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Мортимер Кэрол

A Bargain with the Enemy

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Конец ознакомительного фрагмента.



‘Hmm?’ Gabriel couldn’t look up from the mesmerising view he currently had of Bryn’s breasts, full and perfect breasts, tipped by rosy areolas and plump nipples. Rapidly firming nipples that deepened in colour even as he continued to gaze at them.

‘Mr D’Angelo? Gabriel!’ Bryn’s voice became more urgent as he failed to respond.

Gabriel ran the tip of his tongue moistly over his lips as he imagined taking those nipples into his mouth and suckling hungrily, his roused shaft instantly throbbing its approval of the idea. ‘You aren’t wearing a bra....’

‘No. I—’

‘Do you intend to wear this blouse to work today?’ He scowled at the thought of Bryn’s seminaked breasts being ogled by other men across the counter of a high-street coffee shop.

‘We’re all required to wear a black T-shirt with the franchise logo on it,’ Bryn answered him dismissively. ‘And will you please get up!’ She grasped hold of his arm and tried to pull him to his feet.

A move that jiggled those plumped and roused breasts temptingly in front of Gabriel’s heated gaze. If he just moved forward, ever so slightly, he would be able to put his mouth on them and actually taste—

‘Damn it, Gabriel, someone is knocking on the door!’ Bryn hissed. The urgency of her tone, as much as the words, finally broke through Gabriel’s sexual haze, causing him to frown darkly as he realised exactly what he was doing. What he had been thinking of doing.

And with whom....

Bryn breathed out shakily as Gabriel finally rose abruptly to his feet, running his fingers impatiently through his hair as he shot her a scowling glance before striding across the room to wrench open the outer door.

‘I’m sorry, Mr D’Angelo, I didn’t realise Miss Jones was still here.’ The receptionist took a wary step back as she obviously saw and recognised the aggression in Gabriel’s scowling expression.

‘Good to see you again, Gabriel!’ The elderly man at the receptionist’s side appeared less concerned as he greeted the younger man warmly before stepping into the room and giving Bryn a friendly if curious glance. ‘Are you going to introduce me to your young lady?’ he prompted Gabriel.

‘I’m just Mr D’Angelo’s previous appointment,’ Bryn supplied quickly, dismissing even the suggestion of her and the arrogant Gabriel D’Angelo ever being a couple. ‘And I’ve already taken up far too much of his time,’ she added lightly as she joined them near the open doorway before turning a cool gaze on the still-frowning Gabriel.

Damn it, she was doing her best to allay the speculation she had seen in the receptionist’s eyes and the curiosity in Gabriel’s visitor’s. The least Gabriel could do was try to reciprocate rather than continuing to scowl his irritation at the interruption!

An interruption of what? Bryn wondered....

There had been no doubting the hunger she had seen in those seductive eyes as Gabriel had looked at her breasts so appreciatively, or the flush of arousal high in those sculptured cheeks as he had begun to lean towards her. Evidence that, if they hadn’t been interrupted by the knock on the door, he would have acted on that unmistakable hunger, and actually kissed her breasts? Perhaps more than kissed them?

Bryn felt her knees go weak just thinking of having those sculptured lips latching on to her aroused nipple, suckling deeply, his tongue a hot and arousing rasp—

‘Bryn, this is Lord David Simmons.’ Gabriel’s voice was harsh as he made the introduction. ‘David, this is Bryn Jones.’ His tone softened to politeness. ‘One of the six artists whose paintings will be appearing in the New Artists Exhibition next month.’

‘Indeed?’ David Simmons’ warm blue eyes lit up with pleasure as he and Bryn shook hands. ‘I’m very much looking forward to attending the exhibition,’ he informed Bryn warmly as he retained a hold on her hand. ‘I flew over to Paris two months ago to attend the New Artists Exhibition at the Archangel Gallery there, and I can assure you you’re in good hands with Gabriel here. He has a definite eye for recognising new talent.’

Bryn’s smile froze on her lips, not just at being told she was in good hands with Gabriel but also because she knew, only too well, that Gabriel had a definite eye for spotting a forgery too. She released her hand from David Simmons’.

‘Then no doubt I’ll see you again next month, Lord Simmons—’

‘Please, call me David,’ he invited warmly.

‘Bryn,’ she returned tautly, very much aware of Gabriel’s brooding presence beside her. ‘Now, if you will all excuse me..

.? I have another appointment as well.’

Gabriel knew Bryn’s other ‘appointment’ was her shift at the coffee shop, a fact that still displeased him greatly. His bad mood was added to by the way David Simmons, a man old enough to be Bryn’s grandfather, had maintained far too long a hold of her hand when introduced.

‘Linda, please make an appointment for Miss Jones, before she leaves, for her to see Eric on Monday,’ Gabriel instructed abruptly.

‘Certainly, Mr D’Angelo,’ the receptionist responded brightly.

Bryn blinked her long lashes. ‘May I ask what for?’

Gabriel’s mouth tightened. ‘We need more personal information and photographs for the catalogue we’re sending out to existing clients—as I believe we discussed earlier?’

Her cheeks coloured slightly at the rebuke, and a flash of anger illuminated her eyes. ‘Obviously I must have been so overwhelmed at being told I was one of the six artists chosen for the exhibition that I didn’t hear all the details that followed.’

Some of Gabriel’s tension eased as he saw the continued anger in Bryn’s eyes accompany her too-sweetly-made statement. It also reminded him that Bryn had actually been physically ill, rather than ‘overwhelmed’, once he had fully explained her inclusion in the exhibition, a nausea she had no doubt still been suffering from when the two of them had sat down together and discussed the details of what still had to be done before the exhibition.

Not to mention the distracting attention he had given her breasts a few minutes ago!

Not that Gabriel was particularly proud of that lapse; he had recognised five years ago that she represented a danger to his self-control, and his meeting today with the older and more self-assured—even more beautiful!—Bryn Jones had shown him that danger still existed. Very much so...

Perhaps he should have taken Rafe’s advice after all and stayed well away from Bryn Jones.

‘Just make the appointment, Bryn,’ he bit out tersely. ‘I’ll instruct Eric that he needs to explain those details to you again on Monday.’

She turned to give the older man a warm smile. ‘It was a pleasure to meet you, Lord Simmons. Mr D’Angelo.’ Her voice had noticeably cooled, and there was no smile, or mention of her feeling any of that same pleasure in meeting Gabriel.

‘Pretty girl,’ David Simmons remarked as the two men watched Bryn join Linda out in the hallway before closing the door firmly behind her.

‘Linda?’ Gabriel deliberately misunderstood the older man.

David gave him a knowing glance. ‘Does Miss Jones paint as beautifully as she looks?’

‘More so, if anything,’ Gabriel answered truthfully; Bryn’s work really was exceptional, and he had no doubt that David Simmons would recognise that talent as easily as he had, and would most likely be happy to buy one of her paintings in the exhibition next month.

‘Interesting...’ The older man nodded as he followed Gabriel to the seating area in front of the window.

It wasn’t until much later, after his business with David had been concluded and Linda had escorted the older man down the stairs that Gabriel was able to pause and replay his meeting with Bryn from earlier.

The prickly outspokenness she had been unable to hide had shown that she hadn’t even begun to forgive him for the part he had played in her father’s downfall. A defensive manner that was also an indication of the resentment she felt at having to be even slightly beholden to the D’Angelo family—clearly telling Gabriel that Bryn wouldn’t have entered the New Artists competition, or the Archangel Gallery, if she hadn’t considered it the very last resort. It was—

A glance across the office showed something glinting from beneath one of the armchairs. A something that, upon closer inspection, proved to be an item that he knew must have fallen out of Bryn’s handbag earlier.

* * *

‘And what can I get you to drink this evening— Gabriel?’ The last word came out much louder than Bryn would have wished after glancing up and seeing that her next customer was Gabriel D’Angelo.

A Gabriel D’Angelo who was much more casually dressed—but no less lethally attractive—than he had been in his office earlier today; he wore a thin black cashmere sweater, the sleeves pulled up to just below his elbows—which emphasised every toned muscle and dip of those broad shoulders, chest, and the flatness of his stomach—with faded denims resting comfortably on the leanness of his hips. His overlong dark hair had also been slightly tousled by the warm evening breeze outside and fell softly, rakishly, onto his brow.

He’d claimed earlier never to have been inside a coffee shop, which posed the question of what was he doing in one now? And not just any coffee shop, but the one in which Bryn worked, because there was no way she believed his being here was just a coincidence.

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