But she wanted to love him.

Yes, Vin was ruthless. But he was also honorable, determined to do the best he could—as he saw it—for their baby, and for Scarlett, too. He’d repeatedly put her needs in front of his. Agreeing to drive, instead of fly. Agreeing to introduce her to his family. Most of all, agreeing to marry her without a pre-nup! She could only imagine how his shark lawyers would have their heads blown off at that one.


“When is your wedding?” Giuseppe asked.

“I’m not exactly sure. Sometime soon in Rome. We haven’t really planned it yet. But I do hope you’ll all be able to come...”

Her voice trailed off as Vin saw her across the courtyard. He started pushing through the crowd toward her.

Her body felt the rhythm of the music, the beat of the dancers’ pounding feet against the flagstones. But she was unable to move, unable to even breathe, captured in his dark hungry gaze.

He was breathtakingly handsome. His muscled legs were barely contained by well-tailored black trousers and his broad shoulders seemed to expand the sharp white shirt with the top button undone. But it wasn’t the broadness of his shoulders or sharp line of his jaw or even the intensity of his black eyes that shook her. His sex appeal was obvious to anyone with eyes.

This was more.

Scarlett felt like she knew a secret. Something no other woman had been privileged to see. Something he hid from the world and would deny to the death if ever accused of it.

Beneath the layers of slick designer suits and hard brutal muscle, Vin secretly had a good heart.


“Scusi,” he said now to his father, who smiled indulgently.

“But of course, you want to be with your future bride.”

Reaching out, Vin pulled Scarlett away. Beneath his touch, her body flashed hot, then cold. As they stood together on the crowded dance floor of the villa’s courtyard, as the fairy lights swayed above them in the moonlit night, her heart was pounding.

She suddenly couldn’t meet his eyes. She focused on the curve of his neck. On the hair-dusted forearms casually revealed by his rolled-up sleeves. The hard edge of his unshaven jawline. The upturn of his cruelly sensual lips.

Blood was suddenly rushing in her ears. Her knees felt weak. What was happening to her?

“Cara,” he said softly. “You look so beautiful in that dress.” He pulled her into his arms. “Dance with me.”

The slow dance was pure torture for Scarlett as she felt his hard, powerful body brush against hers. His muscles moved against her breasts and belly, and his hands slowly traced down her back.

Her full breasts felt heavy, her nipples tightening, aching to be touched. Even the barest brush of him against her was almost too much—and yet not nearly enough. Agonized desire flowed through her, twisting deep, deep inside her. She ached for him to kiss her, to stroke her naked skin, to thrust inside her, fill her fully, stretch her wide—

Her breaths came in gasps. She tried to hide her desire. She couldn’t let him know that such an innocent slow dance, while surrounded by his family and friends at an engagement party, was making her insane with need. How could she be so wanton? What was wrong with her?

The song finished, and she exhaled. “Um, thanks...”

But as she tried to leave the dance floor, he held her tight, murmuring, “Don’t go.”

His large hands moved slowly from her hips to her lower back. He pulled her back against his body, crushing her breasts against his hard chest. Dizzy with need, she looked up at him.

He smiled down at her. Powerful. Sure of himself.

There was a lull in the music. His expression changed, became dark. Hot. His lips slowly lowered toward hers—

“Vincenzo!”

They turned as Giuseppe’s voice called across the courtyard. Vin’s father beamed at them, his arm around his wife’s shoulders, with Maria smiling beside them.

“My son,” he announced, “there is no sense in you getting married in Rome, with strangers.” He gesticulated wildly. “We have decided you and Scarlett should be married right here.”

“Say yes,” Maria begged.

“It would make us so happy,” Joanne added warmly. “What do you say?”

Having her wedding at this beautiful Tuscan villa, surrounded by Vin’s family? Scarlett wanted it instantly. Holding her breath, she looked hopefully at Vin.

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