Nick and LilacBy: Marian Tee
Looking into Nick Christakos’ blue eyes, she knew that the man in her daydreams now had a face, a name, an identity.
The ballroom fantasy faded, replaced by yet another daydream.
“Saw what you’re looking for?”
The words worked like a bucket of cold water, and she recovered from her shock. “Put me down!”
The stranger behind her chuckled even as he did as bid and slowly lowered her to the ground.
She whirled around, furious and embarrassed at the liberties the stranger had been able to take with her person. But then she saw who he was---
“I see you know me, little one.”
She lifted her chin but said nothing.
“A chit who can hold her tongue,” he murmured. “Impressive.” He gave her a lazy smile, and though she tried her hardest, she could not stop her heart from racing at the sight of it. He bowed. “Forgive the boldness, but please allow me the honor of introducing myself. My name is Nikolai Stanford.”
She held her skirts, a part of her wanting to simply run away. But then a mocking light gleamed in his eyes and she knew that he was aware of her thoughts – and was amused by it.
Infuriation replaced her desire to flee, and she curtsied slowly instead, murmuring, “Your Grace. It’s my honor to meet you.”
The amusement in his gaze turned into something deeper and darker, making her swallow. He said softly, “The honor is mine.”
The daydream disappeared, reality set in, and a lump of fear quickly formed in Lilac’s throat, reminding her of a long-ago nightmare that she couldn’t make herself forget.
Jilly raised a brow at her friend. “So…have you ever been introduced to Nick yet?” She tried not to grin when Lilac finally, slowly, shook her head, a now-familiar aloof mask falling on her friend’s incredibly lovely face. Beside her, she could feel Nick inhale sharply and she did her very best not to snicker at the sound. She knew Nick was so proficient in seducing a girl that he might eventually break down Lilac’s walls if he wanted to. But that was then and this was now – and the frustrated look on Nick’s face was more than enough for her.
He had it bad – very, very bad, and his irritation was becoming more visible with every passing second that Lilac did not make a move on him like all the other girls usually did.
Well, he would have to wait forever for that, Jilly thought smugly. In the years she had known Lilac, she had never seen Lilac respond in any way to any guy.
Nick tried not to curse when the girl’s long dark hair fell forward as she shook her head, partially covering her face. She was the hottest chick he had laid his eyes on, and it didn’t matter that she was dressed like a prude about to enter a nunnery. Buttoned-up long-sleeved shirt, shapeless pants, and the ugliest pair of shoes – none of it was good enough to deceive Nick’s connoisseur gaze into thinking he wasn’t standing before a sex siren hidden under spinster garb.
Her hair was a rich dark brown, a startlingly beautiful contrast to pale violet eyes that seemed too ancient for someone so young. Her face was delicate and fine, like a porcelain figurine with a goddess’ body, full breasts, a small waist, and unbelievably long legs that Nick had no problems imagining running his hands all over before pulling them up to wrap around his waist.
Nick made an effort to keep his smile friendly but impersonal, his tone polite as he said, “Hi.” It was the most he had done in years to get a girl to pay attention to him, but he had a feeling if he didn’t make it clear to this girl that he wasn’t about to eat her alive – at least not now – then she would vanish into thin air like a figment of his imagination.
Lilac could feel Nick Christakos’ eyes boring through her, and she tried her best to appear unaffected even though she was anything but. He was too…intense, too much like the duke in her daydreams.
The austere-looking duke lifted his quizzing glass to stare down at her, as if needing a closer way to inspect her peculiarities. It was as if he could not believe that the girl he had met in the garden party was the same boring girl who stood before him now.
Lilia wished she had the courage to roll her eyes. However, a wallflower had no physical traits. It was just…there.
Lilac mentally shook her vision away. Stupid, stupid, stupid – she couldn’t afford to daydream now!
The girl still hadn’t said a word. When the silence bordered on awkward, Nick was stunned into accepting that Jilly’s friend did not intend to return his greeting. Jilly was smirking, damn her. He knew she knew he was goddamn interested, so much so that for the first time in his life, Nick Christakos found himself wanting to demand another person’s attention. There was something about this quiet and regal girl that brought out his possessive instincts.