Mia Fortelle stared up at the beautiful dress on display with longing, completely oblivious to the biting, cold wind or the other pedestrians rushing around her. “Goodness, wouldn’t that be lovely,” Mia sighed as she looked through the store’s window, practically drooling over the beautiful coat made of warm, red wool. Or it might be cashmere. Mia had no idea, nor could she afford either. In fact, she couldn’t afford anything more than a wistful stare through the window. That particular coat from this designer probably cost as much as a whole month’s salary. Possibly even two months’, she thought with grim acceptance as she pulled her boring, brown tweed coat closer around her body, trying to stave off the frigid cold of yet another brutal Montreal winter. A teacher’s salary wasn’t a whole lot so a month’s paycheck probably wouldn’t cover that coat. Maybe the scarf, she thought with a chuckle.
“You should get it,” a deep voice said to her right.
Mia spun around to smile politely. She’d anticipated possibly the store manager or maybe just a passerby.
What she hadn’t anticipated, never could have imagined, was looking into the eyes of the most amazing man she’d ever seen in her life. Tall, extremely tall, with black hair and dark eyes, tanned skin, a hard nose and even harder jawline that was a bit darker than the rest of his face as his end-of-day beard made its presence known.
He was shockingly attractive and her body shivered once again, but this time, it wasn’t because of the cold. It was because of the man, his eyes, the way he was looking at her and the swell of feminine awareness that crept up inside of her with this man standing so close.
She opened her mouth to speak, but the words wouldn’t come. She was stunned by the amazing, shocking appeal of this man and not sure how to deal with such raw masculinity.
This wasn’t the kind of man she normally dealt with during her day. The most masculine man she’d come across during her weekly errands was the rough guy behind the meat counter with an enormous belly and a net over his beard.
This man was…he was…beyond words. He was compelling in a sensual, erotic way that instantly made her body throb with the need to press herself against him and find out what his mouth would feel like against her lips.
Never before had any man affected her so strongly and so instantly.
And he terrified her! She wasn’t the kind of woman who could handle a man like him!
“I’m sorry,” she said and bowed her head, starting to step around him so that she could hurry home. She stopped at this store every day, looking at the beautiful clothes that were changed out about every two weeks. It wasn’t even that she could wear those clothes, she told herself firmly as she prepared to walk away. Those clothes, and this man, were way out of her league. She was bowling alley, onion rings and movie theatre popcorn while this man was ballrooms, caviar and the best champagne. His tan, cashmere coat looked soft and warm as did the silk-lined scarf around his neck. The freezing wind was blowing his black hair, but she could tell that even that was an expensive haircut. Everything about him screamed wealth and power – two things she didn’t have, nor could she ever have with her career goals.
And that was okay! She loved her job, loved her kids and thrived on teaching. What wasn’t okay was the nervous way this man made her feel even as he stood two feet away from her. She didn’t like the way her knees wobbled or her heart pounded inside her chest.
“Please don’t go,” his deep voice urged and she felt his gloved hand reach out to gently touch the sleeve of her coat. Even through the thick layer of her winter coat as well as the sleeve of her sweater underneath, she still could feel the heat of his fingers and it was like a shock wave smashing through her senses.
Looking up into his dark eyes, she was so startled, she wasn’t sure what to say.
“Have dinner with me tonight,” he urged.
Mia shivered, those dark eyes promising her so much more than dinner. And a very large part of her brain wondered if she should accept. Just once in her life, she wanted to live on the wild side, to experience the kind of excitement this man’s eyes promised.
She opened her mouth to accept, to tell him yes and to find out more of that promise. But instead of agreeing to dinner, she shook her head. “I can’t,” she finally said even though she desperately wanted to say yes, which didn’t make any sense since all of her instincts were telling her to run away from this dangerous man. Why would she even hesitate? Why was she still standing here? Why was she looking up at this man as if she wanted to…do things that were so very wrong?
“Can’t?” he asked with a slight uplifting of those firm lips.
Ramzi watched the woman’s eyes, saw the indecision and knew that he was going to have this woman. He’d been watching her for several minutes, captured by the beautiful profile as she gazed into the window of the store. He wanted her. He couldn’t tell what her body was like because of the cheap, ugly winter coat, but he suspected she would be perfect. He was determined to find out just how perfect she really was. He actually had to restrain himself from reaching out and touching her porcelain skin.
And those eyes! They looked like sparkling aquamarine gems surrounded by a thick fan of dark lashes. Everything this beautiful, entrancing woman was thinking was revealed in those shining depths. Never before had he seen such a color and he knew he could lose himself in that aquamarine gaze.
“I don’t think ‘can’t’ is in my vocabulary,” he teased. He caught the slight smile on her full lips a moment before she tried to hide it but it gave him courage. She started to step backwards but he took her hand, noticed the trembling even through her leather glove. “I’m not going to hurt you and I’m sorry if I’m scaring you. That isn’t my intention at all. I just would like to get to know you.” He paused slightly. “Perhaps if you just gave me your name, I would be satisfied.”
Mia laughed despite her nervousness. “I have a sneaking suspicion that giving you my name might only encourage you.” She knew that he was teasing her but she was so out of her depth with his kind of charm. “I have to go,” she said through stiff lips.
“Is your husband waiting for you?” he asked, once again stepping in her path so she had to stop.
The lovely woman immediately shook her head. “I’m not married,” she replied quickly.