Xenakis's Convenient Bride

By: Dani Collins



He was being sarcastic, but his voice hit a velvety note with that last couple of words, causing a clench of heat in her. Her mind filled with imaginings she didn’t even want to acknowledge. Take me. She maneuvered the scooter out of its spot with a practiced wangle, started it and balanced it between her legs.

He took up twice the space Ophelia did and wasn’t shy about setting his hands on her hips. He guided her backside into a snug fit between his thighs.

She tried to stiffen and hold herself forward, but that only arched her tailbone into his groin. There was no escaping the surrounding heat off his bare, damp chest or rock-hard thighs shoved up against the outsides of hers. She wore shorts and a T-back sports cami. It was a lot of skin grazing skin. He let his hands fall to the tops of her legs, fingertips digging lightly into the crease at her hips.

She stopped breathing, held by an electrical current that stimulated all her pleasure points.

His growing beard of stubble scraped her bare shoulder and his breath heated the sensitive skin where her neck met her collarbone. “Shouldn’t you be speeding off to save my life?”

“I’m seriously debating whether it’s worth saving.”

He hitched forward, jamming her buttocks even tighter into the notch of his spread legs.

She took off in a small act of desperation, glad for the muffle of the helmet and the buzz of the motor so she didn’t hear his laugh, even though she felt it.

Honestly.

She sensed him turning his head this way and that as she took the shortcut over the top of the island, through the area with the very best views, between the extravagant mansions that dominated the peak of the hill. Then, as they came down the other side and the road wound toward the coast, the horizon appeared as a stark line between two shades of blue. They descended to where the land fell away in a steep cliff.

On the mountainside above them, stone fences kept sheep in their fields and hopefully off the roads. She kept her speed down just in case. The scent of blossoms in the lemon groves filled the morning air and she couldn’t help relax as the cool breeze stroked over her skin.

His thumbs moved on her and she grew tense in a different way. Tingles of anticipation raced up her rib cage, longing for his touch to rise and soothe, cup her aching breasts and draw her back into him more fully.

How did she even know what that would feel like enough to want it? Her sexuality had been flash frozen before it had had time to properly bloom. She didn’t want to want a man’s touch. It was self-destructive madness.

Descending the hairpin turns rocked her against him, driving her mad. She had come this way because it was quicker, but she usually avoided this route into the port town. It wasn’t the once-daily ferry traffic and swarm of fresh tourists that bothered her. This part of the island actually had the best beaches and the better shopping. Ophelia begged to come here and there were a handful of really great restaurants.

Unfortunately, this route took her directly past a kafenion where local men sat and watched the world go by. Her father was often among them and she braced herself as they approached, refusing to look, keeping her nose pointed forward as she passed.

Not that he would acknowledge her, especially with a man behind her. He would ignore her completely, exactly as she would ignore him. She just preferred not to set herself up for that blaze of layered pain.

They hit the melee of the village streets and she was glad they had the scooter. It allowed her to zigzag around traffic snarls and down narrow alleys, coming in the back way to the clinic where she parked next to staff cars.

“Who is Ophelia?” he asked as they dismounted.

“How—?” She followed his nod at the helmet she’d hung off the handlebars. “I forgot that was there.” She rubbed the small, faded words she’d written across the back of her helmet shortly after Takis had bought the scooter. Ophelia, stop that.

Calli was only nine years older than the girl and didn’t have any siblings. In a lot of ways, Ophelia felt like a little sister to her. In others, Calli’s feelings went much deeper, more maternal. She adored the girl and was going to miss her terribly, even though Ophelia could be a complete brat at times.

“She’s Takis’s daughter. I look after her. Takis travels a lot, but she just turned fourteen and has convinced him to send her to boarding school. She’s with her grandparents, shopping for everything she’ll need. She outgrew this island long ago.”

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