His Ultimate Prize(2)

By: Maya Blake

He drew himself up to his full height and tugged his bespoke hand-stitched suit into place. He slid slim fingers through longer-than-conventional hair until the sleek jet-black tresses were raked back from his high forehead. With the same insufferable indolence with which he approached everything in life, he scrutinised her face, lingered for an obscenely long moment on her mouth before stabbing her gaze with his.

‘Are you asking as my physiotherapist or as the woman who continues to scorn my attentions?’

Her mouth tightened. ‘As your physio, of course. I have no interest in the...in being—’

‘Becoming my lover would make so many of our problems go away, Raven, don’t you think? Certainly, this sexual tension you’re almost choking on would be so much easier to bear if you would just let me f—’

‘Are you okay to walk, Rafael?’ she interjected forcefully, hating the way her blood heated and her heart raced at his words.

‘Of course, querida. Thanks to your stalwart efforts this past month, I’m no longer wheelchair-bound and I have the very essence of life running through my veins. But feel free to let your fingers keep caressing my backside the way they’re doing now. It’s been such a long time since I felt this surge of essence to a particular part of my anatomy, I was beginning to fear it’d died.’

With a muted curse and even redder cheeks, she dropped her hand. The professional in her made her stay put until Rafael was fully upright and able to support himself. The female part that hated herself for this insane fever of attraction wanted to run a mile. She compromised by moving a couple of feet away, her face turned from his.

For the second time in as many minutes, his laugh mocked her. ‘Spoilsport.’

She fought the need to clench her hands into agitated fists and faced him when she had herself under sufficient control. ‘How long are you going to keep this up? Surely you can find something else to amuse yourself with besides this need to push my buttons?’

Just like that, his dazzling smile dropped, his eyes gleaming with a hard, cynical edge that made her shiver. ‘Maybe that’s what keeps me going, guapa. Maybe I intend to push your buttons for as long as it amuses me to do so.’

She swallowed hard and considered staring him down. But she knew how good he was at that game. Heck, Rafael was a maestro at most games. He would only welcome the challenge.

Reaching behind him to slam the car door, she started to move with him towards the entrance of the church where baby Jack’s ceremony was being held. ‘If you’re trying to get me to resign by being intolerable, I won’t,’ she stated in as firm a tone as possible, hoping he’d get the hint. Aside from the need to make amends, she needed this job. Her severance package from Team Espíritu when Marco de Cervantes had sold the racing team had been more than generous, but it was fast running out in light of her mother’s huge treatment bills. It would take a lot more than Rafael’s sexual taunts to make her walk away.

He shrugged and fell into step beside her. ‘Good. As long as you’re here tormenting yourself with your guilt, I feel better.’

Acute discomfort lodged in her chest. ‘I thought we weren’t going to speak about that?’

‘You should know by now, rules mean nothing to me. Unspoken rules mean even less. How’s the guilt today, by the way?’

‘Receding by the second, thanks to your insufferable tongue.’

‘I must be slacking.’ He took a step forward, gave a visible wince, and Raven’s heart stopped, along with her feet. He raised a brow at her, the hard smile back on his face. ‘Ah, there it is. Good to know I haven’t lost my touch after all.’

Ice danced down her spine at his chilled tone. Before she could answer, the large bell pealed nearby. Pigeons flew out of the turrets of the tiny whitewashed church that had been on the de Cervantes’s Northern Spanish estate for several hundred years.

Raven glanced around them, past the church poised at the summit of the small hill that overlooked miles of prime de Cervantes vineyards, to the graveyard beyond where Rafael’s ancestors lay interred.

‘Are we going to stand here all day admiring the landscape or do we actually need to go inside the church for this gig?’ A quick glance at him showed his face studiously averted from the prominent headstones, his jaw set in steel.

She drew in a deep breath and moved towards the arched entrance to the church. ‘It’s not a gig; it’s your nephew’s christening. In a church. With other guests. So act accordingly.’

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