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LATENT LOVE


Short Fantasy Romance





K.M.Liss

COPYRIGHT



Copyright © 2017 by K.M. Liss

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.


Acknowledgements

Love and thanks to my family and friends, for believing in me and encouraging me to write my little heart out.


Katrina Liss Series

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Latent Love

I left Angel’s side for a moment and made my way to the party buffet. As I stood there trying to decide which of the delicious canapés to pop in my mouth, something cool and sensual ran down my bare back. It felt like someone’s finger was stroking my spine. I shivered in response and whirled round, but no one stood behind me, or near enough to touch me.

Well, that was kind of weird, I thought, shrugging in confusion. Faced with no alternative I put the strange sensation down to a draft or someone walking over my grave.

And that was when I first noticed him – the dark stranger lounging against the wall on the other side of the room. The guy was checking me out – very thoroughly.

I locked my gaze with his coolly assessing eyes.

A dark eyebrow rose, almost imperceptibly, challenging me to respond.

Although I knew I should probably play hard to get, or at east try to look a bit coy, after a large glass of wine it seemed a rather pointless game to play. And the drink had made me bold enough to make the first move.

With my head held high, I strode up to the impossibly handsome owner of the most gorgeous eyes I’d ever seen. He was real hot stuff — dreamy hot. This man was all my male fantasies rolled into one (and then some). His body was muscular but not too bulky, and he was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome and blessed with the most amazing chiseled features. His style of dress was spot on – well he hit my spot anyway - with an understated but expensive look. The snowy white shirt and charcoal pants he wore fitted him like a glove. A gold watch glinted at his wrist and I could almost sense the Hugo Boss hanging in the air around him. As I closed the space between us I couldn’t fail to notice that other women at the party were throwing daggers at me.

Tough luck girls. He was looking at me, not you.

I did find it a little odd though, that he was looking at me. Without rating myself down too much, I knew I wasn’t the most attractive woman in the room, so why did he choose me? True, I had some charm and appeal and my eyes had often attracted compliments in the past. But otherwise, I was a little too slim and a little too tall and my dead straight red hair was a little too carrot and limp for me to be described as anything approaching ‘beautiful’. Unlike my glamorous friend Angel who definitely deserved that title. Angel had the perfect curves, which she knew how to use to the best advantage, and her long, silky blonde waves and stunning azure eyes were showstoppers. Men were attracted to her like proverbial bees to a honey-pot. I naturally thought this stranger would make a beeline for her. I was so used to being in her shadow I never expected to get much attention when she was around. But there she was, looking as stunning as ever, holding court with her dazzling white smile and this guy hadn’t made a move on her. Buoyed with that thought, and my liquid confidence, I pushed my pathetic insecurities aside.

“Hi, do I know you?” I said.

That sounded so lame and unoriginal. But he didn’t roll his eyes or seem unimpressed by my pathetic attempt to chat him up.

“No, but we can change that pretty quickly,” he said with a grin, and it was such a confident, warm and infectious smile, I instantly dropped my usual guard and grinned back.

“Can we now…”

“Well I’m up for it. How about you?”

I took a sip of wine. “That rather depends,” I murmured playfully, gazing at him over the top of my large glass of red.

“On what exactly?”

“Ooo… where do I start?” I placed my finger to my smiling lips, “Your mental health, emotional baggage, crazy exes, number of kids, your career prospects… and oh… your bank balance. Mustn’t forget that very important factor.” I couldn’t help the naughty giggle which escaped.

He laughed briefly, seeming to enjoy my sense of humor.

“You forgot the size of my cock,” His eyes flared sexily, competing with the hot grin.

My eyes widened with surprise and I swallowed the groan of desire which suddenly bubbled up. He was certainly direct. And actually, I loved that in a man. Someone who wasn’t afraid to speak what was on his dirty mind turned me on big-time. But I didn’t want to seem too eager and obvious and remained lady-like in my response. “Some things I’d prefer to discover later. It’s nice to have some big surprises pop up, don’t you think?”

He chucked at my unsubtle innuendo. “What makes you think it’d be a big surprise? You could be highly disappointed. Then the rest of your important man checklist wouldn’t really matter much, would it?”

“I’m sure you wouldn’t have mentioned it if you weren’t content with your size. Anyway, I believe that it’s technique that matters most.”

“Really? So which technique turns you on?” he asked, inching closer and leaning toward me.

“Umm … well…”

He cocked an eyebrow.

“C’mon, enlighten me. I’m dying to know.”

I knew he had trapped me with my own words. I’d walked straight into a tight corner and couldn’t get out. A ferocious blush crept up my neck. Being a redhead I blushed fast and much too often for my liking. I could never hope to hide my embarrassment. I scrambled for a get-out becoming highly flustered. “Err… that’s something I’d prefer to discuss with someone I knew a bit longer than I’ve known you. Which brings me to ask, what’s your name, Mr… umm?”

His grey eyes glinted mischievously as he held out his hand.

Trying to appear calm and collected I took it hoping my hand wasn’t perspiring too badly.

“Daniel Carlton - call me Dan,” he introduced himself as he squeezed my hand, shaking it gently. I’d shaken a lot of male hands in my career, but never had I received a jolt of electricity shooting up my arm as a result. Once I’d got over the initial shock, I sank into the tingling sensation. His was the most sensual and arousing of touches and it took my breath away. “And you are…?” he prompted, shaking me out of my glassy eyed stare.

“Carella Bradley... but everyone calls me Carrie,” I replied. His hand still held mine as he gazed deeply into my eyes. I didn’t want to let him go. He felt so familiar in a sense I couldn’t describe - definitely someone I wanted to keep good hold of - to keep close.

What was the matter with me? I chided myself for being an idiot. I didn’t know this man at all.

Finally he released my hand and rubbed his lightly stubbled chin. “Carrie Bradley, huh? Kind of ‘Sex in the City’ isn’t it?”

This hadn’t been the first time someone had remarked on this. “Sadly for me I don’t write a sex column for a newspaper, I work in real estate management.”

“I’m sure you’d do a great job – whatever your profession.” He tilted his head to one side and I noticed the way his irises glimmered like liquid quicksilver in the subtle lights of the room. They were such unusual eyes, I was fascinated.

“Oh yeah, I’m very capable. And adaptable too,” I replied without much modesty. For all I knew this could be a future employer or client. It wouldn’t pay to sell myself short.

His glance tumbled down me like a waterfall of sex, soaking my slender curves with desire. I was stunned. I don’t think anyone had ever looked at me like that before. It was as if he wanted to devour each and every part of me — like I was a royal banquet on a silver platter.

My chest heaved with my accelerated breathing. I was almost hyperventilating.

What the hell….!?!

This kind of reaction was not me. But then again, I’d never had a stunner like him eye-fuck me before.

I cleared my clogged throat in as feminine a manner as I was able. “So what do you do for a living, Dan?” I murmured, trying to break out of the sexual stranglehold he had on me.

His eyes returned to mine, assuming a more gentlemanly approach. “It’s not so much a living, as a vocation. I’m a humanitarian and a career philanthropist.”

“Oh really? I’ve never met one of those before. What does that involve exactly? Is it a lot of charity work or what?”

“I'm not permitted to explain any further.”

“Why not?”

“Because.”

The sexy grey eyes seemed to ice over, becoming a frosty steel. I found the change from overtly sexual to cold and unyielding rather disconcerting.

“Ah, I think I understand,” I replied quietly. I touched my nose in the gesture of secrecy. “NDAs and all that legal business. Say no more.” I smiled, trying to elicit a smile in return. But none was forthcoming.

He nipped his lower lip between his teeth. “I have no written contract – it’s just something I have to observe - a code of conduct in my field of work.”

“How mysterious you are, Dan! Is it a deliberate ploy to get my undivided attention?”

“As I already had your undivided attention, the moment you saw me, my line of work is irrelevant, wouldn’t you say?”

What ----!?!

Was that meant to be humorous? Somehow I didn’t think so, because his eyes were still cold and no smile was evident.

“Mysterious and a little arrogant…” I replied nervously.

“Not arrogant, just honest…. Look Carrie, let’s dispense with the small talk, I’d like you to come outside with me, there’s something very special I wish to show you.”

Jeez, what a quick worker!

Although in one sense I wanted to, I wasn’t so sure that going outside with him was such a good idea. He unnerved me. I couldn’t read him very well and felt unsure of his motives. People who changed their mood over seemingly nothing at all, made me feel uncomfortable. He was unpredictable – a chameleon – and that coupled with the blinding good looks made a lethal and scary combination. It was as if he could act however he liked, force through my personal boundaries, be downright rude if he chose to be and I would be still be captivated, hanging onto every word he said.

And I didn’t trust myself to behave at all.

Going outside with him could be a bad call. But on the other hand… it could be very interesting… and I’d really like to see whatever it was he wanted to show me.

I opened my mouth to reply, unsure whether an acceptance or refusal was going to emerge.

Just then I felt a tug on my arm and I turned to find Angel at my side.

“We’re going now. Want to come clubbing for a few hours?” I glanced at the three adoring guys who stood waiting behind her – Sam, Neil and Jake. Sam was from our office and had brought Angel and myself in his car, the other two we’d met here tonight and were new recruits to the Angel entourage.

“Ummm…” I hesitated and looked at my watch. I had to admit, going clubbing at nine thirty on a Thursday night, with an important meeting first thing the next morning, didn’t appeal at all.

“So… you two coming, or…?”

Her bright blue eyes darted between Daniel and me expectantly. I could tell she really wanted him to tag along - with her. She probably had designs on him already, and I really couldn’t blame her. Specimens of manhood like him were rare. As far as Angel was concerned, all men were hers for the taking. Usually.

“Carrie’s coming out with me,” Dan interrupted, answering on my behalf.

I glared at him for being so presumptuous and rude.

“Being an adult, I like to make my own decisions, actually,” I replied tartly.

“Not always the best decisions though,” he replied cryptically.

I was getting a little riled up now. “Excuse me? It’s my life and I can do what I like with it!” I pointed out, snappily.

“Carrie, if you please…?” he murmured with a touch on my bare arm. “In this particular instance, it’s something very important I want to show you. So say goodnight to your friend here, will you?”

I didn’t want to go to the damn club anyway, so it was no hardship to stay. But I resented his controlling manner.

Begrudgingly, I capitulated, turning to Angel with a forced smile.

“It’s okay Angel, you go. I’m going to hang out with Dan for a while.”

“You sure about that?” she replied, a slight frown creasing her brow. I could sense she wasn’t at all sure of the state of play between Daniel and I. But then again, neither was I.

“Absolutely. I’m a bit too tired for clubbing to be honest. Go enjoy yourself with the guys. I’ll see you at work tomorrow,” I assured her, kissing her cheek affectionately. “Don’t get too drunk though,” I whispered in her ear. Despite being a deliberate man-magnet, which could be damned annoying at times, she was on the whole a good friend.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be good. You two have fun too…” Angel said, licking her scarlet lips, tossing her sleek and glossy hair over her shoulder, and flirting wildly with Daniel. “Night Carrie, and goodnight … Dan…” she cooed in a sultry voice.

“Goodnight Angel. Pleased to meet you,” he replied coolly, poker faced. The fact he didn’t seem captivated at all by her beauty and sensuality must have confused the hell out of her. But I was beginning to understand Daniel was no average guy. The strange expression on Angel’s face was so hilarious that I had to suppress a wild giggle.

Finally she turned and wiggled off, over-emphasizing her notorious hip-sway.

I turned back to him. “You have fifteen minutes to show me your great wonder, after which I’m going home. I’m dog-tired - it’s been a one horrendously long day.”

“That’s ample time. And I’ll drop you at your place after.”

“No need. I’ll call a cab. It’s probably out of your way anyhow.”

“Carson Village, isn’t it? That’s no problem.”

What the…?

I blew out a slow breath and tried to keep calm at his intrusion into my privacy.

“How d’you know where I live?” I asked levelly, as I straightened to full height, placing my hands on my hips and eying him suspiciously.

“I found out a few things about you earlier,” he replied vaguely.

“Oh, so you’re a stalker as well.”

“The ultimate stalker,” he chuckled and his eyes wandered all over my face. I could have sworn I felt his lips on me, kissing me. Maybe it was the effects of wine on an almost empty stomach, but that felt so very real. I put the glass down, looking at the contents warily. Had he slipped something in it?

No, he couldn’t have.

He lifted his hand and picked up a strand of my hair.

“Unusual color.”

“Not unusual - plain old ginger,” I said with a sweet smile. I’d been used to jokes about my hair color all my life. I tended to mock myself out of habit.

“There’s nothing at all plain about red hair. It’s stunning. The colors running through it are like a living flame.” I stared at him as he curled my strand of hair round and round his finger until his fingertip brushed my jaw. “So full of passion and raw energy.” He leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “Just looking at you burns my soul.”

“Um… err… thank you.” A shiver of delight coursed down my spine. What redhead wouldn’t love to hear a compliment like that? Whether he truly meant it or not, I didn’t care, because that was pure poetry.

True, I found Daniel’s manner of speech to be over the top, but that just added to his appeal. Who the hell was he exactly? Someone here had to know some juicy details about this guy. I’d have to do a little investigation with our party hosts, Charlotte and Richard. I was dying to find out how this mysterious philanthropist fitted in with the world of LA real estate development.

“Do you have some things to pick up before we go?” he asked politely.

“Yep, just a sec.” I left his side to collect my silky evening jacket and my purse. I took a deep breath as I returned, wondering what the hell I was doing with this guy. He was obviously way out of my league; like he’d just dropped in from billionaire world.

But I couldn’t help it – I was very attracted to his confidence and his good looks, and who wouldn’t be? But it wasn’t just animal magnetism – for he had something truly mysterious and other worldly about him which I wanted to uncover. I simply had to know more.

The words curiosity killed the cat popped into my head but my raging curiosity knocked them out of the park instantly.

We said our goodnight and thank you to Charlotte and Richard Hill. Daniel and Richard seemed to be well acquainted which helped ease my sense of wariness. Although I hadn’t known Richard for very long, he seemed the kind, considerate and trustworthy type. I hoped that by association, Daniel was of a similar nature. I kept an ear half-cocked as they spoke of Richard’s family and his current business ventures for a few moments, while I complimented Charlotte on her wonderful launch party. The company I worked for, Medicci Real Estate were marketing the latest Hill-Top condos. It was a real scoop for us, as the deal consisted of two hundred luxury apartments. That was no spare change in terms of commission. I was hoping I might earn myself a small share of the pot, at least enough to replace my old car which was about to give up and die soon.

After our farewells Daniel guided me out of the penthouse door to the elevator lobby. He pressed the button to summon the elevator and leaned against the wall, briefly checking his cell-phone and then popping it back in his pants pocket.

“You know Richard quite well then?” I probed.

“We met at a charity gala a few years ago. Played golf a few times since. Even got drunk together once. He’s one of the good guys in the business world.”

“Yeah, I like him too. The Hills are a lovely couple. Their wealth hasn’t spoilt them at all.”

“Having a lot of money can be a blessing, if you know how to use it wisely,” he said, a smile ghosting across his lips.

“Really? Well I for one wouldn’t know about that. But Dan, I’m very intrigued - about you, and what you do, and especially what you’re going to show me.”

“I know.”

“You know what I’m thinking, do you?” I replied sarcastically.

“Pretty much,” he replied cockily.

“That must be a very useful skill - mind reading. Can I ask you something, Dan?”

“Of course.”

“Why me? What caught your attention? Besides my shocking red hair of course…”

“My reasons are my reasons.”

“There you go, Mr Mysterious again. You said I could ask you a question.”

“Asking a question doesn’t guarantee an answer.”

Just then the elevator arrived and I was ushered in with a firm hand at my back. His cool fingers caressed my warm skin and caused my heart to race. I wanted his hands on me badly, it would seem.

Once inside, he turned me round quickly, his eyes blazing into mine. And what I could see was pure want. I wasn’t that experienced in seduction techniques but I knew enough to realize what was on the cards. My lack of dates over the last year had me eagerly anticipating some intimate contact with this gorgeous hunk. He angled me into the corner of the elevator, and his arms wrapped loosely around my waist. He smelled fantastic – a heady mixture of every male scent I adored, somehow manufactured into the one.

“Mmm, you smell so good. It seems familiar but I can’t put a name to it.”

He seemed delighted I had complimented him.

“Versace; my favorite.”

But he could have said horse shit and I’d still be drooling.

I gazed up at him expectantly as I waited for his lips to devour mine. I fully expected a controlling kiss; to be firmly dominated; but he surprised me with a soft and warm caress. His barely there brush of lips disarmed me completely. I sighed and leaned into him inviting more contact and pressure.

“I guess you want me?” he breathed, his mouth hovering close to mine.

“Yes,” I sighed, not trusting him an inch, but incomprehensibly willing to take the leap.

“You want to see what I’m made of? What techniques I have?” His head moved to the side and warm breath fanned my neck. He nipped my earlobe with his teeth and I groaned, my female parts responding with a heated flush of arousal.

“Oh God,” I gasped as I melted with the rush of desire.

As his mouth took mine, I started to lose connection to the world. Reality faded as I floated away to another place where a soft cloud of sensuality surrounded me. The heat that surged through me was like a firestorm. I was astounded. I had never experienced that strength of reaction to someone before. It was as if he’d pressed a special button I never knew I had.

“You’re so beautiful – completely irresistible,” he murmured against my mouth, cupping my backside with both hands and pulling our hips close. I was both thrilled and surprised. To think that I, Carrie Bradley, could make someone experienced and worldly wise like Daniel feel that way. “You’re like a drug,” he said, capturing my chin in his hand. He tipped my face up and forced me to stare at him. As our eyes locked something fused between us. I had no idea what it was but it was such a profound feeling it took my breath away.

“What’s happening?” I asked in state of confusion.

“Whatever you want, baby.” His lips travelled round my face, brushing over my sensitive pressure points. I closed my eyes and indulged in a wild fantasy about him making love to me there and then, in the elevator. I was burning up, about to combust with desire. “God, I love your energy. I want it… no… I need it.”

“Then take it,” I said without thinking too deeply as to what type of energy he could be referring to.

Nothing seemed to matter but what I felt. I was in a state of sexual rapture, like I’d been overdosed with Viagra. How I wanted him. All of him. Right now. The urge to have him overwhelmed me. I needed to possess his body to run my hands over him, to taste his bare skin. All of it.

I began to tug insistently at his shirt, trying to get my hands on the skin beneath.

“Not here,” he breathed against my mouth, stilling my hands with his. “First let me show you my world. Then we can make love for hours - maybe all night.” My eyes opened wide with desire and excitement. “That’s what you want, isn’t it? For me to fuck you completely senseless?”

I was now breathing heavily, thrilled and shocked at his bluntness. I wanted to say yes, because that was what I wanted, but that one little word wouldn’t come out. It was obvious to us both what I wanted, but still I felt tarty and easy admitting it after the short time I’d known him. I looked down and bit my lip, trying to think of something witty or clever to smooth the awkward moment. “Aww, why so insecure and shy? It’s kind of sweet though.” He held my hands and drew away to look at me. “Look, whatever you want, it’s your choice entirely, Carrie. I’m not going to coerce you into sleeping with me… so you can relax, okay?”

“Sure. Let’s see how it goes shall we?” I replied, trying to cool off but leave my options open. My hormones were screaming at me to jump on him, but something deeper inside me was telling me to back off, to find out more about him first.

The elevator landed smoothly with a ping and the door swept open to reveal a mature, smartly-dressed woman waiting, a tiny Chihuahua with a pink bow round its neck nestling in the crook of her arm.

“Evening ma’am, what a beautiful little girl you have there,” Daniel said in a charming tone of voice, smiling at her. He stroked the little dog between the ears with his long forefinger. That was when I spotted the diamond ring on his wedding finger.

I had rules and standards. I wasn’t a marriage wrecker. I needed to find out about that before things went any further.

The woman thanked him profusely, blushing like a beetroot and seemed completely overwhelmed. Even the little dog looked overcome, closing its eyes dreamily.

I saw him smile to himself secretly. I was pretty sure he enjoyed his effect on women, of any age; canine breeds included.

“Are you married?” I asked him directly.

“I was. But that was a very long time ago.”

I was relieved but at the same time a little bewildered. He didn’t look old enough for anything to have happened a very long time ago. He looked thirty years old at the most. But I knew appearances could be very deceptive. I wondered why he still wore his ring. Maybe she died?

Daniel led me outside, into the freshness of the March evening air. He stood on the sidewalk, raised his hand in the air and a few seconds later a sleek white Mercedes drew alongside us.

He opened the door and I climbed inside, sinking into the luxury leather seats. Every part of the car looked, felt and smelled expensive.

“Hired or yours?” I asked, instinctively knowing the answer.

“Mine.” He leaned forward and flipped open the privacy window between the passenger and driver areas. “Take us to the beach, Thomas. Find a quiet and secluded spot.”

“Yes-sir,” Thomas replied in a deep voice

Daniel turned on some music, which bathed my ears with the most delightful atmospheric melody; a tune which I felt was in some way important to me. Another oddly familiar sensation overwhelmed me for a moment.

“So, what you’re planning to show me is at the beach?”

“I can show you my world anywhere, but the beach has a better ambience than here.”

“What world do you mean?” I asked, becoming more curious than ever.

“Five more minutes and you’ll see.”

“So my world will be changed forever once I’ve seen yours, will it?”

I sounded flippant, but my underlying question was serious. Trying to be witty was an attempt to cover my confusion. No one had ever confused me more than Daniel. Whatever he had to reveal had to be something special or else I would be disappointed and consider him to be a fraud. He was intelligent and worldly enough to know that.

“Not only your world, but your whole self, Carrie. I don’t think you understand. Because you have no concept of what your world is yet.”

“My world. Really? I fully expect to be bowled over then.”

“I’ve no doubt you will be.”

Of course I was already impressed by him. He was intelligent, well spoken, cultured, seemingly had had a good education. And I knew he had a lot of money to play with, I was absolutely sure of that. But he’d set the bar high and he would have to deliver something more than just his gorgeous rich self tonight.

He held my hand and squeezed it gently.

“You asked if I knew you earlier?” he said.

“Yes?”

“I have to admit I do know you, but you don’t remember. At least, not yet. But when you do, you’ll never leave my side again.”

Alarm struck my body like a bolt of lightning. What he was saying sounded a little scary. Possessive and borderline crazy even. I’d only just met him and yet he was speaking as if he’d known me a long while. I tried to reason with myself, to explain it away. He was over expressive, and had a weird way with words, that was all. I shouldn’t be concerned. Should I?

“So I know you, do I? More and more mysterious…” I murmured, trying to smile to cover my nerves. Casually, I got out my cell phone and tapped out a quick message to Angel.

Going to the beach for a walk with Dan. He’s a friend of Richards. Got a nice white Merc, but he’s a bit weird though. Hopefully not some psycho... call me later ok?

Suddenly, he plucked the cell phone from my hand before I could press send. I watched him erase my message in open mouthed outrage.

“What the fu---,” I finally managed to protest.

“Don’t worry, Carrie. You’re completely safe with me. I assure there’s no need to ‘pre-warn’ your friend I might abduct or murder you. Just sit back and chill… okay?”

How he knew the nature of my text, as I had the phone angled away from him, was a mystery. Strangely though, I was no longer worried about his intentions, when I was damn sure I should be. I was filled with a sense of insta-calm. Although where that had come from, I couldn’t fathom. He placed his arm around my shoulder and casually dropped my phone back into my purse, which was lying open on my lap.

His hand stroked my upper arm rhythmically and I closed my eyes relaxing into the sensation.

“That’s better. I can feel you’re much less tense now. I’m sorry I alarmed you, it wasn’t intentional. I just got a little carried away.”

“No problem,” I said with a soft sigh, floating in the blissful sensation of his touch.

All too soon, the car came to a stop and the door was opened by a tall and slender black man in a sharp fitting pale gray suit.

Daniel left the car and held his hand out to assist me. I liked his gentlemanly side. It was old fashioned and courteous.

“We’re going to walk for five minutes or so, I’ll call you to pick us up,” he instructed his driver.

“Sure. I’ll get myself a coffee, boss.” With a wide smile, Thomas got back in the car and drove off.

As we began to walk Daniel wrapped his arm around me.

“Not cold are you?”

“No, not at all, it’s lovely out here.” The fresh ocean air sharpened my senses instantly. I could smell the salt and hear the waves crashing on the shore nearby. Daniel was right, the atmosphere here was magical. I shivered with raging excitement and nervous energy.

After a minute or so, we reached a dimly lit spot on the path, and he stopped and pulled me close to him.

“Ready?” he asked me.

“Absolutely. Hit me with it.”

I wondered what could be coming. Another earth-shattering kiss? The type of kiss that could make my knees buckle, and my heart race faster than a formula one racing car?

But I was soon to discover the reality was far different to that.

Actually, it wasn’t reality.

And I didn’t know what to call it.

* * *

The weird sense of dislocating from the real world, that I had experienced in a mild sense earlier in the elevator, returned as he gazed into my eyes. His thumb brushed my lips and my head spun. I seemed to spiral up in the air. He was still holding me, but we were floating somehow.

What the heck…” I stiffened with fear.

“Shush,” he hushed me holding me closer and the fear evaporated instantly. “Don’t be scared. Just experience it all, we’ll talk about it later.”

Obediently I closed my mouth and stared over his shoulder in wonder.

Unbelievable.

Beneath us were the tips of tall fir trees. I could smell the fresh scent of a pine forest and saw moonlight reflected off the ice on the snowy caps of the tall mountains nearby. We rose further, flying in a circle around one glistening peak. I was speechless and astounded. How could this be? Was Superman actually real?

I knew I should be feeling freezing cold being so high up but instead I was surrounded by a warm glow, enveloped, as if I were wearing a heated suit or there was some kind of force-field protecting us from the icy mountain air.

“You like the Swiss Alps, don’t you?” he said confidently.

“The Swiss Alps? Yes - I do. It’s so beautiful. But how on earth can we be here?”

“We can be wherever we want to be,” he replied, not revealing much at all. “Is there somewhere else you’d like to go? Your choice.”

“The Grand Canyon.” I’d been there on a field trip as a teenager and loved the ruggedness and majesty of the national park. I dearly wanted to see its wonders from this kind of angle, if I could.

My mind swam and suddenly I was there, hovering above the gaping channel in the earth below. The stars twinkled above us and the moonlight glinted on the splendor of the red rocks. Even in the dark it was magical, splendor the likes of which I’d never seen. Words failed me for a brief moment as I surveyed the scene.

“Jesus and holy mother! What drug have you slipped me to make me see all this?”

“How could I drug you to hallucinate you are at the Grand Canyon? Which as you know was your choice of location. Think about it.”

“Sorry, but I need a little more convincing than that. The Taj Mahal, please.”

In seconds we were there, just a few yards above the dome of the Taj Mahal. It was early morning in India and people were gathering, milling around, and to-ing and fro-ing in the space below us. No one looked up to our position. It was as if we were invisible to their eyes. From where we were I could smell the scents of pungent spices flowing from a market. I could hear the traders calling out, selling their wares.

I knew then that this was no illusion. No drug could emulate this experience and I couldn’t possibly be imagining it all.

“The moon?” I suggested, cheekily.

I was actually starting to enjoy myself even though I should probably be terrified and overwhelmed. My feelings didn't make sense... but then none of it did.

He snorted a laugh. “The moon? Right. If that’s what my lady desires.”

I didn’t think he could swing that one. But…

I felt a rush of air, a few seconds passed by, and there it was beneath us - the pale gray cratered lunar landscape. I took a deep breath, holding it in awe. How could we be here and how was I able to breathe air, floating in the vacuum that was space?

“Oh my God!” I squealed, completely entranced.

Neil Armstrong, eat your heart out!

“Look at me, Carrie,” he commanded sternly. “Do you feel any different… do you remember anything yet… about us?”

Us? Like how?” I looked into his eyes. He was frowning a little as if he found my excitement difficult to comprehend, or maybe it was that he was worried about something.

His eyes darkened and that was when I had a flashback.

Daniel and I were kissing each other passionately. We were lying, limbs entwined, on a large white four poster bed. It was surrounded by sumptuous royal-blue velvet drapes, embroidered with gold crests. He brought my hand to his lips and kissed my fingers, interrupting my sweeping assessment of our plush surroundings.

Something sparkled upon my finger. I looked to my hand and saw the diamond band. It was exactly the same as his and it was on the right finger to be a wedding band.

No way! You cannot be my husband,” I whispered in disbelief.

His mouth curved into a smile.

“Yes I am.”

“But how can you be? And why did I suddenly remember now? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“C’mon, I couldn’t just tell you, could I? Would you actually have believed me? You needed to remember yourself. What I’m doing is the catalyst for you. This is something we often do; its part of what we are. It’s ‘travelism’ which has triggered your memories. And me being here with you has helped strengthen those memories, I hope.” I frowned heavily, not completely understanding what he meant. “Look, the technicalities are not important right now,” he explained. “Just know that we’ve been together for a long time. We were married eventually, but shortly after that you were murdered. I swore I’d find you again, but it has taken me so long, Marianna.”

His eyes glistened with emotion.

“I’m so confused,” I said, with tears gathering in my eyes. My name is Marianna? And I died? How could you find me if I’m dead?” My head was starting to throb.

“You were called Marianna in the life before this one. Our kind never die completely, for we are the oldest of souls and that part of us remains alive for all eternity. We’re called the keepers and we are reborn in latent form, over and over, as many times as is required. Rebirth can occur anywhere in the world. I was determined to find you and reawaken you. And now that I have, I can hardly believe it. You don’t understand how completely overjoyed I am.”

Daniel hugged me tightly and I curved into him, so naturally, my softness fitting his angles to perfection. I kissed his neck, feeling so at home and more alive than I’d ever felt in my life. It was surreal, the pair of us floating above the surface of the moon, our love reigniting within my soul, slowly but very surely.

I didn’t doubt him or what he had shown me. No one could have made this up.

I was in awe of what I’d held inside me, that my true self had been hidden all my life. I’d spent 25 years not knowing who I was, as if I were sleeping, like Snow White, patiently waiting for my prince to awaken me with a kiss.

My mind filled with so many questions I didn’t know where to begin.

“But I could have been reborn a man or an animal? What then?”

“You are a human female in spirit. You can only be latent within that physical form.”

“I see,” I replied, not really seeing at all. “So how did you find me? Do I look the same as her? As your Marianna?”

“You were small and dark haired before, with an olive skin tone. But you both have the same beautiful expressive eyes. And you have her voice. It was your energy signature that led me to you, not your appearance. I felt a mere trace of it a few weeks ago. It was the tiniest, weakest trace, but I’ve been like a hound-dog tracking a fox since. But Carrie, none of that matters now, because I’ve found you.”

A deep well of tears flooded his eyes and spilled over. I teared up rapidly in response to his obvious emotional release.

“Dan?” I said, snuffling and wiping my teary eyes with the back of my hand.

“Danny… you used to call me Danny.”

And yes, I remembered calling him that.

He kissed my face tenderly.

“Back to earth, I think,” he murmured. “We should celebrate our reunion terra firma.”

A split second later we were back at the beach where this wild fantasy adventure began.

His pristine white car drew to our side almost instantly.

Was everything magical in this new world?

I sat next to him in the car, holding his hand tightly. He stroked my arm softly, murmuring endearments and soothing my frazzled brain and random fears. To say my mind was reeling was an understatement.

I knew Daniel. And intimately. So many things we’d said and done were flooding back to me as I looked at him.

I remembered our marriage vows, our first meeting, even our first kiss.

My latent self had suddenly come back from the dead, and burst into life. But what kind of people were keepers? How could Daniel do things like I’d experienced tonight? Plus… there was something crucial that he wasn’t telling me. Why had I been murdered? Who had wanted me dead?

Determinedly, I shut the thought down for the present. I didn’t want to spoil the fantasy.

But I couldn’t actually remember my place in this new world. And that intrigued me greatly.

“So, who am I? Or more to the point who are we?” I asked, tentatively.

“That’s a question for tomorrow. And I promise I’ll tell you all you need to know. But let’s have tonight for ourselves. It doesn’t matter who we are, or how things work, or anything about the past. Let’s just be us, okay?”

He kissed me passionately, his fingers winding through the roots of my hair, his hand cupping my head, anchoring my mouth firmly to his. Fire leapt through my veins in an unstoppable rush.

“I remember feeling this before, Danny. I remember us,” I murmured in wonder.

“My God, I’ve waited so long to have you back in my arms. You’re my soul mate. No one could ever replace you, Mari… no one.” Hearing him call me my old pet name was a bitter sweet experience. I loved it and yet I felt reluctant to accept it.

“So my life as Carrie is done?” A deep sadness crept over me. Not being Carella anymore was like losing the dearest friend I could ever have had.

“Do you want to keep your identity?”

“I love my friends and family, I couldn’t bear to lose them.”

“You don’t have to. Your world is yours to command.”

“But how can it be? Tell me that much at least.”

He sighed and ran his hands through his short dark hair making it stick up everywhere, adorably.

He took my hands in his and turned me towards him. I sensed the seriousness of the situation instinctively and my heart began to race.

“Okay. I’ll tell you a little. We’re Sentinels - human agents of God, the divine ruler. We’re here to do his work.”

“Shit, no! I’m an angel?” I was sure my eyes had opened as wide as saucers. I was incredulous.

“Uh-uh… we’re not angels. We cannot enter the realm of God. We’re charged with bringing people to the light and keeping the positive balance of good over evil. We have unlimited funds to work with. We’re the ultimate philanthropists and humanitarians, you see.”

Only one word popped into my mind after that. Wow. My world was now changed forever.

“But you said we’re married… so are we allowed to have sex and all that physical stuff…?”

He chuckled loudly.

“In that respect we can be as bad as we like and believe me my girl, we are fucking awesome together. I don’t think we have a single inhibition between us.”

I laughed and smiled seductively.

“So we can get real dirty together and God won’t be angry with us?”

“All night, all week and all fucking year sweetheart. What we do together in our own time is our business, provided we do no one any harm.” He kissed the tip of my nose and his warm breath bathed my face. “I plan to get started the moment we’re alone, once we get back to my hotel.”

“You don’t live here in L.A?”

“I’ve literally just sold my condo here. I was looking for one in New York. But my main home is still in Paris. In our beautiful house in the old quarters. I couldn’t bear to part with it. I always felt closest to you there.”

“Oh my God, I remember it.” A vision of pale blue silks, ornate gold fixtures and plaster moldings came to me in a blinding flash. And that bed I’d imagined earlier. The huge white four poster with the blue drapes. That was in our bedroom. A bedroom which had a balcony. Glittery voiles were fluttering at the window, beyond which an iconic landmark soared high in the sky. “We can see the Eiffel Tower from our bedroom, can’t we?”

“That we can. We used to sit there eating breakfast, admiring the stunning view drinking strong coffee and eating French toast.” He smiled at me with pure love emanating from his eyes.

“I remember doing that. Danny, will you take me back there tonight, please? I’d love to sleep in our bed again; to wake up in Paris in the morning.”

“I thought you may be too tired for more traveling after all the excitement of tonight, but nothing would make me happier.”

I rested my head on his chest and listened to the beat of his heart.

“I love you, baby,” he said stroking my head.

“Love you too,” I replied sighing with contentment.

We soon arrived at the hotel and the car swept into the darkness of the underground parking lot.

“That’ll be all for tonight, Tom. Take a week off, I’ll call you when I need you, okay?” Daniel said graciously to Thomas after we left the car.

As we rose in the elevator, I wondered how my unremarkable life could suddenly be transformed like this. Having Daniel and this wonderful life were a dream come true.

But a niggling of worry and doubt lingered. I’d been murdered. By whom? And why? Murders were committed on purpose.

The name Zanis sprung into my mind like a dark stain on my happiness.

“Who is Zanis?” I asked quietly, fully sensing that name did not bode at all well with us. Daniel stiffened notably and placed a finger to my lips.

“Shush, never speak the name of the devil aloud. He cost you your life once and I don’t ever want to lose you like that again. That side of the keepers work is unpleasant and highly dangerous. You have weapons to keep you safe but nothing is foolproof. Please, let’s speak no more of it - not tonight. I’ll keep you safe in my arms. And tomorrow is another day - the day for such revelation and full disclosure.”

“Tomorrow, then.” I agreed. But I was beginning to understand there was a price to pay for the wonderful gifts and privilege Daniel and I possessed. The war between good and evil was real and I was now back in the thick of it again.

Sentinels were God’s holy guard on the earth and I was, whether I liked it or not, one of their rank. Strange, but I didn’t feel holy or supernatural in any way. I felt the same as I always had.

As Daniel’s lips met mine, his hand slipped up my thigh, beneath my dress, finding that sweet spot between my legs. I opened my legs wider inviting more intimacy and soon forgot all about the war between god and the devil. For the moment we were just man and woman, enjoying each other. I was so into this man that words could not describe the feelings that flooded through me. It was a ranging torrent… an avalanche… a tsunami of love and desire.

I panted and moaned as his fingers probed within my wet heat and he aroused me fast and expertly. His fingers plunged deep and his thumb brushed back and forth rhythmically, between my folds, making me writhe like a charmed snake. It was a potent feeling and I quickly began to spiral out of control. It was as if he knew exactly how and where to touch me to achieve the ultimate in pleasure. But of course he would, for how many years had we been doing this together? In response, my hand found his bulging hardness and I gripped it, unzipping and tugging his cock from his pants with impatience and some force. As I held him tight, the size and feel of him felt so right. I held onto it like it was mine, that it belonged to me. In that moment, I clearly remembered his taste. My mouth watered wanting to experience all of that intimacy, pleasure and excitement again.

“Jesus, that feels so good,” he moaned as I pumped slowly and firmly. Just the way he liked it. How could I remember that detail? I reveled in his excitement as blood pulsed forcibly through his cock and it swelled even larger within the palm of my hand. “I want more than just your hand wrapped around me, I want all of you. I’ve waited far too long.”

Suddenly we were no longer making out in the elevator but sprawled naked on our large white four poster bed. My head was resting on a feather pillow and I could see the lights of night-time Paris as they twinkled outside our window. Daniel was between my legs licking me into a wild frenzy.

“Oh my God… yes… yes…” I moaned. The old Carrie I used to be would have been a little shy about this kind of thing, but the familiarity between us was so intense, I had no inhibition with him at all. I opened my legs wide and forced his head in hard rubbing his nose of my clit. He fingered me expertly and brought me to the point where I couldn’t hold back anymore. God, I so wanted to come, but I wanted us to experience that together. I grabbed his hair.

“I want you inside me.”

He lifted himself above me and plunged deep inside, moving with long and purposeful thrusts. I was moving up the bed with his urgency to possess me so completely.

“Mari… baby… you’re killing me. I’m not gonna last long,” he groaned in my ear.

“Fuck me harder… like you used to.”

Wrapping my legs around him I absorbed every stroke like a soft sponge soaking up water. As Carrie I’d never been so needy, so wanton or so vocal as Marianna seemed to be.

“Danny… oh my god! Danny… DANNY!” I screamed his name loudly as he brought me to the edge, holding me there in the throes of ecstasy.

“Baby you’re so mine… oh fuck…” he groaned as we reached the pinnacle of passion together.

An explosion of stars shot through my head as I came.

“Love you,” I said gripping onto him so tightly; digging my nails so deeply into his skin I was sure I would draw his blood.

Where did this strength of love and passion suddenly spring from? And how did I earn such privilege and the wealth which we shared?

Nothing could have prepared me for any of this.

Nothing on this earth.

I breathed him in, and wound my arms tightly around his neck. At that moment it seemed as if he were the sole reason I had ever existed.

And I knew that actually, despite everything -- despite all we were here to do in this life – despite the continuing and never-ending battle between good and evil, that loving Daniel was all that ever really mattered to me. I’d follow him to the end of time and beyond.

“That was completely amazing,” I whispered, relaxing into the tingling afterglow.

Daniel simply sighed in response, seeming unable to speak, collapsing heavily upon me.

But I didn’t care about the pressure. I reveled in it. I wanted to meld with him, to become one with him.

I wondered how he had the faith and strength to continue searching for me for so many years. I must mean the world to him.

Thank you, I mouthed silently.

Two simple little words, but they meant so much.


* * *


Series by Katrina Liss

Riders Series


Be swept away into a world of emotional romance, motor-cyles, horses and steamy encounters.









Dr Sex Series


Sex Therapy isn’t what you expect… and it certainly wasn’t what Samantha expected. A tale of love, lust, trust and betrayal. Super steamy!










Move Me


Set in the world of modern dance. Mason & Kaydee set the world on fire. But how long can they deny their attraction for each other?













For the full list of series, standalone novels and short stories visit the K.M.Liss author page, access to which is available through any of Katrina’s book listings. (Simply click on the author name at the bookstore)


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About the Author

I'm a love-a-holic, but not only that, I like intrigue and drama. My reading interests are spread across several genres. Romance, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, horror plus a good helping of steam makes for some interesting fiction in the production of my books - I love to create real people. People you may find in everyday life. But these people have secrets, depth, tortured souls, and a wealth of other characteristics to their personality. Come along for the ride.

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