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Stolen Touches: Chapter 14

Salvatore

I lean my shoulder on the support column that marks the kitchen area and cross my arms over my chest, watching Milene as she stirs whatever she is cooking on the stove. Why does she keep trying when she burns everything or sets something on fire whenever she attempts cook?
“If I remember correctly, you are forbidden to approach the stove,” I say.
She sends me an exasperated look over her shoulder, then goes back to her stirring. “Kurt has diarrhea. The article I read said to feed him boiled chicken.”
“Why didn’t you ask Ada to prepare it?”
“I’m capable of boiling two pieces of meat by myself.”
“Is there a medical issue your cat doesn’t have?”
“He’s had a hard life, Tore. Stress can lead to many medical issues. It’s obvious he was bullied.”
“Bullied?”
“Of course. Didn’t you see his tail?
“Yes.” And its eye. And ear. And it’s also missing some hair on the back. That cat looks like it survived a nuclear catastrophe.
Milene reaches for a plate and fishes out two pieces of meat—enough to feed at least five cats—from the pot and cuts them into small cubes. When she’s done, she blows on the meat for almost a minute, then places the plate on the floor in the corner. Meanwhile, the pot is still on the stove with the burner on. Shaking my head, I walk over and turn it off.
“Why are you not at work?” she asks casually as she washes her hands. Too casually. It looks like we’ll be ignoring what happened in the kitchen last night as well. I find her insistence that there is no attraction between us rather amusing. Like she thinks it’ll disappear if we pretend it’s not there.
“I needed something from here,” I say.
It’s not a lie because I do need something—my regular fix of her presence. I couldn’t wait two more hours for her to come downstairs to work on my emails. I had to see her.
Now.
“And how is your black empire holding these days?”
“Better than ever,” I say. “Why?”
She shrugs, then jumps up to sit on the counter. “I was just wondering. Why do you keep dealing in drugs? You have an enormous real estate business. Why take the risk?”
After throwing a look at the stove to make sure Milene hasn’t left anything else on the burner, I stride across the kitchen until I am standing right in front of her. Placing my hands on either side of her, I cage her against the counter. The sunrays coming through the window fall directly on her face, making her freckles even more noticeable. “Are you worried about me, Milene?
“You get shot often,” she says. “Maybe branching out would be wise. Minimize the exposure and all that.”
I raise my hand to place it under her chin and tilt her head up. “You haven’t answered my question.”
“No.”
“No?” I lean forward until our faces are barely an inch apart.
Her lips widen in a smug smile.
Oh, how she likes to test me. I slide my hand down and wrap my fingers around her slender neck, the black of my leather glove creating such a contrast with her milky skin and pale hair.
“Tell me, Milene.” I whisper into her ear. “Aren’t you worried I might decide to drop this . . . seduction thing, as you called it, and take what I want?”
Her breathing quickens. I wish I didn’t have the glove on, so I could feel her pulse under my skin. Would it be only slightly faster than normal? Or would it be erratic?
“No. I’m not afraid of that,” she says, her lips brushing my earlobe. “Like every predator out there, you revel in the thrill of the hunt. But know one thing, Salvatore. This prey will not fall into your claws willingly. Ever.”
I close my eyes and inhale her scent. “You shouldn’t have said that, cara.” I tilt my head to the side and press my lips on the soft skin of her neck. “You really . . . really shouldn’t have.”
“Why?” she breathes out.
“Because that declaration, Milene . . . is every predator’s wet dream,” I whisper into her ear, then let go of her neck and turn to leave. “I’m expecting you at the office in two hours.”

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