“You knew who I was all along, didn’t you, Chloe?”
Apparently not. The heaviness in her stomach grew. Rose upward until it filled her throat with tightness. Oh, God. She was missing something. Something big. Just who was Andrés that he’d get so upset about her writing about him?
She shook her head faster. “No. I promise you—”
“I’m usually quite careful,” he continued softly. “Having the women in my bed thoroughly researched ahead of time.”
The women in his bed. And she’d just become one of them.
“A confidentiality contract signed,” he continued. “But you slipped under the radar. And that was your plan all along, wasn’t it, cariño? With that innocent act?”
She blanched, struggling to catch her breath. “No.”
“I’ll bet it was all staged. Bumping into me that night.”
“No.” She jerked away from his grasp, putting distance between them. Each accusation he made stabbed into her like toxic darts.
His eyes glittered with disgust. “And the American attacking you on the beach. Was that arranged as well, cariño? A friend of yours, perhaps? Is that why I’ve been unable to locate him?”
She was going to be sick. The loathing on his face made everything inside her crumple with pain, made it almost impossible to breathe. What kind of woman did he think she was?
Chloe wrapped her arms around her stomach and choked out, “You think I planned that?”
“And why wouldn’t you? Gaining my trust by playing the damsel in distress—giving me access to your body,” he rasped and then gave a slow, cold smile. “In fact, I doubt this is your first time. Do you make it a practice to seduce men to get a story?”
Fury overrode the pain, and she lashed her hand across his face with a tortured cry.
Andrés grabbed her by the wrist and hauled her back against him. “Never make the mistake of hitting me,” he said, his toneturning glacial. “Even if the truth isn’t always pleasant to hear. Were you really so naïve to think you would get away with it?”
Her mouth opened and it was on the tip of her tongue to scream the truth. That she had no idea who the hell he was. That she’d never slept with a man for a story and that he was only the second man she’d ever slept with, period.
But why bother? Why defend herself to a man who was obviously nothing like she’d thought? He’d been an illusion. The passionate, considerate person she’d begun to fall for had just tainted himself with hideous words and accusations. He wasn’t gentle or loving but instead an assuming, ruthless bastard.
Researching the women he sleeps with. She wanted to get sick. Wanted to purge her ridiculous notions of who she’d thought Andrés was.
The only thing he’d gotten right about her was that she was naïve. Her heart clenched and she blinked back tears. God, she was a fool.