Oliver could only shrug it off. “Well, I don’t want to be rude, now, do I?”
Lucy balled her hands into fists and planted them on her narrow hips. “So you’re saying you faked the whole thing just to be polite?”
“Yes. Of course.” The arrogance of his response nearly made him cringe as the words slipped from his lips. Normally, he wouldn’t speak to anyone this way, but Lucy was a special case. He wasn’t handling her with kid gloves. She needed to know she wouldn’t get her way where he was concerned.
Her brown gaze studied his face for a moment before she shook her head. “No. I don’t believe you. I think you’re just too arrogant to admit that you’re attracted to me, of all people. That you could actually want the help. The trash that robbed you of your inheritance.”
Oliver narrowed his gaze at her. She was good. Not only was she able to get under his skin, she was able to get into his head as well. That was disconcerting. He was the one who was supposed to be finding out all her secrets so he could expose her as a fraud, and there she was, calling him elitist in the hopes that his knee-jerk reaction would be to deny it and somehow fall prey to her charms to prove her wrong.
“We’ve established that we hardly know each other, Lucy. I’m not sure why you’re so confident about who I am and what I do or don’t think of you. But here… I’ll prove to you that you’re wrong.”
He took two steps forward, closing the gap between them. Lucy stiffened as he got closer, but she held her ground. He had to admit, it impressed him that she didn’t turn tail and run.
She wanted to, though. He could tell by her board-straight posture and tense jaw. “What are you doing?” She looked up at him with big brown eyes that were full of uncertainty.
She thought she could just call his bluff and he’d back down. No way. He was going all in and winning the hand even with losing cards.
Oliver eased forward until they were almost touching. He dipped his head down to her and cupped her face in his hands. Tilting her mouth up to him, he pressed his lips against hers. He wanted this kiss to be gentle, sweet and meaningless, so he could prove his point and move on with his night. He’d kissed a lot of women in his time. This would be like any other.
Or so he thought.
The second her lips touched his, it was immediately apparent that wasn’t going to be the case. It was like a surge of electricity shot through his body when they touched. Every nerve lit up as his pulse started racing. The pounding of his heart in his ribcage urged him to move closer, to deepen the kiss, to taste her fully. In the moment, he couldn’t deny himself what he wanted, even knowing his reaction played into her hands.
Lucy didn’t deny him either. She melted into him, just as he’d expected. She wrapped her arms around his neck, her soft whimpers of need vibrating against his lips. Her mouth and her body were soft, molding to his hard angles. When she arched her back, pressing her belly against his rapidly hardening desire, she forced him to swallow a groan.
With her every breath, he could feel her breasts pushing against his chest, making him ache to touch them and hating himself for the mere thought. He wanted to press her back against the wall of the Dempseys’ mansion and feel them beneath his hands. He was certain his father had felt the same way when he was swept up in Hurricane Candace.
This was getting way out of hand.
Oliver pulled away from Lucy at last, nearly pushing himself back although it was almost physically painful for him to do it. That simple kiss was supposed to prove to both of them that the other kiss had meant nothing. Instead, it had changed everything. Now he wasn’t just curious about her as the woman who’d charmed his aunt out of a fortune. He wasn’t just playing a cat-and-mouse seduction game. He wanted her. More than he’d wanted a woman in a very long time. His plan had clearly backfired in spectacular fashion, but he could still recover.
“See?” he said, taking another large step back to separate himself further and regain a semblance of control. He struggled to keep as neutral and unfazed an expression as he could, as though she hadn’t just rocked his world in the midst of a stuffy baby shower.
“See what?” Lucy asked with a dreamy, flushed look on her face. She’d obviously enjoyed the kiss just as much as he had. On any other woman at any other time, that expression would’ve convinced him to swoop in again and push the kiss even further. Instead, he had to retreat before she caught him in her web for good.
“Do you see that you were wrong? That kiss was all an act, just like the first one. Honestly, it didn’t do a thing for me.” The truth was anything but, however he couldn’t let her know that and think she had any chance of winning him over with feminine wiles.