Becoming Dante(7)

By: Day Leclaire

 He didn’t give her time to come up with any further arguments. He ushered her from the office, then from the building, and into his car for the drive to Medina. They accomplished the vast portion of the trip in taut silence, whatever slumbered between them seething just beneath the surface, slowly intensifying until it reached almost unbearable levels.

 They pulled into the drive of the sprawling estate fronting Lake Washington and Kat spared him a swift, startled glance. “It’s beautiful,” she murmured. Could she sound any more surprised?

 “Wait until you see the views of the lake.”

 He led the way to the front door, entered his code and, without giving Kat warning, swept her into his arms and carried her over the threshold. The instant he set her on her feet, she attempted to pull away, but he didn’t give her the chance.

 “Welcome to my home, Ms. Malloy.”

 He could never explain what happened next, what sort of insanity seized him. He heard the voice in his head again, the dark, insidious voice that echoed with unmistakable demand. Take the woman! She’s the one. Maybe he caved to temptation because he’d wanted her from the instant she’d walked into his office on those sexy peep-toed Valentino pumps with their “screw the world” siren-red spike heels. Or maybe he did it because she so clearly didn’t want him. Or maybe it was to make a statement about who would be in charge of this unholy union  . Whatever the reason, he took her hand in his to yank her into his arms. At the same instant, he lowered his head and took her mouth in a kiss of sheer demand.

 The moment their hands and lips touched, passion exploded, a spark that flared to life, followed by a burn of need that flashed between them, melded them, connected them in a way he’d never experienced before. It flashed from mouth to fingertip before centering in his palm and sinking inward, straight through to his bones where it became part of the very fabric of his being. Desire crashed down on him, so insistent and undeniable that it took every ounce of the ice-cold discipline he was renowned for to keep himself under some semblance of control. To stop himself from carrying her off to his bedroom and consummating her proposal in every conceivable way.

 And in that moment Gabe discovered that he couldn’t maintain his self-control. Didn’t want to. He deepened the kiss and allowed the insanity to consume him. More than anything he was driven to put his mark on her, brand her with his possession. To claim her for his own.

 His woman. His future fiancée. His mate.

 The one.


 Kat had no idea what Gabe Moretti had done to her.

 A kiss. Just a simple kiss. That’s all it should have been.

 But the instant his lips touched hers, desire crashed down on her, a desire unlike anything she’d ever experienced before. One minute she’d been her own person, and the next she’d become someone else, someone who burned. Who needed. Who wanted with every fiber of her being.

 No man had ever touched her like this. Not physically. Not emotionally. She’d worked so hard to protect herself, to build barriers that resisted all attempts to get too close. And yet, with one kiss this man—her soon-to-be fiancé—had swept away those barriers as though they were no more than flimsy tissue paper. How was it possible?

 Even more distressing was the kiss itself, a kiss that actually sparked and burned, as though she’d touched a live wire. A kiss that had her sinking into him, opening to him, giving herself without thought or hesitation. If he chose to strip her naked right there in the foyer, she wouldn’t have lifted a finger to stop him. Wouldn’t? Couldn’t. She could no more control her reaction to him than she could control the ebb and flow of the tide or the rising and setting of the sun.

 He deepened the kiss and she yielded to him, allowed the insanity to consume her. She wanted him to put his mark on her, brand her with his possession. Claim her for his own.

 He was her man. Her future fiancé. Her mate.

 The one.

 The instant the thought settled, she fought it. With a sharp cry, she wriggled free of Gabe’s arms, even though it felt as though she were ripping away part of herself. She took a stumbling step backward. Then another and another until she felt the solid wood of his front door pressing against her spine.

 No. Oh, no, no, no. How could she start over, wipe the slate clean, if she gave herself to this man? He belonged to an unwelcome past, along with Jessa and the scandal. Kat’s plan from the start was to cut those ties and knot each and every dangling thread. Becoming engaged to Gabe had been part of that plan, but a temporary part, discarded as quickly as possible with no emotional involvement. Instead, those ties wrapped around her, tightening until she strangled beneath their pull and drag. Somehow, she’d lost who she was and who she’d meant to become, trapped within a web of Gabe’s making, one of dark desire and need.

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