Wife By Force

By: Caro LaFever


His black stare pinned her to the stone seat. “Tell me about your husband.”

His change of subject shook her. Gerry was the last thing she wanted to talk about. Especially with him. “What is this? Why should you care?”

“I care.” The two words slipped from his mouth, dark and almost desperate.

A shiver of something, something astonishing or horrifying slid down her spine. Desperate? This man didn’t do desperate.

He stepped back. Cleared his throat. “I am merely trying to have a conversation.”

His voice had returned to calm, cool. Not an iota of anything that spelled out emotion or feeling or caring. Her shiver stopped, turning into a block of ice at the bottom of her gut. Obviously, she’d read his tone all wrong. This man’s idea of caring for people was ordering them around. She, better than anyone, knew that.

However, he had given her one thing she wanted. He’d given her enough space to leave without touching him in any way.

“I’m not interested in conversation with you.” With an abrupt jerk, she came to her feet.

“There it is again.” His stare was sharp, assessing. “The anger. At me.”

She couldn’t take any more. She would admit this only to herself. He was too much for her. Bloody hell, she didn’t have to take anything from this man. Ever again. “I’m going to return to the party.”

“Un momento.” His hand encircled her elbow and brought her to a halt right beside him.

Staring down at the broad male hand, a shot of pure heat zipped through her bloodstream, making her mouth turn dry. “Let me go.”

“Not until I experience something I have been contemplating for quite some time.”

Resentment surged at his high-handedness. The emotion gave her enough courage to meet his calculating gaze. “I’m not interested in experiencing anything with you.”

“I am afraid we will have to disagree then.” With a twist, she found herself in his embrace.

His overwhelming presence hit her with stark clarity. The warmth of his body enwrapped her. The strength of his arms stilled her involuntary struggle. “Are you crazy?”

“I might well be,” he said.

And his mouth came down on hers.

This kiss was nothing like before. Nothing like her fevered memories. Before, she'd searched desperately for a reaction from him, for some slight response that would tell her he felt what she felt. But there’d been nothing.

Now? Now was completely different.

His kiss didn’t match what she knew him to be. Instead of controlled and cool and in command, it was passionate and hot and—desperate.

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.

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.

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