“How romantic,” Nina breathed, unable to take her eyes off Sebastian. Not that Daisy could blame the woman. Wearing a dark blue, three-piece suit and a smile, Sebastian looked dashing and charming. “And very French sounding. Oui, oui!”
“What a marvelously entertaining woman you are,” Sebastian said, reducing Nina to a giggling mess. “I suspect you and your fiance communicate for hours by merely gazing into one another’s eyes. Adoringly, of course. Brain empty of every rational thought. Or any thought for that matter.”
“Can someone tell me what’s going on here?” Glen asked. “I thought you were getting married to Zoe Ambrose for the third or fourth time.”
“That would be my brother, Christian. He’s giving his wife the wedding she always wanted. Something a man who adores his wife should do. A man that would never dally with another woman, or take her dog.”
Daisy’s gaze flew to Sebastian. How did he know about that?
Glen shifted his stance to one side. “Didn’t mean to—”
“Ah, but you did.”
“Everyone around here knows Daisy needs the money to pay the insurance company. Thought I’d help her out.”
Her cheeks grew hot, even as her body turned cold. “Gee, thanks, Glen.” Wavering between punching her ex in the throat and making him a groom’s cake in the shape of the middle finger, she glanced longingly at the door.
Sebastian moved closer to her ex. “Thought you’d pop down to Daisy’s shop and give her some charity? Flash some diamonds and make her work for it?” Leaning in to Glen, he said, “Feel like a real man now, yeah?
Somewhere between one and thirty seconds ago, her arrogant earl had turned into a London wanna-be brawler. Something she read about once in a romance novel. Okay, so she’d read that baby until it had become dog-eared.
Glen sputtered, “Ah…no. I mean yes… Shit.”
“I suggest you leave,” Sebastian growled and Jelly Belly whined, shaking her tail. The dog looked as though she wanted Sebastian to pet her. “And your little rat, too.”
Nina let out a horrified gasp. “Why I never!”
“Now you have,” Sebastian snapped.
Yeah, this was not going to end well. Grabbing Sebastian’s arm, Daisy said, “Let’s get you something to eat.” She shot Nina and Glen an apologetic smile. “Hungry always equals grumpy, you know.”
The couple hurried away, giving them both odd looks over their shoulders.
Good riddance, Sebastian thought. He turned his attention to Daisy. “I am not hungry.”
She tilted her head to one side. “How did you know Glen was my ex? And how did you know he took my dog?”
Oh hell. Think, dammit, think. “Your conversation carried.”
Glancing down, she wiggled a foot. “That’s not embarrassing at all.”
He gently hooked a finger under her chin and applied a bit of pressure so she’d look at him. Her hazel eyes were shiny and there was a tell-tale blush on her cheeks. “Never be embarrassed with me.”
“But I don’t know you,” she said softly, her lashes fluttering down.
“Like I said before, get to know me,” he said, his thumb stroking the line of her jaw. She trembled and so did he. Unable to help himself, he dipped his head and brushed his lips over hers. Her hands came between them, pressing on his chest.
“I can’t,” she said.
"You can." He kissed her again. "One more kiss, Daisy."
Mouth trembling, she kissed him back. Soft, chaste, and so sweet that he melted inside, even as she melted in his arms. If only they were inside right now.
Deepening the kiss, he teased her mouth open and slid his tongue inside. She gasped and he slanted his head, fitting his lips more firmly to hers as his hands came up to cup her face. She tasted of honey and mint. She tasted exactly how he’d dreamed she would, and yet no dream could ever do justice to the taste of Daisy.
Her fingers curled into him, pulling tight on his suit jacket. “Sebastian, please,” she whispered again his lips. “Please, stop. I can’t do this.”
He was going too fast for her, and they were in public. “Get to know me, Daisy.” Pressing a kiss to the corner of her mouth, he smiled. “I promise I’m not that bad, once you get past all the prickly stuff.”
She pushed him back and looked up at him, the tips of her fingers pressed to her mouth. Her br**sts rose and fell rapidly. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
“Don’t kiss me again,” she choked out, her eyes swimming with tears. Tears that he knew he’d somehow caused.
“Why the hell not?” he snapped, close to his breaking point. Jesus Christ, he hated this. He’d kissed her with a passion borne of late night chats and constant emails. Of shared nightmares and midnight confessions. Of dreams and wants that each had sworn to only to share with the other.
He’d kissed her like he loved her, like he knew her, because he did.
Yet she felt none of it.
“Because there’s someone else I’m saving my kisses for,” she whispered, and ran inside.
Sebastian started after her, then froze as a crew of constructions workers came through the door, cutting on the radio and resuming their work. The sounds of music, hammer, and saws filled his ears, but it still felt as if every eye were on him.
He stood there a good five minutes before it hit him—Daisy was saving her kisses for Jules, for him.
Victory roared and just as swiftly, his rational side reminded him that to Daisy, he was Sebastian, and she didn’t want his kisses. Thank you very much.
However, he was a Romanov, and Romanovs went after what they wanted. And he wanted Daisy. “For God’s sake,” he muttered, then dashed up the stairs and into her flat where he found her bent over a portable table.
She was sketching. It looked to be a wedding cake and she was quite brilliant at it. Hell, he wanted to eat it. Then again, he had the most annoying sweet tooth and she made the most spectacular desserts.
The tip of her pencil broke. “You would,” she muttered, then glanced up. “Can I help you?”
“I’m sorry for kissing you, without your permission,” he said.
“You’re forgiven; just don’t do it again.”
He supposed he should be thankful that she didn’t make him promise not to kiss her again, because he had every intention of doing so. “Is that for my brother’s wedding?”