Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(30) by Lara Adrian
Power radiated off him, even more when he was wearing casual clothes and standing in the middle of a quiet lobby than when he was in full fighting garb in the center of the cage.
Carys stopped at the top of the stairs. She had been telling herself all night and throughout the day that she was fine without Rune, that the hours since she’d last seen him hadn’t been some of the slowest, most empty hours of her life. All of those little lies burned to ashes as she gazed down at him now.
He turned her way and looked up at her on the stairs. His dark eyes seared her with their familiar heat, but his face remained unreadable.
She descended at a measured pace, even though her stomach felt as if a hundred butterflies had been turned loose inside it.
“What are you doing here?” The words blurted out of her, sounding more like an accusation than a greeting. “Shouldn’t you be back at La Notte, getting ready to open?”
He shook his head. “Jagger’s overseeing things tonight. I told him I had other plans.”
Carys stepped off the final stair, but stayed put at the bottom, hesitant around him now. She crossed her arms, mostly to keep herself from giving in to the urge to touch him. “What kind of plans?”
“A proper date.” The hint of a smile tugged at his sensual mouth. “At least, I hope that’s where I’m heading.”
“A proper date?” She exhaled a soft puff of air. “Because you want to, or because that’s what I said to you a few nights ago?”
“Both.” He closed the distance between them, making every nerve ending in her body tingle with awareness. With longing. “I’m trying to apologize to you, Carys. I’m trying to make it right between us.”
She couldn’t summon words. God, she could barely breathe for the sudden chaos of emotions stirring up inside her. She wanted to forgive him. She wanted to throw herself into his arms, never mind that they were standing in the middle of her place of work.
And they weren’t without an audience either. From the corner of her eye, she noted the handful of people who had gathered at the promenade railing overlooking the lobby. Andrea and a few other colleagues from their department stood there, watching with avid curiosity.
Carys lowered her voice to a private level. “I’m working, Rune. You should’ve called first.”
He tilted his head in nonchalant acknowledgment, but his dark blue eyes stayed locked on her. “I didn’t want to give you an easy way out. I’d hoped it would be harder for you to say no to my face.”
It was, and the last thing she wanted to do was refuse him now. But she couldn’t make it easy on him. He had hurt her, and one gallant gesture wasn’t going to fix things between them any more than a tumble in his bed would. Not that she expected she’d have the strength of will to refuse him that either.
“I can’t leave right now,” she murmured. “I have to finish what I was doing, and it could take a while—”
The determined look on his face didn’t leave room for argument. It also stole some of the indignation and stubbornness from her sails.
She shrugged. “Suit yourself, then. I’ll finish up, and if you’re still here when I’m done, maybe we’ll talk about a date.”
“I’ll be here, Carys.” He tenderly stroked her cheek with the back of his hand—in front of the museum staff watching above them. “I’ll wait as long as it takes.”
Heaven help her, but that simple touch nearly incinerated her on the spot. She had to force herself to step back, to move out of his reach before she did something stupid, like fling herself into his arms.
“Fine,” she murmured. “I’ll be down . . . in a while.”
He gave her a sober nod.
She pivoted away from him and marched back up the long flight of stairs, trying not to feel the weight of his eyes on her as she went.
Impossible, of course.
From the beginning, Rune had been a presence she felt in her blood, in all of her heightened senses. Her body had no qualms reacting to all that primal, masculine heat even if her heart and mind wanted to pretend otherwise.
He was still watching her as she reached the top step and as she breezed past the cluster of people who only now began to disperse.
“Andrea, please call on that lighting delivery for me, will you?”
“Of course.” The assistant nodded and hurried off to take care of it.
Carys forced herself to walk leisurely back to her office, despite the urge to run there and put all of her work aside for him. But she truly did have things to do.
And while she couldn’t deny her elation that he had come to take her on a date tonight, damn it, she was going to make him wait for it.
She kept him waiting almost an hour.
Rune didn’t comment, and he had no room to complain, since he’d kept her waiting a lot longer for this date. He had pulled some strings with the owner of one of the most popular restaurants in Boston, one of La Notte’s regulars in the arena. The human had raked in a lot of winnings off Rune’s blood and sweat in the cage, so he’d been more than willing to help with a favor by giving them the best table the place had to offer.
Apparently, the owner wasn’t the only fight fan in the place. A trio of young men walked past the table twice since Rune and Carys had arrived. They poked each other, whispering in obvious recognition.
Rune ignored them. He ignored everything except the beautiful woman seated across from him.
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