Seduced Online - Melody Anne Page 0,3

would always get his way.

Some people you were drawn to simply because of their confidence. Rafe was one of them. There was nothing about him that shouted insecure. His command was obvious from his very demeanor.

No! She reminded herself. He didn’t always get his way. He’d wanted her, and she’d had the courage to walk away because he hadn’t been willing to give her what she deserved. He might have been a man in charge, but that didn’t lessen who she was. She’d stood up, been strong and hadn’t stopped her forward momentum for a single instant once she’d finally gained the courage.

Yes, her heart had shattered that day she’d left his home, then shattered again when she walked away from him at her college graduation. However, she hadn’t let it stop her. She’d accepted the pain, had felt it to the utmost, but she hadn’t let it define her. She’d moved on.

When she’d come to the realization that, yes, love could be magical but that magic was still only an illusion, her pain had eased. It took time and effort to make love last if you wanted it to go beyond that illusion, that vision. Rafe had expected to get what he wanted without putting in the effort. It was his loss.

Looking him straight in the eyes — showing him she wasn’t afraid — she spoke. “Are there any questions pertaining to the lecture?” Only the slightest bit of breathlessness entered her words as she forced her gaze from his in a deliberately measured way.

The room was silent, apart from a few remaining snickers.

“Very well, then. On Wednesday, upon your return, I want the questions at the end of the chapter done and turned in. We’ll be discussing the Civil War all semester, and I expect you to learn a heck of a lot more than who fought and the dates it happened. By the time you move on to your next subject, you should have a basic understanding of why this war took place, and the lives that it affected. Thank you. Class is dismissed.”

Ari turned back to her desk and sat down, her knees shaky. Her hope was that Rafe would rush from the room with the rest of the students, but Ari wasn’t a fool. Rafe was there for a purpose and that she’d ignored him didn’t mean he’d simply turn and walk away. That wasn’t who he was.

Rafe would have his say, and she’d just have to bear up while he did it.

Be strong, she commanded herself as she heard the din of students’ voices fading. She greatly wished at that moment for another class to be entering, but it was the end of the night and she was teaching only one class a day, Mondays and Wednesdays.

Toying with the thought of running from the room, she knew she’d never make it. Plus, Rafe would get the satisfaction of seeing her try to escape. She refused to reveal how much he still affected her. She absolutely rejected the thought of showing weakness in his presence.

“I’ve missed you, Ari, more than you could possibly imagine.”

The familiarity of his voice stimulated every cell in her body while his scent swirled around her, draining the strength in her knees even more, and she was grateful to be sitting. How could he still have such power over her? How could she have such strong feelings about a man who had shattered her heart, leaving her to pick up the pieces of her life, alone?

“You are wasting your time, Rafe. I would have thought you’d have moved on by now. Have you had trouble hiring your next mistress?” Finally, Ari peered up at him, prepared to see irritation on his features.

When a smile formed on his lips instead, she was taken aback. What was this new game he was playing? She hadn’t read the textbook on this one. Was he still upset that someone had walked away from him, even after so much time had passed?

Not even Rafe could be that determined to win.

“I want no other woman but you, Ari — and I’ve given you enough space. I made mistakes, and now I’m here to prove I’m a new man.”

Ari’s mouth dropped open. Rafe Palazzo was admitting to being wrong about something. Had the world stopped turning? She had to be dreaming — this was just another of her fantasies, and she was going to wake up at any moment, alone in her small room. And then she would