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I’d learned a lot about the mob business over the past few weeks. I wasn’t allowed to do any physical training – doctor’s orders – so I pretty much followed Vincent around and learned everything he had to offer.

Luca had several businesses, legal and otherwise. He dabbled in all sorts of things, from arms dealing, commercial sanitation, and investing in casinos and nightclubs in the city, to counterfeiting and money laundering. He owned a chain of hotels and restaurants where I learned was how he cleaned most of his money. He also sponsored several charities for underprivileged children and homeless people.

He was this terrifying criminal that literally had the entire city in his pocket, yet he seemed to give a shit about the less fortunate. It was a strange combination, but it only made me respect him more.

I had to wonder, though. Was I some sort of pet project to him? Did he take pity on me because of my situation, or did he actually see something special in me?

I trailed behind Vincent in the main warehouse, clipboard in hand as we performed the final product check. These weapons were scheduled to hit the streets tomorrow, which had me somewhat conflicted.

I hated violence, wish I never had to resort to it at all, and seeing these weapons being manufactured illegally and sold on the black market only fueled that which I hated most. I had no right to say anything about it, so I kept my opinions to myself. But I still didn’t like it.

“Check this one out,” Vince said, reaching into one of the large boxes and pulling out a shiny new assault rifle.

“Wow,” I said, impressed by the sleek design. He dropped it in my hands and I was shocked to find that I could actually hold it with ease. “It’s so light.”

“Magnesium-based alloy,” he said proudly, “we’re the first ones to get our hands on it. It’s as light as aluminum but with the strength and durability of titanium. Even someone as scrawny as you can handle it.”

I chuckled, not taking the insult seriously. Vincent knew I could dish out some serious whoop-ass if I needed to. I’d already beaten the snot out of Antonio more than once. “It reminds me of the AK-47s from the old gangster movies,” I remarked, running my fingers over the smooth barrel.

“It’s an AKM,” he replied, taking the rifle back and resting it inside the box with care, “a modern take on the AK-47. Good eye.”

I shrugged. “I used to be around guns all the time. It’s been a while, but I guess some things stayed with me.”

“Yeah? You any good?”

I gave him a questioning look that forced him to clarify.

“Can you shoot?”

I shrugged again. “I’m a pretty good shot, I guess. I’ve never used a rifle, though. I used to go to the shooting range sometimes. I mostly played around with 45 millimeters, maybe the occasional Glock.”

He laughed. “A woman after my own heart.” He led me down another aisle, pulling a handgun from one of the open boxes. “Try this on for size.”

I took the handgun, turning it over in my hands and testing its weight. “A .45 Automatic Colt Pistol,” I commented, feeling the smoothness of the cold metal. “M1911 series…this is a government-issued weapon.”

He arched a brow at me, a smile tugging at his lips. “I’m impressed. It’s an A1, and you’re right. These are popular down at the local precinct.”

My jaw dropped a fraction. “You sell these to cops? Like, on purpose?”

“Well, sure,” he said, leading me back down the aisle, “the cops in this city are some of our best customers.”

I shook my head in disbelief. “Unbelievable. Not even law enforcement can be trusted.”

Vince remained silent for a minute, his hands resting casually in his jean pockets as he walked. “When you’re from the streets, no one can be trusted. Least of all the pigs. A few of them are just as bad as we are…some maybe even worse. We don’t discriminate in this line of business. Money is money. We keep the cops happy, they lay off our backs. It’s a win-win.”

I couldn’t hide my disgust. I was all too familiar with crooked cops. It was the very reason I refused to go to them to begin with. I was better off fighting my way out and disappearing without a trace. It was a sad world when you couldn’t even depend on the ones hired to protect and serve you.

“Keep it,” Vince said, gesturing toward the Colt pistol I still held, “we get loads of them every week. It won’t be missed.”

“Thanks,” I said, slipping it into my back pocket. It wasn’t loaded, so I knew I’d have to ask someone for rounds. Maybe Luca would take me shooting so I could brush up on my aim.

It was a good excuse to get some alone time with him.

Since the night of the Incident (I started calling it that the day after my meltdown occurred), he hadn’t bothered to make a pass at me. He was still as nice as ever – if you could call his quiet brooding nice – but the tenderness he once showed me was gone completely.

I actually missed it.

“You in the mood for lunch?” Vince asked as we approached the front of the warehouse.

“Sure.” I was starving, anyway. We might as well have gotten something to eat together. Most of my days were spent with Vinnie, yet I’d been having lunch alone for weeks.

Luca went to his mother’s house every day, which was sort of cute, but he didn’t invite me anymore. Not since the Incident. I found myself blaming that day for everything. But could anyone fault me? Luca went from showering me with attention and affection to barely talking to me at all.

We were living in the same house – though he gave me my own room to sleep in – and we had breakfast together every morning. We carpooled to and from the warehouse every day, but we barely spoke. We hardly exchanged casual pleasantries. It was such bullshit.

The doors to the warehouse opened and the Devil himself strolled in – his usual air of power and dominance filling every corner of the room. Our eyes locked and I was immediately hypnotized by the bright hazel color of his irises. Framed by thick, gorgeous lashes that didn’t even make sense for a man to have, they were the most beautiful eyes I’d ever seen.

The deep hue reflected the darkness of his soul – or his lack thereof. Deep down, I knew he had a heart. The charities and causes he supported gave that much away. The way he bent over backwards to ensure I was safe and comfortable was another dead giveaway.

I sighed, unable to deny it anymore. I had a crush on the Bossman. The physical attraction was obvious, but he won me over with his charm weeks ago. I probably would have acted on it by now if it wasn’t for the fucking Incident. He was definitely snubbing me. For some reason, it was harder to get over these misplaced emotions when he was barely paying any attention to me.

“Hey, Boss.” Vinnie brushed past me, greeting his superior. “We were just heading out for lunch. You wanna look over the inventory?”

“Were you?” his eyes were trained on mine, showing me the most attention they had in weeks.

Vinnie seemed to feel the tension, because he hesitated a moment before responding. “Unless you need one of us?”

Luca broke eye contact, finally facing Vince. “Yes, actually. I was hoping Raven would join me for a bite to eat.” His gaze slid back to mine. I didn’t miss the way Vincent’s face fell in disappointment. Had he been inviting me to a friendly lunch, or was it something more?

“Yea, of course. She’s all yours. On second thought, I’ll just order in.” Vinnie walked away, a black cloud hanging over his head. I might have just imagined it, but he seemed to be genuinely sad about our foiled lunch plans.

With Vinnie gone, the tension in the room rose. Luca had a way of making every room he occupied feel smaller than it was. Reluctantly, I met his piercing stare. His eyes were so intense, I felt totally exposed and all he did was look at me.

“Ready to go?”

I nodded, taking my jacket off the wall and slipping my arms into the sleeves. “I wonder if your mother will remember me…it’s been so long since I met her.”

He furrowed his brows, canting his head slightly to the side. “She never forgot you,” was his response, “besides, we aren’t going there for lunch. I had someplace else in mind.”

“Oh?” I approached him, stopping just short of bumping into his chest. Craning my neck, I looked up at him. I was close enough to smell his cologne and feel the warmth of his body radiating off him.

He smiled down at me, a hint of fondness entering his eyes. He kept his hands to himself – much to my disappointment – and tilted his head toward the door. “Car’s waiting.”

I swallowed my chagrin, dragging my feet as I forced myself out the door. Ricky waited outside the SUV as usual, barely acknowledging me as he opened the door and let me in. Luca slid in beside me, keeping an obvious amount of distance between us. His body was nearly pressed into the door and if he could, I was certain he would travel on the other side of it just to avoid being so close to me.

It was difficult not to take offense.

“Should I have showered first?”

Luca gave me a bewildered look. “Did you want to?”

I crossed my arms over my chest and turned to face him. “I figured you were keeping your distance because I stink or something. You’re practically plastered against the door.”

He relaxed into his seat, closing the distance between us by a fraction of an inch. “You smell fine.”

Had he finally noticed my new perfume, or was he just being polite?

“Have I done something to upset you?” I thought maybe he had been giving me space because of my previous meltdown, but I was starting to think it was something else. But, what could I have done to make him want to avoid me so badly?

“Not at all.” He offered nothing further.

“Okay…” I had hit another dead end. Lately, Luca was the place where conversations went to die. He invited me to lunch just so he could ignore me? It didn’t make any sense. “I would have rather had lunch with Vincent,” I muttered under my breath, turning to face the window.

“Is that so?”

I jumped from his sudden proximity, surprised to feel his hot breath against my ear when he spoke. I gasped slightly, turning my head and coming face to face with perfection. He was like a dark angel – beautiful and mysterious.

“At least he enjoys my company.” I struggled for composure, facing the window to brush him off.

His hand shot out, gripping my jaw with a hint of violence. Turning my face toward his, he forced me to meet his gaze. “And do you enjoy his?”

My eyes darted between his as I searched for an answer. I recognized the fire in his eyes, the desire he had hidden so well recently. “We’ve spent every day together for nearly a month,” I said, trying to keep the bitterness from my voice. “He’s nice to me.”

Luca arched a brow, leaning in closer and tightening his grip a little. “I’m nice to you.”

A vitriolic laugh escaped me, making him frown slightly. “You’ve been ghosting me for weeks, Luca. I wouldn’t exactly call that nice.”

“I’m a busy man.”

I rolled my eyes. “You’ve had plenty of opportunities to talk to me…or take me out to lunch. You’ve been avoiding me like the plague, admit it.”

He loosened his grip, stroking his thumb over my lips. “I’ve been giving you space…I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

I loosed a frustrated sigh. “I’m a big girl, Luca. If I feel uncomfortable, you’ll be the first to know.”

He held my gaze with dark, brooding eyes. “Fair enough.”

I relaxed, feeling better now that we talked. “So, where are you taking me?”

He smiled, that boyish grin that could make any girl’s heart skip a beat. “To the penthouse.”

I narrowed my gaze, suspicious. “What for?”

He sat up, finally giving me room to breathe. “I’m making you lunch.”

“You can cook?” I suppressed a smile, imagining the way he’d look in an apron with tomato sauce smeared on his cheek. The fantasy was oddly appealing.

“I guess you’ll just have to find out.”

As it turned out, Luca could cook his ass off.

He whipped together the most decadent noodles in a garlic butter sauce topped with parmesan. It was divine.

We sat together in the living room, our bellies full. Luca sipped his scotch while I swirled my glass of wine. It was the comfortable sort of silence, not at all awkward or uneasy. My face suddenly felt hot as I sensed his gaze burning a hole into it. I turned to meet his stare.

“You look good,” he said, his hazel eyes subtly glazed since he was several drinks in.

“Uh, thanks,” I murmured, covering my grin with a large gulp of wine. I was definitely starting to feel the buzz. “So do you.”

He mirrored my smile, knocking back the rest of his scotch. He leaned back into the cushion, facing forward again.

I had gained a good amount of weight, and I noticed how much healthier I looked in the mirror. My face wasn’t sunken in anymore and I could actually fill my jeans properly. My curves had returned, and I hoped like hell that Luca would have noticed.

And he did.

I was giddy inside, silently cheering in celebration. I was almost ashamed to admit to myself that I secretly hoped he would make another pass at me. I wanted any excuse to pick up where we left off a few weeks back.

“Do you have plans tonight?”

What? “No…” I turned to face him.

“No plans with Vin?” He tilted his face toward me, a mischievous gleam in his eye.

My face burned harshly. “I don’t have plans.”

Luca smiled, setting his glass on the end table and scooting closer. “Good. I’d like to invite you to a dinner party this evening.”

I could smell the liquor on his breath mixed with his cologne. I leaned in, our chests nearly touching. He dropped his voice another octave.

“For my sister’s birthday…”

I didn’t know he had a sister. I should have been excited to meet another female that I could potentially become friends with. Being the only woman around a base overflowing with testosterone was exhausting.

But I was too distracted by how much I wanted to kiss him.

I was officially losing my mind. Luca had done nothing but come onto me when we first met, and I still pushed him away. The moment he backed off, I craved his attention. It was the oldest trick in the book.

So, why did I feel myself falling for it anyway?

“That sounds nice…” I managed a smile. “I’d love to go with you.”

His eyelids fell to half-mast. “Love to, huh?

What an arrogant prick. He couldn’t let pass an opportunity to rub my attraction for him in my face. The bastard knew he was gorgeous – making him even more obnoxious. I fought the urge to roll my eyes, entirely too horny to let his asshole remarks ruin the moment.

“Shut up, Luca.” Our lips partially touched when I spoke.

He chuckled once, holding my gaze. “You’re the only one who can talk to me that way and get away with it.”

I blushed furiously. He wasn’t kidding, either. I’d seen the way his employees trembled in fear whenever he occupied the same room. No one dared to talk back to him. Not even his brother. I was the only one that ever challenged him.

“I’d assume that means you like me, but your actions of late contradict that theory.” He didn’t laugh at my statement, his eyes narrowing to slits as he glared at me.

“I like you very much, Raven. I think you know that.” I broke eye contact first, feeling too flustered to withstand the intensity of his gaze. “But this is as far as I go.” Luca licked his lips, bringing them into contact with mine. “Ball’s in your court…”

What? He wanted me to make the first move. Was it because of my breakdown? I hated the fact that my past traumatized me to that extent. Would I ever be able to move on with my life?

Fuck it. I had to start somewhere. I kissed him hard on the lips. He opened immediately, thrusting his tongue into my mouth as he kissed me back. I climbed into his lap and cupped his face, sliding my fingers into his hair.

Luca loosened his tie, pulling it from his collar and undoing the first few buttons of his shirt. I pulled back, pushing his blazer off his shoulders. I undid the rest of his shirt as he slid his palms under my T-shirt to cup my breasts. His rough fingers scraped my skin when he reached around to unhook my bra.

Every one of my nerve endings were on fire. I parted his shirt, shoving it down his arms until it was no longer a factor. I was still clothed, so I reached for the hem of my top and peeled it off. The bra fell on his chest when I lowered my arms. I tossed it aside, reaching for the hard slabs of muscle in front of me.

My nipples hardened at the feel of him. Every inch of him was honed and solid. He was sculpted to perfection. Brushing my fingers over his skin, I committed every tiny detail to memory. My hands shook slightly, conveying my nerves.

Luca dragged his calloused palms up my back, causing the skin to pebble. Fisting my ponytail, he pulled our faces close and breathed into me. Our eyes met, his pupils darker than ever.

“You’re fucking beautiful,” he murmured, gliding his lips over mine.

I closed my eyes, focusing on the sound of his shallow breathing and the warmth of his body. “What now?” I forced my eyes open, needing to see his face when he answered.

“Whatever you want, sweetheart.”

Whatever I wanted. I had a choice. Luca wouldn’t force me onto my back or pin me down with his weight. He wouldn’t slap me around or make threats until he got what he wanted. I could walk away, and no harm would come to me.

I was free. Completely, utterly free.

“We can stop right now,” he said, dragging his nose along my jawline, his breath washing over the column of my neck. “Just say the word.”

“You,” it slipped out before I could stop myself.

“Me?” he kissed my throat and pulled back so our gazes could meet.

I nodded. “That’s what I want. You.”

His eyes were smoldering as a grin slowly stretched across his face. “So, have me.”

I bit my lip, contemplating my next move. Pushing myself off him, I stood up and unbuttoned my jeans. Pulling the zipper down, I shoved them below my hips and stepped out of them, sliding my shoes and socks off as I went. They hit the ground with a loud thud, the weapon in my back pocket announcing itself. Luca barely reacted. Reaching up I pulled the elastic from my hair until the waves tumbled around my shoulders and back.

The outline of his cock was obvious through his slacks when he adjusted himself on the couch. I bent forward, undoing his pants and tugging them down. Luca lifted himself off the seat, helping me disrobe him. In just his boxers, he looked good enough to eat.

His hair was messy from my fingers and his lips were swollen from my kiss. The scruff on his jaw was a little darker now that most of the day had passed. He sat there patiently, his posture perfectly relaxed and toned, muscled arms resting over the back of the sofa. His knees were parted, allowing his long cock to stand at perfect attention, pitching a tent in his underwear.

My nipples had never been so hard, and I literally felt my arousal leaking between my legs. Luca raked his heated gaze over the length of my body, stopping right at the apex of my thighs. My pussy was bared to him, the aroused little nub peaking out between my nether lips and staring directly at him.

He stroked a hand over the outline of his cock, groaning from the back of his throat. His jaw clenched, and he tilted his head back, his mouth going slack as he released a breath. He was the product of every woman’s fantasy sex dream.

Luca shoved the waist of his boxers down, freeing his massive cock. I inhaled sharply when he wrapped his fist around his length and pumped it slowly, his eyes trained on my exposed sex. I didn’t know what to do next. He seemed to be enjoying the show. Should I entice him further or climb into his lap?

“Touch yourself,” he said gruffly, deciding my next move for me.

I brought my right hand to my wet center and stroked a single finger along the seam, sliding right through the slick moisture. I moaned automatically when coming into contact with my clit, my head falling back a little.

“Fuck,” he groaned, “look at me. Don’t stop.”

I forced my gaze downward, struggling against the urge to let my eyelids fall shut. I kept stroking myself, teetering on the edge of release as Luca beat off in front of me. What should have been an awkward moment turned out to be the most arousing, sexiest experience of my life. I’d never touched myself in front of a man before, and I’d never felt more alive.

I was seconds away from finding release, my breath hitching and fingers trembling against my nub the closer I got.

“Come here,” he commanded, sitting up and widening his legs. I sauntered over, my knees like jelly.

Luca pulled me into his lap until I straddled him, his cock pressing against my entrance with urgency. He snatched my right hand aggressively, bringing my fingers to his lips. Closing his mouth around the tips, he sucked the evidence of my arousal clean off.

“Delicious,” he whispered, making my face heat up. Reaching into the pocket of his discarded pants, he withdrew a foil packet and ripped it open with his teeth. I watched him slide it over his cock, my core clenching at the delicious sight. Something about the way he donned the condom made my arousal heighten tenfold.

Wrapping his long fingers around my waist, Luca lifted me and rubbed his dick up and down my opening, covering it with my juices. My hands found his muscled shoulders, fingers digging in as I leaned forward. We pressed our foreheads together and he sucked my bottom lip into his mouth, biting it hard. The swollen head of his length created friction against my clitoris, bringing me back to the edge.

“Your move, Raven,” he said between kisses. He was driving me out of my mind, clouding my judgment with lustful caresses and hot, unyielding kisses.

I reached between us, wrapping my fingers around his thickness. Lining it up with my entrance, I positioned myself over him and lowered myself onto his cock. The head of it stretched me apart, forcing my walls to accommodate his girth. It was a tight fit, my wetness the only catalyst allowing him to slip in.

My jaw hung open and my brows drew closely together as I winced against the invasion. This was the first man I’d been with in what felt like a lifetime. I could feel every inch of him, making the walls of my cunny clench tightly.

“Fucking Christ,” Luca groaned, his fingers digging into my hips, “you feel incredible…so fucking tight and wet.”

I couldn’t form words, my mind too fuzzy with desire. I wasn’t sure how he kept himself so composed when I was barely holding myself together. He was inside me…literally. I should be freaking out right now, but lust overruled all else.

He cupped the nape of my neck, pulling our faces together and giving me a kiss full of his tongue. “How you doing, sweetheart?”

I moaned into his mouth, “Good.”

His free hand slapped my ass hard, the sound reverberating around the large space. “Then ride this dick like you own it.”

I lifted my hips, using his shoulders as leverage, and slammed back down on his thickness. The head of his erection crashed into my cervix, forcing a strangled moan from the base of my throat. His hands guided me along his length, lifting me up and pulling me back down at a steady pace.

He felt amazing, his cock rubbing my inner walls and the head stroking my g-spot from deep within. My wetness coated him, heightening his pleasure as well as my own. We breathed into each other’s mouths, our tongues tangling as we swallowed one another’s moans.

When I found my rhythm, Luca’s hands pressed into the cushions on either side of him and he met my downward thrusts with his own upward ones. My eyes slipped shut and I saw a blend of colors explode behind the lids, the sensation taking me out of my body.

He licked the sweat from my neck and gripped my thighs, squeezing them harshly as he thrust up into me. My tits jiggled in his face and he pulled back, taking my right nipple between his teeth and sucking it hard.

I squeezed my eyes tighter, waiting for the fear to grip me. It never came. Only pleasure hummed in my veins, taking me for a wild ride with this beautiful man. The blissful sensations in my core mounted and I mewled like a cat in heat. I didn’t even know I could make those sounds before now.

He released my nipple and peppered kisses all over my chest, his tongue darting out to taste the perspiration coating my skin. He sucked a bruise into my neck, his large hands sliding forward and long fingers digging into my ass. He moved me faster along his length, my ass clapping loudly each time it made contact with his thighs.

“Luca,” I breathed, my fingers tangling into his hair.

He tilted his head back and looked at me through hooded eyes. “Say it again.”

I leaned forward, pressing our faces together and whispering into his open mouth. “Luca.”

“Goddamn,” he growled, pushing his hips harder off the sofa, deepening his strokes until I could barely reciprocate.

I fell forward onto his chest, my strength a thing of the past when he was tearing me apart. His movements were brutal and unrelenting. My pussy clenched around his length, a rush of warmth enveloping his shaft when I came violently.

I’d never screamed so loud in my life.

Luca’s strong arms wrapped around my waist, forming a steel band and holding me immobile against him. My hips jerked wildly, the spasms from my core squeezing his dick like a vise. He breathed into my ear, feeling the way I climaxed around him.

When I was finished, he pressed a kiss to the shell of my ear and whispered, “I could listen to the sounds you make all fucking day.” Turning into me, he caught my lips with his.

He started thrusting again, his arms still holding me tight while his lips continued to work against mine. I felt him expand within me, his balls getting tight and drawing up. Luca growled into my mouth as his dick pulsed inside me, depositing every last drop of his seed into the rubber.

Gently, Luca lifted me off his length and rolled the condom off, tying it off before tossing it aside. We both admired his handiwork – victory burning in Luca’s eyes. Were it not for that thin barrier between us, I might have become pregnant right then and there. His sperm count was certainly of no concern.

“That was definitely worth the wait.” His voice was deep, drunk with satisfaction.

I wanted to roll my eyes but didn’t have the energy. “Prick.”

He laughed. “Such a dirty mouth.”

Now that the sex was over, I could feel the awkwardness as it settled around us. I couldn’t believe I actually went through with it – I slept with Luca. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t give in, then I promised I’d only do it once…but now? There was no way we weren’t doing that again. I never expected it to be so good.

“I’m gonna take a shower,” I murmured, rising off his lap. I did my best to avoid eye contact, bending to collect my scattered clothes and rushing down the hallway as quickly as I could.

It was the strangest walk of shame I’d ever done, considering I lived with the booty call. I would find a few moments of solace in the shower, but in reality, there was no getting away from it. I would have to face Luca after this, and it was sure to be weird. I wasn’t going to fool myself into thinking this was anything more than what it was. I didn’t stick around because romance wasn’t a factor in this relationship. In fact, there was no relationship to speak of.

Then again, how could I look at him every day and not think about the mind-blowing sex we shared? Was I expected to act professionally after this? Knowing Luca, that was probably the case. He was the sort of man that could fuck a woman’s brains out then turn around and act like it never happened. I, on the other hand, was not that pragmatic.

There were very few things I couldn’t ignore with sheer determination, but this was not one of those things. I knew I’d be fantasizing about that sex for days to come. Maybe even weeks.

I rushed upstairs to my bedroom, retreating to the sanctuary of my private bathroom. Turning the knob in the shower, I let the room fill with steam as the water heated. I dropped my clothes into the hamper and stepped under the warm spray. My tensions melted away as the water cascaded over my body.

Having access to a shower whenever I wanted was a luxury I hadn’t yet gotten used to.

The bathroom door creaked, and Luca walked in. He wore only his boxers, a dark look on his handsome face. Our eyes met through the glass doors of the shower, the intensity of his gaze stealing my breath. He watched me for a moment, his gaze trailing down the length of my body. I backed myself against the wall when he approached, sliding the door open and exposing me to the cool air.

“You want company?”

I shrugged, doing my best to act indifferent. He smirked, shoving his boxers below his waist as he stepped in beside me. The shower was big enough for six people, leaving me enough space to escape him.

A load of good that did me.

He stalked forward, pressing me up against the shower wall until he pinned me with his body. Circling his right hand around my throat, he gave me a gentle squeeze. “Are you running from me?”

“If I were running from you, you wouldn’t have found me so easily.”

His eyes gleamed with the hint of a smile, but the rest of his face was serious. “I doubt that very much.”

I ignored the comment, knowing better than anyone that I was an expert at disappearing. I’d done it for over a year and I’d definitely learned a few things along the way.

He leaned in, pressing his lips to mine. I kissed him back, my eyes rolling shut automatically. He was intoxicating, his lips addictive. Now that I’d had him, it would be impossible to ignore the chemistry between us.

“Why did you leave?” he asked, pulling back to meet my gaze.

“I thought we were done…” I nearly winced at the statement, knowing it made me sound like a trashy slut.

He arched a brow, his lips tilting in a smirk. “So that’s it, then? You give me the best sex of my life and just walk away like it never happened? You’re colder than I am.”

The best sex of his life? Me?

“It’s okay, Luca…I know how this works. You don’t have to coddle me or protect my feelings. I’m not gonna cling to you like some high school girl. You can go back to ignoring me if you want…I’ll be fine.”

He gripped my waist and pressed his hips into mine, letting me feel the hardness of his cock as it pushed into my belly. “What if I’m the one who gets clingy?”

I laughed. “You’ll get over it.”

He lifted me, my legs wrapping around his waist of their own volition. He fumbled with another wrapper, seemingly pulling it from thin air. Had he been holding that the entire time? Without warning, he shoved himself inside me and pinned my hips to the wall. “I don’t want to get over it.”

My jaw hung loose, and my head lolled back. I didn’t have a second to formulate a response before he started pounding into me, hitting my deepest point.

“Luca, oh my God…” I could barely form a coherent thought.

“Take it,” he grunted, jack-hammering me with his stone-hard member, “you can handle it.”

I gripped his shoulders and dug my nails in, sliding my hands forward and clawing at his back. I was already so close, my pussy leaking like a faucet all over his dick. I screamed, the sound bouncing off the tile walls and echoing a thousand times.

“Tell me your name,” he demanded, his thrusts more aggressive.

“What?” Where the hell did that come from?

He thrust harder, hitting me so deep I felt the tip of his length breach my belly button. It was nearly too much.

“Your name,” he repeated, “tell me.”

“Luca, I can’t –” gasp, moan, “tell you –” my words cut off, silenced by his merciless plunges.

He shoved himself in deep, coming to a sudden stop. His lips brushed against my temple, our labored breaths drowned by the constant stream of water flowing from the showerhead. He brought his right hand between us, rubbing slow circles into my clit – making my thighs shake.

“When I finish, I want to call you by your name. Your real name,” he said, his voice low in my ear, “so tell me, because I’m about to make you come…and then it’s my turn.”

He curled his hips, deepening his angle and giving me long, slow strokes. His fingers worked against my clit and his hot breaths puffed in the shell of my ear. My lips started to tremble, my thighs cramping up as my eyes rolled into the back of my head.

“Your name,” he growled, shoving into me harder.

I gasped, resting my elbows on his shoulders and digging my nails into the top of his hair. “Please,” I pleaded, afraid to give him that last piece of me, “don’t –”

“You can trust me, Bella,” he pulled his face back and looked me in the eye, “I’m not him…I’d never hurt you.”

I caved, able to deny him nothing when he was nine inches deep inside me, breaking down my walls. “Calliope…”

His eyes softened the moment I spoke my true name. He kissed me hard, resuming the deep strokes that had my body at risk of bursting into flames until I was nothing more than ash. He brought me right back to the edge, his fingers sliding over my slick nub as his cock plunged in and out of me. I fell apart, his name on my lips the second the waves of ecstasy crashed over me.


He groaned, his lips sliding across my cheek until they were pressed against my ear. “Calliope.” He shoved his length in deeper, nearly hitting my cervix as he dumped his load within me. As amazing as the sex was, I was once again grateful for the thin barrier between us.

He held me for a long time before finally lowering me to my feet, his forehead resting against the wall behind me. When he slipped out of me, I felt empty. His massive body caged me in, surrounding me. The shower had long since gone cold, the stream bouncing off his back as he shielded me from it.

He reached for the knob, turning it closed. Lifting his head, he looked into my eyes. His were dark and brooding, a mixture of lust and satisfaction gleaming in those hazel orbs.

He cupped my face, lowering his and giving me a soft kiss. His eyes remained open – something I only noticed because I refused to close mine. My walls were slowly climbing, getting back into position around my heart.

I can’t fall for him.

I can’t fall for him.

I can’t fall for him.

The mantra bounced around my head, yet it had little effect on me when Luca tilted the side of his mouth and gave me the cutest, lopsided smile I’d ever seen. Since when was he cute?

Sexy, yes. Powerful and intimidating, double yes. But cute? Never before now.

“Let me get you a towel,” he gruffed, rising to his full height before turning to exit the shower. I watched him walk away – admiring the tight muscles in his back and butt without shame. The water trickling down in rivulets only added to his perfection.

Stepping out of the shower, I stood behind him awkwardly. I suddenly didn’t know what to do with my posture or my arms, so I hugged myself tightly and kept my legs pressed close. Luca pulled two clean towels from the linen closet, wrapping one around his waist and turning to place the other around my shoulders.

“Thanks,” I muttered, tightening the fabric around myself, grateful my hands now had something to do.

We dried off in silence, Luca’s eyes constantly pinned to my body. I could feel the goosebumps as they erupted along my skin, brought on by his unrelenting stare. I hadn’t showered or dressed in front of a man in so long.

That was something He and I used to do…when I was blindly in love.

Things hadn’t always been bad between us. In fact, He had been the love of my life…or so I thought. It wasn’t until he started working for my stepbrother that things took a turn for the worst. I couldn’t even bring myself to speak his name anymore. Something that used to bring me so much joy brought me only pain and suffering – memories of the nightmare I had lived through haunted me to this very day.

And now Luca knew my name…

Would he dig further? I knew he had enough money and power to pull my entire file and expose me for what I really was: the runaway wife and former mule of a New York drug dealer. He’d never look at me the same way.

And I was beginning to like the way Luca looked at me.

“It’s beautiful,” he said suddenly, snapping me out of my dark thoughts.

“What is?” I met his gaze, which was still smoldering and full of desire.

“Your name,” he answered, pulling a small towel from the shelf and drying his hair. “Calliope…” he tested the word out, letting it roll off his tongue like a brand of expensive wine, “very unique.”

My face heated. “My mother was obsessed with mythology…guess she thought it was clever to name me after a muse.”

His lips quirked at the corner. “You’ve inspired the majority of my unusual behavior, so it’s not too far-fetched.”

I frowned. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

He chuckled, shaking his head as he walked away. “Since meeting you, I’ve had a lot of firsts.”

I trailed behind him, snagging another towel from the linen closet and squeezing water from the ends of my hair. “Firsts?”

Luca hung the smaller towel over his shoulders, turning to face me. His hair was damp and mussed up, and his perfectly chiseled chest was on display. I couldn’t stop myself from dragging my gaze down the length of his torso, absorbing every minute detail of his flawless form. The towel hung low on his hips, revealing a hint of the V underneath. The patch of curly dark hair peeked up from the start of the towel, disappearing beneath the thick fabric.

“For starters, you’re the first woman to steal from me.”

I rolled my eyes.

“You’re the first woman I rescued from certain death.”

I snorted. “I wouldn’t call what you did rescuing…more like kidnapping.”

He smiled and continued. “You’re the first woman I’ve ever had on my team, the only woman I’ve introduced to my mother, and the first person I’ve ever allowed to put me in my place.”

I bit my lip, trying to suppress a smile. “That’s a lot of firsts.”

“I’m not finished,” he keened, leaning forward and taking hold of my chin. “You’re the first woman I’ve taken out on a date.”

I arched my brow at that one.

“Remember? We had dinner the day after we met.”

“Not sure I’d call that a date,” I teased, crossing my arms over my chest. “You pretty much demanded that I join you and make a decision about coming on board.”

His hazel eyes twinkled with amusement. “Close enough. I’ve never had dinner with a woman – except for my mother and sister, but they don’t count.”

I giggled, surprised by the sound and how girly I came off. “Is that all?”

“Not even close,” he whispered, taking a step closer and lowering his face to mine. “You’re the first woman I’ve lived with – again, my mother and sister don’t count – and you’re the first woman I’ve fucked in this penthouse…and the shower.”

The room suddenly felt too small for the both of us, and the temperature seemed to crank up by ten degrees. He kissed me – his thick arms curling around the steep curve in my spine – pulling me close.

My hands tunneled into his hair as I kissed him back with fervor. He ripped my towel away, exposing my naked body to the cool air. My skin pebbled almost immediately as his large hands massaged my back before gripping my ass.

Pulling back, he met my gaze – allowing his warm breaths to fall on my face. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way,” he began, his tone cautious, “but your new curves are fucking incredible. The weight looks really good on you.”

I gave him a chaste kiss. “Thank you. I never want to be that skinny again…”

“You’re sexy no matter how much you weigh,” he said, massaging my ass cheeks before lifting me off the ground and locking my legs around his waist, “but I’m definitely a fan of big butts.”

I laughed, giving him a playful shove on the shoulder. He tightened his grip on me, walking us toward the bed. I didn’t miss it when he pulled the towel from around his waist to reveal his hard member. It pressed against my ass as he lowered me onto the mattress.

Leaning in, Luca trailed kisses from my neck to my chest, and down the length of my body. He suddenly stopped, looking up at me from the edge of the bed.

“You should probably call Vinnie,” he said, a small smile stretching his lips.

“Why?” I asked, propping myself up by the elbows to get a better look at him.

“Because,” he said, his voice low and sultry, “you won’t be going back today.”

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