Marco Donati is rich, ruthless, and more often than not, indiscriminate. Interested only in satisfying his sexual needs casually and frequently, he has no intention of changing a thing about his life. Natalie Lambert is alone, broke, and new to the city when a chance encounter leaves her under the power and control of Marco Donati.
Natalie took refuge in the powder room of the mansion in River Oaks and held her tube of lip gloss with hands that shook. She desperately tried to control the trembling in her fingers so she could reapply the color to her lips.
As she looked at herself in the mirror, she knew her inner turmoil was well hidden behind a façade of silky hair, a sleek designer dress, and perfect make-up that lacked only the gloss she sought to repair.
The door began to open with not even a tiny sound of warning and her eyes flew to the knob that she had sworn she'd locked. Her breath lodged in her throat as Marco slipped inside, secured the door that she had failed to lock only minutes before, and came to stand behind her in the tiny room.
He pressed his chest against her back, propelling her forward a few inches until she was crowded against the vanity. Her nerves shifted restlessly, and the impact of his body against hers made her lipstick fall from her fingers and land in the sink in front of her.
Her eyes tangled with his in the mirror and the look on his face jolted her heart.
He towered over her, and the muscles beneath his designer suit were corded and strained. His eyes were furious, and he held his lips tightly closed over teeth gritted in anger. She struggled to control her features, to keep all expression from her face. She would be damned if she let him see how badly she was hurting. She refused to take responsibility for the scene that had just taken place; she was innocent of all wrong-doing.
She began to open her mouth to tell him so.
Before she could get one word out, his hand snaked out and covered her mouth and suppressed her words in a grip so ruthless that it made her nostrils flare and her eyes widen in barely controlled panic.
He lowered his mouth to her ear and held her eyes with his while he hissed out his fury. "I told you not to wear this dress." He held her silent and immobilized with one steely arm while his other hand reached in front of her and captured her soft flesh within his grip. He held her between his finger and thumb tightly, just short of pain, in a display of ownership and control.
Natalie sucked in oxygen through her nose and closed her eyes against him and the erotic picture they made in the mirror.
"I told you what Kennedy would do if you wore this dress. He can't ever keep his damn eyes off you." He dropped his hand inside her neckline and delved inside her lace-edged bra until he was holding her in a possessive grip. "I can't believe I let you buy the damn thing. I'm burning it when we get home."
Natalie held her eyes closed and tried not to be controlled by his intimate touch on her naked flesh. It was almost impossible to fight against. It had been this way since the day she'd met him, and she very much feared it would be this way until the day she died.
"Open your eyes," he growled in her ear.
She didn't comply quickly enough to suit him and his hand dropped from her mouth to land on the pulse beating rapidly in her throat, in a sexually intimidating move. Her eyes flew open at the demanding touch and she licked her dry lips and tried to get her throat to work. "It's not the dress," she argued softly.
"No, it's damn well not the dress. It's you. He wants you and thinks he can have you."
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