I can feel my release gathering, tightening, at the base of my spine. Desperate that she comes before I do, I slide my hand between our bodies, stroke that small nub of flesh that I know will bring her over.
She cries out as she clenches around me, those pale eyes locked on my own. And as I fall with her, she’s the only thing I see.
The only thing that’s real in my world.
“Isn’t this the part where you ask if it was good for me and light up a cigarette?” I can’t help trying to inject something to lighten the mood into the room.
What just happened was so intense, so huge, I don’t rightly know what to do with it.
And the way Matteo is looking at me, the way he’s stroking his hand over my cheekbone...
This just got real. And though my brain is warning me that this can’t end well, my body and heart are floating on a cloud of bliss.
Matteo presses a playful kiss to the end of my nose. “And just how would you know that, hmm?”
Rolling my eyes, I snuggle in closer. “Let’s just stay like this for the next year or so.” I freeze when I realize that I’ve alluded to time together beyond the month.
When I look at him, Matteo’s eyes are thoughtful. He seems like he’s about to say something, but is distracted when we hear a churning noise, then the unmistakable sensation of the yacht slowing down.
“Shit!” He sits straight up in bed, sending my hair flying into my face in the process. He looks at the clock on the bedside table, then abruptly pulls the covers off of me with a grin.
“Matteo!” My instinct is to cover myself, which is silly, since he’s now seen it all.
Seen it. Touched it. Tasted it.
“We’ve got to get dressed, cara mia.” Jumping off the bed, he holds up my sundress, then frowns. “And perhaps you could wear something a bit less... revealing.”
I narrow my eyes as I sit up too. “I’ll wear whatever I damn well want.” Reaching, I grab for the dress, then remember it’s torn anyway.
Matteo catches my chin in his hand and the look he sends my way is both dark and sexy as hell.
“We are now in Kalamata, Greece. We’re docking at the home of a good friend of mine. A friend who will find you very attractive indeed, and who will not be overly concerned with the fact that you are my wife.” He is serious. “So unless I’ve made a loose woman of you in the last hour, I must insist that you wear something... more.”
I feel that I shouldn’t like this demand—after all, we’re married, but he doesn’t own me. And yet...
It’s oddly thrilling, being bossed around like this. Wondering how I can do as he says, and yet test the limits.
As he dresses, I run back to my room, search through the clothing that was packed for me. I settle on bikini panties and a sky blue dress. When I return, Matteo nods approvingly at the demure neckline, the built in bra.
“That’s much better.” Pulling me close for a kiss, he nips at my ear. “You can model some of your other clothing for me tonight. Actually, you may as well not. I like you best in nothing at all.”
His hand strokes down the length of my spine, and I stifle a laugh as he discovers that, while innocent in the front, the dress has absolutely no back.
“Riley...” he starts, warning in his voice, but I skip out the door ahead of him after sending him a naughty glance.
By this time the boat has come to a complete stop. Dante is lowering the retractable plank that will allow us to exit the yacht.
“Riley.” Matteo catches up to me, garbs my elbow. Tucking my hair behind one ear, he whispers into it.
“Remember the conversation we just had about spanking?”
My mouth falls open. Surely he’s not serious.
But then he is gone, striding off of the boat toward a figure standing at the end of the dock. I can’t help but do a double take—the man is hugely tall, well over six feet, and in addition to being ridiculously handsome in the classically Grecian way, his hair is reddish black rather than the ebony one would expect with his coloring.
“Alexi, this is Riley. My new wife.” Matteo reaches out for my hand, and I note than he tucks me right into his arm, a possessive gesture, as his friend eyes me appreciatively.
“Riley, this is one of my oldest friend, Alexios Kosta. Alexi for short. We were at school together.” Matteo grins at his friend, a smug smile that fades quickly as we both notice the other man’s grim demeanor.
“Don’t shoot the messenger, if you please.” Alexi hands Matteo a tablet that looks like it could shoot a rocket into space, then casts me an unreadable stare.
I barely register the latter, as I stand on tiptoes to read over my husband’s shoulder.
What I see makes my knees buckle.
“I didn’t do it.” I tremble as I back away from both men with wide eyes. “I couldn’t have. I wouldn’t know how.”
“Clearly someone does.” Alexi gives me that inscrutable stare again. My mouth dries up.
“Matteo. I didn’t. You know I didn’t.” I grab my husband’s arm, but he won’t even look at me.
“What is this?” He finally says to his friend. His face... oh, his face. It’s tense, full of rage.
“The front page of the Corriere del Mattino paper this morning. I tried to reach you earlier, but your captain said you were unavailable.” Alexi sends me another of those looks, and my temper quickly rises.
“Look, buddy, you don’t know anything about me. So don’t throw stones.” I can detect no change in his facial expression, whatsoever... is the man made of stone?
“I know a few things.” He says finally, rubbing his hand over his chin. “Like the fact that you married my friend for money.”
“Enough!” Matteo snaps, but as I look at him I feel wounded. I don’t know why I’m hurt that he would have shared that detail with an old friend... in fact, I have no business feeling hurt at all. Our marriage isn’t real.
But the ache between my thighs tells me otherwise.
“Matteo, I didn’t. Please, you have to believe me.” But when he shakes his head, holds up a hand for silence, I feel like my world is falling out from beneath my feet.
He doesn’t answer me, instead handing the tablet back to Alexi.
“I must impose on your good will, my friend. Can you drive us to the airport?”
RILEY HAS BEEN silent for the entire trip back to Palermo... eerily silent. And for the first time in my life, I’m terrified of losing someone.