Her sincere words gladdened his heart, and Luca rolled over with Katherine in his arms so that suddenly she was the one who had prime position. As her tousled hair fell back into place round her bare shoulders he fastened his hands on either side of her curvaceous hips, positioning her just where he wanted her. He was already more than ready for her again, and she released a surprised but sensual gasp as he deftly slipped inside her moist heat.

‘Signor De Rossi!’ She waggled her finger at him in mock reprimand. ‘You have a way of taking me by surprise that is quite…’ she moaned softly ‘…quite…wonderful!’

‘And you, my darling—’ Luca grinned back at her ‘—have the seductive allure of Cleopatra and Botticelli’s Venus combined! What is a poor man to do but fall at your feet in complete adoration?’


Eighteen months later

‘I TOLD you once before that you were a very lucky man, Luca, and I say it again now. You are definitely a man other men would envy!’ Hassan beamed at Luca as the younger man took a sip of his champagne.

They were standing in one of the swish reception rooms of the Dorchester, where Hassan was throwing a small party to celebrate the completion of the fabulous hotel Luca and his colleagues had designed for him in Dubai. Unfortunately Luca had been unable to fly out to Dubai to the much bigger party he had thrown there, because Luca’s wife—the lovely Katherine—was pregnant with their second child and had not been up to flying.

Marriage suited his friend, mused Hassan. There was a kind of contented aura about Luca these days that Hassan had detected more and more during their past few meetings together. He had told Luca that marriage would bring him much contentment and pleasure—but then Katherine De Rossi was a very special woman. Very special indeed! Priding himself on being a connoisseur of the fairer sex, and having had the privilege of getting to know her a little since she and Luca had married, Hassan could readily attest to that.

‘You will not get an argument from me today about that!’ Luca smiled.

‘And today you must tell me all about your next project, now that my wonderful hotel is finished!’

‘My next project?’

A small buzz of heat ricocheted through Luca as he thought about the next thing he planned to do, after this little gathering came to an end. He was taking a whole month off and spending it with Katherine and his son in Italy. They were flying out to their home in Milan this afternoon, and from there the plan was to do the ‘grand tour’—with Luca as guide, of course. He was going to introduce his beloved family to the culture and delights of Rome, Venice, Pisa, and of course Tuscany—where they planned to spend quite a few lazy, sybaritic days soaking up the sunshine and sampling the tempting and delicious foods of the region.

And when little Orlando was asleep at night he and Katherine would make love into the early hours of the morning. That particular thought was the main reason for the warmth flowing through Luca’s body now.

‘My next project is a purely personal one, Hassan,’ he informed the older man. ‘I’m taking a month off and spending it in Italy with my wife and son.’

‘And she is well, the beautiful Katherine?’

‘Very well…thank you.’

Luca’s mobile phone rang and making his apologies to his friend, he rescued it from his inside jacket pocket, seeing immediately that the call was from the lady in question.

‘Ciao, come va?’

‘Bene…how are you? Enjoying the party?’

Luca was teaching Katherine Italian and she was making good progress…except that she more often than not reverted to English for quickness.

‘Mi manchi…’ Lowering his voice, Luca smiled, inevitably wanting to be with his wife rather than here, making small talk with a bunch of too-earnest businessmen. But Hassan’s business had been good for the De Rossi firm, and his hospitality and friendship were second to none. So Luca would not be churlish about having to spend time with him at a party meant to celebrate their mutual satisfaction and success at the completion of this project.

‘I miss you too, and I can’t wait to see you so that you can help ease this ache I seemed to have developed in your absence!’

Katherine had replied, and Luca’s smile turned into an out-and-out grin. She was a little minx, teasing him like that when he was too far away from her to do anything about it! Dio! Was he going to get his own back when he saw her!

‘How is Orlando?’ he asked, deliberately changing the subject to a far less provocative one—although he did need to hear that everything was okay with his adorable little son.

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