The door in the right corner of the far end of the room opened and she shot into a sitting position, her heart leaping into her throat as her gaze darted towards it.
The man stood there, dressed as impeccably as before in a fine black suit and polished leather shoes, with his dark hair swept back from his face. All that black made him look as pale as a ghost, his skin white and flawless. Only his amber eyes added a touch of colour that added life to him.
That fiery gaze burned into her as his eyes came to settle on her, narrowing slightly so his long black lashes darkened his irises to burnished gold.
"You are awake," he said, his voice as smooth and deep as an ocean, lulling her as gently as waves.
With practiced precision, he carried a silver tray into the room and set it down on the black coffee table near the red couch.
Her stomach grumbled at the sight of it. Fruits, something that looked like a sponge cake, and chocolate. Her belly growled louder, her mouth watering as she thought about breaking off a piece of chocolate and popping it into her mouth. Beside the food on the tray stood an elegant silver teapot and a single fine china cup on a saucer, with a tiny pot of milk and a sugar bowl.
Nina stared at the offering, wondering if she would look rude if she ran across the room to stuff her face with the food.
The man arched an eyebrow at her and then at the tray. "I can ask for coffee if you prefer it."
She quickly shook her head. "Tea is fine. Perfect. I love tea."
And she was rambling. She didn't need to catch the amused look on his handsome face to know that.
She edged off the bed and walked as casually as she could towards the couch. He shifted aside when she neared him and she almost paused to look at him, part of her curious about why he always moved away from her whenever she approached him. Was he merely trying to make her feel more comfortable?
Or was there another reason he wanted to keep his distance from her?
The suspicious part of herself locked on to the latter, filling her head with theories about why he might want to avoid being near her. She shoved them away as she sat down on the red velvet couch and snapped off a square of dark chocolate. Her stomach rumbled as she brought it to her lips and she had to fight to keep her eyes open as she placed the piece on her tongue and chewed. Heaven.
Nina swallowed the chocolate, sank back into the couch and sighed.
The man's gaze on her intensified and she lazily lifted her eyes to meet his. He was closer now, standing at one end of the coffee table and staring down at her, his head cocked to one side.
She was about to ask whether he had never seen a woman blissing out on chocolate when he spoke.
"Tea?" He was crouching before she could respond and she couldn't help noticing how his black trousers pulled tight across his toned thighs and higher.
Nina dragged her gaze away from the bulge and fixed it on his hands, watching as he nimbly lifted the silver teapot in his left hand and pressed the fingers of his right to the lid as he tilted it, pouring a tall stream of golden liquid into the waiting white cup. Steam swirled from the hot liquid as it rose towards the brim. With an equal measure of care and perfection, he slowly righted the teapot and set it back down on the tray.
Golden eyes slid across to meet hers. "Milk?"
Nina nodded and he picked up the small china pot and began to pour, his gaze constantly on hers. She held her hand out when the tea was golden, not too pale nor too dark for her taste. When he reached for the sugar, she shook her head.
"Sweet enough as you are?" he said with a wide smile that made her heart thump ridiculously against her chest.
She opened her mouth to bat the comment away, but he rose to his feet, coming to tower over her. Something about him standing over her like that, the warmth draining from his eyes as his smile faded, set her on edge. She wrapped one arm around her waist and reached for her cup of tea with the other.
"I make you nervous." He backed off a step and then another, and she wanted to tell him that it wasn't him, but she couldn't bring herself to voice that lie.
He did make her nervous.
He made her nervous when he was close to her, when he was kind to her, when he asked her things about what had happened to her.
When he looked at her as she knew he was looking at her now when her gaze and focus was on picking up the tea he had poured for her.
She could feel the heat of his gaze on her, knew if she lifted hers to meet his that there would be a touch of hunger in his eyes, desire that she had spotted in them before and that left her feeling breathless. The room closed in on her and she struggled to breathe as she reached for the cup. Her fingers shook against the delicate handle and she closed her eyes to shut out the room and everything in it, hoping that it would help her steady her nerves.
She could still feel his eyes on her.
She pulled down another steadying breath and focused harder, pushing aside the fierce sensation of his eyes on her as she opened her own and settled them on the cup. She gripped the handle and lifted it away from the saucer, bringing it to her as she leaned back. Her hand remained steady this time and she managed a few sips of the hot tea. The comforting taste of it settled her nerves even further.
It might have helped that he stopped looking at her in that instant and moved off towards the fireplace.
Nina studied him as she sipped her tea, taking in the elegant line of his back and how his shoulders tapered but were broad. His black hair was shorn around the sides and back of his head, but left longer on top, groomed back away from his face. She grew bolder the longer he remained looking away from her. Her eyes drifted down the straight slope of his nose, took in the high contours of his cheekbones, and even the tempting soft curves of his lips. Ridiculously handsome.
She could almost believe he had been made to tempt women into sinning.
He exuded wickedness and sensuality, and she felt the full force of it as he turned his head towards her, his golden eyes locking with hers before she could glance away and holding her immobile.
"Is the tea to your liking?"
He may as well have asked whether she wanted to climb him like a tree and kiss the living daylights out of him, because her heart did a stupid fluttering thing in her chest and her belly heated in a way she hadn't experienced in a long time. Desire flared hot inside her, burning through her veins, and for a moment she wondered whether he had drugged the tea.
It would have been the perfect excuse, if not for the fact she had reacted to him in exactly the same way when she had awoken to him yesterday.
Nina blamed whatever drug the shadowy man had used on her. It obviously hadn't worn off as much as she had thought.
"What's your name?" She blurted the question and his left eyebrow arched, a flicker of surprise crossing his features. "If I have to stay here, I at least want to know where I am and who you are."
"Lucifer," he said it with such a deadpan expression that she didn't have the heart to ask whether he was joking and had just pulled a name out of his head that suited the dreary house around her.
"You must have loved your parents for that one."
His expression darkened. "I do not have parents."
That explained a lot, but also left her with a heck of a lot more questions. Had her previous assumption been correct and he had been raised in this house?
God help him if he had. The poor bastard. It was little wonder he was so pale and looked so cold and emotionless most of the time.
Except when he was looking at her.
Sure, he had looked at her with cold, cruel eyes from time to time, but there were those times when they held banked heat, desire that had shocked her the first time she had noticed it.
"Nina." She offered her free hand but he only looked at it, keeping his station near the fireplace opposite her, with the table neatly positioned between them.
Like a barrier.
Nina lowered her hand to her lap and his eyes followed it, his irises darkening once more as his pupils dilated.
There it was again. That heat that stirred the same in her, breaking through the hard emotionless cold that normally filled the space in her chest. Was it the same for him?
Or was she being ridiculous?
The heat inside her grew as he lifted his eyes, slowly tracking the length of her arm upwards and over her shoulder, and the hunger in them grew with each inch higher he roamed. He sucked her awareness to him, pulling it away from the room until she was conscious of only him and how he was looking at her.
Of the way his golden eyes seemed to brighten as they lingered on her face and then fell to her lips.
Her breath came quicker, heart racing as she fought the effects of his eyes on her and tried to shake them off.
It was impossible.
She felt as if she had fallen under some sort of spell and he was the one casting it on her by merely looking at her as if she was beautiful and he couldn't go another second without crossing the room and touching her.
A flash of him doing just that filled her mind, a stolen moment in which his hand would catch her cheek and flutter downwards to her jaw to tease her head back so his lips could taste hers and steal her breath from her.
Every inch of her trembled in anticipation, aching for that even when it scared her a little.
She couldn't remember the last time a man had looked at her the way he was staring at her right now.
And it was enough to throw a bucket of icy water on her libido and kill it.
Nina averted her gaze.
The spell shattered.
She felt it break, felt his eyes leave her as he shifted back a step, one that lacked confidence and felt uncertain to her. He lingered a moment, nothing more than a heartbeat, and then the sound of his shoes clicking on the cold stone floor broke the silence. The door slammed and she flinched, spilling her tea on the floor by her bare feet.
Nina sat there in silence, her eyes closed and her heart racing.
What the hell was she doing?
She placed the cup down on the tray and wrapped her arms around herself as she stared at the closed door.
Whatever had been happening, she wasn't alone in her reaction to it.
It had rattled Lucifer too.
And Nina had the feeling that was a rare thing.