Bought by Her Italian Boss(8)

By: Dani Collins

She was very convincing, right down to the way her trembling hand moved to cover her mouth and her eyes glassed with anxious outrage.

He tried to hang on to his cynicism, but he was entertaining similar thoughts. The very idea ignited a strange fury in him. He knew better than most what happened when a corrupt man took advantage of an ingenuous woman. His father had done it to his mother and she had wound up dead.

His phone vibrated. He glanced at the text from his cousin. Fabrizio claims it was all her. Any progress on your end?

Vito glanced at Gwyn, at the way her shaking fingers smoothed her hair behind her ear while her concubine mouth pouted with very credible fear.

He wasn’t without concern himself. Even if Paolo managed to build a case against Fabrizio, Kevin Jensen had positioned himself very well to walk away along the high ground, leaving the bank wearing a cloak of muddied employees. An institution that staked its success on a reputation of trustworthiness would cease to appear so.

Vito refused to let that happen. He protected his family at all costs. They would, and had, done the same for him.

And this would cost him. Gwyn was dangerous. The fact that he was drawn to her, looking to see her as an innocent despite the very real fact she might be involved in crimes against the bank, was unnerving. Being close to her would be a serious test of his mettle.

But his glimpse into her phone had revealed a move to him that even a master chess player like Kevin Jensen wouldn’t see coming, even though it was one of the basic rules of the game: if a pawn was pushed far enough into the field of play, she could be promoted to a formidable queen.


VITTORIO PLUCKED HIS handkerchief from his jacket pocket and moved to dampen it under the tap of the water cooler.

Gwyn watched him, wondering what he was doing, then noticed her purse was over his shoulder, looking incongruous against his tailored charcoal suit.

“Did you get my stuff from my desk?”

Fabrizio seeing her naked was creepy. Vittorio touching her possessions was...intimate. Disturbing.

“I did.” He came back to tilt up her chin and started to run a blessedly cool, damp, linen-wrapped fingertip beneath her eye.

His touch sent an array of sensation outward through her jawline and down her throat, warm tingles that unnerved her. She tried to jerk away, but he firmed his hold and finished tidying her makeup, telling her, “Hold your head high as we walk to the elevator.”

His tone was commanding, his mouth a stern line, while he gave her a circumspect look and tucked a loose strand of her hair behind her ear.

She knocked his hand away, chest tightening again. “I just explained that they’re using me. You won’t even take a second to consider that might be true? You’re just going to fire me and throw me to the wolves?”

“Your termination can’t be helped, Gwyn. I have to think about the bank.”

His detached tone sent a spike of ice right into her heart. “Thanks a lot.”

They wound up in another stare down that pulled her already taut nerves to breaking point. She hated that he was standing while she was still seated. He seemed to have all the power, all the control and advantage.

She hated that, with their gazes locked like this, her mind turned to sexual awareness, refusing to let her stay in a state of fixed hatred. She wondered things like how his lips would feel against hers and grew hot as an allover body flush simmered against the underside of her skin.

She stood abruptly, forcing him to take a step back.

“Good girl,” he said, moving to the door.

“I’m not obeying you. I—” She cut herself off. She wanted to leave, she did. She wanted to lock herself in her flat where she could lick her wounds and figure out what to do next.

“The reporters won’t leave until you do,” he said heartlessly. “People will be trying to go for lunch.”

Don’t inconvenience the staff with your petty disaster of a life, Gwyn. Think of others in the midst of your crisis.

“Everyone’s going to stare,” she mumbled, trying to find her guts, but her insides were nothing but water.

“They will,” he agreed, still completely unmoved. “But it’s only two minutes of your life. Look straight ahead. Come. Now.”

Her heels wanted to root to the floor in protest. She wanted to beg him to let her hide here until after closing, but he was right. Better to get it over with.

She knew then what it was like to walk toward execution. While her low heels took her closer to the door, her heart began slamming in panic. Sweat cooled the ardor she’d experienced a moment ago, leaving her in something close to shock.

She sought refuge in her old yoga lessons, concentrating on breathing in through her nose, out through her narrowly parted lips, holding reality at bay, picturing the crown of her head being pulled by an invisible wire toward the ceiling.

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