At the Brazilian's Command(10)

By: Susan Stephens

‘Have you had enough?’ Tiago asked.

She flashed a glance up at him. ‘I’m sorry—am I being so obvious?’

‘Too much too soon for you, I think,’ he said wisely.

Once again that intuition of his was a warning of how easily he could read her. Tiago was too much too soon, and always would be, Danny suspected. If she had known how it would feel to be in his arms, how she would feel, she would never have agreed to dance with him.

‘I do have one suggestion,’ he murmured.

‘Yes?’ She glanced up and felt her heart turn over.

‘Just wait a moment before you go. The DJ has taken over from the band, so have one more dance with me.’

She was just basking in the idea that Tiago enjoyed dancing with her when he spoke again.

‘That way it will give Chico enough time to make Lizzie forget everything—including you.’

Danny’s eyes flashed wide. His comment had stung. That was what happened when she dropped her guard around Tiago Santos. But he was right. She had to let her friend go and move on.

‘If you’re sure you don’t mind dancing with me?’ There were so many much prettier girls in the room.

‘I’m sure,’ Tiago confirmed with an amused look.

This was the type of thing she would have liked to discuss with Lizzie. They had both led such hectic, fractured lives as children, and had protected each other until their lives had been sewn together again by Lizzie’s grandmother and by the housekeeper, Annie, both of whom had been determined that neither child would suffer because of their less than responsible parents.

‘Shall I get you out of here?’ Tiago suggested, after a short time longer on the dance floor.

She refocused fast. ‘Sorry—was I frowning?’

‘Yes,’ he confirmed with amusement. ‘I’m disappointed you can’t concentrate on me.’

‘Maybe that’s why I’m frowning,’ she suggested with a wry smile.

‘Now I’m hurt.’

She doubted that. And she was willing to bet Tiago knew everything she was thinking. But she was starting to feel the strain of keeping up a bright and breezy front after what had happened in the stable.

‘Are you serious about getting me out of here?’

‘Absolutely,’ Tiago said, steering her towards the door.

The other couples on the dance floor quickly closed over the gap they’d left and it was as if they’d never been there, Danny thought as she glanced over her shoulder.

‘Don’t look round,’ Tiago advised. ‘Keep on walking. No one will notice we’re leaving—I’m thinking of Lizzie now—unless you draw attention to yourself.’

They wove their way through the tables with Tiago’s hand resting lightly in the small of her back. His touch was like a lightning transmitter and the force field didn’t let up—not even when he drew to a halt in the shadows beneath the staircase in the hall.

‘I’ll see you to your room,’ he said.

She shook her head decisively. ‘There’s no need for that.’

‘But I insist.’

The only explanation she could give for not putting up a better fight was that she was still in a state of shock. Why else hadn’t she resisted his suggestion?

When they reached her bedroom door and Tiago opened it for her, he stood back.

‘Goodnight, Danny.’

She held her breath as he ran one fingertip lightly down her cheek.

Why had he done that?

‘Try to get some sleep,’ he suggested gently before she could process that thought. ‘This has been quite a night for you.’

In every way, she thought, still tingling from his touch as Tiago turned away.

‘Goodnight, Tiago. And thank you...’

She watched him go, and only when his footsteps had faded and disappeared did she realise she was still holding her breath.


HE NEEDED A WIFE. Danny needed money. He had a plan. Danny was an intelligent, gutsy woman, and time was running out for the ranch. He would make her an offer. Every marriage was a bargain of some sort. People said they got married for love, but did they never sit back to think about the benefits to both parties? Not even when the occasional doubt crept in? Love might make the world go round, but without money the world and everyone in it would go to hell in a bucket.

He could offer Danny a shortcut to her dream, while marriage to her would secure the ranch for him. Getting the amount of money Danny needed for her venture must seem like a pipe dream to her—but for him...? Money was the least of his problems.

He’d ask her tomorrow. He’d lay everything out so she knew exactly where she stood. Their deal would be secured by a legal contract. And, as a bonus, he wanted her. He’d wanted her since Brazil.