Plant Lady, The

"Free Story"

Published: 12/2007
Length: Short Story
Word Count: 5,130
Genre: Romance
Rating: N/A
Available formats: PDF & RTF



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Jacki Bentley

© Copyright by Jacki Bentley, December 2007
© Cover Art
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636

This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.

Humming happily as she worked, Kayla McKenzie gently cleaned the leaves and then watered the spiky plant in a round clay pot.

She stepped back to admire her work.

This beauty was a species known by the common name, ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’. Too many with that name. This particular, sturdy cultivar came from South Africa. And the darling was due to flower any day. A red bud stem reached for the light from the floor-to-ceiling window.

Without a sound of warning, Kayla felt herself grabbed off her feet, hefted in the air and thrown hard onto the penthouse suite’s over-sized, unmade bed.

“Hey.” Gasping, she bounced and her breath left her lungs in a long whooshing sound. Strong male arms held her. The panic eased as she realized he was not hurting her. But still she struggled to catch her breath and get a look at her assailant at the same time,trying to remember the modest training in self-defense she’d had.

“Who are you and what are you trying to steal?” The man growled the words too close to her ear. A young, tall, well-muscled man. “Get. Off. Me.”

Still his hold was just a hold, not painful. Yet. A flush of adrenaline pounded through her veins. She heard her heartbeat in her ears.With her arms were totally immobilized, she tried kicking him away from her, grunting softly with the effort.

“Oomph,” he groaned as she landed a pretty good kick, then he clamped a big thigh over her legs.

“Not stealing. I’m … I’m here for the plants,” she said. “I thought the suite was empty.

I knocked and waited several minutes. As is usual Tropical Interiorscape, Inc. policy,” she added the last formally.

“You come in when no one is here?” He seemed skeptical, not believing her at all. Did she look like a criminal?

“Of course I do.” She nodded. He spoke with possessive authority. As if he was this hotel suite’s occupant. But he was sure not nice, eccentric old Mr. Woolsey. She could see that. Up breath-in-the-face-close like this.

She didn’t think Mr. Woolsey had a son. No resemblance she could see.

Kayla squirmed to cautiously gain a bit of distance from him. His biceps tensed harder, holding her without real effort. Tight in place. Smashed to the comfy boat of a bed. Darn it, Mr. Stranger smelled really good. Her shameless body seemed to have no problem responding all sweet and gushy to his overpowering strength.

Designer label slacks, Italian leather shoes and a very nice black polo shirt to finish the look. She wasn’t into fashion herself, but recognized expensive tailoring when she saw it. He looked like a lawyer, or a doctor, a business man, not a crook.

Probably not a rapist, thank God. The stranger was well-dressed and well-groomed but weren’t serial killers often handsome and normal looking guys? That’s what she heard.

Yes, she doubted evil guys like that fit neatly into a profile. They could be as clean and expensively dressed as the next guy. The security here was the best in the world, she reassured herself. All kinds of cameras and gadget out there in the hallways. No one but staff, residents or close friends got in. Ever. This man thought she was the intruder, a thief.

She mentally measured the distance to the land line phone. It’s make a good weapon if not available to her to call for help on. She surreptitiously stretched out her hand, extending her fingers. The darn phone was out of reach. Meanwhile, his hands moved over her, frisking her like a cop. He seemed to be looking for a weapon on her person. Or for some sign of her ill-gotten loot perhaps.

“Hey,” she said. But she closed her eyes as he came perilously close to stroking her breast. “Stop right now, mister.” She struggled, trying to slap his hands away.

He stopped and looked down at her.

“Do you have a camera hidden on you?”

“Well, that’s a weird question.”

“Do you?”

“No.” She closed her eyes, seeking calm, her body continued to thrum from his touch.

Crazy her body wanted more. She could not believe she was attracted to the big, nice-smelling jerk lying on top of her so rudely. She’d had no time for any man in her life for a long time. Far too long, apparently.

“Who are you?” he demanded.

This domineering and imposing, too-damn-pushy guy — was not the one to change her manless status. No way. Gathering all her strength, both physical and sheer mental will, she shoved against him hard. Once, then again.

Nothing happened. No budging on his part.

“Release me,” she ordered in her best bluffing tone. Her long hair pulled at her scalp, stretching tight from its confining braid as she struggled, strands had pulled loose and curled around her cheeks. She blew away the curls that blocked her vision.

“Answer my questions first,” Big Guy said.

Then he leaned back, looking fierce, angry and suspicious of her motives. Like an ancient warrior. God, he had the sexiest pair of black eyes she’d ever seen. Oh, she knew they were brown but they looked as black as coal. Well-shaped dark, arching eyebrows framed them oh so perfectly.