‘Yes, I feel it.’
I admit it to him.
He pulls back and runs his rough thumb over my cheek. His face is perfect, but his hands are rough like a laborer’s. Just the way I like it.
’You don’t have to understand it amore,′ he murmurs softly, ‘you just have to accept me.’
This is all so crazy, but I’m caught up in it.
He senses my hesitation, so he kisses me again. He scrambles my thoughts with his tempting lips and delicious cologne.
He pulls away and runs his hand through my hair. ’Please dolcezza, let me take care of you, protect you, adore you,′ he pleads.
I can’t find it in me to fight him. I would regret not giving him a chance.
‘Okay,’ I concede and he grins in triumph.
That smile alone is reason enough to say yes.
‘But,’ I start and his smile fades slightly. I pull away from his grip, needing space to be able to concentrate. ‘I need to return to my flat, I want a shower. I have to call my boss and somehow explain what happened.’
Lucca frowns. ’I don’t want you working there amore mio, it’s not a good place for you.′
‘But it’s my job, I can’t just quit,’ I protest.
‘You have enough money to pay for your rent, quit this job and find a better one.’
He’s not wrong, I do have enough money from my parents in my savings. I like my job, I meet lots of different people at the bar and it’s fun. I’ll admit the pay isn’t great and the hours are antisocial...
‘Where would I work?’ I demand and Lucca smirks. ‘And not for you!’ I add quickly and his face drops.
He thinks for a moment and then smiles.
‘My sister owns an Italian restaurant in the next town, would you like to work for her?’ He offers, ‘It’s only a ten minute drive from my house.’
‘But I won’t be going from my house, I’ll be commuting from my flat,’ I insist and Lucca scowls.
‘I want you here, with me, where I can keep you safe,’ he argues and I roll my eyes.
‘You’ve only met me once, Lucca!’ I say with exasperation, ‘you cannot ask me to move in with you! We need time to get to know one another.’
He pouts like a child that has just been sent to his room without dinner.
‘Fine. It’s not much further from your flat, shall I ask her to find you a position? Would you prefer waitressing or working in the kitchen?’
I run my hands through my hair as I try to catch my breath.
This is all happening so fast.
‘Waitressing, thank you,’ I mumble.
The pay will no doubt be better, there will be no leches, I’ll be safer than I am at my old job, I’ll get to meet some of Lucca’s family.
I mentally list the pro’s against the con’s. As long as he’s not making me move in with him, I’ll let him win on this one.
He nods happily and pulls me back into his arms to kiss my forehead.
’Thank you, dolcezza, I feel a lot better about your safety now.′
I wriggle out of his grip, causing him to frown.
‘Please can I go back to my flat? I want to shower and get the feel of Marco off of me,’ I say with disgust.
Lucca’s expression becomes livid at the mention of Marco. He notices my widened eyes and his face softens. He pecks my lips.
‘You can shower upstairs, Ria,’ he says softly.
I shake my head.
‘I want to go home, Lucca, please,’ I reply, purposefully keeping my voice gentle.
I don’t want to antagonise him and start an argument.
His jaw clenches and his hands curl into fists at his sides.
‘I want to keep you safe,’ he argues.
I roll my eyes at him.
‘Lucca, I’ll be fine,’ I insist, ‘now that Marco isn’t after me I’m safe.’
He sighs heavily and runs his hand down his face, making my heart hurt. I don’t want him to feel stressed or worried. I step forwards and wrap my arms around his waist, I lean my head on his chest and his arms encircle me.
’You don’t understand cara, by being with me, you have a target on your back,′ he murmurs, squeezing me tighter, ‘but I’m too selfish to let you go. Instead, I swear to keep you safe from anyone that wants to hurt me by hurting you.’
I bite my bottom lip and close my eyes. I listen to the steady thud of his heart and breathe in his masculine scent. He smells so good, it’s crazy. I lose all of my rationale when I breathe him in.
If I was smart, I would walk away and not look back.
If I cared about my safety, I would end things now.
But something is stopping me.
My own stupidity, maybe?
I can’t seem to make myself see sense, or act rationally, or choose the right option. I’m caught up in him and I don’t want to lose him. That’s all I care about right now, not my life or my safety, only knowing that I have him.
In my opinion, being with him is worth the risk.
He’s worth the risk.
‘I’m not going anywhere, Lucca,’ I reassure him, ‘but I do need to go home for a bit.’
He pulls back and looks down at me with tired eyes. ’You win dolcezza, but in return, you have to take two of my guards with you.′
I smile up at him.
Bodyguards, I can handle.
Lucca leaves me momentarily to call his men in. He returns with two Italian brutes flanking him.
They’re a similar size to Lucca, both as muscular and tall. They have the same air of danger surrounding them that Lucca does. Despite being good-looking, neither of them are as attractive as my guy.
‘Rocco, Valerius, this is my girl, Illaria,’ Lucca introduces me to them, his hand placed possessively on my lower back.
‘Guard her with your life, like you would with me. Take her back to her flat, I will send Leo and Draco to take over later. Tomorrow, I want you to take her to Martina’s restaurant and stay with her whilst she works. After her shift, you bring her back to me. Got it?’
My eyes widen at Lucca’s words. Apparently, I’m working tomorrow.
Both men nod, their expressions unreadable and their stances rigid. Lucca turns to me and gently strokes my hair back from my face.
’Stay safe, cuore mio,′ he whispers and kisses me. (my heart)
I don’t care that his guards are standing right next to us, I kiss him back.
When he pulls away, Lucca has a pained expression on his face.
‘I really hate this, but I want to respect your wishes so, they will drive you home,’ Lucca begrudgingly says and kisses my forehead.
I chuckle at his childish pout. ‘I’ll see you tomorrow,’ I tell him.
He nods and watches me leave with sad eyes. I feel oddly guilty, but I follow Rocco and Valerius to the car.
The second I see the car exit my drive, I call Marcello.
‘Did you find him?’ I demand to know.
I ordered Marcello to locate Marco when I went out of the study earlier.
I want him found and I want him dead.
‘He’s at the bar now Boss,’ he informs me, ‘he hasn’t seen me, I’m sat in the back. Want me to text you the address?’
‘Yes. Do it now.’
I end the call and reach for my jacket. I clip my Sig Sauer to my holster and slide on my blazer.
Time to go kill that prick for touching my girl.
I wait outside the bar in my range rover. Marcello comes out and gets into the passenger seat.
We wait for an hour or so, but eventually Marco leaves. I trail him in the car, keeping our distance. I follow him back to his shitty house, waiting for him to go inside.
The moment he does, Marcello and I get out of my car. We walk over to his door and I pull my gun out and cock it.
I tap the barrel of the gun against the door, effectively knocking on it.
Marco answers it a few moments later. His eyes widen in horror as he sees me and the gun in my hand.
He doesn’t have time to react. I shoot him between the eyes.
The shot is loud and echoes down the street, but I know this neighbourhood. A gunshot is nothing new to them, most will ignore it.
Marcello and I enter his house and close the door behind us. Together, we dispose of the body.
I return to my mansion feeling much better.
My baby is safe now, Marco is dealt with.