Lone Star Seduction(8)

By: Day Leclaire

She attempted to escape the couch, but he held her in place, refusing to give her the breathing room she needed so desperately. “Of course I’m talking about the bet. The one you made with Rodriquez.”

“I’ve always been curious.” He tilted his head to one side while he studied her. “How, precisely, did your father learn of this bet?”

She stirred uncomfortably. “Word gets around, Alex. People…people brag.”

“Meaning, I must have bragged, because I was so proud of having won this bet. So, first I coaxed you into my bed on a dare and then I boasted about my success when it proved so easy?” He ignored her flinch. “Yes, I see that’s what you believe. Because that was the sort of man I was. A man who steals innocence and brags of his misdeeds. A man who lies and cheats to get what he wants.”

“Don’t do this, Alejandro.”

But he didn’t relent. “And because I was this liar, this cheat, this ruiner of all pure and wholesome, your father lashed out at—not just me—but my family, as well. As payback for having the audacity to touch you, he left my sister homeless and caused my mother to work herself into an early grave. This is the man you defend, dulzura?”

She would have covered her ears if she could have. But he continued to hold her, forcing her to hear each hideous word. “Don’t. Don’t call me that. You don’t have the right. Not any longer.”

It was the wrong thing to say. “I’ve never had the right, have I?” he demanded in a harsh voice. “Even though you took me into your bed, you still felt guilty. Tarnished.”

“That’s not true,” she instantly denied. “I loved you.”

“The housekeeper’s son.”

How could he think such a thing? She’d never felt that way. Never. “I didn’t care. It didn’t matter.”

His eyes blazed. “You mean it doesn’t matter now. Now that I have money and status and a ranch that rivals any in Maverick County.” With a muttered curse, he ripped at the knot anchoring his tie as though it were strangling him, and removed the gold tie tack. Up close, she realized it was a beautifully scripted M. He slipped it into his pocket before leaning in. “And now I have the power to determine your father’s future…as well as your own.”

None of this made sense. Not any of it. “My father is renowned for his investment acumen. His business abilities are unparalleled. Why in the world would he need to embezzle money from the club?” Rebecca demanded. “Obviously, there’s been some sort of mistake.”

“You’re right. There has. And your father made it. Even worse, he made it right in front of me, where I could have the pleasure of playing sheriff to his bank robber.”

She moistened her lips while she struggled to find some answer to his accusation. In response, a flame of desire licked across his expression. Just like that, time slowed and her world tipped in a new and dangerous direction. It was as though all her senses grew more acute and intensely focused, consumed by her reaction to one man.

Alejandro Montoya.

Sound dampened. The only whisper slipping through was the labored give and take of their breath. She inhaled sharply, but all that did was fill her lungs with his unique scent, something crisp and spicy. Exotic. His hands tightened on her arms and she remembered how they’d felt against her skin all those years ago. Strong, when they swept her up and carried her to his bed. Tender, when he’d undressed her and caressed parts of her no man had seen or touched until that moment. Gentle, when he’d mated his body to hers and taught her a passion she’d only dreamed about.

Rebecca’s surroundings melted and all she could see was Alex. He became her universe. He leaned in, so slowly she couldn’t mistake his intent. So slowly, that she could have avoided the embrace if she’d truly wanted to. She didn’t. She wished she could have claimed it was simple curiosity. But it went far beyond that. She needed to know, once and for all, whether the heat between them was real, or mere shadows of what they’d once shared.

“Dulzura…” he murmured.

And then he consumed her. How could she have forgotten how it had been between them? Or perhaps she hadn’t forgotten. Living without him and what he’d given her had been too painful to bear, so she’d pushed the memories from her mind as an act of self-protection. Now those memories came crashing down, ripping her apart like shards of broken glass.

His mouth shifted over hers, firm and experienced, with more assurance than ever. Where before he’d coax her lips apart, this time he demanded. She didn’t want to resist, it seemed so pointless. So she didn’t. Her mouth parted beneath his and she shuddered in the taking, the clever parry of tongue and nip of teeth, combined with the sweet, sweet flavor of him.

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