Challenging Dante(10)

By: Lynne Graham

‘What I wanted to do the minute I first saw you,’ he husked, pressing her back into the cooling shade of the wall. ‘Discover how you taste.’

‘No, thanks,’ Topsy told him thinly, fighting her weakness with all her might even though she was insanely tempted to move forward and sink into the hard muscular heat of him and find out what that mutual tasting would feel like.

A derisive smile that unnerved her slashed his hard, handsome mouth. ‘The way you look at me, do you seriously expect me to believe that?’

Shock that he could study her in such a way and yet show his scorn filled her and momentarily she hesitated, struggling to compute that strange combination of desire and contempt. That tiny instant of hesitation, however, was fatal. His mouth swooped down on hers with a hard, hungry urgency that shot every sensible thought right out of her head as though it had never existed. She felt as she had never felt before, burning waves of reaction slivering through her entire body, whipped up to a storm with every carnal plunge of his tongue. Heat burst low in her pelvis, tightening her nipp**les to the point of pain and shooting raw stabs of need to the very heart of her. Inflamed by her own response, she strained back against him, just as he bent even more with a growl of frustration to curve his hands below her hips to lift her and pin her in place between his body and the wall behind her. She felt entrapped, excited, wild for more...

His hands roved across her back, came up to curve to the sides of her face while her fingers delved happily into his luxuriant black hair, delighting in the springy depths. The scent of him flared her nostrils, clean, hot male laced with an elusive spicy scent of soap or cologne. She breathed him in headily like an addict.

‘You’re way too small to do this standing up,’ Dante complained against her swollen, reddened mouth.

That remark cut through the haze of desire that had engulfed her, innate apprehension gripping her. Do what? Suddenly she was aware again, conscious that her legs were pinned round him and that her skirt had to be somewhere up round her waist. Shock reverberated through her like a hard wakening slap on the face. ‘Put me down!’ she exclaimed in horror. ‘We shouldn’t be doing this!’

Dante lowered her slowly, reluctantly, back down to the tiles while with frantic hands she yanked down her skirt to cover her exposed thighs. She was appalled by her own loss of control and the false message of availability she had no doubt given him by responding to him in such a way. She didn’t play around and she didn’t tease men either, and as her stomach brushed against his hard, taut length on the passage back to standing on her own feet again she knew he was in no mood to be teased. He was aroused, fully aroused, and a wave of discomfited pink engulfed her heart-shaped face. Her brain told her it had only been a kiss, but no kiss, no man’s touch had ever had that explosive an effect on Topsy before, and even as she stole a glance up at him she knew she wanted to drag him back into her arms and have him do it again. Hands unsteady, she reached for the shoulder bag that had fallen on the patio and anchored it round her shoulder again.

‘Is that a “no” in Topsy land or simply a prudent “not here, not now”?’ Dante enquired with terrifyingly smooth assurance.

‘It’s a no, never. I’m sorry. That shouldn’t have happened. I work for your mother. I don’t think she would like me—’

‘I assure you that it is many, many years since my mother worried about who I take to my bed,’ Dante sliced in very drily.

Flustered and intensely ill at ease, Topsy walked away from him on stiff legs to the edge of the patio, perspiration beading her upper lip as the hot sun beat down on her. Drowning in mortification and consternation at the passion that had exploded between them, Topsy breathed in jerkily. ‘But in the circumstances it’s not a good idea, let’s face it,’ she reasoned steadily. ‘I’ve no intention of going to bed with you anyway so there’s no point starting something that won’t go to the finish that you expect.’

‘I’ll take you into Florence this evening...we’ll dine out,’ Dante declared as though she hadn’t spoken.

Topsy froze, registering that she had made a mistake that would bring punishment home to her fast. ‘I’ve already got a date tonight.’

Ashamed as she was of her behaviour, Topsy could not resist looking at him again and the astonishment that briefly flashed across his handsome features in reaction to that admission only increased her embarrassment.

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