Vandal's Bargain

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Chapter 3: Jude

As the elevator climbed up to my penthouse level by level, I studied Viviana out of the corner of my eye. She was quiet, wringing her hands together and mumbling to herself in Italian. Or at least I assumed she was, since I could only see her lips moving and hear the barest whisper. I wouldn't have heard anything if there was any other noise in here, but there was no elevator music, and not even crickets would sound in the silence between us if they had the choice.

I wanted to ask her what the deal was with having her car stuffed full of boxes and loose items. It looked like she'd shoved every item of her life into that small, beat up Volkswagon. Curiosity was burning in my brain, but I knew it wasn't my place to ask. Knowing that didn't stop me from wondering, however.

I also wondered what it was exactly that her ex did to her to make her mad enough to destroy his car. She obviously had a temper on her, but it didn't seem like she was insane. At least, I hoped not. I did invite her into my home after all.

Actually, now that I thought about it, that was probably a terrible decision... I knew nothing about her except that she had quite the swing, could cook, had a sassy mouth and fiery temper, and that she was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. And even though I was taller than her by almost a foot, she seemed like the kind of woman you just did not want to cross. I turned fully to Viviana and she looked over at the movement.

"You're not going to knock me out and rob me once you get inside my home, are you?" There was a hint of humor in my voice, and I was gratified to see her lips twitch with a smile.

"I guess you'll have to wait and find out, won't you?"

"That's reassuring," I said dryly as the elevator stopped, a ping letting us know we'd reached the destination.

"You're the one who invited me into your home, insisting that I live here during the duration of my internment."

I motioned for her to step out of the elevator, looking at her in faux astonishment. "Internment? Are you saying I'm holding you prisoner?"

"Yes, you cruel man. You're making me stay in this amazing home, forcing me to cook and bake for you for six months. I'm already mourning my freedom."

Her voice was heavy with sarcasm, and I couldn't help the chuckle from escaping me as I watched her take in my home. I looked around as well, wondering what she thought of it. I'd had it decorated in neutral tones, with dark wood and deep blue accents. Wall art consisted of nature scenes in browns, blues, and deep green tones. The open space made it easy to see the living room, kitchen, and dining area all at once. Then there was the hallway that led down to the bathrooms and other rooms in the penthouse.

"Really though Jude, this is a very nice place. Earthy and open. Not quite what I expected." She walked towards the kitchen, and I followed. "But this kitchen... Santre madre di Dio."

I laughed, loving the way she practically vibrated with excitement. It was the most modern part of my place; stainless steel everywhere with all the latest gadgets. A giant pantry which she could fit everything she'd ever need in, as well as a double fridge with plenty of freezer space. Counter space galore, and a double oven nearly made her squeal in happiness.

She turned back to me, glowing with eagerness. "Thank you, Jude. You have no idea how much it means to me that you would be so kind about me destroying your car."

I nodded in acceptance of her thanks, curiosity burning even stronger to know what kind of situation she was in. Instead of asking the questions swirling in my head, I merely started walking down the hallway towards my guest room.

"I have a furnished guest room that you can stay in while you're here. It should have everything you need, including an attached bathroom. If there's anything not already there you might need, just let me know."

"Thank you. I'm sure it will be perfect."

I opened the door to her room with my free hand, and motioned for her to go ahead. She walked in and I held back a grin at the look on her face. Eyes wide again, a hand over her heart in shock, taking in the giant king-sized canopy bed with gold and red tones, the dark wood of the bed frame and matching dressers complimenting the undertones.

The room was large, leaving plenty of open space to walk around. Viviana turned to me, and I drew in a breath at the look in her eyes. This woman seemed incapable of hiding her emotions, and something about her guilelessness entranced me. And with an expression that seemed to say she saw me as some sort of savior despite my basically blackmailing her to get her here, my chest swelled with satisfaction at being able to help her, even if that wasn't my original intent.

"Jude, I..." She swallowed hard before continuing in her soft, accented voice. "This is lovely. Thank you for being so understanding tonight."

Strong emotion choked me, and I wrestled it down as I nodded in acknowledgement. "Make yourself at home. Sleep well, Viviana."

I stepped out of the room, and shut the door behind me before hurrying several steps down the hall to my own room. I shut the door and leaned against it, letting out a breath. It was only now that I began to think I might have just gotten myself into a whole lot of trouble.

Viviana was already so tempting, and having her just down the hall from me day in and day out was going to test my resolve more than anything ever had. Then again, I always enjoyed a challenge. And if I ended up with the sassy Italian in my bed, all the better.

A wide grin crossed my face, and I felt my dick twitching at the thought of having her writhing under me against my sheets, her dark hair spread across my pillows before I twisted it in my hand. I wondered if she liked having her hair pulled, what spots were most sensitive, how she'd move if she were on top.

A groan escaped me at my train of thoughts, knowing that if I kept this up there would be no way of getting rid of my hard-on until I took matters into my own hands... Literally.

Pushing off my door, I headed to my bathroom to take what I suspected would be my first of many cold showers.

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