Mistress By Blackmail(9)

By: Caro LaFever

“You play with fire, Ms. Moran,” he muttered the words, a threat intwining through them.

He stood so close. Too close. An overwhelming desire to touch swept through her. To spread her hands across those broad shoulders. To lean into his strength. To breathe in the scent of his skin. She struggled to remember his arrogance and ignore her lust. “I’m not playing at all, Mr. La Rocca. There is nothing playful about you forcing your brother to marry.”

His low snarl made her jerk her head up from her contemplation of his broad chest. Her gaze met his. Stormy grey eyes threatened certain disaster. “Matteo is no concern of yours any longer. You will never see him again.”

Darcy’s mouth dropped open. Not have Matt as a friend anymore? Not have his warm encouragement, his endless support, his unswerving belief in her talent, in her? Her mouth slammed shut. “No way.” She gritted her teeth. “I’m n-n-not going to lose him.”

Silver fire flashed down on her like cracks of lightning. “From now on you will be too busy with me to have any time for my brother.”

“With you? What are you talking about?”

He pointed a long finger at her, then back at himself. “You. Me.”

She stared at him blankly.

“Us. Together.”

Darcy was positive her eyes popped out of her sockets. “Are you crazy?”

His gaze narrowed. “No.”

“There is no us. You. M-m-me. Together.” Shame at her inability to control her tongue made the words rushed and touched with the beginning of hysteria. “There’s no way—”

“I have decided,” he cut her off. “You are with me now. Not Matteo.”

“What planet are you from?” Her heart rate soared. With outrage. Definitely outrage. “You can’t command people.”

He gave her a solemn look through his thick lashes. “Actually, I can. I do.”

“Not me.”

A whiff of his cologne wrapped around her, a spicy mix of pure temptation overlaying the smell of the man himself. Innately virile, potent. His scent mocked her statement, mocked her resolution to win the battle with this man.

The corner of his mouth lifted as if he could sense the struggle inside her. “There are different ways to command a person, Darcy.”

Her name on his lips was soft, lilting, enchanting. The tone tugged and mocked, exactly as his scent had.

Fight. Straightening her spine, she stared him down. “I didn’t give you permission to use my first name.”

“Then what should I call you?” he murmured. “Mia regina di fata?”

“What?” Unwillingly, she was mesmerized by the way the words slipped off his tongue.

“Or perhaps il mio piccolo uno.”

The movement of his mouth captivated her, the lips wrapping around each word, the roll of the accent, the slight slur as if he were under a spell also. “It’s rude to talk in Italian when I can’t understand what you’re saying,” she objected, trying to pull out of the web he was weaving.

“My apologies.” He gave her a slight bow. “I will translate.”

“Don’t bother if you’re calling me something nasty.”

“They are compliments, I assure you.”

Darcy wasn’t sure compliments from this man would be better than slurs. His impact on her body and brain was beginning to scare her. It was a bit too much. He was a bit too much. She inched away, putting some distance between them. “It doesn’t matter what you think of me or call me—”

“Not true.” He took one step and came as close as before.

“I came here for a specific reason and I refuse to be distracted.”

“I am distracting you?” The slow, devastating smile came once more. Along with the disturbing dimples. His teeth were amazingly white and even. “I must admit this delights me. It will be fun to distract each other, si?”

Dragging her attention from the smile, she tried to concentrate on her mission. “I’m here for Matt.”

“No. You are here for me.” He trailed one long finger across her cheek. “You are delicate as a flower petal.”

The electricity of his touch sent a frisson of raw power through her entire body. He took her breath away. He took her words away. He took her ability to move away.