Home > The Man's Outrageous Demands (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2)(10)

The Man's Outrageous Demands (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2)(10)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

She followed his lead but wished she could escape. The hand holding hers was warm and strong and the one resting against her waist was creating havoc with her mind. “You should…”

“Stop,” he interrupted. “Just relax and dance with me. The arguments will wait a few more minutes. And I don’t think anyone would fault me for dancing with one of the loveliest women in the room,” he said and pulled her closer to his large frame.

Marabeth felt his legs brush against hers and she liked it too much. “I’m sure there are several women in the room who would like to dance with you. Perhaps you’d like to ask them,” she said, starting to pull out of his arms.

But he wouldn’t let her. His grip tightened and he only pulled her closer. “Why are you afraid of me?” he asked, looking down into her worried green eyes.

Marabeth quickly looked away. “I’m not afraid of you,” she said defensively. “I just don’t want to dance. You’re right, it has been a long evening and I’m a little tired.”

Sam twirled her to the edge of the floor, then quickly tucked her hand into his arm, escorting her off the dance floor and then out the door onto the dimly lit patio. There were candles placed around the edges of the patio but they didn’t penetrate too deeply into the night. Sam led her off the stone steps and into a pretty veranda that offered them a little more privacy from the guests at the party.

“What are you doing?” she asked nervously.

“I’m giving you a break, just as you asked,” he said and moved closer to her.

She couldn’t see his eyes in the darkness but she suspected that he might be laughing at her again.

“I didn’t mean that you needed to be with me,” she said and started moving towards the light again.

He laughed softly as his arm reached out and wrapped around her waist, pulling her against his body. “Relax. I promise I won’t bite,” he said. “At least not where it will show tomorrow,” he continued.

Marabeth instantly pushed against his rock hard chest but she was unable to put even an inch between the two of them. “This isn’t proper,” she said breathlessly, not because of her exertions but because of the feelings his body was creating within her.

“I know. But you’ll run away if I let you go. Besides, you feel very nice.”

“Minister…”

“Don’t even think about calling me anything but Sam,” he said softly. “And stop fluttering your hands around.”

Marabeth was too flustered. “What do you want me to do with them?” she demanded.

Sam laughed. “That’s a very provocative question but in deference to your nervousness, I’ll just reply that you can put them anywhere you’d like.”

“I’m not nervous,” she reiterated but finally settled her hands on his chest. It was where she wanted them to be anyway so she enjoyed having permission to leave them there.

“That’s better,” he said when she’d settled slightly. “Now, about your lips,” he started.

“We weren’t talking about my lips,” she said, her hands instantly pushing against his chest again in an effort to put more space between the two of them. “Please, we need to get back inside before people start noticing that we’re not in the ballroom.”

Sam didn’t bring up the fact that just about everyone in the ballroom had either watched them leave or had been told that the two of them had left together by now. The speculation had started the moment he’d entered the ballroom with her on his arm. He was sure that the press was already linking his name to hers and normally that would irritate him. But he liked being linked to her. In fact, he’d encouraged it which confused him on one level. He knew he’d have to go back in to the ballroom, but he’d been too distracted by her lips all evening. As she’d spoken to the various people, he’d been wondering if her lips were as soft as they looked with her pretty pink lipstick.

“You weren’t talking about your lips, but I’ve been thinking about them all night.”

His statement stilled her hands and she froze against his tall, strong frame. “Why?” she asked, her nervous eyes looking up at him.

“Because I’ve wanted to kiss them for a long time.”

Her eyes dropped to his mouth of their own free will. “No. We can’t do that,” she said breathlessly.

Sam ignored her, noticing the increased pulse at the base of her throat. He smiled slightly before bending his head to touch her lips gently. When she didn’t pull back, he touched them again, then again, eventually covering her lips with his, caressing them softly and finally coaxing a response from her. He felt her shiver when his mouth covered hers and absorbed it into his body, enjoying the feeling of her feminine shape against his masculine one.

After several minutes, she pulled back as far as his arms would allow, which wasn’t very far. “Sam, we can’t do this,” she said, but her arms slipped higher to hold onto his shoulders.

Sam shook his head slightly, just before bending to kiss the corner of her mouth, her check, her jaw. “Just kiss me, princess,” he said and deepened the kiss, his hands moving up her back to touch the bare skin revealed by her black dress.

She obeyed his order and lifted her head so she could feel his lips better. That was all the invitation he needed. He pulled her higher against his body and his mouth moved more roughly against hers. Sam rubbed his tongue against her lips and as soon as her mouth opened, his tongue moved in, mating with hers and doing what his body was now aching to do with hers.

Marabeth felt his body harden against her stomach and a small, inner voice told her that she should stop this insanity. She didn’t even like Sam and he didn’t like her. So why were her arms wrapping around his neck and her body moving against his? Why was she feeling things she had no right to feel for a man she didn’t really like and had been trying to avoid for the past two weeks?

She couldn’t answer those questions since his hand moved from her back around to her side, then slid slowly up her waist. One hand stopped right under her breast and she almost moaned with the pain her body felt when his hand didn’t move higher.

The noises off to the side were like a bucket of ice water on Marabeth’s feelings. As the first sound punctuated the haze of passion within her, she moved back a step. Sam allowed it, only because he was so involved in the kiss himself and he wasn’t thinking right either.

The slap came a moment later. If it hadn’t been so dark and she hadn’t responded so willingly in his arms, he might have expected it, or at least seen it coming out of the corner of his eye. But he was dumbfounded.

His hand went to his cheek and both of hers went to cover her mouth in horror. “I can’t believe I did that,” she said.

Sam chuckled. “Neither can I. What happened? One moment you were a passionate woman melting in my arms and enjoying the kiss, and the next…” Sam stopped for a moment and shook his head. “Well, why don’t you just explain what happened next and I won’t assume anything?”

Marabeth stepped back again, horrified when he articulated what they’d been doing, as if the action wasn’t bad enough. Shaking her head in denial of her feelings as well as his request for an explanation, she said, “No. We have to go. I’m so sorry I slapped you. That was inexcusable and I’ve never done that before in my life. I promise you that it won’t happen again. But more importantly, we can’t be like this. We can’t kiss like this again. I don’t even like you,” she said, pacing around the veranda in her confusion as she spoke. “This can’t be happening. I don’t do things like that,” she said, dumbfounded that she’d actually resorted to violence.

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