Gabriela waited until he was out of earshot, then surprised herself by asking, “Why, Albert?”
Gabriela held his questioning green stare. Calm down, she told herself. Be cool. Unemotional. Logical. Oh, God. How was she going to get through this? She went for the missing bracelet again, cursed her forgetfulness, and grabbed her wrist to keep her hand still.
“You’ve been going more than out of your way to promote my works lately. I just wondered—” She swallowed nervously. This was definitely not going the way she wanted. She gripped her wrist until her knuckles turned white. […] Her cheeks turned an even stronger hue of rose. “I just hope it’s not…you know… Heck,” she finished lamely.
Albert studied her blushing profile slowly, amused at her obvious embarrassment. He knew why she’d been skittish these past two months, but also understood he had to allay her suspicions if his plan to make her hismistress was to succeed. After all, he had rushed things. It was a mistake, a rare one for him, but he could excuse his faux pas simply because of her illustration. He had not been prepared for the rush of emotion, or the impact Gabriela’s powerfully ferocious drawing had had on him. He had lost control, plain and simple, and had instinctively reached for her, placing in that kiss all his appreciation, his pride, his possessiveness, and his lust for her.
Albert took a sip of his scotch, rolling it over his tongue before letting it slide down his throat like velvet. “Does this outburst have anything to do with my kiss?”
Gabriela thought her face would vaporize from the heat in her cheeks. Her hand was like a tourniquet on her wrist.
“Ma belle,” Albert smiled. “Don’t be so prudish. It was the excitement of the moment. You have to agree that your St. George shocked me.”
“It left you speechless,” she admitted.
Albert chuckled. “A first for me, n’est-ce pas?”
“Definitely,” she said, and took a sip from her drink. The cool liquid didn’t alleviate the dryness in her throat. “It still doesn’t clarify things.” (Chapter 1)