The King of Infierno - Excerpt
Donovan King had never before laid eyes on such a beautiful creature. She looked like an angel. Her golden hair tumbled in careless waves past her shoulders. Her plump, cherry red lips looked lush and full. But it was her eyes that mesmerized him. Even behind those thick, black-rimmed glasses, her eyes were the first feature he noticed. A color that he’d heard about but had never actually seen on someone in the flesh—violet eyes. There were purple smudges under them, the only thing marring her lovely features, indicating a weariness that someone so young should never have to endure.
A threadbare, baggy jumper and a long floral skirt hid most of her figure, but he could tell, even under her shapeless clothing, that she was slender, too slender. Her wrist that poked out of one floppy sleeve was so pale and delicate that he imagined the simplest flick of his fingers could snap it in two—the thought sent a cold jolt through him.
He peered out of the window of the service station and studied the cars, his gaze alighting on a beat-up old Commodore that had definitely seen better days. He’d bet his left arm that the car was hers. Anger suffused him. How could anyone allow this young woman to drive such a deathtrap? Didn’t she have anyone looking out for her interests? He shuddered to think what could happen to her if she ever broke down alone and at night.
Donovan snapped his gaze back to the woman, her increasingly frantic movements drawing his attention once more. She looked panicked and had ducked her head to rummage through a shabby handbag.
He looked past her to the service station attendant who kept drumming his fingers impatiently. Donovan lowered his gaze to a crumpled five-dollar note and a few coins scattered on the counter.
The angel looked up, her face flushed, hands shaking. “I know I have it. Just a moment.”
Her sexy voice, husky and low, hit him like a sledgehammer. It was deeper than he’d expected and sent hot desire unfurling in his belly.
A gruff cough from farther back in the growing line spurred Donovan into action. One long stride brought him level with the counter. “How much?” he snarled at the attendant.
Donovan threw a ten-dollar note onto the counter and scooped up the money the woman had already deposited there. He grasped one of her delicate hands in his and tugged her gently away from the other customers.
He realized just how petite she was when he drew her close. She stared up at him, her violet eyes wide behind those ugly glasses. The flush on her cheeks intensified as she visibly struggled to regain her composure.
“I’m so sorry, sir,” she murmured in that husky voice.
Fuck! Did she just call me sir? His testosterone levels flew into hyperdrive.
“I know I have the money in here somewhere.” She opened her handbag and recommenced rummaging through it.
Donovan placed a hand on her arm, stilling her frantic movements. “Don’t apologize. Please, I was happy to help.” He thrust the money he’d reclaimed from the attendant into her hand.
“Oh, thank you, but I can’t possibly accept,” she said.
“You can and you will,” he stated bluntly. “No arguments.”
She gazed at him, indecision clouding her beautiful eyes. She grasped the hem of her jumper and twisted the fabric between her hands as she nibbled on her bottom lip. She was younger than he’d first thought, definitely early twenties, and her whole doe-eyed, breathy voiced demeanor was sending his protective instincts into overdrive. The power of the unfamiliar emotion was so strong he had to force himself to refrain from picking her up and striding to his car with her safely in his arms. He shoved a hand through his hair in agitation.
She seemed to come to a decision and thrust a hand out in his direction. “My name’s Makayla Carrington. Thank you, sir, for helping me. It was very kind of you.”
Fierce desire swept through him. There’s that word again. He struggled to maintain his composure as he took her hand in his and lifted it to his lips. “Makayla, I’m Donovan King. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
A frisson like an electric shot hit him when he touched her. It was an odd thing for him to do, kiss a woman’s hand. He couldn’t remember ever having done it before. He was definitely not a man given to romantic gestures. His proclivities ran deeper and darker than that.
She blushed prettily, lowered her eyes and grasped her bag to her chest in a defensive gesture. “Well, I need to go. Thank you again for your kindness.”
Panic overtook him at the thought that he might never see her again. But before he could think of something to keep her from leaving, she’d turned and was walking toward the door. He followed and made his way to his Lexus, sliding into the car quickly, his intention of purchasing a bottle of water suddenly forgotten. He watched as she strode to the beat-up old Commodore and slipped into the driver’s seat.
She hadn’t looked around, hadn’t appeared remotely curious about him, but seemed to have forgotten his existence almost the moment he was out of her sight. The thought that she could be so unaffected by him was infuriating.
* * * *
Makayla was distracted and tired. Beyond tired, in fact, and hitting the realms of exhaustion. She’d had a busy few days and was relieved to have finally delivered her last basket of mending to its owner. Her mother’s mental state hadn’t helped. Josephine had had a bad week and had required almost constant supervision. That, added to the mending that Makayla took on to augment their meager income, meant that she’d managed little sleep. She huffed in frustration. Obviously, her mother’s new meds weren’t working, and she’d have to make another doctor’s appointment.
Her mind wandered to Donovan King, the gentleman at the service station. Initially, she’d been struck dumb by his appearance. He was extremely handsome and tall. She guessed at least six foot two, so he towered over her petite, four-foot-five frame. He’d been dressed in a bespoke suit, the fabric so fine that she’d found herself wanting to reach out and stroke it. His dark hair fell in unruly waves to just below his ears and his cinnamon-colored eyes seemed to bore right through her. He had a hard jaw, described as chiseled in the books she read. His movie star good looks had been enough to make her tongue-tied, but he also had an intimidating presence, which was enhanced by his powerful physique. It had taken her a moment to gather her composure and an odd butterfly effect had settled in her belly.
She knew she’d never see him again and the thought saddened her. Odd, as she’d just met him and the meeting was only an exchange of names, nothing concrete. But something about him had stirred feelings deep inside her. Of course, she’d more than appreciated his paying for her fuel. That episode had been embarrassing to say the least. There was nothing more mortifying than being caught short of funds—particularly as she could hardly siphon the fuel back out of her tank. But it was more than his kindness to her. She’d felt an irresistible pull toward him, an intense attraction that she hadn’t ever felt before. She’d been so tied in knots that she hadn’t even thought to ask for his number so she could do something to return his kindness—that would have been a perfect excuse to see him again. But then, why would such an obviously successful and handsome man be interested in her?