Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss - Maya Banks Page 0,1
she smiled up at him.
“Really, Devon, what could happen to me? Alex is right here, and he watches over me worse than my father does.”
Alex, the doorman, smiled indulgently in Ashley’s direction. It was a smile most people wore around her. Patient, somewhat bemused, but nearly everyone who met her was enchanted by her effervescence.
Devon sighed and pulled Ashley’s hands up to his waist. “You should wait inside where it’s safe and let me come in for you. Alex can’t protect you. He has other duties to attend to.”
Her eyes sparkled merrily, and she flung her arms around his neck, startling him with the unexpected show of affection.
“That’s what you’re for, silly. I can’t imagine anyone ever hurting me when you’re around.”
Before he could respond, she fused her lips hungrily to his. For God’s sake the woman had no sense of self-control. She was making a spectacle here in the doorway to her apartment building.
Still, his body reacted to the hunger in her kiss. She tasted sweet and so damn innocent. He felt like an ogre for the deception he was carrying out.
But then he remembered that Copeland Hotels would finally be his—or at least under his control. He would be a force to be reckoned with worldwide. Not bad for a man who had been told that his sole ambition should be not to “screw up.”
Carefully, he pulled her away and gently offered a reprimand.
“This isn’t the place, Ashley. We should be going. Carl is waiting for us.”
Her lips turned down into a momentary frown before she looked beyond him to Carl, and once again she rushed forward, a bright smile on her face.
He shook his head as she greeted his chauffeur, her hands flying everywhere as she spoke in rapid tones. Carl grinned. The man actually grinned as he handed Ashley into the car. By the time Devon made it over, Carl had already reverted back to his somber countenance.
Devon slid into the backseat with Ashley, and she immediately moved over to nestle into his side.
“Where are we eating tonight?” she asked.
“I planned something special.”
As expected she all but pounced on him, her eyes shining with excitement.
“What?” she demanded.
He smiled. “You’ll see.”
He felt more than heard her faint huff of exasperation and his smile broadened. One thing in Ashley’s favor was that she was extraordinarily easy to please. He was unused to women who didn’t wheedle, pout or complain when their expectations weren’t met. And unfortunately, the women he usually spent time with had high expectations. Expensive expectations. Ashley seemed happy no matter what he presented her with. He had every confidence that the ring he’d chosen would meet with her approval.
She nestled closer to him and laid her head on his shoulder. Her spontaneous demonstrations of affection still unbalanced him. He wasn’t used to people who were so…unreserved.
William Copeland felt that Ashley needed someone who understood and accepted her nature. Why he thought Devon fit the bill Devon would never know.
When they married, he would work on getting her to restrain some of her enthusiasm. She couldn’t go through her entire life with her emotions on her sleeve. It would only get her hurt.
A few minutes later, Carl pulled up to Devon’s building and got out to open the door. Devon stepped out and then extended his hand to help Ashley from the car.
Her brow was creased in a thoughtful expression as she stared up at the building.
“This is your place.”
He chuckled at her statement of the obvious. “So it is. Come, our dinner awaits.”
He ushered her through the open door and into a waiting elevator. It soared to the top and opened into the foyer of his apartment. To his satisfaction, everything was just as he’d arranged.
The lighting was low and romantic. Soft jazz played in the background and the table by the window overlooking the city had been set for two.
“Oh, Devon, this is perfect!”
Once again she threw herself into his arms and gave him a squeeze worthy of someone much larger than herself. It did funny things to his chest every time she hugged him.
Extricating himself from her hold, he guided her toward the table. He pulled her chair out for her and then reached for a bottle of wine to pour them both a glass.
“The food is still hot!” she exclaimed as she touched the plate in front of her. “How did you manage it?”
He chuckled. “My super powers?”
“Mmm, I like the idea of a man with super cooking powers.”
“I had someone in