Ames rejected Lydia years before, leaving her in a state of newly awakened and unrequited lust. She’s returned ten years later a confident, educated woman with a gleam in her eye only power and wealth can produce. He underestimated her resolve to prove him wrong.
The girl he once disrespected has blossomed into a beautiful woman he wants for himself, and who happens to be his boss. The rejection is now his, leaving him lusting after what he can’t have. He’ll pay for his slight, but she’ll pay for her impudence.
There was no real thought behind her actions. The opportunity presented itself, and she took advantage of it. Lydia had been enamored of him for as long as she could remember. Even though she was young, she understood the swirling in her belly and the heat coursing through her body was caused by Ames Clancy.
He was tall, over six foot four, which was perfect for her taller-than-average female figure. At eighteen, she knew she wasn’t as pretty as some of the other girls, but she understood she had adult feelings for Ames.
His grandfather was a close business associate of her paternal grandfather. Ames was to join the bank upon finishing his law courses and passing the examinations and was only a year away from being a self-sufficient man.
She was to travel to Italy next month for an extended stay, and the idea she’d not see him again for years was too much to contemplate and ignore. Finding him alone in the garden seemed a heaven-sent moment.
She approached quietly, taking him by surprise as she all but launched her body against his. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she made several attempts to capture his lips, finally kissing him.
With his mouth pressed to hers, the tip of his tongue slipped against her lips several times until she opened to breathe. He slipped inside, tangling his tongue with hers until a noise from the house startled him.
She cursed under her breath at the interruption, and he drew back, as if realizing who she was and, with a bit too much force, pushed her away to arm’s length.
It was too late for her to forget the encounter. She’d felt his arms around her, the warm softness of his lips against hers. Most important, she’d felt his erection press against her belly and knew it was an automatic response to her touch. He tasted of mint and smelled of her grandfather’s cigar smoke.
He watched her intently for long seconds, and only when she attempted to kiss him a second time did he release her from his hold. In reality, it was more of a shove from his body.
She stared at him confused and wondered whom he thought he was kissing.
“Lydia, you shouldn’t go around kissing men without being asked.” His voice was hard and cold with anger. He brushed his hands together as if to wipe her touch from his senses.
“I only wanted to kiss you,” she said, struck with sudden hesitancy and insecurity.
“Well, I don’t want to kiss you.”
“But Ames…” In all the times she’d dreamed of a moment like this, not once had it entered her mind he might reject her affections.
“No, Lydia. I don’t want to have any contact with you of that sort.”
His words hurt, but his gaze taking in her full form from top to bottom wounded deeper.
“You’re a child. Go away and grow up.”
“But Ames…” To her own ear, she sounded like a begging child.
He laughed. “Lydia, did you really think I’d be attracted to a girl like you? You’re still a child. I only court ladies.”
“I’m eighteen now. I’m a woman.” She stood tall while he gave her a second head-to-toe look. Then he looked away as if in disgust.
“Never mind. Just go away.” He dismissed her with a wave of his hand.
“No, I deserve an answer.” Having started the spectacle, she wouldn’t run away. Deep inside where humiliation grew and burned, the other half of her needed him to tell her why, specifically.
“I’m a man who’s looking for a woman, not a girl with no concept of how to be with a man.”
His words stung, but she stood firm and stared at him. In reality, she was so stunned by his spurning she couldn’t have moved.
“With time you’ll mature and learn how to act in public.”
His voiced sounded smug to her ear, his sneering look reinforcing his ambivalence. Still, she stood rooted to the spot, refusing to accept his words.
“Your grandfather would string me up if I touched you.” His body seemed to quake with fear. “Good God, I don’t want to have to marry a girl like you.”
“Marry me? I only wanted to kiss you.”