The soft brush of breath against the back of my neck made me jump. I rubbed my hand against the bare skin to quell the lingering sensations. A goddamned Halloween party and no one dressed up. Well, except for me in my bargain bin Victorian steampunk gown complete with bare shoulders. I was already freezing my ass off, I didn’t need Jack being a dick to add to my discomfort.
“Damn it, Jack. You know I can’t stand when you hover behind me like that.” With my hand poised to strike him, I turned. Jack wasn’t standing behind me. I stumbled back a step as I fully turned to face the stranger.
He wore a black suit jacket and pants, a hint of red peeked from beneath the lapel of his coat. The top hat and cane offered a rather Victorian feel. I nearly laughed at the coincidence. But my heart fluttered and pulsed when I saw the mask tied firmly across his eyes. He offered a gloved hand.
I hesitated for a moment before slipping my hand into his, the cotton sliding against my skin and his heat seeping through it and into me. “Who are you?”
Without a word, he pulled me through the open patio door and into the chilly night air.
Freezing, not chilly. Damn him, and damn me. What in the hell was I thinking letting a masked stranger drag me from the safe, warm embrace of the house full of witnesses…I mean people. We skirted around the pool as he led me farther from the bright glow of the house and into the darkness.
“Where are you taking me?” I asked, breathless and shivering. Fuck, I was cold.
He came to a stop near a large tree on the outskirts of the property and dropped my hand. I leaned against the scratchy bark to catch my breath. When I glanced up, he stood close enough I could smell the scent of musty cloth, crisp fall air, and a distinctly masculine hint of cologne and tobacco. The combination put me in a haze of excitement and hesitation.
“I’ll ask you again.” I paused and licked my lips, tasting the wine I’d been drinking just moments before. “Who are you?”
“Tell me you truly desire an answer to that question, mon petit cheri.” He brushed his fingertips along my jaw.
The heat ricochet through my body like a 45 caliber bullet pinging around a metal shipping container. Every sense dulled by cheap wine ignited in a riot. It was the mask, it had to be. Never in my life had I been so turned on and yet so terrified of dying at the hands of a serial killer. I couldn’t even muster a half a fuck to give if he was a knife wielding psycho. It was the mask. Yup. Definitely no doubt about that.
“Kiss me.” I couldn’t believe my own audacity. I should have just ripped my clothes off and screamed, Take me, I’m yours. As long as he wore that mask, he could have been Jack the fucking Ripper, and I wouldn’t have cared.
He hesitated, a smirk playing on his lips. Throwing my fate to the wind, I wrapped my hands around the cravat tucked against the hollow of his throat and pulled him close.
“You drug me out here for a reason. If you won’t use those lips to tell me what I want to know, then I’ll put them to good use.” His mouth opened in shock as soon as mine covered his. He tasted like salvation, and heaven help me, I’d never wanted to sin so desperately in my life.
A man in a mask…one of my ultimate fantasies. I love this. Reminds me of a short I wrote for the My Bloody Valentine Anthology called Dangerous Desires. I do love dark characters and roguish men. What do you think? Will he kill her or grant her a more pleasurable ending? *wink*