Starving artist Felicia Dare hates rich men. As far as she's concerned, they're all absent, philandering jerks who care more about money than people. And she should know. Her own father is a millionaire.
Or was. When he shows up on her doorstep and tells her he blew the GDP of Africa on bad investments and failed businesses, Felicia knows he's getting what he deserves. Except that's not all: her mother is sick, and he can't afford the payments for her treatments. He has a backer to save his company, but there's one catch: Felicia must marry him!
A modern woman, Felicia balks at the implication that her hand can be bought, and she sets out to give this backer a piece of her mind. But there's more to Anton Waters than money and power, and when they come face to face, Felicia realizes that saying no to his proposal may be harder than she thought!
All that progress was turned back now, and I was back in the same place I had been in before I'd left home.
I shook my head. "It's not like they beat me or abused me or something," I said. "They just weren't great to have around. And now they're around again. I can't get away."
Anton pushed away from the door and came to stand in front of me as I shucked my coat from my shoulders and laid it over the nearest chair. "I don't think that's true," he said.
I tried not to roll my eyes at him and failed. "Oh yeah?" I said. "Well, you aren't me. I'm not you. I can't just command everyone to do my bidding with a word and a glance of those come-hither eyes."
"You think I have come-hither eyes?" he said, amused.
"Don't push it," I told him.
Anton smiled, real and genuine, not his Zen smile. He was amazing when he smiled. "You do have power, Felicia," he said. "You only have to learn to use it."
I shook my head. "I don't know how."
His face softened. Without warning, he reached out and pulled me to him. I stumbled, startled, against his chest, my hands coming up to brace myself, but the sensation of his hard body against the palms of my hands had me pausing, lingering, savoring.
His fingers trailed over my back, up my arms, and I listed into him, tilting my head back.
He gazed down at me with intense, green eyes, fixated on my lips. His hands slid up and up, until he cradled my head in his hands. A thumb alighted on my mouth.
"Your voice," he said. "You must use your voice. Speak and make yourself be heard."
His other hand abandoned my face, slipping down my arm and coming up to cover my fingers where they lay against his chest. "And if people will not listen to you, you must do what you must. Use these hands. I've seen your art—there is power in you. Build your own life, Felicia."
Tears stung my eyes. How could he say such things to me? I had been coerced into marrying him. Nothing was mine any longer.
He seemed to read my mind, or perhaps my thoughts were plain on my face. Leaning in, he rested his forehead against mine.
"I am not the enemy, Felicia. I am your companion, as you are mine. I may have... acquired you in an unconventional way, but I wanted a wife. And you acquired me in the bargain."
I closed my eyes. My heart hurt in my chest, as though it had been rubbed raw.
Anton drew me closer, and I felt the stirrings of his arousal against my belly. I inhaled sharply.
"You can say no," he said. His voice vibrated in my skin, in my bones. "You always have the last say. I'll not be a rapist."
I swallowed, hard. "I don't want to say no," I said. "Please, just make me come." Wipe it away. Make me forget for a little while.
"Gladly," he breathed...