Authors: Carlotte Ashwood
Holiday with Mr. Right
Angie stepped out of the elevator and promptly tripped. For a fraction of a second she registered the fact that the bowl of Baskin Robbins ice cream wasn’t going to survive the fall before she bumped into something hard.
“I’ve got you.” The sexy tones reached down and caressed her as she felt strong, muscular arms encircle her, breaking her fall.
The first thought Angie had was that her precious Baskin Robbins ice cream was saved. Close on the heels of that thought was how good the arms holding her felt. What was that scent? She inched closer so she could get another whiff. Hmmm, smelled like spice. There was a woodsy scent there too. And he definitely smelled like a man.
She inhaled again and almost jumped when he let out a sexy chuckle. “I promise you, I wash regularly. I’ve even been known to take a shower on occasion.”
Face flushed from embarrassment, Angie stiffened and realized she was still in his arms. She took a step back and felt strangely bereft when his arms fell away. “I’m sorry, I’m quite clumsy.” She was looking anywhere but at her rescuer, still trying to figure out why her pulse was racing.
“Hey, no sweat. It was entirely my pleasure.”
She lifted her head then and stared into the sparkling brown eyes of her next door neighbor. Her face rearranged into a frown. They had met a couple times around the elevator and something about his roguish handsome looks and curly black hair rubbed her the wrong way. “Well, thanks anyway. I need to go.” One hand fidgeted with her purse strings while the other hand carefully held on to the bowl of ice cream. Realizing how ungracious she sounded, Angie sighed and offered impulsively, “I don’t mind sharing this.” She raised the bowl slightly.
His eyes widened briefly in surprise before he nodded once. “Sure, I’m Alex Farhadi by the way.”
She nodded slowly. “Angela Scot, but I’m generally known as Angie.” Already regretting the impulse that had made her offer to share her ice cream, Angie walked to her apartment, just a few steps from the elevator. She passed the bowl to him while she searched her bag for her keys. Since her bag seemed to be a dumping ground for everything from train tickets to pencil stubs, it took her a while to find them. She really needed to get one of those transparent purse organizers, she thought in irritation.
Finally she found the key and led the way into her apartment, which opened into a cozy living area. It was decorated in earth tones with red accents and had a clean and sparse feel to it. She had fallen in love with the apartment the moment she walked in a couple weeks ago. The clean lines of the apartment were such a sharp contrast to the chaos she’d left behind that she’d immediately relaxed, breathing for the first time in close to a year, or so it had seemed.
She took off the tiny black shrug she wore on top of the short floral patterned summer dress she was wearing and motioned for him to take off his shoes just inside the door, but he was already doing that. It was just one of the culture shocks she’d gone through when she came to Kuala Lumpur. Everyone had to take off their shoes before entering a home. She compromised by taking hers off inside her apartment.
“Do you want something to drink?” she asked as she turned on the air conditioning and reclaimed her precious bowl of ice cream. It might have been December, but Malaysia was as hot as though it were July in Texas. When he nodded she moved towards the kitchen area. “Hot or Cold?”
“Do you have any alcohol?”
“Umm, there’s Scotch, Vermouth, some White and Red.” She catalogued the small bar she’d found when she moved in.
“I could do with a Scotch, thanks.”
“Make yourself comfortable,” she said from the kitchen area, pausing to put down the ice cream bowl before reaching up for the shot glass. She turned and found him seated on one of the high stools which surrounded the bar that served to partition the kitchen from the dining area. She raised an eyebrow but remained silent.
“So what made you change your mind?”
Angie frowned in confusion. “Change my mind about what?”
She eyed the bottle of Chivas Regal she’d picked up before looking at him. When his eyes held hers, she felt that strange breathless feeling and inexplicably her pulse began to race again. “Who said I did?”
“Well, I’ve been trying to get your attention since you moved in but you wouldn’t even look at me.” A rueful smile played around his lips. “You’ve been hell for my ego.”
She turned and pulled open the fridge. “Ice?” When he shook his head, she shut it and turned back to him. As she poured out the golden liquid into the glass, she searched for what to say. She knew what he was talking about. For the past year she’d been oblivious to any form of male attention. But with her sexy next door neighbor, she’d fought hard to remain oblivious, and that was the problem.
“I only invited you for ice cream.”
“And yet here I am.” He raised the glass in a mock salute before emptying its content down his throat. “You’re not planning anything weird are you?”
“Oh I don’t know.” He shrugged then peered at the bowl of ice cream sitting in front of him. “Is it poisoned.”
That startled a chuckle out of her before she repressed it. She perched on the only other high stool right beside him and crossed her legs, the hem of her dress only coming to mid-thigh and pushed back a few strands of wheat blond hair that had escaped the clasp she’d used to subdue the hair into a ponytail earlier that day. “Why would you think I’d wish to poison you?”
“Any number of reasons.”
“You have a lot of women trying to poison you?”
He smiled wryly. “You’d be surprised at how many.”
“Hmmm, well relax then. I have no wish to poison you. Neither do I plan to tie you up and turn you to my sex slave.” She had slipped the cover off the ice cream bowl and sighed in appreciation. She picked up the pink spoon and eyed the three different balls of ice cream, wondering whether to start with the eye-catching tiramisu flavor or the chocolate chip, which was her favorite. She decided on the unknown quantity, which was the Slam Dunk. It was vanilla but it had orange pretzels and lived up to her expectations. Eyes closed, she had to practically hold back a moan of pleasure. God, but there was something sinful about Baskin Robbins ice cream, she thought to herself. Suddenly she became aware of a sharply drawn breath and her eyes flew open. She turned to look at Alex and what she saw in his eyes made her freeze.
Eyes narrowed to half mast, Alex gazed at her mouth with such hunger it took her breath away. “You can tie me up any time you want.” He murmured.
Angie swallowed even as her mind went wild with pictures of Alex tied to the bed posts and the many delicious things she could do with him at her mercy. Her chest became too tight suddenly, like there wasn’t enough air to breathe.
Alex felt desire slam into him as he watched Angie lick the ice cream spoon. He’d felt an instant attraction to her the moment he’d laid eyes on her coming out of her apartment over a week ago, but he hadn’t been prepared for the heat that was now coursing through his body. He shifted on the stool, suddenly uncomfortable and forced his gaze upwards to find that he’d been caught staring. He could tell from the way her pupils were slightly dilated that she liked being watched. He looked into eyes the color of midnight and could tell she was as affected as he was. Looking around he noticed that as lovely as the apartment was, there was an obvious lack of Christmas decorations. “How come you have no Christmas stuff in here?”
Angie shrugged and pushed another spoon of ice cream into her mouth, stalling for time. She was still trying to catch her breath from what had just transpired. What
transpired anyway? She looked around her, noticing from the windows that it was getting dark outside. She’d drawn the lovely bamboo blinds that morning before she went out and hadn’t closed them yet. She turned to look at him, his face in profile and remembered his question. What could she say? That she’d run several continents just to get away from Christmas? What an irony. So she just shrugged again. “Don’t you get enough of Christmas stuff in all the malls?”
He smiled then. “It’s crazy isn’t it?” It seemed Malaysians went all out when it came to Christmas. They didn’t even let a lack of snow stop them. They created their own snow in the malls with some really sexy little elves sharing fliers to the many events that took place.
Handing him a spoon she gestured to the ice cream. “It’s melting.”
Alex took a spoon of the ice cream and as it melted on his tongue and moved to the back of his throat, he had to admit that is was damn good. He found Angie watching him with a twinkle in her eyes. “It’s divine isn’t it?”
He nodded. “I can’t believe you’re sharing this.”
“Well, you did save it from falling, which would have been such a waste.”
“I’m glad I saved it then.”
Angie caught her breath at the undertone in his voice but decided to ignore it. “Umm.” She was suddenly finding it hard to enjoy her ice cream and not for the first time, she regretted inviting Alex to share it with her, but for a totally different reason this time around. There was something really intimate about sharing a bowl of ice cream with a stranger and the tension between them was so thick you could slice through it with a knife.
“So tell me something about you that I don’t know.”
She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Are you asking for my life’s history now?”
“It would be a good place to start.”
“Hmmm, well let’s see. Okay, I’ll play, but we’ll do it this way. I’ll tell you something about me then you tell me something about you.” Angie wondered what the hell she was thinking. Well, she knew what she was thinking. She was thinking that it had been a year since she’d had sex. A year since any man had caught her interest and going by the way she could feel heat pooling in her center, she knew Alex had caught her interest. He had definitely caught her interest. Going by the look on his face as he’d watched her lick that ice cream spoon, she knew he was more than interested.
“You mean like truth or dare?”
She caught her lower lip between her teeth. Dare she? But she already knew her answer. “Sure, why not?” She shrugged, trying to appear casual.
Alex studied her for a few seconds then his mouth turned up at the edges. Standing up, he took her hands and gently pulled her till she was standing then turned towards the living area.
“What?” She squeaked but followed.
He sat on the couch and pulled her down beside him, almost touching but not quite. “If we’re going to do this then we might as well be comfortable.” He said with a grin.
What the hell, Angie thought and deciding to heed his advice, she got comfortable, folding her limbs beneath her in the lotus position. She looked at him expectantly. “Okay, you first.”
Alex glanced at her then rested his head on the sofa, hiding a smile. He couldn’t have planned this better. He’d noticed his blond neighbor as soon as she’d moved in and his attraction had been instantaneous, but she’d rebuffed every attempt he’d made to get to know her. With each day his desire for her had spiraled until he’d determined to knock on her door, forcing her to acknowledge him. Fortunately he hadn’t needed to do that, she’d invited him inside. He had no idea what her reasons were and he wasn’t really concerned. It was enough that she’d seen his desire and hadn’t run screaming.
“Hey, do you want me to go first?” she asked.
“I have the perfect question.” He replied. “Why are you in Kuala Lumpur?”
“Hmm, that’s easy. I needed a break so my mother-in-law offered me their retreat.”
Alex froze, processing what she’d just said. He felt a surge of disappointment and surprisingly, anger. “Did you say your mother-in-law?” he asked carefully.
He looked at her then and saw she was laughing at him. The extent of relief he felt took him by surprise. To hide his reaction he picked her up and dropped her on his laps and was satisfied by the startled look on her face. Good, it wouldn’t do for her to have the upper hand.