He shrugged. 'Tiny, but it does me.' He showed her back to the kitchen.

The first course was gorgeous. Mushrooms stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs, garlic and butter, with warm ciabatta bread on the side to dip into the juices. The second course was impressive: salmon, baked with what she suspected was lime zest and butter, with tiny new potatoes and a mixture of baked Mediterranean vegetables.

But pudding... Pudding was to die for. Fresh raspberries, with creamy yoghurt poured over and a sprinkling of brown sugar on the top, flashed under the grill until it caramelised.

'That was fabulous. Even if it's hell on the arteries.'

'Wrong. It's nought per cent fat Greek yoghurt.' He grinned. 'Well, I have to keep the rest of my diet healthy, to make up for my sweet tooth.'

'Chocolate.' She eyed the box and remembered what he'd said. 'Which you're going to share with me.'

Jake spooned coffee into the cafetière and took a carton of milk from the fridge. 'You can have one. If you're a good girl'

She didn't feel like being a good girl right now. She propped her elbows on the table, linked her fingers together and rested her chin on her hands. 'What if I'm a bad girl?' she asked huskily.


Jake promptly dropped the milk, and it went everywhere. He groaned and grabbed a cloth to mop up. 'Couldn't you have waited until my hands were empty before you said something like that?'


Vicky didn't sound it. She was laughing. Though he thought she was laughing with him rather than at him.

He finished mopping up, then turned to face her, leaning back against the worktop. 'So. You're a bad girl.'

She moistened her lower lip, and his pulse speeded up another notch.

'I could be.' Her voice was low, soft and seductive.

Considering neither of them had touched a drop of wine—she'd refused even half a glass, so he'd joined her in drinking sparkling mineral water—it wasn't alcohol blurring his senses like this.

It was Vicky. Just Vicky.

'How bad?' He had to know.

'How bad do you want me to be?'

Very, very bad. 'Come here, and I'll tell you.'

For a moment he thought she was going to stay where she was. But then she stood up, kicked off her shoes and walked towards him. He opened his arms, and she was there. Right where he wanted her to be. Up close and personal, her body pressed against his, her glorious hair sliding through his fingers and her arms round his waist.

'This bad,' he whispered, nuzzling the curve of her neck. He didn't recognise her perfume, and he assumed it was something exclusive—something suitable for the daughter of a baron. Whatever it was, he loved it. 'This bad.' He brushed his mouth against hers.

Such a light kiss. So gentle, so sweet. But it blew his self-control to smithereens. 'This bad,' he said, and unzipped the back of her dress.

Lord, her skin was soft. He wanted to touch. Look. Taste. He stroked his way down her spine, and nuzzled the strap of her dress off one shoulder.


Her voice was no more than a whisper, but he stopped. Instantly. 'I'm sorry. I...I don't normally do this sort of thing.' He hardly knew her. And here he was, undressing her. In his kitchen. How tacky could he get?

She stroked his face. 'That isn't what I meant.'

He met her gaze, and was rewarded with a glint of mischief. What if I'm a bad girl? The tight knot of shame and misery eased. 'So what did you mean?'

'If you're planning to take off my dress—'

All the blood in his body went south at the thought.

'—then I think I should get to undress you, too.'

He lost the ability to speak. He didn't dare say a word, knowing it would just come out as a caveman grunt.


That was it. The only thing he could do. He picked her up—disregarding the fact that she was nearly as tall as he was—and carried her to his bedroom.

'You troglodyte,' Vicky teased, and licked his earlobe.

Oh, yes. He was definitely a caveman where she was concerned. He set her back down on her feet, but made sure every part of her body slid against every part of his. Just so she knew exactly what she was letting herself in for.

'Your dress.' He couldn't get the rest of the words out. But his face must have said it all for him, because she gave him a slow, bad-girl smile. Took one step backwards. Pushed the other shoulder strap down and let her dress fall to the floor.

Jake quivered. Her underwear was black and lacy. And she was wearing hold-up stockings. She looked utterly delectable and he wanted her right now.

'Uh-uh.' She held up a warning finger before he could step towards her. 'Your turn.'

'You said you wanted to undress me yourself.'

'So I did.' She swivelled her hand and the warning finger beckoned him instead.

He knew he had a silly grin on his face. He didn't care. Because they were about to do something he'd been dreaming about for over a month. He stepped forward. Stopped right in front of her.

Tags: Kate Hardy Billionaire Romance
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