Samhain Publishing, All Rights Reserved
The next time she was tied up, it would only be because it was her idea.
Asia Llewellyn Smith squirmed around trying to find a more comfortable position, but no matter what she did it just wasn’t happening. She moved this way and that, contorted herself into every conceivable position until she felt like a pretzel, but nothing worked. With a frustrated groan, she gave up on the comfort thing and flopped back against the wall.
What the hell should she do?
Her gaze scanned the immediate vicinity but there wasn’t much to see. Trussed up like a pig ready for roasting on a spit, all she could do was take in what was directly in front of her—the backside of the cash register counter in her grandmother’s antique shop.
Since she’d already checked it out thoroughly, she knew there wasn’t anything of use back here. Of course, that didn’t stop her from scouring the cubbyholes again, as if by sheer force of will something helpful would miraculously appear. But no, the slots still only held the usual paraphernalia needed for cashing out customers. It didn’t take a genius to know that neither blank receipts, paper, pens, nor ribbon were going to help her out of her current predicament. Not unless she could set fire to the paper with her nonexistent laser-beam vision and burn the ropes off her wrists. All without burning her hands to a crisp or setting the store on fire.
And to make matters worse, dust balls, lint and flakes of paper taunted her with their unwanted presence. Who knew it was this dirty in the back corners of these stupid cubbyholes?
She made a mental note to give them a good cleaning first chance she got and refocused on looking for something that might help her escape these damned ropes. But nope. Nada. No way. Wasn’t happening.
The only thing that might have helped was the pair of scissors lying just out of reach on the countertop. But since she couldn’t stand, they may as well have been inTimbuktufor all the good they did her up there.
In a sudden burst of complete exasperation, she wriggled and twisted her wrists and ankles with frenzied frustration until the pain from the ropes digging in was almost intolerable. With a final freaked-out flourish she gave up and threw herself back against the wall. If she ever got her hands on the creep who’d robbed the store and tied her up, he’d be sorry he’d ever stepped foot in the door.
And damn it all to hell, the stupid ropes were still digging in, as tight now as they’d been the last time she’d tried to loosen them a couple of minutes ago. She ignored the tiny voice that said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different outcome. After all, it wasn’t crazy to try to get oneself free. It’d be crazy not to.
She slumped as much as she was able to in her current awkward position and tried to use her brain instead of her nonexistent brawn. Think, girl. Think. Maybe if she screamed her head off, someone walking past the store would hear her this time. It was certainly worth a try.
She took a deep breath, preparing to belt out the mother of all cries for help when the friendly tinkling of the bell over the front door of Astrid’s Antiques rang out.
Thank God. The cavalry had arrived. “Hello! Is somebody there? I need some help over here!”
There was a slight pause and then, “Hello? Where are you?”
Oh no. Why’d it have to be him? Would nothing go her way today? She gritted her teeth as the deep, ultra-sexy voice tripped down her spine, zapping awake feelings she thought she’d conquered long ago. The fact that she wasn’t the least bit interested in feeling these kinds of feelings didn’t matter because there they were doing the fandango in her chest anyway.
She clamped down on the unwanted sexual awareness with a firm determination only two years of relentless stomping could accomplish. One thing she knew for sure, men were definitely overrated. At least that’s what she kept telling herself.
For a moment, she was tempted not to say anything back to her would-be savior just so she didn’t have to face him in her current predicament. Fleeting hope rose. Hell, he might even go away without looking for her.
She pondered which was worse. Being hog-tied by a petty criminal or having this guy find her all trussed up? She closed her eyes and for a moment wished the earth would swallow her whole.
And then she relented.
Like it or not, being freed was more important than the humiliation of being caught in this totally stupid, embarrassing situation.
It still took her two tries to get the words out. “Over here. Behind the cash register.”
The sound of solid footsteps got closer until a handsome face, complete with square-cut jaw and electric-blue eyes peered over the top of the counter. “My God, what happened?”
Oh, hell. Even in her current jam, the man’s sex appeal zapped her right between the eyes. Just like it always did. The passage of time didn’t seem to lessen the impact either. No matter how many times she saw him. He was gorgeous beyond belief. In a rough-hewn, too-yummy-for-words sort of way that looked just as good in a suit as it did in well-worn jeans.
If you liked that kind of look, that is. Which she most assuredly did not. At all. Nuh-uh, not her.
She stomped on the lone dissident voice manifesting itself as a flicker of lust in her belly.