Seduced by the HeirBy: Pamela Yaye
Rafael parted his lips, but his brain froze. Nothing came out. Not a word, not a squeak. Paris took his breath away—literally—and it demanded every ounce of his self-control not to sweep her up in his arms for a kiss. His tongue suddenly felt too big for his mouth, and it hurt to swallow. Struck dumb, he couldn’t think of a single thing to say.
Rafael wanted to smack himself hard upside the head. What’s the matter with you, man? Why are you standing here gawking at her? She dumped you, remember?
Standing tall, he masked his unease with a smile and slid his hands into the pockets of his dress pants. Damn, Paris made him feel nineteen again—like that quiet, socially awkward teenager who used to carry her books and walk her to class. But I’m not a kid anymore, he told himself, in an effort to bolster his confidence. I’m an accomplished businessman who out earns the president, so why the hell am I acting like a flustered, jittery fool?
“There you are. We’ve been looking all over for you.”
Rafael turned, saw his brothers and shot them a puzzled look.
“Ms., do you mind if I steal my brother away for a few minutes?” Nicco asked.
“No, not at all. He’s all yours.” Paris placed her empty glass on the bar and tucked her purse under her arm. “It was great seeing you again, Rafael. Take care.”
As she turned away, Rafael caught sight of the massive diamond ring on her left hand. Knowing that she belonged to another man should have tempered his desire, but it didn’t. Paris was a stunner, hands down the most beautiful woman in the vicinity, and he hated to see her go.
“Damn, bro, are you okay?”
“Yeah, Demetri, I’m fine, but I wished you hadn’t interrupted us.”
Nicco wiped imaginary sweat off his forehead. “Thank God we did. You were drowning fast, bro. Five more minutes and you probably would have fainted at her feet!”
His brothers chuckled, but Rafael didn’t appreciate their laughter at his expense. He wanted them to disappear, so he could track Paris down. She was married, and likely had children, but he’d rather spend time with her than with his wisecracking brothers. “All right, I admit it, seeing Paris again threw me off my game, but—”
“That was Paris St. Clair? The girl you were obsessed with in college?”
Rafael scowled. “Demetri, you’re exaggerating. I wasn’t obsessed with her.”
“Yes, you were,” Nicco argued, his tone matter-of-fact. “You wrote her love letters every day, and you slept with her picture under your pillow!”
“That was then, and this is now.”
Demetri wore a skeptical look. “Are you sure? Because you were crushing on her pretty hard a few minutes ago.”
“No, I wasn’t. I was just making conversation.”
Nicco chuckled long and hard. “You weren’t. You were drooling like a Doberman with a raw steak bone!”
“Why didn’t you tell me you invited Rafael Morretti to your wedding?” Paris burst into the master bedroom on the second floor of the twelve-room villa and cornered her best friend, Cassandra Knight, inside the enormous walk-in closet. “I almost fainted when I saw him!”
“What’s the matter? Why are you so upset?”
Stumped, Paris closed her mouth. What am I supposed to say? Seeing Rafael left me rattled. I’m still attracted to him. He’s even more handsome at thirty-six than he was at nineteen.... Since she couldn’t find the right words to express her feelings, she said nothing.
“You two should get along great. He’s half Italian, and you love pasta, and Godfather movies. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me!”
“Knock it off,” Paris snapped, annoyed by her friend’s teasing. “This is serious.”
Cassandra’s face softened and she wore a sympathetic smile. “I know what this is about. You propositioned him and he shot you down, didn’t he? I told you girl, less is more—”
“Rafael did not shoot me down.”
Cassandra belted her robe and returned to the master bedroom. “Then why are you ranting and raving about a guy you just met?”
I know him better than you think, Paris thought, ambling over to the window. Pulling back the bronze drapes, she searched the grounds of the villa for her first love. Reuniting with her old college sweetheart had stirred powerful feelings inside her, but even more shocking was the impulse she felt to jump his bones. Maybe celibacy isn’t such a good idea. I’m so horny I’m fantasizing about a guy I dumped fifteen years ago!