Are any of you old enough to remember the original Thomas Crown Affair movie? The one starring Steve McQueen as a millionaire businessman who pulls off a perfect crime for no other reason than he’s bored. Faye Dunaway is an independent insurance investigator who will receive a percentage of the stolen money if she can recover it.
McQueen knows who she is but can’t resist getting involved with her, sure she won’t get the better of him. They play a game of chess, which was pretty damned sensual and gave me the idea for a scene in my latest release from Carina Press, Finessing the Contessa. Lord Robert Forster, younger brother of the Marquess of Denby, is a chess master and relishes the opportunity to cross rooks with Electra Falzone, the beautiful Sicilian widow who is reputed to play the game as well as he does. Just like Crown, Rob suspects her motives but can’t help being drawn towards her.
Here’s what happens when they play chess in the presence of others and Electra seeks to distract Rob in a rather inventive way.
Rob leant back in his chair as Electra moved a pawn and stopped her clock. The Sicilian defence again? He countered her move, already sensing a trap. She darted frequent glances his way, a curling smile flirting with her lips as they moved their pieces in taut silence. She was up to something, something that was immediately obvious to Charles if his amused smile was anything to go by. Damn it, Rob needed to keep his mind on the game.
He saw it when it was almost too late to stop the rot. The Steinitz variation. Ah, very clever! Rob thought for a moment and was able to save his position by advancing his rook two squares and trapping her king.
She mangled her lower lip between her teeth. “Diavolo! I thought you hadn’t noticed.”
“I almost didn’t.”
“Mind elsewhere, Rob?” Charles asked innocently.
“Go to the devil, Charles.”
Charles roared with laughter. “I very likely will.”
“Now, what to do?” she mused.
She moved a piece but Rob didn’t notice which one or how it affected his position because, as she did so, he became conscious of something gliding across his foot. A slipperless, stockinged foot to be precise. Perdition, did the woman have no shame?
“Your move, my lord,” she said sweetly.
“Don’t start anything with me unless you plan to finish it,” he said softly.
“You told me to go with my instincts.”
“Hmm, yes I did.” Rob treated her to a challenging smile. “Perhaps I overplayed my hand.”
She canted her head and returned his smile with a sinfully tempting one of her own. “Not afraid are you, my lord?”
Rob wanted to growl at her. He also wanted to kiss that smile off her lips and then put her across his knee, lift her skirts and spank her bottom for being such a tease. He might very likely do both of those things before the night was out, but right now he had a game to win and distractions to ignore. He made a move that worsened her position—and his—because that stockinged foot was now creeping tantalizingly slowly up his calf. Rob’s mind froze. He could think of nothing, other than the progress of that damned foot and its intended target, now throbbing painfully within the tight confines of his breeches.
“Do you wish to up the stakes, my lady?” he asked.
She cut off the trap he’d set for her with her rook. “I am very satisfied with the terms of our wager, my lord.”
Well, that made one of them.
Rob thought ahead several moves, doing his best to pretend that her toe hadn’t now worked its way dangerously close to his groin. He could see that she intended to attack his king as stealthily as she was attacking his person and made the appropriate defensive move.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” she said in a tone so low that even Charles, standing close to their table, couldn’t have heard her.
“I’m almost afraid to ask why not.”
With a serene smile she landed her toes squarely on his erection, and left them there. Rob, unable to do anything about it other than continue with the game, shot her a warning glance and simultaneously suppressed a groan.
“All actions have consequences, my lady. Are you sure you’re ready for them?”
Finessing the Contessa, Book Three in the Forsters series.