"Would you do me the honor?"
Alexis glanced up, her startled gaze clashing with the piercing eyes of a stranger, the same man who'd been watching her from across the room for the better part of an hour. She'd been covertly watching him too, when she thought he wasn't looking. Peering at him from beneath the fall of whisper thin bangs.
However, the gloominess of the room and the crowd had allowed him the chance to sneak up on her. Otherwise, if she'd seen him coming she would have excused herself and beaten a path to the ladies room. The man in question disturbed Alexis, almost frightened her with his dark, mysterious presence. Not because he was a stranger, but because she found him extremely attractive. The danger she sensed lurking beneath the surface of his quiet demeanor drew her like a moth to flame.
"I..." she hesitated, unsure if it was wise. His hand was still outstretched, palm up, as he waited patiently for her to make up her mind. His expression softened somewhat when he sensed her hesitation. Eyes the color of onyx seemed to see into her very soul.
The urge to deny him came and went before Alexis could voice it. What did she have to be afraid of? They were in an upscale bar in an upscale area of town, plenty of people were mulling about. Dancing, talking, drinking. And her friends were there, somewhere. Mingling with the rest of the crowd.
She slowly placed her hand in his, offering him a hesitate smile, hoping she didn't look as nervous as she felt. It wasn't Alexis's nature to fraternize with people she didn't know. Anyone who knew her would drop dead in their tracks if they saw her accepting a dance with a complete stranger. A man who by all outward appearances looked as macho as he did refined. A rogue in disguise no doubt.
I'd love to," she finally breathed, groaning inwardly when her voice came out sounding too soft, and seductive. More like the sound of a woman saying yes to her lover. "My name is Alexis." She didn't know why she felt obliged to introduce herself, only that it was somehow important.
He only smiled, pulling Alexis gently behind him while leading her onto the dance floor. It was at the back of the bar in a corner that seemed darker in spite of the numerous romantic candles scattered about. The music playing was slow and soft, almost dreamy. Several couples were swaying seductively, clinging to each other as though they were making love.
Alexis looked around, searching for her friends in case she needed them. She thought she saw Ruby's platinum hair glowing in the dimness but before she had the chance to know for certain the man paused, turning toward her, capturing her attention as easily as he'd captured her interest. It seemed an eternity that they stood there, looking at each other and not saying a word.
Alexis became uncomfortable, lowering her eyes against his intense gaze. Wishing she'd had the strength to say no when he'd asked her to dance. Now it was too late. She was caught, like a helpless butterfly in a net.
Deliberately slow, he drew her to him, until she was flush against his hard body. One strong arm wrapped around her slender waist, pulling her even closer with a firmness that alarmed her. Her head snapped back and she opened her mouth to protest, but the words wouldn't come. Then they were dancing, gliding about the dance floor as though they were the only two there.
He was a fluid dancer. Graceful and surefooted, in control of every step, every movement and every breath. The room began to swirl and Alexis grew warm, but it wasn't the temperature affecting her, it was him. She gasped when his hand slipped lower, falling from the curve of her waist to the fullness of her hip. Caressing her through the thin satin of her dress.
What did he think he was doing?
Why couldn't she find her voice?
Alexis knew why, because she'd invited this. From the moment her eyes landed on him she'd been unwillingly drawn to him. Conveying her curiosity with every glance. Scanning him from the top of his dark hair to the bottom of his polished shoes. Seeing not a man impeccably groomed in expensive evening attire but the man beneath.
He radiated animal heat. And he'd turned her on all too easily. Now she was trapped, and frightened. Damning herself for her own stupidity. Knowing that whatever came was her fault. Praying it wasn't already too late. She silently begged for Ruby or Susan to walk over and break the spell that bound her to this man.
The song finally ended and she made a move to withdraw from his arms, but he held fast, not letting her slip away. Her green eyes shot to his, silently demanding he release her. His fierce expression sent a river of fire through her blood and she caught her breath. Her heart stopped, then started again.
As she struggled with unfamiliar emotions he slowly began to lower his dark head, his laughing eyes filled with determination and surprisingly desire. Alexis was powerless to stop him as he grazed his mouth over hers, lightly at first as if testing her willingness. Then firmly, deftly swallowing her gasp of surprise.
For whatever reason Alexis knew he was her future.
She'd known it the moment their eyes met...