ANSWER THE IS YES
When her dress tears at her ex’s wedding, Hayley Miller is mortified. But her shame provides the perfect backdrop for passion with the best man, the handsome Nico Rossi....
I turned my head and almost passed out because Nico was standing there, his broad shoulders blocking my view of the living room and the other guests. I’d thought about nothing but him for the past few days. Sometimes when you fantasized about a guy and then you saw him again, you realized you’d built him up in your head. Not Nico. He was truly spectacular. And imposing. He filled the doorway of our kitchen and he glanced from me to the turkey and lifted an eyebrow. Seriously unbalanced by his unexpected appearance, I gave what I hoped passed for a casual shrug. ‘Not everyone likes leg.’
‘True.’ Those dark eyes met mine with sardonic humour. Not a smile, but definitely humour. ‘I’m more of a breast man myself.’ Oh, God, why did he have to say that? Immediately I was back in that room at the wedding, with him showing me just how much of a breast man he was. I wondered what the hell he was doing here.
Presumably he needed his jacket for some Christmas gathering or other, but this seemed like an odd time to show up on our doorstep. I turned to look at Rosie, but she was in a panic over the waxed turkey. My sister had no sense of priorities. I was about to fetch Nico’s jacket and send him on his way when I realised he wasn’t alone. Kiara stood in the doorway, groomed and polished as ever. She gave me an awkward smile, which I returned. At a guess I’d say mine was more awkward than hers. I felt more naked than the turkey (although without being vain, I’d say my legs were looking a hell of a lot better).
Nico was leaning casually against the doorframe watching me from under those thick lashes, the way he had when we’d kissed. He might as well have been touching me because I could feel his gaze right through me. The sensation started as a tingling on the surface of my skin and then it was a warmth through my veins, and then the warmth turned to heat. The heat pooled low in my pelvis and I didn’t think it had anything to do with my fur-trimmed panties. It exasperated me that I could feel like this. And what was even more exasperating was the fact he knew I was feeling like this. Not that he looked smug or anything. Oh, no. If I’d had to describe his expression I would have said ‘watchful’.
He kept looking at me. Unflinching. Unembarrassed. As if he’d asked himself a question and was now looking at the answer.
Then he glanced from me to the woman standing quietly next to him. ‘You haven’t been formally introduced, have you?’
Oh, great. He was going to ram home the fact that his sister had only ever seen me half-naked. ‘No.’ I spoke between my teeth. ‘We haven’t.’
‘This is Kiara. Kiara, this is Hayley. You saw her briefly at the wedding.’ All right, enough! What was the guy playing at? One more comment like that and I’d give him one of my own kicks, which might not have been as impressive or elegant as my sister’s, but would still have threatened his ability to father children. ‘Hi, Kiara. Lovely to meet you.’ I tried not to look at him even though I could feel him looking at me. He hadn’t stopped looking at me since he’d walked in. Being on the receiving end of that smoldering, intense gaze made my legs turn from a solid to a liquid. I was about to reach for the fire blanket Rosie kept in the kitchen and throw it over myself.
‘It’s lovely to meet you,’ Kiara said earnestly. ‘I know you’re an engineer. I’m in awe. I’m hopeless at Math and Physics. Nico used to tear his hair out helping me with homework.’ He’d helped her with homework? I blinked. I tried to imagine this smooth, sophisticated guy sitting patiently by his sister, helping her with algebra. ‘Well that’s, lovely.’ And honestly I did think it was lovely. Except that I was confused by the contradictions. ‘You came here for your jacket, so I ought to get that for you—’ Nico was still watching me. I wondered if part of his job involved interrogation because his gaze was like a laser. If I’d had a mirror I would have checked there wasn’t a red dot on my forehead. There was a long, pulsing silence and he continued to look at me as if something I’d said had answered a question lingering in his head.
‘I’m not here for the jacket. We’re here because Rosie invited us to join you for Christmas.’
An excerpt from Ripped by Sarah Morgan, a part of our new line of books, Cosmo Red- Hot Reads from Harlequin. Get your copy today!