Marrying the Enemy

Early from Harlequin:
Aug 1, 2024
Other Retailers:
Aug 20, 2024

Heading to the altar with the man she hates most…

Two warring households…
One marriage to unite them!

The Blackwood and Visconti feud has spanned generations. So when billionaire Domenico is stranded on a remote island with stunning adversary heiress Evelina, sparks are sure to fly. Just not the ones he thought…

Eve surrenders to her instant soul-burning chemistry with Dom, vowing never to reveal their sin… Until the age-old rivalry threatens to destroy her family. Now to ensure a truce, Eve must do the unthinkable: marry the enemy. Except how can she keep things strictly on paper when she can’t ignore the hunger her husband has unleashed?

Marrying the Enemy

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I can’t believe how low your family stoops.
— Dom, Marrying the Enemy

I wanted to write an enemies to lovers so I turned to the original of that trope: Romeo and Juliette.

The feud between the Blackwoods and the Viscontis began when Evelina’s grandmother left Dom’s grandfather standing at the altar while she married her true love.

Two generations of bitterness and acts of vengeance later, Evelina has a passionate encounter with Dom only to learn after the fact that he’s her family’s sworn enemy. He’s even more incensed. He hates himself for being obsessed with her–especially because he can’t have her.

What else would I do with two characters who loathe each other, but can’t keep their hands off each other? I stranded them on an island in the beautiful Australia Whitsundays!

I loved writing this story so I was extra thrilled when my editor said, “OMG I love it! It’s got a real Romeo & Juliet vibe but, y’know, sexier and with less death.”

I hope you agree!

Marrying the Enemy


Chapter One

Five years ago…

Evelina Visconti picked up a text from her middle brother asking which club she and her friends were visiting tonight.

She texted back.

Tell Mom I’ll call her tomorrow.

Their mother would have called him the second Eve refused to pick up her call, texting instead that she was out for the night.

Seconds later, her friend, Hailey, looked up from her own phone.

“Your brother wants to know which club we’re at. He wants to drive down from Naples to join us. Should I tell him we’re actually in Budapest?”

“No,” Eve said with beleaguered annoyance. Why was her family like this?

Eve was twenty-one, celebrating the end of her university years and the beginning of life as an adult, not that any of her family saw her as such. It wasn’t as though she had a history of getting into trouble, either. She’d been determined to prove herself academically so her partying had been confined to inviting friends onto her parents’ yacht between semesters. Drinking a glass of wine during reading break was her version of bacchanalian excess.

When she had finished her latest exams, these friends from boarding school had urged her to come to the Amalfi Coast with them. Hours after arrival, Hailey had coaxed her uncle into flying them to Budapest for a pub crawl through the ruin bars.

Eve’s mother had been chilly about her coming as far as the Amalfi Coast, having planned an introduction between Eve and her future husband. Or, a contender at least.

Allowing Eve to finish her degree before marrying her off had been an exercise in patience for Ginny Visconti, an American heiress herself. Ginny had been matched by her own mother in a very advantageous and comfortable arrangement when she was nineteen. If she or Eve’s father had ever cheated, they’d hidden it well, but they weren’t soulmates. They were partners in the business of securing and advancing Visconti Group, primarily a hotel and resort conglomerate with holdings and interests in related industries. Ginny had done her part by producing three sons, one every two years, before she closed up shop. A girl arrived unexpectedly, seven years later.

In many ways, Eve had been the overprotected, spoiled baby, always trying to catch up to her much older brothers. Her mother had discouraged her from horseplay and other tomboyish activities, constantly putting her in dresses and insisting she “act like a lady.” The very second that Eve grew breasts, her mother had begun talking about her prospects and seeing her “settled.”

Eve’s entire purpose for existing seemed to revolve around the link she would forge between the Visconti dynasty and one of their cohort families. The fact her mother was going so far as to try sending her brother to chaperone her, to ensure her plan stayed on track, provoked a massive case of delayed adolescent rebellion in Eve.

She texted her brother.

Leave my friends alone. I’ll fly back to New York Monday.

She turned off notifications and tucked her phone into the wallet that hung from a cross-body shoulder strap and let it drop against her hip.

“Isn’t it time to go dancing?” she asked.

Everyone nodded. They’d started their evening in a quaint garden café for dinner, then made their way to a billiards bar to enjoy a cocktail. They had listened to a band for an hour in another outdoor bar and now headed into a stone factory built in the late eighteen hundreds. It was renowned for being converted into a labyrinth of bars, music venues and dance floors.

“If you decide to leave with someone, text the rest of us, yeah?” Hailey said, then tucked her chin to add playfully, “But assume that’s what I’ve done. I’ll see you sluts on the walk of shame tomorrow.”

Everyone laughed, but Eve only smiled weakly. She didn’t know how to hook up and had never really aspired to. She occasionally dated—mostly men her mother threw at her—and had kissed far too many toads, but she hadn’t found anyone who tempted her into a long-term relationship, let alone his bed. Besides, her mother expected her to remain a virgin until she married, which Eve knew was grossly outdated, but she had been busy with her double major in marketing and hospitality management so that’s exactly what she was.

Her lack of sexual experience made her feel like a terrific spinster against her friends. They were all sending speculative looks around the crowd as they entered the first bar, where a heartbeat of syncopated electronica seemed to pulse from the stone walls. Flashing lights rotated to spill color across the bouncing bodies on the floor.

Eve skipped ordering a drink. She loved good wine or a tangy, refreshing cocktail on a hot day, but she didn’t enjoy feeling drugged or the cotton-headed nausea of a hangover so she always paced herself.

“Are you still playing dorm mother?” one of her friends teased.

Eve laughed off the remark and began to sway her hips as she moved onto the dance floor. She genuinely loved dancing and stayed there for several songs before breathlessly visiting the bar for a sparkling water.

A boisterous noise drew her attention as she moved to the end of the bar where she could watch the dancing.

A group of young men were coming in, a bachelor party, judging by the plastic shackle on one man’s ankle. The chain was long enough to drape over his arm and the ball must have been full of alcohol because he brought it to his mouth and popped open a cap like a water bottle to pour something into his mouth, eliciting approval from his friends.

Their antics reminded her of her brothers except that one was different.

A visceral tugging sensation accosted the pit of her belly as she studied the one who wasn’t laughing. He was older than the rest, close to thirty, and definitely came from money.

They all did, she noted with another brief glance at tailored cargo shorts and T-shirts with discreet designer logos. The mystery man was also casually dressed, but in sophisticated linen trousers that were barely creased. His short-sleeved button-down exposed beautiful biceps and a watch that she suspected was a Cartier Tank.

His cheeks wore a well-groomed stubble, his dark hair was combed back off his forehead and his straight brows suggested he was a man who never compromised. His mouth was unsmiling. Unamused.

He looked bored. So bored.

Which made her chuckle around the straw she had tucked between her teeth.

At that second, his gaze seemed to laser through the flashing lights and burn into her.

A fresh punch of intrigue tightened her abdomen, but she actually glanced behind herself, thinking Me? No.

The man said something to his companions and began winding his way toward her.

The tempo of her heartbeat increased, matching the music so closely, she felt as though she became music.

At the last second, he veered into the bar and waved a credit card, leaning in to place his order.

Well. Wasn’t she full of herself? Apparently, her friends had lied when they had said this hot-pink halter top and sequined silver miniskirt were sexy on her. She wasn’t the curviest figure in the room, though. She tended to run miles when she was stressed and, having just finished exams, was lean as a greyhound. Her mother was always trying to push her into padded bras, “for a more attractive silhouette,” but Eve preferred to go without a bra altogether. In that way, she was happy to be less Marilyn Monroe, more ironing board.

“Are you alone?”

Her nerves leapt then froze, as though a panther had snuck up on her and took a curious, abrasive lick of her arm.

Mr. Tall, Dark and Disinterested was suddenly right beside her, leaning close so he didn’t have to yell. His voice was like dark chocolate, too deep and earthy to be sweet, but enticing all the same.

She choked slightly at how close he was and covered her mouth, shaking her head.

“With friends.” Her voice was so strained he had to read her lips. The sting of his stare made them tingle. She pointed to the dance floor, but there was no way he could tell who she meant.

Was that his aftershave that closed around her like an embrace? It was a delicious mingle of nutmeg and carnation, cedar and citrus, bergamot and black pepper. His aura of power was even more overwhelming, enveloping her in an energy field that paralyzed her body, yet left her nerve endings humming.

She wanted to touch him. That’s all she could think as she skimmed her gaze across his chest and fixated on what looked like an ancient gold coin in the hollow of his throat.

“How old are you?” He sounded American, like her.

Affronted that he suspected she was underage, she said pithily, “Almost twenty-two.”

“So twenty-one.” His mouth quirked, equally pithy as he withdrew slightly.

“How old are you?” she challenged, instantly wanting him back into her space, even though it was like standing in the blast of a furnace.

“Almost too old for twenty-one.” He turned to gather up the full tray of shots he’d ordered and balanced it easily on one hand. He paused long enough to offer her one, taking one for himself. “I’m Dom.”

She bet he was a Dom. She’d read enough erotic romance to easily picture him as the sort who liked to control everything, especially sex. A sensual shiver worked its way from her nape to her navel.

“Eve.” She took a drink off the full tray.

They shot their shots, he nodded, then took the tray to his friends.

She breathed through the fiery burn in her chest, left her empty glass on the bar, then rejoined her friends to continue dancing.

She didn’t look to see where Dom had gone, but she knew exactly where he was. Through the next hours, as their two parties moved through the various tunnels and bars and clubs, down to the cellar and up to the terrace, she was always aware of him. Not because his group was big and rowdy, which they were, but because she could feel him. She knew when he was at the bar, or left the room, or was approached by a woman to dance. It was as though an invisible signal pulsed inside her, connecting her to him.

At one point, when she was in the ladies’ room, her friend said, “My sister used to date one of those guys in that bachelor party.”

“Which one?” Eve asked with a sharp pinch of jealousy.

“The sloppy one. That’s why they’re no longer dating. You go ahead,” she added to Eve as she slid a flirty look to the woman who came to the sink.

Far be it from Eve to block anyone’s good time. They’d already lost Hailey to a German fellow wearing skinny jeans and a tongue pierce. All her friends seemed to be finding a romantic partner except her.

Literally everyone was, Eve thought with amusement, as she left the washroom and passed an alcove where a couple was doing their best to have sex against a wall.

She was about to enter the club again when a drunken man lurched toward her.

She dodged him, thinking he was merely staggering, but he caught her around the waist from behind and tried to pull her into him. He slurred something in a language she didn’t catch.

Reacting purely on instinct, Eve shifted her hips to the side so she could give his crotch a hard slap. As he choked out a pained, “Oof!” and released her, she spun to clip him on the ear.

She left him slumping to the floor against the wall and practically walked into another man. She pulled back her arm, ready to deliver a solid punch.

Dom closed his hand over her fist and leaned in. “Nice work.”

Her adrenaline spiked anew, flooding her with the thrill of his touch and the proximity of his lips to her jaw.

“I have brothers.” Just because her mother had discouraged her from wrestling with them didn’t mean they hadn’t taught her to “go for the groin” and protect herself.

“Come dance with me.” Dom brought her hand down and slid his fingers between hers, leading her onto the dance floor.

She had already surreptitiously watched him move, mesmerized by the way he rolled his hips and rocked his wide shoulders. He had the grace of an athlete, every move smooth and perfectly timed.

For a moment, she felt off-beat and self-conscious, then his gaze slithered down her like a spell. Her body began to match him move for move, even though they weren’t touching. He seemed completely focused on her, but she realized after a few moments that he was putting himself between her and other men, subtly turning her away from them or inserting himself, forcing them to keep their distance.

It was possessive and weirdly exciting, feeding the sizzle in her belly. She felt free to be as sexy as she wanted and looked him right in the eye as she set her foot between his and brushed up against him, then turned so her backside was nearly in his lap.

She barely touched him, but the hum inside her was a scream of anticipation. His wide palms held her hips as they began to grind together. His chest was against her back, his body caging hers.

This was how he would make love to her. Like an animal.

Arousal exploded through her at the thought. She saw, for the first time in her life, the raw appeal of sex. She wanted to be covered and held safe while he filled her and made her his. She wanted that so badly, she thrust her buttocks deeper into his fly, rubbing against the hardness there. Inviting more.

His touch firmed on her hips, pressing her to his erection before he released her and spun her to face him, then clasped her close. The sudden impact with his chest punched her breath from her lungs. His thighs were hard against hers, the ridge of his erection against her stomach, filling her mind with crude fantasies. She could feel those muscled legs pushing hers open. His weight would crush her pelvis while his mouth came down on hers—

He spun her away, catching her hand and twirling her.

She stood in flames, licked and lashed by the heat of his lust-filled gaze.

He brought her back against him, bending his knees so they were pelvis to pelvis. She had never been so aware of her own sex. Had never felt such an ache there, like a signal pulsing between her thighs, yearning for that thick shape that rubbed with such promise.

Connect. Join. Mate.

His teeth caught her earlobe, scraping lightly before he growled, “I have to keep my cousin’s groom from drinking himself to death. Be good.”

His mouth dipped into her neck and his arms tightened to hold her still while he marked her with a small hickey. He left her swaying in the crowd of strangers.

Be good? Shut up. She was tired of being good.

She was gone.

Domenico Blackwood took it like a chest punch when he could no longer see the midnight hair that picked up the purple hues of the flashing lights. The clock and his inner radar told him she was gone, likely with someone who would exploit the blatant sexuality she had pushed so tantalizingly into his lap.

He cursed, still aroused from the feel of her, and now he had a pool of tarlike anger in his belly.

She was too young for him, he reminded himself. She was a doe-eyed twenty-one to his jaded twenty-nine and he was a man with “a cold, empty heart.” According to his ex-fiancée, at least. And popular opinion, no doubt.

At first glance, Eve and her squad had reminded him of the woman who’d broken off his engagement a few months ago. They might be party girls slumming with backpackers for a night of dancing, but their rich girl roots were as clear as the daddy-bought diamond studs in their ears.

Dom was more than ready for a rebound affair, but cold heart or not, he had promised his aunt on his mother’s side that he’d ensure her soon-to-be son-in-law didn’t do anything to ruin the extravagant wedding she’d spent a year planning.

The role of big brother to a bunch of drunks was painful, but at least Dom had had the eye candy of legs that went on for days. Eve’s breasts were pretty teacups he craved to sip and her hair was long enough to wrap around his fist two or three times. The sparkle off her skirt as she’d swayed her hips gripped him like a hypnotist’s pocket watch every time they crossed paths, moving in and out of the various bars and dance clubs.

When he’d glimpsed her heading to the ladies’ room an hour ago, he had lingered to watch her to come back, then grew concerned when he saw a swaggering club goer headed into the same tunnel.

By the time he got there to ensure she was all right, she was dusting her hands. Dom had been so turned on, he had wanted to press her to the wall and test the limits of public decency.

Asking her to dance was as much dereliction of duty as he allowed himself—and it was pure, erotic torture. She had natural rhythm and undeniable sensuality. When she had boldly looked into his eyes and rubbed up against him, he’d caught the fragrance of anise and lilac and the tang of her sweaty night. He wanted that smell all over him.

He had wanted her badly enough in those moments to recognize the danger she posed. He’d proposed to his fiancée specifically because she didn’t get under his skin. He’d had a front row seat to a man consumed by his own emotions—two, in fact. His memories of his grandfather were dim, but they were similar, chilly recollections of a man haunted by a desire to settle a score. His father had been driven by the same crusade of anger, his grudges wearing away any softness in his soul, leaving only the hard, gnarled center.

Growing up in that fugue of antipathy had taught Dom to tamp down, bottle up and otherwise ignore his own feelings, lest they twist him into a similar, embittered version of himself. He never allowed anyone to needle him past his own control so, when Eve’s lissome figure and alluring gaze had tempted him to forget his responsibilities, he’d made himself walk away with only that tiny taste of her against his lips.

There was nothing satisfying in being so noble, especially when he finally poured his future cousin into his hotel bed and went to his own in the penthouse. Dom had every kind of shower, trying to douse the hunger gnawing at him, but still only tossed and turned.

When he couldn’t stand it any longer, he rose and dressed for a grueling, early-morning workout, planning to punish this craving out of himself, if that’s what it took.

The fitness room wouldn’t be open yet, but he owned the hotel. He owned the whole chain, in fact, along with the corporation that oversaw dozens of similar resorts and developments around the world. His card was all access, all the time.

When the elevator stopped midway down, he expected a family with young children to join him. Or a businessperson hurrying out for an early flight.

It was her. Eve. She wore a pair of shorts and a bright yellow windbreaker and a look of exactly as much surprise as gripped him. His sister would call this kismet. He didn’t believe in such things. For him, it was merely coincidence. A convenient opportunity.

The hunter inside him leapt on it.

Chapter Two

When her last friend had paired up with a woman wearing bright blue lipstick and an armful of bangles, Eve had caught a rideshare back to the hotel—which was the real crime she was committing here in Budapest. If her family knew she was staying in a WBE hotel, they would drag her out by the hair.

Eve hadn’t realized where they were booked until they arrived. Hailey’s uncle had paid for everything as a graduation gift to his niece. As their guest, Eve hadn’t wanted to make a fuss so here she was, waking alone in a mini-suite that was as luxurious as any of the Visconti hotels.

She hadn’t really slept. She blamed the alcohol and Hailey not coming back, but she knew what the real issue was. Dom had left her in a state of arousal that kept her fantasizing about a kiss she hadn’t received. She had spent the restless hours imagining he had brought her back to this hotel and did more than kiss her.

At six thirty, when the sun came up and other early-morning joggers had started to emerge on the streets below, she dressed for a run.

She was skimming through her playlists as she waited for the elevator when the doors opened to reveal him. Dom.

A jolt of electricity gripped her, freezing her in place.

“Are you just getting home?” she asked, even though he wore gym shorts, sneakers and a plain blue T-shirt.

He shot out a hand to hold the door. “I can’t sleep.” His growled voice seemed to blame her for that, which sent a flutter of smug pleasure into her chest.

A wispy scent of risk stung her nostrils, though, even as anticipation teased her stomach. She had cursed herself for not speaking to him before she left, not that she knew how to invite a man to her room. The carefree come-hither woman she’d been a few hours ago was long gone, leaving a tongue-tied virgin who was blushing over the thoughts she’d been thinking all night.

“Do you have your own room?” he asked in that same gritty, intent tone.

Or he could just invite himself, she thought with mild hysteria. The churn of nervous excitement increased in her abdomen. Be good? Or…?

“My roommate isn’t back yet.” She tried to project a sophistication she didn’t possess. “Would you like to see it?”

“I would.” He stepped out, seeming bigger in daylight than he had at the club. More intimidating.

He’d showered off the sweat of the club, but hadn’t shaved. The edges of his beard were scruffy, his eyes alert, but sunken into the dark circles of a sleepless night.

He nodded in a command for her to lead the way.

Her blood turned to champagne, bubbling and fizzing as she walked, making her feel lightheaded. She wished that she was wearing her club clothes, not this bust-flattening sports bra and baggy shorts with a windbreaker colored for visibility, not flattery.

Nervously, she let him into the sitting room. The pair of queen beds was visible through the open double doors to the bedroom. Hailey’s bed was untouched, the other was tousled, revealing her fitful sleep.

She waved in a lame Here it is gesture. She had opened the drapes when she rose. The view of the river and the historic architecture on the far side was beautiful.

“It’s great,” he said, not taking his eyes off her. “Do you have condoms?”

Wow. She held his stare and swallowed the heart that had risen into her throat.

She could have demurred and told him he was moving too fast, but he wasn’t. That was the weirdest thing. In any other case, such earthy bluntness would turn her off, but something more intuitive inside her was responding to his wavelength. She liked knowing he was feeling exactly as urgent as she did. It flooded her with erotic heat and more yearning than she could stand.

“Yes,” she replied, because Hailey had made sure she knew there were some in the nightstand if she needed them.

“Do you want to show me where they are?” He sounded as though he was being deliberately careful and neutral, not sarcastic. Perhaps he realized how aggressive he was sounding and wanted to give her an opportunity for second thoughts.

All she had to say was “no.” She could easily tell him she’d rather go on her run and would see him at breakfast. She could open the door and say nothing at all. Her hand was still on the latch.

But her fingers were twitching to explore his smooth arms and she wanted to nuzzle her nose into his throat. Her lips were still dying for the press of his and the rest of her… The rest of her really, really wanted to know how his naked body would feel against hers. How his erection would feel inside her.

Her knees felt wobbly as she walked into the bedroom and opened the nightstand to take out the box. She set it beside the base of the lamp then kept her back to him, struck by bashfulness.

His weighty steps were silent on the thick carpet, but she felt his energy like a force as he arrived behind her. The heat of his body pressed like a physical touch against her back.

“What are you wearing under that?” His voice was a velvety caress in and of itself.

She turned and started to lift her hands to the zip, intending to show him, but realized she was still holding her phone. She tossed it onto her unmade bed and took hold of her collar with one hand, then slowly, slowly, drew her zip down.

He watched the descent of the tab the way a cat gave its single-minded attention to an unsuspecting prey, but his chin dipped in the smallest nod of approval as she let the jacket fall open to reveal her mauve bra.

“Sexy, right?” she said of its flattening fit.

“Very,” he said in a low rumble.

He stepped closer and touched her chin. She thought he was going to kiss her, but his gaze slid to her throat. A faint smile eased the line of his stern mouth. He trailed his fingertip down to where he’d left the barely-there shadow of a love bite.

“I want to cover you with those.” His voice was raspy from his late night and something else. Want?

“Maybe I’ll do the same to you,” she suggested boldly.

“Be my guest.” He took hold of the open edges of her jacket and drew her into him.

She instinctively brought her hands up, but they only landed on the satin smoothness of his bare upper arms.

“You drove me crazy all night, Evie.” He released her jacket and his wide hands slid inside to splay against her bare waist.

She gasped at his hot, possessive touch. Her skin tightened and tingled while her brain short-circuited over the way he had turned her name into an endearment.

“All I could think about was having your long legs around my waist. Around my neck.”

Oh, that was dirty. Why did she find it so titillating? A helpless sob thrummed in her throat.

“My roommate might come back,” she warned, voice as abraded as his.

“Does that turn you on?” He traced tickling patterns in her lower back that made her squirm in reaction and press closer to him in an attempt to escape it. “That we might get caught?”

“No.” Yes. A little. Her senses were being bombarded by a lot right now. The heat and hardness and scent of him. The touch that was both light and merciless at the same time. A sense of anticipation and wonder and nervousness of the unknown.

“Do you want to lock the bedroom door?” he asked.

She should, but his hands were sliding into her shorts at the back, pushing them off her butt cheeks along with her underwear, leaving her backside bare to the cool room and the exploring massage of his hot palms.

It was incredibly disconcerting. She felt vulnerable and wicked and turned on. His roaming, claiming touch incited her to the point she could hardly speak, let alone move to do something so practical as…

“I want you to kiss me,” she confessed in an aching whisper.

His reaction was a noise of approval and a firming of his hands on her ass. He dipped his head to capture her lips with his own.

This man knew how to kiss. Maybe there would have been a gentler preamble if they hadn’t spent last night priming themselves for this moment, but he slicked his tongue between her lips, creating a damp seal that allowed him to consume her then he did.

Helplessly, she swept her arms up to cling around his neck, arching into him so she could find and feel his erection again. His hands on her backside pressed her mons firmly into that implacable ridge while he hungrily rocked his mouth against her own.

This was what she had wanted last night. What she had always wanted. Passionate oblivion. He was strong and sure and she instinctually knew he would keep her safe while absolutely ravishing her. She rubbed blatantly against him, stoking the heat that was gathering in her loins, seeking pressure against the knot of nerves that was swollen with every libidinous thought she’d had of him and a thousand new ones.

“I want that, too,” he said, holding her hips tight to his as he lifted his head.

She was panting, so disoriented she wondered if she’d spoken her thoughts aloud, but she couldn’t have. Her mouth had been occupied.

He kept her hips braced in his wide hands and ground his erection against her, making her eyelids flutter.

This was a perilous moment, she realized with muted alarm. Not because he seemed to be violent or cruel, but the way he drew her so effortlessly into acting without inhibition was sobering. She liked to believe she was a strong, confident, independent woman, but this stranger was using her own sensuality to undermine her sense and willpower.

He proved it by casually skimming her shorts down her legs, taking her underwear with them.

She gasped in surprise, but her only struggle was the fight to get her shod feet free. She should have unlaced and removed her shoes, but he was peeling his shirt over his head and catching her close again.

A small cry escaped her. The heat of him! He was tensile muscle and silky hair and slow, wicked hands as he guided her to rub her near-naked chest against his. She moaned, reveling in the brush of skin on skin, not realizing he was easing her onto the bed because it happened so effortlessly. She was too enthralled with mapping his back with her fingertips and using her inner thigh to caress his leg. His arm was a hard band around her, his other hand feathered touches behind her thigh and into the heat between.

His knee went onto the mattress as the cool bottom sheet arrived against her back. He stretched out alongside her, bracing on an elbow as he pushed her bra up to reveal her breasts.

“I want to tangle you up in this thing and have my way with you. Would you like that?” He caught the arm that was between them and tucked it under her lower back. The position arched her breasts up to him while lightly trapping her. He bent to lick at her pouted nipple, making it contract into a taut, sensitized peak.

“You’re a little bit kinky, aren’t you?” she accused breathlessly, turned on but also overwhelmed by his casual control. She was half-naked, still wearing her shoes, excited, but also wary. “Do we need a safe word?”

“‘No’ works. Do you want me to stop?” His golden-brown eyes glittered with amusement as they met hers.

“You’re evil,” she accused, since she couldn’t answer his question without risking that he would, in fact, stop. “Keep going.”

“Tell me what you like.” He watched his hand as he trailed his touch down her quivering abdomen to the damp line of her folds. He lightly traced the seam, his touch stirring the fine hairs there until she thought she would die of need.

She bit her lip, breath catching.

“You have to tell me you want this, Evie. Open your legs if you don’t want to say it.”

She did. And she closed her eyes because it felt so flagrant to offer herself this way, but he made it worth it. A rumbled noise of approval resounded in his chest as he found her damp with readiness. He opened his mouth over her nipple and sucked while he explored her intimately, stoking the fire that was threatening to consume her. He circled where she pulsed and delved into the ache with one long finger, sliding and caressing while he pulled at her nipple until she thought she would die.

It was too good. She twisted in agonized pleasure, moaning with torture, tense with the struggle of fighting off a climax that had been building since she’d danced with him.

She had never orgasmed with anyone else in the room. Definitely not from someone else delivering it. It made her feel incredibly exposed to let him play with her this way, but the pleasure was so acute, so relentless, she was losing the fight.

He released her nipple. “Do you want my mouth here?” He slowly pressed a second finger into her then eased his touch up to press the swollen, needy, shivering bundle of nerves.

It was the final straw. The coiled tension within her released. She groaned long and loud, catching at his hand to hold it against her mound as she abandoned anything like dignity and bucked, consumed by ecstasy.

His mouth smothered hers, capturing her moans while he caressed her through the crisis and into the shuddering aftermath.

Then he chuckled and freed her arm from beneath her. He shifted over her. His arms caged her beneath him as he settled his still clothed hips against the damp, overly sensitive flesh of her bare pelvis. His hand took hold of her hair in a fist that was just tight enough to keep her head still while he kissed her again, deep and hungry, dragging at her lips and searching out her tongue with his own.

“I’m going to be buried in you to the root when you do that again,” he promised when he let her up to breathe.

She couldn’t wait. She roamed her hands over his back and into his shorts at his hip, shyly moving her touch forward, but stalling when she heard the muffled xylophone keys of an incoming call on her phone.

“My mother,” she muttered in apology. She pulled her hand free of his shorts and searched beneath the bunched blanket where the phone had slid. “I’ll turn it off.”

As she drew it from the sheets, however, Dom grabbed her wrist. He stared at the screen.

“How the hell do you know that man?” His voice had gone ice-cold.

Jealous? Because it wasn’t Ginny Visconti.

“That’s Nico. My brother,” she said dismissively.

Dom pushed off the bed. Her lover of seconds ago had left the room, the building and the country. This was a man who was dangerous.

“You’re Evelina Visconti?” His lip curled with repulsion.

“Yes?” She ought to sound more certain. She knew who she was. Kind of. She had never behaved like this with anyone so she was a bit of a stranger to herself in this moment. She was definitely someone else to him, though. Someone he didn’t like.

She reached for the edge of the sheet.

“Get the hell out of my hotel.”

“Your—What?” She sat up, trying to drag her bra back into place while tucking the blankets across her naked lower half, but he’d already seen everything and was looking at her as though he found her to be the lowest form of filth. “You’re not…” He couldn’t be. But his name was suddenly drumming in her ears. Dom, Dom, Dom. “You’re not Domenico Blackwood.”

As in Winslow-Blackwood Enterprises? WBE. No.

“Don’t pretend that’s a shock. What the hell is this? Do you have cameras in here or something?” He looked around while pulling his shirt over his head.

“What? No! That’s disgusting.”

“It is disgusting that you would do something like this. I can’t believe how low your family stoops.”

“You came onto me,” she cried. “You asked to see my room! And my condoms.” Along with her breasts and her body and, apparently, her humiliation. She had thought the rivalry between the Blackwoods and Viscontis was ancient history, but it was real and here and she suddenly felt very sick. “Did you plan this?”

“No.” He looked as outraged at the accusation as she had been. “I would have had you removed if I’d known you were staying here. I’m going to have you removed now.”

“Get out of here and I’ll remove myself.” She hated that crack in her voice. And the scald in her throat that was climbing to press behind her eyes.

“You don’t tell me where I go in my own hotel.” He punctuated that with a derisive point. Contempt flashed in his bronze gaze as his gaze flickered to the sheet across her waist. “Don’t try to use this against me. I’ll bury you.”

“Same to you,” she said in such a puerile response, it only earned her a snort and a final, dismissive curl of his lip.

“Security will be here in twenty minutes. You had better not be.” He walked out.

Marrying the Enemy

is available for pre-order in the following formats:
Marrying the Enemy
Early from Harlequin: Aug 1, 2024
Other Retailers: Aug 20, 2024
Marrying the Enemy
Early from Harlequin: Aug 1, 2024
Other Retailers: Aug 20, 2024
Pages: 210

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