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by Lia Sebastian
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: When Chloe Wilson enters her apartment building, she doesn't expect to see ex-lover Sean Harris, the man who left her six months before. She doesn't know why he's back, and she doesn't waste time wondering--until they get stuck in a malfunctioning elevator. Suddenly Chloe has nothing but time. Sean didn't plan for the elevator to break down, but he's not going to waste time wondering what happened. He'll take advantage of it, because his return is no coincidence. He wants Chloe back and will do whatever it takes to convince her to let him back in her life.
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press,
eBookwise Release Date: June 2007
16 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [48 KB]
Reading time: 29-40 min.
"I loved the humor, characters and small tight plot. The writing was excellent .... I especially enjoyed the heat and interaction between the two main characters. Lia Sebastian wrote an excellent story that I wholeheartedly recommend. I wanted more. 4.5 Flags!"-EuroReviews
Chloe Wilson ran to the elevator as the doors began to close. "Hold the elevator!" Missing it meant being stuck in the lobby for at least ten minutes. The superintendent should get them fixed. There were six elevators, and all of them moved slower than a bad blind date. Yesterday, the door had shut right in her face. She'd already waited for an elevator twice this week and didn't want to do it again.
Today, luck was with her. The sliding elevator doors stopped abruptly, then jerked open. "Oh, thank you," she said, stepping inside.
Oh, God. Maybe she wasn't lucky. She knew that deep, rich voice. It almost made her get off the elevator and wait for the next one. She could take the stairs. Fifteen flights weren't too bad. It'd only take ... much too long to climb. Her calves hurt just thinking about it. Plus her stomach was doing flip-flops at the sight of him, something that wouldn't make a trip up the stairs any easier. That left one option--staying in the elevator with the voice.
She'd heard it for the first time about a year ago, when he'd consulted at her office on a minor work project. They'd worked together only two weeks, but his voice had captivated her. She hadn't hesitated to say yes when he asked her to dinner. Within months, she'd fallen in love. First, with the voice, then with the man it belonged to.
"Hi." She turned to face him. He looked wonderful--tall, lean, and muscled--in worn jeans and a black T-shirt. His brown hair was longer than the last time she'd seen him. Why did she still want to melt when she looked at him? It made her want to scream in sheer frustration.
His shirt clung to his chest and abs, bringing back memories of buying him T-shirts when they'd been together. Sean collected T-shirts and had more than a dozen of them. The first time she'd bought him one, he'd grinned, put it on, and modeled it for her. Later, she'd slowly taken it off him, and they'd made love on the couch.
Now, after months of missing his smile, missing him, Sean was back. What had she done to deserve this? Why did he still look irresistible?
Chloe inhaled sharply. Time to stop thinking about his body. Besides, it was only a body--everyone had one. So what, if Sean had the best one she'd ever seen? There was absolutely nothing wrong with looking. Besides, she doubted any woman could stop herself from looking. Touching was what she had to worry about. As long as she didn't touch him, she was fine.
She met his gaze. See? Looking was fine, just fine. She would think of him as a ... a statue. Or some other piece of art she could appreciate on a purely aesthetic level. She'd taken art appreciation classes in college--she'd seen dozens of statues, many of them erotic. After seeing them, she should be able to view Sean with complete indifference.
Yes, just call her Chloe, the indifferent.
But looking at him made her remember the good times--the gentle way he'd treated her when she had the flu. He'd been incredibly sweet, bringing her soup and tucking her in bed. When being buried under a mountain of blankets hadn't taken away her chills, he'd climbed into bed with her.
She thought about how turned on she'd been the first time she discovered he didn't wear underwear. And how happy she was the first time she woke up with him sleeping beside her. She still cherished the memory of his arms wrapped tightly around her while he slept, as if holding her close was not only pleasurable, but necessary.
She remembered all those things now, as she looked into Sean's brown eyes--eyes that reminded her of chocolate.
She never could resist chocolate.
"How are you?" he asked.
"Fine." What was she supposed to say? Long time no see? I've thought about you every day since you left? Seeing you again makes my heart pound?
"Are you still on the fifteenth floor?"
"Huh? Oh, yes."
Sean pushed the button for floor fifteen. No other buttons were lit. Hmmm. Who was he going to see? She wanted to know, but she could barely bring herself to look at him. She wasn't sure she could ask him a question without wanting to yell at him.
"It's good to see you." He crossed his arms over his chest, drawing her attention to his biceps. Those same arms had caged her five seconds after she'd walked in the door when returning from a four-day business trip. Five seconds after that, he'd kissed her senseless.
"You look great," he said now.
So do you. "Thanks." Though she wasn't sure it was such a compliment. She had probably looked terrible the last time he'd seen her, the day he'd said goodbye.
Chloe was no novice to relationships, but she didn't usually think long term. When she started seeing Sean, she'd done it with her usual thought of enjoying the time with him while it lasted, and then moving on. After six months with him, she'd known she wanted more, had let herself want more. She'd begun to hope that what they had wouldn't be another in an endless string of short-term relationships. Sean had shattered her hopes with one short sentence ... I can't stay.
Remembering the agony of that moment made her stomach tighten painfully.
A quick glance told her he was watching her closely. His focus was one of the things she'd loved about him. It was time to stop fooling herself--she wasn't indifferent to him. Far from it. She was better off not even looking at the man. She turned away from him as the elevator doors closed with a soft, hollow thud, shutting her inside with the one man she had loved ... and lost.
Sean couldn't take his eyes off her.
God, he'd missed her, even more than he realized. Just seeing her made his heart feel as if it might pound out of his chest. She was beautiful and amazing.
She also didn't want to talk to him.
He struggled not to show his disappointment. Her response was worse than he'd anticipated. On the way to her apartment building, he had convinced himself that he was prepared for her reaction. He knew she wouldn't leap into his arms and welcome him back into her life. At the very least, she'd expect him to grovel.
She'd surprised him, much like she had the first time he'd seen her. He'd walked into a conference room at her office and been struck speechless by her smile and her laugh. He hadn't been able to do anything but shake her hand. Only after the first charged moment, when he'd touched her hand and felt an instant connection, was he finally able to talk to her and make conversation.
Now he felt speechless again. He had underestimated Chloe. She didn't expect him to grovel. In fact, the cold expression on her face and her clipped responses made it clear she didn't want anything from him. Groveling would be several steps up the list of things she wanted him to do.
He had known their reunion wouldn't be easy. He hadn't known seeing her turn her back on him would be like watching the collapse of his dreams.
Sean wouldn't let his dreams die, not without trying to do something about it. After months of being without her, of waking up alone, he was in the same room with her--if an elevator qualified as a room. Either way, she stood less than four feet in front of him. Chloe.
They might as well have been hundreds of miles apart. She had barely looked at him since entering the elevator; he'd caught only a glimpse of her light blue eyes. It took all his self control to keep from touching her, from taking her into his arms and begging her to look at him. He wanted to touch her curly black hair, which still fell several inches past her shoulders. A yellow tank top and slim black pants covered the body he knew was lush in all the right places.
She glanced at him over her shoulder, and turned away quickly when she saw he was looking. Her rigid stance and the way she stared at the elevator doors reminded him of a mannequin. It didn't matter--she still turned him on. His dick had come to life when he heard her call for the elevator. The damn thing wanted to say hello. Shit. Another second and it would wave.
Staring at her ass wasn't helping matters. She had a great curved ass--one he knew she thought was too big. He loved it. He wanted to touch it again. He wanted to touch her again. He wanted Chloe again.
But first, he had to get her to talk to him.
He took a deep breath. "Do you still work at Stanwood Enterprises?"
The elevator shrieked and slowly began to ascend.
She didn't look at him, simply kept her gaze focused on the elevator doors. "Yes."
"How's it going?"
Since when did she give one-syllable responses? He rubbed two fingers against the side of his forehead. "You get promoted yet?"
The yes or no questions obviously weren't working. Maybe it was time to switch to essay or multiple choice. He walked forward and put a hand on her arm. "Chloe--"
"Don't," she snapped, taking a step away from him.
"I'm sorry." He held up his hands in surrender. "I just want to talk to you."
She crossed her arms over her chest. "Fine. Talk."
The elevator jerked to a stop with a screech. The elevators in this building had always been slow, but this one sounded as if it were in serious need of repair. "OK. Will you look at me?"
"I can listen to you without looking at you," she said, shrugging her shoulders as if to shrug him off.
Shit. This really wasn't going well. "All right. I'm sorry."
"You said that already."
"I'm not sorry only about upsetting you now. I'm sorry about the way I left things. For not explaining things better when I left."
Now she looked at him. Finally. But there was no warmth in her gaze. "What's to explain? We never made any promises. Either one of us could have ended things any time. You ended it first. Big deal."
It obviously was a big deal. "I want to talk about that."
She laughed, but the brittle sound made it clear she wasn't amused. "You want to talk. That's usually what women say." She turned away again. "It's too late. The expiration date on that discussion was six months ago when you moved out."
"I don't want to talk. Why isn't the door opening? Stupid--" She broke off when the small elevator light went out, surrounding them in complete darkness. "Damn it." Chloe started pounding on the door.
Holding his hands in front of him, Sean stepped forward until he felt her shoulders. "Hey." He squeezed her shoulders, relishing the feel of bare skin under his hands. She was already tense, but she stiffened. He wanted to give her a backrub the way he used to do. She was always tense at first, but he would keep rubbing her muscles until her body relaxed under his hands ... and this train of thought wasn't helping his dick stay in his pants. Maybe the darkness was a good thing.
"I want to get out of here."
"I don't think beating the doors will help." He eased her aside to get to the doors.
"Will they open?"
Sean tried to pry them apart, but he couldn't get his fingers between the doors, let alone open them. "Not enough leverage."
"What do we do now? I wonder if there's enough reception in here for my cell phone." He heard her start digging in her purse.
"Let's try this phone first." He ran his hands down the wall of the elevator until he felt the small emergency panel. It opened easily, and he picked up the phone inside. "Hello?"
There was a long pause before a voice asked, "You all right?"
"Yeah," Sean said, "but the doors won't open."
"It's a power outage. All of the elevators are having trouble. We're hoping to get you back up and running within two hours."
"That's a long time." But he didn't mind the wait. In fact, he might be able to make it work in his favor. Two hours might give him enough time to figure out what to say to Chloe, how to make her understand what he wanted.
"We've got people with claustrophobia in two other elevators; we'll get those running first. We'll call back once we start working on your car."
"OK, thanks." He hung up the phone.
"Who was it?" Chloe demanded. "What did they say?"
He explained the situation and heard her sigh.
"We're stuck," Sean repeated, leaning toward her. "Looks like we're going to be here a while. Ready to talk now?"