Copyright © 2017 by Dakota Willink

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Excerpt from Dakota Willink's Set In Stone...

Copyright © 2017 by Dakota Willink


​          When we reached the table, Luca was waiting for us with a bottle of wine in hand and a linen table napkin draped over one arm. Alexander removed his arm from around my waist so that I could slide into the booth that had been prepared for us. His hand lingered for a moment, tracing over the line of my hip, before he moved to sit beside me. Once we were settled, Luca held out a bottle of red for Alexander to inspect.
          “Tonight’s main course will be Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Gremolata. Mr. Donati has chosen to pair it with a 2006 Villa Gemma Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva.”
          The words rolled off his tongue with ease, although I didn’t comprehend much more than barley, risotto, and mushrooms. I was reminded of how out of my element I could feel in Alexander’s world sometimes. While I was getting used to it, I would never lose my appreciation for Tai takeout and cheap white wine. Conversely, Alexander seemed to know exactly what Luca said and nodded his approval. After removing the cork, Luca poured a small amount of red wine into a stemmed glass for Alexander to sample.
          “Exceptional vintage,” Alexander said with appreciation. He swirled the glass and took another sip before handing the empty glass to Luca.
          After Luca poured the deep maroon liquid into two glasses, another server seemed to materialize out of thin air to place a basket of fresh bread and olive oil at our table.  Steam wafted from the basket and provoked a rumble from my stomach. During cocktail hour, the only thing I managed to consume was a pancetta wrapped fig. While it was delicious, it was hardly enough to curb my appetite.
          Once Luca and the other server were gone, I went to reach for the bread but Alexander beat me to it. Tearing off a piece of the loaf, he dipped it into a small bit of oil and brought it to my mouth.  Accepting his offer, I opened my lips for him.
          “You’re beautiful. So enticing and radiant,” he murmured.
          I blushed at his compliment, never one to accept them graciously, as I moved my mouth around the warm and flakey crust. Swallowing the bread, I reached for my wine. However, Alexander caught my wrist and stopped me. As he had with the bread, he brought the glass to my lips. Feeling awkward over such a public display of intimacy, I gently pulled my wrist free and took the glass from his hand. I took a sip and met his gaze. His eyes were intense as always, but there was something more in them that I couldn’t quite place.
          “Matteo has really outdone himself. The wait staff he hired –,” I began. I stopped short when I saw the way Alexander’s eyes flashed hot. Smoldering almost. Baffled, I asked, “What is it?”
          “I’ve asked once, but now I’m going to ask you again. Are you trying to give me a hard on in public?”
          “What in the world are you talking about? I haven’t done anything,” I laughed.

          “Angel, you’re not wearing any panties.”
          My eyes widened in surprise.
          How could he possibly know that?
          But then I remembered the way his hand lingered on my hip right before we sat down at the table. I was fairly confident that was the moment he discovered the absence of my usual lace undergarment.
          “Look, I didn’t do it to be kinky,” I tried to explain. “It’s just that the dress is somewhat fitted through the hips and you could see my underwear lines through it. That’s all.”
          His eyes burned even darker. I was familiar with that expression of burning hunger. I knew it all too well. Alexander was undeniably aroused. That knowledge caused a sudden tightening in my core and I squirmed a bit in my chair. To my astonishment, I felt his hand move up the side of my calf, over my knee and to my thigh. He squeezed, biting into the skin of my leg.
           “No panties and not following my instructions. I did warn you that you would be punished you if you were gone for too long,” he reminded me. His voice reverberated through the hum of conversation and the Louis Armstrong song that piped through the overhead speakers.
          “I wasn’t gone that long,” I practically squeaked.
          I tried to move away, but he gripped tighter and rendered me immobile. My pulse quickened as his hand travel up further. My breath caught in my throat.
          “Angel, any amount of time you’re away from me is too long.”
          I looked around the room. People were everywhere, conversing and eating, completely unaware of what was happening at the booth in the corner. To the casual observer, we were just two people enjoying dinner together. At least I hoped. I silently prayed that the tablecloth was long enough to hide Alexander’s roaming hand.
          Inch by inch, his fingers crawled. For some ludicrous reason, the Itsy-Bitsy Spider song began to play in my head. As Alexander got closer to the mark, I began to feel slightly panicked. I glanced around the room again. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. All I saw were normal people enjoying a normal dinner. Except for our table. Nothing about this was normal. ​