A Royal Temptation(8)

By: Charlene Sands



 And she didn’t want to be the amoeba next to him.

 Coffee was served, along with fresh handmade tortillas, butter and a bowl of cut fruit. “Looks delicious,” Juan Carlos said to Matteo.

 “Please, is there anything else I can bring you while the meal is cooking?”

 “This is perfect. Don’t you agree, Portia?”

 She nodded and smiled at the owner.

 When Matteo left the room she continued to smile. “You’re kind. He will always remember this day because you put him at ease.”

 Travis Miles had been kind, too, in the beginning.

 “Now who is being kind?” he asked.

 “I’m just speaking the truth. You’ll impact a great many lives.”

 “In a positive way, I hope and pray.”

 “Kind,” she repeated. “You care about the people in the country.”

 “Thank you.” His incredibly warm brown eyes softened and her stomach did a little flip.

 She buttered a tortilla, rolled it up and took a few bites. She sipped coffee and asked Juan Carlos a few pointed questions about his life to keep the conversation flowing and her mind off the fact that King Montoro was a hunk.

 The meal was delivered with fanfare. Matteo and his staff put out the dishes in sweeping motions and finally left them to dine privately. The food was delicious. The main dish consisted of bits of sautéed pork topped with eggs and lathered with a creamy, mildly spicy sauce. There was also some type of sweet corn soufflé served inside the husks, as well as caramelized plantains. Every bite she took rewarded her taste buds. “Mmm...this is heavenly.”

 Juan Carlos nodded, his mouth full.

 As he chewed, his gaze remained on her. He had warm, luxurious, intense eyes that didn’t stray. Goose bumps rode up and down her arms. As far as men went, Juan Carlos had it all, except for one thing. His fatal flaw. He was king. And that meant after today, she couldn’t see him again.

 “So what are your plans for the rest of the day?” he asked.

 “Oh, I’m, uh, going to...” She really didn’t have any plans. Maybe do a little shopping. Check out the only art museum in the city. “I’ll be packing.”

 “That can’t take all day.”

 “I wouldn’t think so.”

 “Would you consider having dinner with me?”

 No. No. No. “I really shouldn’t.”

 Juan Carlos leaned back in his seat, studying her. “Do you have a man in your life, Portia?”

 Slowly, she shook her head. She felt a trap coming.

 “No one? I find that hard to believe. Do you date?”

 “Rarely. My career is demanding. And it’s very important to me. I’ve worked hard to get where I am.”

 “Admirable. Are you working tonight?”

 “No, but I...”

 He grinned. “I’m only asking for a dinner date, Portia.”

 Her shoulders sagged an inch. A barely noticeable move, but she felt the defeat all the way down to her toes. She couldn’t insult the king. “Then, yes, I’ll have dinner with you.”

 After the meal, Juan Carlos escorted her to the limo. She took a seat at the far window and he climbed in after her. To his credit, he didn’t crowd her, leaving a modest amount of space between them. But as the car took off, he placed his hand over hers on the empty seat, and wild pings of awareness shot through her body.

 Don’t let him get to you, Portia.

 He’s not the man for you.

 As the limo pulled up to the hotel, Juan Carlos spoke to the driver. “Give us a minute please, Roberto.”

 The driver’s door opened and closed quietly. Silence filled the air and suddenly she did feel crowded, though Juan Carlos hadn’t made a move toward her. “I cannot walk you to your door, Princess.”

 “I understand.”

 “Do you? Do you know how much I want to?” His eyes were down, gazing at her hand as his thumb worked circles over her fingers. Her nerves jumped, like kernels of corn popping in a fry pan, one right after the other. “I don’t want to cause you any inconvenience.”

 “I...know.”

 He tugged her hand gently and she fell forward, closing the gap between them. His dark-fringed eyelids lifted; she was struck by all-consuming heat. He wasn’t moving a muscle, but leaving it up to her. As if she had a choice now. As if she could deny him. His mesmerizing hunger was contagious; years of abstinence made her hungry, as well. Her gaze lowered to his mouth. Lord in heaven, she wanted his kiss.

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