The Tuscan's Revenge Wedding(10)

By: Jennifer Blake



Yet he was not really like their father, caring more for risk, speed and adulation than for family. Jonathan had a tender place inside that he protected fiercely from everyone except her, his older sister. Well, and possibly this girl Carita, who lay comatose in a hospital bed. If she should die because of him, it might well send him down the same path of destruction that had taken their father and mother.

Amanda turned her head away from the man beside her as she wiped under her eyes with the edge of her hand. Thinking such things would not help; nothing would help until she could see her brother, could give him a hug and make everything all right as she used to do when they were children. She drew a deep breath, swallowed salt tears and closed her eyes.

~ ~ ~

Nico glanced at the woman beside him more often than was wise. Finally, he put aside the report he’d read six times without gleaning a single piece of useful information. Brows drawn together in puzzlement, he allowed his gaze to rest on Amanda Davies.

She’d done nothing whatever to attract him, the opposite in fact. Regardless, he had never been so painfully aware of a woman. It was exasperating, given her relationship to the man who had almost killed Carita.

In another time, not so far in the past, she would have been considered an enemy. He would have been justified in taking her in revenge for the injury done by her brother to his sister and to family honor. He could have picked up Amanda Davies and put her into his bed, could have stripped her naked and buried himself in her softness, taking her in the most personal and intimate sense of the word.

He shifted in his chair. The idea had far too much appeal for comfort.

Not that he would ever dream of such barbaric retaliation.

Still, what would she have done if this were the old days, he wondered? Would she have cried, pleaded, or screamed in a fighting rage? Or would she have submitted to the inevitable, knowing it was his due? Would she have melted into his arms, giving kiss for kiss in willing recompense for the injury done to his family by hers?

What would she taste like? How would she feel beneath him, with her gentle curves, her instant responses and faint shivers at his touch?

Dio, he must turn his thoughts elsewhere. As stirring as the fantasy might be, he was a civilized man, not some feudal lord from ages past.

Yet he did think, now and then, that human society had grown too polite, too prudent. People had allowed honor to become no more than a word, a tarnished concept of little value. They ignored the passionate sense of fairness in their soul, the urge to return injury for injury — or seduction for seduction.

It made life rather flat.

He should be able to work now that Amanda Davies was asleep. Her tears, the difficult breaths and attempts to stop them had affected him as no noisy sobs ever could. Not that it was her intention, he saw that easily enough. She felt no need to burden others with her emotions, it seemed, but preferred to keep them to herself.

Did she hide her joy in the same way?

What a pity if it was so. Joy, like sorrow, was better shared.

Not that it was any of his concern. He didn’t need or want the job of blotting the wetness from under her eyes, or perhaps kissing away her tears. Though he had been on the point of offering his handkerchief or perhaps his shoulder when she finally slept, it had been merely to gain much needed peace. That was all.

Yes, he should be able to work now. He needed to catch up after his lengthy absence from the Florence office, to pull together facts and figures from his marathon round of conferences and conventions. It would surely be easier as she rested after the blow she’d received and the battle with her emotions and her fears.

Surely.

He tried, he really did, as afternoon melted into evening. He flipped report pages, studied statements and looked at spreadsheets until he was half blind. He rested with his head back against his seat, and then tried again.

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