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I had to escape. I had to warn Luca of Santiago’s plan.

I didn’t know why he involved me in his plot – it wasn’t like him at all. Most of our marital disagreements had been because he always kept me out of the loop when it came to his work.

But this was different.

He shared details with me – things I never wanted to know about how he ran the cartel. I couldn’t believe the man I once loved was a drug lord. It was one thing for him to be a drug dealer and lowlife criminal – it was another thing entirely to be the kingpin – the leader.

But I was glad he told me. I needed to find a way out and warn Luca of his plans. He’d done nothing but look out for me and keep me safe – I owed him this. He would probably never want to see me again once he knew the truth; that I was married to his enemy.

That didn’t matter to me, though. I’d still risk everything for him. He was my closest friend – my family. I was loyal to him, and he was loyal to me. I knew in my heart that he’d spare me even after I told him the truth.

He had to understand that it wasn’t my choice to remain married. Santi never would have granted me a divorce. That was why I left to begin with. He never would have let me go. The abuse was only getting worse and it was clear he was never going to stop. The more involved in that life he became, the further he pushed me away and the angrier he was with me.

I would sneak off to the martial arts studio during the day when he was working the corner with Jax, and train relentlessly for the day I’d escape. I finally saw my window one night when he joined Jax and the rest of his crew for a huge heist. I knew he would be gone for a day or two, so I dressed in the most comfortable clothes I owned, stole the emergency cash from his nightstand, and hopped on the first bus available.

I never looked back.

I frantically searched the room for a way out. The door was locked from the outside and the windows were sealed in this building. I didn’t know whether I was in a house or hotel.

My phone and pocketbook were taken from me – obviously – so I had no way of contacting Luca other than busting out of here. I climbed onto the bed and tried to reach one of the small windows above the headboard when the bedroom door suddenly opened.

I jumped when I heard it slam against the wall and quickly turned around to face the sound. Santi leaned against the door frame eyeing me with displeasure.

“I told you there was no way out.”

I glared at him, dropping onto the mattress and crossing my arms over my chest. “Had to try anyway.”

The corner of his mouth lifted with a slight smile. He grilled me a minute longer, the silence stretching between us, then tilted his head toward the open door. “Let’s go.”

I arched a single brow. “Go where?”

He didn’t answer, choosing to turn around and walk out instead. He left the door open behind him, disappearing down a hallway. I didn’t know whether it was some sort of trick, but I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to leave my prison cell.

I jumped off the bed and trailed after him down the hall, realizing we were in some sort of compound. There were men posted on every corner, at every exit we passed. I caught up to him, staring at his profile as he marched forth with purpose.

“Where are we going?”

He ignored my question, leading me out of the building. Outside, we were surrounded by miles of land – not a soul in sight. I scanned the vast area, unable to find even a nearby road. We approached a blacked-out SUV and Santi pulled the passenger door open.

“Get in.”

“No,” I barked, standing my ground, “not until you tell me where we’re going.”

He lunged at me, but I was ready for him this time. Dodging his attempt to grab me, I brought my leg around fast – knocking him onto his ass. The shock was obvious on his face, and I was certain he would lose his shit and tackle me to the ground.

I took a defensive stance, waiting for him to make his next move. He recovered, jumping to his feet and running at me again. I delivered a quick jab to his side and ducked away from him again, tossing myself onto the ground so I could roll away from him.

I was back on my feet in seconds, my training kicking in the moment I was in danger. He didn’t go for me again. This time, he pulled a gun from his hip and aimed it directly at my face.

“Enough,” he hissed, “get your ass in the car or I’ll make you.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Are you going to kill me, Santi? Pushing and slapping me around is one thing, but now you’re gonna shoot me? Your own wife?”

He cocked the gun, the fury evident as he clenched his jaw. “My wife? You don’t get to pull the spouse card when it conveniences you. You didn’t care about being my wife when you stole my money and left me. And I doubt you gave a fuck when you spread your legs for Luca fucking Moretti. Now get your ass in the car, or I’ll pull the trigger and deliver your cold, dead corpse to your boyfriend.”

I felt the blood drain from my face. His threat definitely wasn’t idle. I inhaled a sharp breath and climbed into the car obediently. Wherever we were going, I was no good to Luca dead. If I couldn’t swallow my pride for a few minutes, my husband would kill me, and I’d never get the chance to warn Luca about the impending threat to his family.

He hopped into the driver’s seat and started the engine. We drove through the green pastures for several miles before finally reaching a road. I realized we were somewhere in Michigan when we passed a sign on the freeway.

“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?”

He glanced at me, the vein in his jaw starting to tick. “Chicago.”

My eyes widened. “What for?”

“Get some rest. It’s nearly a five-hour drive.”

I huffed out my frustration. “I’m supposed to sleep next to you? How do I know you won’t smother me or something?”

He glared at me before returning his eyes to the road ahead. “You slept next to me in bed every night for five years, but you can’t take a nap in the passenger seat?”

“Why take me all the way out here just to drive me back to Chicago? What aren’t you telling me?”

His fingers wrapped around the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. He kept his face forward, his brows set in a deep frown. “There’s plenty I’m not telling you. Now shut up and go to sleep or I’ll pull over and get the syringe.”

My eyes widened immediately. “You wouldn’t.”

He turned back toward me, a wolfish smile on his full lips. “Oh, but I would. I suggest you don’t test me.”

I bit my tongue, leaning back against the seat and looking out the window. I watched the trees pass for a while before my eyes became heavy. Despite the dangerous man beside me, I knew if he wanted me dead, I would have been dead already. Forcing myself to relax, I allowed myself to succumb to the call of sleep.

I jerked awake when I felt the car roll to a stop. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I peered out the window. It was already dark out – the sun setting over the horizon.

I recognized the street we were on – just around the corner from one of the larger city parks. I sat up, still coming up from the fog of sleep.

“Get out.”

I turned to Santi, studying his face for any sign that this might be a trick. “You’re letting me go?”

His face was impassive – not a hint of what he might be thinking was apparent. He tossed my phone at me and thrust his chin toward the door. “Go back to your precious Luca. Tell him what happened. I’ll be expecting his call within the hour.”

I was so fucking confused. “Why? And how is he supposed to call you?”

“I programmed my number into your phone. Go.”

My instincts pulled me in two different directions. On the one hand, I knew I should walk away while I still had the chance. On the other hand, I felt like something was off. Why would Santi go through all the trouble of kidnapping me and driving me out of state just to argue with me and bring me back?

It didn’t make sense.

“What are you up to, Santiago?”

He reached over the console and undid my seatbelt. Leaning over farther, he pushed my door open and gave me a hard shove in the shoulder.

“Get the fuck out, Calliope. I’m trying really hard here not to beat you senseless. You embarrassed me – humiliated me. You robbed me and left me without ever looking back. Unless you want to get slapped in the face, I suggest you exit my vehicle and walk home to your fuckboy.”

I glared at him, actually hurt by his words. The way he threw my actions back in my face suggested that I had done something wrong when in reality he was the one that had hurt me. I had been a good wife to him – a good woman. He was the one that abused my love. He was the one that ripped my heart from my chest by choosing to sell drugs rather than stay by my side and raise a family.

This was his fault – not mine.

The tears burned in my eyes and I drew my hand back with as much force as I could muster. I slapped him hard across the cheek – my palm stinging with the impact.

“How dare you talk to me that way. I was nothing but devoted and loyal to you. I loved you with all my heart and you never deserved it. You chose money over love – over me. And then you turned around and beat on me like I was worthless to you. Don’t ever talk about humiliation when no one was more embarrassed than me. You hurt me, Santi. This is on you, not me.”

I hopped out of the car quickly – a part of me aware that he might reciprocate the smack I’d just delivered. I rushed down the sidewalk, shivering to the bone because my coat had been left behind.

Pulling out my phone, I dialed Luca’s number. My heart jolted with excitement when I heard it ring. I never imagined I’d get the chance to see or speak to him again after Santi took me. I was certain he would drag me back to New York and lock me in the basement for his amusement.

I was flooded by disappointment when he didn’t answer – the voicemail recording going off in my ear. I was still several blocks away from the penthouse and it was freezing outside. I called him again.

The phone rang only once this time, and I heard his voice.

“There’d better be a good reason as to why you’re calling me.”

His harsh tone and rude greeting took me aback. “What? Luca?”

“What the fuck do you want, Calliope?” He growled the words out, the hostility in his tone sending a wave of goosebumps erupting along my skin. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end as though he had just growled right into my ear and not through the earpiece of my phone.

I slowed my walk, confusion taking over. “I don’t understand what’s wrong…”

I reached an intersection, looking up at the street signs and realizing I was only a few blocks away from the penthouse. Would he be home?

He laughed bitterly on the line. “How convenient. I know everything, bitch.”

I actually jolted at his words. He’d never addressed me that way before. This was the man that fought for my honor just a couple of weeks ago. What had changed?

“What are you talking about?” I hissed, his insult settling around me. “What the fuck is wrong?”

He chuckled – the sound hollow. “You can drop the innocent act, Mrs. Alío. I know exactly who you are.”

I nearly choked on my words. “Luca, it’s not what you think. I had no idea Santi –”

“Shut the fuck up,” he growled, “Do you think I’m fucking stupid? That I wouldn’t figure it out eventually? Tell me, Calliope, what was the plan? To fuck me into submission so you could call your fucking husband to sweep in and take us down?”

“No!” I cried, “Luca, I have nothing to do with Santi’s plans. I swear I haven’t seen him for over a year. When Jax showed up to the house –”

“You mean when you snuck him in,” he bit out. “I watched the security footage. You opened the door and let him into my mother’s home. All this time, and you’re nothing but a worthless spy.”

I growled out my frustration. “Luca, if you would stop interrupting and just listen –”

“No,” he interjected, “I’m done listening to this poison. I swear to God, Calliope Alío, I will kill you with my bare hands if I ever see you again. So, don’t let me see you again.”


“Ahhh!” I shrieked angrily, tossing the phone onto the sidewalk with force. I watched it shatter into pieces, now a worthless pile of plastic and metal.

What the fuck just happened? I thought to myself. Where had Luca gotten the idea that I was in cahoots with Santiago the whole time? My eyes widened. Was this the reason Santi dropped me off in the middle of the city?

Because he knew Luca would kill me?

Had he set me up?

Slowly, my shock and confusion bubbled into rage. I was so fucking sick and tired of my life being shit because of that man. It was about time I put my foot down and put an end to his tyranny.

Luca would never hurt me. I knew that with certainty. He might have been pissed, but there was something between us. I didn’t believe he would go through with killing me.

Ignoring the tiny voice in the back of mind that warned me this was a stupid idea, I rounded the next block and made my way right toward the penthouse. Whether he was home, I had no clue.

Fifteen achingly cold minutes later, I reached the towering skyscraper where he resided. The place I’d spent the last couple of months living with him. The doorman recognized me, giving me a small nod as he held the glass open for me.

I didn’t make it very far before his men circled around me – one of them grabbing my elbow with vicious strength as he spoke into his walkie-talkie.

“She’s here, Boss. Just caught her in the lobby trying to sneak in.”

I rolled my eyes. “As if I could sneak in. I knew you would be here, idiot. I want to see Luca.”

I didn’t recognize this man – he wasn’t part of the usual team that secured the penthouse. He eyed me with displeasure – his blue eyes narrowing on me with suspicion.

“Search her.”

I was dragged farther down the lobby where I was pushed against a wall and violated shamelessly. A burly man took his time stroking his fingers over my figure – subtly squeezing my curves as he frisked me for hidden weapons. He lingered much longer than he had to, palming my ass as he pressed his chest into my back.

I shuddered in umbrage.

“She’s clean,” he finally said, stepping back to release me from the hard wall. The other man spoke into his walkie again, informing Luca I carried no weapons.

I heard his voice over the static of the intercom. “Send her up. Alone.”

His men obliged, punching the security codes into the elevator and shoving me inside. I was relieved they didn’t join me – unable to imagine what sort of lude behavior would take place behind those closed doors. It was a long way up – definitely enough time for them to manhandle me if they wanted to.

I was grateful for Luca’s rules now more than ever. They didn’t lay a finger on me, stepping back and watching me with hostility as the doors closed and I began my ascent to the top floor.

My heart pounded wildly in my chest. Luca’s last words to me had been clear. He would kill me himself if he saw me again, yet here I was, on my way to his apartment.

Had I completely lost my mind?

I still felt sure that he wouldn’t harm me, but that remained to be seen.

The elevator doors pinged, announcing my arrival. I swallowed the lump in my throat as I watched the doors open slowly. Luca stood on the other side, a look of fury burning in his hazel eyes.

His jaw was clenched tightly, and his brows dipped low as he glared at me. I could see the pistol in his hand – his fingers gripping it so tightly his knuckles blanched. He shook with rage, his entire body vibrating as he stared me down. I was afraid to move – terrified that he would pounce on me like a jungle cat.

There was so much more than just rage in his eyes. There was murder, too.

Shit. Perhaps I had been wrong...but now it was too late. I was trapped between him and his men. There was no escape for me. I had no choice but to fight my way out, and maybe I could hold his attention long enough to make him see the truth.

“You must be crazy to come here,” he gritted between clenched teeth. “I told you what would happen, and I meant it.”

He cocked his gun, pointing it at my face.

“Get on your knees,” he commanded.

I stepped into the apartment, the elevator doors finally closing behind me and descending back to the lobby. Crossing my arms over my chest, I held his gaze.

“Luca –”

“Shut up,” he growled, cutting a hand across the air in an arc, “I don’t want to hear anything you have to say. Get on your fucking knees and die with some dignity.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Dying on my knees isn’t dying with dignity at all. If you’re going to kill me, I won’t make it easy for you.”

He sneered, his lip curling in disgust. “Why did you come here? I warned you never to let me see you again.”

I could see the battle he was fighting through his eyes. There was a mixture of pain and fury on his face – like he knew what he had to do but was arguing against himself. He didn’t want to kill me, but he had to. It was the way the mob handled things. In his eyes, I was a traitor and a spy for the enemy. By his laws, I couldn’t be allowed to live.

“Because I had to see you. I came to warn you of Santi’s plans. He’ll be moving in on the warehouse –”

“Enough!” He lifted the gun again, his hand shaking slightly as he aimed it at my face. “Why would I believe a word coming out of your mouth? You’re nothing but a manipulative whore – just like Carmen said.”

My eyes grew wide with shock and hurt. I couldn’t believe he actually thought that. I was surprised by how quickly tears stung at my eyes. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me, but his opinion mattered.

He mattered.

I didn’t know why, but he meant so much to me. He was the only light I’d known after years of darkness. I had to convince him of my innocence, even if he killed me for trying.

“You don’t mean that, Luca.”

“The fuck I don’t,” he growled.

“No, you don’t,” I yelled, my anger getting the better of me. “You know it isn’t true. You know I’m not the sort of person to sell you out. I would never betray you. I’m loyal to you, and you’re loyal to me. Drop the macho act and listen to me!”

He faltered for a moment, his eyes blinking several times as he watched me. The pistol still shook in his hand, unsteadied by his nerves.

“You won’t shoot me,” I continued, “because you care about me. I mean something to you. And you mean something to me.” I dared to take a step closer, closing the distance between us. I stopped when the barrel of his handgun pressed against my forehead. “Prove me wrong. Kill me right now.”

His eyes slipped shut briefly, but he snapped them open quickly – keeping his focus on me. I held his gaze, determination in mine as I watched him consider what I’d said. The fact that he still hadn’t pulled the trigger gave me a flash of hope. Had I broken through to him?

“You lied to me,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper.

“I didn’t lie –”

“But you didn’t tell me the truth, which is as good as a lie.”

“You’re right,” I admitted, swallowing my pride, “I should have told you who it was I ran from. I should have told you everything, but I was distrustful. I had been on the run for so long, and the last man I lived with made sure I suffered at his hands on a regular basis. I didn’t know what your intentions with me were. I didn’t know you’d end up being the best thing to happen to me.”

He flinched at my words, the shock slowly entering his gaze. I could see his anger slip, retreating slowly as his face relaxed.

“I was terrified, Luca. I didn’t know who I could trust. I had this irrational fear if I told you who I was, that somehow Santi would find me and drag me back home as his prisoner. But it turned out to be meaningless in the end, because he found me anyway.”

He lowered the gun slightly, his resolve slipping. “Where have you been? You disappeared last night – conveniently at the exact time I discovered who you were. Why?”

I huffed, annoyed at his implication. “I wanted to make us dinner, but you were gone. I figured you were working, so I was gonna take the bus. I noticed the guys weren’t around, there was no one guarding the building. Santi grabbed me the second I got to the bus stop. He drugged me, and I woke up in some sort of compound just outside of Illinois.”

I could see the regret move into his eyes as I spoke. He lowered his gun fully, the threat finally lifting and my body able to relax. He narrowed his gaze at me.

“How did you escape?”

“I didn’t,” I admitted, furrowing my brows with concern, “he let me go.”

Luca mirrored my look of concern. “Why would he go through such lengths to get you back, just to let you go?”

I sighed, having wondered the same thing myself. “I have no idea. He’s up to something, Luca. He told me he was making a move on the warehouse – something about weapons and blueprints?”

His eyes narrowed in recognition. “Did he say when?”

I shook my head in the negative. “No. He kept me locked up for a few hours, came to my room, and drove me back.”

“Alone?” he asked incredulously.

I nodded. “He said he’d be expecting your call...shit,” I cursed, remembering the useless remains of my phone that now lay on the sidewalk a few blocks away. “He programmed his number into my phone, but I may have broken it when you hung up on me.”

Luca chuckled, the sound actually making me relax further. “That’s not an issue. I’ll have my men retrieve his contact information.”

I nodded, still feeling unsure. “So, you’re not gonna kill me then?”

His face turned serious once more. “Not yet, anyway.”

I sighed out my relief, moving into his chest slowly. He stiffened at my contact, but I didn’t care. I wrapped my arms around his torso tightly, releasing all the pent-up emotions I felt. I cried into his chest, taking in his masculine scent and reveling in the feel of his firm chest beneath my face.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t honest with you before. You’ve done nothing but look out for me from day one and I’ve been selfish and inconsiderate. You have every right to be angry – even to hate me. I can’t blame you. I’m just happy to see you again, because I thought I was dead the second Santi took me.”

He was quiet a moment – withdrawn. Finally, he holstered his weapon and curled his arms around me, pressing me tighter against him. I felt his lips brush the top of my head, and a sob wracked through me. I shuddered with the force of the tears as they spilled liberally from my eyes.

All the fear, anger, and frustration came flooding to the fore, chased by relief and the deep affection I felt toward this man. His fingers moved into my hair, and he cupped the back of my head gently. Tilting my face up, he forced me to meet his gaze. There was torment in his green-to-brown eyes – a whirlpool of conflicting emotions.

I held his intense gaze, my eyes darting between his. Brushing his thumb over my jaw, he watched me vehemently. My eyes dropped to his perfect mouth, then traveled all over his face. I admired his hard features and sharp jaw – the light dusting of a beard from days without shaving.

His fingers massaged the back of my head, causing my eyes to fall shut of their own volition. No matter how cocky or over-confident he was, I couldn’t deny he knew exactly how to touch a woman.

My eyes fluttered open to catch him still staring. He drew his brows closely together, his eyes darting all over my face. “When I thought you’d betrayed me, I was furious – angrier than I’d ever felt in my entire life.”

I hugged him tighter, our chests pressing together. “I’d never do that, Luca. You can trust me – I’m loyal to you.”

He passed his gaze over my features again, his thumb absentmindedly brushing my cheek. “I want to believe you.”

I frowned. “Then believe me. What’s stopping you?”

“You’re married to a powerful man,” he said, still touching my cheek, “and something tells me he isn’t finished with you yet.”

I arched a brow. “How can you be sure? He dumped me on the street and told me to come back to you. I don’t know what he’s up to, but I doubt he wants me now that he knows we’ve slept together.”

He canted his head to the side. “How would he know that?”

I shrugged. “He asked me outright, and when I didn’t deny it, I guess he figured it out on his own.”

His grip tightened, and he moved his fingers around the back of my neck. “In that case, he definitely isn’t done with you. Whatever his previous plans, things became personal when you were brought into the mix.”

“What makes you so sure?”

He grinned mischievously. “Because I’d feel the same way if you were my wife. Trust me, Bella, he wants me dead and he wants you back under his thumb. I don’t know how he plans to go about it but believe me – he’s planning something.”

“I don’t care what he’s planning. I just want you and the rest of the family safe.”

He smiled at my statement. “It’s my job to worry about that.”

I shrugged. “So? I still want them safe. And you.”

He leaned in, pressing his lips to mine gently. I nearly sighed into his mouth, my lips parting automatically to accept all of him. He broke away too soon, not letting the embrace advance into something further.

“I didn’t realize you cared so much for my safety.”

I frowned. “Of course, I do, Luca. You’re my best friend.”

He kissed the tip of my nose. “You’re cute when you do that.”

I giggled. “Do what?”

“Scrunch up your nose like you smell something terrible. You do it anytime you hear something you don’t like.”

I laughed. “Who knew you could read me so well?”

His face fell, a shadow passing over his features. “Baby, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have doubted you. Of course, I know you. You wear your heart on your sleeve even though you think you’re hiding your emotions.”

My eyes widened. I hadn’t expected an apology from him.

“It’s my fault you were taken,” he continued – the admission making me go stiff in his arms. “I pulled the security team from the penthouse when Jax told me who you were. I wasn’t thinking straight. You were exposed because of’s my fault he ever got close enough to grab you.”

I couldn’t deny I was hurt by his admission. He had so little faith in me that he didn’t hesitate to leave me vulnerable.

“Fuck,” he growled, mostly to himself, “I let him put his hands on you – my woman – because some asshole told me you were working with him the entire time. I should have known better.”

My eyes fell, focusing on one of the buttons on his light blue shirt. He pressed his fingers beneath my chin and tilted my face upward.

“I’m sorry, Bella. Just like I deserved your honesty, you deserved my faith. I shouldn’t have doubted you. Can you forgive me?” He pressed a kiss to my lips, leaning his forehead against mine and holding my gaze expectantly.

I crumbled, defenseless against those beautiful, hazel eyes.

“I forgive you.”

He beamed, nuzzling his face into my neck as he sprinkled kisses along my throat and jaw. He cupped my face, tilting it back until I was angled to receive his kiss. He crushed me to him, working his lips against mine with fervor.

I moaned into his mouth, my fingers tunneling into his hair. He growled in approval, his lips skimming over the sensitive skin behind my ear.

“I’m sorry for trying to kill you.”

I laughed. “You didn’t try as hard you think.”

He scowled, pulling his face back. “I would have shot you if you hadn’t forced me to listen.”

I actually laughed at that. “No, you wouldn’t have.”

Luca arched a brow, mirth gleaming in his eyes. “Oh? You seem pretty sure of yourself in that regard.”

My hands trailed to his shoulders, my fingers digging into the hard muscle there. I stood on the tips of my toes, bringing our faces level. “You promised never to hurt me, and Luca Moretti is a man of his word.”

His brows creased as he held my eyes with his – intensity and passion burning in his orbs. He dipped forward, kissing me gently on the mouth and inching his lips down my jaw.

“Santi could attack right now, and I wouldn’t give a flying fuck,” he rasped, letting his tongue drag over my neck, “I’ll be too busy making love to you.”

I froze at his statement. Making love? When had we progressed from fucking to love making? It sounded so much more intimate. Like we were a couple rather than fuck buddies.

I squealed when he lifted me, wrapping my legs around his waist and walking us toward the master suite. Excitement coursed through me – delicious anticipation of what was to come. My core clenched with a familiar desire.

He worshipped my throat and jaw as he walked us into the bedroom, stopping only to toss me onto the bed. I screamed in delight when I landed on the mattress, bouncing up and down with the force.

He made fast work of his button-down shirt and slacks, stripping until he was completely naked – his cock jutting out proudly from a nest of black curls. I licked my lips, watching the way his dick jerked under my scrutiny.

He climbed over me, resuming his earlier adoration of the column of my throat. His thumbs skimmed over my nipples, making them peak beneath his masterful touch. He pulled my shirt up, breaking our kiss long enough to remove the garment altogether.

Burying his face in my breasts, he kissed the valley between them, trailing a path down to my navel. He dipped his tongue inside, kissing my bellybutton like he would my mouth. I shivered in delight.

His hands trailed down my sides, squeezing my hips before peeling the tight yoga pants off my legs. He chased his hands with his lips, skimming them over my thighs and calves as he pulled my bottoms off.

Kissing his way back up my legs, he stopped at the apex of my thighs and inhaled deeply. I flushed horribly, embarrassed by the way he stuck his nose in my pussy. I didn’t exactly have a chance to bathe before the five-hour drive from Michigan.

All thoughts of discomfort were out the window the moment his tongue stroked along the seam of my slit – from bottom to top. I shuddered involuntarily, a shocking wave of pleasure rendering me helpless to resist him.

He ate my pussy like a starving man – sucking my clit into his mouth and rolling it gently between blunt teeth. I screamed, my fingers digging into his hair and my thighs clamping around his head until he couldn’t escape me.

He worked his mouth against my nether lips a few minutes longer then grabbed my thighs and forced them apart. He climbed over my body, his hips settling between mine, and rubbed the tip of his length between my plush petals. Automatically, I grabbed his biceps and dug my fingers into the taut muscles.

He brought his face close to mine, dropping wet, open-mouthed kisses over my face and lips. “I want you just like this,” he hummed, biting my shoulder gently as he stroked his cock up and down my slit.

It took me a moment to realize what he meant – that he wanted me bare, without the thin barrier of a condom. My nipples hardened at the thought, knowing it would feel even more amazing than it did when we did use protection.

He met my gaze, the silent question hanging in the air between us. “Are you on the pill?”

I shook my head in the negative. I hadn’t seen a physician – besides Danny – in over a year, and I certainly wasn’t having that conversation with my lover’s brother anytime soon.

Luca growled, kissing me hard as he said, “I don’t even care. I want you so fucking bad right now, and I don’t want anything in the way.”

My eyes rolled back at his words, the unexpected tingle of desire shooting through my core into every limb as he spoke against my lips. I wanted it, too, but a question lingered in the back of my mind.

“Are you sure you’re clean?”

He nodded, leaning back to hold my gaze. “Yes. Danny regularly does the bloodwork, and I was just checked less than two weeks ago. You wanna see the paperwork?”

I shook my head, not wanting to slow our momentum to read over test results. “I haven’t been with anyone but you in over a year, but I’m not sure –”

“I’ll take my chances,” he growled, capturing my lips again. “We can test you tomorrow if you’d like. But I don’t wanna wait until then.”

I tried not to laugh, but his enthusiasm was amusing. The big, bad, mob boss was willing to risk the safety of his dick just to fuck me raw dog. He was so cautious about everything else, that it made his current request ridiculous.

“I should be tested first, Luca. Santi was the last man I was with before you and for all I know he was fucking whores on the side when he wasn’t home. I’d hate to give you something.”

He tensed at the mention of my last sexual encounter. “If you haven’t noticed anything by now, you’re probably fine. And don’t talk about being with another man when I have you naked under me. It’s just rude.”

I couldn’t hold back my laughter. “I’m sorry for being rude,” I giggled, reassured by the playful twinkle in his eye.

He leaned back down, kissing me softly. He captured my bottom lip between his teeth and tugged, eliciting a small moan from the back of my throat. The twinge of pain only intensified my desire as it continued to flare between us.

His fingers cupped my breast and he brushed his thumb over my aching nipples. I arched into his palm, enjoying the rough feel of his calloused hands as he touched me expertly. He trailed his fingers down my side, letting them slide along my ribs until he reached my hip – giving it a hard squeeze before advancing farther down.

He cupped my sex, applying the perfect amount of pressure against my nub with the heel of his palm. I trembled, my fingers tightening around his shoulders as I dug my nails in. He kissed down my neck and nipped at my collarbone, making his way down to my breast and sucking the pert tip into his mouth. I hissed in pleasure, needing more of his mouth on my skin.

He stroked my pussy, coating his fingers with my wetness and rubbing it all over his cock before bringing the hardened member to my weeping core. I tensed when I felt his head press into me, never having felt the smoothness of his bare skin. My jaw dropped automatically, and he fed his cock into my depths slowly – never releasing my nipple from his hot mouth.

“Fuck, Calliope,” he whispered against my skin, “you’re always so wet for me, baby.”

He slipped the rest of the way in, filling every corner of my slickened channel with his girth. He was so hard, it almost hurt to have him inside me. It was a pleasurable sort of pain that promised the best climax of my life. He buried his face into my neck, biting the juncture where my shoulder began.

I mewled.

He began to thrust, gyrating his hips slowly in and out. My wetness made his movements easy, and I reveled in the smooth slide of his bare skin against mine. It was amazing.

“Luca,” I moaned, clawing at his back and wide shoulders, “don’t ever stop.”

He rotated his hips in a slow circle, hitting that secret spot deep within. My legs shook on either side of his hips before cramping up – holding him hostage between them.

“Never,” he said, picking up speed and increasing the force of his thrusts. Pleasure mounted rapidly in my core – a mind-blowing climax on the horizon. “You already there, Bella?”

I nodded, unable to form words when my entire body felt like it was on fire. I exploded around his length, a flood rushing from my core and all over his cock. He groaned, tilting his head back to look at me. Approval shone in his eyes as he watched my performance. My face was hot with pleasure and my nipples felt tight, oversensitive. The lightest brush of his chest against mine sent my body careening forward – my back arching off the bed as I clung to him desperately.

The wet slide of his cock was louder now, emphasized with each stroke of his dick into my pussy. He cupped my ass, forcing my hips harder against his, and cupped the back of my neck with his free hand as he kissed me deeply.

He suddenly rolled us, his back hitting the sheets as he pulled me on top. Shifting, he rested his back against the headboard and guided me up and down. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pressed our foreheads together, using the muscles in my thighs to ride him hard and fast.

Sweat dripped down my back and I felt it roll down my spine as I worked my body against his. He slid his hands over my ass and up the steep curve of my lower back, grabbing my hips roughly. He watched me with that intense look in his eyes – focused and determined.

I watched him watching me and couldn’t help the sudden burst of emotion that washed over me. I wanted to have this with him for the rest of my life. The thought was startling – sneaking up on me when I least expected it. I didn’t know what it was we had, but I knew I didn’t want it to end. After almost losing him, I knew with certainty I never wanted to be away from him again.

He pressed me closer, his hands sliding up to my shoulder blades, so our chests were touching. “What are you thinking?”

My face heated like I’d been caught with my hand in the cookie jar. Did I really wear my emotions on my face like he’d suggested? And here I thought I had perfected my poker face.

“Mushy stuff – you probably don’t wanna hear it,” I teased, hoping he’d laugh it off and forget altogether.

He slid his lips over my jaw, just beneath my ear. “Just the opposite,” he whispered, darting his tongue out to taste the sensitive skin there, “I always want to know what you’re thinking.”

Instinctively, I curled away from his touch when his lips and hot breath tickled my skin. I couldn’t help but giggle at the sensation – especially when he held me firm and continued to tease the delicate flesh.

Growling into my ear he demanded, “Tell me.”

I slowed my movements, arching into him so I could take him at a deeper angle. His cock rubbed against the front wall of my channel, hitting my G-spot perfectly. I clenched around him, another orgasm rising to the fore. He groaned, pressing a hand to my lower back to assist my movements.

“You sure you wanna know?” I asked, resting my head on his shoulder and hugging him tighter.


I pressed a kiss to his neck, biting my lip when he thrust up into me – tearing another pleasure-drenched groan from the base of my throat. “I was just thinking how nice this is – being with you – and how I’d never want it with anyone else.”

He stiffened for a moment, his thrusts coming to a sudden halt at my words. I lifted my head, meeting his gaze with trepidation. He cupped my cheek, stroking his thumb over the soft skin and raking his eyes all over my face.

“Fuck,” he finally said, “that was the sexiest thing you’ve ever said to me.”

I blushed.

“And I feel the same way, baby. I don’t want anyone else but you. I’ve tried to get you out of my system – tried everything to push you out of my head so I could let you go. Nothing’s worked, and I suspect nothing ever will. You’re the only woman I want in my bed.”

My heart swelled at his words, but I couldn’t help the throb of disappointment that echoed in my chest. He said I was the only woman he wanted in his bed...but, what about his heart? Was that all I was to him? Even after all this time?

He lifted my hips and moved me over him again, the action instantly clearing my mind of any doubts that began to form. I welcomed the distraction, needing it now more than ever. The last thing I wanted was to have an emotional break down with Luca’s gorgeous cock inside of me. It was better to enjoy this moment and think about the future later.

Much later.

Several orgasms later.

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