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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hustle Into Love - Chapter Ten, Part Four

Hey all,

Well, do you think Chantal wishes she'd kept her mouth shut?  Is this the end of a beautiful relationship...or the beginning?  Let's find out.  And enjoy!!!

 
Hustle Into Love

~*~

If the roof had fallen in right at that moment, Chantal would have been overjoyed. Ecstatic. She couldn’t believe she’d told him. Said the one thing she’d sworn never to say. And one look at his blank eyes and shocked face told her she’d been right on the money with his reaction. Next thing she’d expect was—

“I beg your pardon?”

There it was…the over-the-top polite tone he always used when he didn’t know what else to say. She closed her eyes, even more humiliated now than she’d been when he’d manhandled her earlier. Shock or anger would have been bad enough, but she couldn’t bear it if he felt sorry for her. Numbly she wondered if there was another bomb. If it went off now, she wouldn’t have to look him in the face again.

“Damn it, Chantal.” He gave her a shake that had her eyes popping open. “I want to know what you said. Say it again.”

She felt the heat of her blush as her face went red. Determinedly, she gathered the shredded threads of her dignity around her. It was all she could do. “Y-You heard me and obviously, you wished you hadn’t. So now I’ll do us both a favor and leave.”

“The hell you will,” he said as he shook her again. “I don’t care if the whole building comes down on top of us. You are going to say those words.”

Why would he want her to embarrass them both a second time? Frowning, she risked meeting his gaze and what she saw there made her mouth go dry. Emotion, strong and fierce made his ebony eyes dance with light. “Mace?”

“Please, Chantal.” She trembled at the wealth of feeling in his voice. “Don’t play with me. I need to hear you say it again.”

Could it be…hope she was seeing? She shook her head, immediately dismissing the idea. She wouldn’t believe it. There’d be no reason for him to feel that emotion. Her maybe, she was the one who’d stupidly blurted out her feelings for an entire room to hear. Again, she wanted to disappear. How could she have been so foolish? Glancing around wildly, she thought about running. She wondered briefly if Mace was as fast as Eric.

But her heart nearly stopped when Mace’s strong hand cupped her cheek and made her look back at him. “Chantal? Honey? I’m waiting.”

What she saw in his face—desire, fear and another emotion she couldn’t pin down—had her gasping in surprise. She fought with herself for another long moment, fear strangling her voice. Then, his thumb gently traced her lower lip, and unable to do anything else, she surrendered to a will as strong as her own.

“I’m in love with you,” she said simply. “Head over heels, dance until you drop, stand up and applaud, in love with you.”

He just stared at her, his gorgeous face smeared with dirt and dust, blood trickling down his cheek in a steady stream. There was no other sound in the casino other than a soft moan that came from one of the unconscious police officers. Chantal blinked back tears and wondered if exiting stage left would be considered an ignominious retreat. This was not how she’d wanted this dance to end. 

And then Mace grinned.

Maybe the hit on the head had done more damage than she’d thought. She stared at him in sudden concern. Maybe she should call an emergency worker…take him right to the hospital. But the thought was whirled away when Mace snatched her up and into his arms. His shout was loud enough to shake the remaining chandeliers. 

“Leave it to you to tell me the thing I most want to hear in such a damnable dramatic way. And stealing my thunder.” He cradled her face in his filthy hands and brushed a kiss over her shocked lips. “I had it all planned out, you know. Candles, romantic music, your favorite beer since you hate champagne. Even chocolate covered strawberries.”

She gazed at him warily. “Huh?”

He laughed and whirled her around in a circle until she squealed, more worried about his blood loss than getting dizzy. But again her thought was stolen away when Mace’s lips came down on hers. 

They were hot, hard and demanding, exactly what she’d come to expect and need from him. But this time, woven into the desire she always tasted was something else…something so sweet, tears came to her eyes. Her heart stuttered to a full stop as he lifted his head and looked down at her. 

“Mace?” she whispered. “I—” She stopped when he put a gentle finger to her lips.

“No, baby, it’s my turn.” His warm ebony gaze seemed to penetrate all the way to her soul. “And I’ve been waiting it seems like half a lifetime to say this.” He brushed his mouth over hers.

“I love you, Chantal. I’ve loved you for as long as I can remember.” 

Now it was she who stood and stared. She almost said, I beg your pardon, back to him, but she knew there was no way she could make it as snotty sounding as he did. That was an inborn art. A trickle of joy ran through her as she gazed up into his face. Into those dark eyes filled with an emotion she was just now beginning to recognize.

“You…love me?” she whispered, not even aware of those who watched the two of them. “Truly?” She bit her lip, suddenly worried. “You’re not just saying that to be kind, are you?"

Mace chuckled richly. “I don’t lie and I’m not in the habit of telling a woman I love her just to be kind.” He kissed her again, this time even harder. “Don’t you get it, woman? I fell for you so hard I’m still reeling. I haven’t been able to get my breath since you got off that plane.”

She melted. Right at his feet. “Oh, Mace. It was the same for me. I saw you standing there, and I just wanted to eat you up. I didn’t expect it…wasn’t sure I wanted it, but there you were all dark and dangerous and—” she sighed, “—I was a goner.”

He pulled her closer. “It may have taken me ten long years to admit it, but I knew it was you I wanted. And there was no way I was going to lose you once I found you. You belong to me.” 

Her heart fluttered in delight. She had to admit she loved his possessiveness. “I said it twice, so you have to, too.”

Mace blinked in confusion then his face cleared and he laughed again. “That won’t be a problem. I’ll say it more than twice, Chantal. You’ll be sick of it, I’ll say it so much. I love you. I love you. I love you.” He tossed her a grin. “There.  I’m one up on you now.”

“You can be on me any time you want,” she whispered, her belly curling with desire when his eyes flared hot. “I love you, Mace. I didn’t think I’d ever feel like this, but I do. More than anything in this world, I love you.”

“Excuse me, sir?”

Chantal’s face flooded with color at the interruption. She’d totally forgotten they were standing in a bombed out room surrounded by emergency workers and security. This, she would never live down. Another tidbit to add to the legend of the Amber Princess. As she and Mace turned to look at Bruce, it wasn’t clear who was more embarrassed, them or the other man.

“I’m sorry, Mr. D’Avranches.” The security guard shuffled his feet back and forth. “The emergency crews are saying we need to get out of here. They need to inspect and make sure everything is—”

“Of course, Bruce. Thank you.” Mace interrupted the spate of words, changing from lover to boss in the blink of an eye. He glanced around the room. “I want you, Chin and Dae to get checked out at the hospital. Make sure you’re all right.”

Bruce nodded. “You’ll need to do the same, sir. That cut looks nasty.”

“He will,” Chantal put in, earning her a lifted brow from Mace. She only shook her head. “I love you. I need to know you’re okay.”

“God, I love hearing you say that.” Mace’s eyes glowed with pleasure. “All right. For you I’ll go to hospital.” He brushed his thumb over her cheek. “I got you all dirty.”

“I don’t care.” She went into his arms again. “You’re alive and safe. I love you. You love me. Everything is perfect.”

“Not everything.” A sigh rumbled up out of Mace’s chest. “The stage and bar are toast. The casino’s a mess. God knows how long it will take to fix. Damn it. How am I going to tell Lì?” 

“Put it away,” she ordered, giving him a tug towards the door where an emergency worker stood waiting. “Because of you, everyone got out safely. Your quick thinking saved lives. You’re a hero, Mace. You’re not responsible for any of this.”

Mace took her hand and led her out of the still dusty lobby and into the fresh clear air outside. Together they stood and looked at The Golden Tiger. “You’re right, honey. I didn’t do this. But I sure as hell want to know who did.”

~*~


I want to know, too!  You'd think, being the author I'd have a hint, but I haven't a clue.  Yet.  LOL

Anyway, I'll be back on Tuesday with another installment.  Can you hold out until then?  *VBG*

Hugs to all,
CJ England











Follow Your Dreams
http://cjengland.com/secondchances/lifesadance.htm
http://cjengland.com
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6 comments:

Phylis said...

OMG! Cj, this was absolutely perfect! I had tears in my eyes and I was grinning ear to ear!!!! Awesome, just awesome!!! Now to wait until next Tuesday...sigh. Guess I will have to. lol

Harlie Reader said...

I love it. It was perfect. Now I'm dying to know who did it! Thanks.

Carrie said...

Now that Chantal has let the cat out of the bag I think Mace is going to be stunned speechless,which will then lead to another fight and another hot love scene. Well at least it seems to happen that way. Hopefully these two won't take a predictable route which would be a nice surprise. Can't wait to see what happens on Tuesday.

Ashley L said...

Perfect. Absolutely perfect today. I certainly hope that they find the person who planted the bomb soon because it will probably only get worse for them now.

Mannouchka said...

Dear Cj,
This entry was very perfect and I want to know who did it.I will wait on Tuesday ,that's good that Mace went to hospital.
Have a nice week-end Cj.
Cheers

SharonJM said...

Finally!!!
Now to find out who planned this and let it happen.