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Authors: Catherine Bybee

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BOOK: Seduced by Sunday
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“Don’t go,” he mumbled.

“You’re awake?”

“From the moment you opened your eyes.”

She lifted her chin and found him staring at her. Good God, there should be a law against being as sexy as he was first thing in the morning.

She smiled and didn’t worry about where her hair was sticking out, or the possibility of morning breath. “What are you doing in my bed, Masini?”

He twisted enough so her leg slipped between his. “Cuddling with a beautiful woman.”

“Sneaky of you. How did you manage to get in the room last night anyway?”

“The perks of knowing the language,
. Italy, Rome in particular, is a city of love and romance. A few short words open doors.”

“And the greasing of palms?”

He lifted his eyebrows. “That doesn’t hurt either.”

“So you bribed your way into my bed. I’m impressed.”

He released her hand and placed a palm on her cheek.

She spread her fingers and enjoyed the feel of his taut chest against her hand. Her thumb traced the edge of one particularly dominant muscle.

He moved closer, offered a little moan with her touch.

He sighed, his dark gaze held hers. “Now what will it take to make my way inside of you?”

The image of the two of them embraced in passion swam into her head so suddenly she shivered.

Her fingers sank into his flesh. “That’s easy.”

The smirk on his face was a buck away from priceless. “Oh?”

The tip of her thumb tracked his responding nipple and he hitched his breath. “All you have to do is ask.”

He licked his lips over the smile on his face. With an attempt to be serious, he tried to stop grinning.
“Cara . . .”
He ran his hand down the side of her face and placed a feathered touch down her neck. “
, let me love you.” His accent thickened as his voice dropped with his request.

Had anyone ever made love to her with words?

Only Val.

She answered him by placing her lips on his. When mint splashed on her tongue, she pulled away. “You don’t play fair. Mouthwash?”

He pulled her back, kissed, tasted, and made all thoughts of morning breath float away. She sighed and let him lead. He held her hostage with his tongue, took his time worshiping her mouth. When he tired of her lips, or maybe he simply needed to breathe, he pushed her onto her back and started a slow dance down her neck, his free hand playing on her leg, her hip, bringing every nerve ending awake with his touch.

Maybe she should rethink sleepovers.

“Waking up with you has its perks,” she told him as he pushed
her nightgown low and nibbled at the top of her breast. Her nipples tightened and offered themselves to him.

His full hand rounded on her, brushed against her offering. “So does going to bed with me.” He nibbled her tip through her clothing. “Showering with me.”

How could he suck through fabric? Everything tingled and she pushed her hips closer for some kind of contact. His knee offered some relief to the tight coil of need burning low in her belly.

“Hot tubs,” she managed. “I like hot tubs.”

A low laugh escaped his lips as he lifted her enough to drag her nightgown over her head.

“Sei bellissima,”
he said before he dipped his head for a solid taste.

The scrape of the stubble on his chin added to the torment his tongue was delivering to her breasts. The slow, torturous ministration of her body raised her pulse and had her breathing heavier. So far, the tightness in her chest had yet to make itself known, even with her entire being winding like a child’s toy ready to spring.

The weight of Val’s erection pressed against her stomach, and brought a bolt of lust low between her thighs.

Meg dragged her nails down his back and met with the elastic of his boxers while she pressed her knee closer.

Val murmured something in Italian before taking her lips again. His kiss lingered and he took his time. In the past, Meg would push forward, attempt to move a lover along to the finish line. Not with Val. Kissing half-naked like two young kids in the back of a car brought on its own pleasure she’d forgotten existed.

They kissed, tasted, touched, and learned the places that brought the largest response from the other. He found her soft folds with a string of sensual Italian words.

“You’re killing me,” she said when he didn’t hurry his touch.

“Then we will die together,

Using her foot, she helped his boxers make their way to the floor and teased Val as he teased her.

He was hot, ready . . . and she scraped her nails over, under . . . around, but didn’t touch fully until Val offered her relief. His first stroke of his fingers against her most sensitive parts brought her off the bed, her heart thundering in her chest.

“Easy. Slowly,

Slow was good, her breath caught and she forced a deep breath. He swirled, stroked, brought her to the very edge of release, and backed off. Instead of pounding his chest in frustration, she returned his tease, took hold, and squeezed.

He pushed into her hand, lost the control as she heard him suck in a tight breath.

One minute she was beside him, the next under. She heard a wrapper, felt him move away far enough to cover himself, and knew she was safe. Val took hold of her hands and lifted them over her head.

Bare to him, he shifted beside her open core.
“Sei un dono,”
he whispered as he moved inside.

She stretched, took him, and sighed. “Oh, Val.” She closed her eyes for the pleasure of it.

“Perfect. You’re so perfect.”

Then he began to move. Just like his kiss, he built slow waves of pleasure until sensibility gave way to greedy need. She gripped his hips, wrapped her legs around his waist, and found another place of pleasure deep inside her own body that Meg didn’t know was there.

Meg felt the moment Val lost it, the control he held so close was gone as he took and took from her, demanded her body respond. It did.

Her breath tightened and her head grew dizzy as she shattered in her release. Val raced to keep up until they were both panting and limp.

With Val half-dead on top of her, Meg threw her hand to the bedside table and fumbled around for her inhaler.

Val snapped his head up, concern in his gaze.

“I’m OK,” she insisted. “Just a tiny hit.”

The pressure of his body was instantly gone, and severely missed. But she did find it easier to breathe with his weight off her.

The medicine opened her lungs.

“I’m sorry.”

Poor man thought he’d killed her.

She placed the inhaler on the table and pulled him back toward her. “I’m not.”

“But your lungs—”

“Are fine.” She sighed.

He rolled onto his back and pulled her on top of him right as the sun started to rise over Rome.

Margaret sang in the shower.

Of course she sings in the shower.
Did he expect anything different?

He ran a comb through his hair after pulling on a casual shirt and a pair of slacks. He wondered, briefly, if the hotel had a clothing store that sold jeans.

He smirked at himself in the mirror and shook his head. “Time for that later,” he told himself before he left Margaret’s room.

With her singing . . . well, humming actually, with the water running in the private bathroom, he stepped into the common room of the suite and found the slightly surprised eyes of Michael, who was already enjoying a pot of coffee and a breakfast of fruit, cheese, and biscuits.

“Why am I not surprised to see you walking out of Meg’s room?” Michael waved a hand to the seat beside him and lifted the carafe of coffee.

A nod had Michael pouring the strong brew into a cup. “I flew to LA, heard you were both en route here. I was five hours behind you.”

Michael pushed the coffee in front of Val once he took his seat. “That will wake you up,” he said after his first sip.

“European coffee . . . nothing better.”

The second sip sat better on Val’s tongue. “Colombian?”

Michael tilted his head. “True. But who spends a lot of time down there?”

“You have a point.”

They talked about coffee, travel, and nibbled on a weak breakfast. “So why are we in Rome?” Val finally asked.

Michael lifted his hand in the air, wagged two fingers in Val’s direction, and opened his mouth. “I don’t know if you want to hear this.”

Val felt the smile on his face slip. “Why wouldn’t I want to hear it?”

From behind him, Val heard Margaret’s voice. “Because we’re chasing a lead on your future brother-in-law.”

Val wasn’t sure what was worse . . . the fact that Michael and Margaret were in Rome . . . in Italy . . . following up on Alonzo, or the fact that Val didn’t feel the hair on his neck rise. “Why?”

Margaret and Michael exchanged glances.

“It’s the wine,” Michael told him. “Something about his wine isn’t adding up.”

Margaret stood aside, apprehensive about his reaction, if Val was reading her right. The woman he’d just made love to, had loved thoroughly, was nervous.

He waved her over and patted his leg with a smile.

She moved into his space and took his offered spot. Her skin was soap clean, her hair smelled like roses. There wasn’t a lick of makeup on her face and she was beautiful. Nervous, but beautiful.

She sipped coffee from his cup and refilled it while Michael talked.

Alonzo’s wine tasted familiar, according to Michael. Too familiar, like maybe the wine wasn’t made in the region of Italy that Alonzo claimed it to be. When Michael told Val about his time spent with a man who knew wine better than Val knew the business of vacation resorts and meddling Italian mamas, Val found himself questioning why Michael and Margaret flew all the way to Italy on a lead.

“It’s all we have,” Margaret said as she offered him a buttered biscuit.

“Alonzo’s wine tastes like the same brand you’re familiar with so you fly overseas to look into it?”

There was another look passed between Michael and Margaret.

“I don’t like him,” Margaret blurted out. “I don’t think he’s the right man for your sister. And I think he’s hiding something.”

“He’s hiding something because you don’t like him?”

Margaret moved from Val’s lap and walked to the drapes closing off the view of Rome. She opened them and ambient light flooded the room. “I don’t like him, so I looked into him.”

That caused Val to pause. “Looked into him?”

With her back to him . . . a back clothed in slacks and a silk shirt, her feet still bare . . . sexy. “He spends more money than he makes,” she told him.

Val realized his finger was tapping against the table. He knew Alonzo lived with extravagance. He took the man’s lifestyle into account when he accepted his desire to marry his sister. Gabi deserved a man who could provide for her.

She also deserved her privacy, and that was something that kept Val from doing a complete background check on her fiancé. His eye started to twitch. “How do you know this?”

“Because I’ve been checking up on him.” Margaret turned, leveled her calm gaze Val’s way. “The man is hiding something, Masini . . . and we’re here to find out what that is.”

He gripped the coffee cup tight before setting it down. “Even if he is, what does this have to do with pictures . . . with the two of you?”

Margaret shrugged. “It might have nothing to do with us. Or the man knows we’re on to him and he wants leverage to keep us quiet. Hence, the pictures.”

“Alonzo wasn’t on the island when the pictures were taken.” Yet even as the words left his mouth, Val remembered one of Alonzo’s shipmates had been. His future brother-in-law, and his crew, didn’t go through the rigorous scrutiny that all Val’s employees and guests did.

“If we’re wrong . . . we leave Italy with a full belly and a case or two of wine. But if we’re right . . .” Michael glanced at Margaret.

“We prevent a friend from making a huge mistake.”

“You mean Gabi.” Val found his smile once again. The fact that Margaret would work hard to make sure his sister wasn’t jumping for the wrong man left him pleasantly warm.

“Gabi is too trusting, gullible. Either Alonzo is crazy amazing in bed, or she’s—”

“I don’t want to hear of my sister’s sex life,” Val interrupted.

Margaret moved toward him, sat back on his lap, and kissed him soundly. “Let’s make sure your sister isn’t making the biggest mistake of her life.”

Val wove his hands around Margaret’s waist, loved the feel and scent of her. “And if Alonzo is legit and we’re here searching for his faults?”

“How will they know? Aren’t they out messing around on his—”

His back teeth ground together. “Again with my sister’s love life.”

Margaret took mercy. “She won’t know . . . unless we find something. And even if she finds out, I can take the fall. You followed me and had no choice but to follow along. Or you can go home and have nothing to do with this.”

“And leave you in Italy without knowledge of the language? What do you expect to find out when you can’t tell if someone is telling you the truth or calling you a stupid tourist?”

Michael waved in their direction. “He has a point. You can pretend a lack of knowledge of the language and we can play tourists.”

BOOK: Seduced by Sunday
14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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