‘More,’ he grated, his expression untamed. ‘More now.’ His passion was utterly off the leash now. ‘You should have come as soon as you got my card.’
‘I couldn’t.’ And she couldn’t be more sorry about it.
‘There is not enough time.’ He moved over her, his body hard again. ‘We didn’t even make it to the damned bed.’
‘This is all the time there is.’ She parted her legs wider to accommodate his muscular strength. ‘This is all there can be.’
She saw his reaction at the remembrance. Duty before desire.
‘Then we’d better make the most of it,’ he said, his jaw tight, his eyes savage.
His determination made her hot. His intensity made her tremble.
It was slower that time. And silent. There were not the hot, wickedly teasing words to start. He was careful not to bruise where she was most tender. But his gentleness was such exquisite torture. He made her feel so good tears welled in her eyes as she squeezed her muscles tight to lock him in place. She didn’t want this to end. She didn’t want him to stop holding her, looking at her. Didn’t want him to stop ensuring she was out of her mind with pleasure. He could make her feel such unutterable, exquisite pleasure. She embraced him with all the fervour she could, yearning to return that favour. That was when it grew wild again. Loud and physical and fast.
But finally they lay slumped together, utterly spent. Silent again.
This time he was the first to move. This time he didn’t meet her gaze. This time really was the end.
Quietly, carefully he left her, disappearing into another room. She sat up, curling her legs up and wrapping her arm around her knees. Dazed, she took in the discarded mess of clothing. He was right, they hadn’t even made it from the lounge floor they’d been so eager and hurried. And it was all over already. Bittersweet melancholy filled her.
He walked back into the lounge. He’d swiftly dressed in jeans and a tee shirt. They might be casual wear for him, but he’d slipped back behind his reserve.
She wanted to kiss him. She wanted to fall back onto the floor and take him with her. She wanted that delicious feeling all over again. But she didn’t dare.
‘I am sorry, I must leave.’ He glanced at his watch, his thoughts clearly elsewhere. ‘I’m late already.’
‘Stay and sleep,’ he instructed politely. ‘The bed is through there...’ He had the grace to look slightly sheepish.
‘No, I have things I need to do as well.’ She pulled her clothes nearer. ‘I’ll leave ten minutes after you. Will use a different exit from the building or something.’
He was silent. ‘I would like Matteo to ensure you get home safely.’
That poor guy was still in the building ready for service? ‘That’s not necessary.’ Her skin burned anew with that all-over body-blush and she quickly pulled her tee shirt on, not bothering with her bra first. She just wanted to cover up. She just wanted him to leave already.
His jaw tightened but he didn’t argue. He stood for another moment and she inwardly winced at the awkwardness.
‘Goodbye,’ he said stiffly, still frowning at her, looking as if he might say something more.
She didn’t want him to.
‘Goodbye, Prince Antonio.’ She lifted her chin and threw him her most sophisticated ‘Bella Sanchez’ smile. ‘It was a pleasure.’
IT WAS ENOUGH. It had to be enough because he didn’t deserve the pleasure she could give him and she didn’t deserve the pain he would inevitably give her. He had to retain his control. She was out of bounds now. Once was a calculated risk. Once more could only be a disaster.
Antonio walked past the line-up of guests, greeting them as he went, determined to be as focused as ever. He was almost halfway through the continuous schedule of event after event in the festival fortnight. He’d been spared her presence at some occasions. But not this one. At his request she’d been sent an invitation and she had not refused. She was not stupid.
She wore a black dress that revealed nothing yet managed to imply everything. Her loose hair shone, the reddish strands glinting like threads of fire under the chandeliers. She stole his breath. And that was before she smiled. Or spoke.