A Deal with Di Capua(3)

By: Cathy Williams

“I told you. I know there’s a lot of water under the bridge, but Amanda and I go back a long way. We were at primary school together. I felt sad about the way things turned out...”

In the darkness, she couldn’t make out the expression on his face. She didn’t have to. His voice was as sharp as a shard of glass. This had been a big mistake.

“I’m not buying it. You’re a gold-digger and, if you think that you can show up here and see if there are any nuggets for the taking, then you can think again.”

“How dare you?”

“Let’s not go down that road, Rosie. You and I both know exactly how I dare. I should have known better than to expect anything else from a semi-clad waitress I happened to meet at a cocktail bar once upon a time.”

Rosie saw red. Her hand flew up and she felt the sting of flesh meeting flesh as it hit his cheek, sending his head back. Before she could back away, he was holding her wrist, pulling her towards him until she could breathe in that uniquely masculine scent she had always found so intoxicating.

“If I were you, I wouldn’t try that again.”

“I’m sorry,” she muttered, appalled at her lack of self-control and even more appalled at the way her body was reacting to the proximity of his. She tried to wriggle free of the steel band of his fingers around her wrist and just as suddenly as he had caught her hand, he released it to step back.

“I just don’t appreciate being called a gold-digger. I’m not here to see what I can get from you, Angelo. You must think I’m crazy, to imagine for a second that I would—”

“Once an opportunist, always an opportunist.”

“I’ve already told you that—”

“So you have. It’s a well-worn road, Rosie, and not one I’m about to travel down again.” His mouth twisted in a cynical half-smile. Even after all this time, and with enough loathing and bitterness towards the woman standing in front of him to sink a ship, Angelo still couldn’t tear his eyes away from her face. Any more than he could have controlled his reaction when he had felt her supple body pressed up close against his.

“Angelo, I haven’t come here to argue with you.”

“Fine.” He shrugged in a gesture that was exotically foreign and typically sexy.

From the very first instant she had laid eyes on him, Rosie had been bowled over. She had been working in London for over a year, serving drinks in an expensive club for well-heeled members, most of whom, she had clocked very early on, were married men either having illicit affairs or arranging to. Not even on the rough council estate where she had been brought up had she had to fend off so many unwanted advances.

It wasn’t exactly what she had dreamt of when she had left behind her life of no hope and limited chances. Growing up, she’d had big plans to work in one of the high-class restaurants, starting from the bottom and working her way up and into the catering side of it. She loved cooking. She was good at it. But the high-class restaurants had all knocked her back. Do you have any qualifications? Have you been to any cookery schools? No? Well...sorry. Don’t call us, we’ll call you if anything comes up...

So she had ended up dressed in skimpy clothing, serving over-priced drinks to overweight businessmen. Her incredible looks had assured her a generous income and what choice had she had? She’d needed the money. And then, one night, dead on her feet, she had looked across the room and there he was—Angelo Di Capua. Six-foot-four of pure, unadulterated alpha male surrounded by six well-dressed businessmen, wearing a bored expression on his face. Had she but known it at the time, that was the very instant her fate had been sealed.

She surfaced from memory lane to find Angelo staring down at her with eyes that were as cold as the wind whipping through the layers of her clothes.

“You want to be civil?” Angelo shot her a curling smile that sent shivers racing up and down her spine. “Let’s play that game, then. What have you been up to for the past few years? Still trawling cocktail bars in search of wealthy men?”

“I never did that.”

“So many things we disagree on.” Yet it hadn’t always been that way. Before everything had collapsed, he had considered her to be the best thing ever to have happened to him. Just thinking about it now made something deep inside him twist with pain.

“I...I haven’t done any waitressing for a while,” Rosie told him, determined to keep the conversation as remote and as polite as possible. She knew that what she should really be doing was leaving, walking away, but she couldn’t fight the small cowardly part of her that wanted just a little bit longer in his company because, like it or not, such a big part of her was still wrapped up in him.