Never Say No to a Caffarelli(5)

By: Melanie Milburne

‘I have another girl working for me. She’s in the kitchen.’ She gave him another rather pointed look. ‘Are you just passing through the village or are you staying locally?’

He put his cup back down in the saucer with measured precision. ‘I’m just passing through.’

‘What brings you to these parts?’

Was it his imagination or had her caramel-brown eyes just flashed at him? ‘I’m doing some research.’


‘For a project I’m working on.’

‘What sort of project?’

Rafe picked up his cup again and surveyed her indolently for a moment. ‘Do you give every customer the third degree as soon as they walk in the door?’

Her mouth flattened and her hands went into small fists by her sides. ‘I know why you’re here.’

He lazily arched a brow at her. ‘I came in here for coffee.’

Her eyes flashed at him; there was no mistaking it this time. They were like twin bolts of lightning at they clashed with his. ‘You did not. You came to scope out the territory. You came to size up the opposition. I know who you are.’

He gave her one of his disarming smiles, the sort of smile that had closed more business deals and opened more bedroom doors than he could count. ‘I came here to make you an offer you can’t refuse.’ He leaned back in the chair; confident he would find her price and nail this in one fell swoop. ‘How much do you want for the dower house?’

She eyeballed him. ‘It’s not for sale.’

Rafe felt a stirring of excitement in his blood. So, she was going to play hard to get, was she? He would enjoy getting her to capitulate. He thrived on challenges, the harder the better—the more satisfying.

Failure wasn’t a word he allowed in his vocabulary.

He would win this.

He gave her a sizing-up look, taking in her flushed cheeks and glittering eyes. He knew what she was doing—ramping up the price to get as much as she could out of him.

So predictable.

‘How much to get you to change your mind?’

Her eyes narrowed to hairpin-thin slits as she planted her hands on the table right in front of him so firmly his fine-bone china cup rattled in its saucer. ‘Let’s get something straight right from the get-go, Mr Caffarelli: you can’t buy me.’

He took a leisurely glance at the delectable shadow between her breasts before he met her feisty gaze with his cool one. ‘You misunderstand me, Miss Silverton. I don’t want you. I just want your house.’

Her cheeks were bright red with angry defiance as she glared at him. ‘You’re not getting it.’

Rafe felt a quiver of primal, earthy lust rumble through his blood that set off a shivery sensation all the way to his groin. He couldn’t remember the last time a woman had said no to him. It spoke to everything that was alpha in him. This was going to be much more fun that he’d thought.

He would not stop until he got that house, and her with it.

He rose to his feet and she jerked backwards as if he had just breathed a dragon’s tongue of fire on her. ‘But I will.’ He laid a fifty-pound note on the table between them, locking his gaze with her fiery one. ‘That’s for the coffee. Keep the change.’

                      CHAPTER TWO

‘GRRHH!’ POPPY SHOVED the kitchen door open so hard it crashed back against the wall. ‘I can’t believe the gall of that man. He thought he could just waltz in here, wave a big fat wad of notes under my nose and I’d sell my house to him. arrogant is that?’

Chloe’s blue eyes were wider than the plates she’d been pretending to put away. ‘What the hell happened out there? I thought you were going to punch him.’

Poppy glowered at her. ‘He’s the most detestable man I’ve ever met. I will never sell my house to him. Do you hear me? Never.’

‘How much was he offering?’

Poppy scowled. ‘What’s that got to with anything? It wouldn’t matter if he offered me gazillions—I wouldn’t take it.’

‘Are you sure you’re doing the right thing here?’ Chloe asked. ‘I know your house has a lot of sentimental value because of living there with your gran and all, but your circumstances have changed. She wouldn’t expect you to turn down a fortune just because of a few memories.’

‘It’s not just about the memories,’ Poppy said. ‘It’s the only home I’ve ever known. Lord Dalrymple left it to Gran and me. I can’t just sell it as if it’s a piece of furniture I don’t want.’