She opens the door…

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She opened the door.

He turned to face her directly, his eyes—a clear, vivid blue—took a burning sweep from head to toe and up again. “Hello,” he said, his voice low, soft as kidskin leather.

“Hello,” she breathed.

Up close, he was taller than he’d appeared in the lounge. She was five feet seven inches in heels. The top of her head was even with the bridge of his nose. This close, she caught the fragrance of his cologne, a hint of citrus with cedar undertones. God, he was so handsome. She swayed slightly and grabbed the doorjamb to keep upright. His eyes followed the motion before returning their piercing directness to her face. He frowned in question, dipping his head towards her. “Is your offer still on the table?”

“Y-yes.”

His eyes narrowed at the telltale quiver in her voice. Several seconds that seemed like eons went by during which he seemed to be locked in some inner debate. He inhaled sharply, closed his eyes for a moment before he lightly touched her waist and gave her a gentle nudge backwards. The brief flicker of indecision—or had it been nervousness?—in his expression had vanished. “Let’s continue this in private.”

She released her grip on the doorjamb and her hand drifted down to his shoulder—his broad, strong, firm shoulder concealed under the fine, clearly expensive, fabric of his black suit jacket. It was almost like a slow dance as he continued guiding her further into the room until the door clicked shut behind them. He turned slightly to flip the safety latch, quirking one eyebrow at her as he did so. “Okay?”

She nodded.

They stood close together in the narrow hallway, his hand still at her waist, both of hers now resting lightly on his shoulders. Her unsteady breathing seemed to echo his. She’d never, willingly, been this close to a man before. She lost herself for a giddy moment in the vibrant male warmth radiating from his body. His fingers tightened against her waist, tugging her forward until her chest brushed against his. He set the knuckles of his other hand under her chin, tilting her face up and capturing her eyes. “What’s your name?” he rasped.

“You can call me…Joan,” she whispered.

His mouth twitched as his eyes took in her red hair and vintage attire. “How appropriate…Joan. Call me…Don.”

What will happen next in Room 1208?

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Joan

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She removed her earrings and necklace and placed them in the safe along with her purse. She closed the closet door, concealing her suitcase and coat, then paused a moment to study her reflection in the full length mirror. The dress was her most recent find, ordered from an online boutique that specialized in vintage clothing from the Fifties and early Sixties. It was periwinkle blue and white floral chiffon with a ruched waist and full skirt. It had a bateau neckline in front, and a deep curved back neckline that came across the middle of her shoulder bones. Matching suede periwinkle pumps completed the look.

It was a dress that spoke romance. It was a dress, she hoped, that begged an easy touch and slow hands, not one to be torn aside in a rush of passion. Oh, she wanted that mad rush eventually, but not for her first time.

Her hands shook slightly as she skimmed them down her waist and over the skirt. She loved wearing dresses. For too many years, she hadn’t been able to wear them, not without feeling like she was on a poster advertising a carnival sideshow. She’d had to content herself with cutting out pictures of dresses she liked, taping them to her bedroom mirror or tucking them in a scrapbook. Someday, she’d promised herself. Someday.

[What happens next in Room 1208?]

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