Get a Clue(8)

By: Jill Shalvis



There was a snap, then a quick flare of light as he held the match to some kindling inside the huge stone fireplace. The resulting glow highlighted him from head to toe. He was built like a linebacker, wearing baggy jeans at least three sizes too big and low enough to reveal equally baggy boxer shorts. His sweatshirt strained across his shoulders as he glanced back at her, those dark, dark eyes of his landing on hers. “I’m Dante. The butler.” He shoved up his sleeves, revealing heavy tattooing on both forearms, making him look more like a rapper than a butler, but what did she know about being either?

“Where were you when I first arrived?” she asked, trying to control her shivering but having no luck. Instead she continued to tremble, mixing up her innards like a shake.

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Dante said.

“There’s someone in my suite.”

He gave a palms-up gesture. “A mixup with reservations. Don’t worry.”

Oh, okay. She wouldn’t worry, then. Not. Unsatisfied with the vague answers, she stayed where she was in the doorway, still freezing, wondering what the hell to do.

“You going to get any closer to the heat?” her thug butler asked.

Heat. Her entire body craved it more than her next breath, but there was still the matter of the Naked Guy and his status, and much as she didn’t want to be alone in this house of horrors, she really, really didn’t like the idea of being here with these guys, either.

“Suit yourself.” With a shrug, Dante faced the burgeoning fire, holding his hands out as if he was cold, too.

On the other hand, Breanne thought, if these guys were going to hurt her, it was probably best that she be warm so she could fight back, right? But before she could move, from above came the unmistakable sound of footsteps coming down the stairs. Breanne tipped her head back, but in the dark couldn’t see. “Um, Dante?”

“Relax,” he said from his perch by the fire.

Sure. She’d just relax. After she died of nerves. From the stairs, a pair of bare feet emerged, then denim-covered legs, long and tough with strength.

Her heart jolted unexpectedly into her throat. She knew those legs; she’d seen them with water and soap raining down the length of them. They’d been tanned and well defined, as if he used his body for more than sitting behind a desk balancing other people’s checkbooks for a living as she did.

And he didn’t wear underwear.

The unbidden thought caused an inane hot flash. All those male . . . parts, nestled against the denim.

Naked.

She began to sweat some more but didn’t bother to say a word to Dante, because if he told her to relax again, she was going to come unglued.

Then a bare chest materialized, still gleaming from the shower, but no less jaw-dropping for it. She already knew the guy had a nice body, muscular without being beefy, lean without being scrawny.

His belly was ridged, carved into a six-pack she envied, since sit-ups were something she occasionally thought about but never actually did. He had a very light smattering of hair between his pecs that narrowed into a line down his belly that vanished into the loose waistband of his jeans, like an arrow toward the hidden prize—

He held up his hand, and in it was . . .

Oh, God.

The neon-pink vibrator, glowing in the dark now.

It was following her, stalking her, all the way down the yellow brick road to hell.

Naked Guy—not quite naked now—came the rest of the way into view, and unerringly turned his head in her direction, and though it was dark in the shadows where she stood, she knew his eyes landed right on her.

He had an odd awareness to him, as if he could see in the dark. As if he knew exactly what was going on around him at all times, a skill she’d never mastered in the best of times, to which today absolutely did not belong.

He also had the look of a man thinking things—things that, even with fear coursing through her, made her face heat and other parts tingle.

He smiled grimly, a lopsided smile that did nothing to dull the fact that he was amazing to look at—and terrifying, all at the same time.

With a pathetic little whimper, Breanne pressed back closer to the wall, swallowing hard, trying to decide if that had been an anticipatory “all the better to eat you with” smile . . .

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