An Unwilling Desire(9)

By: Carole Mortimer

‘Have you ever tried?’

‘No, and I don’t want to either! What are you, some sort of pimp for showgirls?’ She made her tone as insulting as possible, still very resentful of his autocratic behaviour earlier.

He smiled his amusement, not at all put out by her insult; ‘Actually, I’m a record producer. Disappointed?’ he mocked close to her ear, sitting annoyingly close to her on the sofa.

‘Not at all,’ she told him abruptly, moving away from him so that the length of his thigh no longer touched hers. ‘I’m sure you get just as much opportunity to show off your prowess there.’

He didn’t rise to the taunt as she expected him to, but gave her a considering look. ‘Why is it you don’t like me, Holly?’

‘Do I have to?’ She deliberately didn’t look at him, aware that he had shifted slightly, that he was too close to her once again, and her hands were beginning to shake because of it.

He shrugged his broad shoulders. ‘You don’t have to ...’

‘You just aren’t accustomed to the novelty of a woman actually disliking you,’ she scorned.

‘Maybe later,’ he drawled. ‘But not usually on sight.’

She didn’t need to ask what he meant by ‘later’. His hard good looks and light-hearted flirting might not appeal to her, but she could imagine a lot of women would be reluctant to give him up once they had known him.

‘I must just be the exception,’ she dismissed, standing up to put some distance between them.

‘And maybe you aren’t.’ Zack stood up too. ‘Let’s see, shall we?’ He moved purposefully towards her.

Her eyes widened in panic, and she stepped back to avoid him. ‘No ...!’

‘Yes.’ His smile was confident as he continued to advance. ‘Relax, Holly, most woman enjoy it.’

His hands came out to prevent her moving any further, his head bending, and cool demanding lips took possession of hers. Her panic increased by the second, and she felt as if she were sinking, falling, her nails digging into his arms as she tried to cling on to reality.

‘Hey,’ he chided lifting his head slightly, ‘I’m not going to force myself on you’

‘Please...’ _

‘Okay, Holly,’ he shrugged, smiling wolfishly, ‘Whatever you like.’ He lowered his head once again.

She protested even as his mouth moved over hers once again, but even to her own ears it sounded weakly unconvincing. She thought she would faint as his mouth moved down to her throat, her breath coming in short gasps, only aware of his mouth and hands; his identity was no longer important to her, just that he should stop what he was doing. She reacted instinctively, bringing her knee up with all the force she could, hearing his groan of agony, as his hands fell away from her body.

It took several minutes for her to be under control enough to open her eyes, the only sounds in the room her own sobbing breaths and Zack’s ragged ones. As she looked at him he was bent over double, obviously in a lot of pain, his face pale, a fine sheen of perspiration to his brow.

The full horror of what she had just done suddenly hit her. ‘Are you—all right?’ she choked, concern etched into her pale face.

He still couldn’t straighten fully, and his eyes glittered with fury as he glared up at her. ‘If I am it will be no thanks to you,’ he rasped. ‘What the hell were you trying to do?’ he grimaced… ‘Emasculate me for life?’

She watched helplessly as he collapsed down on to the sofa. ‘Can I—get you anything? Do anything?’ she queried.

He looked at her with jaundiced eyes. ‘Haven’t you done enough?’

She swallowed hard. ‘I—’

‘Brandy,’ he changed his mind with grim impatience. ‘Get me some brandy—please,’ he added dryly.

Holly hurried over to the drinks cabinet to pour him out a tumblerful, handing it to him with a shaking hand, taking care that they didn’t touch again, seeing the derision on Zack’s face as he noticed her evasion. ‘Are you really all right?’ she asked after his first gulp of the fiery liquid, noticing that he didn’t even wince as it passed down his throat and hit his stomach.

He scowled up at her. ‘I think I will be. God, woman, you could have damaged me for life doing something like that!’

She flinched. ‘I—I’m sorry.’

‘Sorry!’ he repeated disgustedly. ‘Believe me, if I thought I was going to be permanently injured I’d make you more than sorry. Who the hell taught you to do that to a man?’ He took another swallow of his brandy. ‘Your brother’s idea of a joke or Daddy’s sure-fire way of protecting his little girl’s innocence? This isn’t the Victorian age, you know! And I was only kissing you, damn it.’ He emptied the glass, scowling heavily.