Forced Wife, Royal Love-Child

By: Trish Morey

So she’d tried to hold him off as long as she could, thinking he’d give up and move on to greener pastures. Expecting he would as soon as she’d told him no the first time.

But he hadn’t. Instead of abandoning the chase, he’d pursued her with a single-minded determination that had simultaneously terrified and secretly thrilled her.

Rafe Lombardi was clearly a man used to getting his own way.

She turned on the shower and adjusted the temperature, stepping in and turning her face into the spray, eyes closed as the liquid massage worked its magic on her newly sensitised skin, caressing places where just so recently Rafe had worked his own unique brand of magic and where he no doubt would again as soon as he kept his promise to join her in the shower.

Her body hummed in anticipation. Rafe, that body and water. That would make for one lethal combination.

A bubble of laughter welled up unexpectedly. She’d turned him down how many times these last few days? She must have been mad. For it was clear after just one night with him that any woman in her right senses would take Rafe Lombardi and whatever he offered and hang onto him as long as she possibly could, and to hell with the consequences.

Besides, she’d been working hard these few months, getting herself established back in Europe, with a new home and a new job. She deserved a bit of rest and recreation.

There would be consequences, nothing surer, but for now she hugged the knowledge that he’d asked to see her again like a secret treasure.

She spun around, letting the water pound the back of her neck as she soaped her hair, half a mind anticipating his arrival, the other half employed on working out what it was that made him so different to every other man she’d ever met. His tall, dark good looks, the designer stubble and thick wavy hair that coiled at his collar just a shade too long to be considered conservative were enough in themselves to set him apart from the crowd.

But he was so much more than the superficial. There was a confidence in the way he carried himself and in the masterful way he handled people and situations. He wore power as easily as he wore the clothes on his hard-wired body, and it had terrified her to feel that power, and to know it had been directed one hundred per cent towards her.

She shivered despite the warm torrent, remembering how vulnerable he’d made her feel with just one heated glance, one seemingly innocent brush of skin against skin. He had the gift of making a woman feel so desirable, of making her feel she was the centre of his existence and he’d used that gift mercilessly to flatter her during his pursuit, while his eyes had held a look that somehow seemed to burn its way into her soul and beyond.

And then he’d used that gift to wield her to his purpose in his bed.

She directed her face into the spray on a sigh. No, Rafe Lombardi was like no man she’d ever met before. Little wonder he’d left a trail of broken hearts in his wake, because if a woman wasn’t careful, he was everything that a woman could so easily fall in love with…

Oh, no!

She snapped off the tap and yanked the towel from the rail with a determined flick, angry with herself for letting her thoughts drift so far. Remembering how he’d made her feel, recalling the hungry look in his eye while he remained poised over her in that exquisite moment before their union    , that was one thing. But building some fairy tale happy ending that could never happen…

Living in Paris must be going to her head. She’d just landed the job of her dreams. An affair was good. An affair was welcome. She wasn’t looking for anything more.

Sienna wrapped herself in a towel, half aware that now the shower was turned off she could hear the sound of the news channel drifting in from the room outside. Rafe had turned it on to check the global money market report before joining her. Which he hadn’t. Proof, if she’d really needed it, that she was nothing more to him than a distraction from his high-powered life.

Albeit a distraction he wanted to see again, just a few short hours away. Right now that was enough.

Her hair wrapped turban style under a towel and wearing one of the plush robes she’d found hanging behind the bathroom door, she emerged from the fog-filled en suite. There was a trolley in the room that hadn’t been there before from which emanated the tantalising scent of fresh coffee and warm pastries, but Rafe was still standing near the storm-tossed bed where she’d left him, though at some stage he’d pulled on a pair of jeans that hung low on his hips, zipped but with the top button still undone. The sight was nearly enough to bring her undone, until she caught the scowl turning his face to thunder as he listened intently to the stream of frenzied Italian issuing from the television.

She moved closer, and, for the first time since they’d been together, he didn’t turn towards her, didn’t greet her with that soul-deep smile. After enjoying his almost instinctive reaction to her presence for the past week, she missed it more than she’d expected.

‘What is it?’ she asked, coming alongside, trying to follow the torrent of Italian delivered too fast for her scant knowledge of the spoken language and, at the same time, unable to resist touching one hand to the small of his back. ‘What’s going on?’