With a sweet smile on her face, she crossed the room. She took the drink from his hand and set it on the wet bar. Her arms slid up around his neck. Her body pressed against his. “Let’s put the past behind us. I think we should both forget mistakes and regrets and concentrate on the future.”
More intoxicating than liquor, her eyes pulled him in, and her lips begged to be kissed. It was all he could think about. The mere thought of letting her go filled him with an unbelievable sense of grief. “How did you get me so hooked on you?”
She blushed. “I could ask you the same thing.”
“Seriously. You have me thinking about things I never wanted to think about.”
Swallowing convulsively, she dropped her gaze to his chest. “Things like marriage?”
“I know why you don’t think you ever want to give it a try again, and now you know why I didn’t want to take the plunge either. Every marriage I’ve ever seen has been a disaster. But I honestly believe we could make it work.” With one finger he gently lifted her chin until her gaze met his. “Sybil broke my heart, but I realize now that it wasn’t love. I feel like I need to know before we take this further that you’re at least open to the idea of marriage.” A flash of fear hit her eyes. He quickly added, “I don’t want to fall for you if you’re going to throw my proposal back in my face like Sybil did.”
“First of all, I wouldn’t take a check to walk away from you. No one has that kind of money. I think you’re pretty priceless.”
She lifted his hand and kissed his fingers one at a time between making points. An emotional lump built in his throat. No woman had ever treated him the way she did. She had a way of making him feel like he was the only guy on the planet.
“Secondly, I wouldn’t jump into bed with another man while I’m with you.” She stared at him with her big blue eyes, and sincerity filled her voice. “You need to trust me. I can’t be with a man who doesn’t trust me.”
How could he convince her that he trusted her after all the times he’d accused her of sleeping around?
His arms went around her, and he lifted her a few inches off the ground for a deep kiss. The woman was a drug in his system. He groaned against her mouth before setting her back down. “Trust doesn’t come easy for me. But if I can trust anyone, I know it’s you.”
“Good enough.” She beamed at him. “I was terrified to fall for someone like my ex. I thought all wealthy men were arrogant control freaks, but you’re nothing like him. I promise to keep an open mind about marriage in the future.”
“That’s all I wanted to hear.”
He swept her off her feet, and she giggled against his throat.
“Want to go back to bed for a while?” he asked.
“If you’re asking if I want to make love with you, the answer is always yes.”
Their relationship blossomed over the next two months. Bianca couldn’t believe how happy being with Christian made her. Still, a sliver of dread embedded in her heart refused to go away. Her engagement to Christian was big news. If her ex-husband or his spiteful parents heard about it, she was certain they would do whatever they could to ruin her life. They wouldn’t want to see her happy, especially if Thomas wasn’t.
She blamed her headache and upset stomach on the fear of what those people might do. Stress was known to cause illness, and she was under major stress. That’s why she took her time going down to work. The photographer could take pictures of Christian’s model without Bianca in attendance. Even though Christian wasn’t interested in Shari, Bianca knew the reverse was not true. Why wouldn’t the other woman want to trade her wealthy older gentleman for a younger wealthier?
Women stared at her while she crossed the main lobby to the elevators after buying a hot beverage from a vendor just outside the building. Some tried to be discreet, but others blatantly gawked, making her wonder if she had toilet paper stuck to her shoe. She glanced down. Nope. No toilet paper.
Then she heard a woman whisper, “She is positively glowing.”
Another said, “I wish my skin looked like that.”
“And her eyes are sparkling,” a third woman said.
“I hope I meet a man someday that makes me that happy.”
“Christian Sabatino is one of a kind.”
Bianca smiled to herself as she entered the elevator. The women were right. Being ‘engaged’ to Christian had her humming throughout the day. Hard to believe an arrogant, wealthy businessman had turned out to be good for her. Sweet deal.
An hour later, Bianca sat at her desk and sipped hot tea with lemon. The coffee had soured her stomach. Tea usually helped both her stomach and her nerves. But it didn’t seem to be working today. If anything, she felt worse. Her breakfast tried to come up. She took deep breaths while walking into her private bathroom. Every second she didn’t vomit was a victory. She’d hold on for a few minutes and maybe the feeling would pass.
Sullivan stepped into her office as she headed back to her desk. “Mr. Sabatino is on his way up, and he wants to talk to you.”
She nodded. The slight movement sent a wave of dizziness crashing into her. Sullivan moved to her side, and his hands grasped her arm. She felt the color leave her cheeks. Her skin had always been a bit on the pale side, but she imagined she looked a fright for him to be so concerned.