Leo (The Zodiac Queen #5) - Gemma James
Click, click, click.
Like the tempo of my red-sole pumps on the marble floor, my heart races to the same quick beat. Nerves have taken over my hands, leaving the palms sweaty. Too much adrenaline floods my veins. I’m worried I’m about to get sick, but I’m not sure if the roiling in my belly stems from the anal plug Vance inserted—a constant presence that borders on discomfort—or from the reality of who is waiting for me behind the heavy library door.
I run my tongue over my bottom lip before grabbing the handle, but I stall. Impossibly, my heart seems to pump blood double-time. Why am I so nervous? Sebastian is no stranger. He’s touched me in ways no man ever has, save for one. But even the chancellor failed to do what the lion accomplished.
Because Sebastian made me crazy in the head over him, and I’m not sure how to feel about spending an entire month under his rule. I won’t be under the protection of the House of Gemini this time, with two floors and a slew of obstacles providing a buffer. I’ll be in his house.
In his bed.
My ass is literally his now, and no amount of delaying will make the next few minutes easier to face. With a hard swallow, I turn the handle and push the door open. I can’t help but hold my breath—as if I expect him to pounce the instant he sees me.
But the library is silent and still, the clock reading fifteen past noon, and Sebastian is nowhere in sight. I close the door before settling into a leather-bound chair, all the while fighting the urge to squirm from the full sensation of the butt plug. The detour to the doctor’s exam room is the reason I’m late.
But why is Sebastian?
Unsure of what to do next, I wait, my fingers tapping the arm of the chair, legs crossed and foot swinging to a soundless beat as I watch the hands on the clock tick by in sadistic glee. Ten minutes later, Sebastian still hasn’t appeared. Disappointment slashes through my chest. I don’t know what I expected from him.
What I didn’t expect was for him to be a no-show.
Unable to sit still any longer, I wander around the library and mentally scroll through my options. I can check his studio to see if he got held up with a client, but as soon as the thought enters my head, I discard it. The chance that he’s painting the portrait of a gorgeous woman is high, and I can’t stand another awkward confrontation like the first time I spied him working. I consider taking the elevator to his floor to see if he lost track of time, but my last two unannounced visits to the House of Leo didn’t go well.
I’m about to take a seat again, prepared to settle in for who knows how long, when I spot a slip of paper sitting on the executive desk. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about that inconspicuous note, except that my name is on it. As I pick up the piece of paper, a cocktail of nervous anticipation burns through my stomach.
Meet me in the gazebo.
He signed it with his initials.
My lips curve into a smile. He didn’t lose track of time or blow me off for a client. Mr. Sexy As Sin has something up his sleeve.
I leave the circular walls of the Zodiac Estate on jittery limbs and head toward the gazebo. It’s in the opposite direction of the sea, at the back of the elaborate gardens. Following the path beyond the French doors that open into the ballroom, I eye the six-foot hedges cordoning off the gardens. There’s something intimidating about those walls of greenery, an unsettling sense of isolation after one ventures to the other side. For that reason, I’ve only explored the area once, preferring the openness of the cliffs.
But now I grab hold of my courage and take the path less traveled. The gardens are as breathtaking as the sea, with their winding pathways made of stone and bright plant life inviting people to linger the day away during the warmer months.
In the distance, I spot the gazebo. Each footfall takes me closer, causing my pulse to jackhammer as I approach the white stone pillars that make up the structure. It’s massive in design, an opulent space of seclusion in the thickening of elm trees. I climb the marble staircase, gaze roaming left and