The Italian's Future Bride(3)

By: Michelle Reid

‘My choice.’

‘To be a grouch.’

A nerve ticked at the corner of his mouth because she was right: he was becoming grouch—a bitter and cynical grouch.

‘All because one woman managed to con you into believing she was pure sweetness and light…’

‘As you try to do, you mean?’

‘Iam all sweetness and light!’ Daniella insisted. ‘And that wasn’t very nice,’ she complained. ‘Nor do I lie or cheat.’

‘Tell that to Gino not to me,’Raffaelle countered. ‘If he had seen the way you were preparing to wrap yourself around that guy, he would call the wedding off.’

‘But Gino isn’t here because he prefers to be halfway across the world playing the hot shot tycoon.’

‘However, the pressis here—’

Raffaelle stopped walking as a sudden thought hit him. He swung round to pierce her with a hard stare.

‘Is that what this is about?’ he demanded. ‘Did you drag me out to this thing—which is nothing more than an overpriced knocking shop,’ he said with contempt, ‘so that you would be caught on camera playing the vamp with some other guy just to punish Gino, knowing thatI would be on hand to haul you out of trouble before you got yourself in too deep?’

‘I hate him,’ Daniella announced. ‘I might even decide not to marry him. I’m supposed to be the love of his life yet I haven’t set eyes on him in two wh-whole weeks!’

The small break in her voice did it. Raffaelle heard the fight with tears and released a sigh. ‘Come here, you idiot.’ He pulled her into his arms. ‘You know Gino worships the ground you walk upon but he is busy trying to free himself up for that long glorious honeymoon he has planned for you both.’

‘He even sounds like he would rather be doing something else when he rings me,’ she sniffed into his shirt front. ‘I’m not a doormat. I refuse to let him wipe his feet on me!’

Raffaelle shifted his stance.

‘You’re laughing at me!’ Daniella choked out.

‘No, I am not.’

What he was actually doing was staring over Daniella’s glossy dark head into the cynical blue eyes of the blonde who had approached him a few minutes ago. She was now standing about ten feet away being buffeted by the milling crowd but not noticing because she was too busy looking at him as if he was a snake.

A sting injected itself down the front of his body. The confusing signals she was giving off dressed—orun dressed—like she was, while glaring at him like that, were setting his senses on edge.

Who the hell was she, anyway? Why had he not hung around long enough to find out?

Did he want to know?

His eyes cooled and hardened. No, he didn’t, he answered his own question. Expensive tarts in expensive dresses were ten-a-Euro to buy in this room. He did not need to buy his women. And this one was more the type for the guy who was approaching her from behind right now and eyeing her up and down as if she was his next tasty snack.

And tasty said it, he found himself reluctantly admitting as he ran a glance down her front until he reached the place where those two fabulous legs came together.

Was the hair at her crotch the same pale gold colour as the hair on her head?

He shifted again, was vaguely aware of Daniella talking into his shirt but didn’t hear what she said. That damn inconvenient thing called sexual curiosity was trying to take him over, heating him up like a pot coming to the boil.

The blonde stiffened, tugging his gaze back to her face to clash with the shocked look in her eyes. He realised then that she knew what he had been thinking, her pearly-white skin suffused with heat.

Feeling the spark too,cara ? his glinting eyes mocked her. Well hard damn luck because I am not buying.

The approaching man had reached her—a tall fair haired good-looking guy who stepped right in behind her and ran his fingers up her bare arms to her shoulders, then bent to murmur something in her ear.

She quivered—Raffaelle saw it happen. As she slowly blinked her eyes and turned her head sideways so she was no longer looking at him, he watched her sumptuous pink mouth tilt into a smile.

She turns on for any man, he observed grimly.

‘Hi,’ Rachel said, still stinging at the way Raffaelle Villani had just looked at her as if she was a sex object put on show to be bought.

‘Hi to you too,’ Mark returned. ‘No luck with the appeal approach?’

‘Look at him,’ she sighed, glancing back at Mr Villani who was now in the process of curving the clinging dark-haired woman beneath the crook of his arm.

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