Her heart beat hard and quickly. His eyes held her as surely as if she were rope-bound by his hands. Yet caught up in the sheer drama of the moment, one of those wildly random thoughts popped into her head, effervescent as a champagne bubble. She wondered, since she had no idea, what his feet looked like.
“I know, I know. You really wanted that line to work for me. But hell, I don’t know the first thing about you. What your toes look like. If your hair is really your hair. For that matter, I’ve barely even spent an hour with you. Okay, that night of wine…more than an hour but I don’t really remember much of it. So….how can I go into the bathroom and give you my panties when I don’t even know you?”
The look on his face was priceless. She who was not all that adroit at reading faces could clearly see pissed off/annoyed man, puzzled/perplexed man, and finally the wry grin that spelled humor.
“And have you gotten to know other Doms before me? Handed them your panties?”
“Never. Not ever. My panties have never been handed to anyone. Well you know I’ve had a Dom. He wasn’t good for me. We weren’t a good match. He was always finding fault with me, I never could please him except when he was really hurting me. We couldn’t find middle ground between the pain and the day-to-day pleasures of being a couple. Even accepting the inequity of our relationship.”
He looked at her. She thought that he’d make some sort of reply to that, but no, those doms tended to hold their cards–and their opinions–close to the vest. His next words didn’t address her comment at all. Which irked her even as her belly rumbled its protest at smelling so many lovely scents, but not yet to partaking of any.
“Shall I order?”
“You might as well…I’m here at your behest.”
“You need to feed yourself better.”
She laughed and patted her belly.
“Oreo’s are survival food for writers.”
“Cookies are not ‘food’…they are a treat.” His voice dropped as the waiter approached. “Much like orgasms.”
She blushed, hiding it behind her wine glass as he ordered steak for himself, and chicken for her. Damn but he was slick. It occurred to her that she didn’t even know his name, only that he was her landlord.
Well, perhaps Amanda had told her, but the leasing of the house had been done via the publishing house so perhaps not. And she’d never asked after he’d appeared on her pool deck. The waiter moved away, leaving them alone with the view to the water. Even in here the ocean wove a spell around her.
“Should we ask to be moved out to the patio? It can get crowded later…”
“That would really be nice.”
“I don’t know your name.”
“Would knowing it make you give me your panties, which are no doubt a bit moist by now?”
Oh, he was a sneaky bastard, to be sure. She shook her head, but couldn’t stop the little grin. Quickly he arranged for them to be seated out on the deck, in the corner where their conversation would be harder to overhear.
He took her hand as he sat, clasping it.
“Hi. I’m Tom. My friends call me Tom.”
Her brows lifted.
“That’s a joke, right? You’re name is really…” She rolled her eyes around trying to think of some absurdity.
“Nope. Just Tom. Short for Tomas. You know many of us from Cali are descended from Spaniards who populated the area…”
“Okay, Tom,” she purred. “What’s the rest of it?”
“Planning to google me later?”
“I google all my stalker friends.”
She laughed at the expression on his face. Insult and pride.
“Oh, aren’t you all lord of the castle now, Tom. All insulted because I called you a stalker?”
“I had thought we’d laid that to rest a few days ago.”
“Well, you didn’t take advantage of me while I was drunk, which I appreciate,” she replied. “If and when I have sex with you, I’d really like to remember it.”
“If and when I decide to have sex with you,” he retorted, “you will, indeed, remember it.”
There it was again, that indefinable thing that made a Dom a dom. A subtle thing, really, that firm taking control of a situation where she may have thought, for a foolish minute, that she had the upper hand. And damn, didn’t that make him all the more enticing?
Their food arrived, interrupting their wordplay.
Just as well, she mused, because she might accidentally cross a line she had no business crossing with him just now. He did attract her, there was no doubt of that.
They ate for a few minutes in silence.
“Delicious. Thank you.”
She paused, a forkful of chicken just in front of her lips. Her brows crinkled as they did when she was puzzled. He knew that look well, from the times he’d spent watching her writing on the pool deck. Fuck it, maybe he was a stalker.
“My name. Tom Ocaviaus.”
The chicken remained as it was, mid-way to her lips. He watched her for a moment more, before he couldn’t contain the guffaws any longer.
“Your face…” he laughed. It was a full-bellied man-sized laugh, turning heads to look at them. Smiles and grins flashed their way before he wound down and the other diners returned to their own business.
“You think you’re funny…”
“Hell, I am funny. Gods, your face.”
“Okay smartass, what is your name for real?”
Hearing the snippy, snarky, pissy sound in her voice only made her more irritable. Sheesh. She was sounding just as annoying as her old dom had said she was.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for that to sound…”
“Bitchy? That’s okay. You wear it well. I’m not overly fond of door mats you know. You’re one spicy woman, Cassie. Part of the appeal.”
He paused for a moment as the chicken slipped between her lips. His cock gave a little lurch. Her mouth was very appealing.
She pulled back, staring at him.
“I’ve never in my life heard that name. Bi….”
“…mack-you-let,” he finished, speaking phonetically. “It means ‘two spots’…maybe an ancestor had a horse with two spots, or two birthmarks…who knows.”
Well, at least she now had a name to google. They finished their meal slowly, their conversation moving through the normal things people talk of as they begin to explore one another–tentative at times–but full of smiles and nods of agreement. Finishing their wine, they sat in companionable silence, and watched the sun slip into the Pacific.