Dante's Honour-bound Husband(7)

By: Day Leclaire

He greeted her with a slow, easy kiss that didn’t come close to impacting the way Constantine’s had. If she were perfectly honest with herself, his kisses left her cold. No doubt she could thank The Inferno for that unfortunate wrinkle. She’d hoped—heaven help her but she’d hoped—that she’d been mistaken about what she’d felt when she and Constantine first touched. That at some point she’d begin to feel a modicum of that sort of desire for David. It was possible, regardless of what her relatives thought.

If their embraces lacked a certain spark, David never seemed to notice. And sure enough, he didn’t this time, either. Perhaps he wasn’t in the position to make the sort of comparison she could. He pulled back and studied her, his gaze warming in appreciation. He gestured toward her hair and gown. “You look stunning, Gia.”

“Thanks,” she said.

Aware of the tepidness of her response, she gave him an impulsive hug. What was wrong with her? David was drop-dead gorgeous. He’d made it clear that he wanted her, that his intentions were both honorable and serious—his words, which she found quite endearing. Regardless of how endearing, she just couldn’t bring herself to take their relationship to the next level. And now that Constantine had returned…

No! She wouldn’t go there. Couldn’t. Constantine had made his feelings all too clear months ago when he’d left her. When he’d proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Inferno hadn’t taken root with him the way it had with her. She’d moved on, and the man she’d chosen stood in front of her. David was everything she could ask for. A dedicated banker in international finance with a bright future ahead of him. A physique that left women drooling. And a calm, practical nature that balanced her more passionate, impulsive one. Maybe The Inferno would strike later in their relationship.

“Ready?” David asked.

“All set.”

“Will the entire family be there?” The question held a certain edginess that had her wincing. David often found her family a bit overwhelming. “Will I finally get to meet Lazz and Ariana, or are they still in Italy?”

The question caught her by surprise. But then, he’d acknowledged a distant, passing acquaintance with the Romanos, so maybe it wasn’t all that odd. “They’re still on a working holiday for another couple months.”

“A shame,” he murmured, though she suspected a certain insincerity in the comment.

After locking the door of her elegant row house with its pretty gingerbread trim, they crossed to his Jaguar. As always, he opened the door for her, his courtesy an innate part of his personality. They drove to Dantes’ corporate office building, chatting about inconsequential matters along the way. They’d almost reached their destination when David steered the conversation into more turbulent waters.

“I have to fly out to New York next week for a meeting,” he announced after a momentary silence. He flashed her a quick grin. “A very boring meeting.”

He’d mentioned the trip the previous week. “I understand.” She spared him a sympathetic glance. “How long will you be gone this time?”

“Four days. Friday through Monday.”

“Well, that’s not too bad. And at least it isn’t overseas.”

“No, it’s not.” He pulled up to a red light and spared her a brief, meaningful glance that didn’t sink in until he added, “I’d like you to come with me. My business won’t take long. This particular meeting is more of a formality than anything else.”

“Oh, I don’t know, David,” she began.

The light turned green and he continued through the intersection. “I’m not finished.” A single glance at the determined set of his jaw and she fell silent. “I was thinking we’d get a suite at the Ritz.”

The offer came so out of the blue that it took her a moment to switch gears. “The Ritz?” Wow. Then the rest of his comment filtered through. “Wait a minute. Do you mean…share a suite?”

“I mean a romantic weekend.” His mouth compressed. “As in, no family breathing down our necks.”

Gianna stiffened and she swiveled in her seat. “You feel as though my family is breathing down our necks?” she asked, excruciatingly polite.

He didn’t take notice of the warning in her voice. “In a word, yes. You’re twenty-five, Gianna. We’ve known each other for six months, been dating for three, but you’re still holding me at arm’s length.”

“And you think my family’s to blame for that?”

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