Raffaele: Taming His Tempestuous Virgin(9)

By: Sandra Marton

She snapped out an order. The old man replied; his tone suggested he was protesting but she repeated the order and he sighed, opened the door and stepped from the car.

Rafe caught her elbow as she moved to follow the old guy.

“Did you understand what I said? Ice. And aspirin. And—”

“I understood every word,” she said coldly. “Now see if you understand, signor. Go away. Do you hear me? Go away, just as Enzo told you to do.”

Rafe stared at her. “You speak English?”

“I speak English. And Italian, and the Sicilian form of it. You, quite obviously, do not.” Those stunning eyes narrowed until only a slash of color showed. “You are not welcome here. And if you do not leave of your own accord, Enzo will see to it that you do.”

“Enzo? You mean Grandpa?” Rafe laughed. “That’s one hell of a threat, baby.”

“He is more a man than you will ever be.”

“Is he,” Rafe said, his voice gone low and dangerous and instead of thinking, he caught her by the shoulders and lifted her across the console, into his lap. She struggled, beat at him with her fists but he was ready. He caught both her hands in one of his, slid the other into her hair, tilted her head back and kissed her.

Kissed her as he’d fantasized kissing her, back on that road. She fought, but it was pointless. He was hot with fury and humiliation…

Hot with the feel of her against him. Her mouth, soft under his. Her breasts, tantalizing against the hardness of his chest. Her rounded backside, digging into in his lap.

His body reacted in a heartbeat, his sex swelling until he was sure it had never been this huge or throbbed with such urgency. She felt it happen; how could she not? He heard her little cry of shock, felt it whisper against his mouth. Her lips parted and she tried to bite him but he turned the attempt against her, used it as a chance to deepen the kiss, to slip his tongue into the silky warmth of her mouth. She gasped again, made a little sound of distress…

And then something happened.

Her mouth softened under his. Sweetened. Turned warm and willing, and the knowledge that he could take her, right here, right now, made his already-hard body turn to stone. He let go of her wrists, slid his hand under her jacket, cupped the delicate weight of her breast…

Her teeth sank into his lip.

Rafe jerked back and put his hand to the tiny wound. His finger came away bearing a drop of crimson.

“Pig,” she said, her voice shaking. “No good, filthy pig!”

He stared at her, saw her shocked eyes, her trembling mouth, and heard his father’s voice reminding him that any man could step into the darkness of overwhelming passion.

“Listen,” he said, “listen, I didn’t mean—”

She opened the door and bolted from the car, but not before she’d flung a string of Sicilian curses at him.

Hell, he thought, taking his handkerchief from his pocket and dabbing it against his lip, for all he knew, he deserved them.


WAS the American going to come after her?

Chiara ran blindly into the narrow alley that led to a long-forgotten entrance to Castello Cordiano, following its twists and turns as it climbed steeply uphill.

No one knew this passageway existed. She’d discovered it when she was a little girl, hiding in the nursery closet with her favorite doll to get away from her father’s callousness and her mother’s piety.

It had been her route to freedom ever since, and there was the added pleasure of fooling her father’s men when she seemed to vanish from right under their noses.

The alley ended in a field of craggy stone outcroppings and brambles. A thick growth of ivy and scrub hid the centuries-old wooden door that led into the castle. Panting, hand to her heart, Chiara fell back against it and fought to catch her breath. She waited, then peered through a break in the tangled greenery. Grazie Dio! The American had not followed her.

Behaving like the brute he was must have satisfied him.

No surprise there. She’d always known how the world went. Men were gods. Women were their handmaids. The American had gone out of his way to remind her of those truths in the most basic way possible.

Chiara took a last steadying breath, opened the heavy door and slipped past it. A narrow corridor led to a circular staircase that wound into a gloomy darkness broken by what little light came through the balistraria set into the old stone walls. Long moments later, she emerged in the nursery closet. Carefully she stepped into the room itself, eased open the door, checked the corridor, then hurried halfway down its length to her bedroom.

Her heartbeat didn’t return to normal until she was safely inside with the door shut behind her.

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