Home > Heaven and Hell (Heaven and Hell #1)(15)

Heaven and Hell (Heaven and Hell #1)(15)
Author: Kristen Ashley

Well, if that was the case, blurting the information about Cooter being murdered within a few minutes of knowing Sam was an even bigger mistake than I thought it was and I already thought it was a doozie.

I did not share this with Celeste. Instead, I looked into her unusual eyes, eyes the like I’d never seen, a light brown with hints of blue, her perfect skin touched with sun but not brown, leathery and wrinkled, her dark hair that was worn casually in a stylish cut that suited her heart-shaped face and I informed her quietly, “Sam doesn’t like playing games. I’ve been around him twice and he’s already made that pretty clear.”

To this, Celeste’s already warm, kind eyes got warmer and kinder. They also grew knowing and she reached out and took my hand, holding it in both of hers between us.

Then she spoke gently, “My darling Kia, behind your eyes you hold secrets, more than any woman I’ve ever seen. For any woman, but I suspect for you especially, a man must prove he deserves the honor of you sharing those secrets. No woman should ever make the mistake of sharing any of her secrets with a man who does not prove he deserves to have them. I think, ma chérie,” her hand squeezed mine and her voice dropped lower, “you have already learned this.”

Her words affected me so deeply I felt my eyes fill with tears and I was speechless, staring up at her and holding her hand tightly.

Because she was right. She was so right and at that moment I wished I knew her ten years ago, before I gave all my secrets away to Cooter.

“Make him work to unlock your secrets, my Kia,” she whispered. “Do not accept another man in your life who does not rise to that challenge and do it gallantly.”

Wow, she got me. She totally got me. She knew, I had no idea how, but she knew.

And she understood.

And in that moment, I fell in love with Celeste Masterson.

I also nodded.

She bent toward me and kept advising. “I caution you to understand, at the same time I tell you this, whatever you’ve been doing has brought you to this moment. So be yourself, just don’t give yourself unless you’re certain he deserves that gift. Do you understand me, ma chérie?”

I nodded again even though I kind of didn’t.

She smiled, squeezed my hand in hers and straightened, letting me go.

“He’s due in twenty minutes. We’ll share another glass of champagne to help you relax,” she announced. “I’ll pour while you sort your evening bag.”

I nodded again. She moved to the champagne. I twisted on the bed and started sorting my evening bag. She came back with the champagne flute and I stood, taking it from her.

Then I whispered, “Today, everything, the manicure, the girls, my jewelry, I don’t…” I hesitated then forged on. “Thank you.”

She smiled and tipped her head slightly to the side.

Then she whispered back, “You cannot know, ma chérie, but some other time I will explain why, but being with you today, it has been my deep pleasure.”

I held her eyes, concerned at her words but sensing she needed me to let them go for now. So I did.

Instead, I lifted my flute, she lifted hers and we smiled at each other while we clinked.

Five minutes before Sam was due, after a long, close, warm hug, Celeste left.

And when she left, I felt certain I could do this.

That was fifteen minutes ago and, without Celeste, I was a wreck. First I was a wreck because the time was nigh. Then I was a wreck because the time was slightly past nigh. And now I was a wreck because he was ten minutes late and that was getting to the point of well past nigh.

I was stopping myself from spraying on more perfume just for something to do, I had just refreshed my lip gloss from the tube the makeup girl left me and I was looking in the mirror not seeing me.

I was thinking that life had somehow brought me to this pass and, without Celeste with me, I forgot how to pretend that this was me. Instead, I remembered who I was and felt through to my bones that I was an imposter.

And maybe, as the seconds ticked by making ten minutes eleven, Sampson Cooper had figured that out.

I moved from the mirror to the window and stared at the view, forcing my mind to Celeste and the fact that I had not paid one penny for any of the things she’d arranged that day (except, of course, my shoes) and making a mental note to phone her as soon as possible the next day to talk to her about paying her back when there was a knock on the door.

My head snapped to the door.

Holy cow, he’d showed.

Holy cow, he was out there.

Holy cow, I was going out on a date with Sampson Cooper!


Okay, now I didn’t want him to be out there, I didn’t want to do this because I didn’t want him to find out I actually was an imposter.


I stared at the door. Then I realized I had to go open it.


I moved across the room, deep breathing, and, since there was no peephole in the door, I set the chain (you couldn’t be too careful and you should never be stupid, I’d learned that the hard way), opened it and looked out.

It was Sam.

“Hey,” I said swiftly then shut the door, quickly slid off the chain and opened it. “Sorry, have to be safe.”

He didn’t answer and I didn’t notice. I was a flurry of nervous energy.

Therefore, I turned from him and strode across the room so fast my skirt flew out behind me, stating, “I’m ready. Just need to grab my bag.”

I bent to the bed, picked up my bag, shoving in the lip gloss I noticed had rolled out and clasping the gold clasp before straightening at the same time I turned.

And when I turned, my shoulder and arm brushed something very hard and very solid.

My head tipped back to see Sam in my room, right there as in right there.

I froze.

Sam did not.

One of his arms slid along my waist and pulled in and it kept doing that until our h*ps and bellies were brushing. Once he accomplished this and as I was focusing all my energies on not panting and having difficulty with this endeavor considering my brain was focusing all its energies on the exquisite feeling of my belly and h*ps brushing Sam’s, his hand came up, fingers curling around my neck, thumb out and sweeping my jaw.

His head was tipped down, his eyes on me. They were warm, like I’d noticed several times before. They were also intent, again like I’d noticed before. But they were something else, something that made my stomach pitch, my ni**les tingle and heat rush to my cheeks.

Oh my God. I was in danger of either passing out and/or having an orgasm just from this!

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