Dante's Honour-bound Husband(10)

By: Day Leclaire

“I would kill for a case of Primo’s beer.” A new voice dropped into the conversation. A painfully familiar voice. One which had haunted her thoughts and memories for nineteen impossible months. “What a foolish man to turn it down. Who are we talking about? Is this fool a friend of yours, Gianna?”

She spun around to face Constantine, her eyes widening at the sight of him. He was absolutely devastating in his tux, filling it out even better than David. Everything feminine within her responded to him. “What are you doing here, Constantine?” she demanded in a ragged undertone.

“What do you think?” His black gaze fastened on her as though she were the only one present. “I’ve come to claim what’s mine.”

From the corner of her eye, she saw David approach. Not that it mattered to Constantine, if he even noticed. Instead, with her date and relatives looking on, he captured her chin in his hand and tilted her face up to his.

And then he consumed her.

Gianna didn’t attempt to evade Constantine’s kiss, regardless of who was watching. His lips took possession of hers and ignited a flame she’d never experienced with any other man. Definitely not with David. For a brief moment she forgot all those witnessing the potent embrace. Forgot the time, the day, even her own name. All that remained was the strength of Constantine’s hold, the heat of his body and that incredible mouth that moved on hers with such possessiveness.

He said so much with that single kiss. He spoke of longing, of their endless parting. Of hunger and intense pleasure. But most of all he spoke of the simple, yet undeniable fact that the two of them belonged together. There was a certainty to his kiss, a confidence in the way he took her mouth. A rightness. He knew her and what she wanted. And he gave it to her.

Any thought of resistance faded. Why would she resist when she wanted this more than she wanted air to breathe? Everything about him drew an elemental response from her. His crisp, unique scent. The hard, undeniable maleness of his body locked against hers. The molten burn of his touch. Just a single touch and The Inferno went wild, shaking her to the very depths of her being. Even the beat of his heart resonated with her own.

And all the while, the explosive desire that heated their embrace sizzled with an intoxicating joy that they were together once again. She could practically feel his certainty grow with every second that passed, a fierce determination that formed the foundation of his character. It told her that he would have her for his own regardless of what obstacles he faced—including David.

It didn’t matter that Constantine came from Italian aristocracy or that he’d been educated in the finest schools or that the Romanos were renowned for their civility and propriety. When stripped of all his social refinement, the man who held her remained a pirate at heart, intent on taking what he considered his. Intent on taking her.

She shivered within his hold, teetering on the brink of surrender. It wasn’t until David dropped a hand on her shoulder and literally ripped her from Constantine’s arms that she realized where she was—and in whose arms.

Heat burned in Gianna’s cheeks and she took another hasty step backward, struggling to regain her composure. How could she have kissed Constantine like that in public, with her entire family looking on, not to mention the A-list roster of clients she’d personally invited to the gala? What must they all be thinking? She spared David a brief glance and cringed at the blatant outrage darkening his expression. No question what he thought.

Snatching a deep breath, she fell back on the sort of courtesy she had been taught since the moment she could first form coherent sentences. “David, this is Constantine Romano. He’s…well…he’s a member of the family. Sort of.” She spared Constantine a swift glance, startled by the flash of recognition when he first looked at David, fury following swiftly. That’s right. They had a passing acquaintance. By the looks of things, maybe a passing enmity would better describe it. Tension thickened the air between the two men. “Constantine?” she asked hesitantly.

“I am not a member of the family,” he contradicted in a hard voice, adding, “Yet. And David and I have met.”

David smiled with a cold, cutting amusement that stole every ounce of charm from his expression. “Romano.” He flicked a speck of lint from the cuff of his snowy dress shirt, making her wonder if he’d like to flick Constantine out of his way with a similar disdain. “As usual your timing leaves something to be desired.”

Constantine took a step in his direction and to her alarm, her brothers packed in behind him. “What you mean is…as usual, I’ve arrived just in time.” He spoke to Gianna without taking his gaze off David. “Is this him?” he demanded. “Is d’Angelo the bastard you told me about?”

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