“I don’t think you’re so bad,” I tell him. “Definitely wouldn’t poison myself to get away from you. I’ll put that in a card for you, if you want. Happy Valentine’s Day, master. I wouldn’t die to get away from you.”

He’s smiling, but shaking his head. “You talk too much.”

“So give me something else to do with my mouth,” I tease.

He runs his fingers down my arms, drawing out gooseflesh, but then he pushes them above my head, pressing me down into his pillow and hovering above me in a super sexy way. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you wanted to be here.”

“In your bed? Yes. Why wouldn’t I?” I return, my eyes falling to his gorgeous chest. I like this open shirt thing he’s got going on here. I bring my eyes back to his face, surveying. “You didn’t want me willing? You like a little struggle?” I ask, pushing back. “Did you want to punish me? I was a bad girl last night, you should probably punish me.”

Groaning, he sits back and looks at me. “Where did you come from?”

Now that my arms are free, I use them to explore his torso, then I tug him down closer so I can kiss the hell out of him. I love the feel of his body against me as we kiss, but I want his skin touching mine and there are too many blankets. There’s only a light smattering of dark hair on his chest, just the perfect amount, and I want his hardness, his coarseness, to brush against me.

“Get under the covers with me,” I whisper, breaking away from his mouth.

Yanking them back, he does climb beneath them, finally straddling my naked body. My breasts are no longer covered, so he takes a moment to look at me, his big hands coming up to cover them. I don’t expect him to ask, “When were you last with your husband?”

I can’t keep a faint grimace off my face. “This isn’t pillow talk.”

He smiles slightly, but waits for my answer.

“Um, I don’t remember. A few months? Maybe four?”

He nods, satisfied with my answer. His thumbs brush across my nipples until they’re hard little pebbles. My hips roll up against him and my legs fall open. Once he moves his hips between them, I close my legs around his back, pulling him closer.

“What do you want?” he murmurs, dropping soft kisses along my neck.

“Your cock deep inside me,” I whisper back.

He groans approvingly, nipping at my neck. “That so?”

I nod, wrapping my arms around him and pulling him close. “Oh yeah.”

His breath is hot on my ear, catching the lobe between his teeth. “Why?”

“What?” I murmur, not sure I heard him right.

He pulls back, his eyes clear, not hazy with lust like mine must be. “Why? Last night you wanted me dead, tonight you want to fuck me?”

I sag, realizing this was a trap. “We’re still talking about this?”

“You don’t make sense. There’s something wrong with you, or you’re lying. I want to know which one it is.”

He doesn’t move off me, keeping me pinned beneath him, but the sexy times have clearly come to an abrupt stop. I’m a little offended.

“I wanted to fuck you last night, too,” I point out, eyebrows rising. “This isn’t new. I find you attractive, and here we are in this comfortable bed—let’s use it. I already told you. Yeah, that stuff was in my purse, but I changed my mind about it before we even got to the bar. You opened my door for me, you took me to the perfect place—you weren’t a bad guy. Rodney was.” I shrug a little helplessly. “I’m sorry I don’t have a better explanation for you. I didn’t want to hurt you. Once I met you, I liked you.”

“Then you’re wishy-washy. You have no loyalty?”

Scowling, I say, “I’m not wishy-washy in the least. I have all kinds of loyalty. I’m the most loyal creature you’ll ever come across.”

“You’ve never cheated?”

“Of course not.”

“You loved your husband?”

I hesitate. It’s not a long hesitation, but it’s enough. I can’t lie, or he’ll think I’m a liar. “No.”

“Then why would you try to avenge his death?”

I understand why this is sticking in his head. When Antonio suggested it, I thought it was a bad story, too—but I didn’t figure Mateo would know that. I didn’t think I’d actually share with him, and actually enjoy his company, and end up imprisoned under his roof, pinned beneath him in his bed—and wanting to be there. This story was fine on the surface, but a light breeze is enough to poke holes in it.

Instead of answering that question, I run my hand tenderly across his jaw. “Can we please put this to rest? I know I made a stupid, hot-headed mistake. I know that. And, well, I paid for it. I understand why it’s hard for you to accept. But can we please, please leave this alone? I didn’t love my husband, but I do love my daughter, more than anything. And… regardless of my feelings, she’s going to feel this loss, and that infuriates me. It causes me pain, because it will cause her pain. And it wasn’t logical. You’re obviously logical, I’m getting that, but me, I’m human. I reacted on emotion, and I could justify it because your reputation precedes you, and your reputation says you’re a bad guy. I would’ve been doing the world a favor, really. So I did something incredibly stupid that I very much regret, that I regretted immediately, because… because I was supposed to be getting payback, but instead I got reminded of what it’s like to not be chained down by this… soul-sucking weight. I’m heartbroken for my daughter, but in this completely unexpected way, I’m free.”

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