Dante Claiming His Secret Love-Child(10)

By: Sandra Marton



But what he had felt was that he was tired of her.

She would never forget the small blue box. The exquisite, obscenely expensive earrings. And his oh-so-polite little speech including that guilt-driven assurance that if she ever needed anything, she had only to ask.

The pain of his rejection had been momentarily dulled by his sheer arrogance. She could not have imagined ever wanting anything from him.

But the world and her life had changed.

“The fazenda is mine,” Ferrantes growled, “as is the woman.”

Gabriella dragged a steadying breath into her lungs. “Sim. Please. Buy…buy the fazenda for me.” Her words were rushed and desperate. “I will pay you back. It will take time but I’ll repay every dollar.”

Dante never hesitated.

“Five million dollars,” he called out. “Five million, U.S.”

The crowd gasped. Ferrantes cursed. The auctioneer swung his gavel.

And Dante took Gabriella in his arms and kissed her.





CHAPTER THREE




DANTE’S kiss was the last thing Gabriella expected.

The last thing she wanted.

Once, his kisses had meant everything. Tender, they’d been soft enough to bring her to the verge of tears; passionate, they’d made her dizzy and hungry for more.

And it hadn’t been only his kisses that meant everything. It was the man.

Deep inside, she’d known it had not been the same for him. She’d never been foolish enough to think it was. He was rich, powerful, incredibly good-looking. Many of the models she knew dated such men. She never had…

Until him.

His initial interest had been flattering. Exciting. She had thought, Why not? She’d promised herself dating him would be nothing serious.

And then, despite everything, she had fallen in love with him. Deeply, desperately in love.

Dante had been magic.

But the magic was gone, lost in the cold reality of the past year. Completely gone, she told herself frantically, when she saw the sudden darkening of his eyes, the tightening of skin over bone, the all-too-familiar signs that said he was going to take her in his arms.

“Don’t,” she said, slapping her hands against his chest, but he was not listening, he was not listening…

“Gabriella,” he murmured, saying her name softly as he used to when they made love. His arms tightened around her, he drew her against him…

And kissed her.

The room spun. The crowd disappeared. All that mattered was the sweetness of his kiss, the hardness of his body, the strength of his arms. Her foolish, desperate heart began to race.

“Dante,” she whispered. The hands that had tried to push him away rose and slid up his chest, skimmed the steady beat of his heart and curved around his neck. She rose on her toes, leaned into him, parted her lips to his just as she’d done in the past.

She felt him shudder with desire at her touch.

He wanted her, still.

Wanted her as if nothing had ever separated them.

The realization shot through her like a drug, and when he groaned, thrust one hand into her hair, slid the other to the base of her spine and angled his lips over hers, his kiss going from sweet to passionate as if they were alone, alone in that perfect world his lovemaking had always created, a world in which he had never abandoned her…

A meaty hand clamped down on her shoulder, fingers biting hard into her flesh.

“Pirhana!”

The foul Portuguese curse word was followed by a stream of profanities. Her eyes flew open as Ferrantes yanked her out of Dante’s arms, a stream of words even worse than whore flying from his lips.

Dante shot into action, grabbed Ferrantes’s arm, twisted and jerked it high behind the man’s back. Ferrantes hissed with fury and pain.

“I will kill you, Orsini,” he said, spittle flying from his lips.

“Dante,” Gabriella said desperately, “Dante, please. He’ll hurt you!”

Dante pushed her behind him and brought his lips close to Ferrantes’s ear.

“Touch her again,” he snarled, “and I promise, you bastard, I’ll be the one doing the killing!”

“She is a witch! She makes a fool of you. That you do not see it—Ahh!”

The big man yelped; his face contorted with pain as Dante forced his arm even higher.

“Listen to me, Ferrantes. You are not to speak to her. You are not to speak of her. You are not to so much as look at her or so help me God, you’re a dead man!”

Dante was dimly aware of the room emptying, men rushing for the door, footsteps hurrying across the veranda, truck and car engines roaring to life outside, but he never took his eyes from Ferrantes.

“You hear me? You’re to keep away from her. You got that?”

The big man’s breathing was heavy. At last he gave a quick jerk of his head in assent.

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