Back in her husband's bed(2)

By: Andrea Laurence

 Annie grasped her red leather handbag and strolled to the exit with Nate quick on her heels. He moved alongside her, scooping her elbow up with a firm hand and guiding her toward the elevator.

 “Take your hands off me,” she hissed through gritted teeth. She tugged against his grasp, but it was futile.

 Nate couldn’t contain a chuckle. “I will not. You and I both know what happened the last time I did that. If you’d prefer, I could have security escort you upstairs instead.”

 She came to a sudden stop, jerking Nate to turn back to her. Her azure-blue eyes were alight with anger. They penetrated him, a connection forming between them with a sudden snap of electricity. “You wouldn’t dare,” she said.

 God, she was still beautiful. Nate felt the familiar pull in his gut, the heat flooding his groin. The sexual spark had always been there; it was what brought them together. It just couldn’t keep them together. It pissed him off that he still reacted to her like this after everything she’d done.

 “I wouldn’t?” Nate retorted. Annie didn’t know him at all. He leaned down, his face inches from hers. “You wanna call my bluff?” Nate didn’t wait for an answer but quickly turned and tugged her behind him.

 Annie silenced her protests and stopped resisting his pull. He didn’t let go until they stepped off the elevator at his suite. She pulled away, turning left toward his office and dropping angrily onto the leather sofa.

 “So?” she asked. “You’ve dragged me up here and cost me a five-thousand-dollar hand. What do you want?”

 Nate avoided the couch, opting instead to lean against the large mahogany desk that had once been his grandfather’s. He crossed his arms over his chest and took a deep breath. “I have a proposition for you, Barbara Ann.”

 Annie arched her eyebrow suspiciously at him, obviously not caring for his use of her given name. “You don’t have anything I want, Nathan, or my lawyer would’ve asked for it already.”

 “That’s not true. I can give you the one thing you’ve wanted for the last three years—a divorce.”

 Her blue gaze searched his face, probably looking for the catch. “You and your lawyer have been stonewalling the process for years. You’ve cost me a fortune in legal fees. And now you’re just going to wrap it up in a bow and give it to me?”

 “Not exactly.” Nate smiled and turned to the bar to pour himself a scotch. He’d let her stew awhile and prolong the torture. She’d made him wait long enough. “Drink?” he offered with his glass held up, more out of politeness than a desire to be truly hospitable.

 “You know I don’t drink.”

 Nate stiffened. He’d forgotten. She hated the way alcohol made her feel out of control. It was amazing how the details could slip your mind when you were apart. What else had he forgotten? “A soda, then? Water?”

 “No, I’m fine, thank you.”

 Nate dropped ice cubes into his own glass and nodded before pouring the golden liquid over it. “Very well.” He took a sip, appreciating the warm sensation it lit in his stomach. It fueled his resolve and distracted him from the pangs of lust he was determined to ignore.

 It was getting harder every minute he spent with her. There was something about Annie that made his blood sing. It was more than just her exotic beauty or her shrewd intelligence. He could still feel the silky slide of her ebony hair across his bare chest as she hovered over him. The musical sound of her laughter. All together it was an intoxicating combination. Just being around her again was enough to ignite the flames of his desire.

 And then he would remember that she wanted a divorce. That she had left him in the night after less than two weeks of marriage without a word until he was served the papers.

 He supposed he should be grateful that Annie had bothered to file for divorce. His mother hadn’t gone to the trouble. She’d just disappeared and sent his father into a spiral of depression that nearly destroyed the Desert Sapphire and his grandfather’s legacy with it. Nate was stronger than that. He’d rebuilt the hotel and helped transform the industry, even as she’d left him. He wasn’t about to be broken by a woman.

 Even one as breathtaking as Annie.

 She watched him warily from her seat as he walked toward her and leisurely sipped his drink. “I know you haven’t had a sudden change of heart. So what’s going on?”

 He certainly hadn’t. Honestly, it pained him to finally give her what she wanted, but the tournament was more important. The organization that sponsored the most prestigious poker tournament in the industry had a long-standing agreement with another casino. To lure them to the Desert Sapphire, it had taken him three years and a few promises he needed Annie to help him keep.

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