The bowl of pasta Christian had been eating out of earlier, which had been left in the sink, went flying the same way as the cup. Without pausing for breath, she swung open the door of the cupboard that contained all the crockery.
‘Alessandra, that’s enough,’ he commanded.
‘Don’t tell me what’s enough.’
He lunged for her before she could throw the plate she’d taken hold of, grabbing her wrist with one hand and relieving her of the plate with the other. ‘I said that’s enough.’
Heart pounding, blood surging with adrenaline, he kicked the cupboard door shut, flung the plate on the work surface then pressed her against it, using his strength and height to trap her.
She pushed against him furiously, bucking. ‘Bastardo! Let me go.’
‘I will let you go when you’ve calmed down.’
‘I am calm!’ she shouted.
‘Listen to me,’ he said, trapping her face in his hands, forcing her to look at him. ‘I do not want to sleep with Kerstin. The only woman I want to sleep with is you.’
Her eyes raged with so many emotions he didn’t know where to begin counting them. ‘Bugiardo. Liar.’
‘When have I ever lied to you? Name one instance.’
‘I...’ Her voice trailed off, became smaller. ‘You don’t want me. You’ve rejected me since we married.’
‘Not want you? Can you not feel how turned on I am?’ He laughed cynically. As if she could fail to feel his erection pressed against her abdomen.
That was what happened when you were starved for the woman you wanted more than you’d thought humanly possible. One touch and the body turned to lava, no matter how inappropriate the situation or how vainly you tried to control it.
‘I thought I was doing the right thing.’
Her plump lips parted, closed then parted again. ‘Why?’
The solitary word came out as a breathless rush, but air did escape, warm, sweet air that filled his nostrils and penetrated down, burrowing through his skin, his veins, down into his arteries and pumping through him in a great rush of need.
Why? All he saw were those lips, luscious invitations to sin.
He no longer knew. All he knew for certain in that moment was that if he didn’t feel those plump lips on his again he would never know the answer to anything.
He crushed his mouth to hers.
There was no resistance.
A tiny, guttural noise came from her throat and she melted into him, weaving her arms around his neck, her nails scraping the nape of his neck, her mouth moving beneath his as she kissed him back, kissing him with a violence that made the heat deep within him enflame and his heart beat like a thousand drums had been let loose within him.
Still devouring her with his mouth, he raised her onto the work surface, her legs parting to wrap around his waist.
Her hands were everywhere, yanking at his shirt to loosen it from his trousers and burrowing up, her small fingers sweeping up his chest, marking him with her heat.
Theos, but she felt amazing.
He found the zip of her dress, was about to tug it down, when Alessandra suddenly wrenched her mouth away from his, pressed a hand to his chest and pushed.
‘No,’ she said, her tone biting. ‘Do not try and distract me by trying to have sex with me. I am not a toy to be played with and then discarded.’ She slid down onto the floor and glared at him. Her chest heaved. ‘You were going to tell me why you’ve rejected me since our wedding night.’
Christian raked a hand through his hair, trying valiantly to stem the pumping of his blood. Her taste was there on his tongue, under his nose.
Theos, he wanted to be inside her.
Taking deep breaths, he turned away to rummage through a cupboard. Weeks ago she’d brought a bottle of bourbon to keep in her apartment for him, a gesture that had touched him. A gesture he was now thankful for as a method of numbing his heightened body a fraction.
He’d been on the brink of losing his control with her. Again.
He poured himself a measure and downed it before facing her.