Friday, December 27, 2013

'Tis the Season for Seduction - Conclusion

Lucas finally got his woman, but will he catch the art thief?

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

'Tis the Season for Seduction
Fiona Summerville

"Lucas, it’s too small in here for both of us."

Caitlyn’s protest dissolved into giggles as Lucas drew back the shower curtain and squeezed into the tiny stall beside her. He towered over her, his massive form overwhelming the small space and her. Dipping his head to capture her lips, he pinned her against the cool tile.

"Mmmm…not too small. Cozy," he chuckled, as his hands drifted downward and grabbed her bottom, sliding her up the wall. The cool tiles at her back did little to dampen the heat her body was radiating. She wrapped her legs around his waist and moaned softly as he reached between their bodies, dipping two fingers into her core.

“God, Caitlyn. You’re already so wet.”

“You do seem to have that effect on me,” she gasped as he withdrew his fingers, sliding them leisurely up over her clit. A shudder ran through her and she dropped her head, resting her forehead on his. She wasn’t so much surprised at the effect he had on her body, as much as she was about her unslakable need for him.

“Lucas, I need to feel you inside me…now…please.”

A soft growl rumbled deep in his chest as he nipped and laved her perk, pink nipple. When he lifted his head, he wore a wolfish grin.

“Well, since you said, please,” he murmured, sliding her up the wall a little further before bringing her down, impaling her hard and deep on his cock.


When they finally emerged from the shower stall, the water had run tepid, the bathroom floor was flooded and Caitlyn’s cheeks bore the mark of his five o’clock shadow.

"You’re looking a bit scruffy there, my handsome man," she grinned up at him, running her hand along his cheek. “Why don’t you have a shave and while you do, I’ll cook breakfast."

Clean shaven and dressed, Lucas walked into the tiny kitchen and wrapped his arms around Caitlyn’s waist as she was filling two plates.

“Mmm… smells wonderful. And the food looks great too.”

“Och, go on with ye,” she giggled. “Sit yourself down. Can’t ye see I’m in the midst of creating a masterpiece?”

Planting a kiss on her cheek, Lucas obeyed and plopped into one of the chairs at her dining table. As she served up two plates filled with fried tomatoes, bacon, sausage, cold-boiled potatoes, beans, black pudding and fried eggs, she couldn’t help but note how Lucas dwarfed the table, and the room, for that matter. The man was larger than life. Thankfully, in more ways than one, she thought wickedly as she walked over to the table.

"Do you eat like this every morning?" he asked with a look of delight as she set a plate down in front of him.

"Pretty much. Oh, and I made coffee, too. Unless you prefer tea."

"Coffee, please" he said enthusiastically, as he forked and bit into a sausage.

Caitlyn fell a little in love with him in that moment. Maybe it was his boyish smile and the way he attacked his breakfast. Or the snow drifting down outside the window. Or maybe it was the way his every touch made her feel safe, secure and cherished.

Whatever the reason, she decided right then and there to stop over-analyzing and simply relish every moment of their remaining time together.


Caitlyn felt herself slowly being seduced. Not only by the intelligent, articulate, hunk of a man sharing her company, but by the spirit of Christmas. For the first time, since her gran’s death, Caitlyn reveled in the joys of the season. She delighted in the bright and cheerful Christmas lights strung across the streets, the holly boughs and wreaths on every door, and the warm cheerful greetings from strangers in the street.

They spent the days leading up to Christmas wandering through the narrow, cobblestone streets of Dublin, arm in arm, soaking up the festive holiday atmosphere while Caitlyn shared the history of her beloved, adopted city. In the evenings, while she worked, Lucas became a fixture at the O’Brien’s. Winning over the regulars as easily as he’d won her heart. And oh, had he won her heart.

Each time the realization that their relationship was only temporary crept in, threatening to put a damper on her joy, Caitlyn forced the thought back into the “things to be ignored for as long as possible” corner of her mind. Logically she knew it wasn’t meant to last, but that didn’t keep her from falling. All it took was a smile or kiss and her heart melted for him a little more every day…and night.

And her nights with Lucas were epic. He was an amazing lover who ravaged her, mind, body and soul. Giving and tender at times. Hard, greedy and relentless at others. Caitlyn had fallen for him after their first night together. By Christmas Eve, she knew she’d tumbled the rest of the way.

Her mind was busy making plans for New Year’s Eve as they crunched through the snow to Dublin’s medieval Christ Church Cathedral for the annual Christmas Eve concert. She smiled as they rounded the corner, her breath catching at the scene of the majestic cathedral bathed in light, its tower and turrets dusted with new fallen snow.

"You know, Henry II attended the Christmas service here in 1171," Caitlyn told Lucas, tucking herself into his side for warmth.

His eyes crinkled with mirth as he smiled down at her. "You don’t suppose we’ll see old Henry floating around, do you?"

She giggled and swatted at his arm with a gloved hand. "Tonight’s concert will be wonderful, but we definitely need to come back on New Year’s Eve at midnight to hear the change ringers do their thing."

"Change ringers? Who or what are change ringers?" He asked, staring down at her wearing a befuddled look.

"The change ringers are a four-hundred-year-old society of bell ringers who ring the bells in mathematical patterns called ‘changes’. Christ Church Cathedral has a total of nineteen bells used for change ringing—that’s the most bells in any one tower worldwide. New Year’s Eve is the only time all nineteen are rung together. It’s an magical way to literally ring in the –“

She broke off and came to a dead stop.

"Lucas! That hat! The man that hit me at Newgrange was wearing that hat!"

His chin jerked up as he followed her pointing finger and zeroed in on the figure of a statuesque woman wearing a round-brimmed hat about a dozen or so yards ahead, milling her way through the crowd.

"Sweetheart, that’s probably a popular unisex-style of hat," he said, following Caitlyn as she forged a path toward the woman.

“No,” Caitlyn said, shaking her head vehemently. “I only caught a glimpse before I was attacked, but I remember thinking how distinctive that herringbone pattern was. It's not Irish. I’ve never seen it in any store in Dublin."

Willing to chase down any possible lead, Lucas shoved his way through the crowd, planting himself in front of the woman as he reached into his breast pocket for his credentials.

"Excuse me, ma’am, Special Agent Lucas Conner with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. I’d like to ask you a couple of que— Hey!"

The woman spun on her heel and ran. She careened through the crowd, knocking down concert goers indiscriminately before breaking left and heading straight toward Caitlyn.

When their glances met, a flash of surprised recognition leapt into the redhead’s eyes. She sneered at Caitlyn. Och, sneer at me will ye? Ye brazen wench. We’ll see about that. Caitlyn stuck her foot out and leaned her shoulder toward the woman as she passed, sending the assumed art thief face first into the snow.

Lucas wore a look of amused appreciation as he approached, giving Caitlyn a wink before kneeling down to cuff the snow-sputtering woman.

“Good job, partner.”

“’Tis all in a day’s work, doncha know?” Caitlyn joked before stepping back as the constables swarmed the scene.

Caitlyn watched as Lucas and the local authorities bustled the woman away taking with them her dream of a cozy Christmas Eve snuggled in front of a fire with the man of her dreams.

As Caitlyn presumed, the next forty-eight hours passed in a disappointing blur. She spent the remainder of Christmas Eve at the police station, and most of Christmas day alone while Lucas and Inspector O’Malley worked the case. Their search of the woman’s hotel room yielded not only the Newgrange stone, but a Bronze Age dagger reported stolen some weeks prior from a museum in Cobh. Lucas had been correct in his assumption that she had been waiting for the heat to die down before attempting to smuggle the treasures out of Ireland.

Faced with mounds of evidence, Jewel Banks, one of her many aliases, admitted to a long history of well-planned art heists throughout Europe and the United States. She also agreed to provide the FBI with information about her wealthy Miami-based client in exchange for protection and immunity from prosecution. As a result, Lucas pushed through the extradition paperwork, and made arrangements to leave for the States late Christmas afternoon.

"I need to get her back and into interrogation before Saldana hears she’s been arrested," he told Caitlyn during a rushed farewell at her flat. "If nothing else, we’ll get the bastard on at least four felony counts of commissioning and financing the trafficking of stolen goods. I want more, though." He growled. "Much more."

Caitlyn watched Lucas pace around her tiny flat. If she needed any further proof of how much he loved his job, she had it. Edgy impatience poured off of him. She knew that in his mind he was already on that plane and headed across the Atlantic…away from her. Knowing there was no way she could ever compete with his profession stung.

"There was a reward for information leading to the recovery of the dagger," he told her. "It’s not much, only a few hundred euros, but Inspector O’Malley promised to make sure it came to you."

She nodded her thanks, her throat too tight to speak.

"Oh, and before I forget…" He walked over to the bag he’d set by the door when he’d entered and returned with it. "I thought I was going to have time to wrap it, but…well. Merry Christmas, Caitlyn."

Her heart aching, she dug through the tissue in the bag and pulled out a soft pashmina scarf in the most vibrant shade of emerald green she’d ever seen. She looked down at the scarf, not willing to meet Lucas’ gaze until the tears that threatened were well in check.

"It reminded me of your eyes," he whispered softly, tucking a finger under her chin and tilting her head back until their eyes met. He saw the tears, but said nothing. He simply pulled her into a tight embrace.

Caitlyn snaked her arms around his waist and held on for dear life. In her heart she knew this was all she’d have of him. The memories of the last few days and a scarf, both of which she would cherish for a lifetime.

"I got you something, too. Nothing grand, but…"

Extracting herself from his embrace, she walked over to the table near the tree, returning with a small box wrapped in cheerful Christmas paper. She smiled watching as he tore off the paper. She could almost imagine what he’d been like as a child on Christmas morning. The thought made the tears well again.

He grinned up at her as he pulled out the keychain. It was made of braided black leather with a silver ring at one end and a weighted Celtic knot at the other. She didn’t tell him it was a love knot. She couldn’t. Not with him leaving, no doubt never to return.

"It’s beautiful, Caitlyn. Thank you." He curled a knuckle under her chin and tipped her face to his. "I’ll be back."

"Och, will ye now?" Swallowing the lump in her throat, she dredged up a saucy tone. "And when might that be, me boyo?"

"As soon as I possibly can. I swear.”


Once again Caitlyn was alone. Only this time the loneliness was almost too much to bear.  

In the week that led up to New Year’s she kept up appearances. Moving through each day in a haze of half-hearted smiles and feigned holiday cheer, but inside she was miserable. The colored lights on the street mocked her. Her footsteps echoing in the empty quad at Trinity College, reflected the lonely ache in her heart. Even the pub was quiet. Most of the students were gone for the holidays and only a scant number of tourists were hardy enough to brave the weather. Leaving her to wallow and mourn a love that was never meant to be.

Lucas had emailed her the morning after his return to the States. He’d written that Banks was stumbling over herself to provide information knowing the FBI was the only thing standing between her and any death warrant Saldana might issue.

The following day he emailed again. This time to say he wouldn’t be able to communicate for a while. Caitlyn interpreted that to mean he was going undercover and worried nonstop the rest of the week for his safety.

The fear and worry were still with her on New Year’s Eve, when the entire pub emptied as everyone headed to Christ Church for the ringing of the bells. Mick, the pub’s owner, tried to cajole Caitlyn into joining them.

"Aren’t ye going to hear the bells, love?"

"Nah, Mick. You go on. I’ll mind the pub."

"Are ye sure? I'll be happy tae stay behind."

"I’m sure. Go. Enjoy yourself."

As the chimes began to sound, faint and clear in the distance, Caitlyn tried to numb the empty ache around her heart by keeping busy. She wiped down the counter and then set up rows of glasses for the patrons who would return ready to toast the New Year.

"Och, I’m nothin’ but a bloody fool," she muttered as the pub door opened and a late customer entered on a blast of cold air and the pealing of bells. "What was I thinking? How could I fall in love with a great glom I’ll probably never see again."

She heaved a heavy sigh and turned to tend to the customer, only to find him grinning at her.

"So I’m a great glom, huh?"

Lucas! She gasped. If they’d passed each other on the street, she wouldn’t have recognized him. He looked battle worn. Exhausted. His eyes were blood shot, and a vicious bruise mottled one side of his face, but he radiated triumph.

"We got him, Caitlyn. Saldana’s done."

She smiled through the tears that filled her eyes.

“Oh, Lucas. I'm so happy for you. Congratulations!”

A twinkle of mirth danced in his eyes. "Not only that, my superiors were so impressed with my knowledge of prehistoric art that I’ve been assigned to a special Interpol task force based here in Dublin."

"Really? For how long?" Her heart swelled with hope, but at the same time feared his response. She couldn't do temporary. Not with him.

"For at least as long as it takes for you to finish your doctorate. Forever, if you want. I'll make sure of it, sweetheart."


“Save it woman,” he chuckled, holding his arms open to her. “By my estimation you’ve got about ten seconds to get out from behind that bar so we can kiss in the New Year. Now move it!"

“Yes, sir!”

Laughing, Caitlyn ducked under the counter and rushed into his arms, the thunderous pounding of her heart drowning out the cacophony of bells ringing in the New Year. And as his lips crushed down on hers, she melted against him, basking not only in his warmth, but in the knowledge that she'd never spend another Christmas alone.


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