Becoming Dante

By: Day Leclaire


Gabe Moretti’s office door slammed open and one of the most beautiful women he’d ever seen swept in. At her appearance, an odd sizzle raced through him, something he’d never experienced before, something that jarred him from complacency and threw all his senses on high alert.

She’s yours, came an insidious whisper. Take the woman!

Gabe shoved aside the bizarre thought and focused on her, his brows drawing together. She was tall, or rather her three inch heels gave the illusion of height, and emphasized her delicate, almost fragile bone structure. Despite her slender frame, womanly curves filled out a charcoal-and-white suit that could only be Christian Dior. A black wool coat framed the outfit. Hair the color of banked embers fell away from a sculpted face and formed a heavy twist at her nape. But there was more to her than mere beauty. Character and sheer force of will melded with her appearance, while intelligence glittered in eyes a pale, startling green, eyes that were haunting...and haunted. They gave her an almost painful vulnerability, one Gabe reacted to with unsettling intensity.

Get. The. Woman.

The primal demand overcame thought and reason, the visceral tug almost more than he could withstand. Time slowed, stilled, stealing his intellect, his icy control, all that drove him and made him the man he’d fought to become. Desire honed into one imperative...this woman, in this place, captured within this moment. And all the while, the insidious whisper lashed at him. Take her. Make her yours. Brand her with your touch. Your possession. Heat crackled, unbearable in its intensity, ungovernable in its strength. It slipped deep inside, infiltrated his veins with each beat of his heart. It took root, sending out endless tendrils that blossomed within his soul. And then time sped up, thrusting him back into the here and now.

The woman checked her forward motion as though sensing some disturbance. She hesitated, her gaze locking with his. Clearly, he wasn’t what she’d anticipated and his curiosity grew. Who or what had she been expecting? Or was she simply reacting to him in the same way he reacted to her?

“Gabe Moretti?” she asked in a deep, husky voice that threatened to fry sense and sensibility.

She’s the one!

“I’m sorry, Mr. Moretti.” His assistant, Sarah, hurried into the office. “She refused to make an appointment and demanded to see you immediately.”

Gabe flipped closed the file he’d been reviewing and stood. He pinned the mystery woman with the sort of steely look that had earned him the nickname “Iceman” among both competitors and adversaries. Maybe he reacted so strongly because of the inner voice hammering at him—one he’d never heard before and hoped never to hear again. Or maybe it was to hold instinct at bay, one that insisted he ignore civilized behavior and take what he wanted, regardless of consequence. She simply returned his look with one of her own, the expression in her crystalline eyes as brilliant and fierce as Dante fire diamonds.

Ice versus fire, an intriguing combination.

“Why don’t we start at the beginning?” he suggested. It impressed the hell out of him that he could speak so calmly while desire fomented within, splashing through him in hot, messy waves. “Such as, who are you?”

“Don’t you recognize me? You should.” Amusement filtered through the statement. “I’m Kat Malloy.”

The simple statement impacted like a punch to the gut. So much for some fool, intuitive voice. Not only was this woman not the one, she could never be the one. No matter how badly he wanted her on a physical level, she was the last woman in existence he would take to his bed—or ever want in his bed. He’d seen her only once before in his entire life. Even then, he’d felt a similar reaction, though nowhere near this strong. Perhaps his earlier reaction had been mitigated by the fact that she’d been in another man’s bed—her cousin’s fiancé’s, no less.

Gabe glanced at his assistant and gave a subtle jerk of his head.

The instant he and Kat were alone, he approached and delivered the first salvo. “Maybe if you weren’t wearing clothes, I’d have an easier time remembering you.”