WARNING: This chapter contains sexual innuendos and references.
One week later, I’m finally enjoying a peaceful night at home. The time for obtaining the moonstone is rapidly approaching, and I’m brushing up on my knowledge of the incantation.
So when I hear a knock at the door I’m slightly agitated. It better not be Abel.
I quickly stash the book under the couch and make my way toward the door. I look through the peephole and am surprised to see Dominic on the other side, looking impossibly hot (literally with his jacket and pants). I open it and greet him with a “Hey.”
I giggle like a giddy schoolgirl, and immediately feel my cheeks turning crimson. How pathetic is that?
“What can I do for you?” I ask in an attempt to rectify my flightiness.
“I feel like a total dumbass. I’m trying to make some supper over there and I don’t have any salt. I can’t believe I don’t have one pinch of salt anywhere in that place. Do you have any? I’ll pay you back.”
“For a little salt? Please, don’t worry about paying me back. I’ll get it for you. Come on in.”
I scurry to the kitchen as I hear Dominic close the door behind him as he comes in. We’ve been talking with each other quite a bit the past few days, but this is the first time he’s ever been in my apartment. I hope it doesn’t look anything less than immaculate. Thank God I’d finally gotten time to scour the table after Abel’s disgusting encounter with it.
“So,” I inquire as I rummage through my cupboards to find the salt (contrary to popular belief, salt does not affect witches and can’t be used to ward us off), “when are you moving into your big manor? Or mansion, whatever you want to call it.”
“Well it’s not really that big, but it’s sure better than this place. No offense.”
“None taken. I’d love to get the hell out of here.”
“Well, anyway, I’m moving out in three days. This Saturday.”
I momentarily stop searching for the salt. Only three days? It seems so sudden. Dominic’s presence has been the only thing to make living here halfway tolerable.
“Did you find the salt?” His question cuts into my thoughts. I immediately resume my hunt. When I finally produce the salt, I see that Dominic is grinning at me.
“Sad to see me go, eh?” he asks.
“I didn’t say that.”
“It’s written all over your face, sheila. I warned you not to get too attached to me.”
“Yeah. You did. Sorry, it’s just sudden. You’re the best friend I have in this building, if not the whole world. I know that sounds weird, but, well, I’ve just never been very good at making friends.”
In actuality, I’ve never been good at making friends because I always had Ebony. I never needed friends, especially mortals. But obviously I leave this part out.
Dominic just shakes his head as though he can’t believe what I’m telling him. “I can’t imagine why. You’re a delightful girl, and you’re easy on the eyes, too.”
“Are you flirting with me?”
“Maybe, if that’s what y’all call it here in the city.”
“I’m just curious. And you gave me that wink the first day we met as I was going back to my room, and you said you’d come to the club I work at just to see me. I guess I want to know what’s going through your mind.”
“A lot of things you probably don’t want to know.”
“Maybe some other time. Thanks for the salt. I better be going before the dinner burns the building down.”
Dominic turns to leave, but then he faces me once more.
“Unless, of course, you’d like to join me.”
As if on cue, my stomach growls. Mortified, I manage to croak, “Sure, that sounds great.”
That’s how I end up in Dominic’s apartment, for the very first time, eating spaghetti. Funny, this guy’s Australian and British, and he loves Italian food. And he really loves salt on his spaghetti.
His apartment is identical to mine, except the floor plan is reversed and the color palette seems more neutral than cool. I think I prefer it; it feels warmer and more inviting than the cold blue tones on my living room and kitchen walls, even with Dominic’s blue furniture strewn about.
We make platonic chitchat during the meal. Dominic tells me all about growing up in Australia, during which he explains that he’s used to hot weather and what we have here in Hillridge is mild and comfortable, so that’s why he’s wearing such heavy clothes. Plus, I can’t help noticing how much more he reminds me of Crocodile Dundee with his crocodile teeth necklace. Then it’s my turn. I tell him as much as I can about my past in Cedar Grove.
I almost slip up and tell him that my sister is dead, but if he were to ever see her, I’d never be able to explain it. When we’re finished with the meal, I help with the dishes.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” Dominic suddenly asks. A plate slips out of my hands and into the water in the sink. I spin around to face him. “Excuse me?”
“I’m sorry,” Dominic replies with repentance. “That was too forward. I guess I should tell you that I’m not one to hide my feelings. I guess that’s why I winked at you that first day and said what I did.”
“So...what are you saying?”
“That I hope you’re single because I’m attracted to you.”
I raise my eyebrows in incredulity. This guy has only known me for a couple of weeks and he’s attracted to me? Why?
“Have you lost your eyesight?” he replies when I ask him this. “You’re gorgeous, smart, nice, and amusing at times.”
“You’re not fooling anyone with the whole nonchalant thing you’re trying to play up. I can tell you’re into me, at least a little bit. It’s why you’re so shy and reserved around me. You’re afraid to like me, for some reason. So you act like everything between us is strictly platonic, but I bet you’ve thought about me in bed at least twice.”
I think my jaw drops. This guy can read me like an open book, as easily as I can read my grimoire. It’s a little unnerving. But at the same time, it makes me even more fascinated with this wonder from Down Under.
My mind inadvertently shifts to what might actually be “down under” where his pants are concerned...
I know I should leave. I should just tell Dominic goodbye and walk away. But I can’t. Something greater than magic is binding me here. I don’t know what it is, and I’m not entirely sure that I welcome it.
But that’s only half of the hold. The other is pure, unadulterated lust for this enigmatic man that’s puzzled me since he moved in across the hall. And I’m powerless (pardon the pun) to ignore it.
This is one thing that doesn’t require a magic spell.
“So, is that a yes?” Dominic snaps me out of my reverie, wanting to know if his suspicion of my bedtime activities is genuine. He’s now straddling the couch and I’ve inadvertently made my way toward him so that I’m still looking straight at his flawless face.
“Um...” is all I can muster.
“That’s what I thought. But you didn’t answer my question.”
“No, I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“That’s the best news I’ve heard all day. And don’t worry about whatever thoughts you may have had about me; I’m not innocent, either. You may not even want to know what I’m thinking right now.”
“Oh, I think I do, just like I did back in my own apartment. Tell me.”
“I’m thinking of bending you over the counter.”
I reach up and brush my hair back awkwardly. This isn’t what I expected to hear. But I can’t deny the familiar throbbing between my thighs. The familiar pounding of undeniable arousal.
“I can tell you’re getting turned on,” he continues in a teasing drawl. He’s obviously enjoying this. “Come over here.”
“Don’t tell me no. I’m not the kind of guy who hears no.”
With that, he takes two long strides toward me and presses me against the counter, my head lightly bumping the overhead cabinet. With his arms on either side of me, I feel like I’m encased in steel, but still protected. My heart hammers against my sternum as he gazes tenderly into my eyes, but only for a moment. Dominic’s eyes take on a different form, one of nothing more than hungry passion and desire.
And I have no desire to stop him as he cups his hand around my breast, grips my hair with his other hand, and covers my mouth with his.