The Billionaire's Blackmailed Bride(8)

By: Jacqueline Baird

‘You surprised me, Emily,’ he said, his dark eyes seeking hers. ‘You dance the tango superbly—I was quite envious of Max,’ he admitted. ‘Though to be honest, dancing is not one of my talents. I could not tango to save my life. I am more a shuffle-to-the-music man,’ he said with a self-effacing grin that lightened his saturnine features, making him look somewhat approachable. ‘So I hope you won’t be disappointed,’ he concluded with a querying arch of one black brow.

Disappointed…It was a rare occurrence for Emily to dance with a man she had literally to look up to and it turned out to be frighteningly seductive. He fitted her perfectly and, enveloped in his arms, the black cloak enfolding her created an added intimacy. Disappointment was not an emotion troubling Emily, though a host of others were. With his long leg subtly easing between hers as he turned her slowly to the romantic music, her pulse raced, her heart pounded and every nerve end in her body was screaming with tension as she battled to retain control of her wayward body. The damn latex suit was no help; it simply emphasized every brush of his muscular body against hers. And she seriously doubted Anton Diaz had ever disappointed a woman in his life. Certainly not the lovely Eloise, and the thought cooled her helpless reaction to him enough for her to respond.

‘Oh, I think not,’ she said with blunt honesty. She knew she was reasonably attractive and she had been hit on by many men over the years, but since her failed engagement she had learnt to put men off with no trouble. ‘I also think, Mr Diaz, a man of your wealth and power is perfectly well aware of his talents and exploits them quite ruthlessly for his own ends.’ Anton might make her heart beat faster—her and the rest of the female population—but she had no intention of falling for his charm. ‘As I’m sure the tabloids and your friend Eloise could confirm,’ she ended dryly.

‘Ah, Emily, you have been listening to gossip. What was it? I was brought up in a brothel surrounded by willing women,’ he mocked. ‘Sorry to disappoint, but it is not true, though my grandmother did own one,’ he admitted, ‘and it is a poor reflection on the male of the species that she made rather a lot of money. Enough to send her daughter to the best school in the country and on to a finishing school in Switzerland.’

Emily’s blue eyes widened in surprise at his blunt revelations, her tension forgotten as she listened intrigued as he continued.

‘When she was in Europe she met and fell in love with a Greek man who was unfortunately married with children. But he was decent enough to set her up in a house in Corinth where I was born. Their affair lasted for years, he died when I was twelve and my mother decided to return to Peru.’

‘That is so sad. Your poor mother, you poor boy,’ she murmured. Totally absorbed in his story, she compassionately squeezed his hand.

‘I might have guessed you would feel sorry for me.’ His dark head bent and his lips brushed her brow. ‘Ah, Emily, you are so naive and so misguided. As a wealthy man’s mistress my mother was never poor in the monetary sense and neither was I.’ He looked into her big blue eyes, his own gleaming with cynical amusement. ‘I hate to disillusion you, but your sympathy is wasted on me.’

‘So why did you tell me all that?’ she asked, puzzled. He did not strike her as the sort of man who would bare his soul to a relative stranger.

‘Maybe because it got you to relax in my arms.’ He smiled.

‘Was it all lies?’ she shot back, her body stiffening again, this time in anger.

‘Not all…I actually am a bastard.’ He grinned, the hand at her waist stroking slowly up her back, drawing her closer still. And she involuntarily trembled in his hold. ‘And as you so rightly said,’ he drawled softly, ‘I use all the talents I have to get what I want. And I want you, Emily Fairfax.’

Stunned by his outrageous comment, she stared up into his night-black eyes, and saw the desire he made no attempt to hide. ‘You devious devil,’ she exclaimed.

‘Angel,’ he amended, his dark head dipping, his warm breath tickling her ear as he urged her hard against him, making her intimately aware of his aroused state. ‘And the way you tremble in my arms I know you want me. The attraction between us was instant and electric so don’t pretend otherwise, Emily,’ he commanded, and straightened up.

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