“Sweet dreams?” Massimo’s eyes drank in the erotic picture she presented. A full pouting mouth and long dark lashes fanning enormous aphrodisiac eyes. He had been watching her seductive little movements on the mattress, fighting the temptation to crawl back into bed and finish where they left off last night.
“My dreams are off limits to you.”
“Were you dreaming about me, about us, pussycat?”
“Don’t you wish.” She cut her eyes at him. “And stop calling me pussycat.”
He leaned closer and planted his palms on either side of her body. “But you do purr like one. And after last night—”
Massimo cast his mouth downward in a feigned wave of disappointment. “Don’t you remember?”
She shook her head and clutched the sheet tighter to her throat.
“Let me see.” Noticing her death grip on the sheet, Massimo altruistically reached out and brushed away the strands of hair that had fallen across her face. “Immediately following dinner, you asked me to kiss you.”
Her forehead creased in confusion. “I did?”
“Si. You begged me, actually.”
She gulped. “And... and... wha... what happened… next?”
“What happened next? Well, you threw your arms around me and refused to let me go. You were all over me and I couldn’t get you off, even after I repeatedly reminded you about the ‘no sex for a week’ clause in our agreement. You said it was a stupid clause. You couldn’t imagine my delight at hearing those words. So I picked you up and brought you to bed. I even had to undress you. It was a struggle, but well worth the effort after we—”
“We didn’t! Did we?” Nia’s mind reeled as she fought through the foggy images. She remembered dinner, the tasty lobster bisque, and all that fine wine. She remembered getting on the elevator, but everything else was a blur. Everything except the vivid images of Massimo’s hard naked body lying next to hers, holding her, kissing her, molding her to him. But that was a dream. It had to be a dream!
“Oh, Nia, you really know how to emasculate a man. Here I was, thinking I’d been so thorough in my lovemaking, that I’d satisfied you beyond your wildest imaginations, only to hear that you don’t even remember making love with me at all.”
Nia’s fists curled around the silky fabric of the sheet. They had done it. And she couldn’t even remember. She closed her eyes as sobs of defeat and contempt threatened to spill from deep inside her. Damn him! She should have known she couldn’t trust him.
She opened her eyes and glared at him. “You bastard! You took advantage of an innocent, drunk girl. I should have known you couldn’t keep your word. You lied, just like you—” She stopped and turned away at the near slip.
What did it matter, anyway? He’d ruined everything. Her entire plan had blown up in her face. When he gave her that money on Saturday, she would really become a generously paid whore. She would have sold her virginity for two million dollars once she accepted that money. It wasn’t like she had the privilege of walking away without it to save her dignity. She had to accept it to save Aaron’s life.
She turned and glared at him. “You miserable, filthy son-of—”
“Tsh, tsh. Such fury, pussycat. And such vulgarity from the mouth of a schoolteacher. I hope you never use such language in the presence of your young impressionable students. Although,” he continued, raising a hand to stop her from speaking, “if I had a teacher who looked like you, I wouldn’t give a damn what kind of words came out of her mouth. You’d be my favorite and I’d be so delighted to be your pet. I’d bring you apples everyday, and strawberries and oranges, too, if you wanted them.”
Nia saw the devilish twinkle in the depths of Massimo’s eyes and his mouth quivering with humor. Jerk. He was toying with her. “I’ve never spoken this way before. You seem to bring out the worst in me.” Six years worth of bottled-up frustrations to be exact. “Maybe I talk to you that way because it’s the only type of language you seem to understand.” She reached for a pillow to knock the ridiculous smirk off his face.
Massimo was on her in a heartbeat. He captured her hands and pinned them to the mattress above her head. The silk sheet slid off her shoulders, exposing one brown-ripe breast and one darker-shaded smooth wide nipple. The sight of that voluptuous lonely breast tempted him beyond reason and caused a hot ache to grow in his throat. He remembered the smooth taste in his mouth.
He held his breath as his eyes raked down her petite frame. The only thing standing in his way was the silky barrier of that sheet. He knew what her skin felt like under his palms. Boy, did he know. It was silk of the Sylk. He had shaped and molded her body to his last night. He had kissed her and caressed her until Azi’s tea had rendered him unconscious.
What Massimo didn’t know until now was what Nia looked like. For obvious reasons, he’d undressed her in the dark then left the bed before the light of dawn, just so he wouldn’t have to fight with his conscience and his desire for her. The added pleasure of seeing her naked would have pushed him right over the edge, as it was doing now. He focused his gaze on her face.
Fury rioted through her.
Lust surged through him.
“Don’t you fret your pretty little head, Nia. When we do it, there will be no doubts in your mind. I will leave my mark on you, with you, and most assuredly inside you. You wouldn’t have to wonder whether or not we mated, pussycat. You will know. I promised not to make love to you for a week and I’m sticking to it. Hard as it is. Pun intended.” With reluctance, he released her and pulled the cover up over her chest.
Nia let out an audible sigh of relief, grateful that her game was still on.
“Are you hungry?” he asked, shooting to his feet.
What a stupid question. Despite the fact that she wanted to punch him when she thought he’d taken advantage of her, she still had a burning hunger for him. To her dismay, a tiny part of her dared to develop a speck of respect for him. All things considered, he could have taken her last night and there was not a damn thing she could have done about it, drunk as she was.
She didn’t know whether to resent or commend him for keeping his word.
“Azi has already started breakfast.” Massimo’s voice pulled her back to the subject of food. “I don’t know what you like, so I instructed her to prepare an assortment of dishes.”
“You didn’t have to do that. I’m not a fussy eater.”
“I noticed that last night. I like it. Too many women starve themselves thinking that men like skin and bones.” There was a spark of some indefinable emotion in his eyes. “I appreciate a toned, healthy-looking woman. Like you, cara.”
Nia could only imagine how enticing she looked lying naked in his bed while he was fully clothed in a crisp white button-down shirt and a pair of dark suit slacks. A swath of wavy black hair rested casually on his forehead. Even fully dressed, he exhibited an aura of sexuality unmatched by any other man she’d ever met. She could so easily fall...
Thoughts of Aaron reminded Nia of the reason she was in Massimo’s bed and she pushed the silly fantasies away. Some of her anger evaporated, leaving embarrassment at her tirade, and confusion at the fact that she wanted to hurt Massimo and make him want her at the same time. “I’m sorry for my outburst when I thought you—”
“No apologies necessary. I know how it feels to be betrayed. When someone you trust breaks a promise, it brings out the worst in you. I despise liars.”
Nia frowned. Was this the same man who had lied to her father, broken a promise that had caused his death? The world was full of people who condemned others for the very same flaws they themselves possessed. She supposed Massimo was one of those self-righteous hypocrites.
“We have a lot to accomplish today.” Massimo strolled around to the other side of the bed and picked up a remote control from his nightstand. He pressed a button and the red and ivory satin drapes slithered soundlessly apart.
Nia blinked as the bright sunlight hit her face. Still clutching the sheet to her body, she sat up and leaned her back against the cushioned headboard. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand. It was only eight-thirty. “It’s still early.”
A ray of sunlight caught his eyes as he stared at her. “I’m surprised you think so. Aren’t you usually in school around this time?”
“Yeah, but I’m on vacation, remember?”
Massimo set the remote back on the nightstand and picked up his Rolex. “Unlike you, cara, I’m not on vacation. I don’t have the luxury of lying around in bed all day. I have a billion-dollar company to run. People all over the world depend on me for their livelihood.”
Did he grow a conscience with age? Her father had depended on him, and had been deadly disappointed. Too bad Massimo hadn’t developed his sense of obligation six years ago. If he had, she wouldn’t be lying naked in his bed right now. “You have a company to run, but I don’t see why I have to get up so early.” She had her own errands today, none of which she could do with him breathing down her neck.