"You want me."
Dana's fingers curled, gripping tighter around the base of her snifter as her spine stiffened. Just who did he think he was?
Trying to appear unaffected by his directness, his insolence, she swirled the amber liquid around in the glass, lifting it to her nose to inhale its heady fragrance.
She would not turn around. Not yet. Be still, Dana….
She knew the man belonging to that voice hadn't meant those words as any question. Instead, he threw them down in the same casual, matter of fact manner one might use to take note of the weather. And Dana didn't need to turn around to glean who it was that owned the resonant voice that had rasped those presumptuous words. She already knew. Ryder Black. The man--no, the Fang--that, if the truth were to be told, she had come here to see. To spy on.Perhaps even to seduce?
"Look at me," he commanded.
Nobody had ever spoken to her like that, much less one if his kind. She had come here seeking a mindless encounter, longing to feel, if only for just this one night, like a woman again.
Only the satin half mask she wore had allowed her the anonymity she needed to act on those desires. Instead of the celebration of her womanhood she sought, his callous words had cut through her ruse, her fantasy. Had made her feel like meat.
Dana slammed down the contents of the snifter, summoning the affront his rude comment deserved. When she finally did spin around on her barstool, she meant only to skewer Ryder Black, first with her glare, and then with a few caustic words of her own. I'll have you brought up on charges for that attitude, Fang...
The utterance died on her lips before she ever spoke. She could feel her jaw dropping as she saw how close he stood behind her...so close that she could feel the heat from his body warming her cheeks. She had no choice but to tilt her head back, seeking the face that belonged to that immense body, that sonorous voice. Her stare hitching upward, she could find no safe haven on which to rest her focus. To regroup.
Her gaze rode all the way from the muscled thighs straining against worn denim up to a remarkably beautiful set of icy, silver eyes. Ryder Black was composed of sinew and muscle, all hard edges and musky male. The man--the fang--was huge, and though she was no small woman herself, Dana resisted the urge to cringe in his shadow.
The glare she'd meant to pierce him with retreated and her gaze fell, snagging somewhere between his belt buckle and his rough hewn jaw. Bravado fading, she tore her attention away from his broad shoulders, and clung to the relative safety of a button that was threading halfway out of its hole, threatening to open wider the collar of his white button down.
His every breath teased her with glimpses of well developed pecs and a light dusting of crisp, golden curls. Fisting her hand against the desire to reach out and help that button along in its journey, she felt her anger change into something else.
Look away, Dana.
And finally, her body relented, doing her mind’s bidding.
Resting her gaze on the mirrored wall behind him, she caught sight of her own face. If she were to believe her reflection as it stared back at her, her expression had already betrayed her. Her flushed cheeks and parted lips looked to her like a woman overcome with rampant desire.
Yes. He had spoken the truth, after all.
She did want Ryder Black. She wanted to grab him by both sides of his collar, not so much to choke those insolent words from him....but rather to free that button, ripping his shirt open, exposing his torso. Closing her eyes, she could almost hear his buttons pinging on the floor around them as she feasted her eyes on that gigantic body.
And that’s when she realized exactly what it was Immortium did to a woman. It caused the body to act, unedited, on the mind’s hidden fantasies. Before she knew it, the crisped starched collar of his white shirt crackled as she gathered it in her fists. One well-timed yank, and his neckline was open, buttons pinging around the floor exactly as she’d envisioned.
His shirt falling open to his waist, she gasped at the sight of him.
It felt as if she were standing outside herself, watching her body take on a will not her own.
Rather, his will.
“No, Ryder Black,” she whispered into his ear. “I believe it is you who came here seeking me…”