Author:Nina Lane

Allure by Nina Lane





Nobody has ever measured, not even


poets, how much the heart can hold.


— Zelda Fitzgerald












December 24





e’re kissing in the coat closet. The coat closet. I’m up against the back wall, his hands are braced on either side of my head, and his mouth is locked hot and deep against mine. My ponytail is slipping from the clasp, my fingers are gripping his shoulders, and I’m lost in the sweet, aching cascade of pleasure.


Dean pushes his leg between mine, moving to pull up my knee-length dress and cup his hand around the back of my thigh. His tongue sweeps across my lower lip. Arousal billows between us, a relief after the simmering tension of the past two hours.


Every time I sought him out amidst the holiday festivities, I found him watching me. Every time our eyes met, sparks of electricity spun through the air. Every time I saw him maneuver through the crowd, my heart beat faster.


We circled each other like prowling cats as we moved through the bright rooms of Langdon House, a historic Victorian mansion adorned with colorful Christmas trees, fresh green garlands, and vintage decorations.


We navigated clusters of people, the women all decked out in sparkly holiday gowns, the men in expensive suits and ties. We drifted in and out of conversations with other guests, then found each other again and exchanged looks of heated promise.


Until he caught me in the foyer beside the walk-in coat closet, curling his hand around my arm as he guided me inside and shut the door behind him. My pulse leapt when he came toward me, backing me up against the wall and penning me into the cage of his arms the instant before his mouth crashed down on mine.


I don’t know how long we’ve been here. I don’t care. My world has distilled to this space. There is only the press of his body, the solid bulk of his chest, the mingling of our breath. The scents of pine, cinnamon, and apples cling to the air. A narrow remnant of light shines beneath the door. Laughter and conversation drift through the walls.


I rub my hands over the ridges of his torso, feel the heat burning through his shirt. He moves his mouth to my cheek, down to my neck. My dress is pushed up to my waist.


Dean grips my thighs, which are covered in sheer nylons. He growls with frustration when he discovers the tight spandex panties.


He lifts his head, his gaze colliding with mine before he grabs the flimsy nylon at the seam and rips it away. My heart throbs.


“Take this off.” He plucks at the spandex with a frown of impatience.


“Good thing they’re not control-top,” I remark breathlessly, pushing the waistband over my hips and halfway down my thighs.


“What the hell is control-top?” He eases his hand underneath my cotton underwear and groans. “Oh, fuck. Never mind.”


His fingers probe deeper into my cleft. I gasp, clutching the front of his shirt, urgency spooling into my blood. He slips his forefinger into me, stroking the heel of his hand against my clit.


“Come on, beauty,” he whispers, his breath a hot trail to my ear.


He slides his lips to the pulse pounding at the side of my neck, then works another finger into my body to stroke my inner flesh.


I arch toward him, straining, my sex throbbing. A cry of pleasure lodges in my throat, poised to escape, when suddenly Dean clamps his hand over my mouth. He pushes me to the right, back through a curtain of woolen coats to the side wall. Light floods the closet a second after I realize the doorknob has clicked open.


I tighten my hold on Dean’s shirtfront. He eases his hand from my mouth, our hard breaths thankfully masked by the sound of chattery voices.


“Did you try those salmon rolls?” one of the women asks. “They’re new on the catering menu.”


“Oh, yes. So light and delicious. I think we ought to hire the same caterers for the spring festival, don’t you?”


I know those women. Members of the Historical Society board of trustees, Florence and Ruth Wickham are two lovely older ladies who wear pastel-colored suits and pearl necklaces and would no doubt be horrified to find me half-naked in the back of the coat closet.


“Do you remember where I put my coat?” Florence asks her sister. “Did I tell you I found it on sale at that little boutique on Dandelion Street? Pure camelhair.”


The air is stifling back here. A fur collar from one of the hanging coats brushes against my neck. I push it away impatiently. I’m still throbbing, frustrated at having my arousal thwarted.


Then Dean presses his knee between my legs, spreading my thighs. I jerk my gaze to his lust-filled eyes. A wicked grin tugs at his mouth as he puts his hand against my sex again.