Only Lydia wasn’t a guest.

He climbed from the bed and attempted to get life back to normal.

‘I’m going out for a little while,’ Raul told her. ‘I’ll bring back breakfast.’

Only ‘normal’ seemed to have left—for Raul never brought back breakfast, and he certainly didn’t eat it in bed.

But he had made plans yesterday when she had walked out in that dress. He had sworn to give her the best of Venice, and now it was time to execute that plan.

Then things could get back to normal—once she had gone his head would surely clear.

Lydia, he decided, wasn’t a guest—she was in fact a squatter who had taken over his long-abandoned heart.

‘You’d better call soon to transfer your flight.’

‘I will,’ Lydia said, glad that he was going out for breakfast. She just needed the space, for the air between them had changed. And she was cross with Raul that he should be able to see her off on a plane after the time they had shared.

And he was cross that he was considering otherwise—that he was still considering asking her to stay.

Raul shot her an angry glance as she watched him dress, but she didn’t see it. Lydia was too busy watching as he pulled on black jeans over his nakedness.


He looked seedy and unshaven, and he was on the edge of hardening again, and she fought not to pull up her knees as lust punched low in her stomach.

He pulled on black boots, although it was summer, and then turned to reach for his top. She saw the nail marks on his scarred back and the injury toll from yesterday started to surface.

She was starting to feel sore.

Deliciously so.

‘Go back to sleep,’ Raul suggested.

He went to walk out, but his resident squatter did what she always did and niggled at his conscience. And so, rather than stalk out, he went over and bent down and gave her a kiss.

* * *

They were arguing, Lydia knew.

And she liked it.

His jaw scratched as he fought with himself to remove his mouth and get out, and then her tongue was the one to part his lips.

And that perfunctory kiss was no more.


She made him want.

He was dressed and kneeling on the bed, kissing her hard, and she was arching into him.

His hand was rough through the sheet, squeezing her breast hard, and she wanted him to whip the sheet off.

Her hand told the back of his head that.

Lydia wanted him to unzip himself and to feel rough denim.

And so he stopped kissing her and stood.

Raul liked her endless wanting.

And he liked it that he wanted to go back to bed.

And that was very concerning to him.

Yes, he needed to think.

‘Why don’t you go back to sleep?’ Raul suggested again, his voice even and calm, with nothing to indicate the passion he was walking away from.

Apart from the bulge in his jeans.

She gave a slightly derisive laugh at the suggestion that she might find it possible to sleep as he walked to the door.

Raul took the elevator down and, as he always did on a Sunday, drove the speedboat himself. He took it slowly. The sky was a riot of pink and orange, and there was the delicious scent of impending rain hanging heavily in the air.

Her gift would be arriving soon, and Raul badly needed some time alone to think.



He had almost said it out loud last night but had held back, worried that he might regret it in the light of day. Yet the light was here and the word was still there, on the tip of his tongue and at the front of his thoughts.

Usually he would take breakfast at his favourite café and sit watching the world go by, or on occasion chat with a local such as Silvio.

Not this morning.

He wanted to be home.

On a personal level Raul had never really understood the pleasure of breakfast in bed. He always rose early and, whether home or away, was dressed for the first coffee of the day and checking emails before it had even been poured.

On a business level Raul had both examined and profited from it. There was a lovers’ breakfast served at his hotel here in Venice, and a favourite on the menu was the baci in gondola—sweet white pastry melded with dark chocolate.

Raul was at his favourite café and ordering them now—only this time he was asking them to be placed in one of their trademark boxes and tied with a red velvet ribbon.

It was to be a true lovers’ breakfast, because he did not want maids intruding, and he wanted his coffee stronger and sweeter than usual today.

Raul wore the barista’s eye-roll when he also asked for English Breakfast Tea.

‘Cinque minute, Raul,’ the waitress told him.

Five minutes turned into seven, and he was grateful for the extra two, but even when they had passed still the thought remained.


He wanted a chance for them.

* * *

Lydia lay, half listening to the sounds of Venice on a Sunday morning, and thought of their lovemaking.

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