A SOFT CHUCKLE ESCAPED the billionaire when he saw the way Vivian was gazing at him. Most other women would have given him such a look only if he had bought them something fancy, but with his wife—-
It was always the little things that got to her, and it was one of the many reasons why she had managed to steal his heart.
Luca pointed to the stools around the kitchen’s center island. “Sit there, cara,” he ordered. When he was done cooking, he placed a plate of aglio olio in front of her, and she inhaled deeply as if wanting to savor the scent of the pasta.
When she looked at him again, it was as if she was about to swoon, and a grin tugged at Luca’s lips. “Eat up,” he urged.
“What about you?”
Vivian wondered what that meant even as she started to dig in. The pasta tasted as good as it smelled, and she couldn’t help closing her eyes again, savoring every bite. When she was halfway done, she saw that Luca still hadn’t eaten, and she asked, “Aren’t you going to join me?”
“I want something else.” Reading the question in her green eyes, he said silkily, “I want you, mia moglie. I plan to eat every inch of you—-”
Vivian choked on her pasta.
“Would you like some water?” Luca asked politely, straight-faced. She glared at him even as she nodded, and he had a harder time keeping himself from smiling as he offered her a glass of water.
“You only said that to shock me,” she accused him as soon as she put the glass down.
“True.” Luca reached behind his back to unknot his apron. “But I also meant it so hurry and finish that up.”
“You’re not the only one hungry here so do as I say, capisce?”
The Italian phrase, which one often heard from Mafia movies, made her lips quirk, and Vivian said with exaggerated meekness, “Yes, boss.”
It was an impish response few people would dare give to the Italian billionaire, and it had him throwing his head back with an appreciative laugh.
Upon emptying her plate, she told him earnestly, “That was perfect.” And it was, it really was, so much so that a second later, she was no longer able to help it. Vivian threw herself at her husband.
Even though her impulsive reaction caught him off guard, Luca managed to stay on his feet and his arms automatically tightened around his wife’s slight frame. “Vivian?”
She hugged him as tightly as she could, mumbling, “Ti amo.”
Ah. Luca pressed a kiss on her hair, murmuring, “Ti amo anch’io.”
Pulling away, she said in a rush, “I can’t say sorry enough for missing Eula’s play.”
He shook his head. “There’s nothing to be sorry for, cara.” Settling her on the kitchen island this time, Luca stepped between her legs and looked into her eyes. “Both Eula and I understand that you’ve had a lot of your mind lately—-” His wife’s smile wobbled, and he frowned. “C’e un problema?” Is there a problem?
Vivian gave her husband a shamefaced look. “That’s the thing. There isn’t a problem, and I don’t think that’s right. You should hate me—-”
“But I don’t.”
“And Eula should hate me even more—-”
“But she doesn’t either. I explained why you missed her performance—-”
“I know. In fact, you did such a good job at explaining, I felt like a total fraud with her tonight,” Vivian admitted. “I should have remembered today was her school play. I should have—-”
“There is no one to blame for this,” he said firmly, “and it’s not as if you’re going to make a habit out of it.” Luca raised a brow. “Or are you?”
“Of course not,” she answered, horrified.
“Then I don’t see any reason why we simply can’t put this behind us.” He tipped her chin up. “So no more feeling guilty…capisce?” The last word drew a reluctant smile from his wife, as it was meant to, but he could see that Vivian being Vivian, she was still fretting inside for being unable to do something in atonement.
Ah, Vivi. If that was what she truly wanted, then far be it for him to disappoint his wife.
“How do you feel about enjoying some fresh air in the terrace?”
The invitation took her by surprise, but Vivian nodded nevertheless. “Okay.” Anything that allowed her to spend more time with her often-busy husband was always a good idea.
When they were out on the balcony, Vivian blinked when Luca took one of the patio chairs without offering her one. The lack of chivalry wasn’t like him at all, and she wondered anxiously if it was because he was more furious with her than he cared to admit.
Taking a deep breath, she forced herself to ask, “Are you mad with me?”
“On the contrary—-” Her husband gazed at her with hooded lids, murmuring, “I’m going to give you what you want.”