I hope you had a wonderful and very Merry Christmas holiday. Ours was AWESOME. Make sure you check out my CHAT BLOG tomorrow for the day we spent at Hong Kong Disneyland. A lot of fun in so many ways.
I wonder how Chantal and Mace did over Christmas? I know they left me alone until I started writing again after the holiday was over. This time I wasn't sure what they were going to do. LOL But I was pleasantly surprised. Let's see if you are, too. Enjoy!
Hustle Into Love
One look into Mace’s deep, dark eyes told Chantal he was just as upset and confused about what had happened between them as she was. She’d spent the remainder of the afternoon furious with herself for how she’d handled it at the end. To Mace it must seem as if all his fears were true and she did use her body to tempt and tease. It didn’t matter that she'd pushed him away because what he’d said had hurt her unbearably. She had responded and—if she was honest with herself—she might have gone even farther with him if his words hadn’t sent her into a shamed panic.
But how could she admit that to him? How could she tell him for all her travels, experience and open friendliness, she wasn’t the experienced Lolita he might think she was. She didn’t do one night stands, had never had a quickie in an office and the last quality time she’d spent with a lover had been—she shook her head in denial—almost a full year ago. And that man, although she’d really cared about him, had never made her feel what Mace did by a single touch of his hand.
After their confrontation, Chantal had been so upset and bewildered, she’d done something inexplicable. For the first time in her career she canceled a rehearsal. She knew she hadn’t the heart to instruct and teach, even knowing how badly the dancers needed it. She was wise enough to know if she’d tried, she might have taken out her pain and misery on them and that would have been beyond unfair. So instead, she made her way alone to the small stage and tried to find solace in the sensual rhythms of the dance.
And as she danced, at least for a little while she was able to forget the anger on Mace’s face and the horrid things he’d said to her. She could push away the fact he thought she’d slept her way to the top. She could even ignore the surprising fact he didn’t even know his own brother was gay.
But no matter how hard she tried, no matter what intricate dance steps she accomplished, she couldn’t quite put aside the scent of his skin or the taste of his deliciously sexy mouth. She couldn’t forget the feel of his lips on her breast or the heat of his body against hers.
So when he’d appeared before her, regret carved into his handsome face, all she could think about was how good it had felt to be held in his strong arms. And when he held out his hand to her, asking for her forgiveness, she could do only one thing.
She took it.
He sucked in a deep breath, obviously relieved. Then he smiled cautiously and brought her fingertips up to his mouth for a gentle kiss. “I’ve treated you abominably. Will you give me a chance to explain why?”
Her generous heart would have it no other way. In only a few days, after just a couple of meetings, even though they’d spent most of that time arguing, she’d already learned to care for him. Perhaps it was because she already knew him so well. After all, Lì had told her all about his younger brother for years, so Mace had never felt like a stranger. And then there was that instant and explosive attraction she now knew they both felt. If it had been any hotter they would have burned the casino to the ground.
Taking a deep breath herself, she squeezed his hand. She suddenly had the crazy feeling the rest of her life depended on the next few minutes. “All right, I’ll let you explain.”
“Thank you.” Giving her a little tug, he led her over to the piano bench. “I’m so damned sorry about what I said to you. All of it. I don’t even know where to begin.”
“You stayed away on purpose, didn’t you,” she asked him, remembering all the times they could have met in the past. “All those times I came to England. You didn’t want to meet me.”
“I did stay away.” Mace’s high cheekbones reddened with embarrassed color. “At first it was—like I said—because I hated the thought he was letting you use him to climb the ladder. But then later it changed.”
“Changed?” she echoed, ignoring the pang of hurt she felt when he spoke again of his misconception about her and Lì. “What do you mean, changed?”
He met her gaze. “I saw you dance.”
Chantal frowned. “So?”
A laugh broke free from him. “Christ, woman. Don’t you understand what you do to a man when you dance the way you do? You’re so fucking sexy, I can’t believe someone hasn’t snatched you up and carried you away.”
“I usually have a bodyguard.” The words were said absently as she chewed on what he was saying. “So you liked my dancing and that made you stay away? I don’t get it.”
“Chantal—” he gave their entwined hands another squeeze, “—don’t you understand? I liked it too much. Jesus, every time Lì would talk about you, I’d remember you dancing, and I couldn’t take it. It was just too much.”
“Too much what?” she cried, her frustration taking control. “What did I do so wrong?”
“Oh, baby,” he murmured, pulling her closer. “You didn’t do anything wrong. That’s just it. Everything you did was wonderful. Your dancing was superb. So sexy and thought provoking, you made men drool. But even more than that, you made Lì happy.”
“So? Why did that make you hate me?”
“I didn’t hate you, Chantal.” Mace sighed again. “I was jealous of Lì, and I hated myself because of it. Do you see what I’m trying to tell you? I wanted to be the one you were with.
Her mouth dropped open in shock. “But…but we didn’t even know each other. How could you want me?”
He shrugged uncomfortably. “I could say you tell a lot about yourself in your dance, and that would be partially true, but it’s not the real reason.” He cupped her cheek in his hand. “I wanted you like a man wants an attractive, sexy, exciting woman. I wanted you so much I was afraid of meeting you. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to control myself, and Lì would see what I was feeling.” His eyes darkened. “I didn’t want to hurt my brother by lusting after his woman.”
“Whoa. Wait.” She blinked. “You ignored me for ten years because you were afraid Lì would see how much you wanted me?”
“And you believed the tabloids when they said Lì and I were lovers. You didn’t bother to ask him yourself?”
He shook his head. “I wish I had asked him. It would have changed so much. But like I said, honey, any man would swallow his tongue watching you dance. I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t want you. Any man would.”
Chantal was torn between pleasure that he’d wanted her so much and anger that his desire was so damn superficial. Was it only Lì who saw she was more than a beautiful face and body? “So you stayed away because you thought you were being honorable.”
He looked a little wary now, but still nodded. “Yes.”
Fury won. She jerked away from him and pushed to her feet. “Bullshit. That’s just bullshit.”
Well, they almost made it through the whole installment before one of them lost their temper again. LOL Obviously, Chantal isn't buying some of Mace's explanation. Maybe on Thursday, he'll do better!
Anyway, see you then. Don't forget to comment. December is drawing to a close and another winner will be drawn!
Hugs to all,
Follow Your Dreams