The Tuscan's Revenge Wedding(5)

By: Jennifer Blake



Her lips compressed into a firm line as she stopped speaking. Nico caught himself watching that movement, even as he realized with divided attention that she’d almost labeled the relationship an affair. Though he resented the implication for his young sister, he was intrigued by the tender surfaces of Amanda Davies’s mouth, its tucked corners and the soft natural color of lips she must have wiped clean of lipstick with her luncheon napkin.

Purest sensual interest stirred in his groin. It was inappropriate beyond words, particularly the painful strength of it. He was thankful for the distraction as she spoke again.

“Your sister will live, won’t she?”

“They cannot say. She is in critical condition, has a severe concussion with resulting coma. Much depends on the next forty-eight hours.” The words were abrupt because that was the only way he could force them from his throat. Glancing at the flat watch on his wrist, he corrected himself. “Or make that thirty-four hours now.”

Compassion turned her eyes a darker gray. “I’m so sorry. I know my brother must be devastated. That is, if he knows.”

“Davvero, indeed,” Nico answered, retreating momentarily into formal Italian to cover his anger at the thought of her brother’s useless concern. “It appears Carita was thrown from the automobile when it left the road. The hillside sloped there, rather than being a sheer drop to the sea. Your brother crawled back up to reach her, stayed with her until emergency vehicles arrived.”

“He would, of course,” she whispered with a small nod before looking down at the glass in their clasped hands.

“It would have been more to the point if he had not driven off the road in the first place.”

“Yes.”

A warm tear splashed on his hand that still steadied the brandy glass. She was crying without sound, the wetness sliding over her cheekbones to drip into her lap.

Nico felt something twist inside him at the sign of her silent pain. What was this ache he felt in return, this compelling need, yet again, to give her the comfort of his arms? Surely it was no more than his ingrained habit of offering consolation and protection, though usually to women of his family?

She was not a family member. He must use other methods of stemming the flow.

“Your brother,” he said deliberately, “has been cited for reckless driving. He will face more serious charges if Carita — that is, if my sister fails to live.”

“What?” Her tear-drenched eyes widened with a different kind of shock. She shifted away from him on the sofa, removing her hands from his grasp. Reaching out, she set the brandy glass on the side table with a sharp click.

“You would expect nothing else, surely.”

“Jonathan may drive a little fast at times, but he isn’t reckless! He learned to handle a car almost before he could walk, has been on the racing circuit for years. He has excellent timing and reflexes.”

“Skills that perhaps led to overconfidence.”

“He would never endanger a passenger. I’ve ridden with him many times. He’s far better than average at avoiding accidents.”

Nico lifted a brow. “Yet he crashed, and my sister now hovers between life and death.”

The light from the window slid over her hair in silvery-gold gleams as she shook her head. “Something must have gone wrong, wet weather or another vehicle he swerved to miss.”

“The police reported nothing of that nature.” The heat in her gray eyes now was enough to dry a river of tears, Nico noted with satisfaction.

“I know my brother,” she insisted. “He is extremely careful behind the wheel.”

“You believe I would mislead you?”

She looked away, gripping her hands together in her lap as her face clouded. “No, I just—”

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