Resisting The Tycoon's Seduction Part 4

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When Marissa was safely inside of her room, she tucked her old clothes into the closet and hurried to her bathroom to put on makeup. She needed to look presentable, although she wasn't exactly sure what she was going to do with herself today. She had some work to do on a website a friend had asked her to create, but she wasn't able to focus on anything important right at the moment.

Laying down on her bed, she stared up at the white ceiling, trying to get her thoughts in order after last night's experience.

First of all, she couldn't believe how sweet and tender Zeke was. When he was making love to her, he was gentle and caring, more giving than she would have imagined. Of course, as soon as he entered her, he was demanding, powerful and...she shivered at the memory of how her body had responded so quickly to everything he'd done to her. He wouldn't let her hide from him either. Inhibitions weren't allowed. Anytime she'd tried to hide from him for any reason, he'd just chuckled and gone ahead with whatever he'd been trying to do. And he had the strength to pin her down and let him take control.

Goodness, she liked that. She hadn't thought she would, but she really loved the way he was so strong and domineering. It made her feel soft and sexy, very feminine.

Should she be worried that she liked a man to take control? Probably. Was she going to worry about it? Try to figure out what it meant about herself? She bit her lip and her fingers twitched on the bedspread. Okay, yes, she was going to worry about what that meant. She couldn't help it. She'd been a feminist all her life, not wanting to be dominated by her father's orders. So enjoying Zeke's commanding presence during sex was something she was darn well going to worry about.



He was a sweet, caring man and....oh no!

She sat up in the bed, every muscle in her body tense as she realized something horrible.

"Impossible," she said out loud to the empty room. "It simply isn't possible!" She refused to believe that she was in love with the man.

She paced back and forth, her mind refusing to accept the truth. But every excuse she came up with for how she was feeling was a lie. She told herself that she'd just wanted to have sex, but she'd never been even remotely interested in any kind of physical intimacy with the men she'd dated previously. She told herself that she simply wanted to rebel against her father, but that certainly didn't strike a chord especially when she realized that she couldn't see Zeke any more for fear of putting him in jeopardy with her father.

With a sigh, and ignoring the tear that seeped out from one eye, she laid back down on her bed and continued staring at the ceiling. She ignored her cell phone when it started ringing, assuming it was just her father. He probably thought she owed him a status update on her mission to marry Zeke. It occurred to her that it might be Zeke calling to check on her, but he'd left her with a kiss this morning, telling her he'd see her later tonight as he rushed off to meetings. So it wouldn't be him calling her. She had a special ring tone for her sister, so right now, she simply didn't want to talk to anyone.

Focusing on the important issues, she realized that she had to protect Zeke. She had to stay as far away from him as possible. She couldn't marry him, even to save herself from a marriage to the repulsive Jimmy. She would marry Jimmy to save her sister and to keep her father from getting his grip on Zeke and any of his contacts. The man deserved better than to be forced into a family like hers.

The sadness that seeped into her body, leaving her cold and shaking, was so intense she wished she could find some sort of escape, some relief. But there wasn't anything she could do about the way she was feeling. She just hoped with time that she would get over Zeke.

Would being married to Jimmy be so bad? There had to be something good about him, she thought as she pictured the man in her mind. He had....okay well, there was his....

She sighed and rolled over, her arm covering her eyes in an effort to block the man's image from her mind. The man was a slug. He had a huge pot-belly and dark eyes that were pure evil. Whenever he looked in her direction, she got the willies. He preferred those polyester shirts that were so famous with the guys on "The Sopranos" and wore not one, but two gold chains.

He had several gold teeth, she remembered sadly. Why would anyone pull out their teeth and insert gold ones?

She stood up and paced her room, walking from the window to her desk in an effort to come up with a plan to get out of marriage to a slimy, gross, cruel individual like Jimmy Traveri. Even her father's opinion about the man was a mark against him since anyone her father liked was a bad sign. Her father respected all the wrong personality traits in her opinion.

Zeke probably would hate the man. Zeke was honest and kind and sweet and gentle. He'd never be able to stand up to the pressure her father, and probably Jimmy, would bring to bear. Zeke would be drawn into the criminal world and would be eaten up by all the problems that kind of business would cause him.

Her phone started ringing again and she walked over to her purse, digging out her cell phone. The number was blocked so she wasn't sure who was calling her. She pressed the button to send the call to voice mail, but realized that she had several text messages and e-mails. Not an astonishing occurrence, since she'd been out of contact with everyone for over twenty-four hours now.

She clicked on the buttons and gasped when she saw that the first four messages were from Zeke. She hadn't known his e-mail address, nor did she know how he'd gotten hers. But there they were.

She thought about deleting them, just cutting him out of her life because being with him was too dangerous. Her finger poised over the button while her mind debated back and forth about how to handle messages from the most incredible man she'd ever met in her life. In the end, she couldn't trash the one link she had with the man.

Clicking the most recent message, she read, "Where are you?!" The first three were milder, but the message was clear. He was looking for her? And all of them had come to her in the last hour and a half. She'd just left his place about two hours ago so why would he be concerned about where she was?

She pressed the reply button and told him that she'd come home, then waited tensely for a response.

She didn't have long to wait. "Coming to get you. Be ready to leave immediately. I'm five minutes out."

She relished the tingle of excitement over the idea of seeing him again, but then remembered her resolve to keep him away from the craziness of her father's world. "Can't. Stay away."

She pressed send before she had a chance to reconsider or before her resolve wore down. She moved to her bathroom and looked at her appearance in the mirror. Her hair was still too frazzled so she quickly brushed it, tying it back against her head so it at least appeared somewhat neat and professional. She didn't bother with makeup, not really caring about her appearance when her heart was actually breaking. How that man had gotten through her defenses so quickly, she couldn't figure out. She barely knew the man.

Sitting down at her computer, she tried to concentrate on work. But her mind was more attuned to listening for a response to her last message. When the silence continued, she told herself that it was better this way. She tried to convince herself that she was glad that he would respect her wishes for him to stay away.

She swiped the tears away, refusing to give in to the sadness that was threatening to choke her. It was better. Much better now. She'd survive. She'd marry Jimmy, protect her sister and read about Zeke in the business news. Surely she didn't have to be married to Jimmy for too long, would she?

But what if she got pregnant? She couldn't ever leave her child. And the whole point of the marriage would be to provide her father with a grandson.

No, marriage to Jimmy would not happen. She'd figure out how to get out of this. There had to be an answer. She could....

The doorbell ringing startled her out of her plans to escape her father's desired fate for her. She wasn't sure what she expected, but the trembling started immediately. It was Zeke. She knew it was Zeke. There couldn't be anyone else who would arrive this early in the morning and he'd just told her that he was five minutes away.

She ignored the singing of her heart when she realized that he'd ignored her order to stay away from him. She'd have to reject him, tell him she wasn't interested, but it certainly was nice that he was at least coming to try and find out why she was rejecting him.

A moment later her bedroom door slammed open and Zeke stood in the center, his head almost hitting the top and his dark eyes slicing through the room until they rested on her. She stood by her desk, her body shaking with both surprise and the normal reaction whenever Zeke was near. "What are you doing here?" she demanded, her eyes glancing out her bedroom window where she could see across the courtyard to her father's office. Had Betty already told him that a man had shown up asking to see his daughter? Would the housekeeper be nervous about someone barging into Marissa's room? Betty had probably never met Zeke before so there was a very real possibility that she had already called her father to let him take care of this issue.

People simply didn't barge into Joe Berutelli's home. It had never happened so Marissa wasn't sure how her father would react.

Zeke looked furious as he walked towards her, his eyes scanning her from head to toe, almost as if he were trying to ensure that she was okay. That silly fluttering in her stomach flared back to life with the possibility. "Pack a bag if you want to, Marissa. But you're coming with me." He stood in front of her, hands on his hips and glaring down at her. "I don't want to hear any more of this crap about keeping me away either."

Marissa tore her eyes away from his magnificent form, her body shivering with excitement just at his close proximity. She tried to hide her reaction though, knowing that she had to get him away from her for his own protection. "You can't be in my room," she gasped, looking behind him, then out the window again. "You have to leave. Please hurry." She tried to push him out of her bedroom, glancing through her window to see if her father had left his office. She could just imagine him and whichever goons were with him storming across the patio to confront whoever had entered his house without permission.

Zeke wasn't going to let her protect him though. Instead of exiting her bedroom, he actually stepped closer to her, his arm wrapping around her waist as he pulled her against his hard, demanding body. "Marissa, let's get something straight. You're coming with me and I'm not waiting for you to agree with me. This is non-negotiable. If you want to pack something, then I'll give you sixty seconds but understand that I'd rather dress you in clothes I've bought you, or even better, have you completely naked. So don't mistake my calm voice for weak determination. You're coming with me in one minute, packed or not packed."

Marissa looked up into his eyes, her hands holding onto his shoulders to steady herself but she knew that he wouldn't let her fall. She also understood that he wasn't bluffing. The man would probably carry her out the door over his shoulder if she didn't hurry along.

"I don't understand why," she started to say and glanced through the window one more time.

"Fifty-five seconds, Marissa."

She was completely confused, but she also knew that she needed to get him out of there. Fast. She definitely didn't want her father to discover him here in her bedroom. She had no idea how her father would react to his presence in his house, much less his daughter's bedroom. Her father might want his daughter married to the man, but he might consider Zeke being in his daughter's bedroom as a sign of disrespect. That would be extremely dangerous.

"Come on," she sighed and grabbed her purse, intending to come back later once she'd figured out what he was talking about, what his purpose was. "Let's get out of here before you're discovered in my room."

Zeke was in whole-hearted agreement. Not so worried about being in her bedroom but about getting him out of this house, with that man as her father. He'd been worried ever since his housekeeper told him she'd left his penthouse this morning. He'd instinctively known she'd gone back to her father's house even though he'd told her he'd see her tonight. He'd meant that she should stay where she was. He had never intended for her to leave the safety and security of his penthouse, especially to come back here where her father could hurt her.

He took her arm and hurried her out the door, almost pushing her into his waiting limousine where his security detail was already on standby for him and Marissa's appearance. "We're in," he said to his driver even before the door closed. "Go," was all Zeke said and the tires were squealing down the street.

Marissa looked behind them and noticed a black SUV right behind them. "One of yours?" she asked.

Zeke only nodded grimly as he took his phone out of his pocket. "We're on the way. Have everything ready. We only have ten minutes at the most."

He hung up and looked out the window. Marissa waited for him to explain now that they were alone, but when it looked like he would remain silent, she shook her head, her patience and worry getting the better of her. Besides, she couldn't contain her curiosity any longer. "So where are we going and why does someone only have ten minutes?"

He swung his head around, pinning her with his almost black eyes. "We're running behind schedule." He looked out the window, his impatience almost palpable. "We're here," he said a moment later. The limousine pulled up outside a small, exclusive boutique and Zeke took her hand in his, pulling her gently but insistently out of the vehicle behind him and leading her into the store.

A tall, beautiful blond stepped in front of them as soon as they entered. She looked cool and sophisticated with a professional smile on her face, making Marissa feel dowdy and homely with her barely styled hair and her just-bought clothes. "Everything is waiting for you, Mr. Vaughn. We're here to help you with anything you need," she explained and gestured for them to follow her to the back of the store.

Marissa gasped when they stopped in front of several mirrors. There were no other patrons, but there were five different wedding dresses in different styles hanging from each of the mirrors. "Pick one," Zeke said, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring at her.

Marissa's mouth dropped open and she stared at the dresses, then at Zeke, whose arms were straining the material of his jacket with his muscular arms crossed like that. "Pick one?" she repeated. "Why would I pick any of them?" she asked warily, unconsciously stepped backwards as if to separate herself from the idea of wearing a wedding gown. It wasn't that she didn't want to marry Zeke. It was that she wanted to marry him too much. Despite their short acquaintance, Zeke was the kind of man she knew only came around once in a lifetime.

Unfortunately, her lifetime would put him in jeopardy.

Zeke stepped forward and looked her up and down, almost as if he didn't know her body intimately. "That one," he said, pointing towards a gorgeous gown with a skirt that billowed out almost magically, as if a group of fairies were dancing around the edge, holding it out and making it flutter mystically. The hem only came to mid-calf but that didn't diminish the elegance of the dress. The bodice would hug her breasts and waist, making her feel slender and feminine. It was gilded with tiny pearls and shimmering crystals, cap sleeves and a sweetheart neckline, looking just as dramatic as the shimmering skirt. "It's beautiful," she gasped, but shook her head. "I still don't understand why you chose that one."

He stepped forward, taking her hands gently. "Would you just try it on for me?" he asked, his eyes soft, but still coaxing.

She was about to shake her head in denial, but something about his gaze told her that it might be a good idea to just humor him on this subject.

With shaking hands, she took the dress and followed the blond woman into a dressing room. It took only moments to take off the clothes she'd just purchased that morning and pull on the fabulous dress. It didn't need any alterations, fitting her perfectly. It was absolutely gorgeous!

The blond woman handed her a pair of white, satin shoes and Marissa slipped them onto her bare feet, feeling only slightly awkward to not be wearing white stockings.

She wasn't sure what was going on, but she loved the dress.

When she stepped out of the dressing room, she peeked up at Zeke and was flattered when his eyes flared in appreciation of her in the dress. "What do you think?" she asked softly, stepping up onto the round staging area. "It's pretty, isn't it?"

"You're beautiful," he said, his voice husky as he looked her up and down. "We'll take it," he said and nodded to the blond. "Let's go," he said and took her hand. "I'm sorry that you can't get your hair and nails done, Marissa. But we really need to hurry."

Marissa was almost running behind him, trying to pull his hand to slow him down, but he ignored her feeble attempt and rushed her out of the boutique. "I can't take this dress, Zeke," she gasped when he didn't even stop to pay for the dress. "I can't..." she wasn't sure what she was going to say but he stopped her by pushing her back into the limousine, which quickly sped off once again as soon as he was in the car as well.

She pushed her hair out of her eyes and looked up at him, pushing the skirt of the dress down so he could see her angry expression. "Zeke, what's going on?" she demanded, hoping he would understand her frustration at being kept in the dark.

He shook his head and pulled out his cell phone once again. "We're on the way. We'll be there in less than five minutes." He waited, nodded his head at whatever someone was telling him and his mouth compressed with frustration. He glanced at her only once before he turned away and nodded. "I understand. Make sure everything is ready. Matt understands what's going on, correct?" Another pause and he nodded. "Good. We're almost there."

"Zeke," she started again, only to be interrupted by another phone call. She tried to wait patiently for him to finish, but she felt extremely silly sitting in the elegant car in a gorgeous wedding dress when it was barely even eleven o'clock in the morning. When they pulled up to a large, sandstone building, a side entrance that seemed vaguely familiar, Marissa was becoming downright agitated. She tried to hide it while he spoke on the phone, but when he once again pulled her out of the car, she became angry that he was treating her like this and not telling her anything. "Zeke, I'm not taking another step until you tell me what's going on!" stated firmly and dug her heels in to stop their momentum. They were standing in the middle of the hallway, the sun shining through the lone window behind him while her eyes revealed her frustration and impatience.

In response, Zeke glanced at his watch, then looked both ways down the hallway. "If you could just hold your questions for another thirty seconds, we'll be in Matt's office and you'll understand." He waited for her to briefly nod her acquiescence before proceeding down yet another hallway. When they finally came to a door marked "Judge Matthew Johnson" Marissa felt her stomach muscles tighten with fear.

"Why are we here?" she asked, but a part of her knew. The wedding dress should have been a tipoff, but she simply couldn't believe that Zeke would hurry through any sort of marriage ceremony in this manner.

As soon as they entered, Zeke nodded to an older man, presumably "Matt", who was standing in the middle of his office along with two older women, one on each side of him.

Zeke nodded to the older, stately gentleman. "Give us just a moment," he said and turned to Marissa. "We're getting married," he stated with absolute finality, then waited to see her reaction. When her eyes widened, he took both of her hands in his and held them steady. "We have to, Marissa. And you know exactly why."

Marissa was already shaking her head. Less than an hour ago, she'd been laying on her bed and had come to the decision that she would marry Jimmy Traveri just to protect Zeke from her father's retribution. Now she was standing in front of a federal judge in a wedding dress and Zeke was asking...no, telling her, that they were going to be married?

"We can't," she said with finality and tried to pull her hands away.

Zeke wouldn't release her. He pulled her closer and rubbed her freezing hands to try and warm them up. "Marissa, I'm not letting you go. And you know exactly why we have to be married. It must be quick. Don't worry about the rest. We can work out the details later. Let's just get this over with and we can talk, okay? I need to make sure you are safe and this is the fastest way I can think of right at the moment."

Marissa didn't agree, but Zeke turned to the older man and nodded.

Matt smiled reassuringly. "Good morning, Ms. Berutelli. This is my wife, Olivia Johnson, and my administrative assistant, Rosemary. They'll act as witnesses for the ceremony if that's okay with you."

"She's fine with that," he said before Marissa could even open her mouth to agree or disagree.

Marissa was about to grumble something impolite about rude men making assumptions, but she noticed the distinguished looking judge was having a hard time suppressing his amusement. The older women also had laughter in their eyes so she stood there quietly in her gorgeous gown, trying to figure out how to stop this insanity.

"Let's begin," Matt said with a general nod to the group.

Zeke agreed but Marissa shook her head. "I need a private word with you," she snapped up at Zeke.

He didn't even bother to look down at her but took her hand in his and nodded to Matt. "We're ready to begin." Without looking at her he bent lower and said, "We'll talk privately later. I know this is strange, but a marriage certificate will keep you safe."

The judge chuckled at their identical, belligerent expressions but looked down at a book he was holding in his hands. "Marissa Desiree Berutelli, do you take Zeke Randolph Vaughn to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, forsaking all others. If so, say 'I do'."

Marissa looked around as four sets of eyes turned and looked down at her. She even looked behind her and realized there were two bulky men standing behind her. Those two men weren't looking at her, but one peered out the door, then back in the office.

"She does," Zeke said when she continued to hesitate.

"Really?" Marissa asked with sarcasm dripping from the one word. "I do?"

Zeke winked at her. "There, she said it. Let's move on."

Matt laughed and shook his head. "She has to sincerely say it, Zeke. You can't railroad her through this ceremony."

Zeke sighed heavily and turned to face Marissa. "I know this is confusing to you, but you're going to have to trust me. Everything will be fine. We won't make any lasting promises today. Just get through the ceremony and we'll figure out the rest later on. Okay?"

She started to shake her head but noticed his warning look and stopped. "Zeke, how do you know everything will be okay? We barely know each other."

"You trusted me last night. And look how that turned out." He looked down at her with arrogance and complete confidence that there would be a repeat of last night.

He would have to bring that up, wouldn't he? She blushed and tried to pull her hand away. "That was different..."

He wouldn't release her hand, but kept it firmly in both of his. "That proved that we're compatible."

"Only..." she glanced self-consciously at the three others who were avidly listening to the conversation. Knowing there was no way around it, she just spat it out. "That only proves that we're sexually compatible. It doesn't mean we should be married."

"That's more than half the battle," he argued with a raunchy grin. "Would you just say the words and we can get out of here and I can explain everything?"

"No."

He sighed and turned to her. "You leave me no choice then." Without warning, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her, his hands holding her against him, pressing her softness against his body and showing her how compatible they really were. He felt her resistance for only a moment before she gave in to the passion that was always just under the surface.

When she was gripping his shoulders, willingly kissing him back with all the latent passion he knew was within her, he lifted his head, still holding her close. "Just say 'I do'," he coaxed softly with that husky voice that never failed to send exciting shivers throughout her body.

With a shuddering breath, she said, "I do."

Zeke bent down and kissed her one more time, gently, but the caress still made her shudder with anticipation. He felt it and almost groaned with the need to possess her, protect her. But he had to get her married to him first. This woman would be his and he needed his stamp on her. It was such an odd sensation for him and he was having trouble dealing with his first bout of protectiveness. And a raging surge of jealousy and protectiveness each time he thought about her father's plans. He silently prayed she didn't know anything about her father's attempts to marry her off to his brutish lieutenant or the alternative plans that had been discussed. When Zeke had heard the news, he'd been livid at the idea.

But here she was, and he couldn't help the possessiveness that shone through his eyes after her declaration. She was his and he wouldn't let anything happen to her.

"It's about time," he teased before tucking her hand in his and turning back to his friend. "We're good to go."

Matt rolled his eyes, but he accepted her answer. "Zeke Raphael Vaughn, do you take Marissa Desiree Berutelli, to have and to hold..."

Marissa heard the words but her mind couldn't comprehend their meaning. Was this really happening? She turned and peeked behind her. Sure enough, bodyguards were still watching the doorway. One of them even whispered something into a hidden microphone just like the secret service people do on television.

The deep voice of Zeke talking caught her attention and she turned back to the judge. "I now pronounce you husband and wife," he was saying. Marissa's stomach just about dropped out of her body and she placed a hand on her abdomen, trying not to hyperventilate at all that was going on around her.

Resisting The Tycoon's Seduction Part 4

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Resisting The Tycoon's Seduction Part 4 summary

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