The Divorce Party(7)

By: Jennifer Hayward

He pulled her closer, anchored her against him. “Ric—” she murmured as he changed angles and came back to her.

“Shut up, Lilly,” he commanded, sliding his fingers up her bare arms and closing his mouth over hers.

This time his kiss was softer, more persuasive than controlling, pleasurable rather than punishing. And something fell apart inside her. It had been too long since he’d kissed her like this, too long since she’d been in his arms, and God help her...of all the things they had not been good at, it hadn’t been this.

“Dammit.” She grabbed a handful of shirt to steady herself. “This is not fair.”

He slid a hand down over the curve of her hip and brought her body into full contact with his. The feel of his hard body against her made her shiver, remembering everything.

“Nothing was ever fair between us. It was like a wild rollercoaster ride we couldn’t get enough of.”

He shifted her between the hard muscles of his thighs and brought his mouth down on hers again with a look of pure intent. His rigid, pulsing arousal pressed against her, making Lilly ache all over.

No, an inner voice warned. But all that came out was a groan.

He dragged her even closer, a satisfied growl escaping his throat. “Open your mouth, Lil.”

Caught up in the pure, hot sexual power he had over her, she obeyed. She didn’t think about the one hundred and fifty people downstairs, or even what a huge mistake this was. She just wanted this kiss, this magic, the hot intimacy of his tongue tangling with hers.

Oh. She melted into him as her knees threatened to give way. It was like someone offering an alcoholic a double shot after months of abstinence. Pure hedonism. And she wrapped herself in it.

A flash of light exploded around them. She stumbled backward, disoriented, blinking into the bright light that kept coming and coming.

Riccardo cursed and pulled her away from the railing. “Dio. How did they get here?”

“A photographer?” Lilly asked dazedly.

He nodded.

She touched her fingers to her mouth, still burning from his kiss. Riccardo had security everywhere. It didn’t make sense that a photographer would be able to get up here. “You planned that,” she said flatly. “You set that up for your father’s benefit.”

“I set this party up for my father’s benefit,” he agreed darkly. “For the board’s benefit. Not that photo.”

She pressed her palms to her temples. She didn’t want to be back here. She couldn’t go on walking around like a half-alive person, going through the motions but never really feeling anything. She needed this divorce.

His face tightened. “What? Afraid the good doctor won’t understand a six-month hiatus?”

She shook her head. “The answer is no. No, no and no.”

He straighened his shirt and raked a hand through his hair. “We’ll make the announcement at ten.”

She turned her back on him and started for the door.

“I’ll give you the house.”

She stopped in her tracks.

“You’ve never wanted anything from me, but I know you love this house. I’ll sign it over to you at the end of the six months.”

Lilly opened her mouth to tell him where he could put his offer, but the words died in her mouth. The house would pay for Lisbeth’s treatment. Fifty times over.

“Tempting, isn’t it? Your dream house...without me in it?”

She counted to five before she turned around. As if any amount of money would be enough to convince her that revisitng their ruin of a marriage was worth it.

But she was desperate. And she didn’t have the luxury of time.

She lifted her gaze to his. “I will think about it.”

“Ten o’clock, Lilly.” His smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Think of yourself as Cinderella, only your deadline isn’t midnight—it’s ten. And I’m the devil you know.”

            CHAPTER TWO

LILLY SPENT THE intervening hours coming up with a million different reasons why she would be crazy to agree to Riccardo’s proposal. He was once again using her in his single-minded pursuit of the De Campo CEO job. He didn’t really want her—he wanted Lilly De Campo the figurehead, his perfect society wife who could smile and say intelligent things to the very intelligent people they met. And, dammit, her life was finally back on track! She had built up her practice, she had started to do the things she loved again, and she had a life.