Strange Bedfellows

Stefan gave the horse his head and allowed the powerful animal to move at its own leisurely pace along the well-worn trail.  Horse and rider had traveled that particular path often enough that Stefan was confident Sarezin would navigate the twists and turns with ease.

He concentrated instead on the woman mounted behind him.  As they traveled to the other side of Spoon Island, Stefan kept up a stream of conversation that involved descriptions of both the Island and Wyndemere, as well as their respective histories.  As he intended, the impersonal dialogue began to put the young attorney at ease.

Stefan felt the exact moment that Dara relaxed her rigid posture against him.  Her body, warm and distractingly lush, pressed against his own as she leaned forward in an attempt to locate the weather worn marker Stefan indicated.

“I’m afraid I still don’t see-”

Dara’s words were interrupted when Stefan twisted slightly and reached back to cup her chin between his fingers.  Lightly he angled her face in the correct direction.  “There,” he instructed quietly.  “Next to the strand of dark bushes.”

“Umm…yes.  Now I see it.”  Dara pulled away from the feel of Stefan’s strong fingers on her face.

Stefan issued a sharp command in Russian and his big stallion came to an immediate stop.  Nimbly, the Cassadine Regent threw his leg over the horse’s neck and slid to the earth.  “Miss Jensen…”  Stefan paused and corrected himself.  “Dara, this undertaking is guaranteed to be examined under the keenest of microscopes – Helena.  If you cannot get beyond your reluctance to touch and be touched by me, then we are doomed to failure.”

“I’m sorry.  I just thought that I would have more time to-”

“Grow comfortable with me?”

“Yes,” Dara admitted.  “I did.”  She felt a bit foolish carrying on her part of the conversation from atop the big stallion.  She slid – none too gracefully – from the horse’s broad back right into the strong arms of Stefan Cassadine.

She was wrapped firmly in his embrace and could feel the hard planes of his body against her.  Dara took a deep breath and stilled her overwhelming desire to pull away from Stefan’s touch.  “Well,” she exhaled weakly, “more and more this looks like it will be an interesting endeavor.”

“Indeed,” Stefan replied, making no move to release the flustered attorney.  “So it would seem.”