Suchen und Finden
Leah awoke to fading sunlight streaming through partially opened drapes. Her head pounded like a two-year-old beating a pot with a wooden spoon. A gentle prodding with her fingertips confirmed the reason for her pain: there was a huge lump on her forehead.
She tried sitting up, but felt a little dizzy. Her thoughts smashed into one another. Where was she? What had happened?
Struggling to brush away the clouds in her mind, she remembered leaving her job at the law firm, moving from Salt Lake City to Hollywood two weeks before, needing to get away from Utah, her memories and the pain that never disappeared. She closed her eyes and sucked in a breath. This was a new start. A time to heal and move on with life.
She had been taking in the sights of the city once again and remembered walking along the sidewalk on her way back to her small apartment. She had stopped to get her bearings, then a bone-crushing object smashing into her as she stood at the front of the alley. Afterward, all went dark. At least she didn’t have amnesia.
Frowning, she tried holding onto the fleeting pieces of memory running through her mind after that. A dark figure had stood in the shadows of this room. Her gaze took in the white wicker rocker to the other side, the pastel color scheme, rose-patterned wallpaper, as she dug through her mental files. It looked like a room a grandmother would decorate, though she found it comforting.
A voice. She remembered a soothing, velvet-soft voice breathing through the web of night her mind had been tangled in. I’m here to help you.
Strong arms had held her. Gentle hands had touched her forehead. A cool, strong-smelling liquid. A finger on her lips, feather-light. Her heart beating faster at the touch. She remembered all of this clearly.
She wasn’t in a hospital, of that she was certain. The bed she lay in was large, with a mountain of down pillows at her head. A pink comforter covered her body. Lifting the item, she saw that her clothes had been removed, even her bra and underwear. Someone had dressed her in this nightgown. Her blood sped, and heat raced to her cheeks, feeling embarrassed.
Where was she? And why wasn't she in a hospital? Obviously, she had been out of it for a while. Had she been kidnapped? A chill raced through her.
“Hello?” Trying to remain calm, she called out to see if anyone would appear.
Silence was her only answer. She called out again, louder this time, but there was still no reply.
Not knowing whether to be afraid or angry, she tried swinging her legs over the edge of the bed, wanting to find her clothes and get out of here, but her legs wouldn't move. Puzzled, she tried one leg then the other.
"No!" She was paralyzed!
THERON OPENED HIS EYES, sensing his guest was awake—and frightened. A rueful smile claimed him, thinking he would probably be frantic also if he awoke to find that he was in a stranger’s home and unable to walk.
A look toward the window visually confirmed the fact that it was on the verge of sundown. He could still use a little more sleep after the hectic hours he had put in, though he was usually up and around long before now. Though he enjoyed the day, nighttime was always his favorite. Darkness seemed to carry with it a sense of peace. The night also brought out his potential victims. Hid his nocturnal activities.
Effortlessly, he opened the French doors at the other side of his bedroom to let in the last rays of sunlight. It was enough to dress by. With a small hand gesture he retrieved his clothing and in a moment donned more comfortable attire than last night: a black T-shirt and faded jeans.
A few strokes with the comb and his toothbrush and he was ready to meet, and tend to, Miss Leah Nolan.
As he climbed the stairs, opening the door well in advance of his arrival, Theron wondered how much of himself he should disclose. Naturally, he would keep his immortality a secret, but would it hurt to reveal his telekinetic and psychic powers? Perhaps not, but he would keep the information to himself for the time being. Theron vowed to play the role of the aloof host and physician.
And no matter what, Ambrose, you will not surrender to your desires.
LEAH DRAGGED HERSELF into a sitting position as she heard light footsteps approaching the room she occupied. Setting aside the fear of finding herself immobile, her mind swam with reasons why she was here. Since she had accidentally left her cell phone and purse at home—again—had someone found her and brought her to his or her home? It just didn’t make sense.
For a second, scenes from Silence of the Lambs flashed through her mind, wondering again if she'd been kidnapped. She searched for panic at the thought, but found none, putting it down to the fact that she couldn’t think straight.
The door swung inward, revealing, not a person, but polished dark wood railing that seemed to border an upstairs hallway. Beyond that she could see a cathedral ceiling and windows in what she supposed was the entrance hall or living room. The final remnants of day shone through the bare windows, causing light and shadow to fall across the room.
Leah’s heart lodged in her throat as she took in the man who passed over the threshold. He looked tall and gorgeous and a whole lot intimidating. Well-worn jeans sculpted lean hips and thighs, while a black T-shirt hugged shoulders that seemed wide as the doorway. He looked slightly older than her own thirty-two years, yet his aura projected age-old wisdom as he walked over to the bed.
And his eyes! They were so big, so black, like two huge pupils with hardly any white showing. She'd never seen such unusual eyes before and Leah gasped with both fear and awe, fighting their drugging hypnosis and the faint glimmer of recollection.
He didn’t speak, but gazed down at her with a small frown between his thick brows and a look in his eyes that made her cheeks heat since she had the feeling he was reading her mind. He gave a half-smile that was ten times more arrogant than his walk had been.
Leah was suddenly afraid, but she’d be damned if she’d let him know it. She sat up very straight, her gaze never leaving his. “Who the hell are you? Where am I? And what happened to me?” Her last question came out a bit quivery and she hated herself for the weakness in her voice, wanting to project a tone that was strong and unflinching.
He ignored her questions and said, "I see you’ve finally decided to join the world, Miss Nolan.” He nodded slightly, took her hand by the wrist, thumb on one side, fingers on the other, apparently feeling for her pulse. He wore no watch and instead cocked his head to one side as he seemed to be counting the beats.
She raised her eyebrows in surprise. “How do you know my name?”
“You talked in your sleep,” was his bland answer as he let her hand go, now examining the bruise on her forehead.
“Weird that I would say my name in my sleep.” All the while he stood there, she tried to ignore the waves of awareness lapping at her libido. She didn’t even know this man, yet here she was getting all worked up over his efficient touches that were meant to check her injuries, not send her heart racing and make her nipples hard, though that was the effect he had on her.
He shrugged. “How often do you hear yourself talking in your sleep?” His dark eyes pinned hers before he looked back at her forehead.
Leah pursed her lips. “You know, I really need to get out of here. I have a job interview tomorrow.” She pushed on the mattress in a feeble attempt to get up. She felt dizzy, nauseated, and leaned back against the headboard, closing her eyes for a second to stop the room from spinning. “What day is it?” She stared at the wall across from her where a framed print of cabbage roses hung.
“Calm down, Leah. You’re going nowhere in your condition.” Just his accent alone had her blood pumping overtime and sensation zipping between her thighs. His tone and words had an old-world color to them. She couldn’t place it, though she thought it might be English, softened by several years in America.
“Tomorrow has passed you by.”
“What?” She held the fingers of one hand to her temple. If she could just think clearly. “It took me two weeks to get an interview with that firm!”
Leah felt frustrated. “Maybe I would relax if you gave me some answers, like—”
“The name’s Theron Ambrose,” he interrupted, his voice calming her nerves. He peeled back the covers. Leah wanted to snatch them away from him and cover herself, but fought the temptation. He obviously knew what he was doing.
“That’s an unusual name." She watched, captivated, as he touched different parts of her legs.
“It’s an old Greek name,” he answered in a preoccupied tone. “It means, hunter immortal.”
So, he was Greek. No wonder he was so drop-dead gorgeous. “That's interesting.” She admired his professional, take-charge attitude. Leah frowned inwardly at her line of thinking. She should be getting answers as to what happened to her and why she was here.
He pressed his thumbs from the soles of her feet, inch-by-inch to the tops of...