“Are you alright, little one?” A deep, drawling voice asked from behind her.
Holly jumped at its proximity, jerked from her furious thoughts. As she spun around to face the speaker, she tripped on her heels. Her drink went flying as she released it to catch herself on her hands. She braced for the impact with the hard marble, but it never came. A pair of strong arms closed around her waist, stopping her short. Struggling to find her feet, she glanced up to thank her savior. She almost lost her balance all over again as she took him in.
He was sexy in a rough-around-the-edges kind of way, with golden hair that waved gently to his chin and stubble on his strong jaw. His nose was a bit crooked, as though it had been broken a time or two, but it only made him all the more roguishly handsome. But it was his eyes that captivated her most: a startling, light blue-green, with a playful light that told her that he knew the effect he was having on her.
Holly swallowed hard and instinctively grasped his upper arms in order to regain her balance. A little thrill ran through her at the feel of corded muscles under her fingers. This man was strong. Strong enough to throw her down and take her, ravage her…
A lopsided smile broke out on his face at her visceral reaction to him, as though he could read her thoughts. Gripping her waist firmly, he pulled her upward so that her toes were barely touching the ground before gently lowering her back onto her high heels. This time she was determined not to fall again, so she locked her knees, forcing her legs to support her. They stood there for a moment, holding each other as the Dom speared her with his icy aqua gaze. She shivered in his arms.
Then the lust in his eyes cleared, and he stepped back from her, releasing her. Holly felt a pang at the loss of contact, but she reluctantly withdrew her hands from his arms. He was a complete stranger, after all, and they had been touching for longer than was strictly necessary. She blushed, but as much as she wanted to drop her eyes, she found that she could not avert her gaze from his smirking face.
He extended a hand to her. “Hi,” he said casually, as though she hadn’t just made a fool of herself. “I’m Holden.”
She let him take her hand in his large one, his grip firm but the power in it restrained. She suppressed a pleasurable shudder at his touch, and again they lingered a bit too long before releasing one another.
“Holly,” she breathed as he finally released her.
“So,” he continued, “what are you doing here, sub?”
Sub. Her true nature must be as obvious to him as his Dominant one was to her. She thrilled at the word.
“I…” She hesitated. “Well, I kind of came here with someone,” she admitted.
He quirked an eyebrow. “Oh? And where is he?”
“We, um… We kind of just broke up,” she said softly, uncomfortable having to make the admission. His eyes softened.
“I’m sorry,” he said earnestly.
Anger flooded back into her as she remembered Brad’s outrageous claims. “Don’t be,” she said definitively, her mouth twisting down into a frown. “He and I clearly had different ideas about what it means to be a Dom.”
“And what exactly do you think it means to be a Dom?” He asked with curiosity.
Holly shifted uncomfortably. “Well, he seems to think that it means that he owns me, that I’m completely subordinate to him.” She couldn’t keep the hard edge of anger from coloring her tone.
“For some people that is what it means,” Holden said gently.
“Well, that’s not what I want,” Holly replied, a bit snappishly.
Holden regarded her for a moment, his head cocked to one side. “No,” he said finally. “No, I can see that.” Then he grinned, baring his teeth. “You’re a little spitfire, aren’t you? Well, I can tell you honey, it will make your submission all the sweeter when you finally do give in.”