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her unguarded, sleeping body sought his.
Digging deep within to find his iron strength, he pulled her hand away from his side and slid out
from beneath her. She softly cried out in her sleep while she squirmed on the bed, seeking out his
warmth. His eyes were glued to her half-covered figure as she stirred and began to awaken.
His pants were pulled up and buttoned before her eyes opened, and she looked around her in
confusion as the sleepy smile fell from her lips. Before he locked away the emotion, desire began to
climb, returning once again inside him.
The sheet slipped down her smooth curves, exposing her perfect breasts to his view. Evidence of
their lovemaking  no  sex, just sex  covered her body. Small red marks were easy to see on
her alabaster skin, and her pink nipples were partially peaked as if she were ready for him to run his
tongue across their delicate surface again. Such femininity, such perfection.
Rafe turned away to gather the rest of his clothes. He heard her sitting up in the bed, and when he
turned back around, his fingers methodically buttoning his shirt, she was gazing at him in surprise,
gripping the blankets tightly across her body.
 Don t act like a prude, Ari. I ve touched and tasted just about every inch of you, he said with a
mocking tone, and then smirked at the narrowing of her eyes.
 Get out, she said, her voice controlled, surprising him and oddly raising his opinion of her at
the same time. He d expected hysterics or crying. He hadn't expected her cool detachment. He should
feel a smidgeon of insult, but he knew he could make her body go up in flames with a single touch of
his hand. He had nothing to prove.
 Meet me in the dining room in twenty minutes& unless you want me to come up here and find you
again. He waited to smile until he left the room. He nearly laughed when he heard the thud against
the door, wondering what she d thrown at it.
Since meeting Arianna Harlow, his life hadn t been boring. She was constantly surprising him, not
only by her reactions, but by his to her as well. She sparked a flame in him that had lain dormant for
such a length of time, he hadn t thought it capable of stirring to life again.
She would be his for as long as he desired her to be so. Until she fully submitted to him, he was
certainly enjoying the journey the two of them were taking. He almost dreaded the day he grew bored
of her. He couldn t imagine another woman stirring his damaged soul so much.
As Rafe sat at the dining table, watching the clock, he almost hoped she would try to defy him
again. He wouldn t mind hunting her down and teaching her the first real lesson in what happened to
those who displeased him.
When nineteen minutes hit, his feet twitched. At exactly twenty, he was going to stand up and
begin his lesson.
 I m here, master.
 Master?
 I figure you think you re the lord of all, so you d want to be called by a name appropriate to a
dictator, she snapped as she sat across from him.
 Sir is just fine, he mocked.
 How about ass? she asked with an innocent air.
 Careful, Ari. I ll be pushed only so far, he threatened.
 Do you honestly think that you frighten me, Mr. Palazzo? I m actually curious. If you so much as
lay one finger on me, I won t hesitate to have you thrown in jail. You may get back out very quickly
with your vast fortune, and what I m sure is just about everyone in your back pocket, but still I d get
the satisfaction of seeing you cuffed and taken in, she said while looking him squarely in the eyes.
 I laid more than a finger on you earlier, Ari, and you were screaming  but not in displeasure.
Should I demonstrate again how much you like my& fingers on and in you? he asked.
 That wasn t the most unpleasant way I ve spent a boring afternoon, but you know that s not what
I mean. I looked at your stupid paperwork, and though I may not be the most knowledgeable person on
this planet when it comes to sex, I can read between the lines. You get control of me? You get to
choose what I do, whom I see, where I go? You re a control freak and I want no part of it. I would
never allow a man to hit me!
 Is that what you think of me? Honestly? You think that I need to beat my women into
submission? he thundered as he stood up with his hands on the table and his body leaning toward
her. He shook with fury.
 I m just repeating what I read, she fired back.
 There was nothing in those papers that said I get off on hurting a woman!
 Then, please tell how you exert your control!
Rafe sat back down, his temper at an all-time high. He took in several deep breaths as he once
again thought about the sanity of dealing with this woman. She d made a lot of assumptions and he
owed her no explanations. He was furious that he even wanted to have the conversation.
Instead of saying anything, he pressed a buzzer, letting the staff know he was ready for their first
course. Two people moved into the room, silent as they set down plates and filled glasses with wine
and water.
Rafe lifted the cup to his lips and took a sip of the dry chenin blanc as he waited for the servers to
exit. His eyes didn t leave Ari s face. She glanced at him, then looked away, muttering a quiet thank-
you as her antipasto plate was placed before her. Nervously, she picked up her own wineglass and
took a large gulp, then swallowed half the contents before setting the glass back down.
His staff went quietly to the back of the room, ready to refill glasses and bring out new courses.
They had proved their loyalty, and he didn t have to worry about his words in front of them. He
wouldn t hire anyone he couldn t be himself around, anyone without absolute discretion.
 Why don t you come and work for me so you can find out? Rafe finally spoke after ten minutes
of silence that stretched out awkwardly for Ari.
She jerked her gaze up, seemingly surprised that he was still in the room. Rafe didn t know
whether he should be offended to be forgotten so easily. Yes, Ari wasn t great for his ego.
 I do appreciate your saving me from the club and having a doctor look after me, but no matter
how much you rescue me, or swoop in on your white horse, I won t be a part of your chosen lifestyle.
My mother raised me to expect more out of life than to be some man s mistress. This entire seduction
scene is pointless. I won t be yours.
For a moment her eyes held a hint of pleading in them as if she were begging him to let her go. If
he had an ounce of humanity left in him, he might have done just that, but when it came to women, he
chose not to be humane. He chose to seek out pleasure.
 You say you re appreciative, but you haven t shown me any gratitude. I can think of at least a
dozen ways you can repay me, Ari, he countered with a smirk.  You know how this will end  you
have to have figured it out by now. Why must you insist on fighting the inevitable?
Her eyes widened before they narrowed.
 I don t know how many times or in how many ways I can say no to you, Mr. Palazzo. I will
never be your employee, mistress or whore, she responded before spearing a piece of proscuitto-
wrapped pear and forcing it into her mouth.
 Ah, Ari, you d make a good whore. I think you re just holding out for more money. Fine. We ll
make your salary two hundred thousand, he said mockingly, knowing his comment would set her off.
Her face turned red; she glared at him and bit into a piece of artichoke, chomping down on it the
way he was sure she d like to be clamping down on his skin  and not in a pleasant way. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]