What’s he doing here?” “I asked him to come. I needed someone who wasn’t known on the reservation to pose as a…as a gambler and ask some questions. Why are you wearing your hair down?” “Never mind my hair. Why a gambler?” “Senator Holden was right about the gambling syndicate trying to move in here, I think. Tom Black Knife knows a lot about it, and he’s scared. I can’t speak Lakota, but I can read faces. Tom told Colby the whole story in Lakota.” “That’s what you were trying to get out of Colby.” She nodded. He looked at her in a way he never had before. “You asked him for help instead of me.” She lowered her eyes to her lap uncharacteristically. “Yes. I did.” He didn’t say anything for a minute. He slid closer to her. His hands went up into the thick braid of her hair and began to unfasten it. “Tate…!” she exclaimed, shocked and resisting. “Don’t fight me.” He unwound the braid and took out the pins, letting her long, silky hair fall to below her waist, all around her face. He reached for her glasses and took them off, placing them beside his dark ones on the table. He got up from the sofa, still staring down at her, and went to close and lock the front door. As an afterthought, he put on the chain latch. “How long will my mother be away?” he asked. She could hardly speak. Her heart was beating her to death. “She only left a few minutes ago. She’s having lunch with her group.” He nodded and his eyes never left hers. “Colby won’t be back for a while, either.” He moved toward her with an intent that even a blind virgin would have recognized. She got to her feet and tried to back away, but he pulled her to him gently and held her there. “Cold feet, Cecily,” he asked at her lips. “Or genuine fear?” “I…don’t know.” She rested her clammy, nervous hands on his chest. He tilted her chin up so that he could see her eyes. “I would never try to force you,” he said solemnly. “Not in any way.” Her breathing eased, but just a little. She dropped her eyes and stared at the top button of his shirt. A long strand of his black hair almost covered the pocket. She reached up and touched it, savoring its coolness. He hadn’t moved. Her posture, her skittishness, was giving away secrets. “You’re afraid of me.” She had to wait until she could get words past her dry throat. “No. Of course I’m not.” His hand went hesitantly to her own loosened hair, weaving through it. He stared over her head, breathing deliberately, aware of her warmth against him, the soft, excited sigh of her breath at his throat. “Why did you tell me Colby had had you?” he asked tightly. “Now, listen here…!” she began heatedly. He put a long, lean finger over her lips and met her angry gaze. “I beat the hell out of him over it. Did he tell you?” “Not over me, you didn’t,” she said. “I’m not that important to you.” He laughed curtly. “You have no idea.” “How’s Audrey?” she asked deliberately. “How would I know?” He caught the thick hair on both sides of her neck and used it to lever her face up to his. “I haven’t seen her lately. And I’ve never slept with her.” “That’s a nice fairy tale,” she bit off. “I mean it.” “You never go around with anyone else,” she said. “Have you ever taken a good look at her?” he asked quietly. “She’s slight. Blond. Light-eyed.” He was telling her something she couldn’t believe. She lifted her eyes to his dark, intent ones. “I thought I could have you,” he said in a haunted tone. “I’ve dreamed about it, ached for it, since I kissed you. I came all the way out here bristling with sexual tension, so jealous of Colby Lane that I could have used him as a brush broom. But even so, if he’d had you, you wouldn’t still be innocent. I could have had you, without complications, without…guilt.” He sighed harshly and let her go. He moved away to the window and stood looking out it. “I must have been out of my mind.
Topics : Paper Rose Quotes