She’d been absent from the General’s palace apartment for years, else Eduardo would have noticed her flaxen hair and her athletic, curved figure so much sooner. She’d been in New Zealand—schooled there, trained there. Yeah...thanks to his security department he knew all the facts, but the dossier they’d prepared didn’t give the detail he really wanted.
‘Just the once was enough for you?’ he asked.
She flicked the quickest of glances up. ‘As it was for you.’
Eduardo watched as a pink tide flowed over her cheeks, and unexpected emotion glinted before she swiftly lowered her lashes again. Clenching her jaw, she remained silent. Suddenly so determined not to respond.
He drew a soft breath and pushed harder against the shower wall to expend the energy threatening to burst through his skin. Did she doubt that he was still hot for her? Primal satisfaction ignited his fighting spirit. But this beautiful warrior woman did not want to admit her attraction to him.
Why didn’t she want to give in to it again when it would make this nightmare so much more bearable? Their chemistry had been—still was—incredible. He knew to his bones how good it would be when she was exactly where he needed her.
In her white dress, with his ring on her finger, in his bed. Not a minute before.
‘I don’t think once was enough,’ he said softly, unable to resist teasing her.
‘You never date a woman for more than a couple of nights.’ Her eyes flashed fire. ‘Am I not just like all the others?’
There hadn’t been that many others in recent years. Now he was more playful than playboy—lots of flirt, little follow-though. It was safer when he knew how little he could trust.
Now her hint of jealousy fanned the inferno building within him. Sexual intensity almost overpowered him. He tried not to lower his gaze and drink in her bared beauty, but there were those dusky, tight nipples and the rounded breasts, the tight, flat abs, the tempting thatch of hair at the apex of her thighs, those dazzling droplets of water all over her.
He wanted to feel her flush against him. He’d have to rip off his saturated shirt and jeans, though, and they were sticking so tight it would take too long, and he needed to feel her now—
‘As you can see—’ she interrupted his derailed thoughts with a voice slathered in sarcasm ‘—I’m perfectly fine. So you don’t need to worry. You can leave now.’
His gaze shot back to hers and his face heated. So caught. But she thought she could order him out...?
Eduardo was used to getting his own way. And he’d get it this time, because he was sure she was feeling this too. On an angry, lust-driven impulse he slowly, deliberately lowered his gaze again, blistering his senses, blatantly looking his fill at her jaw-droppingly gorgeous body.
He watched a trickle of water run from her hair to her skin, down the crest of her breast to her nipple, forming a drop there. His mouth was dry as dust and he craved a lick. Just one. Just one kiss.
His erection strained against his zipper. Lust clamoured a shrill mantra—kiss, kiss, kiss...
She quivered, the merest movement, as he ate her with his eyes, but she remained silent. Defiantly holding her head high.
Along with lust and need, another emotion snaked out from his gut—admiration. Then respect. And then regret.
What was he doing, standing over her like this? Invading her personal space? She was in the shower, for heaven’s sake.
She wasn’t going to let him intimidate her, let her nudity be a vulnerability. She was all armour. Even when naked she was stiffened with pride and rebellion and courage.
He wanted her. But more than that he wanted her to come to him—as willing and as tempting as she’d been that day on the beach.
‘Why did you run away afterwards?’ Why hadn’t she come to him to tell him she was pregnant?
Her lips parted, her mouth forming a wordless ‘oh’ while her anger burned brighter, melting into something else. But still she gave no damn answer.
That old disappointment was like salt in a freshly opened wound. But he didn’t move—he’d never been so focused on a woman, never spent so much effort trying to read what he could from the few physical signs she couldn’t help giving away.
Her hands were fisted at her sides. She was expending a lot of energy so as not to move. Just as he was. What didn’t she want to let herself do? Was she, like he, fighting the urge to reach out and touch? Or did she really want to fight, then flee?
On paper she appeared the perfect obedient soldier. Until that afternoon with him she’d not put a foot wrong—never left base without authorisation, never fraternised. No boyfriend. No parties. No fun.