The Consequences of That Night

By: Jennie Lucas



His hand trailed down her cheek, to her neck, to her bare shoulder. She barely heard his harsh intake of breath over the pounding of her own heart. She trembled, knowing she was on the knife’s edge.

Cesare roughly seized her in his arms, and crushed her lips with his own.





                      CHAPTER THREE

CESARE’S KISS WAS angry and searing. His lips plundered hers, and all her anger and grief and pain seemed to explode beneath the fire of his touch, into an inferno.

He wrapped a strong arm around her waist, holding her tight against him, and his other hand ran along her bare arm, up her shoulder, down her naked back. She felt his body, hard against hers, and against her will a soft moan came from the back of her throat. Her skin felt scorched everywhere he touched. She was desperate to have him closer.

Now.

Her hand cupped the rough edge of his jawline, then moved back to tangle in his dark hair, pulling his mouth harder and deeper into hers.

She heard his hoarse intake of breath as he cupped her full, aching breasts over the lace of her bra. She was overflowing the cups now, and her belly was starting to get fuller as well. Would he notice? Would he guess? Would Cesare be able to see how he’d permanently branded her body as his, always and forever, without her saying a single word?

“All this time, I’ve been hating myself for a lack of self-control,” he said in a low voice. “Now I can hardly believe I had such restraint.” He lifted his gaze to hers, even as one of his hands slowly stroked her nearly naked body, over her white lace, causing her to tremble with need. “I can’t believe I waited so long.” His sensual lips curved as he cupped her face, tilting back her head. “No other woman has even interested me since that night....”

Her lips parted. No. Surely he couldn’t mean what she thought he meant....

With their bodies so close, standing together beside her bed, she felt his warmth and strength. She breathed in the bare hint of masculine cologne. She felt the electricity of his words, of his touch—the overwhelming sensual force of his complete attention. And Emma’s only defense, anger, crumbled.

He kissed her softly, briefly, butterfly kisses to each of her cheeks, tantalizingly close to the corners of her mouth. But hope, like a fragile spring bud unfolding in the snow, began to build inside her. She could hardly believe his shocking confession.

He’d been faithful....

“There’s really been no other woman for you since our night?” she breathed.

He shook his head, his eyes dark. “Has there been someone for you?”

The question made her choke out a laugh. “How could there be?”

“Does that mean no?”

“Of course not!”

“Good.”

His sudden masculine smugness irritated her. “You admit something, too,” she said sharply.

“What?”

“You didn’t seduce me three months ago just because I was crying. You weren’t just trying to comfort me.”

He stared at her, then said quietly, “No.”

Her soul thrilled at the concession. She gloried in it. “You wanted me, too.”

He spoke a single grudging word, as if it were pulled from deep inside him. “Yes.”

“For how long?”

“Years,” he bit out.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she whispered.

“I was afraid you’d do exactly what you did today.” His hands undid the plaits of her braids, causing her long dark hair to fall down her back. She trembled as his hands stroked her long, tumbling waves of hair. “You’d get some crazy delusion of loving me, and then I’d have to fire you.”

“I am in love with you.”

He snorted. “If you really loved me, wouldn’t you be begging me to stay?”

“Because begging works so well with you.”

Slowly he lowered his head until his mouth was inches from hers.

“It’s just lust, cara,” he whispered, his lips almost brushing hers. “Not love....”

And holding her against his hard body in the shadowy bedroom, he kissed her, clutching her as if he were a drowning man and only she could save him. His lips plundered hers, teasing, gentling, searing.

As they stood together, he slowly kissed down her throat, his fingertips roaming softly over her naked skin. She felt the warmth of his hands cupping her breasts, stroking tight, aching nipples that peeked through white lace.

Leaning back in his arms, she gasped with pleasure and need. Until she lost her balance, and fell back against the bed, his arms still around her, their bodies entangled in their embrace.

The bed felt made of feathers beneath her. Still in her bra and panties, Emma slid against the duvet cover, and felt something sharp and cold beneath her thigh. She pulled it out and looked at the shining platinum face with confusion. “Your watch.”

“Forget it.” Taking it from her hand, he tossed the expensive watch across the room, causing it to scatter noisily across the hardwood floor before it hit the wall with a soft thunk.

She realized what the “feathers” she’d felt beneath her body actually had to be. Twisting, she tried to look beneath her. She was lying almost naked beneath him on a bed of money. “Everything’s still on the bed—”

“I don’t care,” he said roughly, and kissed her, until she forgot about the money, and wouldn’t have cared if she did.

Pulling away, he pulled off his shirt in an abrupt movement. Emma’s throat constricted as she reached out to touch the intoxicating vision of his naked chest, muscular and hard, with tanned skin that felt like silk over steel. She stroked down to the flat six-pack of his belly, laced with a scattering of dark hair. He was flesh and blood, this man she’d wanted so hopelessly, and loved for so long.

Covering her body with his own, Cesare kissed her. She felt his weight crushing her breasts, felt the slide of his warm bare skin against her own. He released the clasp of her bra and pulled off the slip of white lace, tossing it aside. He pulled her panties slowly past her hips, over her thighs, down her legs.

She was naked beneath him. Lying on a pile of money. She shouldn’t be doing this, she thought. Then he pulled off his pants and silk boxers, and rational thought left her entirely.

She gasped as she saw how large he was, how huge and hard. Slowly, he kissed down her body, licking and suckling her breasts. He caressed down the curve of her belly, then kissed her lips in a long, deep embrace that seemed to last forever, until she forgot where she ended and he began. Their bodies fused together in heat, skin to skin, slick and salty and sweet. Moving down her body, he pushed her legs apart with his knee, spreading them wide with his hands. Lowering his head, he nuzzled between her thighs. She felt his hot breath.

She gasped as, holding her hips firmly against the bed, he spread her wide and tasted her.

She twisted, rocking beneath him. The pleasure was too sharp, too explosive. Beneath the ruthless insistence of his tongue, she trembled and shook, gasping on the bed. Every time she moved, money went flying into the air. Durhams and dollars, pounds and pesos flew violently, then fell back softly like snow, sliding down the naked bodies clutched together on the bed.

The money felt whisper-soft, brushing against Emma’s face or shoulder or breast while she felt the hard, bristly roughness of his masculine body between her legs.

“Lust,” Cesare said in a low voice.

Their eyes locked over the curves of her naked body. She shook her head.

“Love...”

With a low growl, he lowered his head back between her legs. She felt the heat of his breath on her tender skin, and his tongue took another wide taste of her, then another. Slowly he caressed her, licking her in delicate swirls until her breathing came in gasps and her hands were gripping the bedsheets beneath her, along with fistfuls of yen and euros.

“Lust,” he whispered against her skin.

“No,” she choked out.

He thrust his tongue an inch inside her. She gave a shocked gasp in a voice she hardly recognized as her own. His hands roamed possessively over her, cupping her breasts, her waist, her hips. Reaching beneath her, he pressed her bottom upward, lifting her more firmly against his mouth, and impaled her more deeply with his tongue. His lips and soft wet tongue suckled the aching center of her need as he moved two thick fingertips inside her, where his tongue had been. She cried out, overwhelmed by the intensity of pleasure.

Her back arched from the feel of his fingers inside her and his tongue swirling over her and she gripped his shoulders as waves of ecstasy started to pull reality beneath her feet, crashing over her. She exploded, and as if from a distance, she heard herself scream—

Rolling beside her, he pulled her into the warm haven of his arms. Emma looked up at him with tears in her eyes.

It wasn’t just lust between them. It wasn’t.

If he’d only just give her a chance. If only he’d say something that would make her think she could tell him about the baby...

Leaning up, Emma put her hand on his cheek and kissed him in a deep, lingering embrace that left her chin and cheeks tingling from the rough bristles of his jaw. She could still feel his body straining against her. As he kissed her back, holding her tight, breathless hope ripped through her. She could show him he had nothing to fear. That their relationship could be so much more than lust. She knew the man he really was, yes. But she also knew the man he could be....

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