Upon reading Klarissa Archer’s scathing review of their latest performance, cellist Leonard Sanderson and violinist Marco Lambrosini have very different reactions. Leonard is filled with rage. Marco invites Klarissa for drinks. Pleased that she has upset the arrogant Sanderson Klarissa accepts Marco’s offer, unaware that he has something in mind for her, Leonard, velvet ropes and the bows of cello and violin. (M/F/M)
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Klarissa said through her teeth, “What is so interesting?”
“Well, I have read your other reviews, and while you are always… creative in your critique, this one made me wonder if this had anything to do with your unfortunate fall at the Bateman’s back in January.”
She blinked. “What?”
He went on. “Leonard can be quite cruel.”
“Yes. I handed you your handbag afterwards.”
Klarissa blinked, and she searched her memory for that happening. She didn’t… she remembered getting her bag back. Yes, she recalled that much, but… Shit.
“I’m sorry, I don’t—“
“No. But, I would imagine it is easy to forget the most boring man in classical music.”
His eyes fixed on hers, dark, not so much pissed-off as offended, deeply offended in the way that meant an affront to dignity rather than pride, and Klarissa felt something she rarely did: shame.
Quietly, and not quite able to look back at him, she said, “I perhaps have to eat those words now.”
Marco seemed to understand her attempt at apology. He nodded, and his fingers skirted the base of his finished glass.
Hurriedly, Klarissa said, “Let me get the next one.” She turned to beckon the bartender, when Marco sighed.
She looked back at him. “Are you all right?”
“I am. I was simply…” he reached out with the back of two fingers, didn’t touch her, but swept down the space a few inches before her throat. “You have a very elegant neck.”
His voice was soft, sensuous, the Italian tones stunning in the muted hum of the bar. She swallowed, and her skin flushed. It must have been the alcohol, the seriousness of his dark eyes, now liquid in the darkness and the glow of the light, for she was always wary of compliments. Yet Marco was so sincere, had been since he’d entered the bar.
Still, she said, “You flatterer.”
His fingers met her skin, gliding against it. “I say what I mean.” An edge entered his voice, and for the first time since knowing him did she ever hear anything like the promise of danger. The voice of a man who’d lift her skirt in the back of a taxi and make her come while he remained composed. A man who’d take her into the alleyway, make her press her palms to the bricks and tug her knickers aside, pushing his cock past them to penetrate her. Or a man who would tie her to the bed and kiss her neck—now beating with heavy pulses—until she begged him to do more, and he would not yield until she was thrashing against the constraints.