Dominic stared with a dissatisfied expression at the advert images. But it wasn’t the diverse models showcasing the different beautiful sceneries of La Quinta that brought on the dark scowl. He wasn’t even seeing them—not anymore. His thoughts lingered on Kaine and her leaving even when he’d wanted her to stay.
She had looked beautiful—gorgeous. The red spandex dress had framed her slim physique like a second skin, flattering her subtle curves.
He had chosen the dress, he remembered now, against all of her usual protestations. But then he had had to choose all of clothing as they shopped that day since she’d been torn between her sulky-tantrum and her apparent bewildered state.
He’d chosen the dress but he hadn’t known it would make her that delectable. Gosh, she’d looked stunning—alluringly so. Her makeup had even been a touch different. Maybe Mama or even Catia had helped her with that as she usually went non-existent when it came to cosmetics. They probably had talked her into wearing the dress too, if he knew his conservative-inclined and ever self-conscious wife.
Yet, she’d left despite the fact that she’d come dressed that way to see him and not just driving by as she’d claimed. It was seeing him walk into the bar with Camilla. He’d quickly sensed her reason for wanting to leave. And not just him walking in with her but Camilla had chosen that very moment to slip her hand through his.
Had she seen Kaine before he did and had purposely done that?
Dominic glanced at the prattling Camilla on the armchair opposite him and his brows came together in a frown. It was possible. Camilla still believed she could sway his attention from Kaine and was out to do anything to show she was more sophisticated and thus, better-suited to be his wife—or at the very least, his woman. Though he had spoken to her after her uninvited visit to the house, she continued to hold on to her conviction that she could win him back.
He pursed his lips and returned his gaze to the glossy printed images in his hand. It wasn’t Camilla’s little jealous tantrums that interested him; it was Kaine’s cold retreat after seeing them together that made him wonder. It had been a clear act of jealousy.
There was no doubt about it. Her quick, cool, almost disinterested decision to return home with Tobi had sprung only from jealousy and possibly annoyance at seeing him with Camilla in such a cosy mood too.
Now that was interesting.
If he could arouse a mixed feeling of jealousy and annoyance in her, it only meant she cared—or at least, she was as much attracted to him as he was to her. It meant that the attraction he’d always suspected and these days saw in her eyes, was indeed a reality and most probably didn’t end there too.
Dominic’s mouth curved at the thought and he found himself smiling. If only she hadn’t been too hasty to judge, they might have had themselves a lovely time together.
Camilla’s sharp tone broke into his reverie and he turned up his head and stared frowningly at her. “Sorry, did I miss something you said?” He’d missed more than half of what she’d been saying… but who cared?
“Did you hear what I said about us requesting another colour scheme for the swimming pool shots?” Camilla was glaring at him.
Dominic lifted his shoulders. “If you think the pictures require a different colour scheme, then so be it. You’re the head of Corporate Communications and as such, should know better.”
“And we have always taken these final decisions together.” Camilla let out a hiss. “You haven’t been listening, have you? You have been thinking of your precious Kaine… wishing she had stayed instead of stalking out with her baby because she couldn’t bear to think of her husband working at such close range with a beautiful woman.” Camilla-like, she sprang to her feet and let out an explicit cuss. “Damn it, Nick! What do you see in that… that inconsequential gold-digging woman?”
“Be careful, Camilla.” Dominic warned, his voice cold and his eyes frozen as they watched her. “I have told you I would not tolerate my wife and my family being spoken of discourteously or treated in suck-like manner.”
“My wife, my wife!” Camilla flung up her hand and let out another cuss, this time in Portuguese. “You are forever chanting your wife, for heaven’s sake, she was your brother’s lover and had a baby for him.”
“And now, she is my wife.” Dominic’s eyes were now molten and fury was beginning to burn in his gut. “What is in the past does not matter. Kaine is mine now and so is Tobi, in fact. You learn to accept it or I might be forced to have you transferred, Camie.”
“You would send me away because of her, Nick?” Camilla looked momentarily shocked. “You would do that? How can you forget so soon what we shared, Nick? How can you trade all of that for a cheap, mercenary…?”
“Enough, Camilla!” Dominic thundered, rising to his feet. “Be quiet and never again speak of my wife or my family, do you hear me? What we shared was nothing. We were only lovers and that has ended. I am now married and we will only discuss business together, or we will not discuss at all. The choice is yours.”
“Are you threatening me with a sack, Dominic?”
He stared coldly at the astonished expression. “I have no wish to stop you from a job you do so well, Camilla. But my family is sacred—as you well know. And Kaine is now my family and would not be treated uncivilly by you or anyone else.”
For a long moment, Camilla did not speak, only stared at him with disbelieving eyes. Finally, she shook her head and blew out a breath. “Wow, I guess she must have some secret powers, dear innocent-looking Kaine. I guess she must possess some super-human powers to be able to not deceive one but both Kojo-Edwards brothers.” She came forward and packed up the advert images. “You think that she has feelings for you, don’t you, Nick? You think because you are handsome and rich, she has fallen for your charms?”
Camilla let out a derisive laugh. “She must have professed some kind of emotion for your brother too. It couldn’t have been just cold-blooded sex, right? And yet, here she is married to you and you consider that she must have same feelings for you.” She went around the desk and came to stand in front of him. “Nick, I may not possess that pretentious look of innocence but I have only been true to you—even way before we started our relationship. My body has only been yours—at least not a man related to you has touched it. I am only yours, Nick, body, mind and even heart. Can you boast the same of your Kaine?”
“Accept that is over, Camie. Because it is.” Dominic said.
“Is it?” There was a mocking light in her eyes as she drew closer. “Does your body not crave your Camie anymore, my love?”
“Don’t, Camie.” He saw what she was going to do in her eyes and yet could not make himself move.
“Don’t what, my Nico? Don’t do what your body naturally craves?” And without touching him, she leaned closer and kissed him, her teeth nibbling his lower lip.
Dominic felt the quick rise of need even as her warm, luscious lips pried his open and her tongue came in contact with his in a slow, ragged tangle. He couldn’t help the low groan that escaped him or the hardness that descended on his male member. He couldn’t help the raw, instinctive need that pushed him to grab her by the shoulders and yank her into his arms. Neither could he help the burning desire to possess and dominate as he sank deeper into the kiss, taking the lead as he twirled her around and pressed her against his desk, kissing her with the vehemence of weeks of deprivation.
Her legs went around him in one swift move and her hands reached for his buckle, expertly unclasping it before her hand dove inside and closed over his pulsating shaft.
Dominic groaned at the slick caress and he pulled his mouth from hers to bite, not too gently, into her neck. He pushed her back into the desk, nudging aside papers and all-what-nots and his hand knocked against the framed picture of Kaine with a laughing baby Tobi in her arms sending it flat on its back.
His passion froze as she stared straight into his eyes from the picture. Her eyes smiled into his. It was just last Sunday. Before he’d had to go to winery. They had both been in the garden with Tobi. She had been looking so artless and gorgeous as she played with the baby that he couldn’t resist a picture. And he’d had the picture printed from his home printer and had framed it.
Now, she stared at him with happy, carefree eyes as he was about to be unfaithful to her. Dominic swore in his head and heaved back from Camilla, knocking her hand away from his still swollen manhood.
“Nick?” She gaped at him with confused eyes. “What is the matter, querido?”
“I am married, Camilla, that’s what is the matter.” He turned and forced back the aggrieved shaft back into his trousers—or was it his conscience that was aggrieved?
Dominic silently swore again and struggled to still himself against the guilty pangs. “Camilla, this can never again be. I lost control now and for that I apologise. But I am now married to Kaine and whatever you think of that marriage, it is a reality and it will forever remain so.” In better control of himself, he turned to face her. “Please, I ask you to respect this choice and I hope—I know that you will find another man.”
“I don’t want another man, I want you!” She hopped down from the desk and snatched up the images. “You might have remembered her this time, Nick, but you won’t always have that control. Once you see her for what she really is, you will come running back into my arms. Until then, I will be waiting for you.”
“Don’t wait, Camilla. For that day won’t come.” He said quietly.
She only eyed him with a smirk before clinking out of his office.
Dominic pressed a hand to his eyes and blew out a long, ragged breath. Dear God, what had he nearly done? He needed to stop dealing so closely with Camilla—no! That wasn’t the solution. What he needed to do was to make Kaine get over this her they-need-time crazy idea and allow him to make love to her.
He was a man and he needed the touch of a woman—of his woman.
Kaine had spent the last three days avoiding Dominic at all cost. It hadn’t been much of a trial since he always returned home later than eight pm when she might have retreated to their bedroom and could easily pretend to have fallen asleep.
But it was her heart that suffered her retreats and repeated pretences. She was in love with him and her heart—and body—yearned for him.
She had never felt this way in all of her life. She had never known it was possible to think of a person all day and to crave desperately for their touch. While she pretended to sleep, her body shivered and hungered for a single stroke from him. Her lips went dry every time he looked at her as they pined for his kisses.
He hasn’t kissed her since her visit to La Quinta. Well, how could he kiss her when she made sure they were never alone and when they were, she was either unfriendly and aloof, or she laid unmoving on the bed in a sleep that never came for long hours after he might have gone to bed.
He slept now on the couch. Night after night, he slept there. Maybe he was satisfying himself with Camilla and so didn’t need to pretend he wanted her anymore.
Kaine’s eyes stung at the thought and she blinked rapidly to stop the tears. There was no point crying and breaking her heart over a man who preferred another woman, she told herself. She blamed only her weak, treacherous heart for bringing her this pain.
Why couldn’t she have continued to be indifferent to him, as he was now to her?
Why couldn’t her heart remember that he probably still saw her as a gold-digger who’d seduced his brother, had a baby for him and demanded monetary compensation for that baby?
Again, she blinked. But a tear had slipped, so she swiped it off and rose to her feet. She should stop snivelling and lamenting. She made the choice to marry him and she has to face the consequences of that choice.
If only Anwuli would contact her and then she can be released from this torture.
But Dominic had said there would never be a divorce. Maybe they could have their marriage annulled since it hasn’t been consummated though. Kaine frowned at the thought. And what would she do even if that was possible. Take her broken heart back to Nigeria and do what with it?
She sighed and started undressing. She should have her bath and go join Mia for dinner. Over-thinking all of this wouldn’t solve anything.
Kaine reluctantly stepped out of the tub and started towelling dry her body. She’d stayed longer in the bath than she’d wanted to. She couldn’t help it. The warm dip in the filled bubble bath had been so soothing and liberating that she’d wanted to just lie in there and forget all her troubles.
Her body dry, she considered using one of the bathrobes as she strolled back into the bedroom but discarded the thought. She was alone anyway and she wanted to continue feeling the utter, soothing freshness. She knotted the large, fluffy towel underneath her left arm and pulling open the bathroom door, stepped into the room.
“Nick!” She shrieked out as she came face to face with him.
He returned her startled gaze with an appreciative grin, his brown eyes deliberately wandering from her nude shoulders down to her feet. “Freshly charming.” He drawled, his grin now gleaming with blatant deviousness.
Kaine struggled to tug higher the towel. Darn it, she should have worn the bathrobe! “What are you doing here?” She glared at him.
“This is my bedroom too.” The lazy drawl deepened and his brown eyes turned caressing. “You smell fresh, temptingly fresh.”
Kaine felt her entire body flush and then tingle. “Ah… look, I’ve got to get dressed quickly. Mama would be expecting us for dinner.”
“Then don’t let me stop you.” He moved closer, reached out his right hand and lightly stroked her nude shoulder. “Better still, I will help you dress up.”
Kaine quavered involuntarily. She wanted to take a step back but her feet refused to move and her eyes wouldn’t leave his now dark intense ones. “I… I don’t need help to dress. I’ll just go in…”
“God, it’s been so long I kissed those pouty, delicious lips of yours.” The hand sloped down her back and gripped her waist. “I am dying to kiss you, Kaine. I am dying to do more than kiss you.” He pulled her close and lowered his mouth to hers.
She had been dying to feel his lips on hers too and she couldn’t stop herself from tilting forward into his arms and surrendering to his demanding kiss. His kiss wasn’t the tentative gentleness that it sometimes was and it was not the playful, soft strokes that she most often expected. He kissed her with a fervour that spelt passion and a forcefulness that bespoke his desire to do more than just kiss as he’d said.
She responded, unable and unwilling to stop herself from doing so. She pressed her hands to his side and gripped tightly to his grey jacket as desire wrought through her. Her heart was thudding and she could hear it, even as loud as she could feel his own.
“Gosh, I want you!” He rasped out against her mouth, giving her soft bites as his lips slid down to her neck and nuzzled there. “Let me have you, Kaine. I can’t wait any longer. I need you so.”
Her body screamed yes and her heart concurred with it. But her head struggled beneath the wild quivers of desire and love that drowned it and finally managed to come out on top. Kaine let go of his jacket and edged back from his arms. “I don’t want to, Nick. I am not ready.”
“Don’t do this, Kaine. Don’t refuse me.” His passion-darkened eyes pleaded with her.
Kaine felt her heat break. Her body cursed her for depriving it the pleasure that she was certain he would give her. But she only took another step back. “I’m sorry, Nick…”
“Don’t be sorry. Give me a chance to pleasure you.” He reached for her and pulled her back into his arms, covered her mouth in a quick, passionate kiss. “Come on, Kaine, I can feel the desire of your body.” He said when he raised his head.
“But you can’t feel that of my heart, can you?”
He frowned faintly. “What do you mean?”
That I love you. That I am in love with you while you only want my body, her heart cried. But aloud she only said. “I cannot… have sex unless my heart is in agreement with the desires of my body.”
His hand dropped but he didn’t step back. “What…” he shook his head and let out a short laugh. “Come on, don’t tell me you’ve only made love to men you were in love with?”
I’ve never made love at all. But of course she couldn’t tell him that, so again she lied. “Yes. Yes, that is what I’m telling you. I only—made love with your brother because I loved him. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise.”
His frown deepened. “Are you saying Tobi was the only man you’ve slept with?”
“He—yes, he is.” She blinked back the tears that burned in her eyes and forced herself to go on with yet another lie. “I have never slept with another man until he and I… well, met. And I haven’t done so again since we parted.”
“Are you telling me the truth?” He looked flabbergasted.
No, I’ve not been telling you the truth since we met, please forgive me! But of course she had to tell another lie. “Yes, that is the truth.”
And this time he stepped back. “I’m sorry, Kaine. I don’t mean to force you into doing something you’re unprepared or disinclined to do.” He sounded weary and looked it. “I am only a man and you’re a beautiful woman… well, we’ll give ourselves more time then.” He turned, started to move, then stopped and faced her again. “I can only ask you to have a heart. I am human, you know. And there’s only so much I can take. I’ll leave you to dress. Join us downstairs when you’re through.” He turned again and walked out.
The moment the door closed after him, Kaine sank into her trembling knees and allowed the tears to come freely.
She would have given him what he wanted if only he loved her like she did him. But he didn’t and when finally he would come to know the truth, he will even hate her.
She pressed her hand against her breaking heart and wished, for the very first time, that she hadn’t started out with her lies. They damned her more than anything.