The Fabrizio Bride – an excerpt
Sizzling, Sexy Santa Barbara | Book 1
After the taxi dropped her off, she looked up at Ana Lisa’s grand villa. Should she circle around and try to sneak in? A sturdy cedar grew below her bedroom balcony; she’d become quite adept at climbing it when she was a teenager.
Rafe had caught her once and lectured her for half an hour, just as he was sure to reprimand her now, except she was twenty-five, not fifteen, and she didn’t have to listen.
She turned and flopped down on the steps. Sneaking in wouldn’t do any good; he would have known she was here the instant the taxi passed through the gates. Besides, a part of her longed for the confrontation, wanted to fight with him. How many minutes before he came to find her?
“Are you happy now?” his voice boomed from the doorway behind her.
Seconds. Not minutes. He must have been really mad.
“Nope. You made sure of that.” She stood and faced him, hands on her hips. He’d shed his jacket and tie, and his white dress shirt was unbuttoned at the top with the cuffs rolled back along his forearms.
He gesticulated wildly, the Italian in him coming out as he descended the stairs. “All I try to do is protect you. I pay a lot of money to keep the family secure, and like it or not, you are part of this family. There have been threats against us over the years.”
“And when I’m not part of this family? When I belong somewhere else? Will you be breathing down my neck then?”
“I do not breathe down your neck, and you will not belong anywhere else but with me.”
She snorted in disbelief and stormed up the stairs toward the villa. “Oh really? Then why did I just have a lovely evening chatting with an even lovelier man? And why am I seeing him again the next chance I get?” The lie niggled, but no way in hell would she tell him she’d turned the other man’s dinner invitation down.
He was hot on her heels and slammed the door shut behind them once they were inside. “Is that what you did tonight? You went on a date?”
In the middle of the foyer, beneath the elegant crystal chandelier, she spun toward him. “Whatever it was, it was fun, and he never once forbid me to touch him or pushed me away or played hot and cold like an indecisive jerk.”
“You touched him?” Fire burned beneath his rigid tone, getting hotter by the second.
She threw her hands in the air. “Oh for crying out loud, Rafe, you missed the point. I will not let you continue to treat me the way you do. You want me, come and get me. At your own risk. And be prepared for all kinds of loud, emotional scenes, because I’m through placating you.”
His brow rose. “When did you ever placate me?”
“All. The. Time. Our whole relationship was about me giving in to you. But I am now officially back on the market, so get used to me dating, because there are men out there who want me to love them and will love me back.”
Rafe took a step toward her. “I’ll say it again—you will not be with anyone but me.”
She took a step toward him, matching his belligerent pose. “Does that mean you’re madly in love with me? Because that’s what it’s going to take.”
The silence lengthened, and she watched his eyes storm and his mouth harden. Finally she tossed her head. “I didn’t think so.” Turning on her heel, she clicked across the marble floor, toward the stairs.
Jerk. How dare he dictate to her when he couldn’t step up to the plate? And why the hell had she wanted him to? Again.
Damn it, this was the very last time.
But her ears perked, listening for any sound of pursuit, wanting to continue the confrontation that in two seconds had stirred more in her than an hour of flirting with a good-looking stranger.
Her breath caught, but she kept going, one step after the other, fighting the urge to turn and demand he come to her—submit to her.
God, she was as bad as he was. Everything between them was so primal.
She was almost at the top of the stairs when heavy feet pounded behind her, across the marble, and up the stairway. Her adrenaline surged and every nerve ending came to life. She sprinted the last few steps and raced down the hall toward her bedroom. He easily caught up as she teetered on her heels.
Reaching the safety of her bedroom, she slammed the door shut, but it bounced open off his shoe. Breath rasping through her lungs, she spun around, retreating farther into the room as he shut the door, then advanced toward her, nostrils flaring like a stallion approaching his mare.
Her back hit the wall, and she pressed against it. He kept coming, his stare pinning her in place, demanding her capitulation. Closing her eyes, she arched her neck and let her lips fall open—the sexual pull between them too strong to resist.
She didn’t want to resist.
Then he was there, caging her with his arms, enveloping her with his heat as the hard length of his body melded with hers. His erection jutted against her pelvis, making her knees weak and the muscles in her stomach contract. His breath stirred the tiny tendrils of hair at her temple.
They stayed that way for a while, absorbing each other. Then his hand cupped her nape. “Open your eyes.”
She did, slowly. It felt like lead weights were attached to the lids. His gaze burned into her, dark and feral. Color scored his cheeks.
“Say it,” he ordered, voice rough.
The connection from her brain to her tongue was fuzzy, and she licked her lips. He watched the movement intently.
“Damn it, Sarika, say it!”
She knew what he wanted, but that spark of resistance still burned. “I won’t beg for it. You’re asking too much.”
“You’re asking for everything.”
“Damn right I am! You want me to ask you to kiss me? Fine.” Her back arched, and she rubbed her breasts against his chest. “Please, Rafe. Kiss. My. Ass.”
He leaned down, a tight smile on his lips. “I’m going to kiss a hell of a lot more than that, princess.”
Then his mouth crushed hers, hot and demanding.