But mostly she battled for her head, a fight she was so far from winning she...

His hand was cupping her breast.


When had that happened...?

It felt so...good. Wonderful. His touch...

But it wasn’t enough. The silk of the kimono was too restrictive.

Pepe must have read her mind because he slipped a hand beneath the thin material and spread it whole against a breast so sensitive, the relief of him finally touching it—touching her—made her gasp into his hot mouth.

And then she was kissing him back, her lips moving against his with no conscious thought, her tongue dancing against his, her whole body alive to his touch, the heat from his mouth and the taste of him.

Roughly he tugged her kimono apart, exposing her naked flesh. He snaked an arm around her waist and pulled her flush to him, crushing her breasts against his chest, crushing her mouth with an ever deepening kiss, his other hand trailing up her back, up the nape of her neck and then spearing her hair, gently tugging at it, before trailing back and reaching down to take her hand, which he placed on the front of his jeans. His fingers curled into hers as he pressed her hand tight to him. Even through the thick denim she could feel the length and weight of his erection. She could feel the heat emanating from him.

It was a heat her starved body revelled in.

Because it had been starving.

It had been starving for him.

He had brought her to life, given her an appetite she hadn’t known she had, and then he’d left her. Alone. And pregnant.

‘See, cucciola mia,’ he said, breaking his mouth away and dragging kisses across her cheek and down her neck. ‘This is how badly I want you. Enough that I think I might explode if I don’t have you.’

His words, the sound of his voice, were things the small part of her shrieking at her treacherous body anchored onto, using them to bring her out of this erotic stupor he had put her in.

Somehow she managed to wedge her hands between their meshed chests—and, God, her body really didn’t want her to; her lips ached for just one more kiss, the apex of her thighs begged her to let him continue—and, using all the strength she could muster, pushed him away.

‘I said no.’

He almost reeled back.

Pepe’s chest heaved as he stared at her with eyes that penetrated, almost as if he were reaching into the deepest recess of her mind. ‘Your mouth said no. The rest of you said yes.’

Although his words were nothing but the truth, she shook her head, her shaking hands frantically wrapping the kimono back up, tying it as tightly as was physically possible. ‘When a woman says no, then the answer is no. No, no, no. You have no right to help yourself to me.’

His face contorted and he took another step back. ‘Do not imply that I am some sort of rapist. You wanted me as much as I wanted you. You kissed me back. You enjoyed every minute of it.’

The savagery of his words made her flinch.

To compound it all, she felt hot tears sting the backs of her retinas. ‘I don’t care how much I enjoyed it,’ she said, forcing the words out, aware her words were hitched. ‘This is not going to happen. Unlike you, my brain is in control of my actions.’

His lips curved into something that was supposed to resemble a smile. ‘You think? Well, cucciola mia, you will learn that my control is second to none. Have no worries—I will not touch you again. Not without a written contract from you saying yes.’

With that parting shot, he strolled out of the kitchen, leaving her rooted to the table she was still sitting upon.

      CHAPTER EIGHT

PEPE GROWLED AT the screen before him. The words of the contract could be in gobbledegook for all he cared.

There was no point lying to himself. He was angry. Angry at Cara. Angry at the situation they had been forced into. Angry at himself.

But especially angry at her.

He’d never forced himself on a woman in his life. Never. He despised men who did such things, thought castration too mild a punishment for such deeds.

Had he really misread the situation so badly?

No. Absolutely not.

Cara had the most expressive face of any woman he’d ever known. They said that eyes were windows to the soul. With Cara, her eyes were windows to her emotions. If she was angry, happy, tired or ill, her eyes were the signposts for him to follow.

How had he become an expert on her emotions?

He shook his head briskly and rubbed his eyes. He probably wouldn’t feel so crummy if he’d managed to get any sleep. But how was a man supposed to sleep when his body ached with unfulfilled desire?

One thing he was not, though, was hurt. His ego might be a touch bruised but, on a personal level, it made no difference if Cara was willing to share a bed with him or not. There were plenty of women out there who were. And in reality, it was probably better that they didn’t resume a sexual relationship, especially as she was of a completely different mindset from his usual lovers.

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