‘You think so little of me, I’m surprised you would even trust me with my own child. Does it gall you now to go through with this?’
She turned her head away. ‘That’s not up to me.’
‘No, it’s not. But still you judge. You think I care more for money than I do for this child. I fall short of expectations because I don’t make nuts and bolts. Instead, I make money, which is what every damn person making nuts and bolts is trying to make. And yet somehow my success lowers me in your eyes.’
She shook her head. ‘And you don’t think you judge me? You haven’t stopped judging me since the moment we met. Judging me and damning me and now locking me away in some gilded bloody cage.’
‘It’s hardly a cage!’
‘And you don’t consider my feelings. I’m not sure I should stay here. Not under the circumstances. Not with your wife gone. It doesn’t feel right.’
‘What?’ He slammed one hand down on the car roof alongside her, sending her skywards. ‘First you didn’t want to stay here because my wife might object. Now you won’t stay because she can’t. What are you really worried about, Mrs Cameron—that I might try to jump your skinny bones while you’re under my roof?’
‘No!’ Her face was burning up with indignation. Burning up with the stinging barb contained within his words. Jump her skinny bones? No way in the world. ‘You think I’d let you if you tried?’
‘Or that after a taste of the high life, you won’t want to go home?’ His skin was drawn tight, tendons cording in his neck while a savage pulse beat at his temple.
‘Fat chance. A person would have to be some kind of masochist to want to stay with you. I promise you, if I stay—and that’s a big if—it’s only until this child is born, and then you won’t see me for dust.’
‘Good.’ He sniffed and pushed himself away from the car. ‘So we understand each other perfectly, then. You have my assurance I won’t be tempted to take advantage of you and I have your assurance we’re not going to have separation issues in six months’ time. Seems we have the perfect arrangement.’
Or perfect hell?
And suddenly six months under the same roof with this man didn’t sound like any sort of holiday at all. And still they remained there, glaring at each other, and there was no way she was going to break eye contact first lest he took that as some sort of victory.
‘Dominic, you’re here.’ The quietly spoken voice came from behind. He broke eye contact first and Angie rubbed her arms, grateful for the interruption. She turned to see an older woman, slim and smartly dressed. She smiled. ‘And you must be Angelina Cameron. Such a pretty name,’ the woman said, taking both her hands in her own, her smile wide though her eyes looked troubled as they flicked from one arrival to the other. ‘Come in, dear. I’ve been expecting you.’
‘Angelina, this is Rosa, my housekeeper,’ said Dominic coarsely, performing the formalities. ‘Although, as you will no doubt learn, she is much more than a mere housekeeper.’
Rosa’s smile widened at that, her eyes creasing with love that still held more than a hint of concern. Angie followed stiffly as Rosa led them along a covered walkway leading to the house, wondering how long it was since she’d been called by her full name. Probably the last time she’d renewed her driver’s licence. She decided she liked Rosa. Her welcome had been genuine, her warm hands squeezing hers almost as if saying I understand. She liked the way her name had sounded on Dominic’s lips even more. What was it about the way his deep voice could sound her name?
Rosa glanced over her shoulder, smiling as she caught Angie’s eyes. What had Dominic told her? Did she know why she was here? Or was she merely in the habit of welcoming Dominic’s women? She didn’t know the circumstances of his wife’s death or how long ago it had occurred, but she couldn’t imagine a man like him staying single for long.
It simply wasn’t possible. He was much too good-looking. Entirely too masculine. Power radiated from him, almost a tangible thing, or was that just his heat she could feel as he walked at her shoulder? She glanced back, pretending to take in the view. No, she thought. Not just heat, but power oozed from him.