Proud Revenge, Passionate Wedlock

By: Janette Kenny

In fact she was suddenly having difficulty dragging her gaze away from the solid expanse of his bare chest. Her fingertips tingled with the need to trace the hard slabs of muscle liberally sprinkled with black hair.

His bronzed skin would be warm and the hair soft as down. Her gaze tracked the hair that narrowed into a thin band and disappeared under his swim trunks that he wore indecently low on his lean hips.

For the first time since the accident, moisture gathered in the juncture of her thighs. Yes, she’d missed her husband. She’d missed the unbridled sex they’d shared. Missed lying in his arms afterward listening to the steady drum of his heart.

“A farewell fling then,” she said, and cringed at the reedy pitch to her voice that seemed to scream of her own need. “What if I refuse?”

“Then the deal is off. I’ll drag the divorce out and slap a lien against your beach house.” He crossed to her, each step slow and measured and tightening her nerves until she thought they’d snap.

Her mouth dropped open, and a sick feeling expanded in her belly to pop her sensual bubble. “You’d do that to me?”

“In a heartbeat,” he said with arrogant assurance of his power. “What will it be?”

There was only one choice and he knew it. The only difference was her reason for bending to his will—she wanted closure badly enough to put her heart through an emotional wringer with Miguel again.

“When do we begin?”

“Tonight. I invited a norteamericano businessman to dinner tonight to show my gratitude for the property we have successfully negotiated.” He ran a finger down her flushed cheek and she had to lock her knees to keep from bowing into him. “The El Trópico in Playa del Carmen would be the perfect place for dinner and drinks.”

She pulled back and stared at his arrogantly handsome face, expecting a glint of reluctance or hopefully humor after tossing out that name. But his features were too remote for her to read.

“Are you serious?” she asked. “The Quinta Avenida at night is a swarm of tourists, celebrities wishing to be seen and paparazzi.”

He smiled and not a kind one. “Afraid your lover will see us together on the cover of a slick rag, querida? Or has your romance with Amando Rivera ended?”

“Amando! You can’t believe I’d court his interest.”

His gaze blazed into hers with brutal intensity. “I know you did.”

“No! It wasn’t like that.”

“It was exactly like that,” he said. “I know where and why you secretly met with him. When you left the hacienda that last day, so did he.”

A dark memory of that day teased her mind and was gone, leaving her trembling with uncertainty and fear. Yes, she’d worked with Amando at first to help Miguel.

But it had changed. All she was certain of was she had an intense dislike for the guard Miguel had hired to protect her.

“Wear something slinky,” he said as she passed him on legs that still quaked and entered the bedroom they’d shared.

“I’ve no idea if I have anything suitable,” she said.

He waved a hand in the general direction of the bedroom, the movement sensuously masculine and dismissive as he punched in numbers on his mobile phone. “There is a red gown that would be perfect.”

She went absolutely still as those words replayed in her mind, triggering a memory she’d forgotten. If it was the same dress—But it must be. She’d bought it at Miguel’s insistence.

How could she have let that memory slip from her?

The question pinged her mind as she crossed to the closet, hearing the timbre of his voice rattling off Spanish but too engrossed in having captured a lost memory than to eavesdrop on his conversation.

She ran a shaky hand through her hair, remembering the shopping excursion as clearly as if it’d just happened. He’d taken her to an elite shop nearly one year ago, for the functions he’d be attending that fall demanded that his mistress be decked out to the nines.

Though he never told her what she could or couldn’t wear, it was obvious he preferred elegant fashions over slinky ones. Since she wasn’t comfortable wearing revealing fashions, it was a perfect match.

Until the clerk brought out the red gown and proclaimed it was made for her.

She’d had just enough sips of champagne to take the dare.

And the gown was daring with the front consisting of two gathered swaths of glittery fabric that covered her bosom, and the back bared nearly to the dimples in her bum. It fit like skin, and she’d laughingly told Miguel she’d not be able to wear undergarments with it.

His eyes had blazed so hot they’d chased away her chills.

He’d bought it, and she’d set it aside for the gala that December. But a week later she’d discovered she was pregnant, and by the time the gala came around, her figure no longer fit the daring gown.

“Did you find it?” he asked behind her, his breath warm on her nape.

“Yes.” She took it from the closet where it had hung in its protective bag, and her face burned with embarrassment. Don’t look at him. Don’t let him know how this dress and his closeness affected her.