After lingering over dinner and sharing a crème caramel, she thought he would surely leave. Instead, he stayed to help her wash and put away the dishes. She turned out the lights and locked up. When they reached the front door, instead of stepping outside so she could lock it, he took her hand and led her outside into the mist.
“You said you wanted to make love in the rain,” he reminded her.
She shook her head. “Not now.”
“How about a quickie?”
“I don’t think I could.”
“A sexy girl’s got to have a quickie lesson.” He pushed her against a cool stone wall, stripped off her jeans, unzipped his and penetrated her. His dark eyes glowed with intense black heat as he thrust into her again and again.
Slam. Bam. Instantly she was aflame. Why hadn’t she thought she wanted this? She held on to him, begging, clinging, wanting all of him.
“Condom,” she whispered several strokes later.
“Damn,” she agreed as he withdrew.
Panting hard, he stood before her.
“Wait here,” he finally managed between hoarse breaths.
Gasping too, pushing her hair out of her eyes, she nodded. “As if I could go anywhere.”
When he returned, he kissed her tenderly on the brow and eyelids and lips before shoving himself inside her again. As before, his movements were hard and fast. For long, glorious moments her body strained with his. She screamed at the exact moment he clutched her shoulders and drove into her with a final shudder.
When her knees buckled, he pulled her close. “Wrap those legs around my waist.”
When she did as he asked, he walked with her inside the house and slammed the door.
“You’re a quick study. I don’t think you need a month of lessons, chérie.”
“That’s not our deal,” she whispered.
She thought he would say goodbye and go. Instead, he carried her back to her bedroom where they slept wrapped in each other’s arms just as they had in London.
Only, the next morning when she awoke to brilliant sunshine and that delicious soreness between her thighs, his black head was on the pillow beside hers. Snuggling closer to his warm body, she smiled. How nice he felt. How right. How pleasant it would be to have him always.
Her eyes snapped wide open. As she stared at his furred chest, her heart pounded.
His long lashes fluttered lazily open.
“One month?” he murmured. “You look like you’re having second thoughts. You sure you really want so much of me?”
“One month,” she insisted. No way could she confess the depth of the terrifying tenderness she felt for him.
“Usually my affairs never last that long.”
She swallowed. His comment hurt, more than it should have.
“So, this will be a growth experience for you, too,” she said, attempting a lightness she didn’t feel.
He frowned as if something was bothering him, too. Was he already tired of her?
“So far I have no complaints,” he said. “It’s been fun.”
“For me, too,” she agreed even though she suddenly felt miserable.
When she got up, he lay on his back with his arms crossed under his head and his dark, brilliant eyes watching everything she did. Taking her time, she put on a soft, pink cotton dress that had faded from red. Slowly, self-consciously, she braided her hair.
What was he thinking as she used a pencil to darken her eyebrows and a tube of lipstick to make her mouth redder? Was he bored? Did he think she was using him? Did he feel resentful? She would give anything to know. But she did not have a right to his thoughts.
She had rights only to his body. And only for one month.
When she was dressed, she asked him what he wanted for breakfast.
“I know a café in the village.”
“Won’t everyone know about us then? Even your family?”
“Probably. The villagers are terrible gossips. Especially about the de Fourniers. But they know I want to buy your vineyard. If we bring the contract, perhaps we can fool them into thinking we’re conducting business.”
“With your reputation?”
“You’re leaving. Do you really mind if they suspect you’re my mistress?”
When she shook her head, a slow, possessive grin spread across his face. If she hadn’t known better she might have believed he wanted everyone to know she was his.
“But what about you, your sisters and your mother? Your mother could barely stand talking to me the other day. You know how much she disliked my aunt.”
“Don’t worry about my family,” he muttered, pulling her close and kissing her. “I’ll deal with them.”
With the top of his Alfa Romeo down, he sped down the slick, narrow roads that climbed through the fields of lavender to the red-roofed, medieval village perched on a cliff.He drove so fast her thick braid whipped her face, and tires screamed around the curves. She should have expected speed from him and recklessness. Not that rubber ever veered once off the asphalt. Nor did he come too close to the cyclists on the edge of the road.