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Page 48 of Just Desserts (Holland Springs 4)

Maybe he should wait until tomorrow to tell her about Jules.

After showering, he brushed his teeth and pulled on a pair of pajama pants. For a full ten minutes, he paced his room. There was no way he would wait until tomorrow to talk to her. Best to sort things out now.

He strode to the door and headed down the hall. Her room was only a few feet away. Light shone from her doorway. He knocked once and stepped inside.

“Daisy, I—”

She let out a squeal, clutching the dress she had worn to her chest, but that didn’t obstruct his view of her bare bum or thighs or the dangerous curves of her waist. The mirror behind her had seen to that.

“What do you want?” she asked.

He stepped in the room and shut the door behind him, never taking his eyes off her reflection. Then he noticed her hair and forgot why he’d come to talk to her. A riot of curls in every shade imaginable fell to halfway down her back.

“Your hair,” he said, closing the distance between them and cupping her bare shoulders. Sliding his hands down her shoulders and around her back, he slipped his fingers in long strands. “You didn’t cut it.”

“Why would I?”

“Because of what I said about your wardrobe yesterday.”

Her chin tipped up. “My hair isn’t a part of my wardrobe.” She looked away, her shoulders falling, and he suddenly realized how fatigued she must actually be.

“I’m sorry to have bothered you,” he said softly, letting hands fall away.

He stepped back, taking in her barely concealed body and the engagement ring on her finger. She was his. The very primal part of him wanted to dominate her, wanted to take her against the mirror, until she screamed his name. But the very civilized part of him won out and he pivoted, moving to the door.

“Why didn’t you ask Kate to marry you, instead of this fake fiancée stuff with me? It’s obvious the two of you belong together.”

That stopped him cold. He turned to face her again. The dress still clutched tight to her front. “If we belonged together, I would be with Kate, already married and not enduring this fake fiancée stuff, as you so eloquently put it, with you,” he snapped, then immediately regretted. He held up his hands. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

Hazel eyes rimmed with lavender regarded him. “Yes, you did.”

“You’re absolutely right.”

Hurt flared in her eyes. “I am?”

Taking a step towards her, he nodded. “If Kate and I belonged together, I would be with her and married. But we’re not. Because we don’t belong together.”

Daisy stepped back, inching closer the mirror. “She still loves you.”

Even as it came out of his mouth, he knew how bad it sounded, how vulnerable it made him, but it had to be said, “But I don’t love Kate. I don’t want to be with her and she knows this. I’d rather be with you, my fiancée, however fake. I’d rather touch you, kiss you and be inside of you. I’d rather listen to you hum and talk in your sleep.” For the rest of his life.

Her lips parted, gaze raking over his chest. Yeah, she liked what she saw. Once more, he flicked his eyes over the mirror, taking in her nude reflection. And so did she. Her eyes darkened and his body responded, his dick growing hard. She was remembering what had happened between them, as did he.

He remembered every minute detail, down to the way her lashes flutter when she orgasmed.

“Then why did you flirt with her and not me?” she asked, her voice accusing.

Flirting? Now this was interesting. “I wasn’t flirting.”

She nodded emphatically, sending those colorful curls he loved to touch flying. “Yes, you were. You laughed and smiled with her. And smiled…and was nice.”

“I laughed and smiled with my mates as well.”

“It’s not the same and you know it.”

Actually he hadn’t a clue, until now. “Were you jealous, darling?” He smiled and her eyes went wide.

“No,” she said, but he didn’t believe her.

“You were.” He closed the distance between them again, stopping a few inches shy of touching her. Heat radiated from her body, the dress she still clutched the only physical barrier between them. “Shall I smile and laugh with you, even when you’re not speaking to me?”

“I was nervous.”

“I know. You looked beautiful tonight.”

She made a face. “I was dressed like the Queen tonight.”

“I like vintage,” he insisted, then gave her a wicked smile and raked his eyes over her. “Au naturel is more to my taste.”

She let go of the dress. It fell to the floor, landing on his bare feet. He made himself keep his eyes on her face.

“What about my shoes?” she asked.

“Lovely.”

“You didn’t look.”

“Saw them earlier.” He dipped his head, brushing his lips across hers. She shivered, her hard ni**les and soft br**sts brushing against his chest as he embraced her.

“I hate this,” she whispered and he froze. She slid her arms around his back, stroking the lines of his tattoos. “Not this, not you…it’s…I can’t sleep with you and not have it affect me.”

At her confession, he kissed her cheek. “I’m not that bloke, you know. The one they sometimes still show on the telly and the Internet—a spoiled aristocrat sleeping around, partying like there’s no tomorrow, punching out his father, and doing his level best to take down a corporate empire. I won’t leave you for no reason.” Like Jules had.

As if she were reading his thoughts, she asked, “How did you know about Jules’s last name? You never answered me in the car. ”

He opened his mouth to tell the truth, but the monster that lived inside spoke for him, “I did a background check on you, your family, your friends—virtual and real life—before asking you to pose as my fiancée.”

Petal-pink lips made an O shape, and then a glimmer of anger shone in her eyes. Suddenly it faded. “I guess that’s reasonable, but I wished you would have told me sooner.”

“I’m sorry.”

“So you know every humiliating thing about me.” She sniffed, her hands falling to hang listlessly her sides. “I must look like a total—”

“You looked strong to me. Determined. Unwilling to let anyone or anything keep you down.” He cupped her shoulders, letting his hands slide her arms and encircle her wrists. “Tell me what to do to make this right. To make you comfortable and have this affect you in a way that makes you happy.”

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