But what stopped Dante? I deflated inwardly at his reaction. I knew many men found me pleasant to look at and they had never seen me this scantily dressed, but Dante didn’t seem to be interested in me. I knew his wife hadn’t looked anything like me. Where I was tall and dark, she’d been petite with light brown hair.
“You can lie down. I’ll grab a shower,” he said. His gaze shifted for the barest moment but then he stalked into the bathroom and closed the door after him.
Trying to fight my frustration, I walked up to the bed and slid under the covers. With Antonio, I’d known that he wouldn’t react to my body the way I wanted him to, but I’d thought it would be different with Dante. Maybe he needed a moment to gather his thoughts. It couldn’t have been easy for him today. He’d loved his wife and marrying again must have been really tough for him. Maybe he needed a shower to prepare himself mentally for the wedding night.
The shower ran for a long time and eventually my eyelids became heavy. I tried to fight the tiredness but at some point I must have dozed off because I jerked awake when the bed dipped. My eyes darted to the side where Dante was stretching out. His chest was naked and I wanted nothing more than to run my hands over his slightly tanned, firm stomach and chest. His cool eyes settled on me. It was impossible to say what he was thinking. Would he reach out for me now?
I lay on my back, waiting for him to do something, nervous and excited and scared. I had to stop myself from making the first move. That would have been too forward.
“I have an early day tomorrow,” he said simply and then he turned the light off and rolled away from me. I was glad the darkness hid my shock and disappointment. I waited for a few more minutes for him to change his mind, to claim his rights, but he didn’t. He lay beside me quiet and unmoving, his back a few inches from my arm.
Hurt welled in me and I rolled over, away from him. Dante was into women, so why didn’t he want to sleep with me? What was wrong with me that after two wedding nights I was still as untouched as the virgin snow? I wasn’t sure I could go through this again. I wanted to experience lust, wanted to be desired. With Antonio, I’d known trying to seduce him was a losing battle from the start, but with Dante I had to try at least. Even if he still loved his wife, he was a man. He had desires and I was perfectly capable of giving him what he physically needed, even if he kept his emotions locked away.
I listened to his calm breathing. Although we weren’t touching, I could feel the heat radiating off of him. He wasn’t an iceman. There had to be a way to crack his mask.CHAPTER FIVEDante wasn’t in bed when I woke the next morning. His side of the bed was cold as I pressed my palm against it. Forcing my anger down, I made sure the door was closed before I slipped my hand into my panties. Over the years with Antonio, I’d learned to give myself pleasure with my fingers. I buried my face in Dante’s pillow, inhaling his musky scent and imagined he was touching me as I stroked myself to an orgasm. Afterward, I lay on my back for a while, staring at the ceiling, wanting to cry and laugh at the same time.
I slipped out of bed and headed into the bathroom and took my time making myself presentable. I chose a form-fitting brown dress that ended above my knees and a cute red cashmere cardigan. Even if Dante didn’t care, I felt more comfortable if I put an effort into my outfits. I left the bedroom, hesitated and looked down the long corridor, wondering what hid behind the other doors. I’d have to explore at another time. Instead I headed down the staircase. I wasn’t sure if I was expected downstairs for breakfast. I didn’t know my new home, didn’t know the people who worked here, and worst of all: didn’t know the master of the house, my husband.
The double doors were ajar and I approached them, then lingered in front of them for a moment before I walked inside. I’d expected Dante to be gone already and was surprised when I found him sitting at the dining table in the vast living and dining room. As with the rest of the house, the floor was dark wood, the walls light beige, and the furniture dark and imposing.
The newspaper hid Dante’s face but he lowered it when he heard me entering. My brown heels clicked on the hardwood floor as I approached the table slowly, unsure of how to act around him. Antonio had been my friend first, and then my husband, but there was nothing between Dante and me. We were strangers.
The table was set for two people, but my plate wasn’t next to Dante, instead it had been set at the other end of the table. I stared at the distance between Dante and me, considering to ignore the set-up and to sit beside Dante, but then I lost courage and took my seat at the end of the table.
“I hope you slept well?” Dante asked in his smooth voice. He hadn’t put down the newspaper, still held onto it, and I had a feeling it would come up as a barrier between us again soon.
Was he being serious? “Too well,” I said, not able to stop the jibe. Didn’t he realize I’d expected a bit more from our first night together?
“I still have to prepare for a meeting with Luca. He’ll be here soon as he heads back to New York tonight, but I told him you’d be delighted to keep Aria company while we discuss business.”