Untouched by His Diamonds

By: Lucy Ellis

‘Wow,’ she said inadequately as she stepped into sheer luxury. ‘This is—incredible.’

The extravagance of the hotel suite was another reminder of exactly who Serge was. A rich man. Who could buy a great deal to keep himself happy. No doubt including women.

But not this woman. She needed to make that very clear to him. Somehow.

‘I’m not that impressed, you know. Money doesn’t do it for me.’

‘What does do it for you, Clementine?’ He was smiling at her, that big lazy Russian male smile, as if he knew something she didn’t.

‘Honesty,’ she replied. ‘Sincerity.’

The smile darkened to something else.

She’d surprised him.






CHAPTER ONE


CLEMENTINE did a double-take in front of the ornate windows, almost pressing her nose up to the glass.

Lust—that was what she was feeling. Unadulterated desire.

In the window sat her Anna Karenina fantasy. Thigh-high, fur-lined, suede Russian boots.

She told herself she was only in St Petersburg for one more day after today. She deserved something to remember it by.

Five minutes later she was standing on the worn raspberry-coloured carpet inside, sliding one stockinged foot and then the other into her dream. She felt like Cinderella trying on her glass slippers. The real test was zipping them up above her knees. She was six feet tall and her legs held much of her height. She had shape to them. She had shape to all of her.

She almost gave a whoop of delight when the boots zipped up a treat.

The girl kneeling before her lifted the flaps. ‘They can go higher. Shall we try?’

She spoke English, but in these luxury stores everybody did.

Without hesitation Clementine hitched up her burgundy leather skirt, feeling slightly naughty as she flashed her suspenders. She reached down and pulled the fur-lined suede up and up, to kiss the fleshy curve of her inner thigh.

Her legs looked impossibly long with the leather skirt clinging to her hips. Absorbed in her own reflection, she slung out a leg and stroked the fur meditatively. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a flash of movement behind her in the mirror, and looked up to collide with the gaze of a man standing by the door.

He wasn’t idling in the doorway, lurking. He was purposefully filling the space. Announcing his presence up front. Owning it.

And he was looking right at her.

He had to have a head of height on her, and he was built to go with it, and Clementine would bet her last pair of designer knickers on that size being one hundred per cent lean muscle.

He was quite a sight. They didn’t make men like that any more.

Maybe they had in earlier centuries, when Russian men went into battle with muskets, or even earlier when they needed to club things and skin animals to feed their families. Oh, yes, she could imagine him half naked and marked by claw-marks across his back and chest, bestriding the steppes. In fact—she nibbled her bottom lip—she could imagine that quite vividly.

But nowadays, in an age of technology and convenience and the liberation of women, you just didn’t need men like this any more.

Except in bed. An unexpected flush of warmth moved through her body.

Imagine if he laid his hands on you.

Imagine if it was him adjusting the tops of your boots.

Her eyes flicked to the mirror and registered that the Cossack hadn’t shifted an inch, but instinctively she just knew he’d moved some muscles because the look on his face mirrored her own: unadulterated fascination. With her. Male, down-and-dirty fascination. As if she was his own personal little sex show.

Clementine felt his eyes on her like a slow burn, sliding straight up the inside of her bare, exposed leg. It was that good, and almost as tantalising as being touched.

She should cover herself up, but after a year of keeping herself nice she was enjoying the attention. It was harmless. If this guy wanted to look, let him look. It wasn’t as if he could put his hands on her. They were strangers. It was a public place. She was safe.

She was enjoying it.

She bent down, nice and slow, folding over one fur flap to reveal the length of her bare upper thigh and then the other. Then she ever so slowly tugged down the leather bunched at her hips and lengthened her skirt, inch by inch, as she had seen so many models do for the camera, until she was decently covered.

There. Show over.

Time to pay for the beauties, head back to the rats’ nest where she was staying and catch up on some sleep. Except when she looked back at the mirror the Cossack was still there, holding up the world on those big shoulders. He’d folded his arms and Clementine registered powerful muscle under the strain of his jacket.

Her pulse leapt. He was every woman’s fantasy, and also a little bit scary—not only because of his size. With his clear intent she got the absolute impression he was waiting for her.

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