The Desire Series #4
Samantha can’t remember her past. The only reason she knows her name is because of a necklace she was found wearing. Her lack of memory makes her perfect to work undercover as an event coordinator for Carlos Mason, an entrepreneur who has ties to the seedier side of business. When someone makes an attempt on Sam’s life, Mason assigns Skye Latimer to be her bodyguard. Now Samantha has to deal with trying to get her memory back, an annoying man she finds she can’t ignore and find something the government can use against Mason.
Skye Latimer has been told to keep Samantha safe at all costs. He doesn’t know why, but it doesn’t matter. He is the best. Getting close to her is easy. Keeping his hands to himself is another matter. Now Skye has to fight his growing attraction to Samantha, try to figure out who she really is as well as keep her from being forced to do whatever Mason has planned.
Release Date: August 29, 2023
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
~ A Red Satin Romance ~
Samantha had a death grip on her compad. Her memory might be gone, but she wasn’t going to use that as an excuse.
She was hired by Carlos Mason to be his new function coordinator and found she had a knack for it. This was the first time her new boss allowed her total control on one of his big galas and she sure didn’t want to mess it up. Taking one last look at her checklists, she nodded in satisfaction before she headed to the kitchens. Everything was set up: flowers, tables, even the proper music. As long as the flow of food ran smoothly the night would be a success and she would prove herself invaluable.
She couldn’t afford to be fired.
She turned a corner and practically ran over Skye Latimer. He was about her height, blonde hair that begged to be touched and sharp blue eyes that seemed to see all the way to her soul. He gave her a bone-melting smile and a look that seemed to undress her where she stood. He had that look on his face every time he saw her.
“Mr. Latimer, I don’t have time for this.” She stepped around him, doing her best to ignore the butterflies she felt around him, and continued to the kitchens.
“Hey, I don’t like this any more than you do, but the boss asked me to guard you and that is what I’m going to do. We both know how he gets if his demands aren’t met.” He fell into step with her. “If you hadn’t taken off earlier, I wouldn’t have had to come looking for you.”
“Please, then, stay out of my way.” She sighed. “I have a billion things to take care of before this evening starts, and I don’t need any distractions.”
“I distracted you?” Skye smiled again. Another one of his seductive heart-stopping smiles that made her insides turn to jelly, but she wasn’t about to let him know that. She gave him a bored look and moved on. He followed right on her heels.
The kitchen was crazy when they entered. The head waiter was shouting out orders to his staff. The head chef was yelling at the head waiter to get out of his kitchen so his people could work.
A loud whistle filled the air as Sam waited for everyone to quiet down. “Why is there so much noise in here? Don’t you people have other things to do than give me heart failure?”
“I am sorry, Miss Samantha, but this imbecile has decided that these small quarters is where he must talk to the wait staff while I’m trying to get my people ready to prepare the meal.”
“I am not an imbecile, and we have always done this in the past without trouble. Why are you acting like such a bear tonight?” snapped the head waiter.
“Gentlemen, we have twice as many staff as we normally do. You have to work this out.” Both crossed their arms over their chests and glared at each other. Neither giving an inch. Sam let go of another sigh. “Fine. I’ll cut both staffs in half, that way you’ll have plenty of room again. Your people will just have to do twice as much work and when this falls apart, you will be the ones to answer to the boss.”
That got them moving. It wasn’t long before the waiters were huddled just outside the door, getting their instructions, and the cooks were prepping the food.
“You know how to snap that whip when you need to, don’t you?” commented Skye.
Sam had tried to ignore him while she spoke to the two men, but it had been hard. Even though he had kept quiet and had allowed her to do what she needed, part of her had been focused on him the whole time. His wide shoulders, narrow waist and long legs had her wanting things she shouldn’t.
She looked at Skye and saw admiration in his eyes. She didn’t need that. This was not the time for her to make alliances, especially with someone who affected her libido. She straightened her shoulders and continued down her mental list.
Once she was happy with the way things were going, she returned to the main office and knocked on her boss’s door. Popping her head in, she spoke. “Sir? Do you have a minute or two?”
“Of course, Samantha.” He stood and motioned to the chair in front of his desk. “Come in, please, sit.”
“Thank you. Everything is ready for tonight, sir. You should be very happy.” She entered the room and took the chair he gestured to. Latimer closed the door behind him and leaned against the wall. “But I need a few hours this afternoon. I need to meet with the government doctors today. Although I tried to move it, they wouldn’t let me. My appointment is in about an hour.”
“Right. I can’t believe they are still making you go through these tests.” He tapped a few keys on his three-dimensional computer screen before looking at her. “Have you gotten any of your memories back?”
“No.” She shook her head. “But they keep coming up with new treatments to try. I’m supposed to be meeting with some Vespian doctor who has a new technique.” She shrugged. “We’ll see.”
“I’ll have Skye take you.” He closed down the image and leaned back in his chair.
She wanted to protest but knew better. Why did it have to be Skye? Sam stood, waiting to be dismissed. If she had a way to sneak off, she would have.
Skye stepped forward and nodded as he got his instructions. Once he did, he turned to Sam and gestured for her to walk in front of him. “So we get to spend the afternoon together.”
“If you enjoy hanging out with a bunch of doctors.” She walked out of the room. “I need to change first.”
“You look fine.”
She glared at him. “I’ll meet you downstairs.”
“No need. I’ll go with you to your room.”
“I don’t think so.” There was no way she was going to let him into her quarters. Her room was her haven away from everyone and everything. If he were to invade, she’d never get the memory of his presence there out of her head. She turned her back to him and headed to the elevator. The doors opened and she stepped in with him right behind her.
“I’ll wait outside if you’re afraid to let a man into your bedroom.” His lips were only inches from her ear. She felt the heat of his breath brush against her throat, sending little frissons of desire coursing through her blood.
Mixed emotions took over. A part of her wanted to grab him and kiss him, end this strange little cat and mouse game they seemed to be playing, but another part wanted to slap the arrogant attitude off his face.
The doors of the elevator opened.
She didn’t respond, couldn’t. The fear of what would happen if she did respond got her feet moving and she darted out of the elevator, down the hall and into her room, letting the door close before he could try to come in. Sam leaned against it for a moment before she pulled off the dress she had been wearing to slip on a pair of comfortable pants and a blouse.
Once she had regained her composure, she stepped back out, ignored Skye, and headed to the elevator that would take them to one of the private transports. Once they were secure, Skye maneuvered it to the central medical center. Sam knew where to go, so she led the way once they landed. She entered the main office of the brain center.
“I have a two o’clock?”
“Yes. The doctor is ready for you.” The woman behind the desk stood and pointed to the doors that led into the lab.
The doors slid open, and Sam walked through. Skye followed.
“Doctor?” There were several people there who could have been her doctor.
The man in question turned to face her. “Samantha? Dr. Kuarto.” His smile relaxed her as he took her hand and shook it. “I’m sure you’ve been through this before, but I’m going to ask you a series of questions that will allow me to set a base to work off of.”
“Sure.” She looked at Skye, who had come into the room with her and sighed. She wished he wasn’t there. This was something she didn’t want to be broadcasted.
“Three months ago, you awoke to find your memories completely gone.”
“Yes. I was found in one of the wooded areas in the territory that used to be Washington State. I don’t remember anything before that.”
“The files I have show there is no permanent damage to your memory. Have you had any trouble retaining memories from that point on?”
“No flashes, or dreams of another life?”
“Nothing. It’s like that moment when I woke up in the forest was the first day of my life.” She glanced at Skye once again, wishing he wasn’t hearing everything being said. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure.” He entered her data on the small pad he held in his hands.
“The doctors say that I’m part Vespian and I’ve done a little research. I don’t look like the typical Vespian.” She looked down at her fair hands.
“True, but you do have a few of the physical traits. The height, for example.” He patted a table nearby that he wanted her to sit on. “The average female height is about six foot six and you’re not too far off that being six foot five. You also have the distinctive ring around the cornea.”
“Your eyes might be inverted but it is there. Most Vespians have golden eyes with a color band on the outside of the iris. You have violet eyes, but the outer band is the same golden color that all Vespians have.”
“You’re right,” he laughed. “Very observant. Every once in a while, there is a small abnormality. The gold in my eyes is muted. It has a touch of violet in it.” He held out a small scanner. “I need to take a few readings, map out the memory loss to see if we can free it.”
“You going to be able to free my memories today?”
“Is that what they told you?” He stopped what he was doing to look at her.
“I really love how the UCE misconstrues the missives I sent.” He shook his head. “I hope to free your memories, but it will take time. Today is the first step.”
Skye’s communicator beeped. “Excuse me.” He stepped out of the room.
“So what is with the watchdog?” He looked in Skye’s direction before he went back to getting everything ready.
“He’s been assigned to be my guard.” She looked as well. His absence should make her happy, but it didn’t.
Kuarto frowned. “What do you need a guard for?”
“My boss.” She shrugged. “Someone tried to assassinate him, and he was afraid they might come after me.”
“Your file says you work for Carlos Mason.” Kuarto looked down at his pad. “Isn’t he some sort of entrepreneur?”
“Yeah, he’s done a lot of work helping preserve many of our historical items.” She shrugged. “It doesn’t make sense, but someone wasn’t happy with something he did. Mr. Mason has been a bit paranoid since. He assigned Mr. Latimer about two weeks ago.”
“You don’t seem to be very happy about it.”
“Let’s just say he’s very good at his job. Doesn’t let me out of his sight.”
* * *
Skye found a quiet place to answer his communicator. It was Mason. “Yes, sir?”
“Where are you?” He sounded desperate. What was going on?
“At the hospital, where Sam has her appointment?” Why was he asking this? He had just sent them there. He didn’t like the man’s paranoia, it made it hard for him to do his job. “Samantha is with the doctor right now.”
“Are they going to bring back her memory?”
“From what I heard it will take some time before they can even try to revive her memories.” Now he understood his paranoia. He didn’t want Sam to get her memory back.
“That’s good. She’s perfect for what I need.” He paused for a moment. “I’ll expect a full report when you get back.”
* * *
“Did you see that?” Heather looked at her mate. She wanted to run in there and hug her daughter but knew she couldn’t have any contact with her. It hurt to stay away.
“What, my heart?” asked Storm. He wrapped his arms around her as he watched the screen with her.
“The way her readings spiked when Kuarto asked about her bodyguard.” Heather gave him a bright smile. “She’s attracted to him.”
“Who is he?”
“I don’t know, but I plan on finding out.” She turned back to the screen.
* * *
Sam slid off the bed just as Skye walked back into the room.
“So, we’re done?” He looked at the doctor.
“For now.” Kuarto looked at Sam, even though Skye was the one who spoke. “I’ll call you back in when I’m ready for the next phase.”
“Thank you.” She tucked a stray piece of her golden blonde hair behind an ear before she could draw up the courage to look at Skye. “Are you ready, Mr. Latimer?”
“Please, call me Skye.” He said it softly, but the recording system picked it up. “Carlos is eager for us to return so you can finish with the arrangements for this evening.”
“Of course.” She walked out of the medical center with Skye right behind her. Once they were out of earshot, she turned to find him inches from her. “Must you follow me so closely?”
“I like the view.” He took that moment to look at her from head to toe.
He kept saying little things like that. Things that made her angry, frustrated, and aroused all at the same time, but she didn’t like losing control, so she always fought the anger that bubbled up inside her. The frustration she pushed down deep inside. Sam wasn’t quite sure what to do with the arousal. She straightened her shoulders and walked a little faster.
“Now I really like the view.”
She growled in frustration. “Please stop.”
“What? Is there a little crack in that non-feeling shield you’ve wrapped around yourself?”
“Tell me, Mr. Latimer. How would you handle waking up one day and not remembering a thing about yourself?” She took a deep breath and fought for control once again. “The only way anyone was sure of my name was because of this necklace.” She pulled the chain so he could see the small medallion with the name Samantha engraved on it. “Don’t you think you’d need to feel in control when your world was spiraling out of control? I’m sorry if I don’t scream and yell, but I’m afraid if I start, I won’t stop.”
Skye studied her face but didn’t say a word. He unlocked their private transport and opened the door for her. Once they were secure, he headed back to the Mason mansion.
* * *
Skye stood in his room, staring into the mirror. He had been a bit of an ass with Sam, but he needed to see what type of person she was. He knew she had been placed here by the government and her job was to try to get some proof that Carlos Mason wasn’t as clean as he pretended. At least that was what they told her, but they knew her lack of memory would be a perfect target for Carlos. If Mason was going to do what the government expected, she would end up as a patsy somehow. Skye had been sent by Admiral Barrister to keep that from happening. Sam’s safety was paramount. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to keep her safe yet, but he always got the job done.
When he was assigned to be her personal guard after the fake attack he orchestrated, Skye wanted to jump for joy. He had set it up, hoping he would be put closer to her, but he never thought Mason would assign him as her guard.
The admiral had painted her as an innocent, but what he found confused him. She had backbone and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Sam also kept her feelings locked inside. People could say things to her that would anger someone else, she would blink a few times then turn on her heel and walk away. That was the sign of a very good undercover agent.
It had him wondering about her loyalties. Who did she really work for? Tonight, he would push her enough to learn the truth.
The affair this evening was a formal one and Carlos requested that he wear a tux. He adjusted the bowtie and stepped out of his room. He was to escort Samantha to the main hall so everyone could be inspected before they all got to work.
Her door slid open when he crossed the sensors. She must have set the command for the doors to allow him entrance. He stepped in, not sure if he should have. “Samantha?”
She popped her head around a corner. “Oh! I’m not quite ready.”
“I’ll wait.” He looked around her room. Very stark. There was nothing that showed she lived here. No personal items at all. He found it odd. Even if she had no memory.
He heard her groan. “Problem?”
“No.” She paused for a moment. “Yes. I can’t get this dress to close properly.”
“Do you need help?”
She stepped into the room and his heart stopped for a second or two. She was breathtaking. Velvet in texture, the deep purple dress accentuated her lovely violet eyes. The strapless gown hugged her form, showing all her wonderful curves. It took him a moment before he noticed the issue she had with the dress. “Turn around.”
She presented her back and he found why the seals weren’t closing all the way. She couldn’t reach them properly.
“I guess my arms just aren’t long enough.” She made a few gestures to prove her point.
“Make sure you have the bodice where you want it.” He stepped up to her, a soft scent filling his nostrils. The temptation to touch the soft skin exposed to him was too much, and he allowed his fingers to slide up her spine as he closed the seals properly. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do because all he could think of was the silky smoothness of her skin and how badly he wanted to touch it again. It took a lot of willpower for him to step back. “All done.”
“Thank you.” She looked frightened. Not sure if she was doing the right thing. An agent would lock their emotions away all the time. Professionalism wouldn’t allow them to let anything to show. Perhaps she was an innocent.
She stepped up to her mirror and pulled on the top of the dress to make sure everything was where it should be.
Skye couldn’t help but notice the dress was so different from the plain clothes she normally wore. Her garments for work were professional suits and always blue. She must have read that blue was the proper color somewhere and didn’t understand she could waiver the color and design from time to time.
Sam wore no jewelry except for her necklace. She toyed with it for a moment before looking at him in the mirror. “I’m not sure it goes with the dress.”
“If it gives you comfort, then wear it, but the gown is a jewel on you, so you don’t need anything else.”
A soft smile spread across her lips, and she undid the clasp. She placed it on the dresser under the mirror.
“Ready?” He was going to have a hard time keeping his hands to himself tonight and he had planned to push her so he could be sure which side she was on. How would she react?
“Almost.” She picked up her pad and made sure her communicator was on. He watched as she pressed something behind her ear and connected with security. She spoke to the head guard at the door, finding out who had already arrived and what she needed to catch up on.
“So how did you rate that thing?” Skye tapped the communicator he had in his pocket. He didn’t have an insert like hers.
“I explained to Mr. Mason I couldn’t function without one and he agreed.” She smoothed the front of her dress and headed to the door. It opened for her, and she stepped out to a quiet hallway. Her whole demeanor shifted the moment she walked out of her room. Her shields went up, locking the hint of emotion he had seen away.
Skye now understood she put on a whole different personality when she wasn’t in the safety of her room. It was a defense mechanism for her. The admiral had faith in her and he could see why. This ability to lock away her emotions made her perfect for the job.
She walked to the kitchen and was pleased to see everything flowing properly. She passed out the proper compliments and moved on, happy with the way things were moving. “Time to see how the boss likes everything.”
“He’s getting ready to do his normal speech at the top of the stairs.” Skye gestured for her to walk in front of him.
“Perhaps I should wait for him to finish.” She slowed her steps.
“I don’t think so.” Skye looked at his communicator. “He’s asking where you are.”
Sam swallowed before she stepped out where he could see her.
“There she is.” He lifted his glass. “To Samantha. This wonderful woman put this whole evening together. Without her, none of this would have been possible.” A waiter brought her a glass of champagne so she could toast as well. Her cheeks turned a faint pink. A soft thank you escaped her lips, but before he could force her to say anything, Samantha had received a call and she was off.
Skye was pretty sure Carlos was happy she didn’t say a word. He liked taking the credit for all the hard work other people did to make him look good. Having to honor her at all normally went against his nature, but obviously people had asked him who was in charge because they knew he wouldn’t have lowered himself to make sure everything ran so smoothly.
Sam strode into the kitchen to find the head chef frantic once more. She paused for a moment before she spoke. “People are raving about the food.”
“Thank you.” He yelled at a couple of his assistants when they made a minor infraction.
“Is there a problem?”
“I am sorry, yes. My wife has been rushed to the hospital and has been asking for me. The doctors have already addressed her ailment and she can leave in the morning, but she doesn’t like being there all alone.” He looked at her. “I wish I could be there for her.”
Sam frowned. “Most of the food has been served, hasn’t it? All that is left is the cake and then making sure the guests have more hors d’oeuvres to nibble on?”
“Yes. And my Sues chef is very capable. He can handle anything extra you need.”
“Knowing Mr. Mason, he will want to thank you when the cake is brought out. Once that is done, you may go. Hopefully, nothing will happen to get us in trouble.”
“Thank you. My wife will be very relieved.”
Sam nodded and headed out to the main dining area. She stayed to the edge of the room, trying to be discreet. The diners were working on the main course. From the smiles she saw, they were enjoying the food. It didn’t take long before the waiters started to remove the empty plates. She sent the signal to bring the cake in.
Just as she expected, Mason looked for the chef and made a big deal of his wonderful food and how he hoped everyone would enjoy the cake. Sam found her mind zipping forward to what needed to be done to make sure Mr. Mason didn’t know his head chef had left before he gave him permission. She was sure she could work it out but wasn’t sure how.
Sam had a bit of a headache beginning but chose to ignore it for the time being. Once they made it through the next few hours, she’d take something.
* * *
Heather smiled at her friend. “Hello, Bear.”
“Heather, how’s my girl?” He grinned when he saw her face.
“Good. Back in town for a few weeks and thought I’d give you a call.”
“I know better.” He steepled his fingers as he leaned back in his chair. “You want something, so spit it out.”
She had to laugh. He knew her too well. “Okay. I’ll get right to it. I wanted to know what you know about a Skye Latimer.”
“Never heard of him.” He started messing with a few things on his desk. “Why?”
“Oh, heard his name being bantered about, and Storm wanted to hire me a bodyguard while we’re here.” She gave him another smile. “You know how overprotective he can be. Perhaps you could send Storm a list of recommendations?”
“I’ll see what I can do for you.” He started typing on his keyboard. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll send it over.”
“Thanks.” Heather cut communication.
“So, he doesn’t know anything about the man?”
“Oh, he does. He just couldn’t talk about it.” Heather turned to look at Storm. “In the past, when we’ve asked about someone, what has he normally done? He would pull whatever data he had up on his system. This time, he didn’t touch it. If the man wasn’t deep undercover and Bear was his commander, he would have sent us a file.”
A small icon blinked at the bottom of the screen. Storm pointed to it. “Well, whatever it is he wants us to see seems to have arrived.”
* * *
Sam sat at the bar. The evening was over and a great success. There were still a few guests milling around, but Mr. Mason had left. He congratulated her once again and gave her a kiss on the cheek before he went off with some pretty young woman.
Sam held a glass of wine in one hand. All she had to do was a few last-minute things before she could go to bed but had to wait until the last guest left. Her head had started throbbing about an hour ago and she rubbed her forehead absentmindedly.
“Headache?” asked the bartender.
“Yeah.” She smiled as she lowered her hand and wrapped it around the stem of her glass. “I swear it’s the champagne.”
“There’s a bottle of pills under the counter back here. They take a little more time than the shots from a medlab but when you can’t get there, they do the job.” He pointed to the cabinet. “Check there.”
She walked around the counter and found two bottles. “Which one?”
“There is more than one?” He was at the other end of the bar, putting bottles up. “The one I’m talking about was a white bottle with a blue label.”
Sam pulled them both out and held them up. “They’re identical.”
“Walter must have gotten another bottle.” He turned his head to look at the two bottles. “The other one was getting a little low. Just take it out of either of them.”
She shrugged and popped off the lid. Taking two of the tablets, she placed them on her tongue and swallowed. Taking them dry wasn’t the tastiest way to do it, but they did go down. “How long will it take?”
“I don’t know.” He continued working on closing down the bar. “About half an hour?”
“Thanks.” A quick all-clear came through her ear insert. She left the wine on the counter and started her final rounds. The cleanup crew would be done soon, once the dishes were ready for pick up, along with the linens, tables, chairs, and whatever else she had rented for the night. The pills might just start working just as she got to bed. She should have waited until everything was done then go by a local lab to get a shot.
Skye had been busy himself. She hadn’t seen him in about twenty minutes.
Walking around a corner, she found herself a little off balance. She bounced against the wall before recovering. Sam looked around to see if anyone saw her. Thank goodness the hallway was empty. She straightened her shoulders and continued.
* * *
Where the hell was Samantha? Skye didn’t step away from her for that long. He was sure of it. He had to answer another call from Mason and when he came back, she was still there, sitting at the bar. He felt it was safe to run a quick errand and couldn’t have been gone longer than a few minutes. Where could she have gone?
She might not have been aware of him, but he always had her in his sights.
Mason requested he go to security to make sure all the guests found their way home. If they couldn’t make it themselves, the guards were to arrange transportation for them. Mr. Mason wanted his friends to make it home safe and sound, and he needed to make sure it happened.
When he stepped back into the bar area she was gone. The wine glass she had been drinking rested on the counter.
“Where did Samantha go?”
“I don’t know. I think she mentioned something about making last rounds, so she was sure everything would be ready for the rental company to pick up.” The bartender didn’t look up from what he was doing, only pointed.
Skye found it odd that a man like Carlos didn’t use a replicator to create everything needed for the party. He was pretty sure the man could afford one. It sure would make this a lot easier. Instead of renting and making sure everything went back to the company, all they would have to do after the party would be to turn everything back into atoms. Perhaps Sam wasn’t aware of the machine and never thought to ask.
He headed in the direction the bartender had pointed. The halls were empty. Most of the staff had done their work and had headed home. Skye wondered where she was. He would have thought she was in the ballroom, but the place was empty. Then he heard her.
Sam never talked out loud to herself. Not like this.
“Skye?” She kind of bounced around the corner to where he could see her. There was something wrong with the way she was carrying herself. “Where have you been?”
“Went to speak to security to make sure the last of the guests make it home.” He watched her. “You okay?”
“I’m hot. Do you think it’s hot here?” She came up to him and he could see the glassy look in her eyes.
“No. The temperature is perfect, like it always is.”
She started fanning herself. “I can’t believe how hot it is.” She turned her back, lost her balance and fell into him. “Can you undo the back? I need to cool down.”
Skye’s arms wrapped around her waist to help her keep her balance. He looked down and wished he hadn’t. The soft swell of her breasts begged for his touch. Somehow, she had loosened some of the seals near the top of the dress, so he got to see a lot more flesh than the dress originally exposed. A soft pink nipple tried to peek out of one of the cups.
“Perhaps we should get you to your room?” What had she taken? He knew she hadn’t drunk that much.
“Not done yet.” She looked up at him, studying his face intently. “You know you have the prettiest eyes. I just love the blue-grey color.”
“Whatever you need to do can wait until the morning.” Ignoring her comment about his eyes, he helped her straighten up, giving her top a quick tug up as he let go.
“Nope. Need to be sure I have all my little duckies in a row.” She pointed to the ground like she was counting something. “Aren’t they cute?”
“Oh, don’t do that.” She stepped up to him and ran her fingers along his brow. Sam looked at him with such innocence and wonder. Her gaze dropped to his lips.
Skye wasn’t sure who moved first, but the moment her lips touched his he found he couldn’t break the kiss and just walk away, which was what he should have done. The desire he had to taste her had plagued him all night. That dress had him seeing her in a totally different light. Now here she was, ready and willing. So much for professional distance.
He felt her hesitancy and took control. His tongue begged for entrance, searching for hers in the soft recesses of her mouth. Skye tightened his hold on her, pulling her body against his as he deepened the kiss. Their tongues danced together, and the intimacy had him wishing they were someplace private where he could show her what she was doing to him. The erection he had was pressed against her. She had to know how badly he wanted her.
When he finally lifted his head and opened his eyes, he saw the stark fear in her face and the silent plea for help. He picked her up in his arms and started down the hallway.
“Where are we going?” She tried to separate herself from him so she could walk on her own.
“You are going to your room, and I am going to find out what you took to cause this.” He tightened his hold on her so she couldn’t escape.
“But I’m not done with my checklist.”
“Then give me the list and I’ll be sure it is done.” There was no way he was going to put her down. She could get into too much trouble.
“Okay.” Her face held such trust as she looked around. “So what did I do with that list?”
“When did you last have it?”
“Um, I think at the bar, but most of it is here.” She tapped her head. Sam started rattling off the things she wanted to be sure were done.
“So all I need to do is make sure the tables and chairs are stacked, the linens are in the special bins, along with the plates and silverware?” Everything else was already assigned to different people. She was going to double-check to make sure they did their jobs.
As she spoke, Skye continued to carry her to her room. The door opened the moment he approached it. “How do you have the sensors set up on your door?”
He’d have to fix that. Skye placed her on her bed. “I’ll be right back.”
“Don’t leave me.” She scrambled off the bed. “I need you.”
“What if I,” he pulled her into his embrace once again, “were to promise to come back?” He pressed a row of slow wet kisses down her neck. He sucked on some of the velvety smooth skin as he worked his way down her throat. “And give you what you want?”
“I would like that.” Her voice was breathless.
“Then I need you to stay here and wait for me. I promise to make it worth your while.” He captured her lips with his once again, and her knees gave out. Skye released the top of the dress, wishing he could caress the creamy silkiness he revealed but knew better. He did it so she could climb out of the gown while he was gone. As much as he wanted her, he hoped whatever she took would make her feel drowsy and he’d find her sound asleep when he got back.
He placed her back on the bed and walked out before she could stop him a second time. He pulled out his communicator and reprogrammed her door so it would only open for him. To call it a communicator was a joke. It did so much more, but he kept a lot of the extra features to himself.
Skye headed to the bar. The bartender was just finishing up when he walked in. “Samantha is looking for her pad. Did she leave it in here?”
“Yeah. I just put it under the bar.” He was placing the glassware against the mirror the way Mr. Mason wanted them arranged. “Did she get rid of her headache?”
“Yeah. She was complaining of a headache, so I recommended she take a few of the tablets kept under the bar. Thought it would help her until she could go to a medlab.”
“She didn’t mention a headache, so I guess they worked. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll take a couple too.” Skye walked around the bar and spotted the two bottles under the counter. The first one had regular tablets in them. He recognized the color and size, but the second one had something different mixed in. Someone who didn’t know the difference could easily take the wrong thing. He palmed all the ones that were different and slipped them into his pocket to see if he could come up with an antidote.
“Help yourself.” The bartender didn’t realize what was in the bottles or he wouldn’t have let anyone near them.
“Thanks. I got her pad too.” Skye did the rounds Sam had started, making sure everything was done the way she asked. Once he finished that, he headed to his room. Taking the pills out of his pocket, he placed one on the face of his communicator and waited for the results.
“An aphrodisiac?” He had lots of antidotes in his emergency pack, but he wasn’t sure if he had anything to counteract a love drug. Why were those under the counter in the first place? Skye hit a few keys and waited for the side effects of the drug to load. He shook his head when they did. Sure did explain her behavior.
The pill would wear off in a few hours, but her desire for sex wouldn’t. This could be a problem. His mind could say no all it wanted, but his body had a tendency to have a mind of its own when it came to willing partners.
The best thing to do would be to sedate her if she was still awake until she was out from under the influence of the drug. As much as he would like to take advantage, he knew there would be hell to pay once she had a clear head.
* * *
Sam wasn’t quite sure what was wrong with her, but she had never felt so free. From the moment she opened her eyes and realized she had no clue who she was, she had been afraid. First, it was the fear of not knowing anything about herself, then the fear of what she might learn if she did get her memory back. What if she had seen some hideous crime? Or murdered someone?
Now the fear was gone, replaced by these weird little butterflies in her stomach. She felt excited, but not sure why. Every time she thought about Skye coming back those butterflies took flight.
He had been kind enough to loosen the top seals so she could get out of the formal gown. Now she stood in her room naked, trying to figure out what she should wear to greet him when he returned. Most of what she had was standard sleepwear. Nothing she felt would work for what she wanted.
There was a spark in his eyes she had never noticed before and it had shown up the moment he saw her in that dress. That spark grew to a flame as the evening progressed. It had her thinking about her attraction to him in a different light for the first time.
Her body had been reacting to him since she met him, and she had always fought it, but now she didn’t want to. Maybe the best thing to do was to face her desire. Once she got it out of her system, she could ignore him.
Those two pills had done more than give her relief from her headache. Now she had to convince Skye it wasn’t something she took that caused this change in her. Before he had left, she could tell he thought something was wrong with her and it wouldn’t take much for him to find out about the tablets.
Sam ended up climbing into bed naked and used the cover to give her a little bit of a shield. She plucked at the thin material, hoping he would show up before her resolve failed her.
* * *
Skye had the hypo in his pocket. Hopefully, he wouldn’t have to administer it. Maybe she was already asleep and all he would have to do was tuck her in. He manually opened the door and found the lights low. Samantha was curled up on the bed, eyes closed. Her dress lay across a chair in a corner.
A soft sigh escaped him. A part of him had hoped she’d still be awake, but this was better for them both.
The blanket covered most of her, but the bare shoulder that peeked out warned him of her state of undress. All it would take would be one wrong move and he would see her body, and as much as he would love to see it, it would cause him too much trouble.
“Took you long enough.” She stretched, causing the cover to slip just a bit. Now he could see the swell of her breast as well. This wasn’t good. His desire for her was starting to take over.
“Sorry. But I wanted to be sure you were happy with everything tomorrow.” He felt his mouth go dry. All he had to do was grab the cover and give it a little tug. It took all his strength to keep him from doing that. “I have your pad.”
“Just place it on the nightstand.” She lightly tapped the table beside her bed. Sam secured the blanket and sat up. “You don’t seem happy.”
He schooled his features as he sat on the edge of the bed. “I found out what you took accidentally.”
She looked into his eyes. He knew his desire for her showed on his face. No matter what he said she knew he wanted her and that made her smile. “And what was it?”
“An aphrodisiac. Not one I have heard of, but pretty harmless. It should be leaving your system in an hour or two.”
“It’s pretty much gone now.” She watched him intently. “Sure made me act crazy earlier. Was that what made me so hot? I wanted out of that dress so bad, if you hadn’t come along, I don’t know what would have happened.”
Her words had an odd effect on him. He frowned like he didn’t like what she said.
“Glad that didn’t happen.” His voice came out flat. He didn’t mean to sound jealous but couldn’t help himself. The thought of someone else touching her angered him.
“Now. If I remember, you made a promise to me.” She relaxed her hold on the cover a little. A soft smile played across her lips when his eyes dipped down to the flesh she exposed.
“You were under the influence of a drug.”
“Which has no hold on me now.” She got up on her knees, and keeping the blanket around her, she placed her hands against the seal of his shirt. Slowly easing it open, she kept eye contact with him.
“Yes?” She slid her fingers over his muscled chest.
“I only said that to keep you in your room.”
“I know.” She never broke eye contact as her hand moved down his chest to his erection. It jumped at her touch. “Yet your body wants this, too.”
* * *
“You are very beautiful.” Skye did want her, but the drug in her system was the one doing all the talking, not her, and he had to remember that. If he took advantage, she would probably hate him in the morning. His hands pressed her back against the mattress so he could hold her down with his weight. With his body resting so intimately against hers, it took him a few seconds before he remembered what he needed to do, and he dipped his hand into his pocket. Before he could put the small cylinder against her throat, she pressed a hand against his.
“Don’t.” She looked up at him with bright, clear eyes.
“You’re not thinking straight.” He brushed a strand of hair out of her face.
“I have never been so sure about something in my life, and you can say whatever you want, but I can see your desire for me in your eyes. I can feel it pressing against me. What do I have to say to get you to make love to me?” One of her legs came out from under the cover to wrap around his hip.
His hand wrapped around the calf, slowly working its way up the inside of her leg, caressing the tender skin of her thigh before sweeping in between to find her center wet and ready for him. He gently stroked her. “You do realize it won’t just be this one time? Once I’m intimate with you, I’ll want it again and again. You won’t be able to ignore me when I need you. As long as we’re working together, I will expect you to be my bed partner and when I’m reassigned, I will walk away. No ties, no emotions, just sex.”