(nothing smutty, just the scene where Abbie and Roman meet for the first time…)
RELENTLESS BY LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2009, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Penguin Group
Releasing May 5
This is where Abigail Haws lived? Roman took in the building. Not bad at all. He’d expected shabby once he’d left the Family living blocks near the Municipal Complex. While still within the first circle, he rarely got out this far. Roman realized he’d lived a sheltered life. He did get out from time to time, but it was usually on some sort of mission to view how the unranked lived, a visit to a school, something of that sort.
Listening closely, he knocked once he heard movement on the other side of the door. It was very late but he hadn’t wanted to let the day end without trying to see the woman. Once he’d read the file and spoken to Saul Kerrigan he’d been livid. He wanted to hear Abigail Haws’s side of the story.
“Who is it?” A pause as he heard the view port on the door slide open. “Oh, you. What in the seven hells are you doing here?” she snarled as her door flew open. A tiny sprite of a woman stood before him, long dark hair hanging loose to her waist, big brown eyes flashing behind a pair of spectacles. He hadn’t seen spectacles very often. Most of the time surgical treatment repaired vision problems.
She had the audacity to grab his arm and yank him into the apartment, slamming the door behind them both. “I know who you are. Why are you in my house?”
He looked around, again, surprised. The place was lovely. Plants exploded from pots hanging, draping, perched and placed in the window sills. The furniture was nice, not expensive like his, but it fit the space.
He sniffed, trying to keep it to himself but a redolent, heady scent hung in the air. It came from her kitchen where a pot sat on a cook top. She cooked too? Pictures sat in frames on shelves and on tables. Abigail Haws led a full life and suddenly, he got a whole different perspective on her.
“Hello?” She snapped her fingers in front of his face, jolting him from his inner thoughts. She may have had a lovely apartment but her manners left something to be desired.
“Please don’t do that.” He stepped back. “I’m here because you left before I could meet with you today. Marcus, my assistant, assured me you’d be home and that your assistant had told you to expect me. Apparently that did not happen.”
“I was before an Administrator all afternoon. After you missed our appointment. I met with several of my clients at the lock-up, did research at the library and came home. I haven’t even eaten yet.”
“You left out speaking with a vid crew.”
She had the audacity to laugh and he had the audacity to be charmed in a startled sort of way.
“Oh that’s right. Yes. And spoke with a vid crew about yet another instance of a Family using the system to harm the unranked. I nearly forgot that part, thank you for reminding me.”
She turned, pushing that dark river of gleaming hair over her shoulder and headed to the kitchen. The scent of her soap wafting in her wake met his nose. Light, feminine, not much like her personality at all.
“Why are you using spectacles?”
“Why aren’t you using manners?” she countered, ladling the fabulously aromatic concoction into two bowls. “Would you like some stew? It’s nothing fancy but it’s good.”
He wanted to say no but he had to speak with her and he hadn’t eaten in hours. “Thank you.”
“Hmpf.” She placed the bowls on the table in the corner of her kitchen and turned again, returning with a pitcher of juice and some bread. “Sit.”
He did, surprised by how quick he’d simply obeyed her order.