“You’re breathtaking,” he said as she walked toward him.
She smiled. “It’s the dress.”
He shook his head. “No, it’s most definitely the woman.”
Five minutes later, they were seated in the limo he had waiting downstairs to whisk them away to the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. He’d rented the place out for the night, so he could have a romantic candlelit dinner for two along the water’s edge.
Daniel could only hope Angela liked the surprise, since he’d sensed she hadn’t been happy with his failure to join their colleagues earlier.
“So where are we going?” Angela inquired.
“You’ll see.” Daniel reached for one of her hands and gave it a gentle squeeze. When she tried to pull away, he didn’t let her go. He didn’t know why but he wanted—no, needed—to feel connected. He didn’t want the distance between them he’d felt when he’d entered her apartment. She hadn’t even greeted him with her usual kiss and hadn’t kissed him even after he’d given her the one-of-a-kind dress. If he was honest, he missed her lips on his. The feel of them brushing against his mouth was the highlight of his day.
After the short drive, Daniel exited the limo first and reached for Angela’s hand to help her out. When she disembarked, she smiled warmly as she recognized the venue. “Daniel Cobb, you continue to surprise me. You do listen.”
“Yes, I do.”
They’d talked about the Vizcaya Museum and its beautiful gardens when they’d been in Key West. He remembered Angela mentioning it was one her favorite spots. The idea had come to him then that one day, he’d shut it down for her, for the two of them to share.
He offered his arm and she took it willingly.
“This is lovely,” she said as he reached for her hand and led her into the museum. The curator was waiting for him.
“Mr. Cobb, so lovely to have you and your guest join us this evening.”
“It’s truly a pleasure to be here.”
“Select areas of the museum are available to you for an hour before dinner service is set to begin.”
Daniel nodded. “Thank you.”
They strolled through the highlighted areas the curator had kept open, like the living room with its many artifacts from the Renaissance to the music room with its lush wall canvases. Eventually they made it to the loggia. “It was said this is where James Deering, the industrialist who built this home, had his guests relax and view the gardens. Would you care to walk them?” Daniel asked.
“So formal, Mr. Cobb.” Angela laughed but went along with his attempt at romance. “I would love to.”
They walked hand in hand through the formal European gardens. Dusk had long since gone and all they had was the soft ground lighting and moonlight to illuminate their view. Eventually, they walked toward the Tea House, guided by a lighted walkway. It had to be one of the most romantic settings he’d ever arranged, but Daniel sensed Angela was guarded tonight. And he didn’t like it.
Finally when he could take it no longer, he stopped inside the open-air room. Angela was staring up at the dome as if it were the most interesting piece of architecture, when he knew she’d seen it countless times. “Please don’t be angry with me anymore. I can’t take your silence.”
“Silence? We’ve been talking for the last hour.”
“Like strangers about art and history. You’re not your usual bubbly self.”
She frowned. “Well, I’m not sure what you want, Daniel. There are so many rules. When we’re at work, we can’t associate with each other. When we’re together, we can’t be seen in public. So pardon me if I’m not sure how to behave on any given occasion. Perhaps you should tell me?”
Daniel sucked in a deep breath. This romantic date wasn’t going as he envisioned. He was trying his best to show Angela how important she was to him within the boundaries he could live with.
He rushed toward her and hauled her against him. There was little doubt she could feel how hard he was, because that’s how she made him whenever she was near. He heard her sharp intake of breath seconds before his head descended. He brushed his mouth against hers, and an instant shimmer of lust surged through him.