So, I'm posting the next 1200 words of this chapter, and making the tease worse... ;)
She deliberately put a sway into her hips as she crossed the boardwalk. Not that she thought it was enough to catch his attention, but her intel on Spike told her he had a thing for the ladies, and any advantage she could gain was a good thing. The nearer she came to the water, the stronger the breeze became, until by the time she had stepped from the sure footing of the walk to the capricious sand, her skirt was being whipped around her legs like a second skin, forcing Buffy to slow her step in order to maintain her balance.
His head cocked in curiosity when she stopped in front of him, a slight quirk of his brow the only indication that her presence interested him at all. Up close, the power behind those eyes seemed to leap across the chasm that separated them, driving her pulse rate upwards in an uncharacteristic slip in her control. For a moment, she hesitated, doubt about the wisdom of her plan joining with the danger in his gaze to make her question her next action. But then Dawn’s face rose up in her mind’s eye, and all ambivalence fled.
She would do this.
She had no other choice.
She didn’t smile when she spoke to him. “Don’t start by saying you’re sorry,” Buffy said, as if they were old friends and she was meeting up with him for the first time in ages.
He stayed still, only the black leather jackknifing around and through his legs audible to her ears as the world tunneled away, the carnival receding to a silent, neon background that would’ve made her dizzy if she’d concentrated on it. With each passing moment where he didn’t speak, her anxiety that it was going to fall through, that for some strange, inexplicable reason Spike Adams was going to back out of the arrangement before she had an opportunity to get him to talk, swelled to stomach-lurching proportions. Don’t make me kill you yet, she thought in growing desperation. Her fingers itched to go for her knife, but it was too soon to betray her identity to him. Better to wait it out.
So when he finally spoke, his voice an unapologetic rumble that reached like silk fingers into her chest and squeezed, she almost laughed out loud in absolution.
“I didn’t come here to atone,” Spike replied. He smiled then, his gaze raking over her curves. “Though the notion of gettin’ on my knees in front of you is suddenly strikin’ me as rather appealing, luv.”
The relief at the expected flirting was enough to bolster Buffy’s confidence back to pre-facing him levels. Affecting her most engaging smile, she took a step forward, reaching up to finger the leather of his lapels. “Someone likes to live dangerously,” she commented, and then looked up at him through her lashes. “Not afraid of getting picked up for wearing illegal goods?”
“Not afraid of anything,” Spike said with a wicked curl of his lips.
“Why does that not surprise me?” It was eerily simple to act the coquette for him, especially when his hand came down to settle on her hip, but there was also a game to be played here, and Buffy couldn’t let herself forget that for a single moment.
“Wasn’t sure you were goin’ to show,” he murmured. His head tipped and she felt his warm breath on her neck as he inhaled her scent. “But I have to say…you were definitely worth the wait.”
“Do you have the stuff?” Her question was breathless, almost an afterthought, as the gooseflesh erupted down her arms. Whoa. And his mouth didn’t even touch me. No wonder he’s survived this long.
“Business already?” Spike chuckled, the hand on her hip gliding to her back to run a single fingertip up her spine. She shivered. “And here I was hopin’ for a little pleasure first.”
“Nothing says we can’t have both.”
She could already imagine Willow’s face when Buffy’s words came through her earpiece, a combination of shock and wonder at what exactly her best friend was doing. At least it was a one-way system, or Buffy was sure she would already have been on the receiving end of a long and agitated argument on why fucking the guy you were trying to bring in for interrogation was just wrong, wrong, wrong. There was probably a point in there someplace, but at the moment, she was beginning to feel a little lightheaded at the slow and steady breathing that still hovered just beside her cheek.
“Where’s the money?” he whispered, and she jumped when his teeth nibbled at her earlobe.
“Thought you weren’t interested in business yet,” she answered.
“I’m not, just…” He stepped back at that, clearing the space between them so he could sweep his gaze over her in obvious appreciation. “I told you no plastic, pet, and there is no way you’re hiding that amount of cash on you.”
“I’ve got it.” It was her turn for a direct appraisal of him. “And shouldn’t I be asking you the same thing? Somehow, I don’t think you’ve got an inside pocket big enough on that coat to hide a chest full of weapons.”
He spread his arms wide, exposing the black billowy shirt above the skin-tight jeans. “You’re more than welcome to take a poke around for yourself,” Spike said. “Can’t say it wouldn’t be fun.”
As tempting as the offer was, Buffy just smiled and shook her head. “I’m an upfront kind of gal,” she said. “Digging for buried treasure’s not exactly my thing.” She squared her shoulders. “Are we going to do business or what?”
“I’d prefer the or what, but I’ll settle for business.” With that grin she was beginning to realize must be the trademark smirk she’d read so much about, Spike reached into his pockets and extracted a lighter and pack of cigarettes.
The buzzing started as soon as both were in the open air. Though she was certain he couldn’t see the vibrations in her necklace, Buffy could more than feel them, and her attention immediately went to the items in his hands. Thanks for making it easy for me, she thought, and swiftly stepped forward to take both from his hands.
“Smoking will kill you,” she said lightly. Before he could react, the cigarettes were crushed between her fingers, while the silver lighter went flying through the air, disappearing against the black of the ocean.
“Ow!” Anya’s fingers yanked the receiver from her ear, her face screwed up in a grimace as her pinky went back in, in a vain attempt to clear the ringing that was currently splitting her head in two.
“What’s up?” Clem asked. He scowled as he took the confection from the carny, but it didn’t stop him from lifting it to his lips. “Calling these ‘elephant ears’ is just wrong,” he said between bites.
An inattentive Anya grabbed the earpiece from where it dangled down her shirt front, sliding it into the opposite ear this time. “Don’t do this to me, Spike,” she muttered. After a moment of fidgeting with the tiny, flesh-colored button, a snarl of disgust burst from her throat as she pulled it out again, this time dropping the entire gizmo to the ground and stomping on it with the hard heel of her boot. “Damn it, damn it, damn it!”
“There a problem?”
“He let it happen again.”
“Oh.” There was a pause as Clem chewed, watching Anya whirl away and begin storming down the boardwalk, all the while ranting under her breath about Englishmen and their hormones. “He let what happen again?”
Oh, and did I forget to mention this was very much an ensemble action piece? It's going to end up with Spike/Buffy, Wesley/Willow, and a bit of Xander/Anya. And at least one character death, that I'll warn readers about in the very beginning so that they can choose not to read it if they don't want to.