The Spanish Billionaire's Hired Bride(4)

By: Rachel Lyndhurst


Helen felt her ankles wobble. “No, really. It’s not necessary, the bus stop is at the end of the road and it takes me right past my flat.” She could sense her face was growing red and shiny with embarrassment. She had to get out of this.

“I insist,” he replied silkily, as if he could read her mind. “Unless your boyfriend would disapprove?”

“No. Of course not,” she said crossly. “I don’t need a boyfriend to look after me. I’m capable of doing that myself.”

“Do you do everything yourself, Helen Marshall?” Ricardo asked in a soft voice that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She knew exactly what he meant by that remark, and a sudden flutter low in her pelvis warned that she was far from being affected by him. Whether she liked it or not, the man oozed sex. He was dangerous and enticing, a brooding presence that put ordinary men in the shade.

“That’s quite enough, Ricardo,” the Condesa snapped. “Take the poor girl home and behave yourself. We’ve both had quite enough of you today.”

Helen reluctantly followed Ricardo through the salon door. She should have put her foot down about the lift. She was walking into big trouble, but she couldn’t stop herself. She was being drawn in his wake, helpless, like a moth to a flame…

It was a peculiar sensation, leaving the villa through an elaborate arch that led to a paved courtyard. Before now Helen had always come in and out through the back entrance by way of the kitchen and utility areas, a situation appropriate to her role in the household and with which she felt quite comfortable. Still more peculiar was the sparkly sensation zinging around the inside of her forehead. Trailing Ricardo Almanza’s exquisitely muscled behind was probably shortening her lifespan by a few good weeks. He wore a suit well.

The light was rapidly fading into a slumberous Mediterranean evening, and the white stone walls of the villa glowed in a way that reminded her of the moonstones on her mother’s eternity ring. The courtyard lemon trees were now black silhouettes against a violet and pink sky, and she remembered why she loved this part of the world so much. Heat, color, the sizzle of insects.

Ricardo turned into the narrow road outside the villa’s walls and Helen stopped dead in her tracks behind him. “Don’t tell me that thing is yours.”

“Si. Of course it is. What did you expect? A cheap Spanish car, like a SEAT?” He glanced at the red Ferrari and shrugged. “It’s a cliché, but I like fast cars.”

Helen nodded slowly and feigned a sigh. “And there I was expecting a moped ride.”

His chin jutted upwards and the movement of an eyebrow muscle was sufficient warning for her to say no more. “I wouldn’t expect any woman in my company to straddle one of those things.” His eyelids lowered. “They have me for that.”

Helen blushed and was glad of the fading light. Talk about shameless ego. She tossed her hair belligerently and silently slid into the passenger seat.

“You’ve got to admit this is more fun than the bus,” Ricardo said a few minutes into the journey.

“I guess …” Helen clutched the door trim as he took a sharp bend and sounded his horn at a truck carrying oranges. She swallowed hard and stared pointedly out of the window. He didn’t need to see how he was affecting her equilibrium. It wasn’t his driving either. Each time he thrust the Ferrari into another gear, his trousers pulled tightly over firm thigh muscles and she could feel the heat of his body in the snug confines of the car. Sharp darts of awareness unexpectedly pulsed between her thighs and she was shocked at how difficult it was proving to suppress them. His scent was good too—the cologne she’d smelled earlier had complex layers and was crammed with pheromones. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to pretend he wasn’t there. What was the matter with her? He had all the hallmarks of a first class jerk.

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