‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered.
But Emma wasn’t—the room was suddenly too small, the bed too small when her emotions were so big, and she couldn’t think, she just couldn’t stand to think, so she kissed him back hard. Pressed her red, angry face to his and kissed his mouth fiercely, forcing his lips apart with her tongue, because if he was so good, if this was where it was leading, then better it was now, better this playboy, right?
‘Hey.’ He pulled down her hands, that were clamped behind his head, and moved his head back.
‘Worried you’re being used?’ Emma jeered.
‘I’m not worried about me…’ He held her hands and stared into her eyes, and at that second he recognised himself, those nights when he climbed into a woman rather than explore his thoughts—that need for escape, for release. He had just never expected to see it in her—but it was there, and you had to know it to recognise it. ‘I’m worried you don’t know what you’re doing.’
‘I want this, Luca.’ Oh, yes, she did, she wanted comfort, she wanted him!
‘I don’t want you regretting it…’
‘I won’t.’ She held his eyes and made her promise. ‘I won’t regret it, Luca. I want this.’
And she did.
She wanted comfort and hell, she was twenty-five! Some time in the future, some time never, when she’d got over him, she could step out into the world of men knowing what it was like to make love with someone.
She wanted to know that so much.
And she wanted him.
All of him.
There was a fuzzy logic in her mind—she was going to lose him anyway so she wanted all of him now. She just had to hold onto her heart, that was all.
‘I want this,’ she repeated. Of that she was certain. ‘I know it’s not going anywhere, I know that’s not what you want from me…’
Luca stared down at her flushed face and glittering eyes and suddenly he wanted this too.
‘One moment.’ He stood to go to the bathroom, his condoms deliberately still unpacked in his toiletry bag, but she caught his arm.
‘I’m on the Pill.’
He cursed in Italian. ‘Emma…’ Her naivety worried— him. ‘It’s not just for pregnancy. You have to make sure he…’ It made him wince to think that there would ever be someone else making love to Emma, that he was somehow breaking her in for others to enjoy.
‘Do you?’ Only she wasn’t being naïve, she was bold. ‘Always wear one?’
‘Always.’ Luca swallowed, understanding her meaning—he— knew he was healthy and he knew she was too. She was offering him the golden key, yet he hesitated, this rare intimacy alien to him.
It was a tentative kiss, both holding onto their hearts, both refusing for a moment to melt into the sheer, utter bliss of each other.
‘We can get rid of these.’ Awkward for the first time in the bedroom, he unbuttoned her pyjama top and slid it over her shoulders, removing his own underwear and then sliding off her pyjama bottoms.
The sight of him naked did nothing to still her nerves. She had nothing with which to compare it, except the sealed section of a magazine, but she knew he was pretty spectacular.
‘Should we put a towel down or something?’ Emma asked, and Luca felt as clinical as a surgeon setting up to operate.
‘I’m scared,’ Emma admitted. ‘Nice scared, but…’
‘Me too.’ Luca grinned, staring down at his unusually less than responsive manhood, and then he laughed, because it was strange to be talking about it, sex, something that usually just, um, happened, and he realised that this had to be better than good—for her sake.
He turned to face her with a strange weight of responsibility on his shoulders, because he wanted this to be right for her. That last kiss had been awkward so he ran his finger along her cheek and then down her arm, and then he stared at the full breasts that had always entranced him, naked now for him to kiss. His hand cupped her lovely bottom and she could feel the wet warmth of his mouth, the tender suckling on her nipples, which made her stomach tighten, and it was a curious warm feeling as his mouth took her breast deeper.And she touched him, too—in awe of his unfurling length against her thigh. Nervous, curious, but brave, she reached down and touched him and Luca closed his eyes at her tender ministrations.
‘Is this right?’
He couldn’t speak so he nodded and he still couldn’t speak so he kissed her instead, not awkwardly this time, and this not a kiss like any he had known—this a tender, slow kiss that led to much more. His hand slid around the front from her bottom, to her most intimate place, where she was moist and warm. He stroked her there until he could hear her slight involuntary whimpers, and then slipped his fingers inside, stretching her slowly, sliding in and out till she was moaning in his arms.
For Emma it was heaven, everything she’d hoped for and nothing like she’d read about—no pain, just bliss, his hand working magic, his mouth back on her nipples now, and she could feel the scratch of hair on his thighs as he moved closer between her legs…
Suddenly there was a need for more contact and he read her thoughts because he pushed her with his body onto her back and he kissed her, not just with his mouth but with his skin, all of him pinning her to the bed, and for a while just the delicious, solid weight of him had her in ecstasy. Then he moved up on his elbows, her legs parting to accommodate him, and he was there at her entrance. She wasn’t scared any more, just ready.
She had never been more ready for something in her life.
He was staring down at her with surprising tenderness in his eyes, a gentleness that she had never seen. And she felt as if they were starting something, as if they were going somewhere together. It wasn’t just her body she had never trusted to another, but her mind too—and in that moment she let him in, she could feel the first slow, shallow thrusts, feel the stretch of her body as it tried to accommodate him, and the barrier of resistance, and she told herself over and over that she had to remember not to love him.
It hurt, this searing, this moment, and then it was gone—and whatever it was she had just lost, she had found so much more.
The feel of him inside her, the wonders of her own body, rising to greet him as he entered and then resisting each withdrawal—her hips moving to meet his. There was this pull in her stomach, little licks of heat in her thighs. She couldn’t keep her eyes open, she was lost in the dark with him and she felt as if she’d been found.
He was moving harder now, and yet she could feel him hold back, only he didn’t need to now. Her fingers ran down the length of his back, holding his buttocks and pressing him into her, and Luca had never been closer to anyone, had never been closer to himself, than he was at this moment. She was crying and he was kissing her, demanding, seeking and taking her all. He licked her tears and felt the coil of her legs tighten around him as she gave her urgent consent. He drove in, feeling her in a way he had never felt a woman, the delicious slippery grip of her, the first flickers of her orgasm beating like the first heavy raindrops of a gathering storm. He could feel her mouth on his chest, muffling the pleasure she felt, and he felt her moans vibrate through his heart. Suddenly she was climaxing and so now could he, spilling inside her as she swelled in rhythmic spasms tighter and tighter, dragging him deeper inside her.
He wanted them in this place for ever, could feel his body winding down from the giddy rush, hear his own ragged breathing that heralded the end. Then he did something else he never had before—sated, replete and utterly spent, he looked down at where she lay beneath him and he lowered his head and kissed her.
EMMA didn’t know how she felt when she awoke alone in his bed early the next morning.
The house was already awake, she could hear several voices and the sound of activity as the day before the wedding dawned. In a little while she would join them, would shower and go down and play the part of Luca’s girlfriend and help with the preparations in any way that she could, but not just yet.
Now she lay, naked under the sheet, her body tender from last night and her mind surprisingly calm—remembering from a calm distance almost, accepting now what she had always known.
That there could be no going back.
That having made love with Luca, the countdown to the end had started.
She had seen it so many times—with her father, with her brothers, and with Luca himself.
The thrill of the chase, the high on capture, the intense passion of a new relationship—and then, always then, the retreat.
She knew this, had accepted this, had factored it in coolly when she had delivered her demands, but there was one thing she hadn’t counted on. As he walked into the bedroom, carrying a laden tray and smiling into her eyes, there was an emotion almost like fear in the eyes that smiled back at him, because she had never anticipated the full effect of him—the dazzling beam of Luca when the full power of his smile, his mind, his body was aimed in her direction.
He’d be hell to miss.
He was dressed in jeans and nothing else. Barefoot and bare chested, he walked across the bedroom towards her, and it was a Luca she had never seen.
Usually suited, clean shaven—even the times she had seen him dressed rather more casually, still there had been a formal air to him. But it was a different Luca in front of her now.