I turned my head to look at her. In the soft light coming from the console, her skin looked like alabaster.

“Thank you for allowing me to work there,” she continued. “I need to buy some seeds. I will purchase them on my own of course, but I want to confirm that they will be able to deliver it to the house.”

Before I could respond a call came in. It was not an urgent call, but I picked it up anyway and deliberately began the conversation in Italian as a way to shut her out. I ended the call five minutes later, but by then she had completely given up on a response. I left it that way.

She ran into the house the moment we arrived, and I stood and watched her. It was hard for me to understand what was going on inside me. Why I felt so possessive over her. I had never felt that way about any woman before. Not even for Alessa, and I married her.

I stayed back for a few minutes to give some last minute instructions to the men. Afterwards, I walked in, shut the door behind me and walked into the foyer. She was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.

“What will it take?” she asked passionately. “To stop you from hurting James?”

I gazed at her curiously. Her loyalty first to her father and now to her friend was quite remarkable. It was clear she was worried senseless. It made me feel like a schoolyard bully. I was never that.

“Go to bed. Your friend is safe. I’m not going to touch him,” I said coldly, as I went on my way.

A few moments later I heard her footsteps behind me. I stopped and turned around to see that she was indeed following me.

“What is it?” I asked.

“I… um… I want to spend the night with you,” she blurted out. Her hands were hidden behind her back and the look in her eyes had changed from fear to gratitude.

I didn’t need her fucking gratitude and I would have rejected her, but then I considered the chill of the night. There was also the fantasy I’d had of fucking her on the plush white rug in front of the roaring fire.

“Alright,” I heard myself say. “Come with me.”

She nodded and immediately came forward.

My hand reached out, but before it connected with the small of her back, I pulled back. There was something too tender about the intention that I most definitely did not want. A little later we reached the elevator that would take us underneath the building. The doors swished open outside my den.

I walked ahead of her, opened the wide door, and headed straight for the liquor cabinet. Just as I grabbed the decanter filled with old whiskey, it dawned on me just how often I’d been reaching for it these days. It wasn’t because of her I reasoned as I poured out a generous measure. I lifted it to my lips and took a whiff of its smoky scent of burnt heather and wood.

The burn of the liquid as it slid down my throat was most welcome. It seemed to restore a sense of ease and control back to me. It wasn’t because of her, I affirmed, as I turned around to give my attention to the stranger I’d brought into my most private space. Until now, other than the staff who clean and refill stuff, no one had been allowed into this place.

She was standing awkwardly in the middle of the room, her arms wrapped protectively around her waist, as her eyes roved around my den.

Bringing her here wasn’t the smartest move, but here we were, so I was damn well going to do my fantasy justice and fuck her through the night on that furry rug. The logs were already crackling in the hearth, handled ahead of time by one of the men so the expansive space was already filled with its warmth. There was a raging fire in my belly. I knew it was seeing that fool touch her, but I refused to admit it even to myself.

I downed the whiskey. “Take your clothes off.”

I turned away and put my empty glass down, then shrugged off my jacket and flung it away. I turned back towards her and saw her stepping out of her shoes. My expression twisted. Sometimes it was hard for me to believe she was that sexually inexperienced. Never had a woman I’d ordered to undress in this kind of situation taken her shoes off first. Every one of them was smart enough to walk towards me naked but for their high heels.

“Leave the shoes on.”

Her face flushed a pretty pink as she put them back on.

Not taking my eyes off her, I pulled the tails of my shirt out of my slacks and began to unbutton. Her arms were behind her back as she struggled with a stuck zip.


Tags: Georgia Le Carre Billionaire Romance
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