‘It’s going back,’ Lizzie told him immediately. ‘I couldn’t possibly wear it.’

Ilios looked at her. ‘Why not?’

‘Well, for one thing it’s not the type of thing I would wear, and for another I’d need someone to fasten it for me—it laces up at the back,’ she explained. ‘And that means that I’d need…’

‘A man?’ Ilios supplied for her.



‘Another pair of hands,’ Lizzie corrected him. The warmth of his hand on her waist was causing havoc inside her body. An entire quiverful of tiny, fiery darts of sensual pleasure seemed to have been discharged into her body, unleashing a thousand pinpoints of sensory reaction—rivulets of female need that were speedily flowing into one another to form a dangerously fast-flowing flood of physical desire.


Inside her head that desire was painting dangerous images. As though by magic what she was wearing had been removed and she was reclothed in the satin underwear she had been admiring before Ilios had arrived. At the same time, equally magically, Ilios’s hand was stroking from her hip up to her breast, whilst his lips caressed the equally eager curve where her shoulder met her neck and his free hand slid into the silk-satin to cup the rounded flesh of her bottom.

Frantically Lizzie wrenched her attention away from what was going on inside her head. Ilios was a very attractive man, and it had been a very long time since she had… Well, it had been a very long time. But that did not give her imagination carte blanche to indulge itself with those kind of totally impossible scenarios—especially in view of what he had said to her about what he did and didn’t want from their relationship.

Lizzie pulled herself free of Ilios’s hold and headed for the door, leaving Ilios to look thoughtfully at the corset and then at her disappearing back view, before dropping the corset onto the bed and turning to follow her.

‘These are the rings. I asked the jeweller to send a variety for you to choose from.’

Lizzie’s eyes widened as she looked down at the rings in the large leather case that Ilios had opened.

There were solitaires in a variety of shapes and cuts, coloured diamonds surrounded by diamonds, diamonds surrounded by diamonds—so much, in fact, that the light reflected from the rings almost dazzled her.

‘They’re all beautiful,’ she told Ilios. ‘But they’re so…so eye-catching and big. Couldn’t I have something smaller?’

‘How much smaller?’ Ilios asked dryly.

Lizzie pointed to one of the rings and told him, ‘About a quarter of the size of that one. And plain. Just a solitaire.’

‘Something more like this, do you mean?’ he asked, reaching into his pocket and removing a small box which he opened to reveal a plain, perfectly plain solitaire set in what Lizzie assumed must be platinum, on a narrow platinum band.

Ilios didn’t really know why he had noticed the ring, nor what it was about it that had made him think of Lizzie, never mind why he had asked for it to be boxed separately, but he could see from Lizzie’s expression how she felt about it.

The ring was so simple and so perfect that Lizzie fell in love with it immediately.

‘Exactly like that,’ she told him.

Ilios removed the ring from the box and held it out to her, and for some reason—automatically, really, without thinking about what she was doing—rather than take it from him Lizzie extended her finger towards him instead.

Ilios looked at her, and she looked back at him, and a quiver of something age-old and beyond logic shot through her. Neither of them spoke. Instead Ilios curled his fingers round her wrist and then slowly slid the ring onto her wedding ring finger.

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