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Destined for the Dom(7)

By:Jan Bowles

“Three hundred bucks, why?”

“Three hundred bucks, huh. Why don’t I give you the money? That way you can leave right now.”

Chapter Three

One hour later

The past hour had taken on a surreal quality. Feigning a severe attack of food poisoning, Zoë had made her excuses to Jocelyn, and then met Hunter outside the club. As they’d walked down the street to call a cab, his hand had clasped protectively around hers. Even though they’d both changed enormously in the intervening fourteen years, it felt like the most natural thing in the world to squeeze his hand back. She knew as well as he that they shared a connection that went way back to their respective childhoods. They’d experienced the same happiness, and they’d dealt with the same shit.

When they finally arrived at her apartment, Zoë turned the key and unlocked the door. Funny, an hour ago it seemed a good idea to bring Hunter back, but now she felt self-conscious of her humble apartment. She flicked on a light and pushed the door wide open. The cold, charmless room looked uninviting and a little forbidding. Why the hell didn’t I choose somewhere else to take him? What’s wrong with a cup of coffee in some anonymous place?

Well, she’d have to make the best of it now. This was Hunter after all. No need to stand on ceremony. Steeling herself, she stated lightheartedly, “Welcome to my little palace.” She pointed to the old battered sofa in the corner of the room. “Take a seat. Make yourself at home. I’ll fix you a drink. What would you like?”

“Just a coffee,” he answered gruffly, as he stalked across the worn carpet. She could tell he didn’t approve of where she lived. His face was deadpan as he scanned the meager contents of her home.

Zoë put the coffeepot on the stove and then shrugged off her coat. It was only when she threw it over the nearest chair that she remembered what little she had on underneath. A surreptitious glance in Hunter’s direction confirmed her suspicion. He may not be impressed by her home, but he was certainly taking an interest in her. A warm feeling spread to her pussy at the look of sexual desire in his eyes. Hunter may have kept his distance for fourteen years, but she couldn’t deny their physical attraction to one another now. What had been a girlish crush looked like it could develop into something far more grown-up, if she allowed it to.

Fuck, the last time I saw this guy, he was a gangly eighteen-year-old kid. And I was an innocent sixteen-year-old girl. Now Hunter Black is six foot three and two hundred pounds of sinew and muscle. He’s really gorgeous, girl, but make sure you keep your distance. He’ll be gone in a few hours, and most likely you’ll never set eyes on him again.

Aware of his closeness, she said, “I’d better get changed.” She hurried to the bedroom, away from his almost overpowering presence.

Five minutes, and a few deep, relaxing breaths later, she returned to the main living area. Hunter seemed in complete control as he poured hot coffee into two large mugs. He smiled, and nodded appreciatively, as he studied her new outfit. “You’d look a knockout in anything, Peaches, but it’s a real shame you’ve decided to change into jeans and a sweater.” He sighed deeply. “It’s probably for the best though. It’s hard for a man to think straight when you’re hardly wearing any clothes.”

Zoë took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Hunter was so matter-of-fact, yet very sexy with it. He made her pussy moisten.

“Where’s your TV, Peaches?” He pointed to the empty space.

“The debt collectors took it away.”

His brows drew together. “How come? You girls make a decent amount of money at the club.”

Zoë folded her arms defensively across her chest. “My boyfriend.” She quickly corrected herself. “I mean my ex-boyfriend”—her words were spat out with undiluted venom—“owed a lot of money to some very undesirable people. He had a habit, a drug habit. When I kicked him out, he emptied my bank account. At one time I thought we were gonna get married, so I gave him my pin number. I trusted the bastard, and he took the lot. Thirty thousand dollars. It was money I’d saved from dancing at Les Belles. Goddamn, I’d been saving for years, too. We were gonna buy a house somewhere nice together. The hope of a better life was the only thing that made working at that Godforsaken club worthwhile.”

Hunter just stared at her, and she knew he was assessing the situation. Before he could say anything, she added bitterly, “I don’t need help from anyone. I can manage my own life.”

“Like hell, you can.” His voice was deep and uncompromising. “Some lowlife junkie piece of shit takes you for every cent you have, and you think you can look after yourself. Well I don’t think you can.” He looked around her crummy apartment. “A woman like you shouldn’t have to live like this.”