“Andie, Baby,” Drake tapped on the door of his master bath, “You alright in there?”

“Yes,” came the pouting response, then a sulky whisper, “Party pooper.”

“Party Pooper?” His lips tilted up. He’d been awarded the title while carrying her up the stairs to his master bath, when he’d caught her hands as they attempted to unbutton his shirt. That he’d softened his, “Uh-uh, naughty girl,” by kissing her fingers before wrapping them around his neck, didn’t help a bit. She’d been in a sexy little huff ever since and damn, it made him hot. Before this night was over he expected to prove the theory of spontaneous human combustion.

The door swung open, “Party. Pooper.” She sniffed, trying for haughty. She wasn’t even close. Standing, or rather swaying in front of him in one of his tee-shirts, her hair all over the place. She looked like she’d just been well fucked and was ready for another round. So haughty? No. Sweet little sex kitten ready to play? Abso-fucking-lutely.

Assuring himself that while excruciating his record breaking case of blue balls would not kill him, he scooped his kitten up off the floor, carried her over and gently lay her on the bed, pulling a silk spread over her that wasn’t nearly so soft as the temptation he was hiding beneath it. She snuggled down with a sleepy little hum of pleasure he swore slipped right down his spine and wrapped around his dick.

Excruciating. Not lethal.

Kicking off his shoes, he climbed in beside her fully clothed and on top of the spread, keeping as many layers between them as possible, and pulled her into his arms, because…. well…  just damn well because he wanted to. Then her hand slid up his chest to lay at his neck, her fingers idly tickling behind his ear, and he decided he must have hidden leanings toward masochism.

Tucking her head under his chin, he buried his hand in hair that glowed like burnished copper and slid through his fingers like satin, “Sleep, sweet girl.”

“Don’t want to.” she shook her head, but he could feel her body relaxing against him. This is what he was hoping for, that her need for sleep would override the effects of the drug, and thank fuck, he was right. Her breathing evened out and the hand that had been driving him crazy tickling behind his ear went limp. He took that hand in his, absently brushing his thumb across her knuckles and resigned himself to a sleepless night, hoping with everything in him sleeping beauty would stay asleep.

What the fuck?” Ivan came awake with a shout. He’d dozed off and sleeping beauty was awake and… “Shit!”

Andie had somehow gotten his pants unzipped and was working his boxers off with amazing dexterity for someone who wasn’t capable of standing up on her own. Grabbing her waist, he yanked her off his crotch and set about the business of stuffing his dick, which had swelled to Guinness world record proportions, back inside his pants. Andie, the sex kitten, however, had other ideas. Taking full advantage of his distraction, she crawled back on top of him, straddling his body. And that was how his hand, in the process of zipping up his pants, accidentally and yes dammit, it was accidentally, brushed up against very warm, very wet, very naked female flesh. ”Oh, Fuck!” Tossing her off, he jumped from the bed like it was on fire and looked down to see a very put out Andie struggling to push her hair out of her face, his tee shirt hiked up around her waist and…. Oh, holy mother of God!

Myranda Chase, where are your panties?”

It was the longest night of his life. After retrieving Andie’s panties from the bathroom, he tossed them at her along with a pair of sweat pants with a curt, “Put these on.” He then headed to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. Dozing off was dangerous.

By the time the sun was rising over the Potomac he’d gulped down two full pots. Seated on the sofa with Andie asleep in his lap. She’d dozed fitfully through the night and every time she woke her hands were all over him. Jesus, now he understood what women meant when they complained about a guy being all hands. How in the hell did they deal with it? He was fucking exhausted.

Praying that hitting the twelve hour mark meant they were through the worst of it, he lifted her from the sofa and carried her back to his bedroom. While he was tucking her in she moaned, her eyes fluttering open, eyes that were no longer glazed with the effects of the drug, but with pain.

She blinked up at him blearily and in a croaking whisper, “Mr Drake?”

“Good Morning, Myranda. How are you feeling?”


Like hell. No, worse than hell. What’s worse than hell? Like hell had tapped danced all over her and left her lying. And no, that didn’t make a bit of sense, but she felt like hell so…. “Oh, God..” her hand flew to her mouth. Panicked, she bolted up, her eyes darting around a room she’d never seen before, one that looked way too nice to be vomited all over. Magically, a trash can appeared by her head and someone was holding her hair back and….everything she’d ever had in her stomach in her life came up. Horrible, retching, heaves shaking her body. She couldn’t breathe. Her throat burned. Tears streamed from her eyes. And when there was nothing left, still her stomach cramped and seized with ragged dry heaves. On and on it went. The burning spread to her lungs, gasping she struggled to pull in precious air, her vision dimming.

Then a warm hand ran over her back,“Relax baby.”

The gentle touch and hypnotic voice calmed her panic, her shoulders relaxed. Breath returned.

“That’s it.” That hand continued to run up and down her spine in long soothing strokes. The heaves ebbed. Finally, she sat back against the headboard of a bed she had no idea how she’d gotten into and was too grateful for the softness cradling her her aching body to care.

A whispered, “Don’t move, I’ll be right back,” entered her consciousness. Move? She barely had the energy to keep breathing and opening her eyes was definitely out. The one time she’d tried, the light pierced her skull like a laser. Fudge, somehow she’d gotten the flu, in spite of getting the shot.

Well, that sucked.

“Myranda,” someone sat on the bed beside her, someone who smelled really good and familiar, and somehow safe. Her hand was lifted and placed around a glass, another hand covering it, “Flat Ginger-Ale and aspirin,” She felt two pills pushed between her lips, and then the glass. She took as small a sip as possible to get the pills down. “Just a little more.” she took two more small sips. The glass was taken away and soft warm lips brushed her forehead, “Sleep.”

“Hmmm.” was all she managed before sweet, dark oblivion claimed her.


“Hey, Drake, hope you get this message,” Lena McGovern’s voice came through his HTC One, “Listen, our little genius added an ingredient to that cocktail to boost libido. So well, forewarned is forearmed and all that shit….uh, hold on….Yeah, I’ll have two Big Macs, the largest coffee you’ve got and a Diet Coke...So anyway…Good Luck. I have a feeling you’re gonna need…Dammit, stop whinin’ you little fucker. You can pick the damn sesame seeds off or go the fuck hungry...Okay, well like I said if you need anything just give me a buzz.”

“Damn.” Drake threw his phone on the desk in front of him. That explained a hell of a lot. He’d managed to push off the couple of meetings he had this morning and was attempting to work from home, but between his exhaustion and his mind still in a whirl about what to do with the woman in his bed….

His feet moved and he found himself back in his bedroom staring down at the woman who had turned his life on its head in a matter of hours. He needed sleep and again his body moved without consulting his brain. He stretched out on the bed, just a few minutes to shut his eyes then he’d go call his attorney and figure out what to do next.


She came awake to the most delicious smell and the most god awful taste in her mouth. Pulling open sticky leaden lids,  she squinted through a blur of pain to see a silky head of ebony hair sharing her pillow. Holy Moly!  Andie bolted upright and instantly regretted it, her head pounding and her stomach rolling, “Oh, God, what’s wrong with me?” She’d had the flu before, it didn’t  feel like this….

“You were drugged.”  The softly spoken words might as well have been a shout. Startling her into spinning around, a really bad idea as it took the room a good ten seconds to catch up with her. When her eyes were able to focus she found herself looking at the most beautiful man….wait a minute, why did that line sound so familiar in her head, “Adonis.” a startled croak in her dry throat.

The gorgeous man sharing her bed or more likely his bed, smiled, “Ivan will do.”

“Oh, right..” She murmured, memories flashing across her mind. Her laundry…Ted’s panic… the interview…the club….the orgasm…

“Now, Miss Chase…” Adonis began speaking in that tone one used when talking hysterical people down from ledges. He was dead on. She leaped from the bed, looking around wildly for somewhere to hide. There – the bathroom. Perfect. She had to pee anyway. Flinging the door open, she ducked in and and yanked it closed. Falling back against it, she ran her hand along the wall searching for the light switch. Connecting with something flat and wide, she slapped at it. Light assaulted her eyes… and…oh.. well.. fudge-sickle.

She was in the closet.

It was a nice closet. The brushed nickle chandelier lit the space revealing custom cabinetry in gleaming dark wood. A single black leather padded bench with legs in that same brushed nickel ran down the middle with plenty of room on either side to access the clothing. Crisp white shirts and dark suits in rich supple fabrics hanging in neat rows, as if they were works of art in some Gucci Gallery.  Avoiding her reflection in the full length mirror on the opposite wall, she slid down the door till her butt met the plush carpet. She could spend the rest of her life in this closet, taking a deep breath… it even smelled good.

“Miss Chase?” The very amused, very male voice called through the door, “The bathroom is the door to your right. Your clothes have been cleaned. You’ll find them on the vanity, as well as anything else you require. Please enjoy the shower or bath if you prefer. Then we can talk about last night.”

A few moments of silence then, “Miss Chase please answer so I know you’re alright.”

Suppressing the hysterical urge to giggle, she tried to form a coherent response, “Yes, yes, I’m…” Not alright, that lie was too big to get out of her mouth, “Yes, fine. That sounds..yes okay…” God, she sounded like a babbling idiot. She took another deep breath, afraid to ask the question foremost in her mind, “Um, did anything,…you know….happen?”


Was that amusement again? Yes, yes, she believed it was.

“Not what you’re thinking anyway, as I said you were drugged.”

Drugged…” She repeated the word but her poor brain just couldn’t wrap around it.

“Miss Chase we’ll discuss it after you’ve refreshed yourself. Would you like coffee?”

“Thank-you, that would be lovely.” Her mother would be so proud she’d remembered her manners while sitting on the floor of a billionaire’s Gucci-Gucci closet in clothes that weren’t hers after a night at a sex club where said billionaire had dry humped her to orgasm against the wall. Oh, Holy Lord. She’d been drugged, was she hallucinating, still out of it maybe? She pinched herself. No dammit, that hurt.

“How do you take it?”

Take it? Take what…oh, right, “Oh, it doesn’t matter black is…”

“Miss Chase, how would you like your coffee?” He interrupted her.

Impatience? Really? Okay fine, she could pull off demanding bitch, “I prefer Sumatra. Finely ground. Two level teaspoons of sugar and lots of cream.” She sniffed in her best haughty bitch voice and she was an adult so she didn’t blow a raspberry, but as he couldn’t see her cross her eyes and stick out her tongue….

Low male laughter flowed through the closet door and down her spine, “Then Sumatra finely ground it will be. Take your time, Miss Chase. You’re safe here.”

Could you fall in love with a shower? Oh yes, you could. Andie leaned back against the tile wall while heavy droplets kissed her skin. After washing with the most delectable shower gel twice, just so she could feel the rich suds sliding from her body, she shampooed and conditioned her hair, again twice.

 It was with a heavy sigh of regret that she stepped form the shower to the…a groan of pure pleasure… heated marble floor. Yep, she’d found her soul-mate. And while the closet was nice and she’d always cherish the memories of the plush carpet under her butt, it couldn’t compare with the heated tile beneath her feet. This was true love.

Then she caught her pasty, blood-shot reflection in the mirror and that quick the honeymoon was over. Reality, bitch that she was, showed up and crashed the party. Images of the night before flashed across her mind, but nothing made sense. Everything after the orgasm, was fuzzy and disjointed.

Oh God, everything after the orgasm was fuzzy and disjointed. The orgasm given to her by a stranger in a sex club.

Oh, holy shit!  She couldn’t breathe. She sat down on the toilet and put her head between her knees. “Look at your feet.” she heard Jose´’s voice in her head. He could always see her panic attacks coming and he was right.  Looking at her feet, crazy as it sounded, usually did the trick. Oh God, her head flew up. The room spun. Jose´ and Candace would be beside themselves and it was this thought that got her up off the toilet, dressed and striding out to face…whatever the hell was out there.

What was out there was space, lots and lots of space with expensive, tasteful, impressive… everything. Where the hell was she? It was beautiful. Marble floors, marble columns, a wall of windows that looked out onto some of the most lush beautiful gardens she’d ever seen. Not that she’d seen a lot in person, but Jose  made her watch those multi-million dollar mansion shows and this house was definitely in that league and she was so out of hers.

Reminding herself that gaping like a five year old at Disneyland was gauche, she entered a large open space that was probably the living room, but she’d be terrified to live in it. You definitely did not want to spill your morning coffee on anything in this room. Not on the silver-gray woven oriental carpet and certainly not on the white leather semi-circle sofa or the mist-gray velvet club chairs. Oh, and that glass coffee table with the frosted glass base that looked like a piece from a modern art museum and probably was – no definitely not. And most especially no coffee spilling on the grand piano in the corner. Sheesh, a grand piano in the corner…. and she didn’t even want to think about the art on the walls.

Dear Lord, this room scared her to death.

Avoiding the rug, she went to stand in front of the marble fire place. It had been updated with gas logs that looked remarkably real and put off blessed heat. The room was beautiful, but cold. Staring into the flames she rubbed her arms and tried to pierce the fog in her head clouding the night before.

“Did you enjoy your shower?”

She shrieked and jumped about a foot in the air, spinning at the same time and well, in her condition that was way too ambitious. She felt her body going back, back into the hearth, her arms windmilling in a futile effort to correct her balance. Wildly, she wondered if they’d put “She came before she went” on her tombstone. Then she wondered if she was hysterical. Then she wondered why she never fell and then she was being lowered onto that leather couch. And that, as the say, was that. The hysterical laughter that had been threatening burst forth. First giggles, it always started that way, then her belly joined the act and the laughter erupted in heaving, nearly painful cackles. Her head fell back on the couch and through her tears she saw Adonis’ perplexed face staring down at her, and that just set her off more. Holding her ribs, tears streaming down her face, she rolled to her side with a howling snort and let the laughter take her.

She came before she went…. hah!

“What the hell, man?” A gruff male voice penetrated her laughter “I thought you said she was fine?”

“She was..she is”

Andie’s belly laughs faded back to giggles.

“Well, it sure as shit doesn’t look like it,” Another voice,”Where the hell is the doctor?”

“He’s on the way. I assure you, she is fine. You can leave.”

“Oh, I don’t think so.”

“Not likely.”

And then her giggles faded to occasional hiccups.

“I’m telling you, she’s fine. She lost her balance and just started laughing.”

“Well, that doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.”

“I didn’t say it made sense…”

“Did she hit her head?”

“No, she didn’t hit her head. I caught her set her on the couch. She started laughing and you walked in. I’m telling you…”

She sat up on the couch and looked beyond the marble columns to see Adonis standing in a foyer bigger than her living and dining room combined arguing with a couple of giants. She knew those giants.

“Stan? Maurice?”

All three men turned in perfect unison.

“Hey sweetheart.” Stan grinned and came over, sitting across from her on that very expensive coffee table. Wow, he was brave.

“There’s our girl,” Maurice was right behind him. Sitting beside her on the couch, but with enough distance so she didn’t feel crowded, his gruff voice gentle, “How are you feelin’ honey?”

“Okay I guess,” she glanced up at Drake. Shit! He looked pissed, really pissed. His eyes raked over the two men then landed on her. Oh she couldn’t take this. She was too raw, too frazzled, too tired, too… .everything. Scooting back into the couch, she pulled her feet under her in what she hoped was a casual way.

Maurice’s eyes narrowed. Stan’s head shot around, “Cool it, Drake.”

Oh hell, that was the wrong thing to say. Drake was going to fucking blow, then she heard a voice, “Adonis, don’t be mean to Stan.”

Unison again, this time they froze, three sets of eyes locked on her. The room filled with expectant silence and she knew, “I said that last night.”

“Yes,” Adonis came over and sat on her other side, very close, “Do you remember?”

“Not really, it just slipped out and I got this flash. Maybe someone was yelling and my head hurt.. but….” She brought her hand up, rubbing her eyes. Her head was throbbing. She felt Drake’s hand move behind her, slipping under her hair and rubbing her neck. Oh, yes, that was just…..her head dropped forward

“I’m so sorry sweetheart.” Stan’s voice, “I feel horrible. It being my club and all.”

Her head snapped back up, “Your club.”

“Yep, Maurice and I own it.” Stan’s hazel eyes were warm.

“And I was drugged?” Her head dropped again. Adonis was gifted.

“Afraid so.”

Andie’s mind whirled and a face settled, blond, blue eyes,oily, and awful cologne that made her sneeze. Her head snapped up, “Stinky.”

“Beauty and brains,” Maurice grinned at her, “Do you like dogs?”

“I love dogs.” Her smile was automatic. He really was a sweet man, “And I’m an amazing cook.”


“My roommates would stab you dead for my lasagna and my tiramisu should be illegal..”

“Well see there, now you’ve done it.” Maurice threw a hand over his heart in a gesture that should have been cheesy, but was just plain adorable, “I’m in love.”

“Alright, you’ve seen she’s fine. You can leave.” Adonis snapped and suddenly, she was airborne. He’d scooped her up off the couch and was carrying her….where exactly….

“What are you doing?” she looped her hands around his neck and if she brushed that silky hair, well she was entitled. He’d given her an orgasm. She was fairly certain that gave her rights to his silky hair. It was probably written down somewhere in the by-laws of tacky one-night stands.

“The doctor will be here any minute and you need to eat.”

“I need to eat?”

“Yes.” He affirmed, carrying her through an archway and into a big beautiful dining room with a big beautiful everything. Even the view. The entire back wall was a series of arched windows that overlooked a rolling expanse of emerald green.  But what grabbed her attention were the little rainbows of light dancing on walls of palest blue. Her eyes traveled up to the tray ceiling and Holy shit! What a chandelier! Ribbons of winter sunlight set fire to what had to be thousands of tiny perfect crystals sparkling in incandescent splendor.

“It’s beautiful.”

“You think so?” The off-hand question drew her eyes to the man holding her. He was looking up at the miracle of light and glass like it was a 60 watt bulb.

“How could you not? It’s like a million little rainbows. It’s magic ”

“Actually, it’s science.” One side of his mouth kicking up in the ghost of a smile, he resumed their trip across the room, “Prisms do that.”

He was laughing at her. Fine. Phooey on him then, “Fuddy-duddy.” she muttered under her breath.

He stopped in the middle of another arched doorway and arched a brow at her, “What did you call me?”

Okay, that might have been a little childish and possibly a tad sulky, but she’d been drugged. Besides it was magically beautiful, so there. That arched brow was unnerving though. He probably practiced in the mirror every morning and used it when he told big-shot CEO’s they weren’t big-shots anymore. So she allowed her eyes to wander and verbally stood her ground, “Fuddy. Duddy. Anyone who can’t see the magic in…..” Her words died. Her mouth dropped open.

Oh Oh Oh Oh.

Thank goodness Adonis was holding her because if she’d been standing, she’d have collapsed in a heap of kitchen ecstasy

Big. Beautiful. Dream Kitchen ecstasy. Natural light steaming in from too many windows to count bathed the most amazing kitchen in a morning glory glow.

Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! She squirmed around until Adonis caught on and put her down. She’d have asked, but she couldn’t form words.

Oh God, the island! Would she look crazy if she leaned over and hugged it? Probably. She settled for running her hands over the stunning gray and white granite top. Flecked with silver and black, it ran the entire length of the food prep area, it was perfect with the stainless steel appliances and white cabinetry.  Oh, and it had double farmhouse sinks, and a gas range. Gas…

When, oh when had the Magic Kitchen Genie slipped into her dreams and pulled her perfect kitchen out. And why, oh why had she put it in the wrong house?  Her eyes fell to the sleek crystal bowl filled with lemons and limes, the island’s only adornment.  Kitchen genie even remembered citrus was her favorite secret ingredient, but couldn’t get the right address.

Stupid Genie.

She counted the steps to the fridge – three. Perfect again. You wouldn’t run your legs off in here, though there was plenty of space. She pulled the industrial sized appliance open, Shelves lots of deep wide shelves, “Look how deep this is. You can fit platters in here.”

She shut the door and pulled open the separate freezer. HUGE it was huge.  She couldn’t resist, “Helloooooooo.”

“Hello?” Male amusement, smooth as caramel, stroked her spine. Adonis could laugh. He had a freezer with an echo.

She threw a look over her shoulder, “You could freeze six – six tier wedding cakes in here.”


She caught another eyebrow quirk as she shut the door and fell back against it.  Her downcast eyes getting a a better look at the range built into the island, “Eight? You have eight burners?”

She met Adonis’ amused face. He stood there looking supremely perfect leaning against the doorway of his perfect kitchen, then her eyes drifted to the wall beside him and that was when her heart broke.

 There, built into the wall on the other side the island, two professional grade, side-opening, extra wide, six rack….. “Double Ovens?” She waved a wild arm at the perfect finishing touch on her perfect dream kitchen that was in the wrong house.

“Yes,” Adonis stepped into the kitchen and turned to look where her arm was waving, “I guess so.”

“You guess so? You guess so?” Oh, now that just wrong, so so so wrong. She didn’t begrudge Adonis his mega millions or his obscene good looks or his mansion with its gorgeous gardens and terrifyingly beautiful living room or even his magic chandelier, but it was just so unfair that he had double ovens he didn’t even care about. She flopped down on one of the stools at the end of the perfect island with the eight burner gas range and double farmhouse sinks and glared at him, “I’ll bet you don’t even use them.”


Ivan fell back on years of discipline. Leashing the laughter welling up in his chest, he bit the inside of his cheek, having heard the act could keep you from smiling. He’d never had cause to need it before and was relieved to find it worked, suspecting it saved him from being bombarded with citrus fruit.

Damn, if the little kitten wasn’t all out of sorts over his double ovens. And shit no, he didn’t use them. It was just him, after all, and he didn’t entertain. Were all women this cute when they got mad? No, he’d have noticed. He wondered what her reaction would be if he told her they only got used twice a year? One way to find out.

He schooled his features into a carefully bland expression and made his voice dull as dishwater, “I believe we use them at Easter and Christmas.”

Her eyes narrowed. Her face turned beet red. Her cheeks puffed out a couple of times, “Oh…oh… that’s just…oh…” Then, as if she just couldn’t take it anymore, she flung her arms straight out on the island, flopped her head down, and moaned.

Holy Fuck! He didn’t know if she was mad, crazy, or suffering from the vapors, but whatever it was she was cute as fuck. He wanted to lay her out on that island in nothing but morning sunlight and taste every succulent inch of her.

Shit, how the hell was she walking around single. Shit, maybe she wasn’t. SHIT, what was he thinking? Relationships were not something he indulged in. And even if he did, she was too young and innocent and sweet and luscious and…. his dick twitched. No, he scolded his little brain, we can’t keep her. His twitching dick wasn’t convinced and fuck-it-all, he was losing his mind.

Shaking his head in what he feared was a useless effort to clear it, he crossed his fabulous kitchen to stand beside her at the island. Leaning  down, he planted his elbows on the counter and hoped she couldn’t hear the grin he could no longer suppress, “Miss Chase, are you alright down there?”

“I have a headache.” Her petulant reply was muffled by the copper hair spilling around her head.

Ah right, poor kitty was hung over and her scampering around the kitchen probably hadn’t helped. His cheeks creasing in a smile that didn’t feel nearly as foreign as it should have, he went to one of the cabinets and grabbed the aspirin. Pulling a bottle of water from his fridge that was big enough for platters, he unscrewed the cap and set it on down outside spilling range of her outstretched arms, then he dumped two aspirin in his hand.

Contorting his cheek muscles to get the smile off his face, he bent over,  lifted a skein of silky hair, and met one vivid aqua eye blinking at him from an adorably grumpy face. He cleared his throat in a stall for time so he could bite his cheek again before he spoke, “If it would make you feel better, I can have Barker toast a crumpet in each oven for breakfast.”

She blew out a puff of air and made the strangest little sound. A hoot? A snort, maybe? Drake tried to picture one of the sophisticated, perfectly coiffed  women in his circle making such a sound. His mind couldn’t stretch that far.

Pushing that mass of copper off her face, she took the offered pills from his hand and reached for the water. Right before she popped the pills in her mouth she asked, “Whose Barker?”

“The Butler Miss, and I agree. It is criminal that such a magnificent kitchen is not put to better use.”


No frickin’ way. Andie lowered her water bottle, didn’t sputter or choke, and did not allow her mouth to drop open. Her mother would have been so proud. Stepping into the kitchen from what looked like a butler’s pantry and oh well of course it was and why not, was a perfectly pressed man in a black coat and pants, and a starched snowy white shirt.

Oh Dear Lord, the man had a butler.

An honest to god English Butler, from the tip of his polished shoes to the tips of his black bow tie to his perfectly combed salt and pepper hair. He even had the accent. Maybe that was a required course in butler college. Perfectly Proper Butler Dialect101.

A brush of fingers to her ear did quite a nice job of jerking her attention from Butler Universities. The brush of lips to the shell, and a conspiratorial whisper, “He came with the house,” did an equally nice job of shivering her outsides while melting her insides.

She was a hormonal mess in a split second and the glint of mischief in Adonis’ eyes as he turned his attention to Barker the Butler said he damn well knew it. “Barker, Miss Chase is ready for her Sumatra.” She was still shivering from the brush to her ear when she felt another, this time to her temple, “I’ll be right back. I’m going to see Stan and Maurice out.”

“Okay.”  Her breathy voice answered. She blinked and maybe swayed toward him, but she’d been drugged so she was a little dizzy…and ditzy… and melty… .

It wasn’t until her second lung-full of Adonis free air that her head began to clear. Oh, she was such a girl.

“Here you go, miss.” Barker appeared in front of her with a full silver service and a pretty porcelain cup. Placing the tray on the counter he set the dainty cup and saucer in front of her. Lifted the large silver pot and proceeded to pour the steaming rich brew into the pretty cup. The pretty cup that looked very fragile.

“Um, that’s a lovely cup.”

“Thank-you. The Mrs and I have a bit of a hobby collecting tea cups” He lifted the top off a silver sugar bowl and added two level teaspoons.

Oh no, a collectable porcelain cup and her formerly drugged-up hung-over hands…no..not a good idea. “Oh… Um … I ….” stumbling over the words with her foggy, formerly drugged-up, hung-over head she just spit it out, “I’m a klutz. I can just use a mug….”

Barker smiled, patted her hand, and lifted the small silver cream pitcher, “Miss, you’ve had a harrowing experience. It has long been my belief that tea tastes better when sipped from a proper cup.” He continued stirring the coffee and tilted the cream, “Just say when.” thick cream spiraled into the dark liquid,“Though I don’t drink coffee, I suspect the same rules apply.”

“When.” It fell from her lips automatically.

“Very good. Now how about a nice toasted crumpet and honey.”

Though it was formed as a question, Barker was already setting about the business of preparation. Just as well as the most delicious cup of coffee ever to cross Andie’s lips had robbed her of speech. Holy. Crap.

Note to self: Let demanding bitch out more often. She gets results.

P.s. Buy pretty cups.

P.p.s. English Butlers are possibly superior life forms from some distant perfect coffee paradise planet…. dimension…. thingy…