Read Sinful Seduction Online

Authors: Ann Christopher

Sinful Seduction

BOOK: Sinful Seduction
10.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Sin never felt this good...

Skylar Lawrence isn’t looking for romance when she arrives at the Davies’ sumptuous Hamptons estate. But when Skylar meets her ex-fiancé’s twin brother, their chemistry is as tumultuous as the storm brewing outside. Sinfully handsome Alessandro Davies exudes the kind of animal magnetism that’s impossible to resist…and hazardous to a woman’s heart.

Sandro desires Skylar from the minute the stunning veterinarian turns up at his door, but his honor forbids him from pursuing a relationship. But his plan backfires when he starts falling for the forbidden seductress. Until a shocking discovery threatens to tear Skylar from his arms and force Sandro to give up the woman he needs....

She laughed. He stared at the mouth he’d never kissed and swallowed hard. And she lifted her chin and twisted her neck just a little bit farther, enough so that she could look him in the eye as she gave him the most precious gift imaginable.

“I love you,” she said. “You have no idea how much I love you.”

That was it. Overcome, he caught her face in his hand and kissed her. Her mouth was slick and minty, her tongue eager. She opened for him, mewling with pleasure, and he marveled at all the infinite ways their lips could fit together.

Soon the sucking turned to nipping, the nipping to biting, and before he knew it, he was filling his hands with her soft breasts and shaking with urgency.

Breathing was all but impossible.

They broke apart, panting.

Her lips were swollen and wet now, her eyes feverish with need. He knew the feeling. It amazed him that he’d had anything to do with making her burn so hot that her body nearly singed his palms. And Sandro couldn’t get enough of her.

She paused. Focused. “Please tell me you’re not going to regret this tomorrow.”

“There’s no way in hell.”

Books by Ann Christopher

Kimani Romance

Just About Sex
Sweeter Than Revenge
Tender Secrets
Road to Seduction
Campaign for Seduction
Redemption’s Kiss
Seduced on the Red Carpet
Redemption’s Touch
The Surgeon’s Secret Baby
Sinful Seduction

Ann Christopher

is a full-time chauffeur for her two overscheduled children. She is also a wife, former lawyer and decent cook. In between trips to various sporting practices and games, Target and the grocery store, she likes to write the occasional romance novel. She lives in Cincinnati and spends her time with her family, which includes two spoiled rescue cats, Sadie and Savannah, and two rescue hounds, Sheldon and Dexter. Her next book for Harlequin/Kimani Press,
Sinful Temptation,
which is part of her Twins of Sin series, will be a March 2012 release.

If you’d like to recommend a great book, share a recipe for homemade cake of any kind or have a tip for getting your children to do what you say the
first
time you say it, Ann would love to hear from you through her website, www.AnnChristopher.com.

Ann Christopher

Sinful Seduction

Dear Reader,

Allow me to introduce you to Alessandro (Sandro) and Antonios (Tony) Davies, my Twins of Sin. Smart, handsome and fiercely competitive, the two went off to West Point, became army officers and, most recently, fought in Afghanistan.

Only one of them, Sandro, returned.

Imagine Sandro’s survivor’s guilt. Imagine how much worse it gets when, on a dark and stormy night, Tony’s former fiancée shows up on his doorstep, and he discovers that his illicit attraction to her is as strong as ever. Imagine how hard he will fight his feelings, and how hard he will fall for beautiful Skylar.

Most of all—imagine Sandro’s stunned disbelief when he discovers...

Well, no. I don’t want to ruin it for you!

Happy reading!

Ann

P.S. Please pick up the second book in the series,
Sinful Temptation,
next month!

To Richard

Special thanks to my editor, Kelli Martin, for all her enthusiastic support in bringing The Twins of Sin to life.

Chapter 1

T
his was a mistake, Skylar Lawrence thought, climbing out of her car and staring, with increasing foreboding, at the Sagaponak estate—an English-country type, with shingles and lots of points and dormer windows—sprawled in front of her.

Actually,
mistake
was the wrong word. A mistake was locking your keys in the car and needing AAA to ride to the rescue, or showing up on Tuesday when you and your pal had scheduled lunch for Wednesday. Under a scenario like that, things could turn out well in the end, and if you played it right, you’d have an amusing story to tell the next time you were forced to attend a cocktail party and needed to fill awkward silences with clever chitchat while you nursed your Cosmopolitan.

What she was doing now was courting disaster, plain and simple.

Showing up late at night.

Unannounced.

At the home of her late ex-fiancé’s fraternal twin.

But she and Alessandro Davies, a man she’d only met once, nearly two years ago, had unfinished business that couldn’t wait any longer.

Not that she was looking forward to it.

Nothing good could come of this, her roiling gut told her, and she usually made it a practice to listen to her gut’s communications. Usually. Too bad she couldn’t this time and had to race, full speed ahead, toward certain and inevitable disaster. Hell, maybe one of the local news stations should send a satellite truck and a reporter to cover unfolding events. It was sure to be quite the show.

She rang the bell anyway.

Overhead, the sky was doing crazy and alarming things. Intermittent forks of lightning illuminated forbidding and swiftly moving gray clouds that seemed primed to unleash hell any second. Some patches of the sky were navy, while others were the kind of bottomless black that seemed to belong in the farthest reaches of space.

The wind whipped her hair to the left, then to the right, and finally threatened to pick up her whole body and smash it into the nearest mature tree. Only her locked knees kept her from becoming like tumbleweed and blowing away. Somewhere behind the house, unseen but violent, the surf crashed against the shore as though it was determined to eradicate the entire beach by morning.

Shivering inside her jeans now, she wished she’d taken the time to grab a heavier jacket before she had left the city and drove out to the Hamptons, but who expected a near hurricane to hit in the middle of February? If the wind kept up like this, she should probably start worrying about whether the estate had a cellar or not.

Oh, God, though—what if no one was home?

She’d be making like King Lear, raging in the storm, wouldn’t she?

She rang the bell again.

It would have made sense to call ahead, of course, but she’d really been counting on the element of surprise—

The door swung open with a creak straight out of a Vincent Price haunted-house movie. She froze, her hand raised midknock, and scrambled to get her senses together.

A man glared up at her from his seat in a wheelchair. His dark hair, buzzed short, was drill-sergeant crisp, as were his white polo shirt and dark trousers. His impressive barrel chest and bulky arms looked as though they belonged to the current heavyweight-boxing champion of the world.

His legs, she realized, were gone below the knee.

Her cheeks flamed as she caught herself staring and looked back at his face.

The flash in his eyes warned that she had exactly one second to state her business and convince him that she meant no harm before he called the police. Actually, no. Something told her that this bulldog wouldn’t bother with niceties like consulting the local authorities. He’d probably just pitch her off the nearest cliff and into the surf.

“What the hell?” he demanded in a voice that came from somewhere on the East Coast. “Are you insane, or what?”

“Or what.” She cleared her throat, trying to keep her voice strong and unconcerned. “I’m Skylar Lawrence. I’m here to see Alessandro Davies.”

“Jesus Christ, lady. It’s after eleven o’clock.”

“I know. I apologize.”

“There’s a freaking monsoon out there.”

She tried to keep her wind-whipped hair out of her face so she could see. “I’d noticed. Can I come in before I get struck by lightning?”

His lips thinned with apparent indecision, and she sent up a quick prayer that his innate suspicion would give way to what she hoped was the heart of a gentleman. Shooting a glare at the sky, which now looked like the swirling contents of a witch’s cauldron, he backed up enough to open the door an additional inch, let her edge inside, and shut the door behind her.

A quick glance up and down the forbidding hallway made her wonder if she should go back outside and take her chances with the elements.

They were in a massive foyer, the centerpiece of which was a staircase that curved up into the invisible depths of the floor which was where they probably kept the bodies. She couldn’t see much else of the house. They either hadn’t paid their electric bill or didn’t believe in lamps, and she therefore had to rely on the sketchy moonlight streaming in through the windows. But it did seem like they could either go left or right. The left option apparently led to an abyss. To the right was a long stretch of hallway leading to an open door through which a crack of yellow illumination was visible.

Skylar shivered, trying to get a grip on the dread that trickled down her spine like a single drop of ice water. “Is Alessandro home?”

Mr. Friendly folded his Popeye forearms across his chest and put another roadblock in her way. “This ain’t a good time, if you know what I’m saying. You might want to come back—”

“No, I don’t want to come back.” She didn’t mean to be rude, but really, did this genius think she’d show up in the middle of the night like this if she had some other option? “I didn’t want to drive all the way out here in the first place, but Alessandro forced my hand. So, if you don’t mind, just go get him, tell him I’m here, I’ll say my piece, and I’ll get out of your hair. Okay?”

He was so not moved by her plea. “And what’ve you got going on that’s so doggone important, eh? Someone die or something?”

“Bingo. My ex-fiancé died. Antonios. Alessandro’s twin brother. As you surely know already.” Even in the relative darkness, she could see the color leach out of his skin, making his pale face stand out like a beacon against the gloom. “Can I see Alessandro now?”

“Mother of Mary,” the guy breathed. “I should have recognized you. Tony showed us your picture. You’re Sky?”

As always, the use of Tony’s nickname for her and, hell, the memory of Tony himself, made her throat seize up. “Skylar, yes.”

“He talked about you.” The guy swallowed audibly, no doubt trying to wrestle his own memories into submission. “You know he loved you, right?”

There it was: the sharp edge of that same dagger carving up her heart. Again. Always. Blinking back a tear or two—she would not do this, not now—she swiped at her nose and did her best to produce a smile. It didn’t work. “Thank you for telling me. Did you serve with Tony?”

“Yeah.” At long last, the guy seemed to remember his manners and stuck out a hand to shake hers in his crushing grip. “Yeah. I’m, ah, Michael Bianchi. People call me Mickey. I’m, ah, sorry for your loss.”

Her loss.

If there was an appropriate response to that sentiment, she’d never been able to manage it. This time, she didn’t even try. A nod would have to do.

Mickey murmured something unintelligible that sounded gruff and sympathetic.

They both shifted uncomfortably.

“Well,” he said, “I’d better get the boss for you—”

A sudden bang and the shatter of glass came from somewhere on the second floor—her first thought was a shutter flying into a window and breaking it—and they heard the ferocious whistle of the wind as it swept down the staircase to meet them. She could just make out the flap of expensive drapes on the other side of the upstairs railing and feel the damp chill of the rain, which was now, apparently, falling in sheets.


Shit.
Not the mural.
Not the mural.
” Forgetting all about her for the moment, Mickey wheeled around his chair and raced off to a small elevator for damage control.

Skylar took a couple quick steps after him, because God knew what a few minutes of rain could do to the undoubtedly high-end silk drapes, furniture and gleaming floors in this beachfront palace, and maybe she could help.

But then, lured by the insistent siren call of the light in the other direction, she hesitated.... Stopped.... Turned.... Tried to talk sense into herself and resist the irresistible.

She could wait for Mickey to come back and announce her to Alessandro, but why? Hadn’t she waited too long already? Did it matter if she saw Alessandro now or five minutes from now? It wasn’t like she could scrape together another ounce of patience anyway.

The decision made, she crept down the hallway to the right.

Another mistake, she knew, but her feet kept walking her toward that yellow glow. Whatever power she may have had to stop and go back was chomped on and swallowed up by the kind of driving curiosity that had always spelled trouble for her, especially where Alessandro Davies was concerned.

He was in that room, her instincts screamed, and tonight, for once, he couldn’t hide from her.

She paused at the threshold, her hand on the ornate brass knob, and that was when she heard a low cry that was as painful as any injury she’d ever sustained.

It was the raw, wounded sound of a heart breaking.

A smart woman would have turned and run. Not just away from this door, but out of this house, away from this estate and, just to be safe, off this island. It was foolish to confront a lion in his den, yeah, but she could survive a little foolishness now and then. Cornering a lion in pain was idiotic, if not outright suicidal, and she wasn’t ready to check out of life just yet.

And still her feet kept walking, propelled by an irrational but powerful urge to help Alessandro.

Without bothering to knock, she stepped inside the room, just far enough to survey the landscape, get her bearings and, if need be, make a speedy escape.

It was a study of some sort, she saw at a glance. The kind of darkly masculine domain that a nineteenth-century woman would never dream of breaching. She squinted into the gloom, identifying the furniture. There was an overstuffed leather sofa and wingback chairs, draped windows that blocked out even the suggestion of moonlight. An unlit fireplace topped by an ornate mirror, bookshelves crowded with leather-bound volumes and a massive wooden desk that could probably double as a dining-room table capable of seating twenty-five people.

A single corner lamp cast enough light to ensure that she wouldn’t bump into anything, but not enough for anything approaching warmth.

Wow. Three seconds inside this room of despair and Skylar almost had depression herself. Nice.

It got worse.

Alessandro Davies was sitting on a bench in front of a full-size grand piano. Its lid was closed and it was covered with a heavy tarp, but he had one edge peeled back to reveal some of the keys. His fingers were poised as if he intended to play something but then, for no apparent reason, he pounded the keyboard, making her jump with the ringing bang of angry notes.

What the—?

Lunging to his feet, he pivoted and crossed the room. In front of the fireplace now, he bowed his head and braced his hands on the mantel, as though it was the only thing keeping him from dropping to the plush rug on the floor. His broad shoulders were stooped, his posture defeated. Though he had his back to her, part of his face was visible in the mirror, and it was a jumble of features twisted into unmistakable anguish.

Her heart contracted as though his pain had seeped into her body.

She didn’t have to look far for the source of his turmoil. There was a makeshift shrine on the mantel, the remnants of a fallen soldier’s life.

A pair of weathered boots with laces untied.

A pair of white dress gloves.

The metallic gleam of dog tags.

A Bible.

A small but beautiful oil painting of the sun.

Collectively, they added up to the only parts of Tony Davies that had returned from Afghanistan intact.

Seeing all this reminded her, in excruciating detail, of the day she got the news. That a convoy with both twins in it had been hit by an IED as it crossed a bridge. That Sandro had been gravely injured, and Tony’s body had been lost, presumably in the swirling river.

That Tony was presumed dead, and the last thing she had ever said to him was that she didn’t love him enough to marry him.

Today was their birthday, of course. The Davies twins, Alessandro and Antonios, should both be turning thirty-six today. Except that they’d both gone off to war and one of them had never come back. Tony was gone now, obliterated by a roadside bomb, and that bomb was still doing its damage, wasn’t it? The gift of destruction that kept on giving.

Riveted, she watched Alessandro, unable to leave and incapable of going to him and offering comfort. Because what would she say?

BOOK: Sinful Seduction
10.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Death's Door by Kelly, Jim
IT Manager's Handbook: Getting Your New Job Done by Bill Holtsnider, Brian D. Jaffe
Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble
Baby-Sitting Is a Dangerous Job by Willo Davis Roberts
Beautiful Sacrifice by Elizabeth Lowell
By Way Of A Wager by Solomon, Hayley Ann
Four Below by Peter Helton
Genio y figura by Juan Valera
Musical Beds by Justine Elyot