A Diamond for Christmas

By: Joss Wood

PROLOGUE

July...

WELL PLAYED, TEQUILA, well played.

It only took three margaritas to get her to drop her guard around James but, because she was Riley Taylor, when she messed up she messed up big. This time by hopping into bed with one of her oldest friends.

Her best friend’s brother.

And her boss.

Again.

In her defence, she doubted that few women between the ages of eighteen and eighty would say no when James Moreau crooked his finger at them, kissed them senseless and dragged them off to bed. But she knew better. It was all that witch Tequila’s fault, she decided—the cactus juice had definitely lowered her inhibitions and cancelled out a few brain cells.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila...yes, James, more!

As the morning sunlight slipped in from behind the curtains, Riley, still lying on top of James—morning sex had her on top and her face was now pressed into his very broad shoulder—turned her head and met his fabulous green eyes. Oh, those eyes. They were the rich green of bottle glass and they held a whole lot of panic. A deep frown creased his forehead.

Riley knew that a puckered brow after many bouts of amazing sex spelt trouble. Then again, wasn’t that the perfect word to define the relationship she and James had? Trouble worked, she thought, as did difficult and complicated and...messy.

Yeah, messy worked really well.

Time to face the music...

She slid off him, stood up and reached for a nightgown that lay folded across a wingback chair and quickly pulled it on. Riley saw her reflection in the free-standing full-length mirror and winced—mussed hair, stubble rash-covered jaw and languorous, satisfied eyes. Yep, no guesses as to how they’d spent the last ten hours.

After a polite greeting at the beginning of the evening and—admittedly—many, many intense looks from across the crowded wedding tent, he’d taken her hand and led her to his car. She hadn’t bothered protesting, hadn’t thought about where she was going, what she was about to do. She’d wanted him as much as his eyes had flashed that he wanted her. They didn’t need any words; they both knew that they were going back to her room at his childhood home situated on the Western Cape vineyard, Bon Chance, for a night light on conversation and heavy on kisses, pleasuring hands and throaty, breathy cries. Incredible physical pleasure.

After all, this wasn’t their first ride on this particular roller coaster.

‘Oops, we did it again.’

Okay, it was flippant but at least it was something to break the tense silence between them. James lifted a sandy eyebrow. Without responding, he stood up and walked across the room, picking up his suit trousers from the floor and holding them loosely in his hand.

‘Yeah, we...’ James swallowed the swear word and ran his hand through his thick blond hair ‘...messed up again.’

Just the words a girl needed to hear after a spectacular orgasm given to her by the only man who’d ever managed to rock her sexual world. Oh, she felt so special.

‘So, the post-orgasmic glow doesn’t last long for you. Good to know,’ Riley retorted.

‘I’ve slept with one of my oldest friends, my employee, my sister’s best friend! Again!’

‘Why can’t you think of me as just Riley?’ she quietly asked. Not as the pigtailed girl who pulled your hair, not as Morgan’s BFF, not as the window designer for your family’s ultra-chic and mega-expensive string of international jewellery stores, Moreau’s. Not as your vineyard manager’s daughter...

Just Riley, she thought, finding it difficult to keep her eyes on his face. Any woman who had seen James naked would understand... His rugged, hot action-hero face had been known to stop traffic but, dear Lord, his naked body could stop intergalactic spaceships.

His looks, combined with the fact that he was CEO of Moreau International, dealing with every aspect of gemstones from mining to upmarket jewellery stores, made him a whale-size catch and one of the top five most eligible bachelors in the world. Not that she gave a rat’s about any of that nonsense—he was just James. Hot, yeah, but he drove her batty.

James ran a hand over his face and she couldn’t help but notice the tension in his broad shoulders, his ripped abs, skittering through his muscled arms.

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