Wedding planner Madeleine Fitzroy has already run from one marriage. But now she finds herself agreeing to pose as Conte Dante Falcone’s girlfriend! Could Conte be the love she has been searching for?
‘But your sister is going to be looking for those signs that even discreet people can’t help displaying. The looks, the odd touches here and there. The kisses.’ Her mouth parted on the last word and Dante swayed forward, just a little, like a bee scenting nectar.
Maddie’s scent enveloped him, floral with hints of citrus adding a refreshing bite. He was almost dizzy with the intoxicating scent, with the pink of her mouth, with her nearness.
‘That complicates things a little.’ Now it was his turn to take a step closer, so close they were almost—almost—touching. So close he knew another millimetre would bring their bodies into alignment. ‘I think we need to be prepared.’
‘Prepared?’ Now she was the one repeating his words to him and when Dante dragged his gaze back to meet hers he couldn’t help but feel a primal satisfaction at the glazed look in her eyes, at the way her tongue darted over her plump lips, the way she swayed ever nearer…
‘We should practise. Looking like we’re falling in love. Maybe with a little touching…’ and he ran one finger lightly down her cheek and along the silken line of her mouth. Maddie’s eyes fluttered shut and it took all Dante’s resolve not to pull her to him, crush her against him and taste her.
But this was a business contract and, for all the pheromones clouding the air, for all his blood was thundering around his body, it had to be a meeting in the middle. One step by him, one step by her, mutually agreeable terms.
‘That makes sense,’ Maddie breathed, leaning her cheek against his touch like a cat seeking adulation. ‘Practice makes perfect after all.’ She slipped her arm around his waist, her hand splaying on his back, and Dante could feel the imprint of every finger clearly through the thin cotton of his shirt. Slowly, so slowly it took everything he had not to groan, she raised herself on tiptoe and pressed one light, teasing kiss on his mouth.
Dante froze at the warm contact, as electricity zapped straight through him. What was he doing? He’d known this girl had fire the second they had connected across the lake and yet here he was, allowing himself to be burned, allowing her heat to melt the ice that encased him and kept him safe.
He should step back; their point was well and truly made. They needed to remember to act like lovers.
But was there any real difference between acting like lovers and being lovers? When they both knew the score?