Page 16 of Second Time Bride

‘You have the most gorgeous eyes,’ Alessio breathed in an abstracted undertone, drawing ever closer.

They were lost in his. Pools of passionate gold set between luxuriant black lashes even longer than her own. Daisy expelled a tiny sigh, the raw heat of his lean, hard body curling sensuously into her relaxed limbs. She curved instinctively closer and he lifted a hand almost jerkily and let long brown fingers thread into the fall of her hair, his thumb rubbing caressingly against her earlobe. Her heartbeat went crazy in the thrumming silence.

‘Alessio...’ she mumbled.

‘Piccola mia...’ The familiar endearment left him in an aching sigh.

Warm fingers cupped her cheekbone as he bent his dark head. He captured her moist lips in a devouring kiss and plundered them apart. From that first instant of contact, Daisy was electrified. The erotic flick of his tongue exploring the tender interior of her mouth made her jerk in shock and gasp. lightning heat sizzled through her. Her hands came up to clutch at his thick hair, his broad shoulders, his powerful arms and clung. Every clamouring sense roared off in glorious rediscovery. He crushed her to him and she surrendered with enthusiasm. As she strained up to him in a fever of desire, excitement clawed at her throbbing body in a voracious surge.

With a driven groan, Alessio dragged his mouth from hers and stared down at her with stunned intensity. He snatched in a ragged breath and abruptly stood up, carrying her slim body with him. His strong face set like cement as he gazed into her passion-glazed eyes. Swinging lithely round, he simply opened his arms and let her drop from a height back down onto the sofa he had just vacated.

‘Give me the bad news first!’ Alessio raked down at her.

Daisy had landed in a mess of wildly tangled hair and inelegantly splayed limbs on the mercifully well-sprung sofa. She didn’t know what had hit her. For an instant she didn’t even know where she was but she knew that Alessio was there all right, standing over her like a hanging judge as she attempted to halt a seemingly unstoppable roll in the direction of his plush office carpet. A pair of strong hands caught her and impatiently flipped her back upright into the corner of the seat.

‘“The bad news...”?’ Daisy echoed. Momentarily, utter cowardice had her in its hold. She didn’t want to be forced to think. Not about how time had cruelly slid back to entrap and humiliate her. Not about how excruciatingly pleasurable it had felt to be in Alessio’s arms. Not about how dreadful it felt to be separated from him again. No, she definitely didn’t want to think.

‘You only faint when you’re terrified! Do you think I don’t remember that?’ Alessio launched at her grimly. ‘You drop in a pathetic little heap, then you open those big blue eyes and fix them on me and I have an uncontrollable urge to give way to my baser instincts. That’s how you broke the news of your pregnancy!’

‘My pregnancy?’ Daisy questioned helplessly. ‘I didn’t get that way on my own!’

‘There was nothing accidental about it,’ Alessio condemned harshly.

Daisy froze, shattered by that particular accusation. Even thirteen years ago, it had not occurred to her that Alessio might believe that her pregnancy was anything other than an accident. That his family suspected her of such manipulative behaviour had been no surprise to her, but she had innocently assumed that at least Alessio did not share their suspicions. ‘Are you really trying to accuse me of having deliberately set out to...?’

Alessio spread two brown hands in a frustrated movement of dismissal. ‘We are not going to talk about this.’

‘Now just you wait a minute,’ Daisy objected, springing upright. ‘You can’t throw an accusation like that and then back off from it again!’

‘Did you hear me? Leave yesterday’s bad news where it belongs,’ Alessio spelt out. ‘We are not about to get into that again. We are not going to fight about ancient history like a couple of stupid kids!’

‘Ancient history...yesterday’s bad news...’ How would Alessio react when she informed him that ‘yesterday’s bad news’ was infinitely more current than he had had any cause to suspect? The fight went out of Daisy. She sank heavily back down on the sofa again. ‘You want to know why I told your secretary I had to see you to discuss an urgent, confidential matter—’