that. The way the wind blows on that lonely old bluff, she would have been pushed over in no time.”
The mention of her name caused an uncontrollable quiver down deep inside him that he would acknowledge only to himself. Every time he looked at her picture, he felt something. A mysterious pull coming from somewhere deep inside him. It wasn’t something he could shake off and forget. It was something that hung on, a hidden something that seemed to want to draw them together. The old widow might call it one soul mate calling out to another, but he knew it wasn’t anything quite as romantic as that. It was only his damnable flesh wanting to be satisfied. His hands wanted to touch her, to stroke the lushness of her lips, her breasts, to feel her body beneath his. No, there was nothing divine about it. It was lust pure and simple.
But he could never have her.
He knew it every time he looked in a mirror, or reached up to feel the crazy zig-zagging scars on his face.
"Don't talk to me about that cheap romance novelist. She writes nothing but trash, and I'd better not ever see you reading any of her books."
"Who in the hell do you think you are? I'm an adult. I'll read any damn thing I want, and I just dare you try and stop me."
With anger boiling up inside him, Kirk turned and began walking toward her with an energetic stride.
Elaine's eyes widened and she quickly turned and ran out.
Kirk reached for the door just as it clanged shut, then stood there rattling it violently as he watched her run up the stairs. After being sure she was gone, he turned, walked to his bed and pulled something out of the nightstand drawer. Handling it almost reverently, he brought it up and squinted at it in the dim light of a lamp. His angry eyes became soft when he looked down into the beautiful smiling face of Chyna Marsh. Gazing into her beautiful eyes, he thought about how her body had felt against his as he carried her into the mansion from Cat's Paw. His heart wrenched in pain, knowing he would never feel the softness of that body beneath him, or feel the touch of her sensuous lips on his. His eyes closed as he remembered the exotic smell of her perfume when he held her shapely body close to his—perhaps a little too long.
"Why in hell did she have to come down here to live?" he agonized, the tortured rasp of his voice filling the dark room. She was light years away from him in New York, a place he would never be. But now she was here in Mystic Islands where under normal circumstances he might walk down the street and see her, or have a chance meeting in a restaurant, the market, on the beach—anywhere—somewhere.
So close—yet so far away.
He threw the picture down, trying to resist the urge to wipe the dusty surface off with his sleeve and carefully lean the picture against his glass while he ate his dinner. He tried to look away, but couldn’t. After staring at it for a moment, he finally gave in, leaned over and picked it up, handling it gently.
With her image leaning against his water glass, he sat down and picked up his fork to eat. He instantly became caught in a reverie, imagining himself having dinner with her when he turned and happened to catch a glimpse of his ugly, scarred face in a mirror. He gasped as the truth exploded inside him, making him feel like a fool. He suddenly jumped up from the table. Bellowing loudly, he kicked his chair and turned the table over. Shouting out a string of obscenities, he angrily ran to the mirror and began pounding on it, smashing it into long, dangerous shards. After an exhaustive fight with his own image, he pulled himself away and fell on his bed sobbing while hiding his wretched face in the pillow. Finally he made an effort to wipe away his unmanly tears by angrily sweeping his rough hand across the harsh, jagged scars that sliced crazily along one side of his face.
While wallowing in his anger, he happened to see a series of hypnotic glints coming from the shards on the floor.