ANOTHER CHANCE is linked to Chance of a Lifetime.
Archivist Maud Piper has already had one sexy voyeuristic encounter with estate steward William Graves... and now she want more, a lot more, of the big, beautiful, forbidding man...
Still, my heart beats hard. And down below, the slow stir of desire rolls in my loins. From within the cottage, there’s a faint clanking sound, metal on metal. What the hell is he doing? The door is stout, and the walls look thick, so I don’t hear footsteps. But a moment later, the heavy iron handle turns and the door swings ajar.
William Graves stands in the opening, looking me over with silent watchfulness, apparently unsurprised.
Moments tick by and I open my mouth to speak, but he pre-empts me.
“Come in out of the cold… I’ve been expecting you.”
My pulse races and my desire twists hard. He knows! He knows what I want! And he’s ready…
I follow him into the softly lit room and discover what the clanking was. Furniture is pushed aside in the small room, and a collection of ponderous looking free weights are laid out on the carpet in front of the blazing open fire. Without speaking, William hauls them aside, one after the other. He’s naked to the waist, wearing only combat trousers and a pair of work boots, and his skin gleams like beaten bronze in the flickering light. Still without a word, he drags a couple of battered and hefty looking easy chairs closer to the hearth and indicates that I should sit down, first gesturing in his spare, economical way for me to hand over my hat and coat. He looms over me while I struggle with normally easy fastenings, his big delicious body pushing all my buttons.
William Graves is younger than me, possibly by a decade, but something in his dark, navy blue eyes is as old as eternity. What happened to him, I wonder as I shrug out of my coat and pass it across. It’s not only his solid arms and his deep chest that are hard. He has an intrinsic hardness, a granite of the spirit.
Without asking me what I want, he pours generous slugs of Glenmorangie into a couple of cheap glasses, and hands one over.
“So how can I help you?”
“About last night…”
The two phrases come out simultaneously, and it’s like an unseen bubble bursts. We both laugh and the tension is gone. The whisky tastes good when I finally take a sip.
He nods, giving me precedence.
“What happened last night… I just wanted to say that I liked it. I liked it very much. I was… um…” Despite my superficial confidence, I falter… “I was hoping we might, well, follow up on it. Do more…”
His brows shoot up, and his cool eyes brighten and warm. He takes a long pull at his drink, then rubs a big hand over his short, dark brown hair as if genuinely puzzled… and admiring.
“You’re very direct, aren’t you?” he says softly.