Propositioned Into A Foreign Affair(7)

By: Catherine Mann

So why not use those same facts to wrangle his way a little closer to her? It wasn’t like any of the information upset him anymore.

He stuffed his hands in his pockets to keep from reaching for her too soon and risk spooking her. “My parents never had a marriage at all. My father was a scam artist looking to hook up with a wealthy Garrison. Mom fell for him at first, got pregnant, but wised up before actually tying her life to the jerk.”

Her hand fluttered to rest on his arm. “I’m sorry, for your mother and for you.”

“No loss on my part. He’s an ass. He tried to get custody of me once, but everyone knew he was only interested in the trust fund that came with me. The courts threw out his case once three women showed up with marriage licenses bearing my dad’s name.”

“He’d been married before?”

“But never divorced.”

“Ouch,” she gasped. “Your father was a bigamist?”

“Big time.” This wasn’t something he talked about, but if sharing it would gain him traction in winning over Bella, then why not? He’d long ago hardened himself to the facts that made up his parentage. “Mom was forty-one, single, pregnant and hounded by the press.”

Her eyes went wide. “Your mother was forty-one when she had you? From the way you told the story I thought she was younger.”

His mother had once told him that she hated being a cliché most of all—the old maid taken in by a younger Lothario. Sam hated most of all that the press had hammered home that image to his mother. They’d made her life miserable to the point she’d become a recluse, living in a barrier island bungalow off the coast of Southern Florida.

He stared back at young and vibrant but too vulnerable Bella. Would the media wear her down? Or would she develop Teflon defenses over time?

And speaking of relationships and breakups…“You mentioned an ex-boyfriend.”

She looked down and away, out the window again. “My costar in Honor. Ridley the Rat.”

He stroked a strand of her hair back over her shoulder, leaving his hand there, caressing the inside curve of her neck. “Ridley the Rat, huh? I’m glad he’s out of the picture.”

Bella studied him through narrowed eyes, but she didn’t pull away. “Your empathy factor is sadly lacking.”

He slid his fingers into her hair, cupping her head. “But my attraction factor is not. Ridley the Rat is an idiot.”

“Oh.” Her pupils widened and she swayed closer toward him in unmistakable attraction.

Enough dancing around the subject. Time to let her know how much she affected him and see if she felt the same. He dipped his head and skimmed his mouth over hers. Her breathy sigh, and the downward glide of her eyelashes encouraged him.

He traced the seam of her lips until she parted for him and finally her hands slipped up his arms to rest on his shoulders. A jolt of desire shot through him, instantaneous. Undeniable. He deepened the kiss, stroked, searched, learned the taste and feel of her.

She edged closer to him, returning his kiss with an enthusiasm that made him hard with desire. Her soft curves grazed his chest, her fluffy robe warm from her heat. He could keep pushing the point and he was fairly certain she would follow him all the way into his bedroom a simple door away. Her response indicated as much. But he needed to hear her total, unreserved surrender.

Sam eased his mouth from hers, his hands sliding down her back to loop loosely around her waist. He watched her, waiting for her to open her eyes again.

Finally, her lashes fluttered open again, her blue gaze passion glazed. “Wow.”

Yeah, “wow” pretty much summed it up. He wasn’t sure what it was about her kiss that sent him so high so fast, but this woman packed a hell of a punch to his libido. He didn’t want to think overlong how much a simple kiss rocked him. He gathered up his shaky control and focused on winning her over for what he wanted most.


More of her.


“Wow,” she said again, her voice steadier this time.

He glided his knuckles along her jaw, the silky feel of her skin making him ache all the way to his teeth. He wanted to discover if she felt this good all over. “My eyes followed you more than once at parties we both attended over the years. But you don’t need me to tell you what a gorgeous woman you are when there are magazine covers devoted to stroking your ego.”