Beauty and the Beast - Page 7

“I’ll let this one pass, but no more lies,” he murmured.

I felt my hands clench, but I nodded automatically, dumbly. What the hell just happened?

“Are you ready to go?”

I nodded again, but I did not rise. I was not sure my legs were strong enough. I reached for the glass of whiskey, and downed the bronze liquid in one go. Whiskey was not my thing, but the fire running down my throat was welcome. It reached my stomach and radiated heat into my confused, stunned cells. I put the glass back down and found him watching me. There was cold amusement in his eyes.

“You don’t like whiskey,” he observed.

I frowned. “Why do you say that?”

“Just an instinct.”

I touched my hair self-consciously and something shifted in those startlingly light eyes. He reached out and I froze. Then his warm hand was curling around my upper arm. He turned it slightly so the soft inner side of my arm was exposed. I glanced down at my arm to see what he was looking at and saw the four bluish marks Salvatore had left when he grabbed me hard the night before. He had not been truly rough. I just bruised easily. There were more on my hips, and inner thighs where he had been truly rough.

Our eyes met. Neither of us spoke, then he let go of my arm, leaned back, and regarded me calmly.

“Take your phone out and text me your full name and address.”

“Why?”

“My solicitor will need the information to draw up the necessary contracts.”

“Oh, okay.”

He continued staring at me.

“You want me to do it right now?”

“Yeah.”

Great. That was all that was missing from my life. A man of few words. I fumbled with my purse, opened the flap, and fished out my phone. He called out his number and I texted him my last name and address.

“What should I call you?” I asked.

“Luca,” he said simply.

When his phone pinged from inside his jacket pocket, he rose.

“Let’s go. I’ve got a long night ahead of me.”

I stood and together we walked to the door. There was at least a foot between us, but I could feel the power and energy emanating from his lean, but tightly muscled body.

He pulled the door open and held it for me. I walked through and we travelled silently through the long corridor towards the party. As we got closer the sounds of music and people began to filter into the corridor. As we arrived at the entrance of the main room I saw many heads turning to look at us. First, they looked at the Don, then at me, then back to him.

I couldn’t help it. My gaze looked for the man in the electric blue suit. Salvatore was standing by a pillar. There was a drink in his hand and he was staring at me with a strange expression in his face. It was clear he was not happy.

I thought about how happy he had been that he had managed to snag an invitation to this party. How he had boasted it would be filled with rich and powerful people. That he was rising on the ladder of success to be even considered good enough to be invited.

Well, he got his wish. He was now going to be offered an opportunity of a lifetime.

I felt Luca’s hand touch the small of my back. It was only a light touch, but it was full of possession. I saw the flash of jealousy that crossed Salvatore’s face before he concealed it. He must have thought he’d keep me for a long, long time and now I had been snatched away from him by a bigger predator. I felt a great relief wash over me. Without the Don’s intervention tonight God only knew how long he would have held me trapped in his ownership. Silently, I sent a prayer to God.

Please God, protect me. Don’t let it be that I jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

Keeping my face expressionless, I turned my eyes away from Salvatore, and looked towards the arch that led to the foyer of the house. I never wanted to see him again.Chapter 6SkyeAs we reached the arch, a man whom Salvatore had introduced as the host, approached us. He glanced at me, and showed a microsecond of surprise to see me leaving with Don Luca, before his face was wreathed in a big smile as he gave his whole attention to the Don.

“You are leaving so soon?”

“I stayed far longer than I intended,” Luca replied.

“I hope you enjoyed yourself.”

“Far more than I thought I would,” he replied cryptically.

The host laughed. “I am happy to hear that. Perhaps you will come again soon.”

“I will see you on Thursday at the office.”

“Of course. Have a good night.”

“The same to you,” Luca said formally, then his hand was guiding me towards the front door where a man was standing guard.


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