by Courtney Cole
Expected Pub: September 16, 2012 by Lakehouse Press
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Luca crosses the room in three strides and pours two glasses of what looks to be Scotch. He walks back and hands me a glass. I can practically feel the power emanating from him. He’s the type of person who has been born into it. It has been cultivated in him from the time he was an infant and it shows. Power and money are in every molecular strand in his body.
“To sanity,” Luca says, tipping his glass toward mine. And then he downs his in one gulp.
I take a tentative sip and realize quickly that I was correct. It’s Scotch. Neat. Without one ounce of tonic or even an ice cube to dilute it. It burns my mouth and warms my chest as it slides smoothly down. But for some reason, I don’t want him to know that it makes me want to gag and cough. I want to seem unfazed, so I drink the rest in two gulps and hand Luca back the empty glass.
It is worth my numb lips because there is approval in his eyes as he takes it.
“Aren’t you going to ask?” he says as he sets the glasses down on a heavy wooden side table. He is still staring at me and his gaze makes me feel like my skin will be ablaze soon.
“Ask what?” I feel slightly woozy from the Scotch. And to be honest, I’m also woozy from being so near to Luca Minaldi. For several different reasons, he has an interesting effect on me.
“Wouldn’t you like to ask me if you’re safe here with me?”
I look at him, remembering his mother’s startling words. My son is evil.
“Am I?” I ask and my voice is barely a murmur.
Luca’s voice is quiet in the study, as dark as the night surrounding us, and I suddenly feel like I should run, somewhere far away from here. But at the same time, I know that I won’t. I am ridiculously drawn to this man and the more I find out about him, the more I want to know. So I shake my head.
“I’m not afraid.”
Luca looks at me again and I don’t see one ounce of the vulnerability that I have seen there before. Instead, he is expressionless once more and darkly handsome.
“Well, that’s the rub,” he answers. “You should be.”