Alex woke up unsure of the time. The pale afternoon sun was filtered through the lace curtains and she knew she’d been out for hours. Finishing the script and getting the job done before anything else bad happened needed to be a priority. There was a feeling in the back of her mind that this was only the beginning of bad things to come. She took two more pills and tried to dress, a pale blue comfy shirt she didn’t have to pull over her head and stretchy pants that slipped on easily. She needed a cola and some of Helen’s chocolate cake if she was going to make it through the rest of the day. Alex limped her way down the back stairs and into the kitchen.
Kyle rushed over to her. “How are you? I didn’t want to bother you in case you were asleep.”
“I’ll live. I guess I did fall asleep. How are Dani and Heather doing?”
“They’re going to be okay, only a few scrapes and bruises. They’re keeping Dani overnight just in case so Heather’s staying with her. We were lucky and we’re so grateful for everything you did.” She fought back a moan not wanting Kyle to see how much pain his appreciative hug was causing her.
Thane sat quietly in the corner reading a book which she noticed was hers. She flushed at the thought of what had happened between them earlier. How she had responded to him, melting in his arms like some star struck fan. No wonder he ran from her, any sane man would have. She hoped to sneak in and out quickly and try to get some writing done. Alex sliced a big piece of cake and took two bottles of cola from the fridge. She turned around and ran into Thane who had a sexy smirk on his face, looking like the cat that ate the canary. Alex knew she was doomed.
“I finished your book. I can see why we’re making it into a movie.” He looked down at her tray and shook his head in disgust. “You really need to eat better. That stuff will kill you. About what happened earlier, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…”
“Whatever,” she mumbled. Alex felt like a trapped animal looking for a way to escape. She didn’t want to hear him apologize for the most exciting experience she had had in her life. It couldn’t be a good thing when a man apologized for kissing you. She had promised herself to never let another man touch her but Thane had touched her, emotionally and physically. What she wanted from him terrified her. Trust and love were emotions she kept buried deep in a place that saw no light. Could she ever just give herself over to carnal satisfaction? She wasn’t certain she could ever love again.
“Alex,” he said.
Pain she could deal with. It was like a comfortable pair of slippers you couldn’t throw away. The pain let her know she was still among the living. Her fear kept the rest of the world locked safely out. Always, it seemed she was on the outside looking in, observing, never participating. Alex caught the faint musky scent of his cologne as she made her way around his well-muscled frame. She had shut every other man out, including Rick. Why not this one too?
She walked past Kyle on her way to her room. “Why don’t you come up later and we can work on some more ideas?”
“The sooner we get out of here the better,” Kyle said.
“Yeah,” Alex said, looking back to the kitchen where she left had Thane. All she wanted was to get far, far away from that man and the feelings he stirred in her. Alex took her treats up to her room. Smiling as she put the chocolaty goodness into her mouth. Maybe what they said about chocolate being a substitute for sex was true. She certainly had eaten more than her share in the last ten years. But chocolate couldn’t hold you or kiss you or soothe you with loving words in the middle of the night like Rick always had. But it also couldn’t hurt you either. She preferred her pleasures of the flesh to be in the form of food.
She had already made a fool of herself with Thane. She couldn’t let it happen again but the man was relentless in his pursuit, wearing down her defenses. If he kept making advances, she knew she’d give in and that would be a terrible mistake for both of them. He liked his women young and stupid, neither of which were qualities she possessed. How could she handle being just a one night stand to him, when “casual” wasn’t in her vocabulary? Thane challenged her, made her feel alive and sexual whether she wanted to or not. Maybe it was the testosterone that oozed from his pores like sweat. Thane had awakened the woman in her. How could she go back to the world of isolation she had known before?