Home > Her Unexpected Admirer (The Alfieri Saga #4)(4)

Her Unexpected Admirer (The Alfieri Saga #4)(4)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Perhaps she was exaggerating a little, but she didn’t care. Diving for the staircase, she slammed through the door way and ran down the stairs. When she’d reached the tenth floor, she took off her heels, wanting to get out of the building faster.

She finally reached the street level and rushed through the door, taking in deep gulps of air as she leaned against the side of the building. She didn’t even care that the air was filled with exhaust from the cars racing past as they hurried home to their families. The air particles weren’t filled with numbers; that was all that mattered.

She walked down the street, intending to walk the ten blocks to her tiny apartment. But more importantly, she was just going to revel in her escape and feel the air around her that wasn’t closed in by walls or re-circulated air.

It was cold outside, with winter just around the corner. She’d forgotten her coat but it didn’t matter. She was outside and not staring at a computer screen. Kate took several more deep breaths, letting the other pedestrians move around her as they hurried to their homes or next destination.

As she passed by one of the hotels, she heard soft jazz playing from a piano. The sound didn’t actually strike her so much as wrap around her, slow her down and soothe the frayed nerves that had become frazzled by her father’s rant.

Stopping in front of the hotel, she looked inside, trying to find the source of the music. But all she saw was the elegant lobby and people milling about efficiently. It was one of the best hotels in Boston and she stared up at the sophisticated logo, wondering what it was like inside. While her mind sifted through images, her body almost swayed to the jazzy music, humming along and letting the stress of the day flow out of her. Softly, ever so slowly, the moody music released the tension from her father’s harsh words and her most recent failure in his eyes.

“Would you like to go inside, ma’am?” the doorman asked kindly, looking at her with a fatherly smile.

Her first reaction was to shake her head. Most months, she had to scrimp to pay the rent on her tiny, cramped studio apartment. But then she remembered the big check from her paintings. A smile slowly formed on her face. She wasn’t aware of the doorman’s gasp as her smile transformed her features. Despite her ignorance of the fact, she was a strikingly beautiful woman. Her dark brown hair was tied up in a professional looking knot on the back of her head which only emphasized the high cheekbones and the elegant line of her jaw. Her eyes were a startling color of light blue that sometimes seemed almost magical, especially against her thick, black lashes. They were the eyes that one would see on a witch, her father had mentioned on several occasions, and not in a complimentary tone. So she had no idea that men stopped to watch her on the street and women raced to the makeup counters, demanding to find makeup tricks to help them achieve her look.

But when she smiled, there was something almost ethereal about her. She was so slender and her bone structure so delicate, but a smile showed the world that there was much more to her. There was a grace and shyness that was obliterated by her exotic smile that told the world that she had secrets. Secrets everyone wanted to discover.

Kate looked up again, closing her eyes and absorbing the music. “Yes,” she said with a sigh. “I think a glass of something special would be a perfect end to a perfectly horrible day.”

The doorman, normally very efficient and gracious with the hotel guests, stumbled as she approached. He found his footing quickly enough, but blushed when she smiled her thanks a moment before she slipped through the doorway.

Inside, Kate stood very still, her mind and shoulders releasing more of the tension from the day as the sound of the music increased, surrounding her. She didn’t realize it, but she was now swaying to the music, leaning in to the sound and letting it flow around her and through her. She closed her eyes, letting her mind picture the sounds on a canvas. How could she capture the rhythm? How could she demonstrate the soothing feeling of the music with paint and color? Or what items could she attach to her canvas and paint around that would “speak” the sounds to the viewer? It was a new challenge, one her fingers were itching to try and capture.

She almost danced over to the bar, and perched on a stool, not looking at the piano player, not wanting the music to be personified just yet. She’d give credit to the artist, but she wanted to just live in the sound for a few more minutes.

She was also unaware of the dark blue eyes watching her from the corner of the room. Nor was she aware of the smoldering intent in those eyes.

“Can I get you something to drink?” the bartender asked as he polished the already shining wood bar in front of her.

Kate opened her eyes, startled to see the bartender leaning over the counter, but she admonished herself for that surprise. She was in a bar, of course a bartender would approach her. “Oh, goodness,” she responded, laughing at how ridiculous she looked. But then the prospect of a decadent treat hit her and she bit her lower lip in excitement, her eyes sparkling and she didn’t see the startled expression on the bartender’s face as he took in the change in her beautiful features. “My yes, I’d like the most exotic and crazy drink you could give me,” she said, barely able to sit still on the bar chair.

She hadn’t seen the eyes watching her entrance, nor did she see those same eyes watching her bottom wiggle on the chair. The smoldering intent changed slightly, becoming more intense as Davis thought about his hands on her very round, very sexy bottom.

The bartender smiled, thrilled to not have to pour another white wine or tedious blend of scotch. “You got it,” he said with enthusiasm. “I’ll be right back.”

Kate smiled gratefully to him, then closed her eyes once more, letting the music transform her day.

“Here you go,” he said a few moments later, and placed a pink martini in front of her. “If you don’t like it, no charge.”

She laughed, delighted with the frilly drink. “What is it?” she asked in almost a whisper.

He winked at her. “Try it first. See if you can figure it out.”

Davis watched in fascination as the enchanting woman lifted the disgusting looking drink to her rose bud lips, his body tightening in response. Was she doing that on purpose? Did she have any idea how erotic that looked?

Ten minutes ago, when she’d first walked in, he would have said no. She’d looked too innocent, too delighted to be one of the hard core, professional women who frequented this bar. If it weren’t for her horrible suit that was two sizes too large and those hideous black pumps with the matronly one inch, thick heel, he might even suspect she was a prostitute. She had that sexy look about her, but the suit and the shoes…no. A professional would be wearing stilettos and a tight, figure hugging suit. A professional wouldn’t be caught dead in suit like this woman had donned. It also looked cheap, wrinkled. Almost like she’d slept in it.

But her eyes! They were astonishing. And her cheekbones? He knew fashion models who had pulled their back teeth to make their cheekbones look like that. But not having back teeth didn’t seem to be this woman’s problem. A lack of molars made it hard to chew and this woman munched on a pretzel, obviously not having any trouble with the hard treat.

What the hell was she drinking? The bartender seemed to be pretty proud of whatever the pink concoction was but Davis wouldn’t be caught dead drinking such a thing.

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