| 3 | Sinnful Delights ||
He cleared his throat and broke their stare, bringing his attention to a storefront. “The chocolates I brought you last time.”
Devlin’s heavy voice made Lacey smile. “Yeah, the box you almost finished?”
He smiled, and though he kept his teeth behind his lips, the amusement made the depths of his dark eyes come to life. “They say it’s the goddamn thought that counts.”
She looked forward, away from the man. He was making her unsteady, or, at least, her insides anyway. “I’m sure it’ll be no surprise to you that I think that saying is crap.”
“Not surprised.” The deep rumble of his voice was a familiar foe. It made her heartbeat pick up and her palms tingle at the memory of their time together. It felt like a lifetime ago. A previous existence, before Jacob, before the loss, before she realized that this man, no matter how hard she tried, would never truly ever leave her.
At his touch, she looked up into his deep, dark eyes. They held her as she traced her gaze over his features; so familiar, yet, so different with his goatee and long ebony hair.
“They were from here.”
She finally looked at the handsome, dark-brown canopy above them. On the large glass window was the name: Sinnful Delights, scrawled in elegant cursive in a frosted white. Under it, in smaller font, read: Indulge in the rich, in the dark, in the fiendish joy of chocolate.
He pulled the door open, and a little bell binged above it.
“Frannie.” He waved to a woman behind the counter.
“Oh,” The woman grumbled. “There you are, finally.” Her eyes fell on Lacey. “Mhm, now I see why you left me to fend for myself. You do realize it’s almost Valentine’s day, right? Valentine’s day and your ass has shifts at a fucking chocolate shop.”
He waved her off. “No fucking cursing while there are customers.”
The woman rolled her eyes and kept wiping down the glass with the cleaner. “Lead by example, my ass.” She mumbled, under her breath.
“Ignore her.” He said, turning Lacey to take in the space.
There were people mulling about the dark interior bedecked with dark-brown bar height tables and chairs set up with red accents here and there, red napkins with the name scribbled on the napkin holders. Everything was beautiful, seductive, and elegant. Next to the long display of chocolates was a dark, wooden tower with an assortment of wines. Other wines displayed in glass cases were mostly from France or Italy.
“It’s so sensual. I love it. Where did you find this place?” Lacey didn’t even try to hide her awe and wonder.
“I founded this place.”
She turned to face him; her mouth was open – she was sure of it. “R―really?”
He laughed. “Yes.”
“Well, it’s brilliant.” She strolled around the interior, admiring the elegance and detail in the displays. She rubbed her fingers over a white-labeled wine with red text. “Why this? Why a chocolate shop? I would have never guessed.”
“I love chocolate: the way it smells, tastes, the way it makes you feel.” He smirked.
Everything from the rich aroma of the interior to the look in his eyes, to the low lighting and elegant decor. She felt like she was melting, sliding deep down into a flaming hot cavern with no hope of ever seeing the light again. And in the shadows of that cavern, the devilish smirk of her demon prince would catch some fleeting ray of light. Only enough to see the corner of his mouth lift, before he consumed her in flame, heat, and desire.
He took her hand and led her to the long chocolate display case that formed into a “U” shape around the back part of the store. “My favorites are the pecan clusters and chocolate covered strawberries.” She gazed into the glass with a slight smile. She remembered the chocolates as much as she remembered the man that brought them, and though some things about them faded with time, the smell would never. “Get whatever you want.”
She looked back at him over her shoulder, trying to memorize his dark, masculine beauty. His attention was on the goodies in the display case, but she had an idea how to change that.
“Whatever I want?” She found that the weight of her voice did not go unnoticed to the man, when a dark lust laced the depths of his eyes. His nostrils flared, and she smirked. He wanted her as intensely as when they first met, but it also didn’t go unnoticed that he was different. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but it manifested itself in control, in a gentile calm that didn’t dampen anything except her panties.
“An excellent choice.” He responded, when she had a dozen chocolates picked out. “I know the perfect wine to pair.” He then took her hand and brought her over to the wine shelf, selected a wine, grabbed a couple glasses, and led her up an elegant bronze and glass stair to a rooftop garden that had an assortment of twisted brass and glass tables and chairs. There was only one other couple on the roof as it was getting rather late.
He set them at a table that she noticed was unique to all the others. Each base was twisted into a tree trunk and branches, all unique. The rooftop garden was an array of nooks, created with bushes and light fragrant flowers, well-placed lights, and sculptures.
Devlin poured the wine in their glasses and set the box of chocolates in front of her.
She swirled the red liquid around in the glass. “Why didn’t you end it at the coffee shop?”
She felt him looking at her. “Is that what you wanted?”
She looked down at the wine and shrugged before looking back up at him. “I thought that one night was it. I mean, that is what you promised. I thought if I stayed away from you that I would forget about you. A distant memory.”
He frowned and looked in his wine glass. “We could sit here and pick apart what happened, or―” He picked up a piece of chocolate. “You can open your mouth.”
She took the piece of chocolate into her mouth, and her eyes closed as the rich, bitter-sweet and cocoa flavors assaulted her taste buds. There certainly was something about real, fresh-made chocolate treats, heaven.
“Now, sip the wine.”
She did, and her mouth came alive as the robust flavor of the wine mixed with the bitter-sweet chocolate. “That’s really good.”
“One of my favorite duets. The play on taste and smell and texture.”
That’s not the only play that came to mind. She bit her lower lip, her gaze falling to his mouth. She swallowed. A familiar heat snaked its way from the pit of her stomach. She moaned when she felt his heavy warm hand rub from her knee, up her thigh. Her damn legs parted of their own accord. He wrapped his finger around her hips, and his thumb grazed her sex through the cloth of her panties.
Her breath caught, and her nipples tightened.
“Lacey.” He whispered, her name. His warm breath laced with wine and chocolate, started her blood to heat. She couldn’t deny it. She wanted this man. She craved him for near five years, wondering when the sensation would die, when her body would stop yearning for his touch.
Her lips parted when she felt the heat from his body mere inches from hers. So close, a shiver ran through her in anticipation, every nerve waiting right under her skin to receive his touch.
What was she doing? This had to stop. He clouded her thoughts, made her lust after him, made her want to give him what he wanted: her body.
No! This was not what she wanted! This was not all she wanted from him, from any man. She stood up abruptly, bumping the table, the wine glasses crashed to the ground.
“I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to― I-I have to go.”
“I-I-I just, have to.”
He grabbed her hand before she could get to the door that led down to the chocolate shop. He pulled her around the corner out of sight from the handful of other couples enjoying the rooftop, warmed by heat lamps on the cool winter night.
He pinned her against the stair wall and claimed her lips. She gasped and melted into him, the heat, the churning desire that pulled up hours of sweet, hot, unadulterated moments, feelings, touches, sensations, stale memories that didn’t take long to trudge up, flowed through her.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and angled her face, granting him better access.
They pulled away at the same time, heavy breathing filling the bubble they seemed to be in. “I―” She barely recognized her raspy voice. “Should get home.”
He let out a long breath, but it didn’t seem like he had any intention of moving, or releasing her.
He let his head fall, before he cleared his throat. He looked up, finding her eyes, and one hand stroked down her cheek. “Ok, I’ll walk you.”