The Tycoon's Rebel Bride(5)

By: Maya Banks

She smiled tentatively at him, and he felt the gesture to his toes. For a long

moment, all he could do was gawk like a pimply-faced teenager experiencing his first

surge of hormones.

Isabella was dressed in formfitting jeans that slung low on her hips. Her top, if

you could call it an actual top, hugged her generous curves as snugly as a man’s hands.

The hem fell to just above her navel, and that, coupled with the low-slung jeans, bared

her navel to his view.

His gaze was drawn to it and the glimmer of silver in the shallow indention. He

frowned. She had a belly ring?

He looked up, embarrassed to be caught staring, but then he locked eyes with

hers. Long, dark hair fell in layers beyond her shoulders. Long lashes fringed sparkling

green eyes. A hint of a smile curved plump, generous lips and white teeth flashed in his

vision. Two dimples appeared in her cheeks as her smile broadened.

This was not a woman who could ever escape notice. The past several years had

wrought big changes. To think he’d remembered her as someone who faded into the

background wherever she was. A man would have to be blind, deaf and dumb to overlook

her in a room.

“What the hell are you wearing?” he demanded before he could think better of it.

She raised one dark brow, amusement twinkling in her eyes. Then she glanced

down as she smoothed her hands over her hips.

“I believe they’re called clothes,” she said huskily.

He frowned harder at the playfulness he heard in her voice. “Is this the sort of

thing Chrysander allowed you to run around in?”

She chuckled, and the sound skittered across his nape, raising hairs in its wake. It

was warm and vibrant, and he derived so much pleasure from it that he wanted her to

laugh again.

“Chrysander has no say in what I wear.”

“He is—was your guardian,” Theron said. “As I am now.”

“Not legally,” she countered. “You’re doing a favor for my father, and you’re the

executor of his estate as it pertains to me until I marry, but you’re hardly my guardian.

I’ve managed quite well on my own with minimal interference from Chrysander.”


Theron leaned back against his desk as he studied the young woman standing so

confidently in front of him. “Marry? The terms of your father’s will is that you gain

control of your inheritance when you turn twenty-five.”

“Or I marry,” she gently corrected. “I plan to be married before then.”

Alarm took hold of Theron as he contemplated all sorts of nasty scenarios.

“Who is he?” he demanded. “I’ll want to have him fully investigated. You can’t

be too careful in your position. Your inheritance will draw a host of unwanted suitors

who only want you for your money.”

Another smile quirked at the corner of her mouth. “It’s nice to see you again, too,

Theron. My trip was fine. The suite is lovely. It’s been awhile since I last saw you, but

I’d recognize you anywhere.”

Her reproach irritated him because she was exactly right. He was being rude. He

hadn’t even properly greeted her.

“My apologies, Isabella,” he said as he moved forward. He grasped her shoulders

and leaned in to kiss her on either cheek. “I’m glad to hear your trip was satisfactory and

that the suite is to your liking. May I get you something to drink while we discuss your

travel arrangements?”

She smiled and shook her head, and then moved past him toward the window. Her

hips swayed, and her bottom, cupped by the too-tight denim bobbed enticingly. He sent

his gaze upward so that he wasn’t ogling her inappropriately.

It was then that a flash of color at her waist stopped him. He blinked and looked

again, certain he had to be mistaken. As she stopped at the window, the hem of her shirt

moved so that a tiny portion of what looked to be a tattoo peeked from between her jeans

and her shirt.

His gaze was riveted as he strained to see what the design was. Then he scowled.

A tattoo? Obviously Chrysander had failed miserably in his role as her guardian. What

the hell kind of trouble had she gotten herself into? Tattoos? Talk of marriage?

He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose as he felt the beginnings of

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