Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest. All mistakes are my own. I know I always write Gran and Eric meeting like this…but I can’t help but think he would be a true gentleman, which is the only way he could impress her.
On a side note, Mayra G. won the epub giveaway for Sweet Chemistry! I emailed her last week, but still haven’t heard back…Mayra, if you’re reading this, message me and I’ll get you your copy of the book!
Sookie paced in front of the mirror. Her bed was strewn with clothes unsuitable for a date with Eric. She smoothed the straps of her white dress and adjusted her breasts again. The dress was cut lower than any T-shirt she owned, so if she moved wrong, her lacy white bra poked out the top. She shrugged. Plenty of women wore dresses like that.
A knock on her door made her jump. Gran poked her face through the gap in the door. “Oh honey, you look wonderful.”
Sookie blushed and turned toward the mirror, brushing her damp hair. “Thanks Gran. Is he here yet?”
She shook her head. “No. Not yet. I’m anxious to meet this beau of yours.”
Sookie sighed. “He’s not my beau, Gran.” He was a sneaky businessman who stole from brainwashed people. He was also charming enough to make her forget about that, but only momentarily. Had he asked her on a date to distract her from the unseemly truth that made her stomach churn? Hopefully she would find out tonight, unless she lost her nerve and ran away first.
The blow dryer drowned out everything else for a few minutes, giving Sookie the opportunity to empty her head. The house was eerily quiet after she switched it off.
Gran was still leaning against the door jam and jumped as someone knocked on the front door. “Are you ready?”
Sookie listened, and found a big blank spot waiting on the front porch. Eric was outside. She nodded hesitantly and followed Gran to the front door.
Eric was looking down, his hair shielding his face, but as the door opened, his eyes locked with Sookie’s. A large bouquet of flowers covered his hands.
“Eric, this is my Gran, Adele.”
Gran’s mouth hung open.
Eric tore his eyes away from Sookie and handed Gran half the bouquet. “A pleasure to meet you, Adele.”
Gran blushed as she took the flowers. “Eric, would you like to come in for some sweet tea?”
Eric smiled. “That’s kind of you to offer, but we have reservations.” He turned to face Sookie. “These are for you.”
Her heart raced. Peonies were her favorite.
Gran touched her shoulder. “Let me put those in water for you. You best be going before you’re late!” It was as if she could sense her uncertainty.
Sookie managed to grab one of the peonies before Gran practically pushed her out the front door and into Eric’s arms. Gran waved and closed the door.
Sookie chuckled nervously. “My gran doesn’t like being late.”
Eric only smiled and held his arm out to her. He led her to his car, opening the passenger door.
Sookie slid into the seat carefully, keeping her knees together as much as she could in the deep seat.
Eric folded gracefully into the driver’s seat like living origami and then turned to face her. “You look incredible.”
His words made her blush. “So do you.” His deep red shirt matched the flowers on her dress, as if he had coordinated with her. After they drove for a while in silence, Sookie said, “So where are we going?”
Eric smiled. “You’ll see.” He drove out of Bon Temps and once they were in Shreveport he pointed out the window. “A friend of mine owns this bistro.”
Before Sookie could even focus on the restaurant’s sign, Eric opened her door and offered a hand, leading her to a private room. A fireplace crackled softly in the corner, and the table in the center of the room was set for two. The room was elegant, but comfortable.
“I wanted a private table. I’m selfish,” Eric said.
Eric pulled her chair out and then sat across from her. A menu sat on top of each plate. Just as Sookie was looking through the pages, a server came in, and spoke softly about the specials. They had a large selection of synthetic blood, which made her wonder if the owner was a vampire.
After they placed their orders, Sookie leaned back in her chair and folded her arms over her chest. “I’m still mad at you.”
“I know.” Eric smiled. “But you shouldn’t be.”
Sookie tilted her head. “I will never like Glamoured.”
“I know,” he repeated, “which is why I closed it.”
Sookie’s mouth hung open. Silence hung in the air, interrupted by the server bringing wine for Sookie and blood for Eric. “You what?” Sookie whispered as soon as the door closed.
“You were right.” He sipped from his glass.
“I was?” Nothing could’ve prepared her for this conversation.
“I am not a thief. I am a hard worker. Just like you.” Another sip.
Words failed her, her mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water.
“Are you still mad at me?” Eric raised one eyebrow.
Sookie’s head spun. “Um, no?”
Eric chuckled. “You don’t sound so sure about that.”
“It’s closed, as in, you’re not going to do business there again?”
“Well, I still own the building, but I have something else in mind. Something honest.” He smiled.
“So you’re saying you closed your business because of me?”
“That’s what I’m telling you.” Eric leaned back in his chair.
“How does Pam feel about it?” Sookie could just imagine her complaining about the lack of a willing audience to choose from.
“As long as we make money, Pam won’t care. She trusts me.”
“Does she know why you’re doing it?” Sookie’s eyebrows rose as she waited for him to answer.
“Yes.” Eric looked at the table.
Sookie grinned. “So you told her that a lowly human changed your mind about your business practices?”
Eric’s eyes met hers in a flash of blue. “You are not lowly. You are honest and brave, and the most amazing women I’ve ever met.” His words hung in the warm air, wrapping around her like a blanket.
The door opened again, this time, the server came in with plates of food, placing them in front of Sookie. “Enjoy your meal. I’ll bring your dessert as soon as it comes out of the oven.” With that, he disappeared through the door.
“Dessert?” Sookie eyed Eric. She hadn’t ordered dessert.
“I made arrangements. I’ve heard the chocolate soufflé is to die for.” He smiled again.
“Very funny.” The remaining tension between them dissolved.
Their conversation lulled while Sookie ate. It was easily the best meal she’d ever had. He wasn’t kidding when he said he was going to spoil her, and a chocolate soufflé was still waiting for her.
Dark, gooey chocolate coated her tongue, making her moan. If he was trying to gain her forgiveness, it was working. “It’s true. This is to die for.” She closed her eyes with every bite, a pang of sadness tugged at her when the ramekin was empty.
“I’ve never seen a human enjoy food so much.” Eric laughed softly. “I’m glad you did.”
Sookie nodded, the food and wine filling her body with euphoria. “I really enjoyed it. So tell me, Eric, what are your plans for the rest of the evening?”
“You already know what I want. I told you the other night, remember?” His voice was soft. “The question, Miss Stackhouse, is what are your plans?”
I know what my plans would be…
On to Glamoured: Chapter 14