Life Blood: Cora's Choice #1

Life Blood: Cora's Choice #1 by V. M. Black Read Free Book Online

Book: Life Blood: Cora's Choice #1 by V. M. Black Read Free Book Online
Authors: V. M. Black
Tags: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal
to a fever pitch.  Even the food became a kind of torture, the delight of my taste buds only throwing my frustration into contrast.  After the entrée, which was a balance of perfected simplicity and intricate garnishes, came a series of tiny desserts, each more decadent than the last, spaced to titillate and to indulge.  Every taste was tangled in the overwhelming force of Mr. Thorne’s presence, every bite taken with keen knowledge of his closeness and of his gaze upon me.
    At the end of the meal, I fled to the ladies’ room with equal parts relief and longing.  As I washed my hands, I stared at my own reflection, trying to find the Cora I knew within it.  Strands of my hair were escaping to curl around the sides of my face, and my cheeks had the first real flush that I’d seen in months.  The shining dark eyes I barely recognized.  They couldn’t be my own, because I saw depths in them that I didn’t understand.
    I squared my shoulders, scooped up my purse, and pushed into the dining room.  Mr. Thorne stood as I approached.  Despite my attempts at control, I could hear my heart in my ears as he stepped forward to meet me.
    “I’ve settled the bi ll,” he said.  “Are you ready?”
    I nodded, not trusting myself to speak.
    He motioned for me to walk in front of him, and obligingly, I led the way to the front of the restaurant.  Our coats were brought promptly, and I stepped outside with mine folded over my arm. From the doorway, I could see the Bentley waiting to whisk me back to the university. 
    I didn’t want to go.
    Mr. Thorne’s hand rested lightly on the small of my back as he guided me down the iron stairs.  Even through the thickness of the satin blouse, his cool fingers burned against my flesh.  As I reached the sidewalk, I couldn’t stop myself.  I turned into his arm, so that I was facing him, my body a handsbreadth from his.
    From there, I could smell his personal scent, under the sandalwood and musk.  I was excruciatingly aware of him, aware of the weight deep in my belly and the wetness between my legs.  I ached for him.  I couldn’t move.
    “Please,” I said, the word escaping.  I was trapped in his spell, and only he could release me.
    “You do not know what you are asking for,” he said, his voice rough.  The hand that still rested on my back became rigid.
    “I wouldn’t care if I did, and you know it,” I whispered, looking up into that beautiful, impossible face.
    His head came forward then, his lips parting, and for one interminable moment, I thought he was going to kiss me.  But abruptly, he shifted his hold on me and held me at arm’s length as he turned his face away.
    “And that,” he said, “is exactly why I won’t.”
    With that, he bundled me into the car, shutting the door with devastating finality.  He stood on the sidewalk, his brow furrowed and his hands thrust into his pockets, as the Bentley rolled away.  I watched him until the car turned a corner and he disappeared from my sight.

Chapter Eight
    “C ora!”  Lisette’s exclamation stopped me in the doorway.  “Thank God.  I was about to call the police!”
    I looked around our living room.  Sarah, Hannah, Emily, and Hollee sat there, with various expressions of relief and outrage on their faces.  Even Christina and Chelsea were there, lounging in the corner in skin tight shirts and their clubbing makeup.
    Sarah was talking on the phone.  “Yeah, you can come back up.  She’s here.  She’s okay.”
    “What’s going on?” I asked.
    “What is wrong with you?” Lisette demanded.  “Why didn’t you answer your phone?  You left four hours ago.  We thought something horrible had happened to you.”
    “Oh, crap,” I said, seized by guilt.  I fumbled in my clutch and pulled out my phone.  I’d missed eight calls, mostly Lisette’s.  “Twenty-four texts, guys?  Really?”
    “No one knew where you were,” Sarah said, hanging up.  “Geoff saw you get into some rich

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