Bound By Blood
Ivy Fiske has a simple plan. Seduce the dark and mysterious loner who's haunted her tavern for the last few months and end a year-long stint of celibacy. Though willing enough to accommodate the sexy barkeep, Benedict Sabinus has his own agenda. But things seldom go as planned, and both find themselves bound to the other in a way neither could imagine.
This was it. A now or never moment. A do or die. A put up or shut up. The decision had been made, and tonight I would finally look my fantasy dead in the eyes and say, "Hey sexy, your bed or mine?"
At least that was the plan, but I couldn't exactly proposition an empty barstool. I glanced at the clock behind me and frowned. Where the hell was he?
Like clockwork, the star of my fantasies had been strolling into my tavern every night for the past three months at 1:30 a.m. Tonight, he was late. Sure, it was only six minutes past, but he'd never been late before.
Perhaps his wife hadn't let him out tonight?
Oh God, what if he did have a wife? Given how utterly gorgeous he was, I wouldn't be surprised. Could I sleep with a married man? Had I become that desperate? Or worse, what if he was gay? Now that would be an awful waste.
"'Night, Ivy." The mumbled salutation preceded the jingle of the door's bell, but I didn't bother to look up. Swiping a damp towel over the counter, I couldn't stop contemplating all the reasons he wasn't here yet. Though what could be worse than a wife or being gay? Oh God, maybe he was dead on the side of the road somewhere. Or--
"Could I have a tall glass of ice water?" His deep voice washed over me like a soothing rain.
With my heart in my throat, I set the damp towel aside and turned to prepare his unusual drink. It was always water, every night. Why come to an out of the way tavern to order ice water? It was just one of the questions I had yet to gain the courage to ask him. I also longed to know his name, his age, his marital status, his occupation ... you get the idea. I wanted to know everything about this man--inside and out.
The ice chilled my palm through the glass before I could set it down on the square coaster. "Will that be all?"
Despite the perfected you're-sexier-than-hell-but-you-don't-effect-me tone, my insides were in a muddle. One look from this guy's silver eyes was enough to turn me to jelly. Was this something men learned early on in life? How to flash just the right smoldering look? If so, hats off to this one's tutor, because he did it like no one before him ever had.
What else would he excel at?
A blush crept into my face as I considered the possibilities. Wicked possibilities, naughty even. Oh yes, I could get very naughty with this man. His black, shiny curls were just begging to be twisted around my fingers, and his lips ... Lord, his lips were molded to be kissed and sucked. Did he have any idea how fantastic he was? Did he have any idea what I was thinking right now? For my sake, I sure hoped not.
"Thank you," he offered while wrapping his long, elegant fingers around the glass and lifting it to his lips. Those fingers could probably explore places I didn't even know I had.
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