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Chapter 4 Feisty

  • Marcela breezed herself. Nervous and shy, she rested one hand on Ariel's shoulder and felt his fingers close around the other as he swung her into the waltz. Anticipation sizzled through her nerves, compelling her and it was so unnerving that after a few steps, she stumbled.
  • Ariel clamped her against his lean, athletic body for breathless seconds before he drawled, “Relax princess.”
  • His warm breath on her skin sent tiny, delicious shudders through her, a gentler counterpoint to the sultry heat that penetrated deeply within her at the intimate flexing of his thigh muscles. Shocked by the intimacy of her response, Marcela pulled herself a safe distance away and forced herself to ignore the sensual tug until her natural sense of rhythm settled her steps.
  • This actual physical response was very new to her as the tingling sensation was pounding through her and had sprung into action just like the first time she had met Ariel. Gritting her teeth she resisted the tantalizing thrill, sharp and adrenalin-charged as though she faced a sudden danger.
  • Did he feel the same? She wondered.
  • She risked an upward glance, her heart racing as she met his searching and disturbing intent eyes. His grip did not tighten, but she still sensed a quickening in him that he could not control.
  • Yes, Oh yes, she thought triumphantly, before a flurry of panic washed over that intoxicating emotion.
  • Swallowing she said in her most remote tone. “Sorry, I wasn't concentrating” Then wondered uneasily if the admission had hinted at her body's discomfort.
  • Hurriedly she added. “This has been one of the most charming weddings I have ever attended. Alexia is so happy and it's lovely to see Arthur utterly smitten.”
  • “Yet you seemed a little distracted. Is something worrying you?” Ariel, she enquired smoothly.
  • Well, yes several things, in fact with one in particular which was nagging in her mind she thought but she was not about to blurt out in front of him.
  • Marcela had noticed that plenty of eyes around the ballroom were fixed on her, some pitting, others malicious. Of the two she preferred spite, although someone had hissed in a pitched voice carefully to reach her ears still stung.
  • “It must be breaking her heart, yet she is smiling, how pitiful, “one of the Duchess had said.
  • Her companion had returned on a laugh, “I will bet her brother is furious that she failed to land on Prince Arthur's arms and they lost their best chance of clawing their way out of poverty. And losing out to a nobody must be bitter indeed.”
  • Everyone was commenting about their speculation and did not bother about how she felt.
  • Let them think what they like pride stiffening her spine, she smiled up at Ariel. Oh, not too wide, in case those watchers suspected her of acting but with a slow, amused glimmer that should give some of the eager gossipers a few seconds of thought.
  • “I am not distracted and nothing’s wrong,” she told him with a smile on her face not wanting to give away any of her emotions.
  • His black brows were lifted for a second. “As you have probably noticed, quite a few people here are wondering whether you are regretting a missed opportunity”
  • “Must you do that?” Adric whispered angrily and Ariel ignored him.
  • “Oh, there’s no fun in chasing a man who I already belong to someone else.” She lifted her head and met his calculating scrutiny with unwavering steadiness, praying he couldn't see how brittle she was beneath the surface of self-defiance she had built around herself.
  • Ariel's mouth, unsoftened by its compelling hint of sensuality, relaxed into a smile that was more challenging than amusement. “Indeed?” He whispered.
  • “Yes, indeed.” she returned infusing the word with complete assurance.
  • “Good,” Ariel said with a smile on his face and Adric was amused as he said.
  • “ “She is feisty, I like her more,” Adric growled happily and Ariel rolled his eyes. Which somehow didn't go unnoticed by Marcela.
  • She shot him a questioning glance, parrying a look that sent a quiver to the full length of her spine. He let his gaze wander across her face, finally settling on her lips. A sense of excitement smouldered through her.
  • Oh, Dammm !! She thought with a triumph so complete, that she could feel heat radiating through her, he was flirting with her.
  • And she was going to respond. She had not been able to forget the way he had looked at her the previous year at the engagement party and since then no man could break through the attraction she had for him. Somehow she felt she belonged to him.
  • She was bad at flirting and before she tried she had to know something. That suspect recklessness gave her the courage to say. “I am surprised you are alone today, I didn't see your partner with you.”
  • Ariel's latest lover was a beautiful leggy blonde and also a top Model. And rumor had it that he was the reason she had become the top Model in such a short period but Marcela found that difficult to believe as many women threw themselves at him but
  • there was not much news about him in the gossip columns. And so you people believed in nonsense rumours.
  • However, she thought that with another spurt of cynicism, what did she know about him?
  • Nothing, except that he had used his formidable intelligence, ruthless drive, and uncompromising authority to build a worldwide business empire. And had control over many countries.
  • Ariel's tone was a little awkward. “Why are you asking me? When you can see that I am all alone today. It's my sister’s wedding and I am supposed to entertain my guest. And I am not dating anyone at present.”
  • He said it in such a way that Marcela could feel a much too obvious invitation in his words.
  • Marcela contended herself with a nod and kept her eyes fixed on the DJ behind him. He was an excellent dancer, moving with the musical beats, muscular grace of an athlete, and wearing his formal clothes with a kind of elegance that proclaimed the powerful body beneath.