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“Honestly Phoebe, this looks like something your two year old created with play-doh…” Kathryn couldn’t resist rolling her eyes, “I know I’m not exactly an art expert but this is by far the worst exhibit you’ve ever dragged me to.”

“The worst. I suppose that is a type of distinction of its own,” a rich male voice behind her said with surprising warmth.

Kathryn turned around and found herself facing one of the best looking men she’d ever found herself in the same room with. Dark hair, soulful eyes, striking bone structure and a mouth that was straight out of a better art exhibit than this one. Even in the dim light of the gallery, his tanned skin seemed to glow, the contrast stark with the unusual tattoo above his brow. Definitely an artist, she registered, taking in the black turtleneck sweater and fitted jeans with stylish european boots, but built like something else entirely.

“You must be a friend of the artist,” she remarked, clutching her plastic cup of wine.

“More like the devil himself,” he shook his head.

Kathryn felt a twinge of guilt about having criticized this heavenly looking man’s work so loudly, even if she felt her remarks were true. When would she learn to keep her mouth shut?

“My sister isn’t very into conceptual sculpture,” Phoebe apologized.

“I don’t think you should have to be an aficionado to have an opinion,” he responded to Phoebe’s statement but kept his eyes locked on Kathryn’s, “Tell me, what is it about my work that so offends you Miss…”

“Janeway… Kathryn,” she took his extended hand with her own, a large, well shaped, powerful hand which could doubtless find better uses than mangling clay, “I simply don’t get the point, in terms of style, concept, or technique. What’s with all the finger marks?”

“I’ll tell you what, if you really want to know I’ll tell you over coffee.”

“You’re buying?” she replied with a hint of sass and no hint of apology.

“Sure. I’ve got to make it up to you for subjecting you to the worst art you’ve ever encountered don’t I?” he grinned playfully at her, apparently more amused that insulted by her critique.

“When?” she found she actually wanted to meet up with him. Unappealing as his art was, he definitely wasn’t.

“How about now?” he surprised her by answering, looking at her with an intensity she had not expected.

“Don’t you have to stay since it is your gallery showing?” she replied, surprised.

“It will add an air of mystique if no one gets to talk to me,” he shrugged.

Kathryn glanced over at Phoebe, who gestured for her to go emphatically.

“Al right then, Mister,” she couldn’t resist grinning at him as she accepted his arm.

“Chakotay,” he told her, “My name is Chakotay.”

“Chakotay…” she repeated, enjoying the feeling of his name rolling off of her tongue, a she handed Phoebe her cup and followed him towards the entrance, “I hope you know somewhere around here where they make a decent cup of coffee.”

Three hours later she still wasn’t sure about the effect of Chakotay’s art, but she was smitten with his passion in explaining it and mesmerized as she watched him do so.

“It’s really about feeling the clay, about the marks we leave on one another emotionally, though they may physically fade,” he concluded and she dragged her eyes back up from his mouth to the rest of his face, “You know, my studio is right around the corner. Maybe if you could get your hands on the clay you’d understand what I’m talking about.”

She was certain this charming and earnest act and that line had worked on countless other women, but she found she didn’t care. Chakotay was gorgeous and eloquent and from the moment he’d looked at her back in the gallery she had known where they were headed.

“By all means,” she drawled, “Show me how you use your hands.”

He really did bring out some clay, standing behind her and helping her shape it with her hands. His breath on her neck was tantalizing and she pressed back into his body, shuddering as his lips touched her neck. They felt as divine as they looked.

“The moment I heard your voice,” he murmured, “I didn’t care what anyone else had to say.”

“My voice was it?” she discarded in disbelief, twisting around to face him.

“That’s what drew me to you initially, yes,” he replied, trailing kisses against the front of her throat now, “It has such a rich commanding quality, warm but sharp. Of course, then you turned around and I saw you were beautiful…”

“So you decided to lure me back to your studio to seduce me,” she finished.

“You can’t blame a guy for trying,” he replied, running one hand along her cheek and she leaned in to meet his kiss.

His kiss was certain but undemanding. Kathryn found herself running her hands up the sides of his hair before remembering they were covered in clay.

“Oh I’m sorry, I…” she pulled back.

“Don’t worry about it,” he told her, taking her hands in his pressing them against his chest without regard for his sweater.

She found she didn’t care either, as he lowered his mouth downwards and she moved his hands to the top button of her blouse, not caring if it ended up covered in clay as a result. She wanted his hands on her, wanted the fulfilment of the promise which had been building all night between them.

Chakotay kissed along her neck and then down between the swells of her breasts, hands carefully working at the small pearl buttons to reveal more of her skin to his mouth. Those beautiful lips set her skin aflame and she shuddered in enjoyment.

“I don’t just pick up random women at my art shows…”

“I know.”

She found she did. If that was his ploy he would have picked someone impressed instead. She grabbed his belt buckle and pulled him back up and closer against her. He came willingly.

“If this is going too fast…”

“Take your sweater off,” she locked her eyes on his as she replied with certainty, running her hands over his board chest. He obeyed, revealing a tight black v-necked t-shirt she wanted to rip off him even more.

She reached behind herself and unzipped her pencil skirt. Chakotay finished unbuttoning the blouse and she pulled it off her shoulders, letting it fall to the ground as she shimmied out of the skirt.

He pulled the shirt off, revealing those broad shoulders, the solid muscular build which belonged in a soap opera more than an art studio. He put his hands around her, encircling her waist as he lifted her off her heeled feet and onto the table.

Kathryn brought her hands back to his belt, working it open, only to be distracted by the way he resumed kissing her, passionately but with an aching sort of tenderness which had no business existing in reality.

“Would you let me paint you?” he murmured, “I really want to paint you.”

“That depends,” she grinned, as her hand slid inside his boxers, “On whether your painting is as terrible as your sculpture.”

“What if I told you it was more like what I can do with my mouth?” He gave her a dimpled grin, sinking down onto his knees.

“Oh…” she breathed, hands threading through his hair as his mouth found its mark, “If that’s true it seems like I just might, based on the preview.”

“There’s still a long time until morning, why don‘t you give me at least till then to convince you.”

He did this swirling this with his tongue and she moaned loudly.

“And if I need further persuasion?”

“I’ll just keep trying until you give me an answer.”

Kathryn didn’t manage anything else remotely resembling a complete sentence for a long while after that. Chakotay didn’t seem to mind.