He chose that moment to push back from his chair and she hurriedly looked away, feeling more like a thirteen-year-old in a school cafeteria than a professional woman doing legitimate research in a law library. She watched from the corner of her eye as Phillip moved back toward the shelves, his body now in profile as he perused them. He reached for a book and withdrew it. Though she'd meant to look away, for some reason she couldn't seem to, and as he walked back toward his table their eyes met.
She pressed her lips together to keep from letting the ridiculous gasp that wanted to get out from escaping. She looked down at her notebook, her cheeks again flaming as she stared, unseeing, at the words on the page.
"You're Ella, right?"
Unlike the clear, rich baritone he'd had in the dream, Phillip's real voice was little more than a rasping whisper. For a split second she thought he was trying to be quiet because they were in a library, but quickly realized that made no sense, as they were alone. Then she recalled what she'd heard about the car accident, and the loss of his voice.
"Yes," she said, not quite daring to meet his eyes, aware from the heat that her cheeks and neck were still flushed.
"You work with Gordon Fletcher and Amy Kennedy, is that right?" She liked how he said worked with, rather than worked for. She nodded. "And it's going okay? You settling into the routine of this place by now?"
Ella found the husky, hoarse whisper kind of sexy. "Yes," she repeated, as she tried to come up with something else to say, just so he'd keep those lovely brown eyes fixed on her. She could smell him now, a clean scent of soap and the barest hint of spice. She had a crazy desire to bury her nose against his neck and inhale. She could feel her nipples perking against the confines of her bra and silently prayed they weren't visible against the grey silk of her blouse.
Though never especially eloquent at the best times, surely she could come up with something more than yes, over and over, like some kind of tongue-tied parrot. "I'm working with Gordon on the Stevenson case," she finally offered.
Phillip nodded. "Well, don't let me disturb you," he said and silently she cursed herself, aware he'd assumed from her remark that she was busy and wanted to get back to it. Which she was, of course, busy that is, but she found she did not want to get back to it. She wanted to stare at Phillip Arden instead. She wanted to tell him about her dreams.
She ducked her head down instead, almost glad when he took the books he'd pulled from the shelves and headed toward the library door. "Catch you later," he croaked, before shutting the door softly behind him. Ella stared at the door for a while, and then sighed.
Just imagine if people really did what they wanted and said what they were thinking? Just imagine if she'd actually said aloud, "I've had two very vivid sexual dreams about you, Phillip. In both of them you were this super sexy Dom dressed in black leather, whipping a naked, bound girl, while I watched, masturbating in the darkness above you."
Yeah, that would go over real well, she was sure! After he stared at her in horrified disbelief, he'd hightail it over to Stratton's office to let him know they'd hired a raving lunatic who was making inappropriate sexual advances toward him.
Last night's dream rose in her mind with sudden, vivid clarity. There he was so tall and proud, turning back to look up at her, raking her naked body with his insolent stare, his lips curling into that ironic half smile that seemed to say, I know your secrets.
She sighed again and shook her head. She really needed to get out more. She needed to find a nice, boring vanilla man to distract her from these lurid fantasies. As if that would work. Roger had been vanilla, and even though she'd tried to gently, subtly steer him toward D/s play, he'd rarely taken the hint. He just wasn't wired that way. And she, she had to admit whether she liked it or not, was.
Ah, well, if nothing else, at least she had these sexy dreams to ponder. Two nights in a row would there be a third? As she packed up her notebook and returned the books to their shelves, Ella began to hum. Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...
Though Ella usually had to read for a long time before she felt sleepy enough to turn out the light, that night she was too restless to concentrate on her novel. She turned off the lamp and closed her eyes, letting her mind slide over the dreams of the past two nights, recalling each with as much detail as she could remember.
Would tonight be her turn? Would she finally be allowed off the perch? Was she ready? "It's just a dream, Ella," she said aloud. "It's not like you can control what happens."
She closed her eyes and slid down into the arms of sleep...
© Claire Thompson
More Excerpts HERE
Author: Claire Thompson
Publisher: Romance Unbound
Ella Stanford and Phillip Arden work in the same law office and both agree that work and romance shouldn't mix. When Ella begins to have erotic dreams that include Phillip as a nameless Master in a sumptuous castle, she is drawn to the real man, though she knows better than to believe that dreams resemble reality. Little does she realize that Phillip, too, is visited by these same powerful, secret dreams involving Ella's sexual slavery and erotic submission.
In the increasingly bizarre and dangerous alternate dream world, sexy fantasy becomes an all-too-real and dangerous reality. Will Ella and Phillip be able to resist their growing and undeniable attraction to each other, while finding a way to overcome the cruel, powers that control their parallel dreams?