‘That makes such a difference, piccola mia.’ A vibrant smile slashing his dark features, Alessio parted his lips to capture that marauding finger and lave it with his tongue.
Daisy moaned low in her throat, a fierce ache stirring between her thighs and turning her boneless. Her eyelids lowered on passion-glazed eyes, her back arcing as she slid languorously lower in the seat. Her submissive response dragged a stifled groan from Alessio. He eased a hand beneath the hem of her dress, exploring the smooth skin of her inner thigh. Her legs slid softly apart. The mere stroke of a finger against the burning heat and moisture beneath her silky panties reduced her to whimpering, quivering subjection.,
‘This was supposed to be your punishment, not mine,’ Alessio confessed thickly.
Daisy’s gaze ran down the poised length of his powerful body to the throbbing hardness outlined by the tight fit of his jeans and she melted simultaneously. ‘Go home?’ she framed in a shaky, choky suggestion.
Alessio thrust a hungry hand into the fall of her hair and stabbed her lips apart in a raw, forceful kiss of sexual frustration. But then he pulled back from her and reinstated her seat belt, cursing under his breath when it proved recalcitrant. In complete bemusement, Daisy struggled to focus on him as he started up the Ferrari again.
‘We’re lunching with my parents,’ Alessio proffered in taut explanation.
‘Oh...’ Daisy said simply, too much in the grip of other impressions and responses to react. Finally she was making that bewildering connection. ‘This is the same car you used to take me out in and we used to stop here before you dropped me back at the Morgans’.
‘Dio, Daisy... have you only just worked that out?’
The same car, she though dazedly. He had kept the Ferrari all these years. Alessio wasn’t sentimental. Yet he had also brought her back to the villa, to the same bedroom, the same bed... His own daughter had called him madly romantic and impetuous. Oh, dear heaven, Daisy reflected, seriously shaken by that novel idea. How blind could a woman be? Was it possible that Alessio was as obsessively set on recapturing what they had lost as she herself was?
‘My parents are flying over to London in a couple of days, ostensibly to view houses...but really to lie in wait for their one and only grandchild from France. It would be a very nice gesture if you were to agree to them flying her back here,’ Alessio murmured.
‘No problem,’ Daisy mumbled dizzily.
And astonishingly there wasn’t. Daisy drifted into the imposing Roman mansion which had provided the backdrop for the most miserable, tension-filled weeks of her life and met not the Borgias in twentieth-century guise but two older people clearly under strain but as anxious to mend fences as she was.
‘We didn’t welcome you into the family as we should have done the first time you were married,’ Vittorio admitted with rueful emphasis, his eyes meeting Daisy’s levelly. ‘We were still looking for someone to blame. And unfortunately watching the two of you together then was like watching two cars with blindfolded drivers racing towards a pile-up. Alessio seemed to suffer a personality change overnight. You weren’t any happier. I engineered the divorce in the honest belief that I was doing what had to be done.’
Registering his sincerity, Daisy swallowed hard and nodded.
‘But you still didn’t tell me the truth about that settlement,’ Alessio reminded his father grimly.
Vittorio Leopardi grimaced and sighed. ‘At the time it seemed best to leave it buried.’
Alessio’s mother cleared her throat and murmured with unhidden eagerness, ‘I expect you’ll want to have more children as soon as possible...’
Daisy tensed, her eyes flying to Alessio.
‘I shouldn’t think so,’ he said, directing a quelling glance at his parent.
Daisy lowered her head. Stupid to feel rejected, she told herself. Even more stupid to feel suspicious of his motives. How could she blame him for feeling like that? Alessio could have only the most disastrous memories of her last pregnancy. But, whatever lay behind his reasoning, it still hurt, she acknowledged.
Alessio reached for her hand as they walked back out into the sunlight. ‘You see... the monsters were in your imagination. My parents are well aware of how badly they behaved in the past.’