Beauty in the Billionaire's Bed - Page 60

‘Not quite.’ He was holding out a slim black velvet box.

Her heart felt suddenly as though it was trying to beat a path through her ribs. ‘What’s that?’ she croaked.

‘Open it and see,’ he said quietly.

Speechless with shock, she stared down at a beautiful diamond bracelet. ‘You shouldn’t have—’ Her lower lip was quivering. ‘No, I mean it. You’ve already given me this beautiful dress.’

‘That was a necessity. So is this, actually.’ Lifting the delicate band, he opened the clasp and slipped it onto her wrist. ‘Don’t you know, darling? It’s the accessories that make the dress.’

That wasn’t true, she thought, glancing down at the smooth blue silk. This dress had been perfect as it was. This was generous, thoughtful, personal.

She felt her heartbeat accelerate. Arlo had wanted to see her reaction, to make her happy. But only because he did things properly, she told herself firmly. And probably that was how he’d been raised. It wasn’t personal.

‘Arlo, you can’t keep buying me things,’ she protested.

‘Why? It gives me pleasure.’ He stared down at her, his grey eyes intent and enveloping. ‘You wouldn’t want to stop giving me pleasure, would you?’

‘No, but I don’t have a gift for you...’

Her voice trailed off as he leaned forward and she felt his lips trace the pulse down her neck. The room blurred and a ribbon of heat uncurled inside her. Would it always be like this with him? So instant, so intense, so annihilating.

More importantly, could it ever be like this with another man?

Arlo lifted his head and the room slowly stopped spinning. ‘We should probably go...’

His hand was warm and firm around hers. She smiled. ‘Then let’s go.’

* * *

Frankie could hear the party as soon as Arlo opened their bedroom door. Downstairs, guests were spilling out of the rooms, and it didn’t take long for her to realise that not only did most of them know Arlo, many of them were surprised to see him.

Clearly he’d been telling the truth about not enjoying big family events.

He hid it well. His face was blank of expression, aside from the occasional stiff smile, but his arm was rigid beneath hers and she could feel his discomfort.

Only, somehow, knowing that he found it so difficult made it easier for her to step forward and smile and talk and laugh.

This was something she enjoyed—something she could do well, she realised. But, more than that, it was her chance to do something for him. Her chance to make him feel as safe and protected as he’d made her feel out on the causeway.

As they made their way to the ballroom Frankie caught her breath. In daylight, the house was astonishing. Now, though, it looked magical. Like an enchanted fairy tale palace.

Canopies of tiny lights hung down the walls behind huge displays of pink and cream roses, and beneath their feet an immaculate checkerboard marble floor gleamed beneath rows of glittering chandeliers.

The guests were pretty impressive too, she thought, her eyes leapfrogging over the men’s immaculate monochrome evening wear to the sparkling dresses and plunging necklines of their wives and girlfriends.

Everyone looked so relaxed and happy.

Everyone but Arlo, she thought, her eyes darting to the man beside her and the lines of tension around his eyes.

‘Here.’ Plucking two glasses of champagne from the tray of a passing waiter, he handed her one.

‘Thank you—oh, wow!’

Gazing up at the soaring ceiling, Frankie felt as if she’d already drunk the contents of her glass.

Arlo leaned into her, his body warm against the cool skin of her back. ‘My great-great-great-great-grandfather is the one in the middle.’

‘You mean the one kneeling in front of that woman wearing a sheet? I guess he does look a little like you from this angle,’ she said softly.

Tags: Louise Fuller Billionaire Romance
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