Here is our next installment. I hope you enjoy it!
Hustle Into Love
The last thing Mace expected was to have Chantal burst into tears. They always unnerved him, but usually he knew why she was crying. This time he couldn’t figure out why she’d reacted this way.
“Honey,” he murmured, going on instinct and pulling her into his arms. “Don’t cry. Please, don’t cry.”
If anything her weeping got louder. “It’s my fault,” she wailed. “All my fault. I got Lì’s beautiful casino destroyed.”
He blinked. He hadn’t expected that. Just what was going on in that mind of hers? He held her tighter and probed gently, “How is it your fault?”
She clutched at his arms. “I did it. My stupid temper. I’m an idiot. It’s all my fault. Chóngdé. Oh my God. What have I done?” She went off into fresh gales of tears.
Quickly he sorted through her rambling words.
“Oh, Christ.” Mace shook his head. He’d barely had time to put it together himself, but Chantal had already figured it out. She was as clever as she was beautiful. And now she was wracked with guilt and brokenhearted.
“Sweetheart. Chantal.” When she only cried harder, he gave her a little shake. “Stop it. This isn’t your fault. You didn’t make Chóngdé act like a bitch and you didn’t force her father to step in. And you sure as hell didn’t plant that bomb.”
Tears blurred her golden eyes as she met his gaze. “B-But none of it would have happened if I h-hadn’t f-f-fired Chóngdé.”
This was a little trickier. She was right. Her firing of Hui Sun’s daughter was probably the catalyst to set everything in motion. But that didn’t mean she was responsible.
“I love Lì, and he’s given me so much,” she wept. “And look what I’ve done. I’ve destroyed his dream.”
Mace decided Chantal could have gone into the theatre. Her sense of drama was quite amazing. Enough was enough. “Oh, for God’s sake,” he growled. “Are your responsible for nuclear warming, too? How about the hole in the ozone layer? Maybe I should call the police and have you arrested for crimes against humanity while we’re at it.”
Chantal stiffened in his arms then jerked away. “That’s not funny!”
“Actually it is,” he disagreed quietly. “If you’re going to be silly enough to take credit for the bombing, you might as well go for the rest of the world’s problems as well.” He tapped his chin. “The recession. I bet that’s your fault, too. You stopped buying dancing shoes.”
Her mouth dropped open. “You think this is a joke?”
“My love—” he cupped her face in his hands, “—I make light of it because you being responsible for this mess is a joke. Seriously. Do you think Lì blames you for what has happened?”
Her gaze dropped. “Ummm…probably not.” She looked up at him. “But he should. It is my fault.”
“Now you are being a diva,” he said flatly. He had to get her to snap out of it. She wasn’t responsible, and he’d be damned if she took that on herself. “It’s all about you, right?”
Her eyes widened at the insult. Her mouth opened and closed a couple times before she shot, naked out of bed. “How dare you?” she breathed. “How can you say such a thing?”
He rolled to his feet and shrugged. “You’re the one saying it, Chantal. I’m disagreeing with you.”
“You. I. We.” It was the first time other than making love Mace had seen Chantal completely tongue-tied. All she could do was put her hands on her slender hips and stomp her foot at him.
“What if I were to tell you I think it was my fault,” he went on. “After all, I was the one who backed you up. Buck stops with the boss and all that rot. Plus, I broke off my relationship with Chóngdé. Yes—” he gave a nod, “—if anyone is responsible, it’s me.”
“Mace,” Chantal gritted out his name, “you’re being ridiculous.”
“Yes, I am.”
She blinked at him, looking like a startled golden cat. “Excuse me?”
“Come here.” Risking her wrath, he pulled her down next to him on the bed. “I’m no more responsible than you are for what has happened. We made a choice. Firing Chóngdé was a business decision and it was the right one for you and for The Golden Tiger. Furthermore, I made a personal choice because once I’d met you I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. My breaking it off with Chóngdé was inevitable. Meeting you only speeded up the process.”
“But nothing,” Mace said firmly. “We may have set things in motion, but we are not responsible. If Hui Sun or Chóngdé had anything to do with the bombing, then it was their choice…their responsibility. We…you can’t take that on yourself.”
Chantal sighed and hid her face against his chest. “Oh, God. I know you’re right. But I just feel so damn bad.”
“I know, love.” He gently lowered her to the bed and kissed away the tears. “I feel guilty, too. I’m angry and hurt and sick that it’s come to this. But we aren’t responsible for the choices that Chóngdé or her father may have made.”
She traced her finger along his jaw. “Lì shouldn’t have to pay this way. It’s not right. That’s why I feel so guilty.”
“Would you do it again?” He nibbled at her ear and felt her shiver. “Knowing what you know now, would you still fire Chóngdé?”
There was a long silence as Chantal thought it over. Then she sighed. “Yes. I knew as soon as I watched her dance I would have to replace her. She doesn’t belong on a stage, and Lì means too much to me to ever give him second best.”
Mace smiled. “Exactly. And I promise you Lì knows that. As do I.”
Her eyes softened. “I love you. Even though you make me crazy, I love you so much.”
His body, already aroused, went even harder. “That’s good,” he said hoarsely. “Because I love you even more than that.”
“Maybe you can give me a taste?”
He grinned. “I can give you the whole buffet.” And his mouth crushed down on hers.
Heat, need, astonishment, joy. All the emotions raced through him without end. How could he ever have imagined he could live his life without her? The taste of her lips…the unique scent of her skin. It was everything he wanted…needed…craved.
His hands raced over her naked flesh, teasing, tormenting, tempting. Hers slid down his back, cupped his ass then pulled him even closer. Desire turned desperate. Wanting, loving, giving everything was all he could do.
He moved down her flat belly, licking his way down to the soft curls that beckoned. Carefully, he blew out a breath, and gently separated the soft folds that held Chantal’s womanly secrets.
She was already wet. Already swollen. Already open to his touch. His mouth watered, his cock throbbed. He wanted to taste her, fill himself with the bounty of what she offered. She was his and if he had his way, she would be his until the day he died. Before he’d understood desire, but now he understood belonging.
Chantal was the other half of his soul.
“I love you,” he murmured as he nuzzled her sex gently. “For the rest of my life I will love only you.”
Wow! <sniff> How romantic is that? <sigh> I can't wait to see what happens next. Can you?
Follow Your Dreams