Fighting the Inevitable Ch. 04byJazCullen©
"Demetri Bozic, proprietor of this fine club and Caleb's business partner in many a venture," Demetri smiled holding out his hand.
Rhianna accepted his hand and shook it quickly. "Pleased to meet you, Demetri. Sorry I ran my mouth off just now. I'm not used to such public displays and to be honest I'm a bit nervous too. I'm not usually such a bitch."
Demetri smiled at her and stood up. "No apology necessary," he answered with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Come, let me buy you a drink. I'll track down Caleb for you and send him over."
She allowed him to escort her to the bar and told the bartender to give her a drink of her choice on the house. He waited until she was talking to the bartender and quickly slipped into the shadows beside Caleb.
"If you ever speak to Annie like that again you and I will have a serious issue," Caleb growled in his ear.
"Peace, Caleb," Demetri said soothingly. "You've been impossible to live with for weeks now. Forgive me if I find it hard not to blame the girl for the cause of your shocking behaviour. I apologised to her and she accepted my apology. Let it go at that."
Caleb dampened down his anger as his gaze turned to Rhianna sipping at her glass of red wine as she turned around to survey the room. He wanted to go to her but now the moment was here he was afraid to do so. Her rejection had been hard to take the last time he'd seen her.
She had come looking for him though. He had seen her mortification at Demetri's lewd acts with the brunette and she had still approached him to ask if he was in the club. She must want to see him pretty badly to endure the embarrassment and then Demetri's tirade on top of it.
"Well, are you going to go to the girl?" Demetri asked with a tinge of irritation in his voice. "She is the reason you've been moping around all this time. She's here willingly. Go to her."
Caleb turned to his friend and raised an eyebrow at him. "I thought you didn't like her, Demetri."
"Not like her," Demetri chuckled. "That girl has spirit! Can't remember anyone giving me lip like that before. I'm almost annoyed I let you have her the first night she came in."
Caleb growled at him again and Demetri's chuckles increased. "I said almost. I prefer my women to know the boundaries, Caleb. Can't be bothered with all this touchy feely crap you're letting yourself in for."
Demetri gave his friend a level look. "If you want the girl then go get her. I have no wish to spend the next century watching you mope around because you were too much of a coward to take a chance."
With that Demetri melted back into the room and went hunting for his little brunette. She was waiting for him in the booth they'd been sitting in and he slid gracefully onto the plush leather seat and gathered her back into his arms.
Rhianna saw Demetri come back from wherever he went to and looked around for Caleb but there was no sign of him. She took Caleb's lack of appearance as a sign he wasn't interested anymore.
She quickly finished her wine and went to slide from her stool only to feel a strong arm snake around her waist preventing her from doing so. She gasped and looked up and found herself staring into Caleb's beautiful face.
"Surely you're not leaving already, Annie?" he asked with a small smile lightly tugging on his lips. "Not after coming all this way to find me."
"Caleb," she said breathlessly. "I didn't think you were going to see me." She flushed with embarrassment as she blurted it out without thinking.
Caleb stared down at her, his heart thumping wildly in his chest now he was so close to her. He read the uncertainty on her face, saw the flush of colour creep across her cheeks and he smiled slowly and leaned closer so he could inhale her delicious scent.
"As if I could stay away," he murmured against the shell of her ear, hearing her heartbeat start to race as she sucked in a sharp breath. His lips brushed against her ear before sliding slowly down the side of her neck. "I didn't think you'd come looking for me, Annie. Not after our last conversation."
"I told you I needed some time, Caleb, to decide what I wanted to do with my life," she answered quietly, her breath coming out sharply as his lips moved back up to her ear and he nipped lightly at her earlobe.
"I presume you've decided what it is you wish to do?" he asked, his lips teasing along her jaw line, his greedy gaze memorising every single detail of her beautiful face. He was pleased to see the little lines of grief looked less pronounced now as if she'd begun to come to terms with the death of her brother.
"I've made a start," she smiled softly. She was so tempted to turn her face slightly so their lips would meet but she didn't want to appear too eager. He could probably already hear how hard her heart was beating as his lips trailed across her skin.
He pulled back slightly so he could meet her gaze. He smiled at her, his golden brown eyes warm. "And what have you decided, Annie," he asked quietly.
"That if I wanted to be happy I can't sit around and wait for it to happen. I have to make it happen," she answered slowly. "As soon as I decided that I got changed and came looking for you. It seemed like the next logical step to take."
Caleb closed his eyes briefly and inhaled her sweet scent again and knew he should stop this before it went any further but he couldn't resist her any longer. Demetri was right. He would be a complete pain if he didn't explore whatever this was between them. Despite all the unexpected feelings and emotions, the inherent difficulties of being with her, he had to have her in his life.
"Do you think I could make you happy?" he asked softly, his lips a hairsbreadth away from hers, her hot breath fanning across his face and making him ache with the need to kiss her.
"I think you could, Caleb," she answered boldly and was rewarded with a flash of joy across his beautiful face before he leaned forward and captured her lips with his. Her lips trembled as he gently rubbed his mouth against hers in a kiss so tentative and yet so full of promise.
The tiniest of moans escaped her and he deepened the kiss slightly before he reluctantly pulled away. He really didn't want to stop kissing her but he knew she was more inhibited than he was. Once she realised she was sitting at the bar in full view of everyone she would feel uncomfortable about their kisses and he didn't want that. He sat up straight and signalled the bartender for two more glasses of red wine.
"So, I believe we have a dinner date to reschedule?" Caleb asked reaching down to brush a finger lightly over her cheek. He saw the surprise on her face and knew she had expected him to drag her from the club back to his place so he could ravish her beautiful body. He was sorely tempted to do so but he wanted to do this slowly. He wanted to date her the human way. It would help him to adjust from his normal way of doing things too. He had to learn how to be with a woman and not just indulge in the pleasures of a woman's body.
"Okay, dinner it is," Rhianna laughed and leaned her head on his shoulder. If Caleb wanted to do this right then she wasn't going to stand in his way. She was actually very touched he was being so considerate. It gave her hope they could build something worthwhile together and that they wouldn't just have a few months of wild passion before it fizzled out into nothing.
"How about tomorrow night?" Caleb asked as the bartender set their wine in front of them. "Or we could meet for lunch and then maybe do something afterwards? It is Saturday tomorrow and I don't have any other plans."
Rhianna grinned broadly as she sat straighter and reached for her glass of wine. "That sounds perfect, Caleb. I do have something I need to do in the afternoon but you can help me with it."
Her lavender eyes were bright with excitement and Caleb couldn't stop the smile which tugged at his lips. Whatever her afternoon plans were it was something which truly excited her.
"Okay, you've piqued my interest. What do you have planned for the afternoon?" He blinked in surprise when she told him.
"Property viewing?" he repeated slowly. "Are you moving?"
"No, silly," she laughed glancing around quickly. "Can we go sit somewhere else, Caleb? I feel kind of on show here at the bar. I wouldn't normally sit at a bar if I was going out with friends."
Caleb slid gracefully from his stool and wrapped an arm around her waist and helped her down. He nodded slightly to one of his kind in the booth across from them and the man moved from the booth as Caleb escorted Rhianna across the room.
Her lavender eyes sparkled with mischief as she slid into the booth. "I hope you're not as naughty as Demetri is in these booths, Caleb."
Caleb chuckled lightly and slid in beside her dropping a quick kiss on the side of her neck. "I'll only be as naughty as you allow me to be," he laughed against her soft skin and she shivered slightly and let out a throaty laugh which went straight down his spine and made him suck in a deep breath before he straightened up.
"Behave, you little minx," he laughed shaking his head. "I'm trying to be on my best behaviour here." His body was hard and aching with need and he wouldn't have minded a little discreet fun in the booth but he really didn't think she would be up for it.
"This slow dating thing, Caleb. You're not going to do the whole 'friends' thing like you suggested the last time?" Rhianna asked quietly, her hand moving to his silk shirt to rest against the hard muscles of his chest.
Caleb swallowed loudly and stifled down a groan at her touch. "I don't honestly think I'd be able to keep my hands off you to just be friends, Annie," he answered honestly. "I won't lie to you and say I don't want you in my bed because you know I do, but I want to do this right. Normal couples do a lot of kissing when they're dating though so we'll have enough fun together while we get to know each other better."
Rhianna smiled up at him and reached up to brush her fingers through his long hair as it fell forward as he looked down at her. "I'm glad to hear that," she smiled impishly and raised her face for his kiss.
Caleb groaned and bent down as his arms wrapped around her and pulled her onto her knees so she was closer to him. His mouth was hard and demanding against hers, his teeth nipping at her bottom lip until she opened her mouth to him and their tongues met in a feverish duel. Her sweet taste overpowered his senses and his hands moved down her back to her hips and then he was twisting her body until she was sitting in his lap as he devoured her sweet lips.
"You taste so amazing," he whispered against her lips. "You feel amazing too and you smell amazing."
Rhianna laughed and leaned her head against his chest. "I think I'm getting the message," she chuckled. "You think I'm amazing."
Caleb's laughter joined hers and he leaned back against the leather seat and cradled her little body in his arms. He couldn't remember a time when he'd ever felt this almost blissful feeling of happiness. This tiny woman in his arms had somehow wormed her way through every one of his defences and now he was open and exposed to her in a way no one had ever been able to manage to do. It felt liberating and also terrifying at the same time.
"So, this property viewing?" he queried.
Rhianna smiled as she played with one of the buttons on his shirt. "I'm going to start my own business. A little old fashioned bookstore where people can buy books and then sit down and read them as they drink their coffee and tea. It's going to be full of old books and new books and the older books will be available to swap for another one or people can bring their own books in a swap for another. Too many people have forgotten the joy of reading, Caleb. I want to give people that joy back."
"Sounds nice," Caleb smiled and it did sound nice. He was an avid reader himself, always had been. If he'd ever found a bookstore like the one Annie was describing, he'd had spent many an hour inside such a place. "So, you're going to look at property space to rent?"
Rhianna sat up and reached for her wine glass. She took a long sip and put it down again. "I did consider renting but then I realised my landlord could decide to not renew my lease so I'm opting to buy instead."
Caleb blinked in surprise. "You can afford to buy?" he asked slowly. "The properties in town are quite expensive."
"I know," Rhianna sighed. "I've already looked at a couple. They weren't right though and were too expensive like you said. The ones I have lined up for tomorrow are off the main drag and a bit cheaper."
Caleb's mind was whirling as he listened to her. He owned property in town. He knew just how expensive they could be even off the main drag. "Annie, I hope you don't mind me asking but how can you afford to purchase property in town?"
She slid off his lap and turned to look up at him. "Why do you want to know, Caleb?" she asked carefully. "Are you after my money?" She made it sound like a joke but he could see a wariness in her lavender eyes.
He sighed deeply. "Annie, I have more money than I know what to do with. I can assure you I have no interest in yours. I was just curious as to how you had the funds to purchase property in town."
"Rafe left a life insurance policy with a solicitor," she told him. "I knew nothing about it until Jared showed up at the door a few weeks after Rafe died." She didn't notice the expression which crossed Caleb's face as she cuddled back into him and rested her head against his chest.
Caleb felt his blood run cold and knew the expression on his face would be murderous. He struggled hard to change it to a more neutral expression. He toyed with Rhianna's curls as a way too soothe his sudden rage. "Jared," he said carefully. "That wouldn't be Jared Hanlon, would it?"
Rhianna sat up and smiled widely. "Oh, do you know Jared? He was very kind to me when he dropped by. I was having a bit of a bad day and I screamed bloody murder at him and he forgave my appalling lack of manners which I thought was really kind of him."
Caleb had carefully schooled his features and he hoped Rhianna didn't notice his smile didn't quite reach his eyes. "Yes, I've known Jared for a very long time. We go way back."
"He's got a thing for Millie but don't let her know I told you about it," she said in a low voice. "He calls her every day insisting she go out with him and she keeps refusing. I told her to at least go on one date and see what happens but I don't know if she will."
He listened to her prattle on about Jared's pursuit of her friend and the icy feeling inside him deepened with every word. He was glad Rhianna didn't notice his detachment. He was glad she didn't notice his barely controlled fury. If she had any inkling what was going through his mind right at that very moment she would have run for the hills and never looked back.
Caleb spent the next hour with her fighting hard with himself to not go over to the Hanlon Pack and rip the dogs to shreds until he finally reached Hanlon and 'Wolfie'. He now completely understood the strange behaviour of the brown wolf. He knew exactly who he was and he wanted to kill him for the pain he'd put his woman through, the pain she was still suffering. Rafe Armand had a lot to answer for, as did Jared Hanlon.
Not content with taking Annie's brother from her, Hanlon was now lining up to take her best friend too. He would kill the dog before he allowed him to hurt his Annie again.
He smiled and nodded and answered questions by rote as he fought with himself to contain his rage. His Annie sat cuddled against him, completely unaware of his turmoil and he was grateful for it. He didn't want to lose her again.
He finally closed his eyes and pulled her up against him so he could kiss her soft lips, taste her sweetness and lose himself in her innocence. It was the only way he could calm the raging beast within him. When he kissed Annie all the anger melted away and the danger point receded for a short time.
He decided he wouldn't kill the dogs. That would hurt Annie too much. He would be having serious words with Hanlon though. As soon as he could arrange it.
To be Continued...