Unhinged

By: Lois Greiman

Chapter 1


If it wasn’t for weird I’d be bored out of my mind.

—Christina McMullen, who is rarely bored





“You look well,” I said and kept my tone clipped, my wayward hands strictly to myself. I was casually dressed in cutoff jeans and a T-shirt that had seen better days.

He smiled, just a tilt of those swoon-worthy lips. “As do you,” he said, but his eyes, those burning sapphire flames, said so much more.

Heat seared my cheeks, then zipped off to less humdrum parts. But I resisted fidgeting, though I had dreamt of this moment on a hundred less . . . conscious . . . occasions. I put my hand on the countertop, making certain I was still in the here and now. The newly installed granite felt cool, smooth, and simultaneously sticky. Sure enough, I was home.

“So your business in Callatis went well?” I asked.

He shrugged. The gesture would have been oh so insignificant had he not been sans shirt. His chest, a lightly oiled work of art, was, in a word coined by a man I’d known as Thing One, spectaculent.

“Well enough.” His voice was slightly accented. He took a step toward me.

I lifted my chin to maintain eye contact. At 5’9” plus, I’m no wilting dandelion, but no part of him appeared to be droopy. His pecs were bulging, his arms corded, his chiseled face shadowed with bristly scruff.

“Rahim was satisfied?” I asked.

He stepped closer, crowding my personal space, filling my senses. He looked like a wet dream, smelled like chocolate Bundt cake. “When have I failed to satisfy?”

I ignored the steamy suggestiveness as best I could, but honest to Pete, he was shedding sexual innuendoes like a molting lovebird. “I’m glad—” I began and turned away, but he grabbed my arm, yanking me toward him.

“Admit it!” he snarled.

His grip was steely around my biceps. My heart pounded. I should never have agreed to meet him. But he was here now, up close and personal, while my cell phone, my most reliable means of obtaining help, seemed a million miles away.

“Admit what?” My voice was raspy.

“You want me.” He breathed the words into the air between us, setting it afire. “Say it.”

But I couldn’t. Didn’t dare. Too much had happened. I straightened my spine. Raised my chin. “No. You’re—”

He kissed me.

His lips seared mine, but I held strong, held steady . . . for two endless seconds, then I twisted my fingers in his hair and jumped him like a hyena on a hapless hare. He stumbled a little under my weight, then grabbed my ass, holding me astride as I wrapped my legs around his waist and dove in.

“Cut.”

His torso was hard and rippled against mine, his lips full and warm and—

“Cut!”

His heart was drubbing like a kick drum. Other parts throbbed in concert. My own answered lustily. I fumbled with his belt, but his sword—the plastic one suspended from his hips—kept impeding my progress.

“Mac,” Laney called.

“Ms. McMullen,” he murmured.

“Christina Mary McMullen!” Laney scolded, perhaps thinking that using my full name, as the Holy Name sisters had done on a thousand ill-disciplined occasions, would somehow penetrate the fog in my brain.

Sadly, it worked. I felt reality seep in like battery acid. I unsuctioned my lips, blinked, and turned my head groggily to the right.

Brainy Laney Butterfield, aka the Amazon Queen, stood ten feet away, baby to her shoulder, TV script held loosely in one hand. “That’s the end of the scene.”

Sergio, more commonly known as Morab to the viewing public, stared at me, brows raised. There might have been a little WTF in his gaze.

“That was . . . ” Laney paused, patted the baby. “An interesting interpretation.”

“Oh . . . ” I cleared my throat, carefully avoiding Sergio’s bewildered gaze. “Thank you.”

“You can probably . . . ” She sighed but resisted rolling her eyes. Laney’s kick-ass disciplined that way. “Dismount now.”

“Oh, right. Right!” I said, and yet my legs failed to comply, while my fingers, nasty little sluts that they are, remained curled in Sergio’s waistband like eagle’s claws gone rogue.

That’s when someone knocked on the door.

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