Seduced & Betrayed

     Hello, Zeke," she said, and put her hand into his.
     It was a mistake.
     She knew it the minute their palms touched.
     The heat was still there, as strong, as vital, as tempting as it had been the first time he'd ever touched her. It sizzled up her arm like wildfire, heading straight to the hidden core of her. Thank God, there was no chance she would succumb to its lure this time, she thought, belatedly steeling her nerve endings against him. This time she would be strong. Invulnerable. Invincible. Immune. Because this time she wasn't a breathless, wide-eyed ingenue, eager to taste life and oh-so-ripe for the plucking. This time, she knew that heat and sizzle was all there was to Zeke Blackstone.
     All right, not all, she amended grudgingly. In the years since they'd last seen each other, he'd matured into a brilliant actor and then into an even more brilliant director. But he'd been a lousy husband.
     She forced her lips into an empty little smile. "It's good to see you, Zeke," she said, feigning a credible and convincing coolness as she withdrew her hand from his.
     Without conscious thought, Zeke tightened his fingers on hers, holding her captive for a scant moment longer, silently demanding that she look at him—really look at him, dammit!—before he would let her go. He tried to tell himself it was just a test of wills, a power play, a game of one-upmanship. And, on one level, it was.
     It was also a need.
     An urgent, burning, utterly inexplicable need.
     Loath to let him gain the upper hand, Ariel reluctantly lifted her gaze to his. Wide blue eyes met smoldering brown for the first time in years.
     They both felt the pull.
     It was primal.
     Visceral.
     Frighteningly real.
     "Is it really good to see me?" Zeke murmured, his voice low and disturbingly intimate. It shivered along her nerve endings, as real and tactile as a touch.
     "Yes," Ariel said, aghast to realize she meant it. Oh, God, I don't want to mean it! "Yes, of course it is," she added, managing to make the words sound offhand and casual, like a polite social lie one didn't really care if the hearer believed or not.
     "It's good to see you again, too, Ariel," he said softly, surprised at just how much he meant it. And how much he wanted her to mean it, too.
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