The gall of the man! Who did he think he was, questioning me as if he were the wronged husband who came home to find his wife with another man?
“Chambers, that’s none of your goddamn business. Prudence is free to do as she pleases.”
Malcolm’s icy tone brooked no argument. Yet, I heard the implicit support he offered me with his words. Taking a deep breath, stepping away from the cloying proximity of Des, my gaze when to him as my arms crossed in front of my chest.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“What’s he doing at your place, Prue?”
I felt Malcolm take a step forward but my hand reached out and touched his forearm, the gesture silently asking him to stay put.
This was my battle, and wage it I would. “Malcolm and I are working, Des.”
He snorted, and my hand clasped tighter on Malcolm’s wrist.
“Is there a reason why you’re here?” was my prompt.
“You’re not hurt?” Des asked.
I could feel my forehead scrunch into a frown. What was he getting at? “I beg your pardon?”
“Why would she be hurt, Chambers? If you’re implying she’s not safe with me—”
“Of course she’s not safe, what with that crazy wife of yours assaulting her earlier today,” Des cut through.
Oh my God. How did he know that? My puzzlement must’ve been obvious because he then added,
“It’s the talk of the town. How she was hauled to the police station and how another woman is responsible for her outburst.”
Horror grabbed me and I took a step back, only to bump against Malcolm’s broad chest. To my utter shame, my frame sagged against his and his arms came up to wrap around me, keeping me snugly upright braced to his warm body.
“Oh, for God’s sake,” Des exclaimed.
I looked up into Malcolm’s face. His features were taut with repressed tension.
“Chambers, if I were you, I’d leave right now.”
Des stiffened his spine and stood his ground. Malcolm’s body went rigid too, and I knew I had to play the referee before things got ugly.
“Des, I’m fine. It would be better if you left.”
“Please go.” My voice was barely above a whisper.
He threw a glance at Malcolm, before his gaze landed on me again. I turned my head to evade the condemnation in his dark irises.
Without another word, he turned on his heels and left. I breathed a sigh of relief and suddenly realized where I was.
In the arms of my dream man, his hot body pressed against the length of my back.
I wanted to revel in the feeling, especially given the fact that he hadn’t yet released me. Actually, it was almost as if his arms were accommodating me even more, tightening to bring me more in contact with his frame.
My eyes closed of their own accord at the same time a small puff of air left me.
I felt him lower his head, and his breath was now warm as it tickled my ear. Any second now, his lips would graze my cheek, and I knew the feeling would make sparks sizzle through my whole being.
With baited breath, I waited. The seconds took on a life of their own, stretching into an eternity.
Say my name.
But it wasn’t Malcolm’s husky whisper that I heard. No. It was a very strident and disbelieving, feminine shriek.
My eyes flew open, to stare at the shell-shocked face of Stacey, my flat mate.
“What are you doing?” she asked. “And with Malcolm Gainsborough, of all people?”
To be continued in a fortnight…