What if Katherine was that place Luca needed to be ?

‘I would like something,’ he said now, getting to his feet and coaxing her to hers. Holding her hands, he sensed her sweet, lovely scent dance on the warm air between them, and it stirred into life the deep, exquisite longing that had become his constant companion since that very first time Luca had laid eyes on her.

‘Anything,’ she replied softly, her delectable dark brown eyes shimmering.

‘A kiss,’ he breathed, and, gently sliding his fingers beneath her delicate jaw, he drew her face towards his own.

Their lips met and clung, the heartfelt contact instigating a renewed vitality and a sense of coming home that moved Luca almost unbearably. The longing inside him grew into a sharp hunger as their tongues mingled and danced, and glorious wild honey infiltrated his bloodstream, banishing all previous traces of sorrow from his mind. All he wanted to do was gather Katherine up into his arms and carry her through the mansion’s high, echoing corridors to their bedroom, then make love to her long into the fragrant moonlit evening.

But just when Luca had decided to act on that feverish, irresistible impulse, he remembered her visit to the hospital, and the reason he had made the decision to bring her to Milan. He would not jeopardise either Katherine’s wellbeing or the baby’s because he could not control his near overwhelming desire for her! To deny himself what he craved above all else was pure torture, but Luca had to heed the logic of his own reasoning.

Gradually, and reluctantly, he began to ease out of the sweetly erotic kiss that promised to lead to so much more if he would just let it. Sensing the tension in Katherine’s slender frame, and cupping her face, letting the luxurious curtain of sable hair ripple onto her shoulders, Luca stroked his thumbs across her impossibly soft cheeks and smiled. ‘You kiss like an angel. You could make any man your slave with such kisses!’

‘But I don’t want just “any” man, Luca.’

‘No?’ he teased. The promise in her eyes could not help but increase the powerful need that already gripped him, and it made his body ache for her so much that Luca could have wept with frustration.

‘Don’t you know?’ she asked. ‘Don’t you know how much I—’

‘Scusi, Signor De Rossi…signorina…’

Luca’s smiling housekeeper appeared. She was carrying some drinks on a small round tray which she placed on the pretty lattice work iron table beside them. Inwardly cursing at the interruption—what had Katherine been going to say to him just then?—Luca glanced wryly at the woman whose lovely face he still framed between his hands and reluctantly allowed her to extricate herself and move away.

He made a joke in Italian to Orsetta about her unfortunate timing and the older woman swiftly apologised, glancing over at Katherine with an apologetic shrug of the shoulders. Luca found he did not have it in him to be angry with this most faithful and loyal member of his staff. Instead he thanked her for her thoughtfulness in bringing them refreshments. Beaming at him, Orsetta told him that dinner would not be long, then left him and Katherine alone again.

‘That night when we first met…you told me you felt lost.’ She had moved back to her seat at the table and was frowning up at him as she spoke. ‘Was that because you were thinking about your wife?’

What was she getting at? Luca wondered. He went up behind her and laid his hands on her shoulders. With a primal satisfaction he felt the definite quiver that rippled through her in response to his touch.

‘She had been on my mind that day, yes,’ he admitted. ‘But only because I had inadvertently found the book she had been reading on the yacht. Of course it had stirred things up inside me. But can we not talk about this any more tonight? I would much rather concentrate on us!’

‘All right, then.’

‘Now…where were we before Orsetta interrupted us? Ah, yes… You were also about to tell me something? What was it, Katherine?’

‘Do you know what?’ She turned towards him, her expression guarded all of a sudden, her eyes only briefly meeting his, as if she feared Luca might see something she did not want him to see. ‘Could we talk about this later? I suddenly feel the need to go and lie down for a while. The effect of all the travelling has definitely caught up with me. Do you mind if I give dinner a miss tonight? I’m really not hungry at all.’

‘It is not a question of if I mind, Katherine! Are you feeling all right? You are not unwell?’ Luca’s voice was unwittingly sharp as he misread the reason why Katherine would not look directly at him. He was praying hard she was not trying to conceal some acute discomfort from him that had to do with the baby.

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