
Marissa peered at the waiter, “Excuse me. I thought I heard Mr. Herndon say to enter.”
She could have sworn the man was counting down as his head bobbed. The waiter opened the door and hung back.
Wyatt’s gaze connected with hers, sending an intense flash of giddy excitement through her body. He stood, making her knees dissolve into sand. The shock of her desire, a cutting awareness, pulled at her. The lancing expression in his eyes—unbraided lust—was practically tangible within the confined space.
The waiter asked if they were ready for dinner. A second time. “Yes, I believe we are,” Wyatt responded.
She smiled at the tone of his voice. Then the door closed, leaving them alone in a room that contained a sofa and fully laid table.
“You look lovely. I’m so happy you found me. I didn’t know there were compartments. I wondered if you’d think I had planned something scandalous.”
“No, the restaurant serves an excellent cuisine. Cozy is part of the charm. I see you’re enjoying the evening view of the sea. Soon you’ll own part of the view.”
“That depends upon you. Doesn’t it?” He nodded and came forward. “It’s beautiful at this time. If you come here, you can see the constellation Orion.”
She crossed to the terrace to stand next to him. Wyatt came up close to her, the nearness of him made her hypersensitive to her surroundings. “Where?” God, she wanted to relax against him. Instead, she followed his pointing finger, gazing upward into the night sky.
“That star shining brighter than the rest is Betelgeuse. The armpit of the hunter.”
His words and expression had her skin tightening. She had to stop this longing or it would be too late. She answered leaning away, but still she trembled. “Yes. The red one.”
“Precisely. Easy to find on a night like this. Come inside. It’s chilly out here.” The pressure from his hand steered her back inside the room that appeared smaller than before.
Marissa sniffed the ocean breeze as well as a floral aroma, and the scent of a cigar he must have lit at some point. An open bottle of wine stood ready to pour. A dozen blood-red roses adorned the table. Not ordinary roses but voluptuous blossoms in full bloom.
“The roses are remarkable. Perfect,” she murmured.
“I was informed they’re ours to take. Consider them as belonging to you,” he said.
She refocused on Wyatt, a powerful man in front of her. And a mistake. His eyes were bluer than she remembered, or it was the effect of crimson-colored walls of the room. He gazed at her and drew her to him, his hand covering hers.
She fought his wordless command but whatever he silently asserted overpowered her. “Thank you for meeting me tonight.”
Marissa flinched uncontrollably, slamming on the brakes of her self-control. “Please Wyatt. This is the last stepping stone and I’m eager to share the property reports.”
“I understand. Then let’s proceed.” He released her but not before her willpower floundered. Caught in the middle of a battle to heed caution or ride on the waves of passion, she remembered to take a seat. She passed by him, so close their arms brushed, and a blaze of heat broke free from a point between her shoulder blades.
He wore a white dress shirt that clung to buff torso, open four buttons from the collar, and displaying a patch of near-black hair on his chest. His muscular shoulders spread before her face. She glanced down his dark slacks, hugging his lean hips. When he moved, even in the evening light, the, outlines of his muscular thighs tempted her. This time she didn’t look away from the space below his belt. She licked her lips hungrily and flexed her toes. Then she stumbled.
“Are you alright?” His fingers encircled her upper arm. Off-balanced, she caught hold of his arm, clutching a rock-hard bicep.
He came at her from the side, closed the distance. All she had to do was stop and turn. She might as well have been clutching a frayed electrical cord. Amped energy released and passed between their bodies. If she didn’t let go—move away—she’d be a product of spontaneous combustion.