Vivian stood framed by the doorway, her dark hair a messy riot of waves around her face. She had a frantic look on her face and she was panting loudly, like she had run all the way home.
“Vivi,” Eula exclaimed excitedly upon the sight of her stepmother.
The Italian billionaire’s lips curved in a warm smile. “Welcome home, cara. Did you miss us?”
“Yes.” And as soon as his wife choked the word out, she promptly burst into tears.
IT WAS ALREADY TEN in the evening by the time Luca stepped out of his office at home, and upon reaching the second floor he was surprised to still hear his wife’s soothing voice, reading a bedtime story.
When he made it to Eula’s room, he saw his daughter snuggled up next to Vivian, fast asleep. Upon meeting his gaze, Vivian signaled to him to keep quiet even as she continued with the story.
“And so the princess lived happily ever after with the king and queen, happy and secure in the knowledge that a new adventure awaited her.” Vivian closed the book and whispered, “The End.” She placed a kiss on the top of Eula’s head before gently and carefully easing herself out of the little girl’s bed.
Upon reaching her husband, Vivian almost let out a shriek when Luca suddenly swept her up in his arms. “Hold on to me,” he whispered into her ear, and she obliged, arms and legs tightening around him, as Luca pulled the door shut.
Out in the hallway, he pushed her against the wall and crushed her mouth under his without warning. Vivian kissed him back eagerly, her body easily turned on like it always was.
When the billionaire lifted his head, she moaned softly in protest, the sound making his lips curve in amusement. “Does that mean you want more?” he teased under his breath.
Her eyes flew wide open at Luca’s words, and her cheeks flushed pink at the way his startlingly blue eyes gleamed down at her.
“Ah, cara. Whatever happened to your promise to be less, err—-” A thoughtful look crossed Luca’s handsome face. “What was that word you made up again? Blushable?”
Oh, fudge. “Stop reminding me of that,” Vivian cried out.
Chuckling at the way his wife had turned even redder, he stole a quick hard kiss from her lips before carrying her down the stairs. Seeing her bemused look, he asked wickedly, “Disappointed?”
“No!” But she was, actually, since she had thought he was taking her to their bedroom.
A devilish grin slashed on the Italian billionaire’s lips at her oh-so-obvious lie, and he purred, “Anticipation makes all things better.”
Even as her heart skipped a beat, she managed to insist weakly, “I really don’t know what you’re talking about.” But the way her voice quivered in the end completely betrayed Vivian, and she could only hide her hot face at the crook of his neck as Luca’s powerful body rocked in silent mirth.
When he lowered Vivian back to her feet, she was stunned to realize he had taken her to the kitchen. She spun around to face him, puzzled. “Are you hungry?”
“No, cara, but I bet you are.”
The truth in his words dawned the moment he spoke, and her stomach further compounded the fact by releasing an embarrassing growl.
She let a mortified squeak, but Luca only said, “There’s no guessing about it.”
Normally, her husband’s gently reproving tone would have made Vivi feel bad.
But right now her husband, who was dressed elegantly in a long-sleeved V-neck shirt and slacks, was putting on an apron—-
“What are you doing?” she gasped.
“What do you think?” Her beautiful Italian billionaire smirked, and Vivian couldn’t help pinching herself as she watched him loosely tie the apron around his waist.
This couldn’t be happening.
But it was.
Her mind whirled.
Luca. Apron. Luca. Apron.
At that moment, there was nothing sexier in the world than the black apron Luca had on, and butterflies fluttered in her stomach as she stared at the way the apron strangely served to accentuate the billionaire’s lethally perfect form.
Too sexy, she thought dreamily. Too, too—-
Luca bent down to take out a foil-wrapped from the fridge, and she hurriedly pinched herself again, thinking that if this was a dream then she just wanted to keep on dreaming.
She watched Luca switch the induction cooktop on, and Vivian rubbed her eyes.
When Luca started to expertly toss pasta with his pan, she gasped, “Are you cooking?”
Luca couldn’t help grinning. “And you’re only realizing that now?”
Her toes curled hard, and she could only stare at him in a completely besotted fashion. How had life become this amazing again? Sometimes, it just seemed like yesterday that she had been alone and ridden with debts she had incurred because of her father’s death. But there were also times when she could barely remember what was life before Luca.
Her husband and Eula had become her world now. They made her so, so happy. Vivian just wished she could be sure she made them as happy, too.