Nathan gently removed a stray strand of hair from her face and placed it behind her ear. As he stared into her green eyes, the images of the two of them came blazing back to life, even more powerful than before.
“You’re doing that on purpose!” she shouted, and slammed her flute down on the bar.
“What?” Nathan seemed astonished by her reaction.
She backed away from him. “You’re thinking those thoughts.”
Melinda searched his eyes while he inched closer.
Nathan’s mouth pressed into a thin line, adding to the tension in the air. “I think I should go. You’ve had a long day. We can talk again tomorrow after you get settled in. We will need to go over my agenda.”
What’s wrong with me? Get a grip.
Running her fingertips over her forehead, she tried to clear her mind. “What agenda?”
Nathan picked up his glass of champagne and downed the contents. “I have meetings scheduled this week and next about that property development we spoke of the other day.” He turned his eyes to her. “There’s a formal cocktail party at the home of a New Orleans socialite next weekend. She’s interested in my plans for that property and wants to talk to me about funding the project. You’re to accompany me to the party and all my meetings, then you can tell me what you feel about these people.” His eyes traveled over her T-shirt and torn jeans. “You’ll need to dress professionally for the meetings, and you’ll need a formal gown for the party. I’ll have Bob take you to Canal Place for some new clothes.”
“I can’t afford new clothes, Nathan.”
He raised his brown eyes to her. “I’ll take care of that, not to worry.”
“You’ve given me this apartment, furniture, a new television. I can’t have you buying me clothes, too.”
“Melinda, you’re my assistant now. I can’t have you escorting me places dressed like that.” He motioned to her clothes. “You need to look the part.”
Melinda wanted to argue with him, but she thought better of it. He wanted to buy her some new outfits, what of it? After all, this is what she had always wanted, to be taken care of.
“Yes, Nathan.” She gave him a weak smile.
“Good girl.” He abruptly headed for the door. “I’ll come by tomorrow evening and we can go over my itinerary in detail. I have a new cell phone coming for you tomorrow, as well as a credit card. Use the card to buy your clothes and anything you may need for your job.”
“A credit card? Are you sure you want to trust me with that?”
Nathan smirked with amusement. “Just make sure you don’t go too crazy. I still have to justify it all to my accountant at the end of the month as a business expense.”
“Is that why you’re telling everyone I’m your assistant?”
He frowned at her. “What do you mean?”
“If you tell people I’m your assistant, even though you already have a secretary, don’t you think that will look funny?”
He squinted his eyes, appearing interested in her reasoning. “Funny, in what way?”
“Perhaps everyone thinks I’m not here as an assistant, but as something else.”
“What else?” he questioned with a glimmer of mischief in his eyes.
“You know what else, Nathan.” She turned away, but he held her arm.
Melinda gazed into his dark eyes and then she knew. The images she had seen earlier of them together were his. She could feel it as sure as she could feel the warmth of his hand.
Nathan let her go. “I hired you to be my psychic, that’s all. If others read more into the relationship than that, it’s their problem.”
Despite what he told her, Melinda knew Nathan wanted her, but something was holding him back, something she could not see. In her mind’s eye, she searched for an answer, but only foggy images came through.
“I’m very happy you’re here,” he said, and then he leaned forward and kissed her cheek.
Melinda almost grabbed for the doorframe to keep from falling to her knees. The unexpected wave of electricity from the caress of his lips was catastrophic.
“Get some rest,” he told her. “We have a big week ahead, and you have your work cut out for you.”
Confused, Melinda watched him make his way back to his penthouse. Perhaps he didn’t send those images to her.
Melinda quickly shut the door and threw her body against it. “Oh, I’m in trouble.”
Right after Melinda spoke the words, a wave of fear enveloped her. She turned to her living room, and as quickly as it had come, the feeling departed. She gazed about the room, reaching out with her mind to whatever entity had called to her, but nothing came.
Shaking it off, Melinda picked up a box and carried it to her bedroom. When she stepped into the hall, the doorway to the storage room was wide open and the light inside was on. Setting the box on the floor, she went to the room and looked around. Nothing appeared to her, and there were no moans or rattling of chains. But as she stood in the stark square room, the hairs on her arms stood up. In her mouth, the acrid taste of dread. Melinda fought her instinct to flee, and instead opened her mind.
“I feel your fear,” she pronounced.
Then a woman’s soft voice whispered in her ear, “Run.”
Melinda’s eyes flew open. She backed out of the room, flipped off the lights, and shut the door. She stood in the hall staring at the handle on the door as her trepidation faded. There was no lock on the door, no way to secure it. She had a sudden urge to make sure this door stayed closed, because what was inside of that room scared her.