Never had she felt more protected or cherished.
“How long have you been awake?” she whispered, feeling a little shy.
“A while. You’re so beautiful.”
“So are you,” she said, running her hand down from his throat over his magnificent brown chest.
The sheet wrapped her waist, leaving her breasts exposed. She couldn’t believe that lying naked beside him, even after all the sex, could feel so right, so easy.
“You don’t seem all that grand. Shouldn’t a prince be cruel and haughty?”
“You’re right. I command you to make love to me all over again.”
“I have to take a shower first.”
“We could take one together,” he whispered.
“All right.” Using her knuckles, she stroked his rough, shadowed chin. “Why did I have to meet you the last two days I was here? Life isn’t fair.”
“Life never is.” He closed his eyes, but not before she saw his pain.
She squeezed her eyes shut, too.
“I came to Italy to find myself. And I have. Only now when I go back…”
Biting her lip, she shook her head, not ready to admit to him that she would be leaving a big piece of herself behind.
“Maybe this is better,” she said brightly. “I’ll always think I found the perfect love. I’ll remember how passionate you were, yet gentle, and I’ll compare you to all other men.”
“Damn it. Do you think I want to hear about other men?”
“I’ll never get annoyed with you for forgetting my birthday or our anniversary.”
“As if I would. I plug important dates into my digital assistant. Which reminds me, what’s your cell number?”
When she told him, he wrote it down on the hotel notepad by the telephone. He ripped off the page and then scribbled something on the next sheet.
“This is my private cell number…just in case you ever need me for anything.”
“You’ll never get impatient with me for keeping you waiting because I can’t decide what earrings I should wear or because I’ve lost my keys. Did I ever tell you I lose my keys all the time? We won’t fuss because I spend too much money on clothes or furniture. I like to shop—I think I told you that. I buy the most atrocious things at flea markets and garage sales—horrible purple sofas for a dollar with the stuffing coming out.”
“We can always imagine our children would have been perfect, dark-haired angels with enchanting dispositions, little prodigies who potty trained at one. And our sons will be…virile, athletic and great scholars.”
He put a fingertip against her lips, and she stopped herself at last.
“Sorry, I’m babbling.”
“How could your babies be anything other than darling little prodigies or our sons anything but pint-size studs?”
“You don’t know what I was like as a kid,” she teased.
“I was a bit of a handful myself. Two nannies were assigned to me.”
“I’m an aristocrat. It comes with the territory.”
“From having that supersize appendage?”
“Would you stop it with that? I was always scaling the castle walls, flying kites off them. After I nearly dived off a parapet to reach one kite I lost, I was confined to the nurseries and the gardens with my two nannies or with Tiberio.”
“I owe my life to my family’s majordomo, Tiberio Abruzzi. I was awfully hard on all the antiques, too. By the time I was eighteen, every time I sat down, priceless brocade tore and fourteenth-century gilt wood shattered. Pieces were constantly having to be restored.”
“I really had better take that shower.”
“With me, remember?”
When she raced into the bath and turned on the hot water, he followed her inside the steamy, white-tiled cubicle.
When he closed the door, her nipples brushed his arm. She giggled because of the tightness of the space and the immense size of his dark body.
“There’s no way to move without touching you.”
He cupped her breasts, and she shivered.
“Exactly,” he whispered, lowering his mouth and sucking each nipple until they were as hard as berries.
“You keep accusing me of being bossy. Now I have to live up to that. Stand against the wall, Your Highness.”
When he stayed where he was, she placed her hand squarely against his chest and pushed him backward.
“Hell, nobody calls me that,” he muttered.
“Spread your legs, Your Highness!”
When his legs moved apart, she sank to her knees and looked up at the coils of dark hair and at his other, impressive stuff, playfully, as warm water streamed over her head. Without a word, her hand circled his huge, erect organ.