She’d never had sex before either. Which he guessed meant she was not a natural hedonist. Sure, she’d gone full throttle once she’d let herself off the leash, but maybe the intensity had been too much for her?
It almost had been for him. Goosebumps still riddled his skin when he thought of it, and he was used to sex. She wasn’t. Had she been shaken emotionally? Had he hurt her that way? Was she afraid of him?
Suddenly he didn’t want to know any more. He wasn’t a man who could offer emotional support. He’d tried. He’d failed. More than once.
Stella wasn’t the first person not to turn to him in a time of crisis.
‘Eat the food I have brought,’ he growled, pushing away from the shower wall and forcing himself to step away from her.
He ignored the thunderclap of fury from the lust clouding his mind, urging him to stay and press closer. He wanted to make her feel so damn good she wouldn’t be able to stop pleading with him to do it again. But he was going to have to wait a bit longer for that little ego trip. Just till tomorrow.
‘Make yourself presentable,’ he said curtly, picking up one of the large white towels from the gleaming gold rail. ‘I will see you in the library.’
She snatched the towel he rigidly held out and wrapped it around her, hiding her delectable body from his ravenous eyes, leaving him immensely relieved. And viciously frustrated.
Angered with his fixation, he strode away. ‘Be quick.’
STELLA FELT LIKE taking at least two hours, except years of drills and discipline overruled the petty desire to prove a point. She glanced at the treat-laden tray he’d carried to her room but her stomach was too knotted for her to attempt eating. She opened the door to the walk-in wardrobe and stared. Tags still hung on some items, and they were the right sizes and everything. Did he know her every personal detail? Damn army records.
Well, she wasn’t wearing anything he provided. She had pride.
She dressed in less than five minutes, dragging on her jeans again, pulling out a different tee shirt from further down her duffel bag. Then she laced up her trainers. She didn’t care what his idea of ‘presentable’ was.
But adrenalin scoured her veins. Her body knew she was in danger. Because what she’d forgotten—what she’d refused to admit aloud—was his impact.
That he could have her forgetting all her hard-earned rights in a heartbeat. She’d wanted to lean back against the wall and let him do whatever he pleased with her. She’d wanted him to be as naked as she. All he had to do was look and in seconds she’d been aching for his touch...
She’d been around hundreds of men all her life. Men more muscled. Men taller, broader, faster. Never had she been tempted the way that Eduardo tempted her.
Her weakness infuriated her. Could she really be this shallow? Could her head be so turned just because he was a prince? But she didn’t feel this for Crown Prince Antonio, and wasn’t he the more powerful of the two? No, it was only Eduardo and his irresistible smile, who devastated her.
How quickly she’d fallen under his spell. How easily he’d seduced her. And he could do it again in seconds. He almost had in that hot shower stall. And she couldn’t let him. Not now there was so much more at stake. She had to keep her head and carve out the right solution for this situation.
A wedding wasn’t it.
She dropped to the floor and executed twenty press-ups just to expend some of the energy rioting within her. He’d wanted to know why she’d done it, but she could never admit that she’d long harboured a crush on him, or that he’d represented the kind of free-loving fun she’d never had. She’d wanted one moment just for herself.
She wasn’t admitting that dreary little dream to him.
Quickly, quietly, she walked back to the opulent library.
As she neared the large doorway she moved more stealthily. Maybe she’d hear something interesting—
‘Come in, Stella.’
Grimacing, she moved into the doorway and found him just inside it. His gaze skittered down her clothing. The skin about his mouth and eyes tightened. Yeah, not exactly ‘presentable’.
But he’d changed too—black jeans again, white tee. Designer casual as opposed to her dumpster casual. Still gorgeous. Still intimidating.
She wished she had her boots on. Even an extra inch would give her a much needed boost. Then she saw the serious-looking man in a suit seated at the table, with serious-looking papers spread out before him.