Excerpt The Reluctant Wife
Abby had completely deceived him. Dante had thought her naïveté would make her easy to manage. He’d quickly learned that Abby had more backbone than any woman he’d ever met. Her readiness to challenge him seemed to add to her allure. Now, again, here she was asserting her wishes, taking command…
Abby licked her lips. “I don’t owe you anything. And, as we’re divorcing, I’m the last woman you should have a child with. Besides, I don’t care what you do in your personal life.”
She lied. Her arms were folded across her stomach as if she were warding off a blow.
“You care. You know I could always read your body as well as a blind man reads braille.”
Abby shook her head, the emphatic movement flinging her thick blond hair over one shoulder. Her eyes narrowed. “Can you read what I’m thinking now?”
He searched Abby’s drawn face, recognizing the marks of strain in the bluish shadows beneath her eyes and the set of her delicate jaw. She had the strength of fine bone china, and the fragility.
“I know exactly what you’re thinking.” He tilted his head and tapped his chin with a finger. After a theatrical pause he spoke deliberately. “You wish you’d waited until the morning to meet with me. You’re angry with yourself for still wanting me, and you’re wondering whether one kiss from my lips can still make you come.”
He felt rather than saw her body tremble across the room, and heard her soft gasp.
“Of all the arrogant, conceited…”
“Most of all, you’re remembering the first night you were in this room, how you let me seduce you, how I made love to you into the small hours of the morning.”
The hazel of her eyes glittered almost golden as he watched her fight tears. He tried to keep his heart unresponsive, but the beauty of her pale face, the dark circles under her eyes, and above all her stricken look of profound loss assailed his protective barrier.
“You want a favor from me. I want a favor—or two—from you. I’d call it a mutually beneficial business proposition. I know you need money and I’m happy to help. For a price. You are my wife, this is where you belong.” A traitorous pulse flickered fast just below her collarbone, calling attention to the delicate skin of her throat. His body shuddered into life, with total recall of the addictive taste of her skin.
She quivered as his eyes roamed her small frame. Every detail screamed at him—the dark of her dilated pupils, the flush on her cheeks, the moist pink of her parted lips. She wanted him and though she shook with the effort, she couldn’t hide the giveaway signals. Cursing inwardly, he felt his body respond to the recalled pleasure of their days and nights of intimacy.
“But I’m not yours. Not anymore.”
“Legally you are still mine!”
“I am not a possession, Dante. As I said four years ago, I’m a flesh-and-blood woman with feelings and desires.”
“Come here.” He patted the couch beside him. “I’ll satisfy those feelings and desires.”