Page 7 of Second Time Bride

When she had discovered that her miscarriage had not been quite what it had appeared, she hadn’t dreamt of bothering Alessio or his family with what would have been very bad news in their opinion. Indeed, still loving Alessio as she had, she had felt positively heroic protecting him from such an unwelcome announcement. He had wanted neither her nor their child, so she had taken care of the problem. She had kept her mouth shut, let the divorce proceed without interruption and brought her baby into the world alone. Alessio owed her! He had been able to get on with his life again, unhampered by all the many adult responsibilities that had become hers at far too young an age.

The limousine had stopped. She hadn’t noticed. She gazed out at the elegant Georgian square and simply knew that she could not bear another single minute in Alessio’s company. There was too much pain and confusion biting at her.

‘I’m going to catch a cab back to the office and say you cancelled,’ Daisy told him abruptly. ‘Then you can come back on Monday if you like and see the house with someone else.’

‘I don’t think your boss would swallow that story.’ Alessio’s shrewd gaze lingered on her and his expressive mouth took on a curious quirk.

‘I don’t care!’ Daisy stared back at him defiantly.

‘So you still make stupid decisions on the spur of the moment.’

Colour ran up in a hot, betraying flush beneath her fine skin. She knew exactly what he was getting at. ‘Shut up!’ she hissed back.

‘And you still blush like a furnace around spite of your advanced years,’ Alessio chided with lazy enjoyment at her embarrassment. ‘And, in spite of my advanced years, you still turn me on hard and fast. Now isn’t that fascinating?’

Daisy couldn’t believe he had said that. The tip of her tongue stole out in a swift flick to moisten her lower lip. Involuntarily she connected with eyes that now blazed passionate gold, his ebony lashes low on his lingering scrutiny. The heavy silence stretched like a rubber band pulled too taut for safety.

‘If this is your idea of a joke...’ she began unevenly.

Alessio surveyed her with slumbrous intensity and a slow, devastating smile curved his mouth. ‘Don’t be pious. You’re feeling the same thing I’m feeling right now.’

Her breath was trapped in her throat. Daisy could not tear her bemused eyes from the potent lure of his. And it was not an unfamiliar sensation that was creeping over her, she registered in dizzy disbelief; it was an old but never forgotten sensation of quite incredible excitement. The whole atmosphere had a wild, electric charge. Her heartbeat was thundering in her eardrums, her whole body stretched and tight with every nerve-ending ready to leap.

‘Curiosity and excitement,’ Alessio enumerated with purring softness.

It was fatal to be so easily read but Daisy couldn’t help herself. Slowly but surely she was sinking back to the level of maturity she had reached at the time of the party at which they had first met, and she remembered the sheer, terrifying whoosh of emotion and response which Alessio had evoked in her even at a distance of twenty feet. One look and she had been trembling, pitched on such a high of breathless, desperate yearning that she had felt slaughtered when he’d looked away again. ‘Stop it...’ she muttered shakily.

‘I can’t. I like to live dangerously now and again,’ Alessio revealed huskily.

‘I don’t...’ But her wretched body was not so scrupulous. She was devastated to feel her breasts, now full and heavy, surge against the lace barrier of her bra, the swollen nipples tightening into shameless, aching peaks.

‘How would you feel about an afternoon of immoral, erotic rediscovery?’ Alessio murmured thickly, his scorching golden eyes, as hot as flames, dancing over her heated skin. ‘I’ll take you to a hotel. For a few stolen hours, we leave the anger and the bitterness behind and relive the passion...’

Daisy was stunned, and on another level she was recalling the end of that long-ago party when Alessio had finally deigned to speak to her and make the smoothest pass she had ever encountered. She had been stunned then too by his sheer nerve. His brazen disregard of what she had naively seen as normal courting rituals had shocked her rigid. He had planted a drink in her hand and asked her to go to bed with him that night. She had slapped his face.