Part 39: A Dragon's Price

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Spontaneous office sex always seemed like a good idea until your leg fell asleep where the edge of the desk was cutting into the underside of your thigh, the blotter made funny impressions on your naked ass, and the air-conditioning made you shiver like you'd been locked in a deep-freezer for a week.

As usual, Valentine was impervious.  

He'd propped himself up on his elbows to stare down at me in that possessive way he had.  Long, black hair spilled into his eyes and framed his hard-lined, angular face.  Cruel.  That's what all my friends said: 'he's got a cruel face.'  

Probably there's something wrong with me, I thought, reaching up to stroke the contours of his high, regal cheekbones, because I've never seen it.  

A slight smile pulled at the edges of his thin lips.  Pressing his face into the cup of my palm, he let out a satisfied sigh. "No matter how frustrated I am, you always give me a reason to return."

Even though the pins and needles in my leg drove me to distraction, I managed a smile as my fingers traced the edges of his lips.  "You can be surprisingly romantic for a cold-blooded reptile."

He quirked a dark eyebrow at me.  "And you can be surprisingly cold for a hot-blooded mammal, so I suppose we're even."

"Half-mammal," I corrected.

"Far less than half, my dear," he said wryly.  With a groan, he pushed himself to his feet.  

I tried to hide the gasp of longing as the comforting weight and heat of his body left mine.  But, as a rush of blood hit my leg, I couldn't hold back a yelp.  Sitting up, I frantically tried to massage feeling back into my leg.   Valentine watched me indifferently as he stepped back into his underwear.  He didn't quite smirk, but it was maddeningly close.

Spotting my shorts on the nubby carpeting by the door where I'd left them, I hopped awkwardly off the desk to retrieve them.  

"So tell me," Valentine drawled as he slipped into his jeans, "To what do I owe this pleasure.  Clearly, there's no apology forthcoming."

"Apology?" I didn't think I had anything I needed to be sorry for. We had different goals in life, that was all.  Wasn't it?

"Yes," he said, pulling his tee-shirt over his head. "From what I understand, it's a thing people do when they feel they've behaved badly."

 I had to laugh a little at that.  "I guess neither of us knows much about that, eh?"  

He glanced up sharply, but caught the smile I'd added to take the sting out of my words.  He gave me a warm grin in return.  "Indeed."

Of course, I couldn't find my sports bra.  As I hunted around the office topless, I said, "I think we've kind of cracked the case.  At least, I think we know WHAT is doing the drops."

Valentine settled down in the visitor's chair that Genieve had been using to do her research.  Long legs stretched out in front of him and he crossed his bare feet at the ankles.  He pulled the ends of his thick hair from the collar of his shirt.  "Let me guess," he said, "It's big and it flies."

Something about his tone made me cringe and blush a little.  He'd busted me.  He could tell I wanted to use his superpowers.  "How mad are you?"

"Only a little," he admitted, crossing his arms in front of his broad chest.  "Though I would have preferred something more obviously contrived, something that might make me feel a bit more... desired."

Now I felt like a real heel.  Though, considering I was standing there, still half-naked, desperately missing my damn bra, it was pretty clear 'desire' had been involved at least a little.  I tried to cover my embarrassment by saying, "You're saying you wish I'd made up some obvious lie to get you to come back?"

"Basically, yes," he said, his voice a deep, dangerous purr.  "If you're only going to use me for my brawn, you should at least make an effort to appeal to my ego. Could you not fawn over me at least a little?"

"I kind of thought I just did that?"

"Hmm," Valentine said, giving my body a very lascivious lingering look.  "Yes, I suppose so.  But, if that's the price you're offering for my services, I'm going to demand a lot more payment."

Oh.

His words and the smoldering gaze that accompanied heated me straight to my core.  Suddenly, the room didn't feel quiet so cold.  Though... you couldn't tell from the way my body reacted.  Automatically trying to hide it, I covered my chest with my crossed arms.  

Which of course, made him let out a wicked, knowing laugh.

My cheeks burned bright red. "Fine."

"Oh," he chuckled, "So you agree to the terms?"

Trying to act nonchalant, I shrugged.  "Why not?'

"Excellent," he said in a tone that sent a brand-new set of shivers down my spine.  Standing up, he revealed that he'd been sitting on my sports bra the entire time.  He picked it up, and tossed it to me.  "Very well, in exchange, I'm yours to use however you like."


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