Matched to a Billionaire(8)

By: Kat Cantrell



She was clutching her hands together so tightly, her knuckles had gone white. The art of small talk was not his forte, but surely he could do better than this.

“I’m pleased, as well.” Pleased, not happy. This marriage had never been about being happy, but being sensible. “But now we have to live together and it should be comfortable for us both. You can talk to me about anything. Finances. Religion. Politics.”

Sex.

His mind had not jumped straight to that...but it had, and unashamedly so, with vivid mental images of what her legs looked like under that prim skirt. She glanced at him, held his gaze. A spark flared between them and again, he sensed her energy, coiled and ready to whip out—and his body strained to catch it.

Stop, he commanded his active imagination. He and Daniella had an agreement. A civilized, rational agreement, which did not include sliding a hand over her thigh. His fingers curled and he shoved them under his leg.

She looked down and shifted, angling slightly away. One finger drummed nervously against her skirt. “Thank you. I appreciate that.”

His very carnal reaction to a mere glance had obviously upset her.

He cleared his throat. “Are you still okay with letting the intimate side of our relationship unfold naturally?”

Her eyes widened and he almost groaned.

What a fantastic way to set her at ease. He needed to dunk his head in a bucket of cold water or something before he scared her into complete silence. Though that might be better than her constantly starting sentences with yes, as if she thought he expected a trained parrot.

“Yes.” She met his gaze squarely and earned a couple of points for courage. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

Because you feel this draw between us and it’s making your palms sweat, too.

Chemistry had been far down the priority list, for both of them.

He just hadn’t anticipated having so much of it right out of the gate. Or that it would pose a very real danger of becoming such a distraction, the exact opposite of his intent in hiring a matchmaker.

His focus should be on work. Not on getting his wife naked. Indulgent pleasures weren’t on the menu, particularly not for someone with his inability to stop indulging.

“I want to be sure we’re on the same page,” he said.

“We are. Our marriage will be companionable with a progression toward intimacy when it seems appropriate.” Her tone wavered, just a touch, and was coupled with a glint in her eyes he couldn’t interpret. “Like we discussed.”

His exact words. And suddenly he wished he could take it all back. Wished he could put a glint of happiness in her eyes instead of the look currently drilling a hole through his chest. The unsettling feeling bothered him more than the chemistry, because he had no clue what to do with it.

“We’ll have separate bedrooms, for now.” That had been his intent from the beginning and seemed even more necessary given her nervousness. It should solve everything. The back of his throat burned with inexplicable disappointment. “Take things slowly.”

Separate bedrooms would serve to put some distance between them. Ease the tension, give them both time to acclimate. Give the chemistry time to cool. And definitely allow him to refocus.

Then they’d settle into what he’d envisioned: a marriage where they had fulfilling lives outside of each other and enjoyed a pleasant relationship both in the bedroom and out. No one with his intense personality could have any other kind of marriage.

His phone beeped and he glanced at it. He’d taken a half day to attend his wedding and given his employees the rest of the day off as well, but he was never “out of the office.”

The email was a brief courtesy notice from Tommy Garrett’s people to let him know Garrett Engineering had narrowed the field to Leo and another firm, Moreno Partners. Excellent. The timing couldn’t be better. His new wife could organize the wine and dine for Garrett as soon as she was settled.

“Do you need to make a call?” Daniella asked politely. “I don’t mind. Pretend I’m not here.”

That wasn’t even possible. “Thanks, but it was an email. No response needed.”

A different strategy was in order. In light of the wife he’d ended up with, thinking of her as an employee might work best to stave off the urge to spend the weekend in bed, making his wife laugh and then making her gasp with pleasure. And then hitting repeat a hundred times.

If he fit Daniella into a predefined box, she’d slide into his life with little disruption and that was exactly what he wanted. What he needed.

Success guaranteed security. It was the only thing that could and no price was too high to ensure he kept his focus on Reynolds Capital Management—even continued solitude.

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