Bride In A Guilded Cage by Abby Green
By SMW Staff
Isobel’s feet followed naturally and instinctively but already this tango was not like the first time they’d danced in Paris. There was a simmering sensuality about this one and it was worlds away from the kind of tangoes their grandparents would have danced.
Isobel could feel the rip in her dress give way even more as Rafael led her in a dizzying series of steps. She had to close her eyes when she could see that other dancers were stepping back to give them space, and watch.
Isobel felt the slide of Rafael’s leg between hers, forcing her leg up into a high kick known as a bolero. Her heartrate went out of control. Then he displaced her weight and she had to lean into him even more.
When he twisted so that she had to hook her leg under his, she could feel the tension in his powerful thigh muscle against the back of her leg. Her eyes opened with a mute plea for him to stop this sensual torture. His dark gaze glittered down at her, green and golden flecks standing out making her throat dry. His intent was written all over his face; tonight he was going to make her his.
For a heart stopping moment Isobel thought he was going to kiss her, an instant fine layer of sweat seemed to spring up over her skin, but then Rafael broke the intense eye contact and kept dancing, pulling Isobel close again. She felt utterly exposed; the tango had become a display of Rafael’s sensual domination over her and with every move, it felt like he knew more and more just how badly she hungered for him. Along with everyone else watching.
Her fear of intimacy with this man and what it might reveal to him, and worse to her about her feelings for him, was hanging by a mere thread now.
Finally the last chords of the achingly melancholic music died away and Isobel was breathing so hard she felt faint. She was also in a classic supplicant tango pose, bent back and looking up into Rafael’s face. People were starting to clap but it was the triumphant look in his eyes that did it, Isobel acted completely on instinct and ripped her hand from his and slapped him across his face.
Instantly a silence fell, the clapping stopped. Isobel stood awkwardly and attempted to walk off the floor, aghast at her reaction and what she’d done but her wrist was caught and she was effectively twirled back into Rafael’s hard body.
Before she could react everything had disappeared as his mouth crashed down on hers and the entire world seemed to explode inside her head. His mouth was hard and hot, the slide of his tongue too erotically seductive for her to fight. Angrily she matched him, aggressively stroking his tongue with hers, teeth nipping and biting at his lower lip. In that moment she truly hated him for reducing her to this tumult of feelings.
Her whole body was arched into his as if she wanted to fuse with him there and then, it felt like she was finally boiling over to a place of no return, all restraint being washed away in an overwhelming tide of need. And then Rafael pulled away and stepped back, albeit still holding Isobel’s hand. Stunned, exposed and very shaken, Isobel could only follow on wobbly legs as they walked off the dance floor. To her abject relief, other people had started to dance again.
Isobel was aware of Rafael issuing a curt instruction to someone and then they were out in the lobby and emerging into the cool night where his car was already waiting. In the back of the car, Isobel was still feeling crazily out of control.
She blurted out heatedly, ‘I’m not going to apologise for that, it could have been a perfectly normal dance but you…you turned it into something positively indecent.’
Isobel shot him a glance to see his face stark, he ran a hand through his hair. She felt the waves of tension crackle off him.
‘The only thing indecent about that dance was the intensity of sexual frustration. I was no more capable of keeping that dance clean that you were of not twining your seductive body around mine like a purring cat.’
Isobel flushed as she recalled how it had felt to feel the slide of his thigh between her legs. The cliché of tango being the vertical expression of a horizontal act really wasn’t such a cliché. The truth was, the dance had been exhilarating.
But right now one of her hands was holding the ripped sides of her dress together, in a futile attempt at some sort of modesty, when it felt as if she’d just been made love to in front of an entire audience.
‘Need I remind you,’ she hissed now desperately trying to claw back some dignity, ‘That you were the one who ripped my dress like some kind of cave man.’
They were at the house. Rafael said nothing and just got out, and before Isobel could scramble out herself, Rafael was there. With a squeal Isobel saw Rafael duck low and then she was out of the car and over his shoulder in a fireman’s lift. She clamped her mouth shut, knowing that it would be futile to say a word, and the sensation of Rafael’s powerful shoulder under her body was rendering her speechless anyway.
He climbed the stairs with ruthless intent in every step, and then walked all the way to his bedroom door, opened it and stepped inside and then kicked it shut with a foot.
Suddenly Isobel was back on her feet and breathing harshly. A wild excitement mixed with fear sang in her blood. She knew she was powerless now, in the face of this overwhelming desire. She had no defences left. Rafael had chipped and picked away at them remorselessly. It made her blurt out unthinkingly, ‘Don’t come near me, you’re a Neanderthal.’
Tension and coiled energy bounced off Rafael in angry waves. A muscle twitched in his jaw, his eyes were black. Mere feet separated them but Isobel fancied in that moment that she could feel his heart beating, thundering like hers. She wanted him to close the distance, haul her into his arms and silence the cacophony of voices in her head and in her heart.
But then, as if a switch had been flicked the tension disappeared. Rafael stepped back to the door. Isobel felt her whole body move slightly as if they were joined by an invisible thread.
Rafael’s face was carved from stone. Unreadable and harsh. And then in a low blistering voice he just said, ‘Damn you Isobel.’ And then he turned and walked out the door.
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