A Stormy Spanish Summer(5)

By: Penny Jordan

Shocked, Fliss veered away from pursuing her own thoughts, her face starting to burn. What was happening to her? She felt as though she had been struck by a thunderbolt, the aftershock leaving her feeling sick and shaky. How could she have allowed herself to think like that about Vidal?

‘You shouldn’t have come here to Spain, Felicity.’

‘You mean you didn’t want me to come,’ Fliss responded at Vidal’s coldly delivered words. ‘Well, I’ve got news for you, Vidal. I’m not sixteen any more, and you can’t tell me what to do. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I would like to go and check in to my hotel. There was no need for you to come here to the airport,’ she told him, intent on dismissing him. ‘We don’t have anything to say to one another that can’t be said tomorrow, at our meeting with my late father’s attorney.’

She made to step past him, but as she did so his hand shot out, his long tanned fingers curling round her arm and restraining her. It seemed odd that such an elegant hand with such fastidiously well-cared-for nails could possess such feral male power, but it did, Fliss recognised as her flesh pulsed hotly beneath his hold. Her blood was beating with unfamiliar speed, as though responding to his command and not the command of her own body.

Her sharp, ‘Let me go,’ was met with a dark look.

‘There is nothing I would like to do more, I assure you. But since my mother is expecting you to stay with us, and will be awaiting our arrival, I’m afraid that that is not possible.’

‘Your mother?’

‘Yes. She has come especially from her home in the mountains to our townhouse, here in the city, so that she can welcome you into the family.’

‘Welcome me into the family?’ Fliss shot him a derisory look. ‘Do you think I want that after the way “the family” treated my mother—the au pair not good enough to marry my father? The way they refused to acknowledge my existence?’

Ignoring Fliss’s angry outburst as though she hadn’t spoken, Vidal continued coldly, ‘You should have thought of the consequences of coming here before you decided to do so—but then you are not someone who thinks it important to think of the consequences of your behaviour, are you, Felicity? Neither the consequences nor their effect on others.’

Fliss couldn’t bring herself to look at him. Of course he would throw that at her. Of course he would.

‘I have no wish to meet your mother. My hotel booking—’

‘Has been cancelled.’

No, she couldn’t. She wouldn’t. Panic hit her. Fliss opened her mouth to protest, but it was too late. She was already being propelled firmly towards the car park. A sudden movement of the crowd pushed her closer to Vidal’s side, and her own flesh was immediately aware of the male strength and heat of his body as her thigh came into brief contact with his, hard with muscle beneath the expensive fabric of his clothes. She recoiled, her mouth dry, her heart thudding, as memories she couldn’t bear to relive mocked her attempts to deny them.

They moved swiftly along in the full glare and heat of the high summer sun—which was surely why her body had started to burn so hotly that she could feel the beat of her own blood in her face.

‘You should be wearing a hat,’ Vidal rebuked her, his critical gaze raking her hot face. ‘You are too pale-skinned to be exposed to the full heat of our sun.’

It wasn’t the sun that was the cause of the heat burning her, Fliss knew. But thankfully only she knew that.

‘I have a hat in my case,’ she told him. ‘But since I expected to go straight to my hotel from the airport by taxi, rather than being virtually kidnapped and forced to stand in the sun’s full glare, I didn’t think it necessary.’

‘The only reason you were standing anywhere was because you chose to create an argument. My car is over here,’ Vidal told her. His arrogance caused Fliss to grit her teeth. How typical it was of everything she knew about him that he made no attempt to apologise and instead tried to put her in the wrong. He had lifted his hand, as though to place it against the small of her back and no doubt propel her in the direction of the waiting vehicle, but her immediate reaction was to step hurriedly away from him. She could not bear him to touch her. To do so would be a form of self-betrayal she could not endure. And besides, he was too … Too what? Too male?

He had seen her hasty movement, of course, and now he was looking at her in a way that locked her stomach muscles against the biting contempt of that look.

‘It’s too late for you to put on the “shrinking virgin, fearful of a man’s touch” act for me,’ he warned her

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