“That explains the makeup.” His hand drifted lower, cupping the firm curve of hip. “I thought you were trying to hide a birthmark.”
She grimaced. “Needless to say, it was the last time I ever drank tequila.”
“That still doesn’t explain why you’re here.” He nodded his head toward the building.
“Wicked Ink is the best tattoo shop in the world at turning mistakes into works of art,” she explained.
It took a minute to realize she meant to have her tattoo turned into some design that disguised his name.
Once he did, he felt a surprising anger at the thought that she’d planned to erase him so thoroughly from her life.
First with her revenge sex, and then with some magical tattoo artist.
“You consider me a mistake,” he said, his voice flat.
She gave a slow nod, reaching up to lightly touch his face. “I did.”
Her finger stroked his lower lip, the gold in her hazel eyes shimmering in the morning sunlight.
“Now I think maybe I’ll keep it.”
He lowered his head to brush her lips with the light promise of a kiss. It was all he dared allow himself when they were in full daylight in the middle of a public parking lot.
“And perhaps I’ll get one that matches yours,” he murmured against her lips.
“A heart on your lower back?” she teased, her hands exploring the rigid muscles of his chest. “Won’t you get beat up at the gym?”
“I don’t care if they put a petunia on my ass just as long as it proves how much I want a second chance,” he assured her.
“You don’t need a petunia,” she assured him, a small smile curving her lips. “Although I’m not opposed to having my name permanently etched onto your body. I want all those women to know you’re mine.”
“I am yours,” he said, his voice rough with sincerity as he buried his face in the curve of her throat. “I’ve always been yours.”
Her arms circled his shoulders, her fingers tangling in his hair. “It’s true, you know.”
He was having a difficult time thinking as he relished the joy that was surging through him.
She whispered directly in his ear. “A woman never forgets her first.”
One year later
Madison stood in front of the newly renovated brick building on the outskirts of Vegas.
Once an abandoned business center, it had been transformed into an afterschool program where kids in need could come for tutoring, a hot meal, clothing, medical care…or just a safe place to be.
Madison smiled. She’d mentioned her dream of helping children whose parents couldn’t, or wouldn’t, properly care for them shortly after her quiet wedding to Luc, and within days he had a building purchased and the first plans drawn up.
At first his driving force had made her head spin, but she’d quickly adjusted, and now they were a true power couple, dividing their time between Vegas and New York. A journey made easy by Luc’s private jet.
Sensing his intense scrutiny, Madison turned her head to meet his dark gaze, her heart giving a familiar leap of joy.
It didn’t seem to matter how many days they spent together, or how many nights they devoted to making love. She never got over the thrill of simply being with this man.
“Well, Ms. Angeli, is it everything you dreamed it would be?” he asked.
“And more.” She turned, wrapping her arms around his neck. “So much more.”
He grasped her waist, tugging her intimately against his body. For today, the Maddy Center was closed for a last inspection. Tomorrow the doors would be opened to the public.
“You’re happy?” he asked softly.
She smiled. “Mr. Angeli, are you fishing for compliments?”
He chuckled, appearing indecently gorgeous in his black chinos and white silk shirt that was left open to offer a glimpse of his bronzed chest.
“If you were in the mood to share a few, I wouldn’t object.”
A heat that had nothing to do with the scorching Nevada sunlight spread through her.
“Actually, I’m in the mood—” Going up on tiptoe, Madison whispered in his ear exactly what she was in the mood to do.
Luc gave low growl, his hands tightening on her waist. “Why, Ms. Angeli, you are a wicked girl.”
She kissed him with all the love that filled her heart. “Just perfect for the Dark Angel,” she murmured.
“Perfect,” he agreed, scooping her into his arms and heading for the waiting car.