Pressing his advantage with a ruthless sense of timing, Angelos tumbled her the rest of the way and gathered her into his arms. She gasped again, ‘No.’

The palm curving over a pouting, swollen breast stilled. Her nipple was a hard, straining bud that ached and begged for his attention, and she let her swimming head drop down on the pillow while she fought desperately for control. She focused on him. The brilliant eyes, the strong nose, the ruthless mouth. And that appalling tide of painful craving simply mushroomed instead of fading.

‘No?’ Angelos queried lazily.

She inched forward like a moth to a candle flame, seekmg the heat and virility she could not resist, all thought suspended. He recognised surrender when he saw it, and with a wolfish smile of reward he closed his mouth hungrily over hers and she burned up like a shooting star streaking through the heavens at impossible speed, embracing destruction as if she had been born to seek it.

He curved back from her when her every sense was thrumming unbearably, her whole body shaking on a peak of frantic anticipation, and eased one hand beneath the T-shirt to curve it to her bare breasts. She whimpered and jerked, the most terrifying surge of hunger taking over as his expert fingers tugged on her tender nipples and then his caressing mouth went there instead. For long, timeless minutes, Maxie was a shuddering wreck of writhing, gasping response, clutching at him, clutching at his hair, her denim-clad hips rising off the bed in helpless invitation.

Abruptly Angelos tensed and jerked up his dark head, frowning. ‘What’s that?’ he demanded.

‘W-what’s what?’ she stammered blankly.

‘Someone’s thumping on the front door.’

By then already engaged in gaping down at her own shamelessly bared breasts, the damp evidence of his carnal ministrations making the distended pink buds look even more wanton, Maxie gulped. With a low moan of distress she threw herself off the bed onto quaking legs.

‘You swine,’ she accused shakily, hauling down her T-shirt, crossing trembling arms and then rushing for the stairs.

She flung open the front door. Her nearest neighbour, Patrick Devenson, who had called in to introduce himself the day before, stared in at her. ‘Are you aware that you have a Ferrari upended in your stream?’

Dumbly, still trembling from the narrowness of her escape from Angelos and his seductive wiles, Maxie nodded like a wooden marionette.

The husky blond veterinary surgeon frowned down at her. ‘I was driving home and I saw this strange shape from the road, and, knowing you’re on your own here, I thought I’d better check it out. Are you OK?’

‘The driver’s upstairs, lying down,’ Maxie managed to say.

‘Want me to take a look?’

‘No need,’ she hastened to assert breathlessly.

‘Do you want me to ring a doctor?’

Maxie focused on the mobile in its holder at his waist. ‘I’d be terribly grateful if you’d let me use that to make a call.’

‘No problem...’ Patrick said easily, and passed the phone over. ‘Mind if I step in out of the rain?’

‘Sorry, not at all.’

Maxie walked upstairs rigid-backed, crossed the room and plonked the phone down on the bed beside Angelos. ‘Call for transport out of here or I’ll throw you out in the rain!’

His stunningly handsome features froze into impassivity, but not before she saw the wild burn of outrage flare in the depths of his brilliant eyes. He stabbed the buttons, loosed a flood of bitten-out Greek instructions and then, cutting the connection, sprang instantly out of bed. Maddeningly, he swayed slightly.

But Maxie was less affected by that than by her first intimidating look at a naked and very aroused male. Colouring hotly, she dragged her shaken scrutiny from him and fled downstairs again.

‘Thanks,’ she told Patrick.

‘Had a drink or two, had he? Wicked putting a machine like that in for a swim,’ Patrick remarked with typical male superiority as he moved very slowly back to the door. ‘Your boyfriend?’

‘No, he’s not.’

‘Dinner with me then, tomorrow night?’

Words of automatic refusal brimmed on Maxie’s lips, and then she hesitated. ‘Why not?’ she responded after that brief pause for thought. She was well aware that Angelos had to be hearing every word of the conversation.

‘Wonderful!’ Patrick breathed with unconcealed pleasure. ‘Eight suit you?’

‘Lovely.’

She watched him swing cheerfully back into his four-wheel drive and thought about how open and uncomplicated he was in comparison to Angelos, who was so devious and manipulative he would contrive to zigzag down a perfectly straight line. And she hated Angelos, she really did.

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