- About the Series
- About the Book
- About the Author
- Private Desire — Midnight Kiss
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About the Series
Sizzling love stories packed with erotic suspense — this e-book series features self-contained erotic love stories in picturesque settings.
About the Book
Zoe loves her life as an au-pair in Paris: two kids that she takes care for the wealthy Duvilles, an exciting job at an art gallery and a great South American friend. One night, however, when she is home alone with the children, she catches an art thief red-handed. Instead of escaping, though, he looks at her with his wonderful midnight blue eyes and gives Zoe the most passionate kiss ever. Two days later a man with irresistible midnight blue eyes comes into the gallery. Coincidence? Or is this the man who kissed her? Why did he return? Is he still thinking of the kiss, too? And what other secrets is he hiding?
About the Author
Eva Mangas is the pseudonym of a young author living in Pordenone. She works in communications and takes care of two kids, a dog, diverse novels and a husband with coffee colored eyes.
To the man with coffee-colored eyes,
who opened the door to my knocking heart,
setting its beats free
“And the dragon ate it in one bite.”
A chorus of protest fills the room. Luc stands up on the bed, starts to jump and keeps crying out: “Nooo!” His sister Margot does the same, laughing and screaming, shaking her blond curls.
Zoe sighs, admitting defeat: “All right, if you don’t like this, we can make up a new ending. What would you like to happen?”
Many endings and many goodnight kisses later, the kids’ room is finally quiet. Zoe looks at the two sleeping rascals, who now look like little angels, and touches Margot’s forehead to see if it’s still warm — it isn’t. Relieved, she takes her book and nestles up on the sofa, her long legs folded under her sarong. She’s really tired, though: soon the sentences start mixing up in her head, her eyelids get heavy, and the woman falls fast asleep.
A sudden noise makes her gasp.
It comes from the living room, sounding like steps.
Her eyes wide open and her heart pounding, Zoe holds her breath and listens. She hears the noise again. And she’s not imagining it …
If it’s a thief, he’ll never go to the kids’ room. I just have to pretend to be asleep and it will be fine, she tells herself. But then she starts thinking about what might happen if the thief took away Luc and Margot — what if he hurt them?
She decides to be brave and go check. Maybe the Duvilles came back earlier … Maybe Paté, the tabby cat, made something fall … She moves there slowly, walking with light steps along the wall. Except for the faint light in the room, the rest of the house is submerged in a dense and impenetrable darkness, pierced only by the light of the street lamps that illuminate the window.
Holding her breath, she reaches the living room and slips behind the couch just in time; a beam of bluish light suddenly shines on the door through which she just passed. Zoe stiffens, holding still like a statue.
Then the light switches off.
Zoe makes the mental list of the valuable items in the room: plasma TV, DVD player, stereo system, two Ming vases, eighteenth century pistols, and three paintings. The safe is in the master bedroom.
Hopefully the thief will just take what’s in here and leave, she says to herself.
When her eyes get used to the darkness, Zoe finds the courage to peek over the couch. There is actually a thief! He’s right in front of her, checking out the paintings. He turns on a LED flashlight, and the feeble light illuminates him. Zoe’s heartbeat turns into a roar as she follows with her eyes the man's tall, slender, muscular body, his gloved hands trying to pull the painting from the wall and his face covered with a balaclava.
He leaves the torch on a shelf, and the light reveals his eyes: his eyebrows are dark and thick, slightly arched; his irises, deep and penetrating, are the color of the midnight sky.
The man turns around and Zoe, lightning-fast, ducks back behind the couch.
That was close, she thinks.
Then the pencil holding her hair in a half-assed bun falls to the ground, and the light switches off immediately.
Zoe holds her breath and closes her eyes, trying not to move. She waits for seconds that seem eternal. She can’t hear anything — there’s a disturbing silence in the room.
She slowly exhales, convinced it must be safe, when a hand squeezes her arm, forcing her up.
“No one was supposed to be here …” whispers the thief.
She says nothing. Her body and mind are paralyzed.
He switches on the flashlight. The light illuminates her body from her toes to her skirt, up to her 1970s top, then her face: pale freckled skin, auburn curls, green-amber eyes, and a small but full mouth, with slightly upturned corners.
The light also illuminates the man's gaze, which is now darker, menacing.
“Who are you?” he demands in a low voice.
“Zoe … I look after the children.”
He throws a furtive glance towards the corridor and sudden interest flashes in his eyes.
“Are they home?”
She nods. “They're sick,” she says softly. The thief's hand is still tight on her arm.
Zoe starts shaking. The though of Luc and Margot has taken over her mind, now that she senses a real potential for danger.
She looks around, hoping to see a weapon or something that could act as one.
“You’d better keep calm,” he says, as if he’d read her mind. “I won’t take long. Then we’ll think about you.”
Is it just an impression or does he sound amused?, wonders Zoe.
He pulls her over to the couch and orders her to sit down, then he turns around and gets back to fiddling with the paintings.
The arm he grabbed is sore, and she can hardly breathe for the tension. She doesn’t know what to do. There’s an ancient Chinese vase nearby: she could take it and smash it on his head, and then call the police.
But maybe if I just keep quiet nothing bad will happen, she thinks. “Then we’ll think about you,” he had said. It didn’t sound like a threat, though.
The thought of Luc and Margot peacefully asleep gives her courage. Zoe suddenly grabs the vase and throws herself at the thief, who turns around just in time and prevents it from breaking on his head. He takes the vase, and holds both of Zoe’s hands behind her back. She can’t move.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he roars, pushing his body against hers. The torch has fallen to the ground and is now off. Zoe can’t see his eyes, she doesn’t know what he might do, what to expect.
The thief laughs. It’s an arrogant, annoying laughter that doesn’t sit well.
He puts his face close to hers and, with his free hand, runs a finger over her lips, with a light touch.
Zoe closes her eyes. She can’t help feel a tingle between her legs. There is something about that man … his eyes, his posture …
He’s a thief! Shouts her mind. A criminal!
Her eyes are still shut when, all of a sudden, she feels his lips on hers. It is not a soft kiss. He is appropriating her mouth, exploring it, conquering it violently. At first she tries to fight back, but soon she realizes that her body is betraying her and irrepressible arousal is making itself known. The thief rubs his crotch against her body, and Zoe groans when she senses the bulge of his erection. He reacts by pressing even more against her body. Hot chills run down her spine.
A child’s cry interrupts them and the thief stops, pushing away from her but still holding her arms.
Zoe opens her eyes and looks at him, unable to speak.
“Looks like you have stuff to do,” he says, pulling his balaclava back over his mouth, “and so do I.”
He lets go of her hands, takes the paintings from the ground and silently walks to the door, without looking back.
Zoe drops on the couch, lightheaded, her lips boiling.
Soon after, Margot — with a snotty nose and her little elephant under her arm — joins Zoe in the hall: “I had a bad dream!” she says, and bursts into tears.
The next morning, when Marie and Philippe Duville come back home, they find Zoe upset, answering the police’s questions in the living room, while the kids in their PJS are playing with the furniture. The Duvilles, worried about the girl, give her a hug.
“Go out with Teresa, think of something else,” says Marie, noticing that Zoe is even paler than usual, with dark circles under her eyes.
Teresa is another au pair, working for the Duvilles’ neighbors, the Morceaus. She is a beautiful Colombian woman, full of life. Contrary to Zoe, she’s always very elegant, which further highlights her harmoniously curvy body. Her chocolate complexion couldn’t be more different from Zoe’s, and the two girls often joke about it.
Not today, though. Today Zoe’s in no mood for jokes.
“You’re telling me that the thief touched you?”
“He didn’t rape me, Teresa.”
“But he kissed you against your will! And …”
Zoe paces in anger. Her psychedelic skirt gets whipped about as cars flash by, but she doesn’t notice.
Teresa freezes, takes off her sunglasses and looks at her friend with worry.
“It wasn’t exactly against my will.”
“I think you might want to explain, then.”
They take a seat at a cafe in Place des Vosges, and Teresa smokes a lazy cigarette, watching people go by. Zoe sips on her cappuccino, a foam moustache on her lip.
“There isn’t much to explain. He held me still and kissed me. And I don’t know why, but … I liked it.”
God I liked it, thinks Zoe, rethinking of his body pressed up against hers, her arousal, and that violently passionate kiss. The very memory of those burning lips gives her a pang of desire.
“Okay, Okay, let’s talk about it. Sometimes, when in danger, people’s emotions are a bit weird. You were under his control, maybe the fear, the thrill …”
Zoe looks at her friend and shakes her head: “His eyes penetrated me, it was as if he was mentally undressing me. My skin was on fire.”
Teresa sighs and laughs, a little embarrassed.
“All right, Zoe, he was hot and he kissed you. But …”
“But he’s a thief and I’ll never see him again. I know. Sorry. You know what I’m like.”
“The world isn’t made of dreams, Zoe. Thieves are not like Lupin — kind-hearted people seducing girls. You have to be careful. He could have killed you.” A wrinkle of worry appears between her eyebrows.
“No, I don’t think he could do that,” Zoe whispers, more to herself than to her friend.
The afternoon with Teresa helped her feel a little less scared, and Zoe wants to leave the whole thing behind.
Enough of thinking of him, enough with reliving those moments of fear and desire. It was all a nightmare, or a dream, and now it’s time to go back to reality: Paris, the gallery and the kids waiting for me.
Once home, though, Zoe realizes she cannot forget about what happened just yet: her mom is going to give her the third degree. She had called in the afternoon to speak with her, and Marie had told her about the break-in.
Her mom lives in constant anxiety, as if a huge rock were to fall on her daughter’s head at any moment. In a situation like this, she’ll probably have downed a whole vial of Lexotan. I can’t leave it like that.
Zoe calls her mother briefly, asking her to Skype in five minutes. By the time she clicks on the blue icon, her mom is already calling her.
“My love, how are you?” the tone is already full of drama.
“I’m fine, mom, don’t worry.”
“Marie told me a thief broke in!” she puts her hands on her mouth.
“Yes, but nothing happened to me, he just took the paintings and left.”
“Oh my God, honey, it must have been terrible. Do you want me to come over?”
“Should I send your dad?”
“Please, mom! I’m old enough to look after myself, and nothing happened anyway. He was a gentleman thief.”
“Did you see his face?”
“No, his face was covered. I only saw his eyes.”
“Was he scary?”
Not only …
“He was threatening, but he didn’t harm me in any way, so don’t worry.”
“He won’t come back, will he? Marie told me they got a better alarm system.”
“I don’t think he has any reason to come back. He wanted the paintings, and he took them. Had he wanted money or something else,” like me, for instance, “he would have looked for that.”
“Well, I guess you’re right. But when we decided to send you there as an au pair, we didn’t take into account that you could go through such a horrible thing. You might think about coming back home.”
Zoe moves away from the camera and counts to five. Then she smiles and says: “No mom, I don’t want to go back to Rome. Nothing happened, really. I’d like to stay here. It’s my last three months, I’m learning French, and the job at the gallery is great.”
“Look, Zoe, if you need us, you know we can come right away. We’ll catch the next flight and be there in a few hours.”
Zoe struggles not to roll her eyes. “Thanks, mom. I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Okay my dear. Love you lots. Your dad and brother say hello,” behind her mum Zoe sees her dad setting the table and waiving a hand; Tommaso is jumping up and down to get into the shot and squeaks “hi!”
Then the screen goes dark and silent.
At dinner, the Duville children are over-excited: they were told about the theft, and being part of an adventure like that has literally sent them into raptures. So Zoe, as an eyewitness, has to talk once again about the thief, what he was like, his eyes, even the tone of his voice.
Philippe goes pale when she mentions her attempt to hit him with a Ming vase, probably for fear that she could have broken it rather than for Zoe. Luc and Margot finally go to sleep, and the Duvilles stay in the living room to watch a film. She politely refuses their invitation to join them and goes back to her room.
Sitting on the bed, she finds herself staring at the ceiling, her eyes wide open.
The images of the previous night, refreshed by the dinner conversation, are even more vivid and real — just like the feelings that went with them.
She hears the beep of text. It’s Teresa: You’re not still thinking about him, are you?
She pictures how serious she must be. Zoe smiles and types: I am …
Another beep soon after: Stop that and go to sleep. That’s an order!
Yessir, she writes.
But the thought of him just refuses to let go.
Zoe tries to read a bit, to distract herself, but she realizes that she cannot follow the story. So she turns on the TV, and starts watching a French documentary. Boredom seeps into her until he finally manages to fall asleep.
Minus ten, he says to himself, writing on the iPad the names of the three paintings he stole, and then I'll finally know. At least so I hope.
He turns off the tablet, puts on his shoes and backpack, and goes for a run.
The Seine today is lazy, its waters are grey with large branches chewed on by the surface current. On the concrete banks, people are strolling, jogging like him, or lounging in groups or in pairs.
Jules easily reaches the Conciergerie, his feet running on their own and his muscles like well-oiled gears. Reaching the bridge, he stops and puts his backpack on the ground. Yvonne is coming from the right bank, he recognizes her blonde ponytail swaying slowly. She stops on the bridge, watching the river, and puts the backpack close to Jules’ identical one. Her perfect tan stands out against the pink sweatsuit, which adheres to her body like a second skin.
“Everything all right?” she asks as if they were discussing the weather.
“Very good. If you want to come over, I’m alone tonight,” she drops the invitation nonchalantly, while readjusting her ponytail. Then she scratches his shoulder with her red nails.
Jules looks at her: the age difference between them can barely be noticed. Yvonne is still very beautiful, and on a few occasions he gave in and went to her place when her husband was away for work. He had hoped that, if she had begun to care for him, maybe things would have been different — maybe she would have helped him without asking him to steal. But that wasn’t the case, and sex with her had always been cold — almost like homework. Every time Jules would leave her place, he felt empty, no closer to solving his problems.
He no longer wants to make that mistake.
Yvonne’s grey eyes turn into ice when he doesn’t answer, so she takes Jules’ rucksack and says brusquely: “Text me when you’re ready again.” Then she takes off.
Jules turns on his mp3 player and runs in the opposite direction. Music shouts in his ears, but doesn’t manage to distract him from his thoughts.
Zoe, that girl at the Duvilles, could have found out who I am. I got carried away, he thinks. But I just couldn’t stop myself. Her proud look, those small cheeky lips … And that slender and yet strong body … When she tried to break the vase on my head she was so determined and ferocious, she looked like a warrior … or a fairy. And the way she made me feel when I kissed her, when I pushed my body against hers and felt her nipples on my chest …
He shakes his head and runs faster, trying to ignore the swell in his sweatpants.
No, I can’t go back there, she might recognize me. I’ve gone too far.
But the images and feelings of the night before keep flashing inside him.
In the office he is absorbed by work. Christie's has asked him to present the catalogue of works on sale for the next auction, and the Louvre is waiting for his opinion on the restoration of a painting by Velázquez. The phone rings all morning; he only manages to take a short break around lunchtime. He asks his secretary Camille to bring him a salad. He doesn’t feel like eating with other people.
He gets up and walks to the art deco glass window from which he can see Sacré-Cœur, shining under the midday sun, and the mill of the Moulin Rouge, spinning endlessly. In the boulevards, the usual goings on of businessmen, tourists, homeless people. Pigalle is very lively, day and night.
At times, he has sought the oblivion of his senses in the nightclubs of the neighborhood. There, he is no longer Jules Delamar, CEO of art trade company Génton, popular bachelor, adopted child … He was just a body like any other, seeking satisfaction for his drives.
When I steal I’m not myself, either, Jules tells himself. I’m a shadow, reduced to eyes and voice. I’m anonymous, dangerous, a thief. I can do what I want. I never thought I’d find this power exciting.
But who is Jules Delamar, really? Who am I?
I’ll never know — not until Yvonne decides to help me.
At home, in the shower, his mind goes back to the night before. Zoe's face is like a beacon, like a reflection imprinted on his retina. He can still feel the girl's body close.
One again he feels aroused. He tries to distract himself and turns in the cold water, but the erection shows no intention of going away. So he gives in the temptation and starts massaging his penis with his soapy hands, closing his eyes and thinking about Zoe. He moves slowly, imagining the girl on her knees, taking all of him deep inside that wonderful mouth.
His testicles get turgid to the point of hurting, the head of his dick is uncovered, shiny, and taut. He thinks about how she would look at him while swallowing him, her fiery gaze now tamed and a tear sliding down her cheek for effort.
He reaches orgasm in an explosion of pleasure, an emotion so intense that it forces him to lean on the glass walls of the shower stall to keep from falling. When the climax is over, his penis continues to throb with desire.
“And what were the thief’s eyes like?”
The subject is not yet exhausted, Zoe thinks to herself, crossing the street with Luc and Margot.
She sighs, before answering: “Dark blue and sharp.”
“Like Diego’s teeth from Ice Age?”
Luckily, they soon reach the daycare center. A quick kiss, and then the room teeming with children swallows them up.
Zoe takes the subway and slips in among the Parisians. The ear buds in her ears take her to a slower world, away from the chaos. She closes her eyes, trying to focus on what awaits her now: her job at the gallery.
Everything is quieter in Montparnasse: it’s too soon for tourists; there are only Germans around with their mountain boots and backpacks, as if they were on a hike. She manages to squeeze in a croissant with a pseudo-espresso — they call it espresso, but it’s nothing like the strong, rich coffee she gets in Rome — before walking into the gallery Les Folies.
The door is open, even though Les Folies is still closed to the public. Maurice has put on his farsighted glasses on top of his near-sighted ones, and is trying to juggle the papers. His hair is more tousled than usual, and the shirt he is wearing today is pea green.
When he sees her he drops the sheets and smiles resignedly: “Bless you Zoe! I understand nothing about these papers, thank goodness you're here! Do you want a coffee?”
“No, thanks, I just had one. Problems with the accounting?”
“As always,” replies Maurice, a bit uneasy. He hits a pile of papers with his elbow and it falls onto the ground. “And now even more!”
“Leave it to me,” she says sweetly, picking up the files.
Zoe has been working there for only six months, but her organizational skills and sharp mathematical mind have made her irreplaceable. Maurice relies on her for everything related to the practical and administrative aspects of the gallery.
Making her place beside him, he flashes her a bright smile. Maurice is the founder of the gallery — but also a talented artist, especially with charcoal.
Despite specializing in a narrow segment of the visual arts — illustrations — over time, the gallery has carved out a niche of customers. And it works, even though Maurice's chaotic management has just kept it at the edge of survival.
“You have to unbundle this fee, or you’ll pay it twice!” notes Zoe shaking her head. Sometimes, with him, she feels like she’s talking to one of her kids.
Maurice responds by putting his hands in his hair, ruffling it even more.
“You’re right, you’re right. I’ll never get the hang of this!”