Avenging a stolen heart is a deadly affair
Evie Madison’s life changed irrevocably the night her necklace was brutally taken. Ten years later, the opportunity to steal it back is too good to miss. But agreeing to pose in Antibes as the fiancée to the man she vowed to hate forever just to keep the ruby pendant might not be her wisest decision.
When fate places the woman he once loved back in his arms, Raphael Dauphin doesn’t hesitate to take advantage. The last time he laid eyes on Evie, she’d been wrapped around his old adversary. Now he has her exactly where he wants—embroiled in his lies and back in his bed.
Retribution has never felt so good…until Evie’s past catches up.
Raph would recognise those blue eyes anywhere. Shimmering like a field of flax on a summer’s day, her gaze held him captive as it scoured the crowded marketplace. Her face might have been partially concealed by the rack of clothes she crouched behind, but he would never forget the colour of those eyes.
What the hell was she doing here in this small Spanish town? He hadn’t seen her at the villa, so she wasn’t one of Etienne’s guests. Unless he’d kept her hidden in his room. The thought riled him, even after all this time.
He ran a finger round the inside of his collar, easing his shirt away from his neck. It was only half past ten, but already the stifling temperature made him long to be gone from here and travelling down the coast road back into France. A sea breeze was just what he needed to clear his mind.
But first he had a question to be answered.
Pushing through the throng of people bustling down the main aisle of the market, he walked over to the makeshift clothes stall. She was so preoccupied watching the crowds as they milled about that she didn’t notice him as he stood opposite her on the other side of the metal garment rail.
Her eyes widened in surprise, and a small gasp fell from her lips as she turned towards him. She recovered quickly, slipping on the sunglasses that dangled in her hand and schooling her face into a blank expression.
“Pardon Monsieur, vous me prend pour quelqu’un d’autre.”
He smiled to himself. Her French hadn’t improved much over the years, but her light, lyrical voice was still the same.
“Chérie—” He held his closed fist over his chest, feigning distress, and switched to English. “Don’t break my heart all over again by saying you’ve forgotten me?”
She didn’t acknowledge his words but turned her gaze back to the busy market square with the customary haughtiness he’d once seen as a challenge to break through and make her smile.
A trader called out from a nearby stand and drew his thoughts momentarily away from her. With hands heavily tanned from years in the sun, the vendor offered passers-by a taste of his melons, picked that morning. Their pink flesh looked cool and tempting on the tray.
Thirsty, he swallowed hard and stared back at Evie. In profile, she was more beautiful than ever. He used to spend hours tracing the outline of her face with his fingers. Over her brow, down her slim, straight nose, into her cupid’s bow and across those soft sensuous lips.
His voice was husky when he spoke again. “Surely you haven’t forgotten us.” That got her attention.
She pushed her sunglasses back on top of her head. Ice cold eyes met his. It should have been enough to chill him, even in this heat, but he’d hardened his heart against Evie a long time ago.
“Sorry, my mind’s a complete blank.” A polished smile accompanied her words.
“Would you like me to refresh it?” He kept his tone low, seductive, although it irked him that maybe he wasn’t as memorable as he thought. Had she really forgotten him?
“Go away,” she said in a loud whisper. A faint blush spread across her cheeks, and she lowered her head, causing the sunglasses to drop over her eyes. She started to flick furiously through the clothes in front of her.
He reached over and placed his hand on hers, stilling the sound of hangers scraping along the metal rail. “That’s no way to greet an old friend.”
She snatched her hand back. “We’re not friends!”
“D’accord, you’re right. Lovers, then. Do you spurn all those you cast aside?”
At Evie’s sharp intake of breath, his heart-rate sped up as he recognised the desire that his words had sparked inside of her.
“Raph, I don’t have time for this.”
His ego was appeased. “So you do remember my name?”