Sexy, Scary Romantic Suspense
LETTING EVIL IN
by ELLIE EDEN
Available now from:
Barnes and Noble
They wandered along the sand in the honeyed glow of evening, making their way towards the lights of the hotels. As they reached the beach steps, Kristi stumbled and felt Tony’s hand steady her. Poor guy, always saving me, she thought. He makes me feel protected. Some men are like that. She was sure women would love him. Any woman with any sense would want a man like Tony. She wondered if he was married.
Sitting down on the second step, she wiggled her toes in the warm sand.
“Tell me about yourself,” she said. “Have you always lived in Rio?”
He shook his head. “I was born in Sorrento, Italy. My father’s Italian and my mother’s Brazilian/American. They came to Brazil with me and my brother when I was ten. My father’s a rancher in Bahia. It’s a ways from the city. I went to college in Boston.”
“My mother wanted me to. Her parents live there. It was great, I loved it. Boston is so different from Rio.”
For some silly reason she was delighted to hear he’d been to college in a city she knew. “I grew up in Boston. Which college did you go to?”
He laughed. “You’re not going to believe this. I went to Berklee College of Music. I hoped to be lead guitarist in a famous band.”
She beamed at him. “You studied music! Josh is going to be so impressed! I can picture you. I bet you had long hair. Yeah? Curly, long hair. Did you play Hendrix?”
“Yeah. Voodoo Child. I rocked.”
“You’ll have to jam with Josh. Will you do that? Before we go? Please!”
Almost unconsciously she turned her head to look at him. As he was sitting on the step below her, they were almost eye to eye. His half-smile was sweet. Sexy. It made a shiver run through her. She jerked her gaze away. Suddenly she felt lost. What was she doing on the beach on a tropical night with this good-looking stranger? It would be fun to be single, to be flirting with no worries or complications. Was Michael doing that somewhere close by? Was he having an affair? Maybe her whole family about to be shattered, like hers had been when she was not much younger than Josh. Tears filled her eyes. Quickly, she wiped them away. Then without meaning to, she gave a loud sob. You’re not going to cry! She forced herself to stop. She hiccupped. Some tourists passed by, carefully looking the other way. Oh God. What was she doing!
“Kristi,” he said, softly. “Whatever it is, we can figure it out. My brother, Rafael, is working on finding your husband. He is Deputy Chief of Civil Police. He’ll do everything anyone possibly could do. We’ll find your husband.”
Embarrassed, she nodded.
“Come on. Let’s get you back to your hotel,” he said, sounding awkward as he helped her up.
“I’m sorry I cried like that. I didn’t mean to.”
“I got an email yesterday. It was from Michael. It showed him hugging a local girl. They were at the beach right here in Copacabana. Michael had on those horrible little Speedos and the girl was wearing a mini bikini. They looked as if they were having a ball. I don’t know why he sent it to me.” Again, her eyes filled with tears. She blinked hard to hide them. “I don’t know what he thinks he’s doing. How can I ever take him back? I don’t even want him back. I don’t feel the same way about him. But what about Josh and the twins?” Now she’d told him all her problems again. What was wrong with her!
He sighed. “Oh Kristi.” Reaching out, he took her hand tentatively as if taking hands was not something he normally did. His fingers were hard and his palm callused. She liked hands like that. She felt a hot quiver run through her. She pulled her hand away. Where was she going with this? Was she crazy?
Of its own accord it seemed, her body leaned towards him. She slipped her hand back into his. The feel of his hand felt natural, comforting. Holding hands was underrated. She really, really wanted to hold his hand. She could feel the heat of his body where it touched hers. “You’ve been really nice to Josh and me,” she said. “I feel so strange. What if nothing was the way I thought it was for all these years?”
“Don’t judge anything now.”
“I didn’t know you did marriage counseling.”
He shrugged. “I only know it from the worse case scenario. If anything good happens, don’t consult me.”
“I was. She left me. It was my fault.”
She was about to ask what happened, when the first big drops of rain pelted down. “Want to make a dash for it?” he said. Fingers locked, they ran through the drizzle. As they reached the hotel foyer, he let go of her hand. They stood apart in the brightly lit elevator. Without meaning to, she again swayed closer to him, feeling her shoulder touch his warm arm. Self-consciously, she moved away, noticing the muscles of his arms and chest outlined by his damp tee-shirt. Rain pasted her wet tee-shirt to her body. Wondering if he could see her nipples, she pulled the clinging fabric away from her damp bikini top.
She unlocked the door and walked into the room. They were both wet. For a moment they just stood, looking at each. Then Tony laughed. “We’d be better on the balcony,” he said. “We’re dripping on the carpet.”
“Would you like a hot shower?”
“Not much point. I don’t have anything to change into.”
“Well, at least we can dry off a bit.” She grabbed two of the big, white towels and followed him out into the night. The air outside was balmy, much warmer than the air-conditioned room. Steam rose from the wet tiles, but the patio furniture was dry, protected from the rain by the balcony above. Tony crossed over to the railing and stood looking at the view, which Kristi noted was meltingly beautiful: white waves crashing, reflections of car lights shimmering on rain drenched Avenue Atlantica, the glittering lights of the favelas on the slopes of the mountains and hunched above it all, the dark jungle-covered morros.
She handed him a towel and stood watching he pulled off his damp shirt and began to dry himself off. He looked soooo good. He was just so indescribably hot and her husband was such an indescribable jerk. As he turned towards her, she quickly pulled her eyes away from his athletic body and found herself looking at his mouth. He had a beautiful mouth, lips tilted slightly up as if he’d never be able to look really angry. She wondered what it would be like to kiss him. There just seemed to be too much space between them and she had to close it. She moved towards him. His eyes, thick lashes still wet with raindrops, looked into hers. She closed her eyes and turned her face up to his. His lips touched hers. She knew she hadn’t left him much choice. His mouth was gentle, his lips warm and firm. She’d imagined a passionate kiss. She didn’t quite know what to do with a gentle one. His kiss was almost shy. Warmth throbbed through her. She was hot enough to melt. She longed for him to kiss her more.
He pulled away slightly, his hands holding her upper arms. “You’re so beautiful,” he murmured, stroking a tendril of wet hair back from her cheek. “Your husband is an idiot.” His eyes were filled with an emotion that sent a thrill through her. It was so good to feel appreciated, to feel again that someone thought she was beautiful. He looked at her quizzically. “I should leave.”
“I don’t want you to leave. I want you to stay.” Unable to resist, she buried her face in the warm place between his neck and broad shoulders.
“You’d regret it tomorrow,” he said. “There are things you don’t know about me. I come from a very different world.”
“Rubbish,” she giggled. “You went to Berklee College in Boston. How different can that be?” Then she shivered, knowing the shiver was because of him and not the weather.
He took the towel and wrapped it around her shoulders, making a cocoon for her against his warm body. Without meaning to, she gave a soft moan of appreciation. She looked up quickly to see if he’d heard. What if he thought she was trying to sound sexy? He lifted her long, wet hair, using the nearest end of the towel to dry the dripping strands.
She looked up at him. “You were right. I shouldn’t have come to Rio. I’ve landed in such a mess, I...”
Before she could finish the sentence, his lips touched the corner of her mouth. For a second he hesitated, then his lips closed over hers, warm and sweet. She clung to him, kissing him passionately, drawing from his strength, escaping into the feeling of someone caring about her just for now. She pressed up close against him. Everything about him felt good: his strong arms around her, his broad shoulders, his hard, lean body. He responded by holding her tighter and kissing her with more urgency, his breath quickening. The heat of the kiss and the feel of his body chased every thought from her head. She could feel the hardness of his groin and she throbbed with wanting him.
Was she really going to do this? She pulled away. They stood for a second just looking at each other. His eyes were dark with arousal. How could she do this? Omigod, how could she not? The Moroccan-style outdoor sofa looked incredibly inviting and she sunk down into the pillows pulling him down beside her. For a second, she thought it funny that she was the proactive one here.
“You shouldn’t sleep with me,” he said, his voice sounding gruff. Immediately she wanted him even more. She was totally hot for him. In reply she wrapped her arms around his neck and tried to continue the blissful kiss where it had left off. Her heart raced, her body throbbed. She could feel his heart thudding too.
“Kristi,” With a groan he pulled away. “This is not a good idea.” His voice was thick with desire. For some no doubt worthy reason, he was trying not to do this.
“Why isn’t it a good idea?” she said. She could hear her voice sounding petulant and rebellious and somewhat like Josh when he was thwarted. Why was she doing this? Maybe because she was hot, so hot, to sleep with him. Burning with longing to sleep with him. Totally wanting to be right down there, right now, in the bed, or on the sofa, or even on the wet tiles, making passionate love to him.
“Don’t you want to sleep with me?”
He gave her a lopsided smile and raised his eyebrow. Then suddenly he wrapped the towel tightly around her again, kissed her lips hard and quickly, and stood up. He was leaving! “Call me if Josh isn’t back by eight,” he said.
She stood, clutching the towel. Disappointment filled her. The night had been perfect. So amazingly romantic with the rain pouring down around them, the inky ocean crashing out there, a full moon slipping in and out of dark, flying clouds. “It felt like a dream,” she said slowly. “A super-cool dream about a dream lover in a storm.” She sighed. “You’re ruining my dream.”
“A wet dream,” he said wryly. A flash of lightning silhouetted his dark shape. Thunder crashed.
“You’d regret it in the morning.”
“If you say so.” She knew she was pouting. How silly was that. She turned her back on him. “Why don’t you just go already?”
“Of course I want to sleep with you. I’m longing to sleep with you. Not sleep. Make love. What do you think?”
Thunder crashed again. As another flash of jagged lightning ripped the sky. She shivered.
“You’re wet. Aren’t you cold?”
“Nope,” she said.
“You better get those wet clothes off.”
She looked him in the eye. “Good idea.” Slowly she pulled off her wet tee-shirt and tossed it into the air. Then she slid out of her wet shorts. Watching his eyes as he took in her body in her new bikini and her silver sandals, she walked over to the balcony railings and stood there. She knew she was standing provocatively, her butt nicely rounded as she leaned on the railing. She was glad the rain shower suddenly stopped. To tell the truth, she was cold. But she hoped that would change soon.
Within seconds, she felt his warm, hard body behind her. “Beautiful,” he murmured. “You’re so perfectly beautiful.”
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