Nicole intentionally showed up at Bastian’s house unannounced and it had paid off. She licked her lips when he opened the door. He must have just finished showering and not had enough time to dress properly—or to dry off completely.
It was her lucky night.
Most of the time he preferred to meet her at the sanguinarian nightclub, Nocturnal Surrender, and therefore had those damn vampiric contacts and fangs in. There had only been a handful of times in the few months they’d dated when she had seen him without them. But tonight, although his mesmerizing sapphire gaze drew her in, the lack of vampire prosthetics took a backseat to something else.
His body-builder frame filled the doorway, covered only by low-riding jogging shorts that deliciously clung to his hips. The defined cuts of his abdomen drew her gaze to the patch of hair teasing at the edge of the material. Lower, the perfectly outlined bulge begged to be touched. Somehow she wrenched her attention away from what hid beneath his shorts and examined him further.
His broad chest glistened, his muscles flexed, his golden hair was slung wet and sexy against his stubble-covered face, and he held a damp towel. “Nicole!” His eyes grew wide. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming? I’d have—”
She held her fingers to his lips as she stepped forward, giving him no choice but to back up. After making her way inside, she closed the door behind her. “Oh no. If I’d have warned you, you would’ve wanted to meet at your brother’s club even though it’s your night off. I barely ever get to see you outside of that place.” To see the real Bastian. “And besides, I definitely like how you look when I catch you by surprise.”
A flash of heat spread through her as her eyes roamed over him once more. She ran her hands along his warm arms then slid them inward to caress his hard pecs. The woodsy scent of his cologne filled her nostrils. She wanted to bury her head in his chest and breathe him in. To have him wrap his arms around her and hold her so tight there would be no space between them. To feel him hard against her.
As if in response, he dropped the towel, grunted, and pinned her to the door before she could blink. His long body pressed into her exactly how she’d wanted. He grabbed her arms and raised them over her head, holding them together with one hand. The longing in his eyes—the fire—burned her to the core.
With his free hand, he feathered his fingers down the sensitive flesh on the underside of her arm. The touch so soft it almost tickled. When his hand came to rest at her side, right at her breast, he slipped his thumb between their bodies and played with her nipple.
Her heart sped. A deep breath helped calm her momentarily until she caught another whiff of his spicy scent. He touched her chin softly, tilted her head upward, and brushed his full lips over hers. Slipping his hand behind her head, he fisted her hair and pushed his hard shaft against her belly.
He groaned, only it wasn’t his normal pleasured sound. More like he was in pain. He pulled away even faster than he’d closed in.
Nicole dropped her arms, let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding, and panted for a few seconds. Bastian bolted out of the foyer and into the living room before she steadied herself enough to walk.
By the time she entered the room, he stood at the brick fireplace with his back to her, one arm outstretched, hand on the mantle. He leaned on it, breathing heavy. She stopped, unsure if she should give him a minute or go to him and see if he needed help.
“Bastian, are you okay?” Her voice cracked from concern.
He cleared his throat and held up his hand as if to tell her to stay back. “Just give me a minute. I’ll be fine.”
The rasp in his voice made her heart sink. He didn’t sound fine at all. Both his hands were planted on the mantel now. He coughed a few times.
She ran to his side and rubbed his back. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
After a few deep breaths, he lowered his arms and stood up straight. “Nothing. Give me a little space, will you?” He strode away without turning to her.
She followed as he retrieved the towel, but when he ignored her and charged up the stairs, she looked around dumbfounded. He’d never been short with her like that. She clenched her fists and gritted her teeth, fighting back tears.
What did I do wrong?
Not wanting to be the pushy girlfriend, she gave him the space he’d asked for and waited in the living room.
Her single visit to his house before this had lasted only five minutes. They had come back from Nocturnal Surrender, and he had stopped at home to remove his contacts and fangs before they went dancing. He hadn’t taken the time to show her around because they were having such a good time and wanted to get on with their date.
A quick glance around the room didn’t offer much new information about her lover. There were no pictures, no decorations or knickknacks—not that she thought someone like Bastian would have those. The only sign of the man who lived there was an empty beer bottle on the dark coffee table.
She hadn’t noticed the first time, but the theme of the entire room was dark. Brown leather couch and chairs, mocha walls, wood floor. Even the curtains looked more like they were meant to keep the sun out rather than make the place homey.
The room almost gave her the creeps. She sat on the edge of the couch, bouncing her leg. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t lived here long enough to spruce up the place.
That had to be it.
Still, she needed to get out of the living room. Nearly fifteen minutes had gone by and Bastian hadn’t come back down. She went out to the hall and called for him but got no response. In fact, she hadn’t heard any sounds at all since he’d ran up there.
Could something have happened to him? What if he needed help?
She bit her lip and paced, contemplating if she should invade his privacy and go find out.
What the hell am I doing? He could be lying up there having a heart attack or something. Sure it was unlikely for someone so young and healthy, but what if?
She took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh then headed upstairs to take care of her man.
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