Celestial Desire(9)

By: Abbie Zanders

“All right,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Stop giving me those big puppy eyes. I can’t do dinner, but maybe we can meet for dessert afterwards.”

“Puppy eyes?” The Marine in him was mortified.

“Yes. You remind me of one of those Siberian huskies with the shocking blue eyes, damning and redeeming at the same time. It steals my breath away sometimes.”

Well, hell. If he wasn’t feeling that strange sudden tingle in his chest he might actually take offense. Then again, they were getting him what he wanted, so… “And coffee?” he asked hopefully, waggling his eyebrows.

“Definitely coffee,” she laughed, tossing him his shirt.

With one or two more stolen kisses, Zane reluctantly left Celeste. It was probably a good thing she’d kicked his ass out; he had some work of his own to do.

He filled his lungs with the fresh, clean air; it mixed with Celeste’s subtle fragrance, intensifying that odd sensation in his chest again. Like it or not, his feelings for her were extending beyond the usual hook-up and surprisingly enough, he was okay with that. For the first time, Zane was the one wanting more, willing to see where things went.

The question was, was she?

Chapter 4

“What are you so happy about?” Mitch Fagan asked his nephew, glancing over the half-sized reading glasses he wore while reviewing his notes.

“Me?” Zane asked absently. He erased a few spots on the schematic he’d been working on, then made a few additional sketches.

“Yes, you. You’re whistling.”

“Am I?” Zane finally looked up from his drawings and met his uncle’s eyes briefly. He gave him his best innocent look, but Mitch wasn’t fooled for a minute. One of the reasons Mitch was such a highly successful attorney was because he had an innate ability to see through bullshit.

Mitch set down the papers and leaned back in his chair, crossing his muscled arms over his chest. He pinned his nephew with a meaningful look. The son of Mitch’s identical twin, Zane was not only a younger version of him in appearance but in personality as well.

“You’re scaring me.”

Zane laughed. “It’s cool, Uncle Mitch. I met someone.”

“Did you now?” Mitch’s voice softened in cautious optimism. Zane was a good man, but he was restless. Ever since he’d come out to stay with him in the adult condo community, Zane had been going through one woman after another. He didn’t need a psych degree to know that it was a defense mechanism, a way to keep people at arm’s length.

He even understood the reasons why Zane was the way he was. In the past few years, he’d had to deal with the loss of people he’d cared about; first, some of his Marine brothers in a rescue op gone bad and then, when he’d completed his final tour and returned home, his father, mother, and younger sister.

Each man had his own way of dealing with tragic loss; some shut themselves away, some drank. His was throwing himself into his work. Zane’s self-prescribed therapy was exorcising his demons by having sex with every beautiful woman who smiled in his direction.

Thus far, none of them had captured his interest enough to warrant a second thought. The possibility that he might have found one to hold his attention for more than a night or two was an encouraging one.

“Yeah. She’s… different.”

“Oh?” Different was good. Maybe. Something a tad more substantial than the vapid beach bunnies he usually went after would be welcome. A voodoo priestess or a Goth pincushion, not so much. “How so?”

Zane shrugged. “I can’t explain it. She’s smart and funny. Sexy as hell. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get her out of my mind.”

“Sounds serious.” And socially acceptable.

* * *

“Maybe.” Zane let the word hang in the air. Was it? He’d been honest when he said he couldn’t stop thinking about her. And three nights in one week with the same woman was something new for him. Usually one was enough for him to lose interest after several hours. Celeste, however, intrigued him. He wanted to know more about her; most women talked incessantly, but not Celeste. She was the first person he’d ever met that actually talked less about herself than he did. He had his reasons, of course, but what were hers?

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