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Autumn, 2003


     “I don’t even know you,” Darcy said, tucking a strand of red hair behind her ear.

     Zander snagged two flutes of champagne from a passing waiter. “You’ve been flirting with me all day.”

     “It’s a wedding.” Darcy raised her glass and scanned the picture-perfect panorama, the glass-like lake, the guests scattered in small conversations. Something about Zander kept her interested enough to remain on the veranda.

     “Okay, it’s a wedding. Let’s get to know each other.”

     She let out a “tsk.” He wasn’t going to like her very much.

     “Try me,” he said, reading her thoughts.

     "Fine,” Darcy sat her glass down and crossed her arms. “I’m a thirty-eight-year-old bitch. I chew men up and spit them into the Hudson. I’m flirting with you today because I’m bored. Weddings are an outdated prelude to an institution that invariably fails.” She picked her glass back up.

     Zander took a second to sift through her sentences. Then he leaned into the crook of her neck, and whispered, “That’s too bad.” Jeez, she smelled better than expected. Without much thought, he brought his lips to her ear, opened, and snagged her earring between his teeth. It popped into his mouth, the clasp skimming down the front of her dress.

     Darcy’s eyes went wide, the yellow flecks jumping from their jade background like bumblebees hopping in the grass. Zander had her—he’d heard the gasp catch in her throat. Doing his best not to smile, he fished out his room key, laid it on the bar by Darcy’s champagne.

     She shook her head.

     No? What the hell was he supposed to do now, with an earring in his mouth?

     Darcy used her height to her advantage. There weren’t many men she couldn’t look in the eye, especially in heels. “Let’s make this more interesting,” she cooed, an inch from his mouth.

    Zander had never heard a woman purr before, but that was just the sound she made. Talk about mixed signals.

     She covered his eyes with her cool hands, there was that scent again. “Zander,” she said, “I don’t play fair. You won’t come out of this without scars.”

     He nodded, completely intoxicated—the rest of the party on the veranda as far away as LA.

     Darcy pressed closer. There was heat between them, she wouldn’t deny her senses firing. But he had struck first and that wasn’t how she played. “Put your arms around me?” she asked, huskily.

     With a decisively masculine grunt, Zander slid his hands to her waist, the black silk bunching seductively. His concern over the earring in his mouth grew.

     “Whatever’s behind your eyelids,” she said, softly, “let it go, thread by thread until all you see is black. Then add me in, Zander, start with my hair… red, on your pillowcase. Red, weaving through your imagination.” Darcy guided him into her fantasy, felt his body respond, his grip on her waist shift, his breathing change.

     This part she wanted him to watch. One hand under his chin she pulled back, slapping him as hard as she could with the other. The diamond stud fell into her palm. “Don’t you ever take without asking,” she said, evenly, then swiped his room card from the bar.

Would you like to see more of Darcy and Zander together? Let me know!

Where's your heart?
No, no, no!Eh, would rather read about new characters.Maybe... willing to see where this might go.Simmer!Sparks!
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