‘There is one little problem.’

 ‘Oh?’


 He reached into his back pocket and pulled out an envelope.

 Inside was a document making official Christian’s name from Markos to Mondelli.

 Thus, when their swaddled baby was handed to them properly to begin their journey as a family, the first thing their daughter heard was the sound of her parents’ laughter.

 As beginnings went, it couldn’t be bettered.

 * * *

 ‘Three, two, one, drink!’

 In unison, Christian and Rocco raised their glasses to their mouths and downed their shots.

 ‘To Letizia Markos,’ said Rocco, picking up his next shot.

 ‘To my beautiful baby,’ Christian agreed. ‘And to my beautiful wife.’

 ‘Three, two, one, drink!’

 Christian had already celebrated the birth of his baby with Rocco, Zayed and Stefan four months before.

 Tonight it was Alessandra’s turn. She was having her own version of wetting the baby’s head in the bar next door with her sister-in-law and some other friends. He suspected theirs would be a much more civilised affair than his had been. But not by much.

 Thinking about it, he realised Alessandra hadn’t drunk any alcohol for well over a year, what with the pregnancy and then the four months of breast-feeding she’d done.

 Her tolerance would be minimal.

 Theos, and she’d insisted on wearing her five-inch heels.

 He was all set to bolt out of the bar and hover over her like her own personal guard when Rocco called the barman over for another round.

 ‘Now we need to drink to baby Mondelli,’ Rocco said with a knowing look.

 ‘Baby Mondelli?’ It took a moment for the penny to drop. ‘Olivia, she is...?’

 Rocco couldn’t hide the beam on his face. ‘Yes. I’m going to be a father.’

 ‘That is wonderful news!’ Embracing in a manly fashion, the two men then downed their final shots, got to their feet, walked out of the bar and into the next one, both eager to be with the women they loved above all else.

 * * * * *

 Look out for the next instalment of SOCIETY WEDDINGS: THE SICILIAN’S SURPRISE WIFE by Tara Pammi. Coming next month!

 Read on for a SOCIETY WEDDINGS Exclusive!

                       DELETED SCENE

 ALMOST ELEVEN AND THE streets were packed, the evening balmy. As they passed loud party-goers, all Alessandra could think was that her night was almost over.

 Every step took her closer to her apartment.

 Soon she would be left to nothing but her thoughts.

 Such awareness. All she could feel in her skin was him. He walked beside her, so near yet so far.

 For the first time that evening, talk between them became stilted, a real tension having sprung up, an air of anticipation hanging, ready to be grabbed hold of.

 Was it her imagination or had Christian’s pace slowed too?

 However slowly they walked, they arrived at her apartment much too quickly.

 ‘Are you coming up for coffee?’ she asked, pressing the code to enter the building.

 He shook his head. ‘I’ll walk you to your door and then head to my hotel.’

 Compared to the noise of the Milanese streets, the building that housed her apartment was quiet. So quiet, she could hear her own heartbeat.

 The security guard ordered the lift and in painful silence they rode up to the third floor, Christian beside her, his strong jaw clenched.

 ‘Are you sure you don’t want to stay for coffee?’ she asked softly, looking at him as she unlocked her door. ‘Or more champagne? I’ve a bottle in the fridge.’

 A pulse along his jawline throbbed, his Adam’s apple rising and falling. ‘I need to go.’

 ‘Well...thank you for a lovely evening. It’s been fun.’

 He nodded, looking over her shoulder into her apartment. She’d left a light on in the main living area, a warm glow permeating through the vast space.

 She leaned forward onto her toes, placing her hands onto his shoulder, moisture filling her mouth as she anticipated the customary kiss goodbye. ‘Good night, Christian.’

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