The third book in Lexi Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries: The Forgotten romantic suspense series is out now, and I have an excerpt for you.
There was a knock on her door. Ariel glanced to the clock. It was getting late. The pizza had likely arrived. She didn’t want pizza. She wanted to start the day again and not have any of this hanging over them. When she’d gotten on that plane, she’d been filled with anticipation, and all of it was gone now. She’d expected dinner to be a quiet affair with only her and Robert. Now she would have to referee between Owen and Dante. She needed to get the whole group together for a session to get at the underlying problem.
“I’ve got to go, Damon.”
She hung up her mobile and slipped it into her pocket before answering the door. She’d expected Rebecca or Owen, but it was Robert who stood in her doorway.
And he looked delicious. He’d changed out of his traveling clothes into a set of perfectly pressed black slacks, a snowy white dress shirt, and blue tie. It should have looked staid. It would have on most men, but on Robert it made her wonder what she would see when she peeled off all those clothes.
She had a damn degree in psychology and it didn’t mean anything when her hormones got involved.
“Hey, I know I acted like a massive asshole earlier today.” He had a grim look on his face that changed to charming when he brought his hand around from his back and showed her the perfect white rose he offered her. “Would you please let me make up for it?”
There were a thousand reasons to say no. She could do it gently. She could remind him that the first chance they’d had to prove they could manage a relationship and still work together they’d blown. She could point out that there was still the hope of a cure out there.
Or you could live in the moment, my love. You could stop being so in that head of yours and let yourself feel.
Sometimes she could still hear her father’s wise voice in her head. He’d done so much, taken so many chances to bring his family to a better place.
“Ariel, please. I’m sorry I treated you like that. I took out my bad day on you and it wasn’t fair. I wanted our night together. I planned it all out, but I forgot that the only really important part of the night wasn’t the restaurant or the hotel. It was that we got to be together. Be with me for a while.”
She took the rose from his hand, all thoughts of why this was a bad idea flying out of her head. “Yes.”
But she wasn’t nearly as dressed as he was. “Give me a minute to change.”
He shook his head. “You look beautiful and we’re only going to the kitchen.”
“You dressed for the occasion.”
“I was also the asshole who challenged the authority of my commander in the field. Trust me, I like this far better than dropping to the floor and giving you a hundred like I…” He shook his head. “Not going there.”
She stepped in, putting a hand on his face. “It’s okay. Let the visual piece go and tell me what you felt.”
He pressed his cheek against her hand. “No therapist stuff tonight. I promise I’ll write it down later and talk to Kai about it, but I want you to stop thinking about me as a patient. This can’t work if you don’t. Please come to the kitchen with me. I managed to shove everyone else in the media room. They’re watching a football match. Well, Rebecca is reading on her e-reader and rolling her eyes when the guys yell at the screen, but the kitchen is on the opposite end of the floor. I promise it’s quiet there.”
She was still in the slacks and blouse she’d worn this afternoon. They were casual and comfortable. Certainly not something she would wear on a date. Robert was far better dressed for the occasion.
A vision of a private dinner where he was in a suit and she was wearing absolutely nothing floated across her brain. Sir wouldn’t want her in clothes. Sir would want to see nothing but her own skin so he could touch her everywhere, whenever he pleased. They could spend long hours like that. She wouldn’t worry about anything at all but pleasing her dominant partner.
“Come on.” He used that deep voice on her she’d heard him use at The Garden. Like her, Robert spent at least one night each weekend playing. She’d seen him paired up with some of her friends, but never had he taken one to a privacy room or up to his flat.
She hadn’t indulged herself in sex in a long time.
She followed him down the hallway and sure enough, heard someone yelling from the far end about a ref’s call. Poor Rebecca.
Robert led her away from it, his loafers making no sound over the carpet. This part of the club was comfortable, much more like a home than downstairs, and it made her wonder if Peter often had guests he put up here. She’d talked briefly to the man and he appeared to be very interested in teaching and training new D/s couples.
Were she and Robert going to be a D/s couple?
She stopped that line of thinking. This was nothing more than a pleasant way to spend an evening with a man she liked enormously.
With a man she might be falling in love with.