Georgiana Vale was moving at a brisk pace down the steep concrete stairs. Her shoulder length dark brown hair was up off her neck in a loose pony tail that had been all she had time for after a quick brush through. Her dark midnight blue eyes sparkled with nervous energy as she finally looked up from her feet to take in the sidewalk below her. She was late and making up for hitting the snooze button one too many times by moving with purpose now.
He caught her eye as soon as she stepped onto the last step of concrete that started and ended her daily walk to and from work. She was embarrassed to say she very nearly missed that last step, and she had been torturing herself with the walk up and down those stairs every day and night since she had moved into her shoe box apartment two years ago. Even with the daily hike, she had been lucky to find something she cold afford so close to the elementary school where she taught third grade. Walking was always preferable to driving in the convoluted and congested traffic that was everywhere in downtown San Francisco.
Right that moment with the mountain of a man walking her way up the steep San Francisco streets her daily cardio, or the job she was perilously close to being late for, were the last things on her mind. In fact, her mind seemed inclined to take a moment of silence just to appreciate what she was seeing.
Six feet four at least of twisted steel hard body. He had the kind of rugged good looks that socked a woman right in the libido. The man exuded sex and danger with a single look, and while she had to look at him, because there was just no way to look away, she also had the need to stay very still lest he notice her. It was the first time in her life she remembered reacting so strongly to any man, least of all a stranger on the street. The conflicting needs to both run from what she absolutely knew to her toes was a predator, and get as close as she could, were making it impossible for her to do anything but stay perfectly still and gawk at the man like an idiot.
She just stared while he came closer to her and she finally realized, regardless of her first impression, he was not handsome in the classic sense, too raw, too many hard edges. In fact, she wondered as he came ever closer, if his touchable mink dark hair was the only softness to him. He was certainly not pretty, as so many of the suave well-cut men of San Francisco were, and he was heads and shoulders above the fitness buffs that populated the area, quite literally as it happens. No one was anywhere near his height or...presence, was the only word she could think of. And he wore that dark gray suit as if it were armor he donned for battle.
She would be the first one to admit she had a bit of a wild imagination. By the time he was close enough for her to see his almost glacial green eyes she had conjured up all sorts of backgrounds for the man from organized crime to special forces on leave. When his eyes caught her standing there, no doubt looking very much like the timid prey she felt like, they lingered for only long enough to make her wonder if she had imagined that too, before they moved away. And she knew without a doubt that he was going to walk right past and she would never see him again.
A part of her was glad for it, because even with her flights of fancy she could not imagine this man was for her. But the other part... the part that wanted to move closer, the best way to describe that part of her and what she was feeling was the sudden need to throw her head back and howl with grief.
She sucked in a breath and realized it was the first she had taken for several minutes. She really needed to get a grip here. He was just a man, a stranger at that, and she had never in her life seen anyone that promised heartbreak more than him with his predatory green eyes and hard clenched jaw. If the man had ever smiled she would be very surprised.
Just as she had nearly convinced herself she did not want his attention anyway, it turned her way. Abruptly and shockingly he stopped one length past where she stood. His head lifted as if he scented something on the wind, right before he abruptly turned to face her. His head tipped down the other way taking her in. Those hardened predator eyes lasered in on her face and she could not help the loud gasp she made or the step back she took because suddenly all parts of her agreed: she definitely did not want him to notice her. Only he had, and she had no idea what to do about it now. Running, she knew in her bones, would be a mistake.
Waiting, as she was, to see what he was going to say now that she had his attention. Attention, she finally decided sensibly that she did not actually want. It was slowly dawning on her as the seconds clicked away that he was getting angry. It occurred to her belatedly that he might be trying to get to the stairs she was body blocking. She had no idea why he would need them as they basically led to the back of her apartment building, and quite frankly she could not imagine this man in those small postcard apartments, no matter how cute they were (or possibly because they were so cute). She moved to the side anyway, so that he could pass, wondering why he didn't just say 'excuse me', or more likely: 'move the fuck on'.
She knew why she wasn't speaking. The man was just that freaking hot. She could also not miss that even standing a step above him she had to look up to meet his eyes. Lord, he was big.
He did not walk by however. Instead he started to speak gibberish. "You give no recognition of rank to a First?" Though it must be said he did it in a deep dark chocolate voice that caused whatever blood was still free flowing to arrow directly to her nipples.
When he said nothing more, but looked more and more expectant and angry, Georgiana cleared her throat as daintily as she could, what with the boulder lodged there. "I'm not sure what you mean by that." She licked her dry lips and regretted it the minute she did because his eyes went there immediately and flared just slightly.
When they finally moved back to meet her eyes again it felt like a soft blow of power. Yes, he was definitely getting angry.
She could see the temper in eyes that suddenly flashed and ...well...flickered for want of a better word. It made her blink and wonder again at her own imagination because she could swear she just saw his green eyes flash almost copper hazel with his anger. She figured it was a trick of the light, but the temper behind those eyes was real and completely focused on her. She just had no idea why.
"Use your nose puppy and give me your submission or you force me to take it." He seemed to growl a bit then, as if she was being deplorably rude. "No matter your station you are not above the courtesies. Even Raoul will not dispute my rights here."
Georgiana had just about enough of that and decided placating the big scary hot, possibly crazy man, was her best choice.
"I'm sorry," she said stepping carefully down the stair keeping as much distance as she could from the man blocking her path. "Not sure who you think I am, or what my nose has to do with anything, but I don't know a Raoul and you obviously have me mistaken for someone who has a station." She had to force herself not to air quote the word station, no sense getting snarky at this stage, she had a feeling he would not take it well.
She took another step away, looking around as best she could while keeping the large man in her sights. She was not even going to touch his submission statement, because...huh?
She was wearing jeans and a red cashmere sweater under her leather jacket that allowed ease of movement. More importantly her shoes were tennis shoes so running was doable if it became necessary. It was a beautiful fall day in San Francisco so there were enough people on the street that she knew she was not really in danger. On the other hand, she didn't see anyone with a cattle prod or anything else that could take on the man that was starting to look less angry and more puzzled, and well...shocked was the best word she could come up with for the dawning realization in his eyes that she just did not get.
"You don't know Raoul?"
Something in his voice had her attention snapping back to him. She shook her head. "Nope. Never met the man, so if..."
"You have no First?" he said, interrupting her with a snap that had her head pulling back a little and her eyes widening.
"No," she said slowly now, not sure if honesty was the way to go. "No First, or second for that matter, I don't know Raoul, or you sooo...I'm going to go." She was backing up even as she spoke, faster when he came right along with her.
She thought she was going to make it until he moved too fast for her to dodge and took hold of her upper arm in a grip that, while it did not hurt, she knew it had no give. She tried anyway, pulling back and trying to reclaim her arm. In another quick move that drew a gasp from her lips he yanked her right into that hard body and buried his nose in her neck.
Her brain had just made the decision to scream her head off when he growled and ran his nose over her sensitive neck nearly to her nape so that she could feel his hair brush against her cheek and ear. The sound of his growl, the feel of him against her skin and his wild scent that made her think of dark nights and wild sex had the scream arresting in her throat. Her head fell back and she... well, she moaned. A sound she was sure had never come from her throat before.
Then teeth clamped down on her neck and her legs gave out as the pleasure pain of it seemed to echo through her like a bell tolling. She did not even think about fighting the stranger as he put one arm behind her faltering legs and the other around her back to lift her into his arms. When he started to stomp off with her in his arms like a prize of battle he had claimed she managed a very feeble "wait," which he ignored.
The last thing she heard before her body just seemed to shut down on her was a one-word command from that dark chocolate voice: "Sleep."
And God help her that was exactly what she did.