“Are you up?” Letty murmured. “Come back to bed.”
She was beneath the blankets now, looking sleepy and adorable with her dark hair tumbling over his pillows. She’d covered herself with the comforter. As if he hadn’t seen everything, touched everything, tasted everything already.
His body hardened against his will, already desiring her again. He’d just had her, and he already wanted more. He wanted to take her on the bed. Against the wall. Against the window. Again and again. He stared at her in bewildered fury. Truly she was poison.
But did he really imagine after everything that had gone wrong tonight, the gold digger couldn’t achieve her ultimate goal—marriage and total command, not just of his fortune, but of his body and soul?
He clawed a hand through his hair.
“Darius, what’s wrong?”
He repeated flatly, “You love me?”
“It’s true,” she whispered.
He took a step toward the bed.
“What is it, Letty?” he said in a low voice. “Did you plan all along to renegotiate the deal? One night isn’t enough, is that it? You don’t want to be a rental, but a permanent sale?”
She frowned. “What are you talking about?”
Darius’s jaw felt so tight it ached. Grabbing gray sweatpants from a sleek built-in drawer, he pulled them up over his naked body. He forced his shoulders to relax, forced himself to face her. When he spoke, his voice was like ice.
“You don’t love me. You don’t even know what the word means. When I think of how I once adored you, it sickens me. Especially now—now we both know what you really are.”
Her forehead creased. “What are you talking about?”
“This night. This whole night. Don’t pretend you don’t know.”
“Don’t play the outraged innocent. You sold your virginity to me for the price of a hundred thousand dollars.”
For a moment, his hard words echoed in the shadowy bedroom. The two of them stared at each other in silence.
“What are you talking about?”
“Your email,” he said impatiently. “Claiming you needed to pay off some mobster who’d broken your father’s arm and threatened to break his whole body if he didn’t come up with a hundred thousand dollars within the week.” He tilted his head curiously. “Is it true? Or just a convenient excuse?”
Her eyes were wide. “My father’s broken arm...” She seemed to shudder as she pulled the blankets up higher against her neck. “I never sent any message.”
His lips curved sardonically. “So who did?”
Letty’s cheeks were bright red. “I...” Running her hand over her eyes, she said, “So that’s why you came for me? You were buying a night in bed?”
“What did you think?”
“I thought...” She faltered. “I thought you’d forgiven me for what I did...”
He snorted. “Ten years ago? You did me a favor. I’ve been better off without you. Your other fiancé must have realized that fast, since he didn’t bother to stick around, either.” His jaw set. “What I’ll never forgive is what you and your father did to my dad. He died an early death because of you. Lost his job, his life savings. He lost everything, had a heart attack and died.” He bared his teeth in a sharklike smile. “Because of you.”
“Darius, it’s not what you think,” she blurted out. “I...”
“Oh, is this the part where
you come up with an explanation that makes you look like an innocent saint?” he drawled. “Go on, Letty. Tell me how your betrayal was actually a favor. Explain how you destroyed my family at great personal sacrifice, because you loved me so much.” His voice dripped contempt. “Tell me all about your love.”
She opened her mouth.