Dio l’aiuti—God help her—she would have to share a bed with him on occasion.
And, dio l’aiuti, the thought made her heat from the inside.
Ever since that particular aspect of their talk, it had felt as if a glow had been lit inside of her. His lips against her ear, his breath whispering on her skin...the heat it had ignited...
When he entered her apartment, impeccably dressed in a fashionable navy suit and striped pale-yellow tie, her heart made an involuntary skip. It skipped again when she caught his clean, freshly showered scent.
‘My apologies for the delay,’ he said, leaning in to give her the traditional kiss on each cheek.
Two little kisses; two tiny brushes of his lips against her skin, the hint of his warm breath on her...
The lit glow flickered and pulsated low within her, her body responding to his proximity like a bee to a field of pollen.
‘It’s fine,’ she said, stepping away from him and opening her handbag on the pretext of checking her purse. If he looked at her now, he would see the colour she knew had bloomed on her face scorching up her neck.
Christian had been due at her apartment early that morning. He’d called late last night to say he’d been delayed but would make it to her before lunch. She hadn’t been surprised. Men always made promises they had no intention of keeping. They told lies, whether deliberately or not. Even her grandfather, a man she’d thought full of morality, had lied. Only after his death had she learned he’d had an affair decades ago—with her new sister-in-law’s mother, no less. If her grandfather could lie to the wife he loved so much, then what hope was there for anyone else?
The only man she trusted was her brother.
She didn’t want to think what the cause of Christian’s delay could have been.
‘How did it go with the doctor?’ he asked.
‘Good.’ She bit back the question of whether he would attend any further appointments with her. It would save him having to lie. It would save her having to pretend to believe it.
‘Your blood pressure?’
‘Normal. Everything is normal,’ she said, anticipating further questions along the same vein. Feeling more on an even keel and in control of her reactions, she closed her handbag and looked at him.
He was watching her closely. ‘It wasn’t my intention to miss the appointment. There was a crisis at Bloomfield Bank and I had to attend an emergency board meeting.’
‘You don’t have to account for your whereabouts with me.’ She forced a smile. ‘After all, it’s not as if we’re married or anything.’ She couldn’t deny a tiny bit of the cramp in her belly lessened at knowing he hadn’t been with another woman.
He’d given his word not to make a move on her until they married. He’d made no such promise about making a move on another woman.
So long as he was discreet, who he slept with was none of her business.
He laughed, a familiar sound that plunged her back to the meal they’d shared. Of the Brat Pack, he’d always been her favourite, the one she’d privately dubbed ‘the Greek Adonis.’ A woman didn’t need wine goggles to appreciate the strength of his jaw or the dimples that appeared when he gave one of his frequent smiles.
With wine goggles, though, even the most inhibited of females would be putty in his hands. She, the woman who’d thought herself immune to any man’s charms, had been.
He hadn’t even tried. A couple of glasses of champagne on an empty stomach and an aching heart and she’d felt her secret attraction towards him, locked away out of reach, escape and bloom. Like the gentleman he was—and he was a gentleman in the traditional, chivalrous term of the word—he’d walked her home and right up to her door. She’d been the one to kiss him, not the usual two-cheek kiss but one right on his mouth.
The feel of his lips upon hers, the scent of his skin and warm breath...the effect had been indescribable. It had unleashed something inside her, something craven, a side she’d spent years denying the existence of, telling herself she’d rather die a virgin than give herself to a man.