‘Oh...’ Maxie said breathlessly.
‘I know anticipation is supposed to be the cutting edge of erotic pleasure but I am not really into self-denial, agape mou,’ Angelos confided huskily, his warm breath fanning her cheekbone. ‘It’s been a hell of a week...seven very rough days of wondering if you had left me and found another man.’
As it had genuinely not occurred to her that Angelos might interpret her departure from Chymos in that melodramatic light, Maxie was shaken. ‘But—’
‘The thought of you out there...loose,’ Angelos framed with a hoarse edge to his dark, deep drawl.
‘What do you mean by... “loose”?’
‘The world is full of men like me. If I saw a ravishing beauty like you walking down a street alone, I’d make a move on her like a shot!’
Maxie was not best pleased by that assurance. ‘If I ever have the slightest reason to think you’re two-timing me, I’ll be out of here so fast—’
‘How can a husband two-time his wife?’
‘He has an affair...or a mistress.’
‘Well, you’ve got the market cornered there, haven’t you?’ Angelos breathed with galling amusement, running his hands down to the curvaceous swell of her hips to cup them and urge her even closer.
Maxie quivered, her body responding with a wanton life all of its own, but she struggled desperately to keep on talking because potential infidelity was an extremely important subject, to be tackled and dealt with on the spot. ‘Wh-who was it said that when the mistress becomes the wife, a vacancy is created?’
‘Some guy who hadn’t had the good fortune to discover you,’ Angelos growled with blatant satisfaction. ‘You are not like other women.’
Maxie blossomed at what sounded like a true compliment. ‘Did you have a good time at the club?’
‘What do you think?’ Angelos nipped at the tender lobe of her ear in sensual punishment and curved her suggestively into contact with the straining evidence of his arousal. ‘I’ve been like this all night, hot and hungry and aching—”
Maxie kissed him to shut him up; he was embarrassing her. He seized on that invitation with a fervour that fully bore out his frustration. She came up for air again, awash with helpless tenderness. He was irredeemably oversexed but she just adored him. Something to build on. Obviously being a sex object was the something to build on. How the mighty had fallen, she conceded, and then Angelos kissed her again and all rational thought was suspended...
Maxie crept out of bed and tiptoed across the carpet to the chair where she could see Angelos’s clothing draped. She would get the list back before he found it. The very last thing their relationship needed now was the short, sharp shocking result of Angelos seeing that awful list of all that she had once thought was wrong with him. That list had been a real hatchet job. After all, when she had written it, she’d been trying to wean herself off him.
Maxie couldn’t believe her eyes when she discovered that the jacket she was searching wasn’t his dinner jacket! Before he had returned to her at dawn, Angelos had evidently gone back to his own apartment to change. She could’ve screamed... Stamina, she reminded herself, but her nerves were already shot to hell.
‘Maxie...what are you doing?’
Maxie jerked and dropped his jacket as if she had been burnt. ‘Nothing!’
‘What time is it?’ he queried softly.
‘Come back to bed, agape mou.’
Maxie was so relieved he hadn’t noticed what she was doing, she responded with alacrity.
An hour and a half later she sat across the dining-room table while breakfast was served by Angelos’s manservant, Nikos. He had imported his own staff to remedy the empty cupboards in the kitchen. His efficiency in sweeping away such problems just took her breath away. Now he lounged back, skimming through a pile of newspapers and onto his third cup of black coffee.
He was a fantastic lover, she thought dreamily. He could be so gentle and then so...so wild. And he ought to be exhausted after only a couple of hours of sleep, but instead Angelos emanated a sizzling aura of pent-up energy this morning. I’m never, ever going to get over him, she thought in sudden panic. I need my list back to deprogramme myself from this dependency.
Without warning, Angelos bit out something raw and incredulous in Greek and sprang upright, sending half his coffee flying. Volatile, volcanic, like a grizzly bear, Maxie reminded herself studiously. He strode across the dining-room, swept up the phone, punched out some numbers and raked down the line, ‘That piece on Maxie Kendall on the gossip page...who authorised that? You print a retraction tomorrow And after that she’s the invisible woman...you tell that malicious poison-pen artist to find another target. She’s supposed to be writing up society stuff, not trawling the gutter for sleaze!’