I had to figure out a way to contact him to find out what he wanted. But how?
I wasn’t supposed to leave the house unguarded anymore. And I didn’t even know where Frank lived, but I had a feeling he’d show up again soon. There must be something he needed to talk to me about. What if he wanted to blackmail me?
Great, now Dante’s manipulation was making me paranoid. Next time Frank was around I’d simply have to find a way to sneak out of the house to talk to him.
A knock made me jump. The door was ajar and Gaby poked her head in. “Dinner’s ready,” she said shyly. “Mr. Cavallaro is waiting for you.”
“Couldn’t he have told me that himself?”
Gaby flushed. “I’m sorry. He sent me to get you.”
I touched her shoulder as I walked past her. “Don’t worry. I’m not blaming you.”
She followed a few steps behind me as we headed downstairs. Before I entered the living room, I turned to her. “You don’t have to trail behind me. We can walk side by side, Gaby.”
She nodded before she disappeared through the door leading into the staff area. With a sigh, I stepped into the living room. Dante was sitting in his usual spot at the end of the table. I crossed the living area and headed for him. My plate was placed at the other end of the table as it had been the other evenings. Somehow this made me unreasonably angry today. I stopped next to my chair, but didn’t sit down. “Why am I supposed to sit so far away from you?”
Dante lifted an eyebrow. “Are you angry?”
“Of course I’m angry. I don’t want to go through meals as if we’re strangers. You never try to keep that much distance between us when you fuck me.” The word made my skin crawl with discomfort but I stood my ground.
Dante’s eyes narrowed a fraction, always so cool and calculating. “I wasn’t the one who insisted we have sex. If I recall, you were quite adamant about it.”
I couldn’t believe he acted as if he didn’t enjoy it. Maybe I wasn’t experienced but I knew that he’d enjoyed himself tremendously. I grabbed my plate and cutlery and carried them over to the place beside Dante where I sat them down with a bit too much force, making them clank loudly. I lowered myself into the chair, then stared at Dante defiantly.
“Please tell Zita to set the table like this from now on.”
“If that’s what you want,” he said indifferently.
Zita walked in and I didn’t get the chance to say something else. Her eyes flitted from Dante to me and a smile crossed her face. I really wanted to scream. She set down our plates. Homemade sweet potato gnocchi, sage butter and veal cutlets. She took her sweet time before she left again.
I speared a gnocchi and slid it into my mouth, then almost sighed because it was so delicious, but I didn’t want Dante to think I’d already gotten over my anger toward him.
Dante cut his veal without hurry. My eyes took in his strong hands, remembering how they felt on my skin, and hating myself for wanting to feel them again, despite his frustrating behavior.
“How was the visit with your parents?” Dante asked eventually. He sounded so blasé, I couldn’t even count the question as an attempt at making up for his rudeness.
“Didn’t my father give you a report?”
Dante slid a piece of veal into his mouth before he leveled his gaze on me. “We talk about business in our meetings,” he said, then a bit sharper. “I don’t know why you’re acting like a petulant child. If I wanted a wife who did that, then I would have chosen Gianna.”
I dropped my fork with a clang. “Then maybe you should ask her. I’ll marry Matteo. At least I hear he isn’t a cold fish.”
“Cold fish, hm? That’s what people call me?”
“They call you many things, but that’s the most accurate description of your character I’ve come across so far.”
“So are you interested in Matteo?”
“Excuse me?” The sudden question threw me off.
“You danced with him at our wedding and you seemed to enjoy yourself more than usual.”
“Are you jealous of Matteo?”
“I’m not jealous, no. I’m merely trying to protect what’s mine.”
That sounded an awful lot like jealousy to me. “I don’t know why you even care. You don’t seem to be interested in me outside of the bedroom, and even that was initiated by me as you pointed out so helpfully. Right now, I think you’d probably give me one of your cold looks if you ever caught me in bed with Matteo, and then go back to work.” I wasn’t even sure why Matteo was even a topic. I’d never been interested in him. He’d always been too unpredictable for my taste.
“I’d go back to work, yes,” he said with a predatory smile. “After gutting Matteo and watching him bleed to death.” He took a sip of his white wine.
I gave up. It was obviously not possible to talk to Dante like husband and wife. We ate the rest of our dinner in silence, only broken by the scratching of our knives on the plates and the occasional thud when we set out glasses down on the table.
I was half asleep when Dante came into bed. The mattress dipped and then his warm body pressed up against me. I didn’t stir. Dante brushed my hair off my back and pressed a hot kiss against my neck, then followed it with a gentle bite. I was glad I lay on my stomach and could stifle my gasp in the pillow. I didn’t want him to know how much his touch affected me, how much my body craved his ministrations. I was still mad at him for his words during dinner, but my body had a mind of its own.
Dante didn’t seem too put off by my unresponsiveness. He trailed his tongue over my shoulder blade, then along the bumps of my spine until the nightgown was in his way. He made his way back up and sucked the skin over my pulse point into his mouth, then left soft kisses up to my ear. He moved even closer, so I could feel his erection through the fabric of his pajama pants. It took all my self-control not to reach out and curl my fingers around his hard-on. His breathing was hot against my ear as he licked my earlobe, making me shiver with desire.