“You don’t know anything about me, Valentina.”
I interrupted him. “I know, and I want to change that, but you keep pushing me away.”
Dante stood and ran a hand through his hair. “I never wanted to get married again. For good reason.” Again he made it sound as if this marriage had been my idea, as if I had had any say in the matter.
“I didn’t ask you to marry me!” I had enough. I turned on my heel and stormed out of his office, making sure I slammed the door as hard as possible. It was a childish thing to do. I could hear it open again and Dante’s steps behind me. He caught up with me and grabbed my wrist, pulling me to a stop.
“You have an impossible temper,” he growled.
I glared at him. “That’s your fault.”
“This marriage has always been for logical reasons. I told you that.”
“But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to make it a real marriage. There are no logical reasons why we shouldn’t sleep with each other. You slept with prostitutes, so why can’t you sleep with me?”
“Because I was angry and I wanted to fuck someone. I wanted it rough and hard. I wasn’t looking for closeness or tenderness or whatever it is you want. I took whatever pleasure I wanted, and then I left. What you’re looking for, I can’t give you. The part that was capable of it died with my wife, and it won’t come back.”
“You don’t know what I want. Maybe we want the same thing.” My voice was a bare whisper.
He scoffed. “I can see in your eyes that it’s not true. You want to make love, but I can’t give you that. I do want to possess you, want to own every part of you, but not for the reasons you want me to. I’m a heartless bastard, Valentina. Don’t try to see anything else in me. The business suit and emotionless face is the thin layer covering up the fucking abyss that’s my soul and heart. Don’t try to glimpse beneath it, you won’t like what you find.”
I was too stunned for a comeback. Instead I watched him return to his office.
I spent the rest of the day considering my options. Dante didn’t want emotional attachment. He didn’t even want tenderness. Rough and hard, that were the words he used for the sex he’d sought from prostitutes. He was right. It wasn’t what I wanted, but over the years I’d learned that sometimes you had to settle for the lesser evil to reach some form of happiness. I wanted to have sex with Dante, maybe not the same way Dante did, but who said I wouldn’t like it? And he hadn’t exactly said that he’d be rough with me. He’d only said that I shouldn’t expect fluff and loving gestures from him. I could live with that, couldn’t I?
I wanted to be desired by him. Maybe that would be as good as being loved by him.
It was almost time for dinner but I was hungry for something else as I undressed quickly in our bedroom before I could change my mind and slipped a bathrobe on. I couldn’t walk naked through the house.
My stomach fluttering with nerves, I headed downstairs and toward Dante’s office. I knocked, and this time I waited for him to call me in as I didn’t want to start this seduction attempt with a fight, even if our argument in the bedroom yesterday had been a huge turn-on for me. He opened the door without a word. His cool eyes slid over my body. I wondered if he could tell that I was naked beneath the thin material of my bathrobe.
“Can I come in?”
He stepped back and I walked in. I could hear the door close and then Dante strode past me and turned to me with an inquiring expression. “What’s going on?”
“I made up my mind.”
I opened my bathrobe. “About us. About sex.”
Dante’s eyes darkened. Clenching his jaw, he shook his head and began to turn away. “You should leave.”
“Don’t turn your back on me. Look at me. I think I deserve at least that small decency, Dante.”
Tension radiated off of him when he turned around to me. He didn’t move closer but he was looking at me. For once, he didn’t pretend I was invisible. His blue eyes wandered over my exposed body.
My nipples hardened in the cool air of his office but I didn’t close my silk bathrobe, despite the overwhelming urge to cover myself against Dante’s cold scrutiny. His gaze lingered on the apex of my thighs slightly longer than on the rest of my body and a small burst of hope filled me. How much control did he have? “Am I your wife?”
His brows drew together. “Of course, you are.” There was the hint of something I couldn’t place in his voice.
“Then claim your rights, Dante. Make me yours.”
He didn’t move, but his eyes slid down to my erect nipples. His gaze was almost something physical, like a ghost touch on my naked skin, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I wanted to feel his fingers between my legs again, wanted to feel them on every inch of my body, wanted to come until I lost track of all my problems.
I wasn’t above begging. I knew I almost had him, could see in the tight set of his shoulders, in the unhinged look in his eyes. I wanted to have sex tonight. “I have needs too. Would you prefer if I found a lover who relieved you of the burden to touch me?” I wasn’t sure I could go through with it. No, I knew I couldn’t go through with it, but this act of provocation was my last option. If Dante didn’t react to that, then I didn’t know what else to do.
“No,” he said sharply, something angry and possessive breaking through his perfect mask. He pressed his lips together, jaw locked, and walked toward me. I shivered with need and excitement when he stopped in front of me. He didn’t reach for me but I thought I detected the hint of desire in his eyes. It wasn’t much, but enough to embolden me. I bridged the remaining distance between us and curled my fingers over his strong shoulders, pressing my naked body against his front. The rough material of his business suit rubbed deliciously against my sensitive nipples and I let out a small moan. The pressure between my legs was almost unbearable. Dante’s eyes flashed as he looked down at me. Slowly he wrapped an arm around me and rested his palm flat against my lower back. I wished he’d move it lower. I didn’t think I’d ever been so desperate for someone else’s touch, not even when I had to listen to Antonio fuck Frank in the room next door.