The Tuscan's Revenge Wedding

By: Jennifer Blake


Desire so strong it destroyed the ability to resist was a myth. Any woman who fell into bed with a man did it because she made the choice at some point between meeting him and removing her clothes.

Amanda Davies’s opinion on that subject was triggered by the man who entered the restaurant where she lunched every day. Well, and by the reaction of the flight attendants at the next table who gasped and nudged each other as they stared at him. If he only crooked a finger, either of the two would undoubtedly go with him at once. It would not be from compelling passion, however, but because she panted to know what it was like to have him make love to her.

What someone like him was doing in a chain eatery was a mystery. The suit he wore whispered of money and Milan, and was expertly tailored to showcase male strength. His shirt and tie were perfect examples of understated elegance. The precision of his grooming and fluid grace of his movements gave him an indefinably European air. One of the better downtown restaurants seemed far more his speed.

He really was beautiful in the ultra-masculine style of avenging angels painted by Italian masters. Dark hair clung to his head in the sculpted waves achieved only by an excellent stylist, while espresso-black eyes fringed with thick lashes promised bedroom delights. His skin had the bronze tint that came from near year-round sunshine, his cheekbones rivaled alpine ridges and his mouth, set in stern lines just now, was molded with outrageously sensual curves and surfaces.

He was, in fact, the very personification of sexual allure as he paused to scan the seating area with a narrow gaze. He appeared capable of every sin and every glory, and of shifting heaven and earth to gain what he desired. That he ever failed seemed doubtful.

Amanda gave a wry shake of her head before taking the last spoonful of her gazpacho and pushing back her soup plate. Men like that would be used to polished perfection in a woman, the kind of gleaming beauty produced by endless leisure and copious amounts of cash. He’d have no time for mere flight attendants — or for assistants to managing directors, if it came to that.

Not that she would be led astray, even if he turned his attention in her direction. She wasn’t that gullible.

A small shiver caught Amanda by surprise, rippling down her spine. She was acutely aware of every millimeter of skin on her body in that instant, as if the individual cells had come to tingling attention.

It must have been the cool, damp draft from the opening and closing of the restaurant’s door, that was all. The light outside had grown dim with the promise of rain since she’d left the office. She should start back at once if she didn’t want to be caught in one of Atlanta’s early summer downpours. Sitting here people-watching, speculating about their lives and attitudes, would not earn her paycheck.

Amanda counted out the price of her meal plus tip and tucked it into the folder on the table. As she glanced around for her waitress, her gaze skimmed over the man at the entrance once more. He was not the kind to be ignored, it seemed. He’d just given the restaurant hostess an imperious stare followed by the lift of a brow.

The woman immediately put down the phone she was using. She picked up a menu and went toward him with a smile. He waved away the possibility of eating, it seemed, bending toward her with what appeared to be a grave question. The hostess hugged the plastic-coated menu to her breasts before indicating the corner where Amanda sat.

The flight attendants at the nearby table gasped as one when the man turned in their direction. They straightened in their seats, exchanging whispered questions and exclamations as he began to move toward them.

Amanda was tempted to stay and see the little drama played out, but it really was time she returned to work. Besides, watching women make fools of themselves over a man was more than a little depressing. She’d seen too much of that growing up, lived through too much of it with her mother.

Amanda set her shoulder bag on the table in front of her. Turning in her chair, she reached for the jacket of her navy suit that she’d draped over its back.

“Miss Amanda Davies?”

The deep voice which accompanied that courteous inquiry vibrated through her, thrumming along her nerves like distant thunder. She jerked, so her jacket snagged on the chair back and fell from her grasp.

The man beside her reached to catch it. Holding the jacket in one well-formed, brown hand, he stared down at her with intent appraisal while waiting for her answer.

Amanda was so stunned by the approach and rich, dark gaze fixed upon her that it was an effort to force sound from her throat. “Yes?”

“Va bene.” He inclined his head. “Come with me, if you please.”