Pregnancy of Revenge(9)

By: Jacqueline Baird

His hand slid around the back of her head as he covered her mouth with his, his tongue thrusting between her softly parted lips with a hunger that awakened the same fierce need in Charlie.

She slid her hands around his neck, all of a sudden wild with wanting something she had never had. Her fingers tangled in his thick dark hair, and her entire body trembled as one strong hand stroked down her throat and over the proud swell of her breasts. His dark head lifted and her dazed blue eyes meshed with molten black. 'Jake.' She breathed his name.

It had been a very long time since any woman had turned Jake d'Amato on so fast or so fiercely. Hard as a rock and hurting, he felt her tremble, heard the plea in her tone, and he wanted to rip the all-encasing black dress from her body and take her hard and fast. But while his hot-blooded nature was urging him to do just that, the sound of a police siren growing to ear-splitting levels brought him back to his senses.

His dark head jerking up, he saw the police car flash past.

He cursed under his breath in Italian and, thrusting Charlotte back against the seat, he slammed back in his own.

'Damn!' He ran a hand through his dark hair, and glanced at the woman beside him. 'I haven't made out in a car since I was a teenager, and now twice in one evening.' His accusing eyes swept over her beautiful, bemused face, and lingered on her softly swollen mouth, and he almost groaned out loud.

'I never have,' Charlie breathed honestly, slowly surfacing from the whirlpool of passion that had engulfed her.

Jake stared down at her, shocked at her revelation, and he almost believed her. No, it couldn't be true. Her father had been a master seducer. Different gender, but it was obvious she had inherited his talent, as his taut body was painfully confirming. With a less than steady hand he jabbed the key in the ignition and started the car. He was furious with himself, but even more so with the blue-eyed siren who was causing him to act so out of character.

'Where are you staying?' he demanded. If she had told him, he had forgotten—most unlike him. He knew she lived in and owned the Lakeview Hotel, but as for where she was staying in London, he had no idea. Jake breathed in deep. He was a man who prided himself on always being in control, and the knowledge she could shake that control only increased his inner anger still further.

The rasping edge to his deep voice sent a shiver through Charlie, and through her bewilderment she managed to retain enough hold on reality to ask herself what she was doing kissing a relative stranger. She straightened up in the seat, shocked by her own reckless behavior. 'Dave, a friend of mine, has lent me his flat while I am in London.' She rattled off the address in what she hoped was a cool voice.

'Nice location,' Jake said, his teeth clenching as he changed gear with less than his usual fluency. That left him no longer in any doubt there was a man in her life—a wealthy man, it would seem, if he owned an apartment in that area. It wasn't surprising; it only confirmed what he already suspected. Like father, like daughter. A woman like Charlotte was never going to be without a man for long, and the thought did nothing for his temper.

'But perhaps you would prefer a nightcap at my hotel before I take you home?' His original intention had been to move slowly, hoping to enthrall her, the way her father had Anna. But now his only intention was to get her into his bed as soon as humanly possible, and keep her there until the memory of any other man was wiped from her mind. And at the same time cure his own irrational need for a woman whom by nature he should despise.

Colour swept Charlie's face. Was that the equivalent of, 'Your place or mine?' Whichever, she wanted to cry, Yes! — And it shook her to feel so vulnerable. She was hopelessly out of her depth and sinking fast. She had never met a man like Jake before.

Charlie had grown up in a home full of adults, and she had to some extent been left to run wild around the mountains and crags of her beloved Lakes. Her hobbies were sailing and rock climbing. She was a member of the local rescue team, and also of the International Rapid Rescue Team. With a good manager to run the hotel on a day-to- day basis, Charlie took care of the accounts and it worked out well. She kept her gear packed at all times at home, and simply postponed the paperwork when she was needed elsewhere.