Millionaire Under the MistletoeBy: Tessa Radley
“Thank you.” A flush of pleasure lit Miranda’s cheeks, making her look even more downright sexy. “May I suggest a Sauterne or ice wine to accompany it?”
“Ooh, I’ll have ice wine. Sounds delicious.”
“I’ll bring you a clean glass.” Miranda stretched past Callum to remove Petra’s wineglass. The tension within him twisted higher as she brushed against him. When she reached forward, the black fabric of her dress tightened across the gentle valley of her belly, accentuating the feminine indent of her waist and the rounded curve of her hip. He couldn’t tear his gaze away.
She straightened. “What would you like?”
What would he like?
Thank God she couldn’t read his mind. She’d run a mile. He glanced up and connected with the melting eyes that so entranced him. Prosaically, she repeated the choices.
“Crème caramel, please,” he muttered, his throat suddenly thick as a mental image of himself offering her a spoonful of the rich dessert flashed through his mind. He visualized her pink tongue delicately licking the creamy texture off the spoon, her lashes flicking up. Her eyes, glowing and golden, promising him untold delights and—
“All?” he croaked, then realized his eyes were raking her body, so he jerked his attention away.
It wasn’t all; he wanted so much more…
God, this was stupid! And the sparks had been sizzling ever since she had arrived earlier in the evening. He’d found himself hanging around the kitchen—he’d offered her a glass of Merlot to give himself an excuse to watch her—until the arrival of the two women he’d hired to serve his guests had sent him scuttling for his study and a shot of whiskey.
He’d been grateful when his half brothers, Jack and Hunter, had arrived with their dinner partners so that he could escape her thrall. Gordon and Petra had come soon after.
There was nothing special about Miranda. She wasn’t nearly as beautiful as Petra—and she was extremely prickly and difficult—yet she intrigued him.
When last had he experienced anything like this?
Guilt ate at him. He was conscious of the ring he’d chosen lying heavy in his pocket. How the hell was he supposed to propose to Petra when his headspace was full of Miranda?
He glanced around the table, claustrophobia closing in on him. His brother, Fraser, gave him a grin.
This was his coup—he’d organized every last detail. There’d always been healthy competition between him and his brother, Fraser, and his two half brothers. Being the youngest of the four, he’d been last to make it onto the board of the company. But he’d intended to be the first to marry.
Yet now that the time had come to propose to Petra…he couldn’t. Instead he wanted to bolt.
Perhaps this inexplicable crazy lust for Miranda was nothing more than a flight response to his carefully planned siege of Petra.
He drew a gulp of air in relief. Fear. That’s what this was. It wasn’t about Miranda at all—she was simply a convenient excuse.
He gave Petra an uncomfortable smile. “Enjoying yourself?”
Her father leaned forward. “We all are.”
A chorus of agreement followed.
“Such a pity the snowed-up roads prevented your parents from joining us.”
Callum seized on his parents’ absence. How could he announce his engagement without them present? They’d never forgive him. He scanned the faces around the table. Everyone was having a fantastic time—except for him.
Under Petra’s smile, he shifted. He knew Gordon had great expectations for this relationship with Petra. Callum hadn’t slept with her yet, though both he and Petra had known they were headed for the bedroom; he’d wanted the contracts signed…and a ring on her finger first.
He stuck one hand into his jacket pocket.
“Crème caramel,” Miranda announced.
Just her husky tone was enough to make him start at the want that resurged. Taking his hand out of his pocket, he stared at the dessert she’d placed on the starched white-damask tablecloth in front of him. Creamy custard…and caramelized sugar the same rich golden brown as her eyes.
He picked up a spoon.
The dessert was smooth on his tongue. Sweet and silky. With a hint of vanilla. The caramel rich and tangy.