“I don’t get it.”
The words held such a note of puzzlement,
Pamela Singer smiled even as she turned to look at the man who’d
The expression of confusion on his face
matched perfectly the tone of his voice. He stood taller than
her five-foot-seven frame, with black hair long enough to brush
his collar. His eyes, an electric blue, drew her gaze almost
hypnotically. The gods must have given him that chiselled
visage, that classic male beauty. She tried very hard not to
notice how good-looking he was. Neither did she
acknowledge to herself—overmuch—that something about him put a
hum in her bloodstream. Because looking at him was far more
pleasing than it should be, she turned her attention
instead to the painting he was studying.
The piece, entitled “Dawn Hybrid,” was one the Langdon Gallery
in Philadelphia had only recently acquired. Considered a fine
example of the Minimalist style and painted in the early
nineteen seventies, the painting had been purchased from a
private collector. Judging by the way the gallery had showcased
the piece, they considered it the cornerstone of their Twentieth
Century American collection.
The man turned to her, and Pamela tried in vain to lasso her
hormones. Gazing at him in profile had been thrill enough.
Seeing him eye-to-eye was almost too much.
“I just don’t get it,” he said again. “This isn’t art.
It’s…lines on a canvas. This could have been turned out by any
third-grader in any school in the country.”
Normally, Pamela’s love of art would cause her hackles to rise
at the sound of such heresy. But for some reason, that sentiment
from this man, looking truly confused and adorable as he
expressed it didn’t incite her ire at all. Laughing softly, she
looked at the painting, trying to see it through his eyes.
“Not many people are fans of the Minimalist style.”
“Minimalist, is it? Usually, I agree with the concept that less
is more. But in this case…”
He smiled at her, and when her heart gave a little lurch, Pamela
knew she was in deep trouble. Just when she thought she couldn’t
sink any farther, a look of chagrin crossed his face.
“Um…I didn’t just insult you or anything, did I?”
Before she could answer, he continued on. “Hell, of course I
did. Sorry. My mother spent a lot of time taking me through art
galleries, and so I understand more than most that art is in the
eye of the beholder. Dylan Pierce.” He held out his hand.
Looking from his now-hopeful expression to his outstretched
hand, Pamela knew that she was completely captivated. You
would think that after what happened with Dmitri, I’d know
better. With a sense of inevitability, she accepted the
“You really didn’t offend me, though I should have been. Pamela
“I think you’re just being generous.”
He flashed another smile and then turned his attention back to
the art. “I don’t hate art, really. I just don’t understand it.
My idea of what defines art is probably old-fashioned. You know,
fruit in a bowl, portraits, that sort of thing.”
“What about Impressionism?”
“Is that where it almost looks like real things but the
edges are fuzzed?”
Pamela had never heard the style described in quite that way
before. She couldn’t hold back her laugh. “Yes, that would be
He tilted his head to one side and shot her a look she thought
should belong to a little boy trying to worm some treat.
“You have a nice laugh.” As if realizing that was perhaps too
personal an observation, he broke eye contact, looked back at
the painting for a moment, then turned back to her. “Mother
tried her best to educate me, but for reasons unknown, my brain
refused to absorb details or acquire appreciation. All I really
know about art is that I like what I like. And this
unfortunately is not it.”
“That’s fair enough. But I have to ask you, that being the case,
what are you doing here?”
“We made a large donation to the Langdon to finance this
exhibit. As an executive vice president, it was my duty to come
and see it.”
Pamela tilted her head, something she knew she did when trying
to recall details. “You’re with the Carstairs Hotel Group?”
“I am. Rather unavoidable since my paternal grandmother is
This meant, Pamela reflected, that he came from money, and lots
of it. “I’d heard your grandmother retired recently to some
place exotic…the Mediterranean, was it?”
“Gran doesn’t know the meaning of the word retirement.”
There was a wealth of affection in his voice, and Pamela felt
her heart melt a little more. This was dangerous. All she had to
do was look back a few short months to know just how dangerous
letting down her guard could be. She’d opened her heart to
Dmitri Andropolis, fallen completely under his spell. That
transformation hadn’t happened in just a few minutes in an art
gallery, either, but had developed over several weeks.
She was still smarting from his fit of temper, although the
bruises had long since faded. No man, not even any of her former
foster fathers, had ever hit her before.
Pamela was no one’s victim. She’d turned her back and walked
away from Dmitri, despite the fact she’d been in love with him.
He’d tried to apologize, of course, but after a few weeks had
finally understood there would be no second chance from her.
She brought her attention back to the present. Dylan seemed
different than any man she’d ever met. The information he’d
given as to his identity had been done without airs, as a normal
part of the conversation. Any man whose voice softened at the
mention of his mother and grandmother was, she decided, a man
worth getting to know a bit better. Who knew, he might make a
She had her sisters, of course, but few other friends at the
moment. The only question was could she keep him in that
His hands were shaking.
Dylan couldn’t remember
if he’d ever before wanted a woman so badly that his hands
shook. He knew she saw it, too, as he inserted the key into the
lock. He didn’t care about that. He didn’t care that this was
the woman who had brought his brother to ruin, either. There was
only one thing he cared about: getting his hands on Pamela
Singer as quickly as possible. He turned to her the moment the
door closed behind them.
He didn’t give her a
chance to respond. He seized on her arms and pulled her up and
into his kiss.
When he’d tasted her for
the first time downstairs, he’d thought—he’d hoped—that sense of
destiny, that taste of ambrosia had been a trick of the summer
night, the lights, and the joie de vivre of the crowd that had
How could she taste like heaven, feel better than every wet
dream he’d ever had? Her heat seeped into him, and he pulled her
closer, pressing her female curves against his hard and hungry
body. Her arms went around his neck as his hands splayed across
her bottom, bringing her to his erection.
Drinking her in, he
lifted her off her feet, grunting when she wrapped her legs
He’d only been in
residence in this penthouse a week, but he found the bedroom
without taking his lips from hers. Her tongue danced with his,
their flavors mixing in a
concoction more potent than a wizard’s potion. Soft and sweet,
hot and heady, Dylan felt himself succumb completely to her
spell. Not wanting to let her go even for a moment, he fell with
her to the bed.
He sought the flavor of her cheeks, her
neck, and reveled in her touch, so anxious against his scalp.
Pamela was devouring him in turn, and that thrilled him beyond
measure. No other woman before her has mattered. The
image flashed of a violent sea, of his being lured to rocky ruin
on the shore of some forgotten, mythical island. Then the image
was gone, forced out by his need for her and his own conscious
He looked down at her while he raced to
catch his breath. Her eyes were clouded with passion, edged with
“I don’t usually—”
Stroking a finger lightly across her mouth,
he silenced her. He didn’t want her to speak, didn’t want a call
to reason, not for either of them. He knew he was on dangerous
ground, knew he should get up, walk away, hell, walk all the way
back to Greece. But he couldn’t.
“I know you don’t
usually. Neither do I. Let’s not talk. Let’s just feel.”
For one instant, he
thought she would refuse him. He’d let her go, of course. He
wasn’t an animal. But then her expression cleared, and she
stroked his face gently.
A loving gesture, not
a lustful one. He realized that,
for Pamela, no matter what else there was to her, having sex
would never be a matter of whim, of lust only.
He refused to think what
more it could be. With fingers that had calmed, he began to open
Creamy flesh and white
lace enticed him. Compelled, he set his mouth on her, sampling
her collarbone, her throat, as his busy fingers finished their
task. Lifting her, he swept the silky fabric from her, leaving
only her bra covering her plump breasts. He felt his smile
spread as he took in the front closure on the garment. His mouth
set about freeing her.
Her groan of arousal
spurred him on, and he drew a pebbled nipple even deeper into
his mouth. Her hands tugged at his clothing. He lifted up from
Pamela’s hands were
quick and competent as they loosed his tie and then his buttons.
The moment the last one opened, he whipped off his shirt, not
caring that the fine linen fell to the floor in a heap. The
touch of her hands on his chest, her fingers splaying to caress
and grip, shot straight to his groin.
Her arms crept up to
twine around his neck. He shook his head. Reaching down, he
slipped the button on her trousers from its mooring and pulled
the zipper down. Their hands worked together quickly to get the
The dark hair covering
her intimate flesh was the same delectable shade as the rest of
her hair and promised to be just as soft. Unable to resist, he
stroked her gently, his touch a light and fleeting caress. He
chuckled when she bowed off the bed.
Every bit of
humor left him when she reached out and returned the intimacy,
her hand pressing against the ridge covered by his pants. It
took him only moments to shed the rest of his clothes. He
reached into the drawer of his bedside table, not taking his
eyes from her, and grabbed a tiny foil packet. Tearing it open
with his teeth, he pulled out the condom, rolled it on, and