He stood there silent, Raul did not ask why, yet Lydia answered as if he had.
‘Bastiano isn’t what I want.’
‘And what is?’
‘He has that.’
She screwed up her nose. ‘I want old money.’
‘If I’m to marry for money I’d at least like a title.’
‘You’re a snob.’
‘I have every right to be.’
‘And a gold-digger,’ Raul said.
‘Yes!’ Lydia smiled a black smile. ‘I’m a snob and a gold-digger, and some Sicilian who just made good doesn’t really do it for me.’
‘You make no sense, given the way you screamed last night.’
‘We’re talking about Bastiano,’ Lydia said. ‘As you pointed out—he wanted marriage and a nice trophy wife. I, on the other hand, wanted sex.’ She ran a finger along his jaw and taunted him and it felt so good. ‘For a one-night stand, you were the far better option. What I really want is a gentleman.’
‘Well.’ He gave a black smile and removed her hand from his face. ‘I don’t qualify, then.’
He dropped all contact, and as she turned and walked away suddenly Lydia wasn’t so brave.
As she bent to retrieve her red dress and picked it up from the floor, it felt as if she was waving a flag to a very angry bull, though Raul did not move.
His hackles were up. Raul could fight dirty when he chose—and he was starting to choose to now.
He looked at her slender legs and her hair falling forward and knew she could feel his eyes on her body as she pretended to concentrate on folding the dress as she bent over the open case.
She was pink in the cheeks and her ears were red, and as his eyes took in the curve of her bottom he knew she was as turned on as he was.
Tension crackled between them and she could almost picture his hands pulling up her robe.
It was bizarre.
He made filthy thoughts mandatory, gave anger a new outlet, and she recalled his promise that angry sex could wait.
‘You know,’ he said, ‘once you leave, you’re gone. I don’t play games, and I don’t pursue...’
‘I’m not asking you to.’
He walked over—she heard him but did not turn around. She must have folded that dress twenty times when his hand came to her hip. Just a small gesture, almost indicating that she should turn to him, but Lydia resisted.
‘Hey, Lydia,’ he said, and he bent over her and spoke in that low, calm voice, while hard against her bottom. ‘When you find your suitably titled Englishman, don’t think of me.’
‘It would not be fair to him.’
‘You really—’ She stopped, and she dared not turn around, for now one hand moved to her waist and the other to her shoulder, and there was a desire in Lydia for the sound of his zip, but it never came.
‘When you’re in bed,’ Raul said, and she held on to the bed with cheeks flaming, ‘and he says, “Is that nice, darling?” or “Do you like it like that?”’ He put on an affected tone. ‘Try not to remember that I never needed to enquire. And,’ he added cruelly, ‘when you lie there beside him, unsated, and you do think of me...’
‘I told you—I shan’t.’
He pressed into her one more time and then pulled back and let her go and she straightened up.
She was a bit breathless.
Oh, and still angry.
She pulled off her robe and he did not avert his eyes. He watched as she pulled on knickers, and watched as she put on her bra.
And he watched as she pulled on the taupe dress—the one with the buttons.
As she struggled to dress he walked over—but not to her. This time he picked up the statue and tossed it into her case.
‘I don’t want your stupid statue.’
‘I thought you were a gold-digger,’ he pointed out. ‘Sell it.’ Raul shrugged. ‘Or hurl it out of the window of your turret in frustration when your fingers can’t deliver.’
‘Oh, please,’ Lydia sneered. ‘You think you’re so good.’
‘No,’ Raul said. ‘I know that we were.’
For he had never experienced it before—that absolute connection and the erotic bliss they had found last night.
She snapped her case closed and, rather annoyingly, set the security code on the lock.
As she bumped it from the bed he kicked off his boots and got on. Raul lay on the rumpled sheets and reached for his cake box and took out his phone.
She could see herself out, Raul decided.
The private jet was closed.
Lydia stood there for a moment. It was hard making a dignified exit when you didn’t know the way out.