Page 22 of The Amalfi Bride

The pain in his eyes cut her to the soul. “I didn’t lie.”

“You say you love me, but you’re going to marry her? Is that the truth? Or not?”

He heaved in a breath. “Okay, if you’ll let me explain, I’ll tell you why.”

“I don’t need to hear any more!” She backed away from him, hating that, despite her anger, she still desired him. “You miserable, unholy skunk! You snake! And to think I was so touched by those flowers you left the saints.” She yanked the flower he’d given her out of her hair and stomped on it. “What a miserable, insufferable piece of work you are. All men are skunks. Especially you!”

He stared at the mashed flower.

“How can you do that to her? She’ll figure it out eventually. You’ll break her heart. You know that, don’t you?”

“No, I won’t. Because she doesn’t love me, either.”

“Is she rich?”

His eyes narrowed.

Of course, she was rich. “So, you’ve got your cap set for a rich girl.”

He didn’t deny that, either.

“So that’s it!”

He hung his head, his focus drifting toward the flower. “In a way you’re right, I guess, although I wouldn’t put it that way.”

“Why not call a spade a spade?”

He reached for her. “Cara, it’s not that simple.”

“Sure it is! And don’t ever touch me again! Don’t you dare touch me, do you hear? Where’s my Fiat? I want to go back to my hotel. Now!”

She would have run, but his hand snapped around her wrist. He caught her to him, his mouth closing over hers. The power of her will was no match for his desire, and again, despite everything she’d learned about him, his kisses flooded her with warm, pleasurable sensations.

She yanked free of him, and then she stopped, realizing a way she could hurt him, too.

“Why shouldn’t I have one more for the road? Correction—for the long flight home? I wanted a gigolo. You want to know something? You’re not all that different from what I thought you were. Bottom line—you’re selling yourself.”

“Shut up.” His expression was both tortured and wild. “You don’t know anything about my life, and maybe it’s best you don’t.”

“I want you—gigolo.”

“Have it your way.”

Before she could protest, he ripped her jeans and panties down and pushed her against the wall again. Then he knelt in front of her in an attitude of worship and spread her legs.

“No! What are you doing?” She felt too intimately exposed.

His broad brown hands locked around her waist. “I want to remember you and this day for the rest of my life.”

When the tip of his tongue touched her outer lips and then slid upward and then down with slow, thrilling strokes, her mouth went dry. Heat from his lips poured into all her secret feminine places. Lava washed up her spine, flowed into every cell, drenching her in flames. Even her heart could not remain unaffected from such fire, and the cold place in its center melted, too.

When his tongue flicked deeply inside her and then went still, every pore in her being felt sexually charged. Instead of feeling ashamed, she forgot herself and clawed the wall.

He was what she wanted, what she’d always wanted. Without knowing who she was or what she did, she began to twist and writhe against his lips and tongue. Crying out his name, she wept.

Sensing how near she was to climaxing, he gripped her bottom and hauled her against his mouth. His tongue plunged inside her again and again until she screamed in ecstasy.

As the explosion ripped through her, she sank her fingers into his hair and dug her nails into his scalp. She held on to him, the chaos of her emotions tearing her apart as the shattering experience consumed her.

When it was over, he jerked his head back, and she sagged against the cool wall. Then her knees collapsed and she slid down beside him.

She wanted to hate him. At the same time she wanted his mouth to lick her intimately forever.

“Oh, Lord,” she whispered. “What have I done?”

Her heart was pounding and her hair was dripping with perspiration. She was afraid because she’d lost all control. Because somehow, some way, against her will, in less than twenty-four hours, he’d made her his forever.

“I hate you,” she vowed softly, “for what you just did.”

“You only wish you did.”

“Then I wish I’d never met you.”

“So do I. So the hell do I.”

He clasped her chin tightly, forcing her to stare into his tortured blue eyes. “What gives you the high moral ground? You’re the one who wanted your own personal stud and hired a gigolo. Well, maybe you just got him, Cara.”

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