Dante's Honour-bound Husband(9)

By: Day Leclaire


More than anything, she wanted to fall for David. Wanted The Inferno to strike with someone who wanted her as much as he did. Who would put her first in his life instead of picking her up when he found time—an afterthought that he could discard whenever he tired of her. And why, when David kissed her with such hunger were her thoughts consumed by Constantine? She pulled back, pasting a smile on her face.

“Well?” David prompted softly.

She avoided his gaze. “I need some time,” she replied.

He stilled, his expression cooling. “Time. Time to decide about New York? Or time to respond to my surprise?”

“I’m a little distracted by the gala,” she explained, avoiding a direct answer. “I also need to check my calendar.”

He lifted a light brown eyebrow. “Does that mean you’re interested in a romantic weekend and all that entails?”

“I’m interested in discussing it,” she temporized. She checked her watch and winced when she saw the time. “I’m sorry, David. I need to get inside. Could we table our discussion until later?”

“Table our discussion,” he repeated.

Gianna sighed. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so businesslike.”

“That’s fine. I get it.”

Without another word he exited the car. Circling the Jag, he opened her door and helped her out. They walked in silence to the elevators, the silence deepening as they shot upward to the appropriate floor.

The instant she stepped into the hallway, she sensed Constantine. He was nearby. Her reaction, primal and fierce, made her think of jungle animals responding to the pheromones of their mates. Part of her wanted to leave David’s side and search through the warren of corridors until she found Constantine.

She closed her eyes and took a deep, steadying breath. This had to stop. Now. She couldn’t remain on this emotional roller coaster. Pushing emotion aside she focused on logic and practicality. If she caved to desire she’d be lost. She needed to focus on David d’Angelo. But with every step she took, all her senses remained tuned to one man. Consumed by him.

Constantine Romano. The man who’d stolen her heart and soul.





Two


Gianna stepped into the ballroom to discover that most of her family had already arrived. The instant they caught sight of her they descended and swept her off with David following reluctantly in their wake.

She remembered his comment about her family breathing down their necks and couldn’t help wondering if he felt like a Dantes’ afterthought the same way she felt like Constantine’s afterthought. What a mess.

After checking to ensure that all the various details for the gala had been finalized, Gianna joined her family in the reception line while David helped himself to a flute of champagne and wandered among the various displays, attempting with only limited success to conceal his boredom.

“He is the only man I know who can look at the most beautiful jewelry in the world with all the excitement of someone tasting sour milk,” Gianna’s brother Rafe growled in her ear. “Make him stop before he sends all of our guests fleeing into the night.”

“How do you suggest I do that?”

“Your date. Your problem. But you’d better hurry up or I’ll have to go over there and give him an attitude adjustment.”

“Are all of you this polite to David when I’m not around?” she asked suspiciously.

Her eldest brother, Luc, joined them, followed by Draco. They started in as though they’d rehearsed their remarks, which possibly they had. “We don’t like him,” Draco announced, folding his arms across his chest. “And he doesn’t like any of us.”

“He’s preoccupied with money. Granted, he is a banker.”

“But it’s all about the bottom line with him.”

“He has no poetry in his soul. He’s cold-blooded. We don’t want our baby sister married to someone so passionless.”

Gianna held up her hands. “Wait a minute. Just wait a minute. You’ve all been doing the big-brother thing with him, haven’t you?” She eyed one after the other of her older siblings, none of whom had the grace to look the least shamefaced. She groaned. “Oh, Lord. You have.”

“He didn’t pass the test,” Rafe explained helpfully. “He refused to attend a Giants game with me. Box seats.”

Luc nodded in agreement. “Failed miserably. He doesn’t even play basketball. I don’t think he likes to sweat.”

“He’s a jerk,” Draco offered with a toothy grin that would have done a dragon proud. “He turned down a case of Primo’s homemade beer. Sneered at it. I’ve never seen our grandfather so ticked off.”

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