In a Storm of Scandal - Ким Лоренс - CHAPTER THREE Читать онлайн любовный роман

В женской библиотеке Мир Женщины кроме возможности читать онлайн также можно скачать любовный роман - In a Storm of Scandal - Ким Лоренс бесплатно.

Правообладателям | Топ-100 любовных романов

In a Storm of Scandal - Ким Лоренс - Читать любовный роман онлайн в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net
In a Storm of Scandal - Ким Лоренс - Скачать любовный роман в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net

Лоренс Ким

In a Storm of Scandal

Читать онлайн
Предыдущая страница Следующая страница


‘SANK!’ The images crowding into her head made her feel physically sick.

As Poppy estimated her chances of getting to the bathroom before she threw up Luca calmly threw a log on the smouldering fire and tossed an almost absent look over his shoulder before he reached for the poker she had dropped.

‘Not my finest moment. I almost made it.’ The almost continued to irritate. ‘But the undertow and the rocks …’ He shrugged his magnificent shoulders and began to prod the reluctant flames.

She regarded him incredulously. Could anyone sane be this casual about a near-death experience?

‘The boat smashed on the rocks?’ she said tightly.

He nodded.

‘You could have drowned.’ And Luca was acting as if the possibility had not even occurred to him. Her indignation grew. It was nothing to her if he decided to kill himself but he had a wife and family responsibilities.

And I once found his reckless streak exciting!

It was reassuring to recognise how much she had changed. There was nothing exciting about the graphic images playing in her head that involved the grey waves closing over a dark head, sucking him down.

The look Luca slung over his shoulder was tinged with impatience. ‘But I did not.’ It was not his habit to expend energy on what if scenarios, in theory at least.

There were exceptions to this rule.

What if he had not chosen duty ahead of personal happiness? What if he hadn’t caved into parental pressure? Seven years and that question had never completely gone away.

He accepted that no choice came without a price, what he could not accept or forgive himself for was others paying the price for his choices.

And for what?

He had kept the family name clear of scandal, he had discovered a talent for making money and found out that he did not have a talent for being a husband.

If he had learnt anything he now knew that marriage was not for him—he was simply not husband material; he was never again going to take on the responsibility for another human being’s happiness.

Poppy, though she hadn’t known it at the time, had actually had a lucky escape.

His meditative stare lingered on her face. And now here she was, in this place where they had met, and he was free. Was Poppy alone or in a relationship … maybe long term—the man he had seen her emerge from the theatre with? His eyes brushed her bare fingers—or maybe it was all new and exciting with a new lover?

‘I am a very good swimmer.’

Poppy’s eyes glazed when without warning his words caused a less traumatic but equally disturbing picture to form in her head—Luca, his sleek brown streamlined body cutting through the blue water before he stopped and, treading water, gestured for her to join him.

She rejected the random memory the same way she had rejected his invitation.

He had nearly died and he was acting as if it didn’t matter. Was he too cool to care or just plain stupid?

‘You know I feel sorry for the people that care about you.’ Her eyes flashed wide as a previously unconsidered possibility occurred to her. ‘I’m assuming that you were alone in the boat?’

‘I’m alone and, as you see, alive.’

Her nose wrinkled. ‘Barely.’ Actually despite his brush with death, or maybe because of it, Luca radiated an aura of restless vitality.

His edgy glance slid her way. ‘Can we end the postmortem?’ That she considered it possible that he’d leave a fellow traveller to their watery fate while he made himself comfortable spoke volumes on her opinion of him. ‘Though obviously it’s good to know someone cares.’

Missing entirely the sarcasm in his voice, Poppy tightened her soft lips as she injected a note of studied boredom into her voice and drawled, ‘Been there done that.’ Spurred by the flash of reaction she glimpsed in his dramatically dark eyes, she added with a smile that left her own eyes cold, ‘So don’t worry, Luca, you’re safe. I won’t be trying to seduce you any time soon.’

His dark lashes swept downwards then lifted. Two thirds of his brain knew it was a bad thing to say but the reckless, self-indulgent last third—blame it on a near-death experience—appeared to have temporary control of his vocal chords as he slurred. ‘Am I meant to think that’s a good thing?’

Poppy met his eyes, saw the dark dangerous unspoken message, sensed the tension rolling off him in waves and felt her insides dissolve.

After several breathless seconds of mind-numbing, heart-racing excitement the shame and disgust kicked in.

What are you doing, Poppy? He’s a married man who broke your heart! And if that made her bad it made him a total sleaze.

Poppy folded her arms across her chest. ‘I’m sure your wife will be pleased you’re alive.’

Message received, she thought, watching his expression blank. He did not look guilty, he looked … She shivered.

The eyes that met hers had a flat, almost dead look.

Was his marriage in trouble …?

Not my business.

Admittedly once the possibility would have given her some feeling of shameful satisfaction. Happily she was no longer so bitter and twisted. She hadn’t got noble suddenly, but she had wised up enough to know that one criteria of having a life was letting go of the bad stuff that happened.

Luca constituted bad stuff.

Bad but beautiful, she thought, studying his profile, but she was totally over him. The fact she felt the need to constantly remind herself of this was in itself a cause of concern.

‘And you?’ Back now turned to her, he draped his jacket with what seemed like elaborate care over the back of a wooden rocking chair before taking the hem of his drenched cashmere sweater and peeling it over his head.

‘I am assuming you had a less eventful journey …?’ He lifted an arm, pressing his hand to the back of his head as he rotated his neck and flexed his shoulders, causing the muscles of his powerful shoulders and upper arms to bunch and ripple in a manner that Poppy found very distracting.

Distracting might well be the understatement of the century!

‘I had …’ Poppy swallowed and struggled to focus on the question … What was the question?

Gianluca’s torso was lean and tautly muscled; the drift of dark hair across his chest covered smooth bronze flesh that was tinged with blue and the surface studded with a rash of goose bumps. There was a livid-looking graze along his ribs and a discoloured area that looked like the beginning of a bruise.

The evidence of what had to be painful injuries made her sensitive stomach muscles spasm … Uncomfortably aware that empathy wasn’t the only cause of the growing tension in her belly, Poppy closed her eyes for a moment to shut out all that disturbing rampant maleness, and cleared her throat.

‘Much less eventful,’ she explained to a point somewhere over Gianluca’s left shoulder and continued to studiedly ignore the fact that despite the cold she was suddenly very hot in places that she ought not to be hot. ‘I hired someone to ferry me out. Unfortunately he wouldn’t hang around to wait for me for any money. What are you doing?’ she added, her voice sharpening in alarm.

‘Taking off my pants. It used, as I recall, to be your ambition.’

Poppy laughed, trying to match his flippancy. ‘I’m touched you remember. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that most men don’t put up a fight.’

Before she could begin to question the flash of coruscating anger that lit up his dark eyes there was a deafening crack followed by a loud roar and a succession of bangs that made Poppy cover her ears with her hands and close her eyes.

Utterly convinced that the roof was falling in, she thought, God, the men in suits at the council were right!

Fatalistically prepared for what was to come, she held her breath and waited to feel the weight of the building come crashing down on her head. Instead she felt the pressure of two heavy hands on her hunched shoulders.

‘You can breathe now.’

Poppy’s eyes blinked open. Luca had moved in to stand directly in front of her. He was inches away, very solid and reassuring. ‘What happened?’

‘Not totally sure,’ Luca admitted. ‘But it was dramatic.’ His dark head tipped in acknowledgement of the drama as he took hold of both her wrists and firmly removed her hands from her ears.

She glanced up nervously at the heavily beamed ceiling. There were no gaping holes. It actually looked reassuringly sturdy. ‘I thought the roof was coming off,’ she disclosed huskily.

‘And you thought the best defence was to go into see-no-evil-hear-no-evil mode. Your survival instincts definitely need some work, cara!’

The killer combination of his throaty sexy voice and the casual endearment caused a black hole to open up without warning where her stomach had been.

‘We can’t all be ice cool in the face of danger.’ She must have looked like a total fool but on the plus side she was not lying crushed under a pile of rubble. ‘I didn’t think,’ she admitted huskily. ‘I just sort of … reacted.’

Her heart thudding louder than it had been when she had thought she was about to be buried under several tons of rubble, Poppy’s eyes flickered nervously towards the cool brown fingers circling her wrists. She ran the tip of her tongue across her dry lips; she was trying hard not to react now.

Reacting to her instincts at this moment would have involved snatching her hands from his grasp, an action he might well read too much into … or maybe not.

Luckily Gianluca remained oblivious to the uncomfortable things the light contact was doing to her. He wasn’t even looking at her any longer, he was checking out the room, but he was still holding her wrists.

She gave a gentle tug but instead of responding to the reminder in the way he was meant to Gianluca tightened his grip and his thumbs began to move in circular sweeps over the blue-veined inner aspect of her wrists. Presumably meant to be soothing, the effect of the light pressure was however anything but.

Oh, help!

If she had found the contact disturbing this fresh assault on her senses was almost painful in its intensity.

Previously her discomfort had taken the form of vague unease, a prickle under her skin and an empty feeling in her stomach. Now the tingle was a throb and the empty feeling a clenched fist of awareness.

This had to be some post-being-scared-half-to-death-on-top-of-a-very-bad-day scenario. The alternative was not good news.

Gianluca’s attention shifted from the broken glass on the floor to the woman beside him. ‘You’re shaking.’

His concern took the form of a stern frown as his critical scrutiny moved across the soft contours of the heart shaped face turned up to him. Her skin was as pale as milk, making the purplish smudges under her eyes appear even darker. Her dark lashes lowered but not before he had taken note of the glow in those arresting eyes. It had a feverish quality.

‘Are you running a temperature?’ He had intended to lay his hand on her forehead to test his theory when something bright caught his eye.


Получить полную версию книги можно по ссылке - Здесь

Предыдущая страница Следующая страница

Ваши комментарии
к роману In a Storm of Scandal - Ким Лоренс

Комментарии к роману "In a Storm of Scandal - Ким Лоренс" отсутствуют

Ваше имя


Введите сумму чисел с картинки