Page 63 of The Amalfi Bride

He took her hand. Then they were running toward his tender and speeding across the blue water to Simonetta.

Once they were safely inside his stateroom, she threw her arms around him, and he kissed her.

“I love you,” he said, many torrid kisses later.

“I love you, too. Always.”

“That, too,” he murmured tenderly. “Always.”

He lifted her hand and began sucking her fingertips. He was tugging her down onto the floor when she remembered.

“Oh, my God!” She ran to a window and stared at Amalfi.

“What?”

“I forgot all about my family. They’re in that limousine—still waiting for me.”

He pulled out his cell phone and snapped it open. When he hung up, he smiled and said, “Susana said she wanted you to call her as soon as you can. She takes full credit for this happy ending.”

Regina grinned. “That may be a while.”

“Yes, she’s on her way to the States.”

“I have a feeling we’ll be pretty busy, too,” she murmured.

“It’s more than a feeling. It’s a certainty.”

Then they were on the priceless Persian carpet, and she was staring up at him in fascination as he tore off his jeans and then his shirt. He was lean and brown and gorgeous, not to mention, swollen with desire.

Yes—to mention. And he was huge. And all hers.

He loved her. She was loved for herself, just like Susana. She didn’t have to be more or perfect or even an attorney. She could just be herself. And that was enough.

Then he was disrobing her, kissing each part of her as he removed an item of clothing. Soon, with his lips pressed against intimate, secret flesh, she had no time for thoughts. Only for love.

When he kissed her on the mouth again and began to murmur in Italian, her whole being caught fire.

“Will you marry me for more than a year?”

“Forever,” she whispered. “Forever. I love you.”

“Then show me.”

“With pleasure.”

And being a commoner, she did.One

Amalfi, Italy

H er last few days in paradise…so many sights, so little time left to see them. So, what was she doing here…in a bar…wasting her valuable time…lacking the will to hike or to tour one more cathedral or villa? Flirting with a dangerous stranger?

Oh, my God! I’m not flirting with him.

It was late July and warm in the open-air bar, although not nearly as warm as it would be back in Texas. Regina Tomei grabbed her glass of chardonnay and sipped too much, too hastily, spilling a few drops on her chin and neck. Quickly she dabbed at the dribbles with her napkin.

Her lengthy list of cathedrals and the notes she’d written about the Greek ruins fell to the floor. She didn’t bother to pick them up. Instead, she stole another quick glance at the tall, dark stranger leaning against the bar across the room.

Who had said, “I can resist anything but temptation?”

The man instantly stopped talking to his short, plump friend and lifted his bottle of beer in a mock salute to her.

Oh, my God! Not again!

He took a slow, long pull from the bottle. Then his gaze touched her throat and lips. She gasped. Involuntarily, her hand with the napkin went to her mouth and then to the hollow of her throat, where her pulse was racing.

The heat of her own fingertips made her imagine his big hands and his lips upon her flesh. She began to perspire, so she fanned herself with the damp napkin.

Then, realizing what she was doing, Regina seized the ornate golden cross around her neck and held on for dear life. She’d bought the necklace from Illusions, an opulent shop she’d discovered tucked away in an alley of charming Ravello near her hotel.

Sightseeing and shopping were her hobbies; not barhopping, not flirting with strange men in foreign lands.

Run!

The man took another pull on his bottle and then stared at the gardenia in her hair. Before she could stop herself, she grazed the velvet petals with a stray fingertip.

Do not touch, signorina, or the petals will turn brown.

Regina picked up her camera and set it on her little table. Agitated, her hands flew to her lap, where she clasped them and her napkin, but not for long.

She looked up again, straight at her Adonis. Was it only her imagination, or did his blue eyes blaze with the same intensity as the sapphire Gulf of Salerno behind him? Was she the cause of all that fire?

Heat washed over her and, at her blush, he smiled.

Mortified and yet thrilled, too, she picked up her camera and pretended she found her light meter fascinating.

His friend observed all with a raffish grin and then, as if bored, hugged Adonis goodbye.

Oh, my God! The short guy was leaving! He would have to pass by her table!

She buried her face in her hands to avoid conversation, and he chuckled as he passed.

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