Pregnancy of Passion [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Lucy Monroe
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: It was a year since their tempestuous affair had ended. So why was he back? Elisa trusted Salvatore di Vitale as far as she could throw him. And, as the wealthy Sicilian was over six feet tall, that wasn't very far. Salvatore told Elisa he had come to protect her. And if their close proximity led to passion…and if passion should lead to pregnancy…all the better! Because then Elisa would have to marry him, which was Salvatore's plan all along.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2006
68 Reader Ratings:
SALVATORE stood outside the small family-owned jeweler's, feeling a wholly unfamiliar wariness.
It wasn't normal for him to hang back from a confrontation. He thrived on the head-to-head combat in the world of big business or the hand-to-hand combat sometimes necessary in his line of work, but this was something entirely different.
It would be a confrontation all right, but it wouldn't be related to business.
He didn't fool himself into believing Elisa would thank him for his interference in her life, even at the instigation of her worried papa. She'd spent a whole year avoiding Salvatore as if he had a particularly deadly communicable disease. She hated him with the same passion she had once given herself to him.
And he could not blame her.
She had more reason than most to despise her ex-lover, but that did not mean he would accept his dismissal from her life. He couldn't. His Sicilian soul would not let such a debt remain outstanding. Even if she did not currently believe it, the di Vitale family was one of honor and he would not bring shame to the name.
He pushed open the door to Adamo Jewelers and frowned when he did not hear the faint buzz that should have accompanied his entry into the store. It was a minimum security measure to alert store employees to a customer's presence.
He took two steps inside and stopped.
She was bending over one of the cases with a young couple. Her soft voice floated toward him even though he could not distinguish her words. Glossy brown hair he remembered best spread across white silk sheets had been pulled into a neat French twist. The conservative style exposed the delicate line of her neck and the faint pulse there that became very visible when she was sexually excited.
She was dressed with her usual flair in a sleeveless button-up blouse, the color of her moss-green eyes. Her straight skirt in a darker shade outlined her slender hips and small waist without showing more than a couple of inches of skin above the ankle. However, if she moved just a little bit, the slit in the back would give him a delicious view of legs he longed to have wrapped around his body in the throes of passion once again.
He gritted his teeth at the predictable reaction to his thoughts occurring below his belt.
He wanted her. Still. He doubted the physical compulsion to merge his flesh with hers would ever diminish. It hadn't in a year of absence. A year in which he had not even been tempted to touch another woman. Such physical desire could make up for a lot…even marriage.
The only course left open to him. The one way he could make reparation for his sins.
She said something to the couple and walked around to the back of the case to pull out a tray of diamond rings.
And saw him.
All the color drained from her face and her eyes, leaving them a bleak winter gray. It was opposite to the reaction she'd once had to his presence, when her eyes had lit up with affection and welcome. There was no welcome now.
No. Horror described her expression best.
The tray tumbled from her hand and landed with a dull thud on the top of the glass case.
"Are you all right?"
* * *
Elisa forced her gaze to focus on the man who had just spoken instead of the phantom standing just inside the jewelry store's doorway. She managed to bare her teeth in a semblance of a smile. "Yes. I'm fine."
She straightened the ring tray. "You wanted to look at the marquis-cut solitaire?"
The young woman's eyes lit up and she nodded, turning to her new fiancé with such a look of love, it hurt Elisa to see it. She'd felt that way once.
But Salvatore had destroyed her love as surely as misfortune had destroyed their baby.
Pulling the ring under discussion out of its slot, she made herself smile more genuinely at the couple. It was a good thing to love and be loved in return. The fact that her own life had little hope of such an outcome was no reason to diminish the joy these two were so obviously feeling.
"Why don't you try this on?"
The young man, named David, took the ring and slid it onto his fiancée's finger, his expression tender.
"It fits perfectly," she breathed.
Elisa's smile was not nearly so hard to come by now. That would be another sale. Adamo Jewelers needed it. Desperately.
"It looks beautiful."
She'd almost convinced herself he wasn't there. That he'd been a figment of her imagination—a waking dream…or, rather, a nightmare.
The girl's head came up and she beamed at Salvatore as if he was some sort of benevolent benefactor, when Elisa knew he was anything but.
"Thank you, signor."
"From the look of the ring, congratulations are in order, are they not?"
It was David's turn to smile. "Oh, yes. We're going to be married as soon as we get back home."
"Isn't that romantic?" gushed the girl. She looked warmly at her soon-to-be husband. "We met while we were on a European tour. We loved Italy so much, we decided to stay an extra couple of weeks."
"And then we decided to get married." David sounded very satisfied by that state of affairs, his Texas drawl putting emphasis on the word "married."
"Congratulations. I'm sure you'll be very happy," said the man for whom the word "commitment" was considered equivalent to a four-letter word of the worst order.
Copyright © 2004 by Lucy Monroe.