Wild Cat(4)

By: Christine Feehan

She sighed. She’d seen Elijah with a tall, thin model once, coming out of a coffee shop. The woman had blond hair and blue eyes. His arm was around her and they were laughing together. She saw him in the distance at another party her grandfather had thrown when she was sixteen, and another one at nineteen, and he’d had a different model on his arm. Tall. Thin. Beautiful. Blond. And yet again, a few years later in a magazine. Tall. Thin. Beautiful. Blond. Again. He had a type and that type was so not her. She was short and dark and totally curvy. She looked even younger than she was, not at all sophisticated. She knew when she delivered the wine, Elijah would look at her like she was a little kid, like he always did. Antonio Arnotto’s little granddaughter. Still, she was determined to go looking her best.

She chose soft, vintage faded jeans and a camisole that was pale green with satiny straps. The camisole emphasized her small rib cage and tucked-in waist. The color was great against her skin and really brought out her eyes. The only real problem was shoes. She wore heels all the time. She hesitated, looking at a pair of strappy green designer heels, her favorite paired with the camisole. She didn’t want to look as if she were trying to be his type. Still, she needed confidence and heels gave her that. She shrugged and strapped them on.

Biting her lip, she stared at her wild hair. How in the world was she going to tame all that hair? There was nothing else for it on such short notice. She swept it all back away from her face into a long ponytail. She left all jewelry off.

Looking into the mirror, she practiced. “I’m on my way to the gym and just stopped by to deliver your birthday gift from Nonno. I’m sorry it’s late, but my school didn’t let out until this week and Nonno likes me to personally deliver…” Siena groaned. That made her sound like a silly schoolgirl when she was twenty-four. “Damn it,” she whispered, and turned away from her image. She looked like a silly schoolgirl. She needed a lot more inches and a lot less curves to be the type Elijah Lospostos went for, so really, why was she bothering?

She caught up her gym bag and hurried down the stairs before she did something crazy like change her clothes again. She rushed back toward the sitting room her grandfather seemed to occupy more than ever these days, but stopped abruptly when she heard the whispered but furious conversation between her grandfather and his first-in-command. They kept their voices low, but lately she’d noticed her hearing seemed to be very acute. At the same time, her vision messed up, so that she saw in weird bands of color. Whenever that happened, she felt restless. Edgy. Need burned hot and wild between her legs.

She held the back of a chair just outside the sitting room, her grip so hard her knuckles turned white. She took in long, deep breaths, trying to regain some semblance of control. Her bones ached. Her fingers curled, and she felt that strange feral entity unfolding deep inside of her. Her skin itched, a terrible wave that refused to stop, and she swore something was pressing on her from the inside out, needing to escape. She was afraid of that something. It was wanton, hungry and in terrible need.

She put her head down and breathed more, desperate for the feeling to pass. She was very happy Paolo was nowhere near, because the sound of his voice seemed to trigger a deeper reaction in her.

“I’m telling you, Tonio, this is not a good idea. Something could go wrong.”

“You worry too much, Paolo. Always you worry. She’s young. Beautiful. His mind will be on her. Not my reserve. Not what day of the month it is. On her.”

“I don’t know why you have such an obsession with making certain you exact your revenge. You are putting not only Siena in jeopardy, but you as well. If evidence is left behind…”

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