Wife By Force(6)

By: Caro LaFever

The kiss splintered every one of her perceptions of him.

His arms tightened around her. A thick wall of heated muscle and searing passion burned along her body. One hand grasped her hip, dispensing with any finesse or kindness. No, this was a total taking, her hips pressed so closely to him the imprint of his belt buckle pinched the softness of her belly. And below…

She wrenched herself from him to take a gasping breath. “I want you to—”

His lips moved back over hers, taking advantage of her words to slip his tongue deep into her mouth. He tasted of the intoxicating champagne served at the party and something unique to him—some spice of wildness mixed with pent-up frustration. Beyond this, a calling, not to her brain but to her blood.

The kiss, the call, her response was too overwhelming to take in.

She let him sip and taste until her mind went misty and her body sagged in his arms. She’d lived with this dream for so long, aching in her memory. This kiss, his kiss pulled all the old strings of her heart she’d been sure she cut long ago. So she did something very stupid.

She took one willing sip, one tiny nip of his mouth.

His big body stiffened in reaction. He raised his head to stare at her. The black of his eyes blazed with a blinding light of...victory.


She gulped. Gulped in a deep, deep breath of complete horror. With it came some sense, some realization of how foolish she was being. “Wait.”

He ignored her, dipping his head to reach for her mouth once more.

Which was exactly what she needed. Animosity immediately vibrated inside her. Never being listened to, never being respected. Merely a chattel, an object to be won and used. She pushed hard against his chest with both hands, trying to disregard the lure of the heat spilling from him. “Stop.”

The inflection of her one word must have alerted him. He lifted his head, a grimace on his face. Clearly, victory had turned into his defeat. “Lara.”

Pushing out of his arms, she took a step away. “No more.”

His hands fisted by his sides as if he were ready to grab her.

She took another step away.

The edge of his mouth quirked. “Do not worry, bella. I have control over myself. I will not pounce. For now.”

The old nickname twisted inside her. “Don’t call me bella. And don’t pounce.”

“Something you must remember about me—”

“I don’t want to remember anything—”

“I do not follow directions well if I don’t agree with them.” The quirk appeared once more on his mouth. “Actually, I don’t follow them at all.”

“Listen to me, Dante Casartelli.” She glared at him from several safe feet back. “I want nothing to do with you. I’m not interested in you. Leave me alone.”

Meeting her glare with a bland look, he stood silent.

“Did you hear me?”

“Si,” he murmured. “I heard you.”

“Good.” She turned and walked away without looking back.

Chapter 2

Dante’s hand was steady as he poured the Hennessy cognac into a crystal glass.

Remarkable, since the blood in his veins beat hot against his skin and his body sizzled with leftover lust. Even hours later.

The color of the liquor brought back the memory of her eyes. Honey gold, they dominated her face. The moment when she’d looked straight at him, mere hours ago, would last in his mind for a long time. He’d anticipated, realized there would be some impact when he saw her. Still, the jolt had been harder and stronger than his expectations.

Lara had grown into her coltish legs, big eyes, pointed chin. Grown into the woman he’d known she would be. Lush, lovely and sexy. The photos and videos he’d been sent over the years by his security team had not done her justice. Convincing her father to send her to England had been easy once he’d promised his security would follow her. Little had he understood how tied he’d become to the constant stream of images passing across his computer.

Yet none of those pictures had captured the reality of Lara Derrick in the flesh.

The lust churned in his blood.

He sipped the cognac and calmly clamped down on his libido. It would not do to let himself off his long-held leash. He’d waited this long; he could wait a bit longer. The important thing was she was home at last where she belonged. He’d forced himself to keep away these last few months. Forced himself to give her some time before making his move and causing any disruption in her decision to return.