In 1936, everything is a scandal.
Jimmy Doyle requested the empty booth in the back so they could have a modicum of privacy. For a moment, he was afraid she would balk, but she surprised him by squaring her shoulders and following the waitress as if his request didn’t have scandal written all over it. She took the seat with her back to the restaurant, which suited him just fine. She’d be less guarded with her facial expressions if she knew only he could see them. He had every intention of learning all he could about her in the time he’d been given. Starting with her name.
As soon as the waitress left to fill their beverage orders, he said, “I don’t even know your name.”
He saw the lie in her eyes. There would be honesty between them, if nothing more. “Don’t even think of lying to me.” He tempered the authority in his voice, knowing somehow that unleashing his full dominant nature on her at this point would send her running, and he wasn’t going to lose her.
She opened her mouth, then closed it. Finally, she said, “Evelyn.”
He raised an eyebrow, silently demanding more.
“And where are you from, Evelyn Gardner?” He’d drag every scrap of information out of her if he had to, but he hoped by the time he said good-bye to her this evening, she’d feel comfortable enough to answer anything without hesitation. Gaining her trust would be the first step to owning her.
The waitress set two sweating glasses of iced tea on the table, then pulled an order pad and pencil from the pocket of her apron. “What’ll it be?”
He nodded at Evelyn. “Anything you want, sugar. My treat.”
“You can. Let me buy you dinner.” He hoped his tone conveyed that there were no other expectations connected to the offer. He simply wanted to feed her. Letting him take care of her basic needs was something she would have to get used to.
She raised the menu, looked it over quickly, then placed her order. It wasn’t much, but he’d see that she ate it all. He ordered, handed the waitress both menus, and turned his attention back to the fascinating woman across from him. He couldn’t remember wanting to know every little thing about a person the way he did her. She was going to be a challenge. Once he could restrain her, he’d devise ways to make her talk. Ways they’d both enjoy. His dick stood at attention, ready to heed its master’s call.
He lifted his glass to his lips. “You were saying?”
Evelyn’s lips caressed her glass. He watched the muscles in her throat work as she swallowed. Christ, he couldn’t wait to wrap his hand around her throat and feel those same muscles contract as she swallowed his cum.
“I grew up in central Virginia.”
Patience. Her answer was vague, but he sensed that she was telling the truth. He prodded for more. “Family?”
Her gaze flitted away; then her eyelids closed, and she shook her head. He recognized shame when he saw it. He’d seen it often enough. “I won’t think less of you, no matter what you tell me.”
She pressed her lips into a thin line. So, she wasn’t ready to tell him her story. He couldn’t blame her. He wasn’t ready to tell her everything yet either. He backed toward safer ground. “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a switchboard operator.”
There were few jobs a respectable woman could hold, and that was one of them. He laid his hand on the table, palm up. “Let me see your hand.” He was a perverted fuck, and he knew it. Wanting to see the hands that shoved things in and out of tiny holes all day amused him.
She rested her gloved hand on his palm. There was a tiny stain on the tip of her index finger—a small imperfection on an otherwise perfect canvas.
His eyes met hers, held her gaze. “I want to see your hands.” He tugged on the fingers, one at a time until the worn glove slid free, leaving her bare fingertips resting on his skin. Fuck. He was going to lose it right there, and that was not acceptable.
Sliding his hand beneath hers, he clasped his fingers around her wrist. Her pulse raced as fast as his, another reason he shouldn’t be doing what he was. Neither one of them was ready for what he wanted to do with her, but it was only her hand, he reasoned. Touching her this way was inappropriate as hell, but he couldn’t stop. He needed to feel her skin, and it was imperative that she get used to him touching her. It was never too soon to begin teaching her to accept him.
“Keep your eyes on mine, sugar. Don’t look away, no matter what.” He explored her fingers with his thumb, rubbing it along the length of each one before repeating the process, this time gently nudging into the soft flesh between each digit as he went from one to the next. When her eyes dilated and her breath grew shallow, he almost came in his pants. Shit, she was a natural submissive, and he couldn’t wait to have her completely under his spell. The things he’d do to her body. The pleasure he’d wring from both of them.
“Your hand is incredible, sugar. I can imagine these fingers shoving in, pulling out. All. Day. Long.” He turned her hand over and began massaging her palm with his thumb. “Does your hand cramp at the end of the day?”
“Sometimes.” Her lips barely moved as she formed the word.
He pressed his thumb hard into the center of her hand. Her fingers instinctively curled inward, encasing his thumb in the sweetness of her embrace. He returned to stroking her skin. “And do you massage the ache away? Alone? In your bed?”
Heat crept from the prim lace collar of her dress to her neckline, yet she held tight to his thumb. God, he could do this all night, tease her, stoke her need. One day soon he’d take care of her himself, but tonight, it would be enough to know that the hand he held in his now would be between her legs tonight, massaging away the ache he’d put there.
The clatter of plates and squeak of rubber soles on linoleum alerted him that they were soon to be interrupted. He glanced up and noted the waitress headed their way. With a gentle smile, he tugged his thumb from her grasp and pulled his hand to his side of the table. Turning her face to the wall, Evelyn tucked her hands into her lap.
Once the waitress left, he reached for her again. “Give me your other hand.” She hesitated for only a second before presenting her gloved hand to him. He stripped the garment from her fingers, set it atop the other one. “Eat.”
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