‘I made an excellent choice in underwear.’

‘You made?’

‘OK, so next time I’ll choose them myself, and make sure they all tie like this. It’s most convenient.’

‘Tino… No… really, what if?’

He silenced her with a kiss, leaning into her as he loosened his belt. ‘No more talking, Lisa,’ he warned. ‘You have to concentrate now… I haven’t eaten yet, and we have a table booked at the taverna for ten o’ clock.’

‘You mean I’m on a fixed time slot?’ She pulled back to look at him. ‘I don’t believe you.’

‘Believe.’

He caught her to him as she cried out for him, bending his knees to achieve a better position as he sank deeply inside her. ‘Is that good?’

‘Oh, yes, yes, and a lot warmer too.’

‘Central heating never fails.’

‘Just make sure you don’t stop,’ Lisa warned in a whisper as her laughter was overtaken by a sob of delight.

Lifting her legs, Tino positioned them over his shoulders, supporting her back so she could lean at a more acute angle, affording him greater access.

‘Good, so good,’ Lisa groaned before giving herself over to a black velvet world of sensation.

Tino attended to her needs with a catalogue of perfectly judged thrusts, and when she felt the sudden tension in him Lisa anticipated the moment he would lose control. It drew an immediate response from her. Crying out excitedly, she felt the first wave of spasms hit them both at the same time like a tidal wave sweeping them to the brink of consciousness and back. And all the while, Tino held her firmly, timing his movements to extend the pleasure for her as long as he could.

‘And now we eat,’ he said when at last she had quietened.

‘Not sure I’ve got enough strength left for that.’

‘Are you all right?’ He bent his knees to stare into her face.


‘I don’t know,’ Lisa admitted honestly. ‘I’m—’

‘Exhausted? Sated? Contented?’

‘All of those things.’ She was exhausted, but she would never get enough of him—and as for contented? She would never be contented until she unravelled the mystery of his pain. Tenderly, as she might have touched a child, she traced the outline of his face with one hand. ‘Tino, I—’

Catching hold of her hand, he silenced her, bringing it to his lips to kiss the tender palm. ‘We must hurry, or we will lose our table.’

‘I can’t believe anyone would dare to give it away.’ Lisa laughed as she hunted in the dark for her underwear.

‘I receive no special treatment in Stellamaris—I should be offended if anyone tried to make a fuss of me.’

‘Even me?’

‘For you, I might make an exception.’

She melted into him as he dragged her close to kiss her deeply again. He smelled so good, warm, clean man, woody aftershave, and there was a fresh aroma rising from all the juicy greenery they had pounded. ‘You should fasten your jeans before we leave,’ she reminded him, smiling against his mouth.

‘And have buttons attached to my shirt by tailor’s thread in future.’

Lisa laughed as she smoothed down the creases in her own crushed dress. ‘I’d only rip a hole in the fabric.’

Grabbing hold of her hand, he drew her towards the door.

She hung back. ‘Tino, please… there’s something I really want to ask you about.’

‘Anything—but ask me later at the taverna after we’ve eaten. You’ve given me quite an appetite.’

But she couldn’t ask him at the taverna—she couldn’t break the mood. How could she bring up the subject of his nightmare when they were surrounded by dozens of people— most of whom he seemed to know? The brightly lit taverna was full, and the steady thrum of the bouzouki band contributed to a sensuous ambience. With all the children safely in bed with older guardians watching them, everyone was intent on wringing out the last bit of enjoyment from the night.

The tables were all draped with blue and white tablecloths that reached down almost to the floor. The tables had been set at a decent distance apart, allowing for privacy amidst the party atmosphere, and Lisa was soon as relaxed as everyone else, but she couldn’t help wishing life could be less complicated.

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