Sinking down on the bed with a smile, Daisy opened her arms to receive her two-month-old daughter, Jenny. Soulful dark brown eyes looked up at her mother from below a virulent lime-green baseball cap.
‘What’s she wearing?’ Alessio demanded, apparently transfixed by the garish lime, purple and orange miniature dungarees.
‘Dad, if I have a sister fourteen years younger, it helps if she’s got street cred. Take it from me, this is what the cool baby is wearing this season... not those disgusting embroidered dresses with those weird frilly socks which Mum loves. I took pity on Jen when I was out shopping with my friends yesterday.’
‘That was very thoughtful of you.’ Daisy tried not to laugh as Alessio came down beside her, deftly stole Jenny from her lap and gently lifted the baseball cap in the hope of finding his youngest daughter’s tiny face.
Alessio’s gaze briefly met Daisy’s in a shared instant of vibrant amusement as they watched Tara prowl round the room, eye-catching as a bird of paradise in colours that were a remarkable match for her baby sister’s. Their daughter was chattering at length about her plans for the family’s amusement over the weekend. And they were a family, Daisy reflected, a soft sigh of unvarnished contentment escaping her.
Alessio had spent the past year showing her in a thousand different ways just how much he loved her and valued their marriage. Her pregnancy had been a time of real happiness for all of them. Alessio and Tara had both been thrilled to bits and Daisy had been as cosseted as a precious piece of highly breakable china. Jenny had been born a week early and with the bare minimum of fuss. With the assistance of a sensible English nanny, Daisy was thoroughly enjoying motherhood the second time around.
Tara had settled into school, made plenty of new friends and now spoke Italian with enviable fluency. Her outgoing, confident personality had eased her passage everywhere. Her grandparents adored her, and though in the early months of her move to Italy their indulgence had led to Alessio and his daughter having several tussles for supremacy Tara now had a healthy respect for her father and his rules.
‘Right,’ Tara said bossily as she bent down and scooped her baby sister away from the combined attentions of her besotted parents. ‘Jen needs her nap now. We don’t want her being all cross and cranky on the drive down, do we? You two don’t need to hurry downstairs—’
‘We don’t?’ Daisy echoed in surprise.
‘Of course not. Lunch is hours away and even Janet’s still in bed,’ Tara acknowledged carelessly as she made for the door again. ‘You know, three is a nice round number...’
‘I beg your pardon?’ Daisy frowned.
Tara popped her head back round the door, an impish smile on her mobile features. ‘That means you can return to what you were doing when I came in. I’m putting in an order for a little brother. As babies go, Jen’s really cute, but she needs company in her own age group.’
‘Jenny’s only ten weeks old!’ Daisy gasped as the door shut.
A vibrant smile curving his sensual mouth, Alessio lowered his dark head to hers again, wolfish amusement glittering in his intent gaze. He closed two gentle hands round Daisy’s slight shoulders and slowly pressed her back on the pillows. ‘As an excuse to spend a great deal of time in bed, the idea has incredible appeal,’ he confessed with husky satisfaction.
‘I’ll consider it...in about six months,’ Daisy muttered breathlessly, drowning in his dark golden gaze.
‘Dio, piccola mia, I love you so much; how did I ever survive thirteen years without you?’
Daisy ran a possessive set of fingers along a long, lean male thigh temptingly and invitingly clad in taut denim. ‘I love you too,’ she sighed. ‘You put your jeans on just so that I could take them off again...’