Xander's Chance (Chapter Six, page 1 of 13)

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Did he know somehow why she was there? Is that why he dangled it before her? Jessi almost cursed. She entered the dark, sensual bedroom once again and accepted the necklace with the rough, round red ruby at its center.

"Interesting," Xander said. "You're still standing."


"You don't notice anything strange about it?"

She turned it over in her hands. Black metalwork held the gem in place. In the dim light of his bedroom, she was able to make out a small symbol on the metal: a moon in two separate phases, full and crescent. The ruby glowed faintly, as if there was a light at its center.

"No, it's beautiful," she murmured, managing to hide her frustration at holding what she came for. "Family heirloom?"

"Something like that."

She rolled her eyes at the vague answer then stretched up on her tiptoes to wrap the chain around his neck. He was tall enough that the movement caused her body to rest against his, however briefly. He steadied her with his hands on her hips. She almost dropped the necklace at his touch. The heat of his large hands burned through her thin dress, and warmth bloomed within her. He smelled like the room: dark, smoky and slightly sweet.

Definitely five years since any man touched her.

Jessi fumbled with the lobster clasp on the black cord necklace, completely shaken by his size and heat.

"Today would be nice." Xander's low voice, with its naturally husky edge, made her flush. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you're enjoying this."

She focused hard on the clasp, her senses filling with him. "I assure you I'm not. I have the feeling you can do this yourself."

"Yeah." He pulled her closer, until her hips rested against his.

"You are a piece of work!" Her breath caught at the direct contact of their bodies and the effect it had on hers.

"Does it bother you?"

"You want me to say yes, don't you?"

By his smile, he did.

"Done," she mumbled and stepped away quickly. "Your court awaits you."

"After you."

"No, really. You go." She was too rattled to deal with anyone. She needed five minutes to herself to cool down. Maybe a cold shower or two.

"You're not leaving my sight."

Frazzled, she went. He slapped her on her ass as she passed him, infuriating her.

"You know that's sexual harassment?" she snapped. "If you want me to quit, keep it up."

"You won't quit." His reply was far calmer than she felt.

He was right, but she wasn't about to admit it. The man who didn't seem to know what to do with her yesterday was toying with her today. She didn't like it at all, not when there was so much at stake. She needed to grab that necklace and leave. Fast.

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