LUCA - You Will Be Mine The Si (Sicilian Mafia #1) - Roberts Jaimie

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental.


Copyright © 2015 Jaimie Roberts


All rights reserved. ISBN: 1522835474 ISBN-13: 978-1522835479

Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18


Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Acknowledgements Other Books by Jaimie Roberts Excerpt of A Step Two Close About the Author

Luca Picking up some random chick from my club, I took her to one of my many apartments. This one was reserved for one thing and one thing only: fucking. She was brunette, curvaceous, and had the most gorgeous tits I’d ever seen … But that wasn’t why I’d brought her here. I brought her here because I wanted to prove a point. Today was the day I laid eyes on the most beautiful angel I had ever seen. It was only a picture, but I couldn’t get her image out of my damn fucking head. Watching this woman strip in front of me should have been a turn-on, but she did nothing for me—not even a twitch. “Hmm, Luca, you’re so sexy. Let me take care of you.”


Hovering over my cock, whoever she was started licking and sucking me hard. I was going to push her away and tell her to fuck off, but then I closed my eyes, and the image of that girl came into my head. Clara. Holding onto that image, I began to grow hard inside her mouth. Imagining it was Clara made my dick stiffer than it had ever been. Random Chick moaned her appreciation as she sucked harder. I should have fucking loved this, but all I could think about was her. Grabbing a condom from my bedside table, I pushed this girl off of my cock. I still wanted to prove a point. I had always loved sex. If I could just feel this random woman’s pussy, then I was sure I could forget her. I placed the condom on my cock and hissed when I felt the urge to fuck her raw. “Fucking sit on me—now.”


Smiling, she did as she was told and started riding me hard. I closed my eyes again, and straight away, my mind went back to Clara. Why can’t I get her out of my fucking head? This woman’s body was perfection, and yet she was doing absolutely nothing for me. I tried grabbing her hips and gaining control as I pulled her down on top of me. Nothing—not a damn thing. She may as well have been jumping on top of my stomach instead of my cock. It wasn’t long, though, before her moans of pleasure echoed around the room. I knew her orgasm was coming quickly as she sped faster and moaned louder than ever before. Once her spasms died down, I shoved her off of my cock. “Luca, what the fuck? Baby, you’re so fucking good. Let me make you come now. I can suck you again if you want?”


Shaking my head, I just wanted her out. “No. Just leave.” “But—” “No buts. Get the fuck out!” Grabbing her things, she stomped across the room and quickly got dressed. “Arsehole!” she shouted before slamming the door. Fucking hell! What was wrong with me? This Clara seems to have possessed me. No other woman has ever possessed me like this woman has. Her picture practically screamed at me to touch her … to feel her … to caress her. Still lying on my bed—and still hard as fuck with this condom on me—I started to touch myself. I closed my eyes, and again, straight away, her image came into my head. I pictured myself taking her and making her mine. The thought made my dick come to life like never before. My movements became faster and my breathing heavier as I


imagined thrusting myself inside this woman I hadn’t even met … yet. It wasn’t long before I felt it: that blissful intensity permeating my whole body. That feeling which was like no other, radiating through me as I hurried to find my release. Seeing her through my closed eyes, I started pounding faster and harder. A sound escaped my lips as I jerked and bucked underneath my hand, thrusting my release as hard as I could into the condom. What the fuck was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I get her out of my fucking head? After my breathing calmed, I took the condom off and went to have a shower. Feeling the warmth hit my skin, I closed my eyes again, and again her image filled my head. Slamming the wall with my fists, I came to a sudden conclusion. It was something I’d always known I was going to do—deep


down—from the moment I saw that fucking picture. That’s why you offered Trudy a way out, you silly fuck. You knew then that you had to have her. I turned the shower off and grabbed my towel. The decision had been made. I was going to go to Clara Murphy, but first I wanted to see just how tough she really was. With my mind made up, I smiled; excitement was growing with every thought which passed through my head. I was going to go to Clara Murphy and sort out this little obsession of mine once and for all. I knew all I had to do was see her and my mind would be made up for me. I would either fuck her until she was out of my system—or I would make her mine. Getting dressed and ready to leave, I already knew in my subconscious what the answer was going to be.


I’m coming to get you, Clara Murphy. So, you had better be ready for me. You will be mine, and there isn’t a damn fucking thing you can do to stop me.

My parents had always been rich, wellrespected, churchgoing pillars of the community. They were also selfish and manipulative pieces of work. My childhood was a filled with memories of nothing but pain and anguish. Everything I did was a sin. Every thought I had was a sin. They tried bringing me up to their standard of living, but I could never be moulded. From the time I was a little girl, I had possessed an independent streak, so it never worked. Even when my dad decided to beat some sense into me and my mother let him, I never once faltered. She would resort to reading passages from the Bible in an effort to excuse the level of abuse I was made to suffer. That is what brought me to the point in my life where I was completely cut off from


my past and sitting in a posh office, which was situated in an actual castle. It helped that I had a very rich auntie who was willing to aid me in setting it all up. Trudy was a silent partner in this little venture, and although what we did was unconventional, we made lots of money doing it. At the end of the day, sex sells, and our rich clients were willing to pay top dollar for high-class girls. Sure, we have had our ups and downs, but there hasn’t been anything I couldn’t handle. For example, one situation I had to deal with resulted in me punching one of my clients. Well, he had tried to rough up one of my girls. I didn’t care that he had paid us lots of money or that he was a VIP. The fact remained that he had tried to rough up my girl, and that was never going happen in my house. Not ever. This was one of the reasons why I was sought after. I always had at least a few girls


lined up, waiting to join my troops—but only the best would make it. Before joining, they would be tested and sent through rigorous checks before they could make the cut. Our clients underwent the same process. We only served the best—for the best. People appreciated our high standards, and they loved us because of our discretion. If anyone ever asked, this was just a hotel, and the only shenanigans that took place were done behind closed doors. We were strict, confidential, and tolerated absolutely no nonsense. I must admit, there was something quite rewarding about owning my own business. I knew mine was a little bit risqué, but I was still a businesswoman nonetheless. My girls were all well cared for and clean. They respected me and came to me for help when needed—which was what I was there for. I had a house filled with the most cherished girls, and it was because I made damn sure of it. I cared for and respected every


single one of them. I offered them a roof over their heads—if they had need of it—and food on the table whilst they were there. They never wanted for anything. I had around forty girls on my books, and twelve of them lived with me in that grand castle of mine. God, would my parents flip if they ever saw me! Everything here was kitted out like a royal hotel, and I was proud of it. So was my auntie. The only major problem I was having was Luca Belatoni. He was some hotshot who had recently moved nearby from New Jersey. Oh was he bad news! He’d been trying—and failing—to send his little troops over here to demand money for his protection and discretion. I’d already told them a few times to go run and jump. The idiot who came for the last visit just smiled and said, “I shall pass along your request to Mr. Belatoni.


No doubt, you will be hearing from him soon.” Three days after that visit, I still hadn’t heard from him. Hopefully, he would leave me in peace, but something was telling me that it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. I wasn’t going to give into bullying, though. I never had with my parents, and I never would with that arsehole. “Clara?” Tammy’s head peaked around the door, interrupting my thoughts. “Hi, Tammy. What can I do for you?” Tammy shuffled her way through the door and took a seat opposite my desk. “I have a problem. I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’ve met someone.” Tammy looked down at her feet. This would be the second girl in one month I’d lost—the second to have fallen in love. I wasn’t stupid. People could only be in this kind of game for so long. It still didn’t make it any easier when we lost one of them.


“I can’t say I’m not disappointed. You’re one of our best, Tammy.” “I love you, Clara. You mean the world to me, and I’ve been trying my hardest to hold this job as long as I could, but the thing is… John’s asked me to marry him.” Swinging in my seat a little, I took in everything she had said. “Does John know about what you do?” Tammy looked down at her feet again. “No, and I don’t want him to know. I think it would cut him up pretty badly if he knew. That’s why I feel I can’t do it anymore. I want to settle down with John, and I can’t do that with a job like this.” “So, what have you told him?” “That I’m a receptionist in a hotel. That’s partly true anyway.” She smiled at that, making her teeth sparkle. “Okay. I appreciate you coming to tell me. You will be really missed here, but I


completely understand. I just want to know one thing before you leave.” “What’s that?” “Are you happy?” Tammy smiled brightly. “Yes… Yes, I am.” “Well then, that’s the most important issue here, isn’t it?” With an air of happiness, she nodded her head. “I want to ask one thing of you, though.” “Anything for you, Clara.” “Don’t be a stranger? I would like for you to visit every now and then—tell me how you’re getting on.” “Sure, sure. I’d miss you too much anyway if I didn’t.” Rising out of my chair, Tammy did the same. I gathered her in my arms and gave her a great big hug. “You take care of yourself. And tell that fiancé of yours that if he ever hurts you, he’ll have me to answer to.”


I heard Tammy chuckle, and then she began to sniffle a little through her tears. I pulled her away and looked deeply into her eyes. “There’s no need to cry. I will still be here—whether you leave or not.” “I know,” she said, wiping away her tears. “I’ll still miss you, though. You’re like a sister to me. You’re like a sister to all of the girls—well, maybe not so much to Rachael.” I laughed and shook my head at her. That seemed to be a constantly running joke. Rachael was bisexual, and she thought I didn’t sleep with any of the men because I was gay. A fact she brought up once when we’d had a party and she tried feeling me up. She said that I turned her on with my nononsense, caring attitude towards the girls and clients. I must admit, I was flattered as she was a very pretty lady, but I had never had feelings like that towards women. In the end, I had to let her down gently. Rachael took it


on the chin, and we had been firm friends ever since. It still didn’t stop her from trying to involve me in any ménage à trois sessions whenever a client requested one. I just didn’t get involved that way. I ran the business, but I drew the line at becoming a part of that business. “Rachael is a lovely girl, and I’m sure she has enough fun with Louise whenever there has been a need for more than one girl. I like my men too much.” “I never see you with any.” Tammy frowned and sniffled some more. “I’m too busy looking after my family.” I smiled sweetly towards her, causing another tear to run down her face. “Now, go. Live your life and be happy.” I turned around at this point as the phone rang. Tammy plucked a tissue up from my desk and swiftly made her way out the door. “Clara Murphy,” I said curtly into the phone.


“Clara, it’s Matthew Broadmore here.” “Good morning, Matthew. What can I do for you?” “I was hoping to see Tammy this evening.” It had started already. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Matthew, but Tammy is no longer with us.” I heard a deep sigh. “That’s a shame. She was my favourite.” “I completely understand. She will be missed. I do have another girl who I think will be right up your alley.” “Do you mean you?” he chuckled. “Nice try, Matthew. You know that will never happen.” “I had to at least make an attempt to win you over.” I could hear the smile in his voice. “Anyway, getting back, I have just the girl. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Her name’s Melinda, and she’s fairly new. She took over for Wendy when she left.”


“Okay…” I could hear him hesitating slightly. “Listen; come along this evening at around eight o’clock. Melinda is fully booked after. Despite being new, she has a lot of clients just dying to see her.” That got his spirits up. I could tell through the line. “If you don’t enjoy her company, I’m sure I can fix you up with someone else. I have a new opening now and will need to get right on that, but in the meantime, try Melinda and see how you get on.” “Sure thing. Sounds excellent. I shall see you at eight.” I smiled. “Excellent! I can guarantee you will like her, Matthew.” “And if I don’t, can I come and see you?” I shook my head. “Again, nice try.” I heard him chuckle, and we ended the call soon after. The minute I put the phone down, I heard a ruckus coming from outside my office. Pretty soon, my door was being


forced open, and what appeared before me had the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. “I’m sorry, Clara,” Belinda—one of my girls—said. “I tried to stop him, but he was very insistent.” I nodded, but my eyes were still transfixed by this giant beauty before me. I didn’t know who the hell he was, but I damn sure hoped he wasn’t a new client. I found myself watching him with rapt appreciation as he seemed to drink me in as much as I was him. He had dark, wavy brown hair which was slicked back with perfect precision. His olive skin seemed to glow as his caramel-coloured eyes danced over me with heated desire. My God, he was perfect! His broad shoulders and magnificent physique were commanding the room as if he was standing on a stage. Mid-ogling, I caught him licking his ever-so-pouty lips,


and that one little gesture caused an ache between my legs to surface—the likes of which I had never felt before. I let my eyes wander so much that I eventually landed on his feet. Big feet equalled… I managed to eventually lift my eyes, only to find a slight smile curving up from those beautifully round pouty lips of his. Dammit! Did he know what I was thinking about just then? After another few seconds of staring at his five o’clock shadow—and wondering what it would be like to run my fingers through his hair—I finally managed to shake myself out of my stupor and clear my throat. “What can I do for you?” Please don’t say you’re a client! Walking forward, the door was shut swiftly behind him. The sexy beast smiled as he offered me his hand. “Luca Belatoni. Nice to meet you… Clara, I take it?”


Shit, it was the life-sucking arsehole!! I stood firm, not once offering my hand back to him. Instead, I thought I may have given him a disgusted look. “Ah, I take it from that look that you are fully aware of who I am.” I am way too aware of you, you sexy fucking prick! “Yes, I am aware. I should imagine you’re also aware that I’m not one for bullying tactics.” I sat down on my chair and watched as he did the same opposite my desk. “And I’m sure you will become aware soon enough that I do not take no for an answer.” His eyes sparkled with a hint of lust. Offer him your body, and maybe he’ll leave you alone. Where in the bleedin’ hell did that thought come from?! I was about to make a retort when he spoke again. “Do you sleep with any of your clients?”


My eyes widened in shock at his sudden change of subject. “That’s none of your damn business! None of what I do here is any of your business.” He smiled and shook his head as if he found my outburst amusing. “It soon will be, Clara. You must understand; even if I wanted to relent, I could not. I can’t give into you because if I did, I’d seem weak. Weakness is a trait that is never tolerated in my line of work.” I smiled despite myself. “So you’re saying now that you’re on to me, you can’t let me go? That you have to see this through because if you didn’t, then you would seem weak?” “Exactly.” His sexy smile made me fidget in my chair a little. “You’re a piece of work.” His smile broadened as I found his eyes dance over my cleavage. “That I am, beautiful.”


I thought my stomach was about to blow with the knots in my stomach. He called me beautiful. I couldn’t remember the last time someone called me beautiful. Sexy or sometimes fucking hot, but never beautiful. “I… I…” Did I just stutter? “I require payment for our services,” he finally said, breaking my trance. Remembering why he was here, I became angry. “That is what I do here—not the other way around.” “So, you are refusing payment?” “Err… Hold up a second, and let me think—YES, I bloody well am refusing payment!” Rolling my eyes at him, I swiftly got out of my chair and walked towards the door. I had my hand on the knob when I felt his hand around my wrist. He spun me around and before I knew it, he was inches away from my lips. He was so close I could feel his hot breath invading my own.


“Do you let your clients fuck you, Clara? Answer the question.” Through my erratic breaths I managed, “It’s none of your business.” Within an instant, his hand was at my face as he slid his finger down from my eyes to my chin. Gently lifting my chin up to meet his eyes, I shuddered underneath his touch. “I’m not going to let you go unless you tell me.” Fuck me; I wanted him to kiss me. I hated him with such intensity that it made me want to push him towards my desk and fuck his brains out. I didn’t want to answer him, but I somehow found myself doing just that. “No. I never sleep with my clients. I only run the business.” His hands were suddenly at my shoulders as he trailed his fingers down both arms before gently squeezing them ever so seductively.


I didn’t know what had come over me, but an incomprehensible sound escaped my lips. I was unable to hide my wanton desire for this complete stranger who was supposed to be my enemy. “That’s a good girl. Let’s keep it that way.” I instantly became rigid beneath him as my anger resurfaced. I was not only angry with him, but with myself for giving so much away. He said he was a man who got what he wanted, and now he was making damn sure he could prove it to me. “Let. Me. Go!” I gritted my teeth, making sure I glared into his caramel eyes as I accentuated every word. Smiling, he let go and pulled away slightly—leaving me to catch my breath. “I will go for now, but you have not heard the last of this, my beautiful Clara.”


It amazed me how he could threaten me and call me beautiful all in one wrapped up, cute little sentence. Finding my senses, I pulled away from the door and let him pass. “I don’t know why you’re going to bother. It’s a no now, and it will be a no the next time you visit as well. You’re not getting a penny from me. Plain and simple.” He smiled, nodded, and walked straight to the door. “Until the next time.” The moment he left, I found myself at my desk and taking deep breaths. He didn’t frighten me one little bit, but I was scared beyond senseless by my feelings towards him. I had never experienced anything quite like it. In my delirium, I found myself looking forward to the next time he turned up just to see what he had up his sleeve. Whatever he threw at me would be a challenge. A game almost.


Before I knew it, a smile began to replace my look of shock. “Bring it on, buddy! Show me what you got.”

I was still trying to recover from our little encounter when I heard a knock at my door. “Come in!” I shouted. Belinda, Rachael, Jane, and Samantha practically skipped through my door with excitement. “New client?” Samantha had more than a little glint in her eye. I knew why they were here. They caught sight of the evil sex monster and wanted him to be theirs. “Sorry, ladies, but no. He’s our enemy. Mr. Belatoni.” “Agh,” Jane said. “And to think I was even going to give him a blow job for free.” I don’t know why, but that bothered me.


“Are you okay, Clara? He didn’t try to hurt you did he?” Belinda’s concern made my heart flutter a little. “No, he was fine. He just won’t let this lie. I’ve told him in no uncertain terms that he isn’t getting a penny from me, but he also refuses to take no for an answer. He will come back, and when he does, we will all need to be prepared. Please ladies, keep a close eye out during the next few days.” They all nodded their heads in worry. “Of course, of course,” they all said. Looking at their worried faces made the guilt flourish. I knew I could handle this myself, but Mr. Belatoni was a dangerous man. That was a fact that couldn’t be ignored. These poor girls were probably frightened witless. “Listen, no matter what takes place over the next few days, I will never let anything happen to you. I’m sure I will be able to think of something. Don’t worry. I’ll take


care of it.” Nodding their heads, they smiled as I sat back in my chair. “We better get going,” Belinda said. “We all have clients coming shortly.” “Yes, it would seem we have a busy day today. All the horny bastards are coming out to play.” I chuckled a little, but soon remembered that that was exactly what I was only moments ago with the sexy beast. All the girls laughed and rose out of their seats to leave. “I’ll be out and about in a few hours. I just need to take care of some admin. If you have any problems, please let me know straight away.” “Sure thing,” Belinda said. “Oh, and another thing; we need to check that the alarms are still working in all of the bedrooms. Can we do a drill before the clients start arriving, please?” Belinda smiled. “I’ll get right on it.” “Thanks. Just give me a call before you do, so I’ll know it’s not a real emergency.”


“Yessum, boss.” Belinda winked, and they all left. The alarms I had installed when we were setting this little venture up were crucial for the girls’ safety. There were two alarms; one was under the bed, and one was on the wall. If ever there was a girl in trouble, she would hit that alarm and either I or my trusty night guard, Trevor, came to their rescue. Thankfully, in my five years of working here, it had only happened four times, and one of them was because a client was having a heart attack. Still, the girls knew what to do under those circumstances. Everyone acted like clients staying in a plush hotel and no one was any the wiser for it. Acting seemed to be one of the many attributes the girls had adopted. Looking at my computer, I spent an hour gazing through the endless list of possibilities to replace Tammy. Once I got through the bulk, I settled on five girls and


asked each one to come in for an interview as soon as they could. Three said they could make it this afternoon and the other two were unable until next week. With that said, I told the other two that I would be in touch and left it at that. This was a fast-paced world with fast-paced clients—looking for some fast action. When they wanted it, they got it, and I could never tell a client to wait. That was the worst thing to do. They would end up going elsewhere. Keeping both the clients and my girls happy was my main priority. After a brief look at my takings in the last month, I slouched back in my chair with a contented sigh. The moment my concentration was available to think on others things, it immediately went to Luca. Beautiful, sexy, and dangerous Luca—with the most amazing brown eyes I had ever seen. Closing my eyes, I began to picture running my


hands around his chest and down towards an area I was unacquainted with … yet. Snapping my eyes open, I realised where I was and what it was I was thinking. It was almost as if I was planning my seduction in my head. Planning all the things I wanted to do to him. He was my enemy; he was not someone who could be trusted. He demanded money for services I did not and would not need. Almost as if on cue, my phone rang, and breathing my name down the line was the one and only—the object of my thoughts. “Clara, how nice it is to hear your voice. Have you thought anymore about my request?” I sighed heavily down the line on purpose. I wanted him to know I was pissed. “If I told you what I thought you could do with your request, you wouldn’t be very happy.”


A raspy chuckle sang through the telephone line, making me shudder. “I’ve never met anyone quite like you.” “I’ll take that as a compliment.” “It was meant to be one. Suffice it to say, however, that if you were a man, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” I arched my back at his comment. “Is that supposed to frighten me, Mr. Belatoni?” “Of course not. Just making an observation.” “Well, your observations are not welcome here. Neither are you.” Liar, liar, pants on fire! “I highly doubt that for a second.” Oh great. He knew he had an effect on me. I was highly charged on sexual energy and had been ever since he walked through my door at half-past-ten this morning. “Are you going to keep your promise to me?”


His seductive tone had my full attention. “I don’t know what you mean.” “How easily you forget such important issues. First, you disobey me and then you forget a direct order.” I huffed. “What am I, your Private?” He chuckled. “No, but I can’t wait for you to get to know mine.” “Ah, so we’re a comedian now?” I rolled my eyes at his blatant innuendo. “Actually, I take my privates very seriously.” “I bet you do.” I didn’t know where the hell that had come from. This was only going to encourage him even further. A little humming sound vibrated through my ear sending erotic shockwaves through my veins. My God, if he had the ability to do this through his voice alone, what would it be like to have him fuck me? The thought made me feel dizzy.


“You’re a little temptress. Do you know that, Clara? My beautiful temptress.” What does one say to something like that? I knew men like him used torture on a daily basis to get what they wanted, but this guy took the biscuit. Thank God we weren’t in the same room together. “What are you trying to achieve here, Mr. Belatoni?” Well done, Clara. Stick it to him! “I’m trying to achieve my missions. The first is to get a part of your business. The second is to get your body underneath mine as I make you come harder than you ever have in your life. Can I put it more simply than that?” I actually laughed at this. “You’re not getting either, so I suggest you find someone else to pick on.” “To be honest with you, I was going to try and be reasonable with you this morning. I was going to come up with a plan that would suit both of us. But then I saw you,


and it just confirmed it for me. Everything has changed.” “Wh… What do you mean?” I was stuttering again. I never stuttered. “You have no idea how many propositions I get on a daily basis, Miss Murphy. I would never want for anything in that department. Today, when I met you, was when it all really changed for me. I want you, and I’m going to have you. Not only that, but you will cease any sexual relations until such time as our encounter begins.” I choked. I couldn’t believe what he was saying. The gall of the man! Who on earth did he think he was? “How dare you try to enforce rules and commands on me? I am not yours to play with, Mr. Belatoni. I am a person with feelings and opinions. Not someone you can order about like a soldier.” “You will submit to me. I can guarantee it.”


I could feel my blood pressure rise. I hated and wanted this man with such intensity that it burned. “It’s never going to happen. In fact, I have a date tomorrow night, and I wasn’t going to fuck him, but now that you’ve said this, I’m going to give him the best goddamned sex he’s ever had in his life. Good day, Mr. Belatoni.” Putting the phone down, I gave myself a mental pat on the back. He can go and stew on that all day! The phone began its chiming again and I picked up with up with a gruff in my voice. “I thought I made myself clear to you, arsehole.” “Clara, it’s Belinda.” I could hear the surprise in her voice. “Oh, Belinda. Sorry. I thought you were someone else.” “Quite,” was all she said. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to test all


thirty alarms right now. No clients are here at the moment so I thought it would be a good time. We have Mr. Lopez arriving in one hour so we should have them all wrapped up by then.” “Sure thing, go ahead.” I sat in my chair and waited as the first alarm rang through the house. It wasn’t an oppressive sound, it was just enough to alert me. In addition to the alarm, I also had a light on my desk that would flash red if all else failed, or if I couldn’t hear for whatever reason. It would immediately alert me to the bedroom number from which the alarm was coming—a very handy device. All in all, it took a good thirty minutes to go over each one, and I thanked my lucky stars that they all seemed to work. That would make me feel a little better later in the evening when the clients arrived and start disappearing into the bedrooms.


Ten minutes after, my first interviewee arrived. She was prompt and willing as she bounced her way through my door. “Natalie?” I asked, rising out of my chair and extending my hand. “Yes, so glad to finally meet you, Miss Murphy.” “Please, call me, Clara. No formalities here.” Smiling, she wrapped one elegant and shapely leg round the other. I knew I wasn’t into women in that sense, but I could still appreciate the female form. Natalie was no exception. She had beautiful golden brown hair and dark eyes. On her profile it said that she was originally from Trinidad and Tobago, was five foot six, and had thirty-four double D breasts. Based on this first impression, I liked her. I liked her a lot. “So, Natalie, tell me about yourself.” “Well, I have been escorting for a few years, but it’s really not my thing. I don’t like


being put in situations that could be a danger to me. Meeting men in hotel rooms always carries an element of risk. It’s something I would like to veer away from if I can. “Having said that, I do like the other aspects of my work. I enjoy sex very much, and I’m willing to try anything new.” Smiling sweetly, she seductively pushed her hair back. I immediately thought some of my clients would like her. “I completely understand, and that’s good to hear. Can you tell me why you have chosen The Castle?” She clasped her hands together and rested them on her lap. “Do you know Chantel?” “Chantel Baxter?” “Yes, that’s the one. She is a very close friend and highly recommended you.” I smiled sweetly, remembering Chantel. She left a couple of years ago to pursue an acting career in the states. “How is she getting on now?”


“She’s doing well, I think. She couldn’t get into proper acting, so I think she’s just doing soft porn. She enjoys it though, and that’s the main thing. She always talks about you. She said you helped her once.” I smiled remembering how sweet Chantel was. She was one of my girls of course, but she kind of lost herself along the way. She got into drugs, and when one of the clients complained about her behaviour, I had to step in and confront her. After several tears and apologies, I got her clean. I made her promise me that she would never do that again and she held to that promise. I think Chantel was so grateful that I had kept her job for her that she knew she could never return to that life. I offered her a roof over her head to cut ties with her old life and she accepted. “She’s a great girl who deserved to be happy. I won’t tolerate bad behaviour here, but I will always help whenever the need


arises. I’m sometimes like the aunt of the place.” “That’s great to hear. I promise you that I would give one hundred and ten percent here. Not only because I’m a hard worker, but also because you deserve to have the best. Treat people with the same level of respect with which they treat others.” I smiled at that. I was really warming to Natalie. “Exactly my motto, Natalie.” I paused briefly to take her in one last time. She was rather stunning. “I would just like to ask two more things before I let you go.” “Anything,” she beamed. “Is there anything you wouldn’t do? Sometimes my clients have eclectic tastes shall we say. I don’t want you to be doing anything here you’re uncomfortable with, so I’ll need to know where you draw the line and with what things or activities.”


She regarded my question before replying. “I would say the only thing I draw the line with is anyone inflicting pain on me. I don’t mind whipping or hitting anyone else, but I won’t have it done to me.” “That’s fair enough—and goes without saying. So, you’re happy with anal?” “Yes. I don’t mind that.” “Okay, excellent. Just one more thing. If I choose to have you to join us, you will have to be tested, and a background check will be done. I also have certain forms that will need to be filled out. Before I go any further, I need to know if you’re okay with all of that.” She nodded her head. “Of course. Your application said as much. It’s all fine by me.” “Great. I have others to see shortly, but I’m sure I’ll have an answer for you by this afternoon.” “That’s fantastic. Thank you.” Rising out of my chair, I extended my hand to her.


“You’re welcome, Natalie. I’ll speak with you soon.” She left straight after, and I then began the other two interviews. I was exhausted by the end of it all. The other two were nice, but neither held a candle to Natalie. I guess first impressions do last. Once the last one was out the door, I immediately rang Natalie and told her she had the job if she wanted it. She was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to start. I told her that there would be an initial one-month probationary period and that she should come in to sign the forms whenever she could. All things going well with the tests etc, she could start in two weeks’ time. By the end of her call and after calling the other two in order to share the disappointing news, I sat back in my chair—certain that I had made the right choice. Only time would tell.


While I awaited seven o’clock, I changed into something more suitable for the evening and set about surveying my kingdom. There were a few girls perched up high on the bar having a drink and looking every bit like the hotel’s clientele themselves. Some of them were elegantly sitting on some sofa chairs, deeply engaged in conversation. Bill was at the bar serving Samantha a glass of champagne as he took me in. With a wink and a smile, I knew he was good. And then there was Raffael, our other bartender and server. He walked towards me after serving Mandy her drinks. “Clara,” he said with a dip of his head. “Raffael, how are we this evening?” “I’m doing very well. It’s always a pleasure to serve such beautiful ladies.”


Looking around, I immediately saw what he saw. They were all beautiful—some of them stunningly so. It made me wonder a little as to why they chose this line of work. I expect a few of them could have been models and made just as much money … if not more. “They are beautiful, aren’t they?” “And so are you this evening. As always.” “You’re such a charmer, Raffael.” “Well, you have to be in this line of work.” I chuckled. “I suppose so.” “Clara!” Belinda shouted from behind. “Yes, Belinda.” She had a familiar look of frustration on her face, and I instantly knew what was wrong. “It’s Mr. Townsend again. He’s being particularly naughty today.” “Okay. Show me the way.” Heading off, we both walked up the grand staircase towards the hall of rooms


filled on either side. It looked just like any hotel, and that was just how I wanted it. We even had key cards for each room so it looked authentic. Upon entering the room, I found Mr. Townsend on the floor with nothing but a gstring and a dog collar on. “What has he done?” “He keeps trying to hump my leg. I told him it was naughty, but he didn’t listen.” “Jeffrey, what have I told you about doing this to Belinda? She is your mistress and you must do as she tells you.” Jeffrey bowed his head, but immediately rewarded me by crawling over and humping my leg. My instant reaction was to grab him by the ear. He always loved it when I did that. So, that’s what I did. I squeezed a certain pressure point that can immediately immobilize anyone. He was all mine after that. “Jeffrey, I won’t tell you again. This sort of


behaviour is unacceptable. Now, what do you say?” “I’m sorry.” I squeezed harder and heard him moan with pleasure. “Sorry, what? I think I missed the last word there.” His eyes were closed, but I knew he was loving every moment.“Sorry, Mistress.” I smiled. “That’s better. Now, are we going to be a good boy from now on, Jeffrey?” His breathing was heavy. “Yes, Mistress.” “Are you going to do what the lovely Belinda demands of you from now on?” “Yes, Mistress.” “That’s better, Jeffrey.” Releasing his ear, he fell to the floor panting. “He’s all yours now, Belinda.” I greeted her with a big smile, and she winked at me. Just as I walked out the door, I heard Belinda belt him one. Ouch!


Beginning my journey down the stairs, I started to shake my head. Jeffrey Townsend was one of our extreme customers. He liked to be whipped, spanked, domineered, and severely humiliated. I do draw the line at having sex with customers, but I don’t mind helping out with the disciplinary side of things. Jeffrey wanted me from the beginning. He said he sensed something about me that he liked. Maybe he saw my no-nonsense, domineering side. Whatever it was, I had said no, but I certainly didn’t mind helping him get worked up when the need arose. Belinda said he was always different once I came up there and dealt with his bad behaviour. I was halfway down the steps when Matthew Broadmore appeared at the bottom. He was wearing a grey suit with a blue tie, and his black hair was slicked back with gel. His


eyes twinkled as he spotted me, and he held his malt up to me in salute. “Well, hello, Miss Murphy. You’re looking exceptionally tasty this evening.” “Why, thank you, Mr. Broadmore. You’re looking rather dashing yourself.” “I’m eager to meet the lovely Melinda this evening.” Looking around, I tried to see if I could find her, but it was to no avail. Just when I thought she wasn’t around, however, I spied her coming out of the ladies toilet. “Ah, there she is. Melinda!” I shouted. Immediately, she turned her head towards me and smiled. I immediately looked towards Matthew, and noticed his eyes widen in appreciation of her stunning looks. She was very tall and very elegant looking with the most amazingly long legs and sparkling blue eyes. It was her eyes which made her black hair stand out all the more.


“Clara, who’s this dashing young gentleman you have with you?” That was it. She nailed it! I knew then he was completely smitten. “Melinda, I would like to introduce you to your new client, Matthew Broadmore. Matthew, this is the lovely Melinda.” “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Melinda offered her hand, and he took it, giving the back of her hand a kiss. Melinda blushed, and that had Matthew drooling all the more. My work here is done. “So, Matthew, would you like to have a drink with me at the bar? Or would you prefer we take our drinks somewhere a little more … private?” Matthew could hardly contain himself. “I think I’d very much like to get to know you somewhere more privately—if I may?” Melinda smiled sweetly and linked her arm with his. “Very well, Matthew. Come with me.”


I winked at Melinda as she stroked Matthew’s arm and led him up the stairs.

An hour or so later, I was at the bar, enjoying a glass of champagne when Jeffrey Townsend walked in. The transformation was amazing to see. A little over an hour before, he had been a pathetic little worm of a man, but after his “session,” he looked authoritative and confident. “Mr. Townsend, have we enjoyed our evening?” His smile said it all. “It has been a most pleasant evening. Thank you for asking.” “Will you be staying for a drink?” “I would love to,” he beamed. “Bill, would you please get Mr. Townsend a whiskey? Neat, isn’t it, Jeffrey?” “Yes, that would be perfect.” Bill dutifully nodded and went to work fetching Jeffrey his drink.


“So, what’s been happening with you lately?” I watched as he sat upright in his chair and adjusted his tie a little. “I’m celebrating a victory today. I’ve just been made Managing Partner at my law firm.” Well, I never! For someone with a lot of power, he certainly likes to relinquish it once he gets here. “Congratulations,” I said, holding up my glass to clink with his. “I bet this means more responsibility on your shoulders.” “Yes it does, but I like that. It’s also nice to come here and unwind. I certainly feel very calm and refreshed now.” His cheerful face made me smile. “That’s great to hear. We always aim to please.” I gave him a cheeky wink. “You’ve certainly got a lucrative business here. You should be very proud of yourself.”


“Thank you. I’ve worked hard to get here now, and I must say I’m happy with the way things have turned out.” “And so you should be. If ever you need my advice, please do not hesitate to call me.” He swiftly took his drink and downed it in one go. “That’s very kind, and it’s very much appreciated.” Jeffrey nodded. “Well, I better be off. I have an urgent merger that needs my attention. I was getting quite stressed about it earlier as the client is a right bastard. Now though, I think I can just about take anybody on.” He smiled sweetly and held out his hand. “I’ll be seeing you soon, no doubt.” I swivelled my legs around on the barstool to face him and took his hand. “I’ll look forward to it.” Jeffery was soon gone, and I was left flabbergasted at how strong his handshake


was. What a different person he was compared to his earlier demeanour. I was still musing over this when Matthew Broadmore approached the bar with Melinda draped on his arm. “Clara,” he said with a beaming smile, “where have you been hiding this wonderful woman?” “Oh, I must admit, I’ve been keeping her all to myself until now,” I said, jokingly. “I thought it was time I wasn’t so selfish and let other people enjoy her company.” “Quite! Well, Melinda, it’s been a pleasure to meet you. Your company was truly enthralling.” Melinda giggled, which Matthew seemed to adore. “Thank you. I enjoyed every bit of it, too. I’ll look forward to seeing you soon… I hope?” “Ah, there’s no doubt about that, my dear.” Clasping her hand in his, he turned to me. “Clara, get yourself and this wonderful


lady a drink from me.” He planted a fifty pound note on the bar and leaned in to kiss me on the cheek. “Thank you, Matthew. That’s very kind.” I squeezed his hand tenderly and Melinda gave him a light kiss on the lips. “See you later, handsome,” she purred. He rewarded her with a little pat on the bottom, which caused her to yelp a little. “Enjoy, ladies, and I shall see you very soon.” He blew a kiss and then off he went. “I think he’s a little bit intoxicated.” I knew Matthew was a bit eccentric, but he was playing it up even more so after a couple of glasses of whiskey. “He’s harmless.” Melinda giggled and stroked her luscious hair behind her back. “Something’s bothering me, though.” She had a little crinkle in her forehead as she frowned. I frowned. “What’s that?”


“I’ve heard his name before, but I can’t place where.” I regarded her with a knowing smile and squeezed her arm. “That’s because he’s our local MP.” Her eyes widened. “Shit, you’re kidding me?” “I kid you not, my dear Melinda.” “Fuck a stoat; I never saw that one coming.” “Yes, but I bet you saw him coming.” I couldn’t help that one. It just had to be said. “Oh, yes,” Melinda laughed. “That I saw a couple of times. The first one was a bit quick. I think he was rather excited. He thought that was it, but I insisted we go again. I soon got him worked up enough for round two.” I threw my head back slightly and laughed. “I bet you did, Melinda.”

I woke up the next morning in my little tower. I called it that because I had a huge room at the top of my castle. It sported its own kitchen and dining area with a separate bathroom. It was a big studio apartment in a very big mansion. Whatever it could be called, it was my sanctuary. A place to escape the trials and tribulations of the day/ evening. Thinking about yesterday, I judged that, overall, it had gone well—despite Luca Belatoni’s attempts to spoil it. In my sleepy haze, I found myself thinking about him and wondering why I hadn’t heard a thing from him since our last conversation. I was disappointed in a sense, and I was also disappointed in myself for being disappointed in the first place. He was like an itch that needed


scratching. He was also a thorn in my side and a pain in the fucking arse. And yet, I was lying in bed fantasising about gripping his hair in my hands and pulling him into me like the tigress I felt I was. I wanted to run my fingers along the prickly hairs on his chin, and I wanted to feel his body pressed against mine as he fucked me with his caramel-coloured eyes staring into mine. At the same time, I wanted to punch his lights out! Still, I had things to do, so I got up, showered, dressed in a nice, figure-hugging, above-the-knee dress, and proceeded to make my way to the office two floors down. Most of the place was quiet as some of the girls were still asleep. I never disturbed them too much during the day as they worked so hard during the night. I’m not stupid. I realise that some girls—some nights—do not wish to sleep with the clients that flow through our doors. In a


sense, the girls are extremely talented actors. They make the men feel special and wanted—even though they may be cringing inside. I have always tried to make the matches as compatible as possible, though. It all depended upon the personality of our client and the needs he or she had. Yes, I did say she. We have occasionally entertained female clients. Typically, they were just women interested in trying to experiment with their sexuality. Sometimes, they just wanted to try and see what it was like to be with a woman for a change. We offered them a way to do that with total anonymity. If they liked the experience, good for them. If they didn’t, then they could just forget about it and move on: put it down to a one-off they would never have to worry about returning to bite them in the ass in the future. “Clara,” Belinda whispered from the bottom of the stairs. She looked worried. “What is it, Belinda?”


“Mia’s in the kitchen crying. Something happened last night.” “Why wasn’t I told this last night?” I was suddenly on high alert. “She didn’t want to trouble you.” She looked timidly at me and gave me a weak smile. I didn’t waste any time. I was hot on Belinda’s heels as we made our way to the kitchen where we found Mia crying. Melinda was with her, trying to comfort her. “What’s happened?” I suddenly found myself panicking a little—thinking that someone had hurt her. I was ready to scream blue murder. “Last night, wh-wh-when Mr. Brannan and I … we-we-were having sex, the co-cocondom split.” She then wailed like a baby. I could understand why. Anyone would be in a panic over something like that. Pulling Mia in for a hug, I stroked her hair. “Mia, it will be okay. Look at me.” I


pushed her away and made her look me in the eye. “This is what we’re going to do. First of all, we’re going to make an appointment with the doctor, so you can get the morning after pill. Then, at the same time, we will see about getting you tested. I’m sure you will be fine as the last test Mr. Brannan had was clear, but we’ll do this just to make certain.” She smiled and nodded her head. “Thank you.” “Don’t mention it. I know you’re upset, and I completely understand why. Just remember we have very strict guidelines here to make sure everyone is clean, and these situations are the very reasons why these guidelines are in place.” Addressing all of the girls, I asked, “Has Mr. Brannan said anything about this?” Mia nodded. “He was quite sweet about it. He assured me he was clean, and I assured him I was, too.”


“Okay. I shall go and give him a call in just a moment, but first of all, let’s get you set up for your appointment. You’re my priority now, and I don’t want to see you upset. When one lady here is upset, we all are.” “Thank you … again.” I squeezed her arm and was confident enough that she had calmed down a little. “Stay here and get yourself a nice hot cup of coffee and something to eat. I’ll cancel all of your appointments this evening and let you know straight away what time you can go to see Dr. Flemming.” “What are you going to tell everyone?” she asked, looking worried. “I’ll tell them that you have some sort of flu. They’ll understand.” “I’m really sorry this has messed you about.” I shook my head. “Don’t be. These things happen, and they’re beyond anyone’s control. Maybe if you weren’t so tight down


there…” I smiled, letting her know I was joking. She giggled. “Maybe if he wasn’t so big.” Her eyes widened. I raised my eyebrow. “Is he really?” She very slowly nodded her head. “Oh, yeah.” I smiled. “Well, I’ll go see to it that I massage his ego a little. I’m sure everything will be fine.” After making sure everyone was okay, I took the stairs back up to my office. The list of things to do on a daily basis seemed endless. Just as I sat down and was about to call the doctor, Belinda walked in. “Natalie is here to see you.” I bit my lip, thinking this was the worst time for her to be coming round for a visit. “Could you do me a huge favour?” “Sure thing. What is it?”


I picked up a folder I had on my desk and handed it to her. “Inside are all the forms that Natalie needs to fill in and sign. Would you mind helping her with them?” She nodded. “Sure, no problem at all. Consider it done.” “Thank you. Please let her know that I’m sorry I missed her today. Just explain that I have some urgent business that needs attending. I’m going to call Dr. Flemming about Mia now, and I may as well mention Natalie.” “Of course. Let me know once you have spoken with her. I’ll see to it that Natalie has everything.” “Thank you.” Belinda left, and I sighed in relief. She was always a huge help here when things got a little out of hand. She seemed to be able to handle anything, so I leaned on her quite a bit when the need presented itself. She was


quickly becoming my right-hand woman and was paid extra because of it. Picking the phone up, I dialled Dr. Flemming’s number. She answered after just two rings. “Dr. Flemming.” I heard her cheery voice, and it made me smile. “Good morning, Barbara. How are you?” “Clara, so nice to hear from you. I’m good thanks. I take it you’re not calling just to chitchat?” “No. I have a problem unfortunately.” “Oh? Pray tell.” I could hear the intrigue in her voice. “Mia had a problem last night with one of the clients. She needs the morning after pill and a test if you can do that today?” “Oh, dear! Is she okay?” “Yes, she’s fine. Just a little shaken by the experience. She wasn’t harmed; something just happened that was out of her control.”


“Ah. I see. Okay.” I think she got it straight away. Dr. Flemming obviously knew what we did here, although I never had nor would voice it out loud. She was a very down-to-earth doctor, and it also helped that I paid her enough to keep her quiet. “I do have a slot free this morning if you want to send her. She would have to hurry, though.” “You’re an absolute star! Thank you.” “Don’t mention it. Happy to help.” I bet you are with the money I pay you! “There is one other thing. I have a new girl starting, and she needs testing as well.” “Of course. Bring them both down, and I’ll test this girl first and Mia second. Mia will obviously need handling with care. What is this other girl’s name?” “Natalie Ferro.” I could hear her on the line, hesitating. She was obviously writing all this down.


“Okay, great. Send them down, and I’ll get Natalie on the system and care for Mia and any concerns she may have.” I sighed my relief. “Thank you. I shall send them now.” I put the phone down and immediately went in search of Belinda. I found her outside of my office at the desk she used. Natalie was sat opposite, concentration etched on her face as she filled in all of the forms. “Good morning, Natalie.” Natalie looked up and smiled. “Good morning, Clara. I thought I was going to miss you today.” “It’s been a little hectic this morning already. Sorry about that. I did want to meet with you again and have a little chat.” “That’s okay. I completely understand.” “Natalie, I’ve just been on the phone to our doctor. Her name is Barbara Flemming, and she is excellent at what she does. All the girls love her.”


“Okay.” “She said that she could test you this morning if you’re free?” Natalie nodded. “Yes, certainly. It would be a perfect time actually. I do have quite a free day today.” “Excellent. Another girl called Mia is going also. I will let her know, and you two can go together. I will arrange for our driver, Carlos, to take you both. Once you are finished, he will take you wherever you need to go.” She smiled brightly. “That’s brilliant. Thank you.” “I’ll do all the arranging, Clara. You go back and sort whatever you need to. I’ll make sure Mia and Natalie are okay.” I squeezed Belinda’s arm gently. I was extremely grateful to have her. “Thanks, Belinda.”


She smiled sweetly back. “No problem at all.” She then turned her attention back to Natalie. “Have a good day, Natalie. If you have any problems, just give me a shout.” She waved at me. “Sure. Thank you.”

About an hour later, I slumped in my chair with a big sigh. I had called Mr. Brennan and he seemed happy enough. He would get tested, but was happy. That was the main thing. Getting up from my chair, I thought it would be nice to get some fresh air. I was starting to get a little stir crazy and thought a walk around the grounds might calm me down a little. With that thought in my head, that’s exactly what I did. The sun was out today, but it was a little fresh. Every time the breeze hit my face it would sting a little. Still, I accepted


it as I was just happy enough to be outside for a little—even in the cold. I walked around for about half an hour taking in the view of the Kentish fields ahead, and the expanse of trees around. On my journey, I bumped into my gardener, Thomas. He was young and a little easy on the eyes. My girls all had a field day watching him in the summer with his top off. I said hi and went through a few pleasantries before I thought it was time to head back inside. Just before heading in, though, I spied something in the distance. It looked like a fleet of cars were heading this way. I didn’t know why, but something was telling me this wasn’t right. On full alert, I ran back into the house and screamed at all the girls to head for their rooms. “Why? What’s happening?” Samantha’s face mirrored my own.


“I don’t know, but there are people coming, and I don’t think they’re friendlies somehow. Everyone, please go to your rooms and stay there until I say it’s safe.” They all nodded, and I turned to go back out the door. The cars were coming closer, and I managed to spy the identity of one of the passengers straight away. I should have guessed it—Mr. Belatoni. Instinctively, I bolted the doors shut and stood to attention upon the steps. It wasn’t long before a loud banging sound erupted around the house. Then, all became quiet inside as everyone went off to hide. I had never seen or heard it that quiet before. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention. “Clara, I know you’re in there. Just be a good girl and open the door for me. You have sixty seconds.” My eyes widened in panic. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t let him in; he had his


henchmen with him, and there was no telling what they were here to do. My girls’ safety was my number one priority. I stood—panicked—just waiting and hoping he would eventually give up and go away. I didn’t truly think that would be likely, however. He soon proved me right when I heard them bash through my door. It took them several attempts to get the door open, but they managed it. As soon as they all broke through, in walked Luca. It was almost as if everything was happening in slowmotion. Again, he commanded the room like a giant bull about to charge. He took in his surroundings, but before long, those steely, sparkling, caramel eyes bored into mine like a man possessed. And boy did he possess me. I couldn’t move; I couldn’t even breathe. I also couldn’t take my eyes off that man. He came to halt with a few men standing directly behind him. He stood still and


leisurely raked his gaze over my body. I wasn’t sure, but I thought I heard a low growl escape from him. With the room being so big and without another sound to be heard, the vibrating rumble in his throat was amplified. Then, that sexy smile curved his lips up, and I knew he was coming for me. Without hesitation, my legs took flight. I ran up the stairs like a bat out of hell, turning only once to see Luca very slowly and casually walking up the stairs behind me. Before I could breathe, I was in one of the upstairs bathrooms. I chose this one in particular as I knew I could escape and find another way out. I needed to get to the girls. I was worried for them. They would be scared and anxious, so the sooner I got to them, the better. My heart went straight to my throat as I heard a tapping on the door. “As much as I love chasing you up the stairs, you’re only


avoiding the inevitable. I told you I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.” “Piss off!” That was all I could think of to say. I was angry that he had just invaded my home. I heard a rumble of laughter through the door. “Come on, Clara. Don’t be like this. If you open the door, then maybe I can fuck you against it. You won’t be pissed off with me then. I can guarantee it.” My legs turned to jelly as the force of his words hit me like a bulldozer. I so wanted him to fuck me up against the bathroom door, but I hated him at the same time. I even hated him for making me want him. I stood silent for another few seconds, trying to calm my breathing. I knew I needed to get out of there and fast. If his men could break down my front door, then they would be in here in next to no time. I had to act fast.


Opening the bathroom window, I gazed down at the floor. I went dizzy at the dual prospects of having to be outside in the cold and having to climb down the drain pipe. I couldn’t even believe I was actually considering doing just that, but the thought of getting the hell out of there and seeing to my girls was my number one aim right then. Very carefully, I climbed out so as not to make too much noise. I quickly found the pipe and clung onto it for dear life. What didn’t help was the fact that I had highheeled shoes on. Not the best shoes to be wearing. Then again, I didn’t know I was going to be put in a situation where I would need to be climbing out of my own castle! With a deep breath, I managed to swing my legs around onto the pipe, and I slowly made my way down. It took longer than anticipated, but I’d take that over falling and breaking my neck any day. Once my feet touched the ground, I let out a deep breath.


I felt a hand on my shoulder. “Clara.” I turned round so violently that Thomas had to step back a little. “Shit, Thomas. Don’t scare me like that again.” “What’s going on? Who are all those men who went into the house?” Hearing the sounds of a few voices in the distance, I grabbed Thomas’ hand and ran. “Come with me, and stay quiet.” We ran around the back of the house and found the entry point I was looking for. I took off my high heels and turned to Thomas. “Can you do something for me?” He nodded, but looked panicked. “Sure, anything.” “If you go through this door there is a staircase to the left hand side. If you make your way up one floor it will take you to the majority of all the rooms. Please make sure that when you open the door you don’t see any of the men outside. I will create a distraction so that will buy you a couple of


minutes. Once you have the girls, ask Belinda to grab the keys to the lodge. She will know where I mean. Please make sure you all go there and stay there until I know it’s safe.” He looked concerned. “What about you?” “Don’t worry about me; I’ll be fine. They’re not going to harm me. I promise.” I hated lying. How could I promise that? I didn’t know what the hell they were going to do to me. “I’m not going to leave you.” His face was stern and determined. “Thomas, please. There is a lot more than just me to worry about here. Please.” I was begging. I had to. I wanted all of them to be safe. I squeezed his hand and pleaded with my eyes for him to help me. “Okay. I’ll do it. But I’m going to come back for you once I’m done.”


I shook my head. “No. That’s not going to happen, Thomas. If they find you, they will hurt you. Please, just do this one thing for me. I will be eternally in your debt.” I smiled as best I could under the circumstances. He sighed, but didn’t look happy. “Sure. I’ll go.” I kind of got the feeling he wasn’t listening to me, but at that moment, I just wanted everyone to be kept out of harm’s way. Thomas soon disappeared behind the door, and I scurried towards our barn. Thankfully, there were some left over fireworks from the bonfire night we recently had. I grabbed one and immediately began searching for some matchsticks. As quickly as I could gather everything in my arms I ran outside. I placed the firework upright in the ground and lit the thing as soon as I could.


Once I knew it would ignite, I ran back for the cover of the barn. I stood there for what seemed like an age, and I was almost about to turn and find out what was taking so long when I heard a massive bang. It was just how I had planned it. Several men were outside soon enough looking everywhere for me. That was my cue then to run like the wind. They saw me of course, but that was my plan all along. Taking charge, they ran towards me and I knew it wouldn’t take them long before they were onto me. I’m a fast runner, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to outrun a dozen men. I tried to make it last as long as I possibly could to give Thomas and the girls the most time possible to get out. Within about thirty seconds, I could hear their heavy breathing behind me, and I knew it was only a matter of time.


I was on the floor within a nanosecond before being hauled up to my feet. “Bastardi!” I shouted. “She speaks Italian.” A man with huge muscles raised his eyebrow at me. “Fuck you.” “And, she’s angry. The boss doesn’t do angry.” “I don’t give a flying fuck, arsehole.” Before I knew it, one of the men backhanded me so hard I was almost sick. “Michel, you fucking piece of shit. What did you do that for?” Big Muscle Man glared at him. “She was being rude to you.” “I don’t give a damn what she did. Look at her. You’ve made her lip bleed.” I could feel my lip swelling just as he said it. I could also taste the blood in my mouth. “Let’s get her back in the house. She’ll freeze to death out here.”


I didn’t know why Big Muscle Man was worried for my wellbeing. He looked as though he could crush someone as soon as look at him or her. Pretty soon, I had two pairs of arms holding both ends of me as they practically dragged me back into the house. All of this was a purposeful tactic so that I could delay them from going back inside. I needed Thomas to make sure they all came back out where he went in. As I was being dragged back, I quickly glanced in that direction to see if I could see any movement. I thought I saw the door open slightly, and that was enough for me to know that he was coming back out. I went willingly after that. The minute we walked through the door, all hell broke loose. Luca was standing like a bull about to charge, and that time his glare was frightening.


“Who the fuck did this to her?” His voice was rumbling like thunder. “She tried to run, and then she was rude to Tony,” Michel tried, but ultimately failed to explain his actions. With one swift lunge, Luca floored him with a single punch. “Don’t you ever touch her again. Do you hear me? I don’t want anyone—and I mean anyone—to touch a hair on her head. You got that?” They all nodded their heads timidly before Luca turned his glare towards the heap on the floor. “Get him out of my sight.” Michel was swiftly brought to his feet and led out the front door. “Are you okay?” Luca cupped my face in his hands and inspected my lip. “Let go of her!” he commanded. The two men holding onto my arms immediately dropped their hands. “Tony, go and get some ice. I’m taking Clara to her room, which is…”


“Top floor.” I couldn’t believe how compliant I was being. It was probably from the shock of it all. Luca bent down, whisked me up into his arms, and carried me up to the top floor. I snuggled into his shoulder and breathed in the heavenly scent from his neck. My God, he smelt good. Outside my door, he looked down at me. “Clara, I need your code.” “What?” I asked a little dazed still. “The code for your door.” I chuckled a little. “As if I’m telling you!” “This is not the time for games. You need looking after.” I looked into his eyes and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. “Anyone would think you actually cared for me.” Luca sighed. “I do care. Despite what you think. Now please tell me the code. I want to take care of you.”


With his sincere smile now in place, I melted. The numbers just flew out of my mouth before my brain engaged. “Two, four, two, one.” “Good girl.” “Why do you keep saying that?” I snapped. Luca punched the code in and swung the door open. “Saying what?” “Good girl. You talk to me like I’m a five-year-old.” “Sometimes, you act like one.” Quickly, my senses started to come back, and I could instantly feel the anger rising again. “You’re an arsehole.” “My point exactly.” I folded my arms in front of my chest and sighed heavily. All that did was reward me with another mischievous “See? I do know everything.” smile. “Are you okay?” he asked again as knocks began sounding on the door.


“I’m fine.” Luca answered the door to admit Tony, who came in with some ice and a friendly smile on his face. “I apologise for Michel’s behaviour, Miss Murphy.” He handed Luca the ice. “And why the fuck didn’t you do anything about it?” Luca was obviously still mad. “Don’t shout at him; he was nice.” I couldn’t believe I was sticking up for him. Tony smiled, and I smiled back—even though it was painful to do so. “You think he’s nice?” I saw how pissed off Luca looked, but that only made me more stubborn. “Yes, I do.” Luca looked across to Tony, and then at me, and then back to Tony again. “Get out!” Tony nodded. “Yes, boss.” I smiled timidly again as Tony walked out the door. “Why did you have to be so rude to him?”


“You thought he was nice.” I chuckled. “Erm… I think we established that a minute ago.” “It looks as though he thinks you’re nice, too.” Luca grabbed a towel and placed the ice inside. “So what if he does? I think a lot of people are nice.” “I don’t like it.” “What?” I was dumbfounded. He looked up from the ice and stared at me. “I don’t like it.” I gasped. “Luca, you only met me yesterday.” He knelt down in front of me, causing my breathing to pick up that little bit. He placed the towel at my lip, and I winced slightly. “Sorry. I have to do this to get the swelling down.” Nodding my head, I didn’t say anything. Partly because he had ice on my lip, but


partly because looking at him simply had me lost for words. His face was like a masterpiece of art. I felt like I could sit and admire it for hours upon hours and still never tire from staring. It didn’t help the fact that he was staring just as hard as I was. “You’ve ensnared me.” Those three words had me spellbound. “What?” I whispered. He touched my face so tenderly that the feel of his hands on me made me close my eyes. “I can’t stop thinking about this beautiful face. It’s been engrained into my mind ever since I saw you—ever since I came into your office yesterday.” “You mean barged.” I snorted, making Luca chuckle. “Yes, I suppose I did.” He moved the towel a little causing me to wince again. “Your beautiful lips. How


dare he touch these beautiful lips? I’m going to kill him.” I could see his anger begin to rise again, and it soon brought mine to an immediate stop. “I’ll heal, Luca. I’m fine. Really.” “I can’t abide by any man hitting a woman. Women are to be loved and taken care of. Not abused.” I could see the fire in his eyes, and it made me wonder what had made him like this. All men should feel this way, but with Luca, it seemed to be a deeply rooted passion. Something in his eyes told me he was being tortured by memories. It made me frightened for Michel’s life. “Promise me you won’t hurt him.” Luca’s eyes now focused back on mine. “What?” “Promise me you won’t hurt Michel.” He looked stunned. “How can you say that after what he’s done to you? How can you be that forgiving?”


“It’s one thing for him to have consequences for his actions, but it’s another entirely when those consequences involve ending up dead.” He smiled a little. “So what do you think I should do?” “You’re asking me?” He nodded. “You’re really asking me?” He nodded again. I sighed. I really didn’t know how to answer that. “I think what you did was enough.” “So, you think he deserved it?” Luca smiled again, causing my heart to flutter. I smiled back. “Maybe. Just a little bit.” I gestured with my thumb and finger just how little I thought he deserved it. Luca chuckled. “I’ll make a gangster’s moll out of you yet.” “‘A gangster’s moll?’ Was this your dastardly plan all along?” I couldn’t believe I was now joking with the man who was keeping me hostage in my own home.


“My plan was simple. Until I barged through your door yesterday.” He took the ice off my lip and inspected the cut. “How’s that?” “A bit better, thank you.” He totally surprised and then floored me by taking my hand and kissing it. The surge of heat and electricity through that one kiss had my senses running into overdrive. I could feel every touch on my skin, feel the way his soft lips brushed against my hand, and I could hear every breath that left his beautiful lips. His eyes soon met mine, and there we sat—locked onto one another like dance partners in action. I couldn’t seem to break away from it… I didn’t want to break away from it. Leaning in slightly, Luca brushed his lips against mine. It was only a hairs whisper, but it was enough to start a war in my panties. My God, I was on fire.


He held my stare and gently placed a lock of hair behind my ear. “I can’t even kiss you now. That little fucker made sure of that.” The fire in his caramel eyes was back again. Even I was getting pissed off with Michel now. The bastard had stolen my kiss from me. Another knock soon sounded on my door breaking the moment we had between us. Standing up, Luca swiftly answered it. “What?” he asked in an unamused tone. Another man I didn’t recognise was stood timidly in the doorway. It amazed me that—despite how big all of these men were—they bowed down to Luca like he was their god. He whispered something in his ear causing, Luca to turn to me. “Where are they?” I knew immediately who he was referring to, and it made me smile. I did owe


Thomas a lot now. “I don’t know what you mean.” “You know exactly what I mean, Clara. Now, where are they all?” I just shrugged. “They’ve got the day off.” He stepped closer. “You’re lying to me.” “Then, why ask me?” He shook his head. “They can’t hide forever, you know. We will find them.” I smiled. “Good luck with that.” Luca shook his head again, turned to the man at the door and said, “Stay there.” The man did as he was told as Luca ventured off into my bathroom. A few seconds later he was back handing me two tablets and a glass of water. “Here, take these for the pain.” I did as I was told, since my lip had started throbbing a little by then. Once I downed them, I looked up to his gorgeous face and scowled. “Now, have a


rest. I’ll be back to check on you in a little while.” My eyes widened. “What? You can’t keep me prisoner here.” “Oh, you just watch me.” He was soon out the door, making his most graceful exit and leaving me frustrated and angry yet again. When I realized he wasn’t coming back anytime soon, I placed the ice back on my lip and laid my head down on the pillow. I did contemplate trying to leave, but Luca wasn’t stupid. Of course he would have at least one guard outside to stop me from going anywhere. I knew that much. Still, I had to know. I needed to scope out what was happening around me. With the ice still in place at my lip, I rose from the bed and quietly opened the door. The minute I did, a face appeared. “Can I help you, Miss Murphy?” As I stared into the eyes of another burly man, I took him in. He was about six foot


four—the same as Luca—with the most piercing blue eyes. This was rather exceptional considering he had dark hair and olive skin. I was sure a couple of my girls would go cuckoo over him. I was sure I would have if it wasn’t for the fact I’d seen Luca first. I smiled sweetly. “Can I have your name?” He smiled back. “The name’s Alessandro, ma’am.” “Alessandro, what a lovely name.” Touching one of his arms, I squeezed ever so lightly. “Wow, what big muscles you have.” I was being a damn right hussy. “All the better to…” With a glint in his eye, he paused a moment and then cleared his throat. “Err… Thank you, ma’am.” “Now, come on, Alessandro. We’re not strangers here anymore. Call me Clara.” I squeezed his arm again, causing a cheeky grin to rise. “Clara,” he whispered.


I leaned forward a little. “Yes, Alessandro?” “As much as I love a beautiful blonde bombshell with the most sparkling blues eyes making advances towards me, I would appreciate it if you stopped.” I gasped. “Why? I’m only being friendly.” He looked pained. “I know, but my boss would kill me … literally.” I sighed in surrender. He was right of course, and I wasn’t being fair. At least this way I knew he wasn’t gay. That was a start. “I’m sorry. I don’t want to get you into trouble.” Alessandro smiled. “I appreciate that. Is there something else you needed?” Looking around as much as I could, I shook my head. “No. That’s fine. Thank you, Alessandro.” He smiled, and I shut the door behind me. Thank God I went out for a walk this


morning. I had a feeling I was going to be in here for a while.

At some point—due to my bored state—I must have fallen asleep because as I opened my eyes, I realised quickly there was someone else on the bed with me. “Hello, sleepyhead.” I quickly remembered where I was and groaned loudly. “You don’t sound very pleased to see me.” Turning my body over, I stared at the beautiful arsehole’s face. I couldn’t let myself get swept up by him … no matter how much his sheer presence warranted it. “I have clients coming in soon.” He smirked. “All taken care of.” I shot up and glared at him. “What do you mean?” “You wouldn’t tell me where they were, so I had to look through your diary of appointments and cancel them all. I must say


they were a little disappointed, but I managed to think on my feet.” I sucked in a breath. “What did you say?” “I told them that a nasty bug had infected most of the girls, and you would all be in quarantine for at least two days until it passes.” I closed my eyes. “You mean imprisoned.” “Only you—oh, and one other now.” My heart rate accelerated. “Who?” “A lovely young girl called Mia.” He saw the look of horror on my face. “Don’t worry, she’s in safe hands. I can guarantee you that.” I kind of believed him after the way he behaved when Michel hit me, but I still worried after her. “I want to see her.” Luca nodded. “Very well.” I was shocked. “What? Just like that?”


“Yes. What makes you think I would want to keep you apart? If you want to speak with her, then, by all means, speak with her, but she’s not staying here with you.” “Why the hell not?” He smiled. “Because I am.” “The hell you are, buddy!” He flicked my nose. “The hell I am, beautiful.” I scooted a little further away from him on the bed. “Don’t try to seduce me Mr. Belatoni; I’m not easily seduced.” “Really?” he asked, his eyebrow curved up in a challenge. Oops, did I really want to do that? He closed the distance between us, and when his lips lightly brushed my neck I realised that—hell yes—I did in fact really want him to do just that. “Clara.” My name was a whisper on his tongue making me shiver. “Y-y-y-yes?”


“Do you like your neck being kissed?” I moaned involuntarily at the feel of his soft lips at the nape of my neck. I found myself wondering what it would feel like if he gently grazed it with his teeth. The thought made me shudder. “Clara?” he whispered again, running his hands up and down my arm. “Do you like it when I touch you?” “Oh God, yes—I mean, NO!” I shot off the bed as quickly as possible and tried to control my breathing. Luca just looked highly amused—and obviously aroused. “Why are you staring at my crotch?” I wasn’t just staring; I think I had my mouth wide open. I knew the expression, ‘The Italian Stallion,’ but he took the biscuit. It looked like a monster was trying to escape his trousers. “You’ve got to be kidding me, right?” Why did I just say that?


Luca smirked again. “What’s the matter?” I briefly looked up towards his cheeky grin, but I couldn’t seem to pry my eyes away from the elephant in the room. And, boy oh boy did this elephant have the biggest goddamned trunk I had ever seen in my life! “Bu-bu-but, it’s huge!” The minute I said it, I clasped my hand over my mouth, causing a rumbling sound from Luca. “I’m sure you could take me baby. Do you want to try?” I shook my head. “No fucking way!” Luca made a tutting sound. “Do you always swear like that?” “No.” “Don’t you think you should stop?” “No fucking way,” I repeated again, smiling. Watching me with interest, Luca leaned on the side of my bed with one arm. All he had to do was look at me, and I would melt.


It just made it that much harder when he was lying on my bed. “I’ve never met anyone quite like you,” he said, smiling rather devilishly. “I’ve never met anyone quite like you either. I suppose you came here today deliberately?” Luca shook his head in annoyance. “That phone call yesterday made me act quicker than I would have liked.” I placed my hands on my hips. “What do you mean?” He frowned. “Have you forgotten already? This date you were going on tonight. Who is he? Tell me, so I can have the great delight of cancelling it for you? Before I go round and kick his ass of course.” I stared at him open-mouthed again. “You mean to tell me that all this effort you have put into today was because you thought I was going on a date?”


“Not only going on a date, but you said—and I quote—‘I have a date tomorrow night, and I wasn’t going to fuck him, but now that you’ve said this, I’m going to give him the best goddamned sex he’s ever had in his life,’ unquote.” I was still rooted in shock. “You’re telling me you did all this because you thought I was going to have sex with someone?” He frowned like I was the one who was nuts. “Of course. And not only that. You said you were going to give him the best sex of his life. You don’t get to give him the best sex of his life.” “And why not?” His cheeky grin appeared. “Because you’re going to give it to me.” I paced the room a little and shook my head in disbelief. “I can’t believe you went to all this trouble because you were jealous.”


That word shocked him a little. “I suppose I was—yes.” I stopped pacing and stared at him. “After all of this, there was no need to be.” Luca propped himself up on one arm. “Why not?” I threw my hands in the air. “Because there was no date. I made it up. And now you’ve gone and charged your way in like the bull that you are—and not only that—you’re trying to ruin my business. Do you realise how much money me and my girls are losing right now because of you?” “You mean how much we are losing.” I growled at him. “Don’t you fucking start with me. This is my business. I built it up from scratch and turned it into what it is. Not you. Me!” Luca just smiled. “I thought it was a certain Trudy Benjamin who helped you with that?”


My heart started beating wildly. “How do you know about my aunt?” “I know everything. Nothing escapes me.” “You’re telling me,” I muttered under my breath. Luca just lay there, looking highly amused with himself. “Are you constantly going to fight with me?” I let out a sarcastic laugh. “I’m sorry, but can you not get a grip on how annoyingly frustrating this whole thing is? Let me put it this way… If someone came barging into your place of business and practically took over the place, then what would you do?” Raising himself from the bed into a sitting position, Luca stared blankly. “No one would ever come close to doing that; if they did, they would find a bullet in their head quicker than they could take a breath.” I rolled my eyes. “Oh please, you’re going to give me the, ‘He’ll be sleeping with the


fishes,’ crap?” His laughter rumbled through his chest causing an unwanted jolt of pleasure to flow through me. “So, you know enough about me to know I don’t take no for an answer.” “Is that meant to be a threat? Because I don’t take kindly to threats.” Rising from the bed, Luca leisurely strolled towards me. The more he stepped forward, the more I stepped back—until I was up against the wall. Standing inches apart, he made love to me with his eyes. Did he really have to be this sexy? Did my body really have to give me away so easily? He was quickly becoming a drug to me, and I hated him for it. Caressing my cheek with his finger, Luca stared me down. “I do not need to make threats, Clara. I always get what I want. And right now, I want you in that bed, screaming my name as I bury my cock inside you.”


I shuddered. I can’t believe I fucking shuddered! I hate him! “You may take my business from me. But you’re not taking me. I’m not for sale—or for taking whenever you want. I am the one thing you can never have.” Raising his eyebrow for a second, he slowly leant in towards my lips. For some reason, I didn’t move or slap him away like I should have. I just let him near me because my body was on so much fire that I thought I might burst into flames. Just at the point where his lips were mere centimetres apart, he smiled and pulled away. “Do you want to rethink what you just said?” I shook my head. “I can’t believe you.” “It’s happening, Clara, and the more you fight it, the longer you will have to stay in your room.” I pushed him. I pushed him so hard that he was flung back onto the bed. “You can’t


keep me prisoner in my own home, arsehole.” I was pointing at him. Actually pointing! He looked up, smiled, and said, “You know you’re light blue eyes turn darker when you’re angry. It’s sexy.” I growled again. I never growled. “Don’t fucking play games with me. I’m being serious.” Before I could even blink, Luca was off the bed, spinning me around before landing me on the bed with him on top. I could feel how hard he was, and it made me groan a little. The feel of his body on mine was overwhelming me with lust. “Do you feel that?” He dug his crotch into mine, causing an involuntary moan to escape from me. “Do you feel how hard I am for you? I’ve been feeling this hard ever since I first laid eyes on you. It’s painful, and it wants you so


bad it might explode if it doesn’t feel your pussy around it soon.” I tried to wiggle free, but all that did was cause Luca’s crotch to rub up against mine even more. Without thinking, I opened my legs to him and wrapped them around his waist. He growled, making me moan so loudly I thought the whole castle would hear. I tried to move, so I could take command and be the one on top, but he was so strong—so in control—and I hated him even more for that. “Even now, you’re fighting me. I can’t allow you to dominate me, amore mio.” Oh my fucking God, did he just speak Italian to me? I think I’m going to faint. I moaned again. I couldn’t help myself around him. “Don’t say things like that.” My words were breathless and wanton. “Say things like what?” he asked, his lips a hairs whisper away from mine.


“I’m not going to give in.” Who am I kidding? “You know, you talking like that just turns me on even more. You’re making this hard for me, but I am a patient man.” He travelled his hand down my arm and to my leg. With a gentle stroke, he squeezed ever so lightly on my thigh. That was it for me. I couldn’t possible take anymore. I grabbed at his head and pushed him towards my lips. The only problem was I had completely forgotten about my lip, which was reminding me all too soon how painful it was. Gasping in pain, I pulled away from him. “What’s wrong?” Luca asked. He stared at my lips and growled. “I’m going to fucking kill that son of a bitch!” He was off me like a shot and almost out the door. “Luca!” I shouted as I ran towards him like lightening. “Please, Luca. Don’t get angry. I’m okay. Look at me.” It surprised me


that my demand worked as his eyes found mine. I didn’t know what to say or do to diffuse the situation, so the only thing I could come up with was to go on the defensive. “What just happened was a mistake, and it can’t happen again. I don’t want you, so please stop pursuing me.” I think that helped. Suddenly the rage in his eyes subsided as a humorous glint now took its place. “You will remain in here until such time as you come to your senses.” I was suddenly enraged again. I had never had someone give me so many emotions within a span of a few minutes. He was terrifying, unbelievably spoilt, and too fucking handsome for his own good. No matter how much I wanted to fight him, I knew he wasn’t going to let me go. “Okay,” I whispered. “Okay, what?” His hand quickly moved away from the handle as he turned to me.


“Come on. Do what you want to me. Fuck me, Luca Belatoni.” Luca’s nostrils flared as I saw him make a slight move towards me. Pretty soon he seemed to come to his senses as he smiled. “Ah-ah, Clara. You’re not playing games with me.” I fisted my hands together. “What do you mean? You want to fuck me, so fuck me.” Luca closed the distance between us. “Number one, I don’t fuck. And number two, if you think I was born yesterday, then you have another thing coming.” “What are you talking about?” My God, this man was frustrating the hell out of me. “You’re only saying this now because you think I will let you go once I’ve taken you.” “This is what you wanted,” I protested. “Yes, but I want you to want it, too. Giving into me because you think you’ll get


something in return is not an option for me. You have to want it—want me.” “I do want you.” I held his eyes as I closed the gap even further. I picked his hand up and placed it on my breast. “Do you feel that? Do you feel how much they’re heaving for your touch?” I almost had him for a moment. He squeezed a little and ran his thumb across my nipple. My God, if I didn’t want him a minute ago, I definitely wanted him after that! No sooner had he begun, than I felt him pull his hand away. “No games, Clara.” I flung my hands up in frustration. “I can’t keep up with you. First, you demand to have me, and then—when I finally give in to you—you turn me down. All because you think I don’t want it.” “But you don’t want it.” His no-nonsense frown was the last straw. “How the hell can you say that you know what I want? Why don’t you stop fart-arsing


around and fuck me!” I couldn’t believe I was begging him. How the tables had turned. “Fart-arsing?” His smile curved up in so much amusement that it had me doing the same. “Yes, you’re fart-arsing.” Again, I was completely calm after just shouting at him. “You’re an exceptional woman, Clara Murphy.” I looked into his sincere eyes and nearly melted again. “See now, that look I can believe. You’ll get there in the end.” With that, he turned the handle and stepped out the door. “I’ll bring Mia up to see you now.” As quick as a flash, he was out the door, leaving me sighing my frustration on the bed. Why did he have to be so infuriating and oh so fucking handsome at the same time? He could charm me, frustrate me, bewilder me, and entrance me all at the same time. How on earth had that happened? No sooner had I begun to wrap that thought around my head then it was


interrupted by a knock sounding at my door. I was so excited I practically sprinted to it. “Mia!” I screamed as I opened the door. “Clara! Oh my God! Are you okay?” I looked for any signs of distress, but she seemed calm. “You have ten minutes.” I looked over to the door and found Alessandro hovering in the doorway. I liked Alessandro, but I wasn’t too keen on his tone of voice. My face depicted as much. He winced slightly from my glare, gave an apologetic glance, and was out the door. I immediately turned my attention back to Mia. “I’m fine. I’ve been more worried about you and the girls.” She sighed a little. “I must admit, when I came back from that appointment I thought the cops had finally foiled us. I couldn’t believe it when Mr. Belatoni appeared and asked me if I knew where the girls were.” I bit my lip. “They’re at the lodge.”


“Yes, I know.” Her look was mischievous, causing my suspicions to rise. Mia dug in her pocket and pulled out a small walkie-talkie. “Mia, no. You shouldn’t have done that. What if they catch you with it?” “It’s fine.” She looked over to the door and then back at me. “I’ve spoken to Belinda, and she said everyone is okay. They’re all going ballistic over you, though. They all want to know you’re safe.” I smiled so she would know I was okay. “I’ve been fine. Despite Luca’s heavy-handed manner with my home, he’s been good to me.” She looked down at my mouth and winced. “Not if he did that to your lip.” I shook my head. “He didn’t do it. The guy who did wished he never had, though. I’ve found out rather quickly that Luca doesn’t take too kindly to men hitting women.”


Mia quickly looked at the door again. “What are his plans?” I sighed. “To take over my business.” I looked away and sighed again. “To take me.” Her head snapped to me quickly. “What?” “I’m to stay in here until I give into him.” “Give into him?” She frowned a little. “He can’t do that.” “Oh, he can … and he will.” She started looking panicked. “But that’s … that’s almost like rape. He can’t force you to have sex with him.” I looked away sheepishly before replying. “You see, the thing is—I do want him, and he knows it.” Mia’s eyes widened like saucers. “You’re fucking shitting me?” I shook my head. I couldn’t believe I was actually admitting this out loud. “I shit you not. I hate him, and I want to fuck his brains


out all at the same fucked up time. Call me insane.” Mia smirked. “I’ll call you human, as that’s exactly what you are. I’ve never heard you say that about anyone since I’ve known you. He must be special … and lucky.” She winked at me and I smiled. “I don’t know why I’m smiling. There’s nothing to smile about.” She bit her lip, trying hard to hide her wide smile. “Don’t worry. I’ve spoken to the girls, and we’re going to try to get you out.” I shook my head. “Oh, no you’re not. I’m not putting any of them in danger. It’s bad enough that you’re here. I won’t see them being held here against their will as well.” Mia huffed. “Clara, come on. You’ve just said he won’t hurt any of us.” I frowned for a moment. “I know. I just—” Mia placed her hand on mine, interrupting me. “Just nothing. We’re getting you out.


It won’t be today, but we’ll try tomorrow. For now, the girls want to make sure you’re okay.” Taking the walkie-talkie from her other hand, I quickly hid it away in my drawer before turning back to Mia. “I’ll speak to them the next time I get a chance.” Mia smiled and squeezed my hand. “Are you sure you’re okay?” I nodded. “I’m fine. I’m worried about you, though.” Her cheeky grin lit up her face. “I’m having a ball. Some men may be tough, but they’ve all got one thing in common.” “Oh yeah?” I said, knowing full well where this was going. “I’m wrapping them all round my little finger. I even had one make me a cheese sandwich earlier. Talking of which, Luca said he was coming up with some food for you shortly.”


Nodding my head, I realised just how hungry I was. I did have my own kitchen and could make my own food, but eating had kind of been the last thing on my mind. “Alessandro is my favourite in particular.” Looking back up to meet Mia’s eyes, I found them glinting with pleasure. “Yes, he is rather handsome, isn’t he?” “Oh, yes. I think I may have to work my magic on him. He looks delicious.” “Who looks delicious?” Luca was standing by the door with a tray of food in his hands. I sighed loudly. “Don’t you ever knock?” “Why should I knock when this room—and what I have inside of it—is mine?” Shooting up from my bed, I looked at Mia and pointed to Luca. “Do you see what I have to put up with? He’s a menace.”


Luca chuckled and Mia smiled. “This is not funny, Mia.” “No, of course not. Sorry. It’s just… You were doing so well, and then you called him a menace. It just didn’t sound … serious.” I rolled my eyes and turned my attention back to a smiling Luca. “I’m not eating that. It could have cyanide in it.” “Amore mio, if I wanted to kill you, I could think of many better ways then trying to poison you.” I looked at the spaghetti and my tummy rumbled. “What is it anyway?” “It’s Carbonara. A specialty of mine.” I cocked my eyebrow at him. “You cooked this?” “I got started on it earlier and just finished up now. Buon appetito.” Luca sauntered over to my dining table and laid down the contents of two plates, two glasses, and a bottle of wine. With one swift tug, Luca had the cork open and was pouring the wine.


Mia started moving to the door. “I better go then and leave you to your meal.” Luca turned to Mia and smiled. “Thank you, Mia. I have ensured that all of my men will cater to all your needs this evening.” Mia smirked. I could tell she was getting a rise out of this. I know my castle is normally filled with horny men, but not this many gorgeous men. I think Mia was secretly in her element. “I’m sure I’ll be just fine.” She winked across at me and gave me the thumbs-up sign. Pretty soon, she was out the door and purring at Alessandro. The poor boy was not going to know what hit him. “You like white I take it?” “Excuse me?” I looked up and was met with Luca’s expectant eyes. He pointed to the bottle. “White wine. I take it that you like it?”


I nodded. “Oh, yes. Sorry. I was miles away.” He saw my hesitancy at the door and smiled. “She’s going to be okay, you know. I’ll make sure of it.” I sat down on the bed. “You could make sure of it by taking your men and leaving. Then, I could get back to business.” “You know all this could have been avoided if you had just paid me what I’m owed.” I rose again from the bed in anger. “What you’re owed? What you’re owed?” Luca looked me up and down. My God, it was sexy. “Yes—and you don’t have to say it twice.” “You bastard! I don’t owe you a goddamned thing.” Luca shook his head. “Maybe you don’t, but the business does.” I frowned. “I don’t know what you mean.”


“Oh, come on, Clara. You’re an intelligent lady. Do you really think Trudy financed this all by herself? My heart started beating wildly again. “She owns seventy percent of the business,” I said, blinking. “Of which, seventy percent of that is now owned by… Guess who?” I blinked rapidly, but then what he said just started to sink in. “You.” “Yes.” Trudy never said a thing to me. “Why didn’t she tell me?” “Your aunt took a gamble on some shares which tumbled. She was hoping to raise more collateral for the business, but ended up losing it all instead. She didn’t want to let you down.” “So, you came to save the day.” Luca sat down on the chair and motioned for me to sit with him. “Your aunt speaks very highly of you. I think I was kind


of smitten by you from the start. Meeting you was my next priority after the deal was signed.” I sighed and took a sip of my wine. “So why are you going to all of this trouble? You’re getting money, aren’t you?” “Yes, but I wanted to know more about you. See how much your cage could be rattled. I was pleasantly surprised.” “So, you deliberately sent your hooligans out to demand money from me hoping I would tell them to take a hike?” “Exactly.” He smiled triumphantly and sucked up a piece of spaghetti. As the burn rose between my legs, I found myself clearing my throat. “You’re weird.” Luca smirked. “Maybe I am, but if you think about it, it makes logical sense. I wanted to make sure you were as good as I was told you were. I can’t have people


running my businesses without making sure they’re perfectly capable.” I stared him down. “This is my business, Luca.” “It may be yours in the physical sense. You run the place. But not in the financial sense. I put a lot of money into your little venture. I even recently bought another ten percent.” “If it’s doing so well, then why is Trudy selling you shares of the place?” Luca looked a little worried for a moment. “I think she may be in over her head. She needed the money to help pay off some bad debt.” I frowned. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Luca sighed. “I have gone too far. You need to speak with your aunt about this.” I started panicking even more. What had my aunt gotten herself into? “I’m asking you.”


Luca shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. What’s done is done. I am here, and we have to get along. Normally, I don’t like to get so involved in a business venture. I wouldn’t unless something went wrong and I had to step in. When I saw you yesterday, though, this castle became a lot more appealing to me. That and who lives under its roof.” Luca motioned for me to eat, so I sighed and got tucking in. My God, it was good. “Do you like it?” I nodded. “It’s lovely, thank you.” His beautiful smile lit up his face, causing me to momentarily forget why I was here. “This doesn’t change things though. I don’t want someone coming in and ruining my business.” He looked serious. “That is not my intention.” “I have never once had The Castle empty of clients. Ever. This will cripple me.”


Luca looked stern. “I’ll make sure that never happens.” I regarded him for a moment. “How can you say that?” “Truth be told, I wanted to get to know you more. I knew that would never happen with you running the place. I bet you’ve never taken a day off in your life, have you?” I sighed, thinking how much he seemed to know about me. It was true. I had been putting all of my efforts into this business from day one. I had always put my castle and my girls before myself. It was just who I was. “When I’m at work, I’m in control. I can make decisions and be the one responsible if it all goes tits-up.” Luca placed his fork down on his plate. “That’s quite right, but, like me, you have people who will take control of certain situations for you. Be there if you need to take a break from it all.”


I sucked up a strand of spaghetti and noticed Luca’s eyes widening a little. “I’m just not that kind of person.” “You work hard, and people who work hard need to be rewarded.” I shook my head. “I don’t see how barging your way in here, taking over The Castle, cancelling all my appointments, and holding me hostage is helping me.” Then, it was Luca’s turn to shake his head. “Clara, Clara, Clara. Tranquillo. I am not your enemy here. Far from it. I just want to get to know you better.” With a huff, I carried on eating my Carbonara. Soon, the combination of the food, the wine, and Luca’s commanding presence was at the forefront of my mind. Everything in front of me was so delicious that it had all my senses screaming at me to gorge. Just gorge, woman!


“Amore mio, you look at me like that one more time, and I may never finish my meal.” Placing my fork down in a challenge, I raised my eyebrow. “Why don’t you then?” Luca sighed. “Because you’re not ready yet.” I couldn’t believe him. “What?” “Your desire to get out of this room is much stronger than your desire for me. As soon as the balance is tipped in my favour, then I will give you what you want.” A sarcastic laugh left my lips. “I really can’t believe you. You’re like a force of nature.” “Thank you.” He raised his eyebrow and smiled. It made me giggle a little. “I didn’t mean it as a compliment.” Luca leaned back a little with a smug look on his face. “However you meant it, it was duly noted and appreciated.”


“Even when you’re talking about bedding me, you say it like it’s a business transaction.” Luca studied me with those beautiful caramel-coloured eyes of his. “I take everything I do in life very seriously. But what I think and feel about you has nothing to do with business at all. You’re not a transaction or a game. I want you. Plain and simple.” I couldn’t believe the gall of this man. “You say this isn’t a game, but then you force me up into my tower and dictate that I stay here until I drop my knickers for you. Oh, and not only that, but I have to want to drop my knickers for you in order for you to take me. You really are—” “I know, I know,” he said, interrupting me. “A piece of work.” Grabbing my hand, he began stroking it seductively with his finger. It was only a small gesture, but it had the fires starting


nonetheless. I was becoming putty in his hands and fast. “So this is your tower?” he said, gesturing to the room. “Yes,” I sighed. “I thought it was an apt name considering it was at the very top of my castle. “I like it.” He paused a moment and looked deep into my eyes. “I like you.” He kissed my hand tenderly, and a little groan escaped my lips. How quickly he had made me lose my senses. “I want to take care of you. Your body screams at me to possess it and ravish it. Your eyes make me want to climb in and bury myself deep within you.” I could feel my leg begin tapping underneath the table. I hated that he was taking control and dominating me in a sense, but I also wanted to plunge my tongue down his throat. I think—in fact—I would like to kill


Michel myself. “I am not yours, Mr. Belatoni.” Luca finished eating his mouthful before speaking. “You are what I say you are. You’re not mine in body yet, but you soon will be. Once I have it, I’m never letting anyone else near it again.” My eyes widened. “How can you say things like that? We only met yesterday, and you talk like we’ve been together for years—and not only that, but you act like all the boys are out to get me.” “When was the last time anyone made love to you?” His sudden change in subject shocked me a little. I had to stare in wonder for a second before I answered. “It’s none of your business.” “I’m assuming since you work twentyfour-seven and do not sleep with your clients, it means it’s been a very long time.” “It’s none of your business,” I said again.


“I’m assuming four—maybe five—years?” Six to be exact, but I wasn’t telling him that. “Okay, buddy. Since you want to know everything about my sex life, how about I ask you the same thing? When was the last time you had sex?” Luca just shrugged. “Roughly over a week ago.” I wasn’t expecting that. I also wasn’t expecting the huge gut-wrenching feeling in my stomach. Why should I care that he’d had sex over a week ago? “Oh,” I found myself saying in resignation. He saw my expression and frowned. “See, it’s easy when you just answer the question… Though, I’m guessing that wasn’t something you wanted to hear.” No, it wasn’t, but I would be damned if I told him that. “I just didn’t think you would answer so honestly and quickly like that.” I


also didn’t realise how much knowing he was inside another woman just over a week ago would affect me. “I am a man, Clara. I have needs.” I rolled my eyes at him. “So does every man that passes through here. And the same reason why I don’t entertain them is the same reason I’m not entertaining you.” He seemed a bit miffed by my statement. “I have never in my life paid for sex.” “No, but you’re willing—just like they are—to use a woman for your own selfish desires.” Luca leaned forward a little with a smirk. “Believe me; she didn’t look like she was complaining at the time. I think she got what she wanted out of it, also.” I cringed when he said this. I’m not sure why, but it hurt. Luca could see I didn’t like what he had said. “I didn’t mean to upset you; I was just proving a point.”


I tried to stiffen my posture a bit and raise my head. “I’m not upset. Who you sleep with is your business, not mine.” Luca sighed with a shake of his head. “I’m a little disappointed by that.” I placed my fork down. “Why?” He looked me straight in the eye. “Because you’re lying to me, and I could never see you as a liar.” I shuffled in my chair a little and took another sip of my drink. “You know nothing about me.” “Clara Murphy, born twenty-fifth of June nineteen-eighty-seven, in Balham, London. You were the only child to Michael and Stephanie Murphy. Michael is a vicar, and Stephanie is a homemaker. Both go to church every Sunday and have not heard from their only daughter in ten years.” Rising from my chair, I raced to the window. I didn’t like that I knew so little about


him, and yet he seemed to know so much about me. Within a few seconds, I felt his hands on my arms as he spun me around to face him. “You know so much.” He looked sincere, like he cared. “Why do you hide from your parents? Is it because of what you do here?” I could feel the tears well at the unwanted memories. “I don’t want to talk about them.” My tone of voice must have hit him as he said no more on the matter. Instead, he surprised me. “My name is Luca Belatoni. I was born fifteenth of May nineteen eighty-three to Marcelo Belatoni and Sophia. I was the eldest boy of three who all live in Italy. I came to England when I was a boy and stayed with my uncle while I studied in school. I then lived in New Jersey for a while until the call to come back here pulled me. I came, and many others have followed. Some others


have joined the clan recently within the last year. I have many loyal men, and business for me is flourishing. I am not committed, nor do I have any children. I take protection very seriously and have never been without a condom. When I have children, I want to make sure it’s on my terms.” I started laughing at that one. “Why does everything have to be on your terms? Having children is a decision that both partners involved should make. It’s not for you alone to decide. One partner can’t just click his fingers to immediately get whatever he wants.” Luca pulled me to him, causing my body to melt at his touch. “I thought I already told you that I’m a man who always gets what he wants.” I started giggling. “What’s so funny?” “You may think you’re a force to be reckoned with, but so am I. I don’t respond well to selfish, demanding behaviour.”


“So you keep saying. It still doesn’t change the fact.” He started stroking my hair, and I sighed into his shoulder as he pulled me in. For a moment, I was lost in his embrace. Despite how much I hated this man, he always seemed to have me at a loss. “Come, let us finish our meals.” He took my hand and led me back to the table. Pulling out my chair, he made sure I was comfortable before taking his own seat. It was in that moment that I realised I was in big trouble. Not because I had a dangerous man who could have me disappear with a quick click of his fingers. It was because he threatened to weaken my resolve. Just looking at him made me weak in the knees. I knew why he got what he wanted; not only was he a powerful man, but he was also the epitome of perfection. The way he stood so tall and commanding. The way he walked. The way he breathed. The way his hard muscles twitched underneath my small


hands had the hairs rising and my body quivering. Sitting there, I just couldn’t seem to pry my eyes away from him. “Clara, what have I told you about looking at me like that?” “Like what?” I asked, shaking my head a little. “Like you want me to pick you up out of your seat, take you to your bed, and have me make love to you until you can’t breathe anymore.” A breathless sigh escaped me. “If you can see that, then why don’t you?” I smiled and sucked a piece of spaghetti up slowly through my lips. I had to pat myself on the back for the nice sucking sound I made after it disappeared into my mouth. “Has anyone ever told you that you scream to be touched?” I shook my head. “Nope. I can’t recall anyone saying that. I’ve been told I have fabulous legs and great tits, but that’s about it.


Oh, and sometimes I’ve had a comment or two about my lips.” “Yes?” I nodded. “Apparently, I have blow-job lips. Men have begged me for them in the past.” I could hear the slight growl emanating from deep within his magnificent chest. He was looking a little angry now, and that was just how I liked it. “Those lips are not to go near another man’s anatomy.” I started laughing. His jealous outbursts were becoming quite comical to me now. “Okay, tiger. Stand down.” He looked at me for a moment and then laughed. “I think I would prefer lion to a tiger. You could be my lioness.” “Why, thank you,” I said sarcastically. “How honoured am I?” “Don’t be flippant, Miss Murphy.”


“Why not, Mr. Belatoni? Am I being naughty? Do you want to put me over your knee and spank my bottom?” He growled again. This was such fun. “It’s not going to work, you know.” I shook my head. “I don’t know what you mean.” I was about to take this further but then a knock at the door interrupted me. Bollocks! I was about to seduce Luca and seduce him good. I should be running away from him, but now that he was restricting me, I suddenly wanted him all the more. Maybe he was doing this all on purpose. Opening the door, Luca found an embarrassed Tony. “Sorry to disturb you, boss, but I just need to speak with you for a few minutes.” Luca huffed. “Very well.” He turned towards me. “Apologies, Miss Murphy. I shall be back soon.”


As soon as he was out the door, I ran to the drawer to get my walkie-talkie. I switched it on and immediately began whispering through it. “Hello… Hello… Is anybody there?” It went silent for a few seconds and then came a voice. “Clara, thank God! We’ve all been sitting ducks worried about you. What the hell’s going on?” I explained to Belinda as much as I could and could hear a few grumbles in the background. “Don’t worry. We have a plan. We’re coming to get you out tomorrow night.” I shook my head. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” I heard her sighing loudly. “We’re not taking no for an answer.” I thought about this for a few moments, but resigned myself to the fact that this was happening. “Okay, but when you do come, make sure you’re ready for a night out.”


“Why?” I smiled. “Because, if I’m going to have time off from work, I may as well let my hair down. Let’s go to a club and get fucking sozzled. It’s all on me.” I could hear a few people laugh and holler in the background. “Where has this come from, Clara?” “Let’s just say a lion is about to meet his match.” We ended soon after because I was worried that Luca would be back at any moment. I made sure Thomas was okay and Belinda told me he had been round regularly to check on them—especially since it looked as though he had developed a bit of a crush on Melinda. But, then again, I couldn’t blame the boy. We made plans which would be executed around eight o’clock the next evening—assuming that everything was in order of course. I had to first of all give a signal


that Luca wasn’t here with me. I really didn’t know whether he would or not, but then the girls did have a plan. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it, but it seemed as though they were not taking no for an answer. They all hated that I was stuck in here, and I had to admit … so did I.

A couple of minutes after I had finished off my meal and glass of wine, Luca walked back in. I was just about to pour myself another when he ran for the bottle. “Here, let me.” He smiled gently and poured another glass. “I’m sorry I was taken away from your lovely company.” I frowned up at him. “Is everything okay?” “Everything’s fine. Just a little hiccup with another business venture. That’s all.” I nodded, but didn’t press him. I knew a lot of his “business ventures” were not exactly legal, so he wasn’t about to spill all to me anytime soon. I doubted very much he ever would. “Have you had enough?” Luca motioned to my empty plate.


“It was more than enough, thank you. I ate more than I normally do, but it was just too good.” “Molte bene,” he said with a wink. Did he have to keep speaking these little Italian words to me? It hit me straight between the legs every time he did. “I would very much like to dance with you, Miss Murphy. Would you grant me the pleasure?” He took my hand, and I rose from my seat—straight into his arms. Okay, maybe I was a little too eager there. “Where’s the music?” I asked. “Do we need music?” I frowned a little. “Well, it kinda helps, don’t you think?” He pulled me close and penetrated me with those eyes. “Can’t I just hold you close to me and pretend there’s music playing?” I could have just given in, but my alpha female tendencies were telling me not to. I


wanted to get my own way … even if it was just to get the radio switched on when he obviously didn’t want to. “I’m not going to dance with you unless you switch that radio on.” I smiled at Luca, and he shook his head, smiling back. I could tell he was finding the whole “I’m not going to let you tell me what to do” persona highly amusing. “Very well.” Letting go of our embrace, Luca strolled over to the radio and switched it on. As if on cue, a nice slow song was just starting. “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” by Simply Red came through the speakers. “Is this better?” Luca raised an eyebrow. I nodded my agreement. “Much. Thank you.” Staring at each other for a moment, I almost lost my balance. How on earth could he look like that? He should be illegal in every state and in every country known to man … or should I say woman?


Luca slowly glided back towards me—all the while, he never dropped my gaze. “What have I told you about looking at me like that?” His voice was seductive—a whisper even. I raised my eyebrow at him. “Maybe you make me look at you like that. Have you ever thought of that?” Luca licked his lips a little, making my knees tremble. “It would seem I can’t make you do anything. That’s the problem I’m having.” I sighed as his eyes danced across my face. “Am I making you work hard?” “Yes, and don’t say the word hard.” He laid his hand behind my back and forcefully pulled me to him. Staring at his lips and biting my own, I said, “I’m sure there are things I could make very hard.” “Clara.” His warning tone reverberated throughout my body.


“I like the fact I’m making you work hard. I guess you’ve never had to work hard at anything.” Lacing his fingers through mine as we swayed to the music, Luca sighed contentedly. What he said next surprised me. “You’re worth working hard for.” Leaning my head on his chest, I took a moment to savour everything about him. His feel, his smell, and even his heart, which I could feel beating through my ears. He was a man like no other. “You know, you’re making it very hard for me to hate you, Mr. Belatoni.” “There’s that word again.” I chuckled. “Why should you want to hate me?” I buried my head in his chest and sighed. “You only have to consider what’s been going on today to realise where that came from. And, look at me. I’m here whether I want to be or not. How could I not hate you for that?”


“I told you that you have to come to your senses.” I let out a breath in exasperation. “I’ve told you to take me. What more do you want?” He stilled for a moment, making me gaze up into that perfect face of his. “Don’t you realise that once you’re mine, there’s no going back? Once I feel what it’s like to be inside you, there will never be anyone else for you again.” Sighing was becoming a habit for me ever since Luca walked into my life. “You only met me yesterday. How can you say things like that? Also, how do you know what it’s going to be like inside me? I may be the crappiest shag you ever had in your life.” Luca shook his head indignantly. “I know that’s not true.” I looked up to him. “How?” Luca captured me with his eyes again. “Didn’t you feel it when I walked in and we


first laid eyes on each other? I saw a photo of you at your aunt’s place and haven’t stopped dreaming about you since. It was only when I saw you in the flesh that it really hit me, though.” I frowned. “What?” Luca smiled down at me. “That raw energy someone gets when they have an instant reaction to someone they haven’t ever met before. It was that intense heat and energy which seemed to bounce from me to you the minute I opened that door. Didn’t you feel it? Or am I just going crazy?” I sighed again in defeat. “No, you’re not going crazy.” Luca stared at me for the millionth time with those beautiful caramel eyes of his. He gazed from my eyes to my lips and boy did it make me feel dizzy. The song quickly came to a halt and another soon followed. This time it was, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” by Percy Sledge.


“I really want to feel your lips on mine. I want to feel what it’s like to explore your mouth. You don’t know how bad I want that now.” I shrugged, trying to make sense of why he wasn’t pushing harder. “Then, why don’t you?” Luca gritted his teeth. “Because that fucker marked you. I don’t want to cause you any pain.” “I don’t think you could ever do that.” I didn’t know where that came from, but it felt right. I should have been scared and intimidated by this man, but instead I felt safe—I felt protected. Instead of waiting for Luca to make the first move, I initiated our first proper kiss. I moved up slowly on my tiptoes so I could reach his mouth. He soon realised what was happening and leant down to accommodate me better.


That first brush against his lips had a fire raging. It was only the tiniest touch, but my body reacted to it violently. My lips stung a little at the pressure of his mouth, but I forced it to the back of my mind—not wanting to stop the overwhelming feelings that having him close brought me. Before long, I had slipped my tongue out and traced the line of his lips from top to bottom, making him shudder and growl. I went a step further and nibbled the top of his lip after tenderly kissing him. Our bodies were as close as they could be, and I felt his hardness against my belly. I ran my fingers through his hair and pulled him in deeper as I frantically wanted him to do something—anything—to release this ache that had been building and building inside of me. I thought Luca was going to relent. I thought he would pick me up and take me to


bed. Instead, he pulled away again, leaving me desperate for him. “You’re not ready.” I immediately became angry. I don’t know where it came from but I was fuming. “I’m going to bed!” Luca chuckled. “Hey, don’t get mad.” He grabbed my arm, but I yanked it away. “Leave me alone. Don’t touch me.” I said it with such venom that his release was imminent. To say his face was shocked would have been an understatement. “Hold on a second. Are you mad at me just because I won’t make love to you tonight?” “No!” Too bloody damn right I was! “Then, why are you angry with me?” “No reason. I’m just tired and want to go to bed. I’m going to get changed in the bathroom.” I grabbed a black baby-doll negligee and—with a naughty smile on my


face—headed for the bathroom. Two could play this game. Once I had washed up, brushed my teeth, and changed, I opened the door to find Luca lying on my bed. When his eyes looked up to meet mine his expression nearly had me giggling. His eyes were as wide as saucers. “Why are you wearing that?” I shrugged my shoulders. “What? This old thing? I always wear things like this in bed. Why? Don’t you like it?” “You know that’s not true, so I don’t know why you’re even saying it.” “Stop being a big old grumpikins and keep your hands by your side like a good boy.” Walking towards my bed, I pulled the covers down and got in. Luca watched me the whole way. “I know what you’re doing, and it’s not going to work.” I shrugged. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


“Are you on the pill?” I frowned at him. “What? Has anyone told you that you change subjects quicker than a blink of an eye?” “Are you going to answer me?” “Yes. I am on the pill.” He suddenly looked a little angry. “If no one is fucking you, then why are you on the pill?” “Why is it that men think women will only be on the pill if they’re being fucked as you so eloquently put it? I’ve been on it since I was fourteen. I have very heavy, painful periods otherwise. Is that it now? Would you like to know my shoe size and how often I open my bowels each week?” Luca shook his head. “I will ignore your sarcasm.” “Well goooood for you!” I stuck my tongue out at him. I couldn’t believe I did that.


Luca’s head went back in amused shock. “You just stuck your tongue out at me.” “Yes. What of it?” “Well, instead of making me angry, it just makes me want plunge my cock into that beautiful mouth of yours.” I huffed. “You’re disgusting.” “You’re adorable.” I looked up at his beautiful face and couldn’t help but match his smile. “When was the last time you were tested?” I shook my head. I couldn’t believe the gall of this man. “Oh, it hasn’t ended then?” “No. I’m still not finished with you.” “I was tested about six years ago.” “That’s a very long time. Why haven’t you been tested since?” I bit my lip. “Clara.” His tone was serious. “Why should I be if I haven’t…? I mean if I’ve never—oh never mind.” “Are you telling me the last time you were touched was six years ago? The last


time anyone has ever been inside you has been that long?” I sighed again. This was definitely becoming a habit. “Why, Clara?” “Because this is all I have!” I waved my hands around the room and followed all the features of the place with my eyes. “This has always been my number one priority. This castle is my life.” Silence filled the room for a few seconds, making me wonder why Luca wasn’t saying anything. I looked across at him and saw something in his eyes that I hadn’t seen before. Was it regret? Did he actually feel remorse for what he had put me through today? Or had he suddenly gone off me from my obvious lack of experience? I didn’t know what it was, but it was definitely there. “What made you go into this?” Finally, he came to his senses and spoke. It seemed whatever it was he was thinking had soon been put to rest.


“I was brought up by very strict parents who thought every little thing I did was a sin. I rebelled against them at every turn. I never wanted to be like them. I wanted to be on my own and have my own independence. My Aunt Trudy is nothing like her little sister. She has a free spirit like me. I think she took pity on me when she took me in. I lived with her for a while until we came up with this business plan of ours. To tell you the truth, I’m a little disappointed she didn’t feel she could come to me for help.” “Would you have done it if it had been the other way around?” I smiled at that. It seemed Luca knew me better than I knew myself. “No, I probably wouldn’t have.” “Well, there’s your answer then.” Luca turned over and switched the light out. “Goodnight, Clara.” Feeling that little bit disappointed at his sudden change, I pulled the covers over me


and faced the other direction. “Goodnight, Luca.”

I woke the next morning to find a hard body pressed against me. For a moment I panicked as I had never had anyone in my bed with me. Ever. Too soon, realisation kicked in as I felt a big, pulsing erection stabbing into my back. “Clara,” Luca whispered in my ear. “Good morning, Clara.” “Good morning,” I whispered back. I ground my bottom into his erection and moaned. My goodness, what a wake-up call. His lips were brushing against my neck as I gasped in pure unadulterated pleasure. “Luca,” I whispered again as I grabbed his hand and pulled him towards my breast. He pinched my nipple and growled at how erect they were to his touch.


Running his nose from my neck to behind my ear, he said, “I’ve been thinking all night about the fact you’ve been without the feel of a man for six years.” “Hmm.” That was all I could say. Words just couldn’t seem to form in my mouth. All I could feel were his hands on me and the way his hot breath tingled against my ear as he breathed. “I want to give you a little something. A token of how much it is you’ve been missing.” Oh, God. Yes, please. He’s finally going to fuck me! Pulling me over to face him, his eyes captivated mine with a longing stare. Then, his lips were pressing against mine, and at first, he wasn’t tender. He possessed me with only his demanding tongue, and it made my insides burn with desire. But then the kisses became tender. So tender that it made me feel dizzy with the intensity of it.


Soon he was diving—and he kept on diving. He kissed his way down through my negligee, stopping momentarily to nibble on my nipples. My God, he was good. Venturing down again, I soon realised what it was he was up to—and boy was I ready for it. “Clara, you smell and taste so good. I can’t wait to get my tongue inside you.” “Oh, God, yes!” I cried. Boy was he working me up into a frenzy. Kissing the inside of my thigh, he took so much time that I thought I was going to either knock him on the head and tell him to get on with it or pass out. Either way, something had to give. I was about to scream at him to hurry up when, all of a sudden, one tiny flick of his tongue on my clit had my body rigid with pleasure. “Jesus, do that again.” It was more like a demand then a request.


He chuckled at my thigh, making me shiver all over. “You smell divine.” “Well dive in. You can taste as much as you want.” I pulled my fingers through his hair and squeezed him tightly in my hand. I was desperate, and he had to know. Again—feeling like I couldn’t take much more—I was about to tell him to hurry up when his tongue was there licking the entrance and dipping his tongue in. “Shit!” Why did he have to be this good? So good that I was putty in his hands—completely at his mercy. He dipped his tongue in and out several times, making me paralyzed with lust. With an arch of my back, he was there again at my clit, flicking his tongue over and over so wildly I thought I was going to scream. In fact, in my head, I was screaming. There were so many sounds radiating across the room, I almost thought there was someone else with us. Surely that sound


couldn’t have been coming from me? What the hell was wrong with me? Soon, I didn’t care as his tongue and the sounds Luca made had me at the point of no return. I knew I was going to blow, and I was going to blow violently. I could feel it throughout my body—feel my blood pumping and rushing through my veins. I could feel it through every part of my body until there was nowhere else it could go except straight to my core. I was going to blow, and boy was it going to be the best orgasm I had ever had in my life. Luca could feel the build-up. He knew from the way I was arching my back and moaning and groaning underneath him. I couldn’t keep my body still—couldn’t get my brain to tell my body how to function. It was almost as though it had a mind of its own. I was panting. I was breathless. My mind and body screamed for release as violently as a river bursting its banks. Pretty


soon, I couldn’t hear any sound as my senses closed off to everything around me apart from that delicious tongue that was torturing the bejesus out of my clit. I knew it was coming soon. I could feel it building quicker and quicker—faster and faster. I opened my legs wider—as if they weren’t already wide enough. I wanted complete exposure for this man… This beautiful man who was worshipping my whole body. Every lick and every kiss sent the most violent waves of ecstasy I had ever felt in my life through my entire body. “Luca, I’m going to…!” That was it—I was gone. I screamed so loudly that I thought the plaster on the wall might start to fall off from the force. His gentle licks were continuing as I was bucking and wriggling wildly and ferociously under the force of Luca Belatoni. Eventually, he stopped, allowing me to come down from the best climax I had ever


experienced. I closed my eyes and just savoured that tremendous feeling. It felt like I had had the most relaxing massage in the world. I didn’t think I could ever recall a time when I had felt this relaxed. “Just hearing you scream like that could make a man come.” Managing to pry my eyes open, I looked down at the face that had been engrained on my brain ever since he barged through my door. It was sexy and ever so fucking gorgeous! I bit my lip. “Sorry. I was a bit vocal.” Luca looked stern. “Don’t ever hold back on me. Having you submissive under me like that is the one time I know I can get you to reveal what it is you’re truly feeling. I don’t care if you scream until the neighbours come calling… Not if I can make you come like that. Stunning.”


I chuckled at his choice of words. “I’m sure you could make me come like that with other parts of your body.” He growled a little and pulled himself up to meet my face. Immediately, my groin was greeted by a force to be reckoned with. “I’ve already warned you. Once I have you, there’s no going back.” My mind should have been screaming at me to stop by this point. Of course I should stop. He’s virtually telling me I’m his, but I will be more than his once he has me. That in and of itself should have me running for the hills. “Luca,” I whispered. The word just seemed to slip out of me whenever he was near. He could see the desire in my eyes; one could cut the sexual energy between us with a knife. I was so on fire with him. He consumed me with it. Took me up into the highest clouds where only he and I existed. A


world where it was just us and nothing else mattered. Maybe my orgasm was more powerful than I thought. Maybe it was playing games with my brain and making me feel and think things I wouldn’t normally dream of thinking or feeling. It was almost as though Luca was sustenance, and right then, I was ravenous. Upon seeing the expression on my face, his lips were soon on mine as he played with my breast and ran his finger over my nipple. I had only just had an orgasm, but boy was I ready for part two. His hands explored every inch, every nook, and every cranny of my body—tweaking and pinching in all the right places. I was already his, and he knew it. With his mouth on mine, I let my hands wander and explore this huge beast of man on top of me. I had never been one to have the desire to be possessed, but Luca commanded me like a captain aboard his plane.


And boy was I climbing the dizziest of heights. I wanted his command—needed it in fact. And I never thought I would say that in a million years. “You’re so beautiful, Clara. So fucking sexy.” He trailed his hands down my spine as I arched myself into the curve of his body. The crushing need to have him inside of me was overpowering. It was there on the tip of my tongue—the begging word. I knew it was going to come out at some point, and I couldn’t for the life of me stop the torrent of words that were about to escape me at any moment. “Luca—” It was nearly there. Right there on the tip of my tongue and there was nothing I could do. It was coming, and I didn’t care if I sounded wanton. “Luca, pl—” Just then a loud thumping noise sounded against my door. For a moment, I thought it was my heart beating violently through my chest. In that moment, I had


completely and utterly lost myself to this man. Bang, bang, bang, went the door again. “Fuck!” Luca growled. “What the fuck do you want?” “I’m sorry, Mr. Belatoni, but there is an emergency with Fabiano.” Luca cursed again, but got up from the bed to reach for his clothes. “I’ll be out in a minute.” All went quiet as Luca got dressed. “I’m sorry,” he said, looking it. “If this isn’t an emergency, then someone’s going to seriously pay for this interruption.” I sighed pulling the covers back over me. “How long will you be?” I couldn’t believe I had just asked that. Pulling his trousers on, he answered, “I’m not sure. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Just stay here until I return.” Before I knew it, he had kissed me on the forehead and was out the door quicker


than a flash. If he thought I was staying in here all day, however, then he had another thing coming.

Seven o’clock came and went by with no sign of Luca. I was able to walk around the grounds—with a chaperone of course—earlier in the afternoon. Alessandro walked with me, and to my surprise, he was actually pleasant company. In the twenty minutes or so of walking, I found out that he was thirtyone, born in Sicily, but was brought up in England and the US. I also learned he had four brothers and five sisters and was currently single with a view of meeting Mrs. Right. He had been working for Luca for about six years and was enjoying the lifestyle it afforded him. Mia soon found us after about fifteen minutes, and we enjoyed the rest of the stroll


with Mia’s arm slung through Alessandro’s the whole time. Yes, I did notice that. Mia was smitten, and I could tell in a sense that Alessandro was too. Maybe things were happening outside that door of mine that I wasn’t aware of. Sitting in my tower again, it bugged me just how much I was closed off to the outside world. The more the minutes ticked by, the angrier I became with Luca. He hadn’t once called or gotten anyone to explain what the hell was going on. He had just left me here without a word—nothing. It also ticked me off royally that I was waiting on him. I had never waited on any man, and I wasn’t intending to start with him. I found myself in the bathroom before long, washing and preening myself for the supposed night out. Even if I didn’t make it out, I wanted Luca to see what he had been missing all day. The effort that went into


styling my hair and doing my make-up was immense. I was determined to look as sexy as hell. I even thought fuck it and put a dress on that left little to the imagination. It wasn’t slutty; it was just elegantly sexy. It showed my curves in the right places and accentuated my breasts. It was just what I wanted for the evening. Once it got closer to eight, I retrieved the walkie-talkie from my drawer and signalled to Belinda and the girls that I was ready and waiting for their approach. I was told they would knock on the door five times so I would know it was them. I didn’t know how long they were going to be or if they were even going to be able to pull it off, but the excitement of at least trying was coursing through my veins. Another fifteen minutes passed before I heard the highly anticipated knocks on the door. How the hell did they pull it off?


Alessandro was never away from my door normally. I didn’t know why, but I tiptoed to the door in my high heels and very slowly opened the door into a dimly lit hallway. Belinda motioned with her finger to keep quiet and grabbed my arm to hoist me out of my room. “Hey girls,” I whispered. I noticed it was only Belinda, Melinda, and Rachael crouching outside my door. “Where’s Alessandro?” The girls giggled a little and pulled me towards the escape exit Thomas had led the girls down to the day before. Nearing the exit, it became clear where Alessandro was. I could hear him moaning from one of the cupboard doors. “Fuck, Mia… That’s so good.” I felt like a bit of a voyeur, but the little imp in me couldn’t resist a peak. There was a little bit of light shining through the crack in the door. There wasn’t a lot, but it was


enough to reveal Alessandro standing with his head pulled back in ecstasy. On the floor in front of him was a bobbing head—Mia’s head—and she was giving him what looked like the best blow-job he ever had in his life. The intensity on his face said it all. He had his eyes gripped shut as he was licking his lips. He held a fistful of Mia’s hair as she bobbed up and down on his cock like a freight train. “Stop looking, pervert,” Belinda scolded. “I can’t help it. It looks hot,” I giggled. “Hot or not, we better go. By the looks of things, he isn’t going to last much longer.” With that thought in my head, we were off. And all the while, the echoes of Alessandro’s cries could be heard down the halls. Wow, that was intense. For a split second, I doubted the wisdom of going, and I almost thought it would be best to wait for Luca. I could have easily returned the favour for the


wonderful gift he had given me that morning. I quickly blocked that thought out of my head as soon as I realised how ridiculous it sounded. I was mad at him for leaving me locked up in my tower without a word all day. I would soon show him who was boss! Sneaking down the escape was easy and trouble free. It still had my heart pumping wildly. “How are we going to get away from here undetected?” I didn’t think I would be able to last if I had to run very long in these high heels. “Don’t worry. We have it covered. Carlos hired a mini-van and will take us wherever we need to go.” My eyes widened. “Blimey, Rachael. That’s fantastic. I hope it’s not putting Carlos out in any way.”


She shook her head. “No, he said he was glad to help. He’s waiting with some of the others down by the lodge.” “Excellent!” I was super-charged now. It wasn’t long before we were outside in the cold night air, and boy did it hit me. I wasn’t as cold as I should have been, but I think I was running too much on adrenaline to care. We shot across the field towards the lodge, and all the while I was laughing my head off. I felt like a teenager running away from home on a night out. My parents couldn’t keep me from doing it, and neither could Luca. We ran for almost ten minutes before the lodge came into view. I could see in the distance that there was a little van and a few girls were already inside. Carlos immediately got out of the car the minute he saw us running towards him. “Miss Murphy, how lovely to see you this evening.”


“Carlos, I’m so happy to see you, my friend.” I gave him a big hug, and thought I saw him blush a little. “You look stunning. You always do, but this evening it looks as though you’re letting your hair down a little, shall I say?” “Yes, you could say that,” I giggled. He stared at my mouth and squinted. “Is that a cut on your lip? It’s very faint, but I can definitely see something.” I patted his back. “It’s nothing to worry about. One of them got a bit silly, but he was swiftly dealt with. All in all, I’ve been treated quite well.” Apart from being held prisoner in my own tower! “I’m glad to hear it. I’m sorry that this has happened to you. It can’t have been very pleasant nonetheless.” I shook my head. “No, it’s wasn’t. But, I’m sure at some point, we’ll be able to figure something out. Until then, I want to hit the


town and get drunk. It’s been a long time coming.” I could hear a few of the girls cheering in the van as the rest of us clambered in. “I’m really sorry this has happened, everyone. I know you’re all losing money because of this.” “Don’t worry about us,” Samantha said. “We’ve been keeping ourselves entertained at the lodge. It’s been pretty cool actually.” She smirked. I was suspicious now. “What’s been going on?” “Where am I taking you, Clara?” Carlos shouted from the front. “Club Med, please. I’ve always wanted to try that place,” I shouted back. Carlos nodded. “Oh yes, and they do two-for-one for the ladies on Friday nights.” “Excellent! All the more reason to go, then.” He smiled back at me and started the van up.


“Melinda’s been smooching with the gardener boy,” Samantha whispered. “Really?” I looked over to Melinda, but I doubted very much she’d heard. “What?” She caught me looking directly at her. “Thomas.” That was all I said. I think it was all I needed to say to get the reaction I was after. Soon, the smirk filled her face, causing me to giggle all the more. “We’ve had a little bit of fun, yes.” “A little bit!” Samantha snorted. “How about, Thomas, oh… Thomas, please… Thomas, fuck me like that… Yes, Thomas—right there!” Samantha saw the stunned expression on Melinda’s face and said, “Yes, that’s right. We’ve all heard you.” Melinda’s face blushed a scarlet red. Even under the cover of darkness, it was plain to see.


“So what’s been happening with you and tall, dark, and handsome?” Looking across at Belinda, I could tell she was itching for the gossip. I think my smile gave me away… Especially since the minute she mentioned him, my mind went straight to that morning and Luca’s wonderful and talented tongue. Belinda gasped. “You haven’t!” “No, but nearly—if we hadn’t been interrupted this morning by Alessandro banging on the door.” Samantha laughed. “I bet Alessandro’s banging something else right now. Or shall I say—someone else.” Everyone erupted in laughter as Samantha high-fived Rachael. I looked at them all. “Do you really think they are?” Melinda waved her hand. “Girl, she’s going to have to try and keep him entertained for a while. I’m sure she’ll demand he do something to her after the magnificent blow-


job she’s just given to him.” Melinda winked, and they all giggled again. I bit my lip. “I feel bad that she’s doing that.” Melinda gave me a reproachful look. “Do you really think she’s hating every minute of it? Please! Have you seen Alessandro?” I nodded with a smirk. “I actually tried flirting with him, but it didn’t work. I think Luca has made sure no man will ever flirt with me again.” A few of them frowned. “What do you mean?” Samantha asked. “He said once he had me, no other man could have me again. To be honest with you, I think it’s that way now. He’s going to flip about this. I know it.” “That’s not good.” Belinda shook her head. “On the other hand, I could never envisage you taking any shit like that from anyone.”


I smiled as cheekily as I could. “Why do you think I’m here now?” Belinda elbowed me. “Are you a glutton for punishment?” I didn’t think before I blurted, “Hey, I’ll take any kind of punishment he wishes to dish out if it’s anything like it was this morning.” Samantha’s eyes widened in delight. “That good, ha?” I nodded, thinking what the hell. “Oh yes! I have never had an orgasm like it.” “What did he do if you never had sex?” Huddling with all the girls, Samantha leaned in for my answer. I leaned in myself to whisper. “Let’s just say he has a very talented tongue.” We all giggled together just as Carlos pulled into Club Med. “I shall wait for you, Clara.” I shook my head. “No, Carlos, you can’t. Go home and we will catch a cab back later.”


“It’s no trouble—” I put my hand up and tapped his shoulder. “I insist.” He smiled and nodded his head. “Well I hope you ladies have a wonderful evening.” “Oh, we will,” I said as we clambered out of the van.

The music seemed to be getting louder by my third drink of the evening. We were all on the Cosmopolitans, considering it was two-for-one on cocktails night. It was rather busy, and there were a couple pieces of eyecandy I had spotted earlier when we walked in. “Can I get you a drink?” asked EyeCandy-Number-One. I pointed to my filled glass. “I’m fine, but thank you.” “I haven’t seen you in here before.” He leaned in a little bit more, so I could hear him. The body contact wasn’t intimidating. In fact, I was enjoying it—probably because I felt like I was sticking it to Luca more than anything else. “I’ve never been in here before.”


He looked around before meeting my eyes again. “You’re with a group of girls. Some of them I recognise.” “I’m sure you do,” I said smiling. “They told me about this place a while ago, and I’ve wanted to come here ever since.” He ran a hand through his blond hair. “What’s been stopping you? You haven’t got one of those boyfriends who wants to keep you under lock and key, have you?” I shook my head. “No, not at all. I’ve just been too busy. I work long hours and don’t really get any time off.” Looking at me with his dark blue eyes, I began to wonder why I had kept myself locked up for so long. I was still young and should really commit to living a little. “That’s a real shame. I know work can be a real bummer at times. You have to let your hair down every now and then.” He stroked my arm a little and smiled.


I smiled back, ignoring the fact that he was getting intimate. “That’s the reason why I’m here.” “Clara!” Rachael called. “Come dance with me, sexy.” I took the rest of my drink down and lowered myself off the barstool. “Excuse me for a moment,” I said to Eye-Candy-NumberOne. He shook his head. “No problem at all. Have fun.” Rachael dragged me to the middle of the dance floor where we swayed our hips to the music. Before long, Rachael was rubbing up against me seductively, but I didn’t mind. She knew I wasn’t into women in that way, so I felt safe enough to go this far with her. It looked as though Eye-CandyNumber-One was enjoying the show. I didn’t mind at all. In fact, it was turning me on a little to think he may be getting turned on by it. His penetrating eyes said it all.


“It’s nice to see you letting your hair down a little,” Rachael shouted. “You look fucking sexy in that dress.” I laughed. “Thank you. You’re looking rather stunning yourself.” I gave her a wink and carried on with our dance. It was about another five minutes later when I decided to take a breather and go back to ordering another drink. Eye-Candy Number-One was in deep conversation with Eye-Candy-Number-Two. “I got you another drink,” Eye-Candy-Number-One said. “Thanks. What’s your name by the way?” So I can stop calling you “Eye-CandyNumber- One…” Eye-Candy-Number-One pointed to himself first. “I’m Daniel, and this is Brett.” Brett held out his hand. “Nice to meet you…” “Clara.” Brett pulled my hand up to his lips and kissed it. “What a beautiful name.”


“Thank you.” I fanned myself a little as the heat was setting in. The amount of body heat people could produce in one room amazed me. “You’re hot; let me help you.” Daniel started blowing cool air on my chest, making me giggle loudly. “Wow. You have the most adorable laugh.” Brett looked down at me smiling—or rather, he looked down at my cleavage, smiling. I didn’t know whether to feel flattered or pissed off by it. I wasn’t going to let it spoil my fun by any means, though. “Fancy a dance?” I asked Daniel. Brett seemed a little too cocky and pervy for my liking. “Would I ever!” Daniel led the way, leaving Brett alone with his drink. Looking around, I found that some of the girls were dancing, while others were chatting and drinking. They all seemed like


they were having fun—and attracting a lot of attention. Daniel quickly had me in his arms, and I didn’t much care whether he did or not. I knew I wouldn’t go home with him or anything, but it was nice to stick it to Luca after being held hostage by him for nearly two days. Feeling a little brave, I wiggled up against him as he allowed his hands to wander up and down my arms. He was feeling me rather sensually, and it would have been a turn-on if it had been Luca doing the wandering. Just as I had that thought, my head instinctively snapped up to the door of the club. In came Luca with several of his hoodlums and looking like a bull about to charge. I thought I even saw smoke. The look became worse the minute he saw me gyrating my hips up and down on this stranger’s


crotch. Boy was he mad! I had seen him look thunderous already, but this was magnified. Without hesitation, he made a beeline for where I was dancing. He soon drew the attention from every person in the club, and it didn’t surprise me. He commanded any room the minute he stepped inside of it. He was certainly commanding this one. Daniel must have been completely oblivious, though, which I soon realised when he started nibbling on my ear and breathing is hot breath on the back of my neck. I saw Luca huff as the murderous look turned deadly. Oh shit. Daniel was in big trouble. I was about to turn around and warn him, but the next minute Luca’s hand was around Daniel’s throat as he was leading him across the room and out towards one of the exit doors. What surprised me even more was when another one of the hoodlums grabbed Brett and led him out the same way.


Why were they picking on him? He wasn’t even anywhere near me. My mouth was agape as another one of his hoodlums had me in a vice-like grip as he tried leading me out of the club. “Oh, no you fucking don’t,” I spat. “Let go!” Before I knew it, all of my girls were around me, trying to pry that beast from my arm. He was a brute, but he certainly could not compete against five of my girls combined. “Get off of me, you wanker!” I was mad—mad as hell. How dare he push me around? I didn’t even know who he was. The whole thing would have been comical if it wasn’t for how angry I felt. Belinda was on his back, riding him like a bull, Samantha had hold of one arm, and Melinda held the other as they tried yanking him away from me.


“You have to come with me.” His voice was stern and even a little desperate. He was yet another man who was afraid of Luca. “I’m not going anywhere with you. Let go!” Just then, Samantha decided to take a chunk out of the beast’s arm, causing pitiful yelp to leave his lips. Immediately, he let go, and I didn’t waste any time running. I was off, and so were the girls. “That was fucking awesome!” Samantha shouted. “I so want to do that again.” Even with several men chasing us around the club, we all giggled our heads off. It was like a scene from Benny Hill. Running up some stairs, we stopped before long when we found another man running up the other end towards us. Very quickly, we found a door and decided to run through it. Seeing some more stairs, we decided to climb back down. No sense in going up. I couldn’t understand why a lot of people


in films decide to go onto the roof of a building to escape. How on earth could one escape from a roof? Once there, what chance of escape was normally left? Once we were at the bottom, I gently pushed the door open to have a look through it. I could see we were at the back of the club. Not only that, but I could already spot two of the men in the distance. “We’re not going to make it out of this club unnoticed.” I shook my head from side to side in amused exasperation. “I know,” Belinda began, “but isn’t it fun trying?” Everyone laughed again, and I could tell they were all getting a rise out of this. “I haven’t had so much fun in ages,” piped Samantha. “What do you want to do?” Belinda looked at me with a concerned expression. It was fun, but we knew the fun would end far too soon.


I thought for a moment. I knew I was heading for home more quickly than I could blink my eyes, but I was going to damn well make sure he knew I wasn’t going without a fight. “I tell you what I want to do. In fact, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to walk over to the bar and finish my drink! Who’s with me?” “Oh, hell yeah!” they all shouted. “Come on, ladies. Let’s show them we can’t be pushed around.” I swung the door open as wide as I could. Then, as bold as brass, I walked over to the bar. The girls followed in hot pursuit. Before long, we were noticed by everyone. Stepping up to the bar area, I very casually took a seat. Luca was back through the door and the look of thunder was still quite evident. I smiled and crossed my legs seductively as I picked up my Cosmopolitan.


Luca pointed to the drink. “Don’t you dare fucking drink that!” “I’ll do what I fucking well like, arsehole!” The whole room went dead, and even with the beating of music I could hear some gasps of shock. Luca’s nostrils flared. “Don’t test me, Clara.” “Or what, Mr. Belatoni? What could you possibly do to me in front of all these people?” I was about to put the drink to my lips when Luca lunged and flung the thing from my hand. It went crashing to the floor, glass sprawling everywhere. “What did you go and do that for?” “I told you not to drink it.” I couldn’t believe he had just done that. “You’re not my father. You can’t tell me what to do! Barman, I’ll have another Cosmopolitan please.” I could feel a thousand set of eyes upon me, so I gazed around the room. Sure


enough, just about the whole club was watching. The barman looked over at Luca. The look was distinctly like a man seeking permission for his actions. I couldn’t believe it. The barman wasn’t going to serve me unless Luca specifically said he could. The power this man possessed was beyond ridiculous. “Oh, I see. I can’t have a drink now unless the almighty Luca says so.” I glared at the barman, making him wince. “Don’t look at him like that. He’s just doing his job.” I laughed. “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought his job was to serve drinks. I want a Cosmopolitan, please.” Again, the barman looked across at Luca. Luca nodded his head and it was only then the barman made any kind of movement. Boy, what was wrong with people? “What are you doing here?” Luca’s glare was meant to be intimidating, but Luca


didn’t easily intimidate me. Half the time, I just wanted to smash his smug face in. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. High and Mighty. I didn’t realise I should be stuck at home waiting for you to turn up whenever you damn well pleased.” A look of resignation crossed his face. “You’re angry with me.” I straightened my posture. “Fucking too right I’m angry with you! Who do you think you are?” Luca looked down for a moment. “Today was complicated.” I laughed. “Okay—complicated. You know, there is a little contraption called a phone. You can call people on it and tell them how long you’re going to be, etcetera. Marvellous invention. A lot of people say it’s going to catch on one day.” I was rather shocked at myself to tell the truth. I had only known Luca for a couple of days, and there


we were arguing like a married couple. It just got weirder and weirder. “You’re being sarcastic with me now.” Luca’s look was unimpressed. “You don’t know what went on today.” The barman placed my drink in front of me and I didn’t hesitate any longer. I picked the drink up and placed it to my lips. A part of me thought Luca might lunge at it again, so I was surprised when he just sat there and watched me. I took that opportunity and downed the lot. “Very mature,” Luca grumbled. I looked him up and down. He was wearing a three piece grey suit, and boy did he look sexy in it. “And I suppose locking me up until I’d had sex with you is really mature as well?” A couple of people giggled, and others had their eyes wide with shock. “Talking of which, why did that snake have his hands all over you?” His normally


caramel eyes grew a shade darker as the anger set in. “I am my own person. I can do what I want. If I want to have another man’s hands all over me, then I will.” Luca came closer until his face was inches away from mine. “No fucking man touches you. Do you get that?” I could feel his anger was at the boiling point. “We’re so used to getting what we want, aren’t we, Mr. Belatoni? You’re not getting what you want this time. I’m not going to fall at your feet like others do. This is one person you can’t order around.” “You want to test me?” His glaring eyes were hot with not only anger, but with lust as well. It seemed to be pouring itself from him straight into me. I could feel it radiating throughout my whole body. The feeling was just too intense for words.


Determined not to back down, I stood my ground. “You wouldn’t dare do anything here.” Luca laughed. “You want to bet on that, amore mio? I could pull a random guy in the middle of the floor, cut him into little pieces, and there wouldn’t be a damn thing anyone here could or would do about it.” “Is that a threat?” I still wasn’t backing down. Other people may be frightened of him, but I wasn’t. In fact, the whole thing was strangely turning me on. “No. I’m just stating the obvious. I could haul you over my shoulder and drag you kicking and screaming. No one will care or notice—and even if they did, they would never do anything to stop me.” My eyes widened. “You wouldn’t dare!” Uh-oh. Big mistake. Now I was challenging him, and by the look of things, I had just played into his hands. Time to think of something—quickly.


Just as Luca reached for me, I shouted, “You can’t; I’m going commando!” Luca stilled, and his glaring lust-filled eyes met mine again. “Oh dear, have I spoiled your plans?” Luca smiled cheekily at me, and then turned his attention to Tony. “Tony, go fetch me a blanket from the car.” Tony nodded and immediately about turned and headed for the door. “You wouldn’t dare!” I shouted again. “You keep saying that, but you know I would, in fact, dare.” I huffed. “I’m not going back there for you to lock me up again. I refuse to be your beck-and-call girl.” He looked me up and down, and the way his eyes roamed almost made me shudder. “Don’t you know by now that I can do whatever the hell I like?”


“You’re a fucking arsehole, you know that? And why did your men take Brett away?” His glare was back again. “How the fuck do you know his name?” I smiled cheekily and swiped my hand across my chest. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” The look of thunder was back. Luca had his hand out as quick as a shot just as Tony came running towards him. No sooner had Luca retrieved the blanket, then I was out of my seat attempting to make a run for it. “You’re not getting away from me!” Luca shouted as he grabbed my arm and spun me around like a rag doll. Before I knew it, he had the blanket wrapped around me and I was being thrown over his shoulder. I screamed blue murder at him to let me down, but I knew it wasn’t going to get me anywhere.


“Scream all you want, Clara. No one is coming to help you.” In the distance I could see the girls screaming and trying their best to get to me. The problem was that they all had at least one beast to one girl. I was being taken, and there wasn’t a damn thing any of us could do about it. “I fucking hate you!” I was beyond mad at him. “You think you’re going to get me into bed, but I refuse you. I’d rather wear a chastity belt for the rest of my life then let you anywhere near me.” Luca pushed me over his shoulder even further causing me to huff. “You and I both know that’s not going to happen. The only person—or thing—getting between those legs of yours is me.” Luca hauled me into the back of a limo and told the driver to get going. The driver complied straight away and immediately


pulled up the partition window to give us more privacy. “How do you know I haven’t had someone tonight?” Luca stilled for a moment, and the horror in his eyes nearly had me gasping. He leaned over and cupped my chin in his hands. “If that is true, then Daniel is a dead man.” Trying to calm my erratic breathing, I said, “How do you know it was Daniel?” “So you make a habit of letting one man fuck you and then another feel you up all within one night?” I shook my head. “You know that’s not true.” Luca smiled and trailed his finger along my jaw line. “Then why lie to me? Unless you cared of course. You care enough to tell me you’ve been with someone else just to make me jealous. Do you want me to kill Daniel?” “No. Of course not.”


Luca began a journey with his finger. All the while he was locking his eyes with mine. His intent gaze was beyond hypnotising. “Why are you lying to me then?” The one finger then became his whole hand as it wandered around my breast and then down to my thigh. The incoherent drunk squeal that escaped me brought a smile to the smug git’s face. “You may be able to lie to me, but your body never will. It screams at me to touch it.” I couldn’t fight it much longer. I pulled his head to my lips and kissed him with everything I had. I was mad as hell at him still, but the anger somehow magnified the lust that was coursing through my veins. I was pissed at him for locking me up. I was pissed at him for leaving me without a word. I was pissed at him for dragging me out of the club. Despite all of my justifiable anger—for some reason—my body just took over, and right then, it was screaming for


Luca to touch me. It wanted him as much as the breaths that it took. I was falling into a world of Luca, and nothing and no one else existed. Luca pulled away from my lips, causing a growl of complaint from me. He was as breathless as I was, and I knew the need he had for me was just as strong as the need I had for him. “You’re going commando?” “Yes,” I whispered. His hand made a beeline for my leg as he holstered my skirt up a little. I think my eyes were rolling around the back of head by that point. His finger found my entrance, and straight away, he plunged it deep inside me. I gasped as my inner walls tightened around the intrusion. “Who does this beautiful pussy belong to?” His voice was commanding as he


plunged even deeper. I cried out in pure adrenaline-fuelled bliss. I didn’t answer him. I didn’t want to give in to him. I didn’t even think I could talk right then. Plunging his fingers in deeper and playing with my clit with his thumb, he asked again, “Who does this belong to, Clara?” I moaned in glorious pleasure. My God this was torturous. I so wanted him to give me what I wanted, but at the same time, I was never going to cave in. “Who, Clara?” His voice was commanding and so fucking seductive. A part of me actually screamed at me to answer that it was his. I just wanted my release as soon as possible. It was past desire by now; it was a crushing need. A need that took me beyond the realms of clarity. “Oh God,” I cried, as his magic finger delved deeper and harder.


“Clara!” His voice was a frustrated growl. Suddenly finding my voice, I shouted back, “I don’t fucking belong to anyone!” Big Mistake! His finger was out of me faster than a bullet. “Arsehole!” I shouted—more loudly than I had intended. I didn’t much care, however. He had just brought me to a point of no return and then refused to go the full distance. Crashing back in his seat, Luca’s body screamed in disappointment. “You obviously still have a lot to learn.” I pointed at my chest. “Me? You’re talking about me?” “Yes, you.” Luca gazed out of the window, not once turning to look at me. I could have bitten back—I wanted to bite back—but I just couldn’t find the energy. If I was being honest with myself, I was deeply upset that my body was screaming for an orgasm which had never come. I could


actually feel the tears welling; I was so consumed by it. I didn’t though. I never would. I was determined, even now, to not back down. Clara Murphy was not a quitter, and in my growing lucidity, I realised I was proud of myself for not giving in to him. I was one person that never would. The minute the car stopped, I was reaching for the handle and opening the door. I wasn’t hanging around waiting; I was still too pissed at Luca for that. “Clara, where are you going?” “I’m going to the bar to get a drink.” I was halfway through the door when I felt a yank at my arm. Spinning around, I glared at him. “Let. Me. Go.” “Wrong answer, amore mio.” Before I knew it I was being hauled over his shoulder again. “Luca, you piece of shit, put me down.”


“Not happening, bella.” He spanked my bottom causing me to yelp. “Did you just spank me?!” I screamed. Luca chuckled. “You behave like a child, you get treated like one.” “You fucking spanked me?” He spanked me again. “And I don’t care for language or for that tone of voice either.” “What the hell!” I had never in my twenty-six years of life been treated in this manner by anyone. Other than my father of course. The difference was when my dad spanked me, it was out of spite and anger. Luca was doing it as a way of showing me who he thought was boss. Once we were back in my room he placed me on the bed and stared at me. I couldn’t tell from his look whether he wanted fuck me or spank me again. Maybe he wanted to do both. “I’m not going to talk to you until you’re calm and sober.”


“How dare you imply that I’m drunk?!” I hiccupped at just the right time to prove his theory. Damn it! Luca raised a cheeky eyebrow and smiled. “You want to run that by me again?” “Why are you so determined to be this barbaric, cavemanic, prehistoric animal?” I hiccupped again. Oh boy! “Cavemanic?” He was still smiling. “Yeah, ‘cavemanic.’ You think you can control me. I can’t be controlled. How about you do as you’re told and finish off what you started in the car?” Still smiling, he waved a finger at me. “Not happening tonight. I want to hear you say the words. Until then, you can stew in your little tower. There’s a lot to be said—especially after the stunt you pulled tonight—but I won’t discuss it with you until the morning.”


I couldn’t believe it when he turned around and headed out the door. I was momentarily frozen, wondering whether what just happened had truly happened. As soon as I realised it had, I picked up a pillow and threw it at the door in frustration. I flopped down on the bed and realised soon enough that no matter what I tried, Luca would always have the upper hand. I hated it with every fibre of my being, but it still didn’t change that fact. With a frustrated sigh, I settled down, resigned to the reality that I was here now, and there was nothing much I could do about it. I knew Luca’s leaving me alone like this was his way of teaching me a lesson. Instead of getting angry, I put some music on and proceeded to get ready for bed. He wanted me to get angry, but I refused to give him the satisfaction. Releasing my body from my dress and shoes, I ventured into the bathroom to get


ready for bed. The whole time I was getting ready, I was taken up by memories of Luca’s hands on me. No matter how much I didn’t want to think about it, I still did think about it. He was fast becoming an addiction I couldn’t shake. Despite my intellectual protests, my body yearned for his touch. He was certainly right about that. It did scream for him. It was screaming for him right then. Stripping myself completely bare, I slipped into my lovely sheets and settled myself into my plump pillows. I wanted sleep to find me quickly just so I could stop feeling that ache. After a few minutes of tossing and turning, my body finally granted my wish.

I woke to the sound of drumming. The noise was loud and booming. I turned over and moaned at the uneasy feeling in my head. Oh dear… This is the morning after the night before; it’s no wonder I feel like shit. I think a decaying corpse has decided to make my mouth its resting place. Why am I being punished like this? “Good morning, beautiful. How’s your head?” Opening one eye, I found Luca staring down at me with his smug, “I told you so” look. “I’m fine,” I said through gritted teeth. Luca laughed. “Even now, you’re determined to lie to me—to fight me.” “Then why don’t you just give up and let me go?”


Luca looked at me like I had just said the most preposterous thing in the world. “You know that’s not going to happen.” Pulling myself up a little, I soon regretted it and moaned my disapproval. “Here, I got you some tablets.” Luca sat on the bed and handed me some pills. I took them both as no matter how much I wanted to go against him; it would be stupid of me to ignore the party inside my head. I downed them both with the glass of water Luca had in his other hand. He was being gentle with me now, and even though I hated him, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit grateful. “Thank you.” Luca smiled and stroked my hair. “You’re welcome.” I smiled back and took a deep breath. “Can I talk to you about yesterday now?” I moaned. “Do we have to?”


Luca laughed. “No, I suppose it can wait. I’ll leave you for another hour or so and then bring you up some breakfast, okay?” “Okay. That would be nice.” Luca left, and I immediately fell back to sleep.

It was a little less than an hour later when I woke up again to find that Luca was not in the room with me anymore. My head was still a little sore, but it was miles better than it had been. I was feeling so much better in fact that my stomach was growling at me in protest. Thinking it best to make myself a little more decent, I decided to brush my teeth and head for the shower. Once dried, I walked back into my bedroom and was shocked to find Luca sitting at the table with a plate of scrambled eggs and toast. Accompanying that was a glass of orange juice.


Surprised by my nakedness, Luca’s eyes wandered appreciatively over my body, causing my pulse to react. “Please put something over you.” I smiled a little. “Why?” “Because I don’t think I can stand another minute of looking at you without wanting to grab you and bury myself in you until you scream.” My breathing hitched. I could feel the familiar burn between my legs. I was throbbing and wet—and I so wanted him to carry out his threat. “I don’t see how that makes a difference to me.” Luca shook his head. “Clara, please. I want to talk to you about last night, and I don’t want any distractions.” I could have got angry again, but I was too taken aback by his tone of voice. It sounded very much like he was begging. In mild amusement, I hitched my eyebrow at him.


“Yes, you got me to beg. Don’t look all smug because that’s the one and only time you’ll hear it.” Walking closer to his seat, I sighed. “Really?” His words were like a challenge to me now. Turning his head away from me, Luca got up from his chair. He soon returned with a dressing gown and handed it to me. “Yes, really. Now put this on, and come and eat some breakfast.” I sighed, realising that I wasn’t going anywhere with this. A part of me wanted an explanation anyway. I was still angry with him for leaving me all day without a single word. For once, I behaved and wrapped the robe around me. The toast and eggs were calling to me anyway. Once seated at the table, I started tucking in with relish. “Now, tell me why you disobeyed me yesterday?”


My mouth hung open. “Why I diso—” Luca stopped me with his hand. “Don’t start. Just answer the question. “How can you say that? You’ve been keeping me prisoner here, and then you left without a word—nothing. I was angry with you for leaving me, and I was angry with you for not explaining to me where you were or what you were doing.” Luca smiled. “At last we’re getting somewhere.” I shook my head in frustration. He was still determined to get a rise out of me. “You can deny what you feel for me as much as you want, but you can’t deny it to yourself. You cared about where I was.” “I was angry that you left me here. You seem to keep forgetting that you’re holding me prisoner here.” Luca smiled. “Who says that you’re a prisoner?” I frowned. Did I just hear him correctly?


“Excuse me?” “You can come and go as you please, within reason of course.” I laughed. “Are you shitting me?” “I shit you not. Has anyone here said you can’t go where you want to? All you have to do is ask.” I shook my head. “That’s the thing. I’m a grown woman. I shouldn’t have to ask your permission.” “It would seem after last night’s little stunt that you do.” Bashing my fork down forcefully on the table, I glared at him. “You bastard. How dare you?! I was having a perfectly good night until you came along. I was with my girls, and we were having fun. I wasn’t causing a scene, or being outrageous. It was you who came into the club like a raging bull. It was you who charged his way in and made a beeline for Daniel. It was you who hauled me over your shoulder and dragged me out.”


At the mention of Daniel’s name, Luca growled. “Don’t fucking mention that snake again.” “Why not?” Luca banged the table. “Because he’s a fucking rapist!” I stared in disbelief. Did I just hear him correctly? “Yes, that’s right. If you had taken time to notice, then you would have realised that Daniel and Brett are sleazy scumbags. When Daniel bought that drink for you last night he spiked it with Rohypnol. He would have used it to sedate you and then sneak you out to force himself upon you. Once he was finished with you, then I should imagine it would have been Brett’s turn.” The look of murder on his face as he told me was evident. “I—I—” I didn’t know what to say. I was too lost for words. I wasn’t normally, but this sudden, unexpected news had floored me. Luca’s face softened a little at my obvious distress. Grabbing my hand, he gently


stroked my palm. “I know this is a shock, but no matter what you think of me, my intentions with you are honourable. I was trying to protect you last night. I couldn’t tell you this at the time because you were so full of pent up rage that it would have been pointless.” Suddenly, I was able to find my voice again. “How do you know this about them?” “They came on my radar recently when a club owner complained to me about these two assholes calling themselves ‘Daniel’ and ‘Brett.’ Apparently, they’ve spiked a handful of girl’s drinks and then forced themselves upon them. The poor girls haven’t gone to the police for fear that no one would believe them. I was asked to look into it and deal with the problem.” I stared at him for a moment. “How have you dealt with the problem?”


“I hadn’t had time to until one of my men called me last night and told me they were there in my club.” “Your club?” He nodded. “Yes. My club. They had dared to taint my club with their filth. I wasn’t going to have that. I asked the man to describe you to me so that I knew where to find you when I came. When he did, I got suspicious. I demanded that he find out exactly who you were and after a bit of digging they said your name was Clara Murphy.” I thought for a moment about how that could be, but then I remembered I had to show my I.D. when I asked for drinks. “How did the barman even remember my name?” Luca looked angry. “Why do you think? You really think you can look like you do and that nobody will notice?” “Why does that thought seem to anger you?”


Luca growled. “Because you are mine!” I should have been angry with his stern statement, but all it did was hit me straight between my legs. I really wished he didn’t affect me like that. After composing myself a little, I looked at Luca and smiled. That seemed to surprise him a little. “Thank you for coming to my rescue.” Luca beamed, immediately losing his angered expression. “Don’t mention it. I would have dealt with them sooner, but I had a stubborn pain in the ass who had been keeping me occupied.” “Well, that sucks,” I said sarcastically. “No, it doesn’t, actually. The stubborn pain in the ass doesn’t realise it yet, but she’s making me all kinds of crazy. I know I’m crazy about her.” He stroked my palm a little bit more, sending the goose bumps rising. “Do I have to give you a little reminder as to


why I’m here?” His sexy eyes danced over me, making me shudder. Despite my raging hormones, I had to ask. “Why were you gone so long without a word yesterday?” Luca sighed. “Stubborn to a fault aren’t you?” He shook his head and looked down at the floor. “This Fabiano, who Alessandro mentioned… He was one of my men. Unfortunately, he had a heart attack and died yesterday.” I felt immediately guilty. “Oh, my God. I’m so sorry. Were you two close?” Luca nodded. “We had known each other for fourteen years. He was a good worker, but he’d been at it for too many years. I had been telling him to slow down as I could see the work was starting to take its toll on him. He always insisted he was fine, but he obviously wasn’t.” He ran his hands over his face and leaned back in his chair. “His wife, Annabella, was distraught. I was with her


virtually all day trying to calm her down. I wanted to be with you, and I wanted to call you, but she needed my attention.” Looking down at the floor, I felt remorseful. “I’m sorry. If I had known—” Luca leaned forward and grabbed my chin, willing my eyes to meet his. “You don’t need to apologise. You were right to be angry with me. You weren’t to know, so don’t feel guilty.” I searched his eyes. “Why do you do this?” Luca looked confused. “Do what?” “Make me like you when I should hate you.” Luca laughed a beautiful, hearty laugh which sent my pulse sky-rocketing. “Why would you want to hate me?” “Why? Look at what you’re doing to my girls. Look at what you’re doing to my business. One can’t live without the other, and you’re running me into the ground.”


“Clara, listen to me.” I looked into his eyes. “I’m not doing this on purpose. I realise what you’re saying, but the girls have been compensated for the absence of business. I spoke with them this morning about it. They seem relatively happy. They’re not happy about you being up here, but they are happy otherwise. I’ve just been a bit selfish—wanting to keep you to myself. I like spending time with you. To me, you’re like what the stars in the sky are to the sun and like what the moon is to the earth. Some things can’t live without their counterparts. You make me happy, and I haven’t been happy in a very long time.” He then turned away, looking pensive. He looked so sad, and I wanted to reach out to him. I stroked his cheek and pulled his face to meet mine. “Define long?” Luca sighed. “Since I was a young boy.” I wanted to know more. “Why? Why have you not been happy?”


Stroking my hand on top of his face, Luca leant in for a kiss. I didn’t stop it. I wanted to feel his lips on mine. I wanted to feel everything of his on me. Before too long, he pulled away. “I can’t have this conversation with you now. The day has barely begun, and I don’t want to start it on a sad note.” I smiled encouragingly. “Well, whenever you’re ready, I am here.” Luca beamed. “Are you?” I laughed at my oblivious play on words. “I can’t believe I just said that, but yes… I am.” “Good,” he sighed. “I want to talk to you about something.” “Okay.” I didn’t know whether or not I was going to like whatever was coming next. “I’ve been organising a masquerade ball for tonight. A lot of people are coming.” It didn’t take long for my anger to come surging back. “You’re doing it again. I’ve


been running this by myself since the start, and you’re taking over again despite my feelings on the topic.” “I’m trying to take the edge off—for you—for just a little while,” he protested. “Do you want to end up like Fabiano?” Those words hit me harder than I thought they would. I was young and carefree. I had never considered that the stress of running this would one day take its toll. “No, of course not—” “Do you want me to cancel? I can still cancel. I just thought it would be a great opening night for all of your clients. I even have some new ones for you that have been vetted and tested already. They’re all looking forward to it and are paying five hundred pounds per ticket to come to this soiree. All your clients think it’s a great idea. Even your girls are excited about wearing masks and gowns. It helps to make the lure of the


evening that much more appealing. Don’t you think?” Thinking about it, it I had to admit that it was a great idea. “I’m not forcing my girls to sleep with just anybody, Luca. I don’t run my business that way.” Luca patted my hand. “I know you don’t. You look after them well, and they all have nothing but praise for you. I can tell you that you’re not the only one calling me ‘asshole’ around here.” Thinking about that made me chuckle. I laughed even harder when I thought about Samantha biting into that brute’s arm at the club. “What’s so funny?” “Samantha. She bit one of your henchmen.” “Ah. Franco. They seem to be best of friends now. All the men have been laughing about it and winding Franco up. He’s not


happy about a bunch of girls beating him, but he says he’ll get over it.” “A bunch of girls?” I looked at him in mock astonishment. “I’ll have you know we could run rings round the lot of you.” Luca smiled. “And so you have been. I can’t say that they are particularly delighted about tonight. Some of my men have been getting rather close to some of your women, though.” I was wondering what in the hell had gone on in my absence when I had this sudden uneasy feeling that what he said should remind me of something. As soon as I thought it, I remembered. “Alessandro.” Luca didn’t look too pleased. “He’s been fired. He’s lucky I didn’t kick the shit out of him yesterday. The only reason why I didn’t is because Mia threatened to cut my balls off if I did. Your girls have one hell of a mean


streak in them. I should employ a few of them myself.” I laughed at that. Good on Mia for not taking any shit. “I will accept tonight and come tonight on one condition.” “Okay, name it.” “Reinstate Alessandro.” He vehemently shook his head. “No way. I’ve already told you that I’m not a man to be messed with. Reinstating Alessandro would send the message to others that failing is okay. He was given a task—to look after you—and he failed miserably.” I shook my head. “But it’s not his fault. We caused a distraction.” “Yes. I know what you did.” He gave me a reproachful look. “I didn’t make Mia do anything. The first I knew about it was when we walked out the door and I saw—” “What do you mean you saw? What did you see?”


Uh-oh. He was looking pissed again. “Well, it was a bit hard not to look.” His nostrils flared. “What do you mean it was a bit hard for you not to look? How much exactly did you see?” I bit my lip, causing him to fly out of his chair. “Fuck, Clara. You drive me fucking crazy! Why can’t you ever just do as you’re told?” “Because I am my own person!” I was just as mad as we faced each other in what could have been construed as a battle of wills. “Do I have to fuck some sense into you?” I edged closer to him. “Yes, I think maybe you do!” Luca growled and lunged for me. I was just as fierce with my own pent-up aggression. Our lips locked in a frenzied, hungry kiss, bringing to the surface a series of heated noises from our mouths.


“Luca,” I breathed as I hopped up and brought my legs around his waist. Luca was there to hold me and brought me to the bed in one swift motion. “I need to remind you of why you’re mine.” Looking at me with heated eyes, he unhooked my silk dressing gown and revealed my naked body. “Fuck, you look so beautiful.” Desire burned in his eyes as he caressed and stroked my breasts. Soon, his mouth was on my nipple, and his delicious tongue was dancing around the nub. I threw my head back and moaned as he descended further down towards my clit. He kissed my thighs and gently blew on my throbbing pussy. My God, I was on fire. I wanted him like nothing and no one else before. “Luca—” I very nearly said it. Very nearly uttered the words that he was longing to hear.


“Say it, baby. Say it, and I’ll be yours.” His tongue was there lashing away, and I could hardly contain myself. “Say it!” His fingers soon entered me and started a delicious rhythm. “Oh God, Luca!” “Say it!” “No!” Even in the midst of my torture, I was never going to give in to him. “You’re mine, Clara. Say it!” “No!” I screamed again as his tongue lashed and flicked over and over, sending me to the brink of detonation. “Say it!” he demanded again, and again I tried to scream no. Instead, I found myself shouting, “Yes—yes—yes!” “I want to hear it, Clara.” His tongue was back again, and I knew I was going to blow. I could feel the tingles rising throughout my body; I felt the glorious waves crashing down upon me in a wonderfully relentless rhythm.


“Luca!” I screamed again as my back arched and my body convulsed beneath him. I was one heap of a mess beneath the most beautiful man I had ever laid eyes on. My breathing was harsh, and the smile that was plastered upon my face would tell any who saw it what an amazing orgasm I had just had. “Happy now, Clara?” “Very,” I breathed. “Are you feeling relaxed?” “Very,” I breathed again. “Who do you belong to?” “No one,” I whispered. “Wrong answer. I still need to hear it.” Kissing every part of me, he made his way up towards my nipples again. He licked and sucked them until I was hot and ready for him again. “I think it’s your turn now.” I tried to get up to take control, but Luca had me locked in a vice-like grip beneath him.


“I’m not giving you what you want until you tell me.” I looked into his glaring eyes and sighed. “Well, I guess you’re going to have to do without feeling what it’s like to be inside me.” I wriggled seductively underneath him, trying so hard to stir a reaction. Judging by the look on his face, I thought it was working, but no such luck! “It’s going to happen. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but you will say those words. You will tell me that you’re mine … because you already are. Stop fighting me.” “Stop fighting me!” I mimicked, poking my tongue out at him to prove my point. “Very mature, Clara.” “Very mature, Clara.” Luca’s unimpressed glare caused the heat to resurface between my legs. I wanted him, and he knew it. “Stop looking at me like that.”


“Like what? Why don’t you just give in to me and be done with it? I’m sure I can make you happy.” I smiled cheekily, and Luca shook his head. “I give in to no one.” I gasped at his audacity. “Well, that makes two of us, buddy!” Luca sighed and shook his head. “We obviously need to get reacquainted. This is going to be harder than I thought.” “Well, I’m certainly not complaining. Your methods of reacquainting me are too delicious for words. They’re almost like Luca booster shots.” Luca studied me a moment. He desperately wanted to smile, but I knew he was also desperately trying not to. “Luca boosters, huh? Well, you are too delicious for words. You taste like a fine wine, and I could drink you in all day long.” “Hmm… Sounds promising.” I was hoping I could tempt him to take me like he


knew I wanted to be taken. I wasn’t going to tell him I was his, though. So, unless he bent his will a little, he was going to have to wait a very long time. Luca surprised me by getting up. “Where are you going?” “We have to get ready.” He was casual now. Back to business. I must admit that it pissed me off a little. How did he have so much self-restraint? “Get ready for what?” Stilling for a moment, he gave me an abolishing look. “Have you not listened to a word I’ve said this morning? We have to go shopping for dresses and masks. The girls are just itching for you to get your ass out of bed so you can go with them.” “Me?” I was actually shocked I was being let out of the house. Luca laughed. “You’re not a prisoner—remember?”


I rolled my eyes. “Oh, yes. How foolish of me to think so.” I sighed, but then I remembered Alessandro. Luca probably thought I would conveniently forget. He quickly needed to realise I was like an elephant—no matter how many screaming orgasms he gave me; I would never forget. “I’m not going anywhere until you call Alessandro and tell him he has his job back.” Sitting on the bed, I folded my arms and deliberately looked away. “Why do you insist on behaving like a spoilt child?” I gasped. “Me? That’s rich coming from you! Mr. I’m-Not-Going-to-Give-You-WhatYou-Want-Until-You-Tell-Me-You’re-Mine!” “Just do as I ask and get ready.” “No. I think I’m beginning to like staying up in my tower all day.” I stared off into space, ignoring him.


“Do I have to remind you again of who you’re dealing with?” I raised my eyebrow at him. “Yes. I think I need many, many reminders. My Luca shot is obviously wearing off. Maybe I need a stronger dose?” Luca growled in frustration. “You drive me crazy, woman!” “Should I take that as a yes?” Looking up at him, I fluttered my eyelashes. Luca chuckled and shook his head. “I’m never going to live this down. My reputation will be ruined.” Jumping up, I landed a big kiss on his cheek. “Thank you, Luca.” “You’re one hell of a woman.” With that, I had earned myself a swift pat on the bottom as I dutifully headed for the shower to get ready.


Later on, I found myself in the clothes store along with twenty-eight women and fifteen men. The store attendants couldn’t believe their eyes when we walked in. Of course, Luca insisted we have bodyguards because—you know—we lived such a dangerous lifestyle that we needed fifteen of them! How on earth did I ever manage beforehand?! “Did I hear correctly that Alessandro is coming back tonight?” Looking at Mia, I smiled. She looked delighted by the prospect. “Yes, that’s right.” I suddenly realised why Mia was so eager to share a cubicle with me. “Whatever it is you did to get him to agree to it, I thank you.” I smiled. “Don’t mention it. I didn’t have to do anything. I think he just knows I’m not a woman who will take no for an answer. I quickly bent him to my will.” She looked eager. “How did you do it?”


“I refused to go anywhere today or take part in this masquerade ball later.” Mia’s eyes widened in surprise. “Wow! Judging by what I’ve heard, that sort of thing never happens with Luca. He is a man not to be messed with.” I smiled. “Well, I guess he’s finally met someone who won’t take any of his domineering crap.” Mia giggled. “Yes, the alpha male has finally met his match—an alpha female. Grrr. Sounds sexy!” We both laughed as I finally managed to hook myself into a dress. “What do you think?” We both turned to stare at the dress in the full-length mirror. It was a simple, elegant, gold dress with a matching gold mask. I thought it was the best out of the five I tried on so far. Not only that, but the mask I was wearing looked just like a cat. I thought Luca would get a kick out of that.


Mia admired me for a moment. “It looks perfect on you.” Thinking the same thing, I sighed in relief that I didn’t have to try on anything else. “Tell me something, Mia?” I stared down at her as she fussed over my dress. “Anything,” she said as she carried on fussing. “Do you really like Alessandro?” Mia stilled for a moment and looked in the mirror. “You can tell me. I won’t get annoyed if you do. You can’t help liking someone.” Mia bit her lip and looked down at the floor. “Yes, I do like him. When he got fired yesterday, he begged me to come with him—to leave The Castle. I told him that I could never do that to you. My loyalty is with you, not with someone I hardly know.” I was surprised by that. “He wasn’t angry with you then? With what we did?” She shook her head. “No. Actually, he was angry at first, but I explained to him that


what I did was something I wanted to do—not something I felt I had to do. After what happened, he took time pleasuring me. I’ve never had a man who really wanted to take the time to pleasure me before. I felt cherished—if that makes sense?” I smiled, knowing all too well what she meant. “It makes perfect sense.”

The start of the evening eventually arrived, and I insisted Luca wait for me whilst I got dressed. I didn’t let him see what I bought … or shall I say what he bought. All of the ladies were thrilled with their items and couldn’t wait for the evening to arrive. I didn’t think I had ever seen them so pumped about the prospect of sleeping with their clients. Once I was ready, I opened the door to find Alessandro and Mia looking cosy by the wall. “Clara, wow! Look at you.” “And look at you!” She looked elegant in her black, feathery ensemble. “What a pleasure to see you again.” Alessandro smiled and took my hand for a kiss.


I looked over his attire and couldn’t help but admire his physique. “And you, too. You look fantastic in a tux.” Alessandro smiled. “I just want to thank you for everything you did.” I waved my hand at him. “Don’t mention it. It was nothing. I wasn’t going to get you into trouble for something I did.” “Something we all did,” Mia protested. “Well, anyway. It was done, and it can’t be undone.” I smiled and saw the way both Mia and Alessandro were looking at each other. It would seem they were more than just in-like with each other. That got me thinking. “Alessandro, can you do me a favour this evening?” Alessandro looked my way and nodded. “Certainly, Clara. Anything.” I looked at Mia for a moment and smiled. “Can you make sure Mia is kept entertained for the evening?” I looked at him so


he would get my meaning. He soon caught on and beamed at me. “Of course. It would be my pleasure.” Nodding, I tried to walk past, but Mia grabbed my arm on the way. “You don’t have to do this. I can work.” I shook my head. “No. I’m not going to make you do anything you’re uncomfortable with. We have already been paid for this evening so your presence alone is the only thing warranted.” Mia squeezed my arm and smiled. “Thank you.” “Don’t mention it.” I carried on my journey, feeling a little good about myself. In fact, I was feeling really good. I knew tonight would be the night for me and Luca. I could feel it. I was going to seduce that man if it was the last thing I did. Looking down from the top of the stairs only cemented that idea. Luca was at the bottom, and he stared up at me like I was the


only woman in the house. Our eyes locked for a moment before he leisurely took in the sight of me. I made sure I was wearing my mask before I came down—just to add to the effect. He knew straight away it was me, though. Luca’s smile spread wide as I took to the stairs. When I neared the bottom, he said, “My lioness has come to join me.” “I thought you would like it,” I purred. “Like it—it looks phenomenal on you. My God, you’re one sexy cat.” I chuckled. “Thank you. You’re looking rather dashing yourself.” And he was. He, too, was wearing a tux, and he looked about a million dollars in it. He didn’t just command a room; he bellowed sex appeal through it. Kissing me on the cheek, he lingered. “The guests are starting to arrive, but I’m starting to regret arranging it all now.” “Why?” I asked astonished.


“Because I would much rather be upstairs, peeling this beautiful dress off you.” I shuddered as he trailed his fingers down my arm. One single solitary touch, and I was his. I knew I was kidding myself. Luca was right; I had been his from the start. “I’m going to get the word out.” I frowned. “What word?” He leaned in to whisper in my ear. “The one that tells every horny fucker in this place to keep away from the prowling, sexy lioness. She’s off limits.” I smiled as he pulled his head back to meet my eyes. “Oh she is, is she?” “Yes. Do you need help remembering? I can always offer you a refresher. My cheeks flushed with the intensity of his words. “Yes, please,” I whispered. “Oh, Clara, what am I going to do with you?” “I’m sure I can think of something.” I raised my eyebrow at him and winked.


“Stop it, Clara. I only have so much restraint.” I laughed, thinking that he had too much at times. “Can I get you a drink?” “Yes, please. That would be lovely. Champagne if there is any.” Luca left and took the time to look around. The place was already filling with people. Some I recognised, and some I didn’t. The ones that knew me smiled a hello, and the others just looked at me like I was a shiny new plaything. They needed to get that out of their heads. Luca was right about one thing. I was off-limits, but only because I always had been—not because he was saying I was. “Clara, you look exceptionally beautiful this evening. I’m guessing that must indeed be you underneath that mask?” I looked to my left and spotted Matthew walking towards me. “Yes, Matthew. How are you this evening?”


“I’m very well. Glad this bug business has finally been cleared up. I’ve been eager to see Melinda again.” Instinctively, I looked around the room to see if I could try to spot her. “I can’t see her as yet, but I’m sure she will be joining us shortly.” “Clara, your champagne.” Luca placed a very possessive hand behind my back. Matthew smiled at Luca. “Mr. Belatoni, how nice to see you. I didn’t realise you frequented here.” “Oh, I don’t. Clara and I are partners.” Luca smiled, but I could tell he meant more than business. Matthew frowned. “I never knew of this.” “I’ve been a silent partner up until recently. I’ve been very eager to get to know Clara and this fantastic business she runs. She has been doing extremely well.” Luca patted my bottom, and I very nearly punched


him one. I knew what he was up to, and he had better damn well make sure he dove for cover once we were alone. The condescending little prick! Matthew smiled. “Yes, she has. She looks after us all very well.” Matthew meant this quite innocently, but it didn’t stop Luca from growling a bit in my ear. I had to fight the chuckle that was all too eager to leave my lips. “So, how do you two know each other?” I asked, thinking it best to change the subject. “Mr. Belatoni has been a great support to the local area. I sometimes wonder what I’d do without him.” I smiled sweetly. “Oh, that’s nice.” Luca heard the sarcasm in my voice and excused us for a moment. “Carry on, dear chap. So nice to see you both. I shall hunt down the lovely Melinda.”


Nodding politely, it wasn’t long before I felt the very firm grip of my arm. “Another one of your puppets I take it? Who do you not have control of?” “You it would seem,” he growled. “You’re being unruly.” I laughed and patted his bottom. “Stop worrying your pretty little head about it, darling.” I tried to walk past him, but instead he picked me up and started dragging me to the nearest toilet. “Put me down; you’re causing a scene!” “You’re obviously in need of that higher dose you spoke of—another booster, if you will.” Luca spanked my bottom, and the sheer shock of it silenced me. “That’s better!” The fucking twat! Once in the toilet, he locked the door. The heat and desire in his eyes were flaming like never before. “How many times do we have to go through this?”


I giggled. “What are you going to do? Fuck some sense into me?” Luca shook his head. “There’s just no taming you is there?” I threw my hands up. “At last, the pennies have dropped!” Luca’s stride towards me was purposeful. He reached the back of my head with his hand and pulled me to his lips. He was forceful and unrepentant. He was asserting his authority the only way he knew how. Pulling away, he placed his hand underneath my dress and trailed it along my thigh. I couldn’t help the moan that escaped me. Every touch—every feel of him on my skin—had the flames within me burning hotter than the sun. No one had ever made me feel this way before. Closing my eyes, I took a moment to savour the very firm grip of his beautiful, strong hand.


“Look at me, Clara.” It was an order. I didn’t comply. Luca’s hand wandered through my lace panties where his finger soon found my clit. I moaned again. “Clara: Look. At. Me.” The command somehow heightened my awareness, and I, in turn, responded to him quickly. My eyes met a very smug Luca. “There,” he said, stroking my clit. “You can do as you’re told after all. I knew getting us reacquainted would work.” I was angry at his words and with myself. I’d let myself down. The anger somehow amplified the knot now building in my stomach. The touch of his fingers gently sliding over my hard, wet clit was forcing my body to take action. “Luca,” I moaned as his torturous strokes became more prominent. “Who do you belong to?” His commanding words and his pulsing fingers were all too


much to bear. I was going to blow soon, and we both knew it. “Answer me!” Without meaning to, the words just flew out of my mouth in a barrage of ecstasy: “Luca, Luca, Luca!” He growled in my ear, and I came apart at his touch. I was practically screaming with the euphoria of this wonderful orgasm. Letting me calm a little, Luca pulled his hand away and held me in his arms. It was almost as if he was soothing a savage beast, but then again, I was around him. Despite my protests, it felt good to be in his arms. I had never felt what it was like to feel protected—to feel safe. It was kind of a strange word to say about Luca. He wasn’t safe by a long shot. I wasn’t stupid; I knew what he was and what he could be capable of. I just never felt scared in his presence at all. Even when he became angry, I instinctively knew he would never hurt me. That’s something I


had never felt or had with anyone. My parents made sure of that. Just as I thought my breathing was calming, Luca began a torturous trail of kisses down my neck. “I could take you now. You don’t realise how hard I am for you. Hearing your orgasms alone makes me want to come so hard. You don’t know what you do to me.” “Do it!” I commanded. I wanted him so badly and couldn’t understand why he was holding back. “Not here. Not like this. In bed and after all of these horny fuckers have left.” Giggling at his choice words, a smile formed on his beautiful lips. “I told you I could get you to say it.” I abruptly stopped giggling and looked at him fiercely. “I never said anything.” “Oh, yes, you did. I asked who you belonged to, and you screamed my name. Luckily, the walls around here are thick


because I think everyone within a thirty mile radius would have heard who you belong to by now otherwise. Not that I mind. I want every fucker to know who you belong to. That way, they can keep their slimy hands off you.” I sighed a little. “I was under duress when you asked. I was very near to my climax, and it just slipped out.” Luca shook his head with an amused smile. “Oh, no you don’t. You’re mine, and you know it. Do you need another refresher already?” “Oh, yes, please!” I winked. “You can help me to remember over and over and over again. In fact, I think it’s high time I returned the favour and gave you something to remember.” I went to touch him, but Luca grabbed my hand. “Not here. Not now. You called my name, and later you will be begging me to make love to you.”


To let him know I wasn’t impressed, I gave him an undignified huff. “Clara Murphy does not beg—for anyone!” Luca’s eyes lit up with fire. The caramel colour was darkening by the second with every frustrated breath he took. “We shall see about that later. For now, we have guests, and we need to make sure all of them are happy.” I let out an exasperated sigh. “You were the one who dragged me in here, remember?” “Yes, but that’s because you can’t behave yourself. You seem calmer once you’ve had an orgasm.” “What the hell? Oh, never mind!” I raced to the door and flew it open in time to find four sets of eyes staring at me. I immediately blushed. “Clara Murphy, what have you been doing in the toilets? I thought it was our


responsibility to take care of clients.” Belinda’s cheeky grin was infectious. Luca huffed behind me. “I’m not her client, though.” “What are you then?” Samantha asked. I smiled at that and immediately turned to Luca, awaiting his answer. I was going to enjoy this. I thought he was going to get flustered under the pressure, but all he did was button up his jacket before responding. “She’s mine and no one else’s.” He smiled politely at all the girls, nodded his head, and then turned to leave. Meanwhile, my mouth had dropped nearly to the floor in shock. “What the hell was that?” asked Rachael. Feeling a little flustered by his words, I found it difficult to string a sentence together at first. “Erm, he… Oh, for fucks sake! He’s an arsehole!”


“You’re telling me!” Rachael looked a little peeved about the whole thing herself. Belinda, Samantha, and Melinda, however, had the most amused smiles on their faces. “It didn’t sound like you felt that way about him in there.” Belinda pointed to the toilet, and I blushed. I felt mortified. “Was I really that loud?” “Only from out here. I don’t think anyone else out there heard you. A lot of people saw him drag you away, though. I think everyone got a kick out of that. We all followed you here because we wanted to make sure you were okay. By the sounds of it, you were more than okay.” Belinda winked. “We’ve all been dying to know,” Samantha asked excitedly, “what’s he like in bed? Obviously good by the way you were screaming his name.” I shook my head. “I don’t know yet.” “What?” the four of them exclaimed in perfect unison.


“He’s prepared to give me Luca-boosters—also known as orgasms—until I relent and give in to him. Once I tell him I’m his, he will ‘make love to me’ as he puts it.” I made sure I put my fingers up in air quotes to emphasise the point. “I can’t see you ever doing that,” Melinda said. “He’s learning that, but he doesn’t give up.” I sighed for a moment and looked at Melinda’s new red dress. It complimented her beautiful dark hair and stunning blue eyes. “Melinda, I had a very eager Matthew looking for you earlier.” She smiled. “Really? I’ll go look for him.” “You’re okay with that, are you?” She looked confused. “Sure. Why wouldn’t I be?” I was getting paranoid now after so many girls had just left, or started relationships. “You and Thomas.”


She waved her hand. “Ah, that was nothing. Just a bit of sex to help pass the time. He was good, though.” Placing her hand on my arm, she gave it a little squeeze. “I must get going. Can’t keep Mr. Broadmore waiting.” She winked and marched off. “So, you and the Italian wannabe gangster have really been hitting it off.” Rachael didn’t sound too enthralled by the idea. “Oh, shut up, Rachael,” Belinda said. “You’re just jealous no one’s giving you orgasms like that.” “I’m sure I can find someone who will.” Rachael huffed and went on her way. “What’s with moody-guts?” She seemed off to me, and I wanted to know why. “I think she thought maybe you two were just having a bit of fun. It seems more serious than that now, and I don’t think she likes it.” “But I never—”


“Don’t worry about her,” Samantha protested. “She’s just sore that she’s not the one giving you an orgasm like that. She knows you would never let her, but it’s obvious it hasn’t really sunk in until now. I think she’s been so used to having you all to herself.” She smiled suddenly. “I, on the other hand, think it’s great. It’s about time you found someone—even if your relationship does sound a little unconventional. I’m happy if you’re happy. Are you happy?” I had to think about that for a moment. It was something I had always thought I was until now. I think I had just been stuck in a rut for far too long and had just come to accept that this was my way of life. It was strange that it took this handsome, dark stranger coming into my life and turning my world upside-down for me to see that rut for what it was.


Samantha saw me hesitate slightly. “I’ll put it another way, then. How does he make you feel?” Without meaning to, I smiled. I didn’t know where it even came from; it just surfaced like a submarine once gravity has relinquished its hold. “I think that answers your question, Samantha.” Belinda nudged Samantha in the arm, and they both chuckled. “Okay, you guys. You’ve had your fun. Time to start mingling. There are a few faces I don’t recognise, and I’m eager to find out who they are.” Belinda looked around with me. “Yes, it would seem Luca has brought in some new clientele. The rooms are filling up by the minute. Tonight will certainly make up for the days of lost profit.” Belinda smiled, and I smiled back, hoping she was right.


As the evening wore on, Luca was never far away from me, and neither did he let me out of his sight. Each time a man tried to talk to me, Luca was there—offering a possessive hand on my back and a “don’t you dare fucking go near her” look. After a while, my eyes had rolled so many times that it was actually starting to hurt, and the exhaustion of the whole evening was taking its toll. Some of my girls had paired off and disappeared into their respective rooms while others were still enjoying the ambience. I had come to believe that some were here not just for the sex, but for the masquerade itself. I had to hand it to Luca; he had done well here. It was later—while in the relative quiet of the toilet—that the excitement of what was coming later really began to brew. I had butterflies in my stomach at the prospect, and it was a feeling that was completing overwhelming me. He was an egotistical,


domineering … alpha bull of a man. But, for some reason, my heart fluttered and my knees went weak whenever he was around. He was steadily shattering my defences one by one—and he knew it. He also knew I knew it. I just couldn’t have him command me like he so desperately desired. He wanted me begging and submissive beneath him. I just wasn’t prepared to do that. Not for him—not for anyone. I was headed back to the bar when I bumped into a man I recognised from earlier in the evening. He was one of the ones who had been staring at me in the crowd—and he hadn’t stopped staring. He looked like he was in his late thirties, and he had jet-black hair and dark brown eyes. He was tall, slim, and had an air of arrogance about him. “Clara Murphy, isn’t it?” I could hear the slight twang of an Italian accent. He must be either one of Luca’s cronies or a new client. If he belonged to the


latter group, he obviously hadn’t received the memo about me. Especially since he was leering at my breasts. “Yes, and you are?” “My apologies.” He smiled and took my hand. “Antonio Cavelli.” He kissed my hand before giving it a seductive stroke. “I am a very close business friend of Luca’s, and I can see that he has snapped up the most beautiful woman here.” I laughed sarcastically. This man was so full of shit. “He didn’t ‘snap me up.’ No one can.” Antonio smiled. “Quite. No wonder he won’t let you out of his sight. I should imagine you frustrate the hell out of him. That would be quite something to witness.” I smiled, thinking how right he was. He wasn’t trying to be smutty with his remark; I could tell. It seemed he must know Luca very well to so quickly come up with that conclusion.


“You have a beautiful smile, Clara.” I nodded. “Thank you.” “I heard about that awful business at the club.” “Oh?” I knew this was where he was headed all along. He had an agenda, and I was eager for him to get to the point. “It makes me laugh every time he pulls a stunt like that. He likes to play games with his girls, you see.” I was totally confused. What the hell was he on about? “Oh, I’m sorry. You never knew. Those two boys at the club work for Luca. They had you in their sights from the very beginning. You didn’t really think Luca was unaware of your presence there from the very start? He knows everything. He came in like the proverbial knight in shining armour he was posing and rescued you from the two bad men. Luca is someone who always gets what he wants, and he will go to great lengths to get it.


You’ve not been the first, and you most certainly won’t be the last.” I was livid. In fact, the pain in my stomach told me I was more than livid. I felt hurt and betrayed. I was beginning to let him in, and all the while, I was just a silly game to him—a challenge. “I’m sorry this has hurt you. You seem like a lovely lady, and I don’t want to see him take advantage of that.” I felt my fists ball and my breathing hitch through the hatred I felt for Luca. If I was angry before, that was nothing compared to how pissed I felt at that moment. I stormed off. I eventually managed to find my feet and began marching towards the bar area. Antonio grabbed my arm. “Do you think this is wise? You seem angry.” I stopped and glared at him. “Let. Me. Go.” He immediately complied once he saw


the fire in my eyes. I was not to be messed with. Not after that revelation. With Luca now in sight, I was vaguely aware that Antonio was right behind me. Luca looked up, saw me, and then saw the person standing behind me. He looked super pissed. That made two of us! I thundered into the room, and the minute I had Luca in my sight, I stormed toward him and then slapped him across the face. One hard smack—God it felt good—right across the kisser. Stunned, Luca looked at me with an expression of concern. “Don’t you fucking come near me again,” I growled. Many onlookers were stunned, but others were smiling. The horny fuckers probably thought this was a prelude to sex. Luca could kiss my ass, though. Not wasting any more time, I marched off.


“What have you said to her?” Luca screamed at Antonio. “What the fuck have you said to her?” “Only what she needed to hear.” “You fucking asshole!” All hell broke loose behind me, but I was already pacing up the stairs to my tower. Luca was not getting into my room. I was going to make sure of that. Slamming the door behind me, I immediately retrieved a key from my drawer. I always kept one just in case I needed it for added security, and I was going to need it the way the night was going. Not wasting any more time, I put the key in the hole and locked it. If he wanted to get in, he was going to have to literally barge his way through the door. Flopping down on the bed, I threw my mask on the floor and grumbled. I was angry, I was upset, but more than anything, I was hurt. I couldn’t believe Luca would do


something like that to me. I was just a challenge and always had been. He knew me from the start, so he must have known my reputation. I was probably the biggest challenge he had ever faced, and it must have been turning him on to know I was crumbling to his will. It wasn’t happening anymore. It stopped right here—right now. The expected banging came a little later than I had imagined, but it did come. Luca was screaming at me to let him in, but he had another thing coming if he thought I would. “Clara, let me in. I can explain.” “Fuck off!” “Let me in, goddammit! I can’t talk to you through a door.” “Then, don’t. Just piss off. I don’t want to hear it.” I folded my arms across my chest. The anger was rising again, and soon it would be consuming me. I didn’t want to get that way. I didn’t want to end up as a crying


heap of a person on the bed, who spent the night pining away and longing for something I never even had in the first place. I wasn’t going to let him in enough to make me that way. As if sensing my frustration, Luca sighed. “I’m not going to let this go. We need to talk, but we’ll do it in the morning.” Silence soon filled the room, and I realised he was keeping his word. With that in mind, I got ready for bed. My anger soon subsided and along with it, the desire to break down also abated. I wasn’t going to break down. Not for him. Not for anyone.

The next morning, I sat bolt upright in my bed, hearing alarm bells ringing. In my dozy state, I knew I was missing something, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I was confused as to why Luca wasn’t there, too. All too soon, however, I remembered. It was then I realized I hadn’t been hearing alarm bells at all; it had been my mobile. I didn't feel like talking to anyone, though, so I blindly silenced it when it rang once more. Sighing with disappointment, I felt a pain in my stomach, so I decided to just get up and take a shower. I had a mission to accomplish, and it needed to have been done yesterday. Once I walked out of my room, I was half expecting to meet Alessandro or Luca, but there was no one around. It was all eerily quiet; it was too quiet.


I proceeded down the stairs, feeling for all the world like I was a naughty teenager for daring to sneak out of my room. I stopped about halfway down and mentally slapped myself. Why the fuck are you sneaking around?! Ridiculous! Once I reached my familiar office, which I had been forced to neglect for the past few days, I half-expected Luca to be in there, taking over—like he has with everything else. Prick! Everything was in its proper place, however, and it was extremely quiet. I slowly and calmly walked over to my desk. Sitting down, I pulled my temporarily forgotten mobile out to see who had been trying to reach me. As it turned out, it was the very person I had come in here to call. I picked up my office phone and dialled the number I knew by heart. I was racing to find some answers. After two rings, she picked up. “Aunt Trudy.”


“Clara, thank God. I’ve wanted to speak with you for days. How are you?” I sank back in my chair. “I’m fine. I’m just a little bit disappointed that you felt you couldn’t come to me with this and that I had to learn what I have about your troubles from Luca instead of you.” Trudy sighed. “I’m so sorry. I really am. I wanted to tell you, but I felt ashamed.” “Why? There’s no need to be. If you needed help, I would have been there for you—no matter what.” “I know you would have, but things just got out of control.” I felt the tears well at her confession. “What happened? Please tell me.” Trudy sighed again. “I have a problem … a gambling problem. It took Luca coming round to my house to realise it.” “He didn’t hurt you, did he?” I was starting to get mad again.


“Oh, no. Of course not. He doesn’t seem the type. Has he hurt you?” She heard me hesitate. He had hurt me—just not in the sense she was referring to. “Clara?” “No. He hasn’t hurt me at all. He’s just been a pig-headed, domineering, selfcentred, egotistical, judgmental prick.” “Oh… I found him quite charming myself.” “Aunt Trudy, please. Can we get back to the point?” She cleared her throat. “Of course. Sorry. If I’m going to tell you this, then I may as well tell it to you from the beginning. When I was younger, I met a man with whom I fell in madly love. I’ve never told you about this because it breaks my heart to think about it, let alone talk about it. It was a whirlwind romance, and before long, we were talking of marriage and children. This all happened during the month of December in 1957.


“He was on his way back from a contract in London. He worked on many engineering projects, which sometimes had him working in all sorts of places. “We were both eager to see each other and plan our wedding, which was to take place the following May. I was excited because I hadn’t seen him in a few days, but most especially, I wanted to tell him that we were expecting our first child.” This news hit me hard. As far as I knew, Trudy had never been married and had never had any children. What she was telling me was shocking beyond words. “When it happened, I knew. I just knew something was wrong. Before I even got the phone call, I had a feeling that he wasn’t with me any longer. It was like a part of me had been ripped away from the inside. He was just … gone.” I placed a hand on my heart. “Oh Trudy, what happened?”


“He was on a train which had collided with another train. The collision caused the bridge to collapse, and many people perished… My John was one of them.” “Oh my God. I’m so sorry.” “Don’t be. It was a long time ago now. The silly old fool that I am never got over it, though. I even lost our baby due to the grief. I couldn’t even keep that part of him with me. I felt like I had lost everything. I felt like there was nothing left for me to live for.” I could feel my aunt’s pain oozing down the phone line. I really wished I could be there to comfort her and hold her hand. She was hurting, and I wanted to be able to support her. “I tried to take my own life. As you know, it didn’t work, which is how I’m here to tell you the tale. I was taken to hospital after overdosing on pills, and I was given help to ease my pain. I suffered a lot back then, and to be honest, I still do even now.


My sister—your mother—was not a lot of help. She shouted at me and said that I would spend an eternity in limbo for what I had done. She had no sympathy for my loss; she only had reprimands and lectures about what a failure I was—as a sister—to offer me. But then, you already know how she is.” I laughed sarcastically. I knew all too well what my mother was like, and Trudy had always felt guilty for not getting me out of there sooner. It’s no wonder she never did, though. She’d had her own pain to deal with. “I started playing poker as a way to escape. Nothing too fancy—just the odd wager here and there. It soon turned to Blackjack and Slots. Before I even realized it, I was spending over a thousand pounds each week on gambling alone. What started out as just a hobby became a habit and then it was my crutch. It helped take the pain away and mask what it was I was truly feeling. I had something else to worry about instead of


constantly thinking about John or the baby we had lost.” I didn’t realise tears were streaming down my face until she stopped talking. “I want to see you,” I sniffled. “I’m getting ready to leave shortly. I’m going to finally get the help I need. Luca has been very nice; he set it all up for me. He’s paying for me to get help. I have to stay in a rehabilitation clinic for the next twelve weeks. It’s time, Clara. I need to do this, and, for the first part, I need to do it alone.” I felt desperate. “But, I’m here. I can help you. Please, let me take you to the clinic.” “No, it’s okay. I have a taxi coming to pick me up in fifteen minutes. I’ll be in touch in a couple of weeks. I will be allowed to call you by then. It’s just something I need to do. You have to understand.” “Yes, of course I do. I just want you to be happy.”


“I know you do. You’ve worked so hard, and I’m so proud of what you’ve achieved. I know springing Luca on you like this was not the best idea in the world, but at least you can get the help you deserve from him.” I huffed my annoyance. “I don’t need his help.” “Yes, you do. I don’t want you to end up like me.” The stern severity in her words hit me like a ton of bricks. I was lost for words. “Luca is the owner of one of the casinos I used to frequent. He came by after I had racked up over six hundred thousand pounds worth of debt. I had heard of him, and I was obviously frightened when he came to visit. He was not at all what I had expected. He was charming, very polite, and seemed to genuinely want to help me. When he stumbled across your picture, I saw something in his eyes which I hadn’t seen in a very long time. It was the same glint I always saw in John’s eyes whenever he looked


at me. He was looking at you like you were the only woman in the world who had ever existed. I knew then he was never going to let you go.” “I don’t understand.” I didn’t understand. I was just a game to him. A simple challenge. It was then that something caught my eye on the table. It was a newspaper article which read, “Two arrested on possible rape and drugs charges.” “He started asking questions about you and who you were to me. That was when I told him about us and our little venture. He was impressed and wanted to offer me a way out. I took it because I knew he was capable, and I knew he was safe. He offered me help, and I agreed as long as he promised me that he would look after you. I didn’t think I needed to ask, but it made him smile to see that I had been so protective of you. I told him a lot about you, and he was enthralled


by it all. He asked question after question about you until I thought my head would spin. He was like a man possessed—a man instantly in love.” One part of me was listening to Trudy, but the another part had me reaching for this newspaper article. I had to read more. “You can’t fall in love with someone you’ve never met before.” Trudy laughed. “Stranger things have happened. Why are the young ones always so cynical?” she chuckled. “Listen, I’d better be off. I think my taxi has come early.” I sighed. I still wasn’t happy that she was on her own. “Okay. Please take care of yourself, and get in touch the minute you can.” “Of course, my dear. Just tell me one thing before I leave. Are you happy? Is he treating you well?” I smiled for my Aunt Trudy. I would tell her anything if it meant she could go on and


get the help she needed. I wanted her to leave thinking there was nothing she needed to worry about. “I’m very happy. Luca’s treating me very well.” “Good. I can go away a happy woman then. Take care now, and I’ll be in touch.” “Okay, Trudy. Love you.” “Love you, too, sweetheart. You know you’re like the daughter I never had.” She ended the call just as a single tear slipped down my face. I would have been immensely proud to call Trudy my mother. She was more of a mother to me than my actual mother was … by a long shot. Gathering momentum, I picked the article up and began to read. In the early hours of Saturday morning, a tip-off at the local police station led to the arrests of Brandon Taylor and David Harper, also known as “Brett” and “Daniel.” They were found inside the flat they shared.


Both men were badly beaten and bruised, and they were in possession of a vast array of drugs as well as photographs of several different women. It would seem that both Mr. Taylor and Mr. Harper had been drugging and raping women on a regular basis, striking and subduing their victims at various clubs and pubs around town. Twenty distressing photos of women were found—none of whom have been identified by the police as of yet. Police are appealing to these girls to come forward with any information they may have. I was mortified—not only by this, but also by my own behaviour. Luca hadn’t hired those men at all. This Antonio must have lied to me for some reason. A reason I had yet to discover. Getting straight to my feet, I went in search of Luca. I knew he wanted to speak with me, and I was surprised he hadn’t come looking.


Nearing the bottom of the stairs, I spotted Tony walking past. “Tony, where’s Luca?” “Oh, good morning, Miss Murphy. He’s in the other office I believe—on the phone.” I smiled to myself. At least he wasn’t trying to take over my office. “Can you give him a message?” “Sure, but you can go and see him yourself if you want.” I shook my head. “No, no. He has to come to me. Tell him that he had better be in my room within the next ten minutes or he’ll be sorry.” Tony smiled a big, heart-warming smile. He then gave me a wink. “With pleasure, Miss Murphy.” Grabbing Tony’s arm, I gave him a gentle squeeze. “Thanks.” “Don’t mention it.” I turned and was up the stairs and in my room within thirty seconds. I was pumped.


Pumped from the euphoria of knowing Luca wasn’t the arsehole I thought he was. Pumped about the fact that he really did like me the way he said he did. Pumped because I wanted him now more than ever. I was going to seduce my Luca Belatoni, and he was going to have a goddamned fight on his hands if he tried to stop me. Nine minutes and thirty-eight seconds later, there was a knock on my door. I had to smile at that. He complied with my demand, but he had to make sure he did so on his terms and at the exact last minute. I doubted that would ever change. I called for Luca to come in, and as he did, I could tell he was expecting a fight. I could tell he was expecting a slap or a punch or even the screaming he thought he may deserve. What he certainly didn’t expect was for me to run to him and throw myself into his arms.


He caught me, though. I knew he would. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him to my lips. “Luca,” I breathed. “Clara, we need to talk. I need to explain.” “No need to talk. Not now. Make love to me, Luca Belatoni.” Luca growled into my mouth and quickly placed me on the bed. “You’re not angry with me?” I shook my head and with a breathless voice I said, “No. I want you. I want to feel you inside me.” Luca pulled his hand up to my panties and ripped them causing a heated groan from me. “Then say it,” he demanded as he plunged his fingers inside me. I moaned and threw my head back. “Luca,” I whispered. Kissing and moaning some more, we managed to rid ourselves of more clothes before he was back on top of me with his


fingers by my clit. His bronzed body was just oozing to be touched and caressed. He was like a perfect sculpture of a man. Absolutely beautiful. “Say it, Clara. You have to tell me. I need to hear you say those words.” He plunged his fingers deep inside of me again, and I was very nearly gone. “Luca!” I screamed, unable to take much more of his torture. “Tell me who you belong to, Clara. Give me the words.” “Oh, Luca, please.” I couldn’t believe I just begged him. With a smile he positioned himself on top and edged his long masterful cock at my entrance. I gasped as he pushed himself in a little bit. I wanted to feel all of him. Needed to feel all of him. “Say it.” He edged in that little bit deeper, causing me to moan loudly. My God he felt good. I wanted more.


“Say it!” he commanded again, and I thought I was going to lose control. He bent down and took my nipple into his mouth as he edged in that little bit more. “Give me those words. Say it!” Again with that added pressure he was inside me that little bit more. If he didn’t move soon I thought I would explode. “Clara, now!” “I’m yours! I’m fucking yours. You have me. Now, give me what I want, or I swear to God, I’m going to smash your face in!” Luca’s triumphant smile was wide as he plunged deep inside me. Both of us moaned at the impact and due to the magnificent sensations that followed. He felt fantastic. He started moving, and I thought my eyes were going to roll to the back of my head. “You’re mine. You’ll always be mine!” he growled.


“Yours,” I whispered back. “Always yours.” He rewarded me with a suckle on my nipple. His grunts and groans were too much for words. It was like heaven, and I knew just that alone would have me spiralling over the edge. He took time with his movements as I watched his beautiful hips swaying in and out of me. Every stroke, the very feel of his cock going in and out—it was like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. Sex was always a means to an end for me. I enjoyed it, but I’d never felt this connection—never felt this desire which was now binding us together like a perfect link in a chain. He was masterful, powerful, and he felt fucking delectable. “Clara, you feel so fucking good.” He took my lips possessively with his as we both moaned again from the sensations riding through our bodies. I could feel it, feel the


build-up as my walls tightened and my body went rigid with the imminent orgasm I knew was about to rip my body apart. Quickening his pace, Luca shouted, “Now, Clara. Now!” My body seemed to instinctively react to his commands as I screamed and moaned at the beautiful sensations rippling throughout my whole body. It wasn’t just any orgasm; it was like fireworks had exploded inside of me. “Fuck! I’m going to come, baby,” Luca grunted as he plunged deeper and deeper. Just when I thought my body couldn’t take anymore, he plunged one last time as he grunted and came inside of me. Luca lay down on top of me for a while as our breathing calmed a little. “Fuck, Clara. We’re not going to leave this room all day. Do you hear me?” I chuckled, thinking how true to form he was being—even now. He probably thought I


was going to fight him on it, but truth be told… If sex was going to feel like that with him all of the time, then I certainly wanted more. “Okay, Master—Ruler of All He Surveys.” Luca smiled down at me and kissed my lips. “I knew sex would calm you down. You’re practically purring now. I could have you doing cartwheels if I asked you to.” “Really?” I asked with a cheeky grin. “You really think you can have me doing whatever you want?” His eyebrow hitched, and I knew then I had just given him the best challenge yet. “Why can I feel you expanding inside of me? You’re not getting hard again already are you?” Luca hitched his eyebrow again and smiled. “I love having you under my will. Do you have any idea how much you turn me


on? The more you fight me, the more I want to plunge my cock deeper inside of you.” I lost my breath. The feel of him growing inside me mixed with his hot words was making me dizzy. “Do we need to get reacquainted?” “Yes, Luca. Over and over and over again. Remember? I believe I told you I found your methods too delicious for words.” I flexed my hips a little to meet him further. Luca growled and instinctively plunged in a little further. “You’re such a naughty girl; do you know that? I’m making the moves here—not you.” “Luca,” I sighed, “it doesn’t look like you’re doing much moving at all. Do you need me to help you with that?” I laughed, but all too soon the smile was wiped off my face as he pulled out and plunged back into me again. I gasped. “Does it feel like I need help?”


“Oh God. Do that again!” “You like it like that, do you?” He did it again. “Oh, yes! Again!” He plunged in again, and I felt my whole body convulse in time to his powerful thrusts. “I’m going to stay inside you all day. Bury myself in you until you can’t stand any more. Do you hear me?” Oh I fucking heard him alright. Fuck me, I thought I was going to faint. “Clara, do you hear me?” “Yes!” I screamed as he thrust inside me again. “I’m going to make you come so hard your body will be still humming from it for days. Do you hear me?” He plunged into me again. Hard. “Yes! I hear you.” “You’re mine. Mine to take, mine to keep, and mine to do whatever the fuck I want to. Your body, your soul, and even your


will all are mine and only mine. Do you hear me?” He plunged again, and the only thing I could think to scream was, “Yes!” yet again. I was completely at his mercy. He was moving constantly, but every now and then, he would thrust even deeper, causing my legs to shake and my body turn to jelly. “Do you know how fucking good your pussy feels? I want to live inside it, hide myself away in it for eternity. My cock begs to be inside you and to feel you beneath me as I’m thrusting myself deep within you. Do you hear me?” “Fuck, yes!” I screamed. What the hell was wrong with me? He was commanding me, telling me all of the things he was going to do. Telling me that I had to take it—and I was. I was taking every single fucking thing he had. “Clara,” he breathed.


I didn’t even realise I had my eyes closed until he uttered my name. I was gone—gone into a world filled with Luca and only Luca. “Clara, look at me!” His command immediately brought my eyes to him. Why on earth was I doing as I was told? I looked deep into his eyes as he thrust inside me again and again. By the way his eyes stared into mine—hungrily and desperately—I knew he was going to send me over the edge soon. I opened my legs to him even more and reached down to grab his ass. My God! That alone nearly made me come on the spot. I grabbed him, pushing him into me deeper still. “Clara, let go.” I glared into his eyes. “No!” “I’m in control; I tell you when you can make me come.”


I moaned. Jeez, I didn’t know whether to smack him or orgasm on the spot. One seemed to jell into the other. Feeling naughty, I squeezed his ass again. The moan that escaped him had my heart beating even faster— if that was even possible. “Clara, don’t.” I couldn’t tell if that was a command or a plea. This time, I raised my hips up to meet him. “Clara!” His tone was more aggressive. I was going to give him one more squeeze, but then, without warning, he lifted me off the bed, remaining inside me the whole time, and thumped me up against the wall. I gasped, but I didn’t have time to comprehend what had just happened. He thrust himself deep inside again, causing me to scream. “Who’s in control?” He thrust again.


“Oh God!” I screamed. “Wrong answer.” He thrust again. “Who’s in control?” Feeling the effects of his magnificent torture, my stomach began to feel the familiar burn as my impending orgasm was about to burst at any moment. “Tell me! Give me those words. Who is in control?” “You!” I screamed, not caring anymore. I was about to detonate around him, and right then I thought I would crawl on my hands and knees just to get it. It seemed Luca was a drug after all, and I was definitely addicted. “Who do you belong to?” His pounding became more aggressive as his own control was about to waver. I knew he was close. “You, Luca!” Right in that moment, I knew those words were true. He was in control, and I was his. “Give it to me. Now!”


I did. Oh boy, did I! I came, screaming again and again. His pounding became even faster as he grunted and moaned. My orgasm just kept going and going, and just when I reached the point where I thought I couldn’t take much more, Luca growled as he violently came inside me. Breathlessly, Luca murmured, “You are some woman.” “Thank you. You’re not too shabby yourself.” I smiled as he pressed his lips against mine. “Not too shabby? Do you want me to punish you again?” My eyes widened. “You call that punishment? Is this how you torture women? Torment them with orgasms? ‘Oh please, Mr. Belatoni. I will tell you anything you want to know. Just don’t make me come anymore!’” That’s when I felt it—his hand on my arse. “Did you just spank me?”


Luca smiled. “I believe I did.” “Why?” “You were being naughty again. I thought orgasms calmed you down.” “Oh, they do. Especially with you.” I giggled. I knew that would definitely get him going. “Especially with me! What do you mean especially with me? Only! Me!” I threw my head back in a fit of giggles. “Oh Luca, baby, you’re so easily wound.” Luca kissed my neck and breathed his hot breath in my ear. “Call me that again.” “What? Baby?” “Hmm,” he said, licking the curve of my neck. God, he was fucking something else. Pulling my head up towards his earlobe, I gently bit it. “Luca, baby,” I whispered in his ear. Luca shuddered, and suddenly that part of me woke up again. I wanted him. Again!


“I want to bury myself in you all day. But for now, we will run a bath. I need to talk to you.” Placing me down, Luca had to steady me as I wobbled. That put a smile on his face. “See? I told you that you wouldn’t be able to stand once I was done with you. And I’m certainly not done with you yet.” Luca pulled away from me, and it was only then that I got a true eyeful of the spectacular beast before me. He had perfect olive skin and well-toned muscles. His shoulders and arms looked strong and powerful. His chest was broad and robust. Trailing my eyes all over him, I found something I hadn’t noticed before. “Is that a tattoo?” Luca Smiled. “You’ve only just noticed? I have two. Look.” Luca pointed down to his hip and I saw some writing. On his chest was a name, a simple, small name. Sophia.


“Your mother?” Luca nodded. I trailed my fingers down from his chest to his hips and stroked along the words. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Standing up again, I looked into his eyes. “That’s very, erm … inspirational.” “You think someone like me can’t be?” “I’m not saying that.” Yes, I was saying that. “Where is it from?” “Milton Berle.” He saw the frown on my face and smiled. “He was a famous American actor and comedian.” “Was?” “Yes. He died about twelve years ago.” Watching Luca disappear into the bathroom, I took the opportunity to quickly grab my robe. I soon heard the water running, and Luca returned to the bedroom. “What made you pick it?” “Pick what?” I rolled my eyes. “The tattoo.” “Did you just roll your eyes at me?”


I shook my head and smiled. “Me? Never.” “I thought not,” he grinned. “I thought it would have been obvious to you. I don’t wait for things to happen. I do it myself. If I want something done, I make it happen. I don’t wait for someone else to do it for me.” “I thought that’s why you had men working for you. So you could tell them what to do.” I was being cheeky with my response, and he knew it. “You know exactly what I mean. The minute I knew I wanted you, I didn’t send any of my men to get you, did I? I did it myself.” “No, you didn’t. You sent your men out to demand money from me.” “That was just a bit of fun—to see if you really were the tough cookie your aunt made you out to be. It would seem she was correct.”


I sighed a little and sagged my shoulders. “What’s wrong? Have I upset you?” “No, it’s just my aunt. I’m worried about her.” Luca came and sat next to me on the bed. “You spoke with her?” “Yes. Just before I asked you here.” “You mean just before you demanded me here?” he asked with a smile. I grinned back and elbowed him a little. “Yes, before I demanded you here.” “What do you know?” “Everything—I hope. I didn’t realise she’d led such a devastating life. What she’s been through it—” I had to stop for a moment because my heart sank with anguish for her. I didn’t want Luca to see me cry. Luca cupped my face in the palms of his hands. “I promise you that I will do everything I can to take care of her. Do you believe me?”


I sighed, feeling the tears sting. “I believe you. She told me what you did for her, but I want to know why. Why would you help my aunt so much?” Luca looked away for a moment. “Your aunt… She is very important to you, isn’t she?” “Of course. She is the only family I really have.” “Then, that is why.” My heart ached with that knowledge. Luca had been looking after what was dear to me long before I had even met him. In that one moment, I felt something pull at me from the inside. It wasn’t just longing or desire. It was a combination of tenderness, warmth, and intimacy. Things I had never had with anyone. Placing my hand on his, I pulled it to my heart. “Thank you.” Grabbing my hand, Luca sighed and nodded his head. “Come on. It’s bath time.”


We walked into the bathroom, and I noticed the water was filling up quickly. “Here, let me take this from you.” Luca moved to take my gown off but I flinched. I didn’t want him seeing my back. “It’s okay. I got it.” I quickly pulled it down and manoeuvred myself towards the bath. Luca was frowning at me, but didn’t question my strange behaviour. Thank God. Sinking myself into the bath, I moaned in pleasure. “Do you know how sexy you look in that bath?” I opened my eyes and found Luca drooling. With him, I was constantly drooling, and it was nice to see I wasn’t the only one thus afflicted “Hop in, baby. The water’s nice and warm.” I winked at him, and without hesitation, he was in the bath. Entwining our legs around one another, I felt content and relaxed. Extremely relaxed. I was having every part of me taken care of today. Luca was making sure of that.


Stroking my leg, I could see Luca wanted to ask me something. “We need to talk about last night.” I sighed. I knew this was coming. I had to apologise, and I hated saying sorry. “I’m sorry I didn’t make sure you were protected from that asshole.” I was shocked. “You’re apologising to me?” “I let him get to you. I let him hurt you.” “You didn’t let him do anything. It is I who should be apologising. I ran off instead of listening to what you had to say. I didn’t let you explain. A total stranger told me something bad about you, and instead of confronting you with it, I just hit the roof.” Luca clenched his teeth together in anger. I could tell he was still sore about the whole thing. “Who is he, Luca? Why would he do that? Why did he lie?” Luca swore underneath his breath. “He hates me. He’s a jealous, pathetic rival who would do anything to see me fail.” Luca


sighed and stroked my arm. “He saw me with you last night. He’s not stupid. My reaction to everything you did saw to it that he knew how I felt about you. He knew I wasn’t going to let you go in a hurry, and now I’ve just created the most fun game for the fucker. He wants to hurt me, so, in turn, he wants to hurt anyone close to me. He’s a vile, malicious, son-of-a-bitch.” “Well, it hasn’t worked, has it?” I smiled and stroked his face. “You’re here with me now after having just made love to me … twice. Instead of it working against you, it actually brought us closer together.” “But he did get between us. He took one night away from us. One night I could have been buried inside you. If it not for last night, we could have made love four or even five times by now.” I chuckled. “It was only one night.” Luca grabbed my hand. “Amore mio, you don’t get it do you? Every night is


precious. Every day is precious. It only takes one minute or one second for all your days and nights to be ripped away from you. He begrudged me one night I could have spent holding you in my arms as we slept. One night I could have made love to you over and over and heard those sweet noises in my ear as I made you whimper in ecstasy.” Luca wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me on top of his lap. I gasped at the hardness I felt digging into me. “My goodness, do all you Italian Stallions talk like that?” He smiled and bit my chin. “You think I’m an Italian Stallion?” “I’ve never had anyone so big.” Luca growled. “Don’t talk about the others. I don’t want to know. You were mine before I even met you.” “I’m so sorry I slept with others before you. I should have known.” My sarcasm didn’t go over very well with Luca.


“You are mine in every way—permanently. Do you need me to help you remember that?” I nodded. “Yes, I think so. I don’t think the other four times took very well.” Luca’s back arched. “Oh, you don’t, do you?” “Nah, not really.” I playfully hitched my eyebrow at him with a smile. “If I wasn’t so keen to know what caused your sudden change of heart from last night, I would spend all day refreshing your memory—again and again until you couldn’t think straight.” “What was that again? I can’t remember.” I chuckled and Luca growled, pulling my neck towards his lips. The feel of him biting me seductively had my senses going into overdrive. “Stop teasing and tell me.” “Okay, sourpuss, I will. I saw the newspaper this morning.”


He stared at me blankly, so I carried on. “Those two from the club have been arrested. The police found drugs and photographs of all their victims.” Luca stiffened and gritted his teeth. “I should have killed them when I had the chance.” “Now where would that have led you? At least this way justice can be done. Especially if all these women come forward now and give evidence.” Luca still didn’t look happy. “I don’t like that he touched you. He had his filthy hands all over you. He wasn’t worthy of your touch. He wasn’t worthy of being in the same fucking room as you.” I cupped Luca’s face in my hands and bent down to gently nip his bottom lip. “I’m here with you. I’m safe and in your arms. Isn’t that what you wanted all along?” Luca smiled and gently kissed me back. “Of course, but promise me something.”


“What?” “If you ever see Antonio Cavelli again, run the other way. Come find me, but don’t let him near you again.” I sighed in exasperation. “Luca, I—” “Promise me!” The worry and sincerity in his eyes made me falter. If I had seen Mr. Cavelli again, he would have gotten a piece of my mind. “Okay, I promise.” Luca kissed my nose. “Good. As I told you, I only want what’s best for you. I can make you happy. If you’ll let me.” I couldn’t help the almighty ruckus of laughter that escaped me. “I thought I didn’t have a choice in the matter?” Luca’s frown turned into a smile when he realised why I was laughing. “Well, no, but I thought I would try to be a gentleman.” Wondering if he was still in his gentlemanly mood, I decided to take action and rub myself up against his hard cock. “Will


you be the gentleman now and let me take care of you?” Pulling his mouth to mine, I went in search of his wonderful tongue. I let my hand wander down to his heaving erection. It was practically pulsating in my hands. Rubbing my hand up and down his shaft, I manoeuvred myself up a little so I could straddle him. Before I could sit on him properly, Luca grabbed my hips. “Luca, come on. You take care of me; let me take care of you.” I was wrong if I thought Luca was going to let that happen. Instead, he pulled the plug in the bath, helped me out, and grabbed a towel to dry me off. He started at my chest, which rewarded him with some very hard nipples. Just that alone was turning me on. What was even worse was when he bent down to suckle each one. I was on fire again.


What doused me completely was when he asked me to turn around. I stood there rigid, unable to do a thing. “What’s the matter? Turn around.” “No, Luca. I can’t.” I shook my head and backed away from him. “Clara, what’s going on?” I could see the anxiety pouring out of him, and I knew he wasn’t going to let this go. He would have to see all of me at some point. We were intimate now; refusing him would be of no use I knew. I just didn’t want to spoil our moment together. I sighed in defeat when I saw his determined face grind to a halt in front of me. All I could do was stand there and let him spin me around. Luca touched them, and I flinched. “Who did this to you?” Luca’s voice was harsh and murderous. Turning back round to face him, I knew I had to try and say something to calm him


down. “It was a long time ago. I’m fine. They’re very old wounds.” “Who did this to you?” Tears sprung to my eyes. “Please, Luca.” “Who?” I knew he was beyond reasoning now. He was going to get the answer one way or another. “My father.” His eyes widened into a murderous glare. He looked about ready to kill someone. Storming out of the bathroom, he shouted, “I’m going to kill him!” My mind and body were in a sudden panic. I went running after him before he did something stupid. He was already putting on a pair of trousers by the time I reached him. “Luca, no. You can’t do this.” He stopped momentarily. “But, he did that to you.” “Yes, he did.”


“Why? Why would he do that to his own daughter?” Getting angry I shouted, “Because I was bad!” I tried to calm my breathing, but it was no use. “Because I was naughty. Because I never did as I was told. Because I never wanted to go to church and conform to everything they wanted me to be. I was a sinner, and when I die, I’m going to hell!” Luca started doing up his trousers. “That’s the one place your father should be. He’s a dead man.” I reached out to touch his arm. “He already is to me. I left that life a long time ago, and when I did, their only daughter was gone forever. I may as well be dead to them.” Sensing him calm a little, I took the opportunity to get closer to him. I snuggled into his arms, and at first he was rigid, but he soon relaxed and held me too. “That life is far behind me now. I don’t ever want to go back there again. Please don’t do this. Please,


for once, let me make that decision. For once, will you do this one thing I ask of you?” Luca’s heavy sigh told me that he had been defeated. I knew it took a lot for him to release control for a change. “Okay. I won’t kill him. I can’t say I will be that generous if I ever come across the fucker, though.” I giggled and snuggled my head into his chest. “Thank you.” I felt Luca sigh. “Now, it all makes sense… That explains why you are the way you are.” Frowning, I pulled away from Luca and stared at him. “Why? What do you mean?” “You’re stubborn as a mule. You don’t take any shit from anybody.” I smiled and flicked his nose. “And don’t you forget it.” Luca tenderly stroked my cheek. “Was it always like that? With you father?” Sighing and placing myself on the bed, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted old memories


being brought to the forefront. It made me mad, and I always felt my control waver. “I never did as I was told. Pure and simple. I think they hated me. Being told from the age of five that you had the devil inside you and that it needed to be beaten out stuck with me for a long time. I believed I had the devil in me. I believed I was wicked and evil. I was cocooned in my parent’s world, and I didn’t realise what else lay out there for me. I thought I was doomed to fail—doomed to live that life of pain and suffering. I even thought it was what I deserved at one point. I was being brainwashed, but a big part of me wanted control. When my father beat me—” I saw Luca clench his teeth together, so I placed my hands on his to bring him back to me. Realising it had worked, I carried on. “When he beat me, I felt powerless to do anything. It was like he was stripping away my independence bit by bit until I thought


there would be nothing of me left. See, that’s why I’m so independent now. That’s why I choose to run the business my way and only my way. That’s why I’ve never asked for anyone’s help. To ask would make me seem weak, and I’m tired of being weak. I’m tired of letting people think they can get away with whatever they can. I won’t let them. I refuse to let them.” Cupping my face in his hands, Luca leant in for a kiss. He pulled away and lingered for a moment, just savouring our stares. “I’m not going to take away your business from you. The only reason I went into this was because I wanted you—and only you. That is one thing I refuse to have stripped away from me. I want to help you with the business as you can’t run it by yourself, but I won’t interfere. Can I ask that of you?”


Taking a deep breath, I realised then and there that I really did need the help. Asking for it was not a sign of weakness. I knew that finally. I had just been in control this entire time, and that had made me feel whole. I really hadn’t been whole at all, though; I had just been kidding myself. “Okay. I would like that.” Smiling, he took me in for another kiss. “Good. This means I can have you all to myself more often. That is one thing I will never lose control over.” I saw the stern look in his eyes, and it made me chuckle. “Finding something funny, amore mio?” I closed my eyes, letting the burn take me over. As if sensing the reason for my sudden change in mood, Luca surprised me. “Era il giorno ch'al sol si scoloraro per la pietà del suo factore i rai, quando ì fui preso, et non me ne guardai, chè i bè vostr'occhi, donna, mi legaro.”


I moaned. I actually moaned. My God, what was he saying? It had me breathless and wanton. He could have been reciting a shopping list, but it would still have turned my legs to jelly. Sensing the lust coursing through me, he asked, “Did you like that, amore mio?” “What did you say? It sounded beautiful.” Luca smiled. “It was a love sonnet by Petrarca. He fell in love at first sight with a beautiful woman named Laura. He wrote sonnets for her.” “That’s beautiful. What does it mean?” Luca stared at me and started playing with my hair. “It was the day the sun’s rays had turned pale with pity for the suffering of its maker. When I was caught, I put up no fight, my lady, for your lovely eyes had me bound.” I snuggled my head into Luca’s neck and nibbled him gently. “Hmm, sounds lovely.”


With a serious expression, Luca pinned my wrists. “Now I know how Petrarca felt when he met his Laura. A picture—only a picture and I was gone. I know I came across as someone who was familiar with you when we first met, but you don’t understand. I already was. I had known about you for days. Known about your will, your power—your strength. I had that picture of you in my head every minute of every day. I knew I had to have you. I knew I had to be with you.” My breath caught. I wanted him again. In fact, I was about to demand him again when there was a knock at the door. Luca growled. “What?” “Clara, are you in there?” Belinda’s timid voice was echoing through the door. Luca grumbled and handed me my robe. “Don’t take too long. I need to have you again.” I shook my head. “I do have a business to run, you know.”


“My cock first, your business second.” His stern look had me in a fit of giggles. “What’s so God damned funny?” “Oh, please. Spare me. ‘My cock first, your business second.’ Jeez, put on the brakes, Casanova!” Luca smiled and did up the rest of his buttons on his trousers. With a belter of a smack on my arse and a yelp from me, I answered the door. “Belinda, good morning.” “Oh, sorry. I didn’t realise you two were…” Belinda hitched up her eyebrow and copped a glimpse of Luca’s statuesque torso. “My God, he’s hot,” Belinda whispered. I giggled. “I know; believe me,” I winked. “So you two have…” she waved her hands in front of her. “Yes. Twice already this morning. I think it was going to be a third before your knock on the door.”


“Sorry,” she whispered again. “Don’t be. I’ve already told him how important this all is to me.” “What are you two whispering about?” Luca shouted. Getting near to the door, Luca’s eyes looked stern. “What you looking at?” Luca shouted towards Tony. I didn’t even realise he was there staring until Luca mentioned him. Tony dutifully turned the other way, causing an eye roll from me. “Clara, get in here now and close the door.” “Yes, master. Whatever you say, master.” Belinda’s giggles set my own off. Shutting the door, I turned to Luca. “Happy now?” “No, I think you need reminding again.” “Reminding of what?” Belinda was rather nosey at times.


“That Clara is mine.” “Oh, really?” Belinda’s face looked amused as hell. She knew exactly what I was like and knew this wouldn’t go down very well. “Yes. Really.” I sighed. “Now do you see the double standard here, Belinda? I can’t stand outside—completely covered in a silk robe—and yet he can stand here bare-chested if he wants.” Luca huffed. “That’s different. You don’t have Belinda drooling over me like Tony was obviously drooling over you.” I rolled my eyes. “Oh really?” “Yes. Really.” “Belinda, please repeat what it was you said to me when I opened the door?” Smiling, I knew Belinda would go along with this. She didn’t get embarrassed easily. “I said, ‘My God, he’s hot.’”


I waved my hands in front of me. “See, there you go.” Looking stunned and apparently lost for words, Luca grumbled something under his breath and headed for the kitchen. Belinda immediately bellowed out a laugh, and before long, the two of us were both clutching our sides. I think that was the first time I had ever seen Luca lost for words. Calming down, I turned to Belinda. “What can I do for you? Is everything okay?” Looking serious all of a sudden, she said, “Oh, yes. Two things really. One, I just wanted to know if everything was okay after last night. It was pretty stormy out there with Luca and that other guy. Who was he anyway?” How easily and quickly I had forgotten the outside world. Luca had me wrapped in his bubble. Normally, I would have been popping away, but for some reason I wanted to cement us in it instead. “His name is


Antonio Cavelli. A rival of Luca’s.” I paused for a moment, wondering what on earth happened. “What happened after I left? Did you see anything?” She leaned in and whispered, “Well, some people were just shocked. I think others were seriously ready to come in their pants after you slapped him one. If only Jeffrey had been here. I think he probably would have. He’s always liked you.” Pausing to giggle for a moment, she then carried on. “Well, anyway, Luca dragged that Antonio outside for a few moments, came back in looking like a bull about to charge, and then he stormed up the stairs to your room. Soon after, a lot of people wanted to get on with the reason why they were here in the first place. Lots of people disappeared after that. Despite the interference, the night was very successful.” I smiled. “Good.”


“Which reminds me of why I’m here. Is it business as usual tonight? The phones have been ringing practically non-stop all morning.” I felt so guilty all of a sudden. People were so used to me just being around to sort everything out. I was being selfish. “I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with it all yourself.” “It’s not a problem, baby. You know that. I’m glad to help.” I saw the sincerity in her eyes, and it made my heart flutter. “Yes, business as usual tonight. I’ll come down in a minute and deal with some of the phone calls.” She looked towards the kitchen. “I’m not sure Luca will be pleased with that.” I looked with her. “He can be as pleased or displeased as he wants; I’m not going to pander to his needs simply because he snaps his fingers every five minutes.” Belinda looked about ready to burst. “My God, having you two around is going to


be fun. Do you think you could slap him one again tonight? I think a lot of people wished it had been them you had smacked. Even I thought it was hot. You both look at each other like you want to fuck each other and pull each other’s hair out at the same time.” I giggled. “Talking of which, shall we head out now?” I was feeling naughty all of a sudden. “What? Like that?” She pointed to my attire. “Yes and why not?” Belinda burst into a fit of giggles. It suddenly felt like we were being very naughty children. “Come on, let’s sneak out now. Luca’s probably making breakfast, so he won’t notice for a while.” Very quietly sneaking out the door, Belinda and I scurried our way down to my office. We waved at Tony, and he didn’t seem to know where to look. Poor boy.


Once inside, I released a long, deep breath, and then the laughter erupted again. As the laughter stopped, Belinda started talking. “You know Jeffrey wants to come tonight.” “Oh really?” “Yes. You know what’s going to happen, don’t you?” I sighed. “Yes, I do. I think I will have to figure something out on that front. Luca doesn’t seem to want to let me out of his sight.” I paused for a moment, thinking. “I have an idea. Once you give me the list of names of who was calling, would you mind dealing with some if I dealt with the others?” Belinda’s face brightened. “Sure! I would love to.” Then, frowning a little, she asked, “What’s brought this on?”


“I think it’s time I accepted help. I can trust you. I always have. I just don’t like to relinquish control.” Squeezing my arm, she gave me a sympathetic smile. “I’m always here for you, baby. You know that.” Realising she always had been, I found myself blurting something I never thought I would. “How would you like to become Manager?” She seemed startled and looked away deep in thought. “You kind of are already anyway, but we could make it official. I’d give you a pay raise, and if you wanted, you could give up your client list… If not, you could at least shorten the list a bit. That way, you wouldn’t have too much responsibility on your shoulders.” I thought for a moment she was going to turn me down, but then the shock on her face soon turned into a big, beaming smile. “I would love to. I won’t give up my clients


completely because I actually enjoy that side of work. I always enjoy doing this with you, though.” “I know; that’s why I thought I’d ask. Consider it done then.” After a considerable amount of squealing, Belinda went through the lists of people who wanted to enquire about tonight. Deciding to just go with the flow, we each in turn phoned them to let them know they were welcome at any time. My girls could then decide who they wanted to play with. I was about three quarters of the way through my list when I heard a commotion outside. All I heard was, “Where is she?” before he came barging into my office like the bull he always was. He spotted me in my seat and then my lack of attire. I swear I could almost see the steam coming out of his ears; he looked so mad.


“What are you doing down here dressed like that?” I put my finger to my mouth and smiled. “I see you’re still shirtless.” “It doesn’t fucking matter what I wear; it’s you who can’t go round looking like that.” Abruptly, I stood to attention letting my anger rise. “Don’t you fucking tell me what to do, arsehole.” Clenching his fists, Luca looked as though he was about to charge. “Don’t make me come round there.” I looked over his shoulder and found Belinda smiling away. She was obviously highly amused by us. Possibly even turned on. Staring back towards Luca’s heated eyes, I stood my ground. “I’m not going anywhere. Why don’t you go back upstairs and make us some breakfast? I’ll be up in a minute, darling.”


The sarcasm in my voice had Belinda bellowing again. It was like waving a red flag in front of the ever-increasingly crazed bull. I thought he was going to shout back, but oh no. Instead, he marched around to my side of the desk towards me. I took that opportunity and ran around the other side. Belinda darted out of my way as quickly as possible, and I was off, sprinting for the stairs. “Clara, come back here!” Luca was shouting from not far behind. He didn’t scare me, though. In fact, I was having fun. I saw Alessandro in the hallway downstairs along with some of the others. “Good morning, Miss Murphy.” “Good morning,” I said breathlessly. “Alessandro, stop her!” Luca shouted. Alessandro, as instructed made his play to grab me, but all of a sudden Luca growled. “No, get away from her. Don’t fucking touch her!”


Conflicted, Alessandro dropped his hands, but felt obliged to stand in my way. Every time I darted, so did he. With a smirk on my face, I said, “Alessandro, you better get out of my way.” I could tell he was watching Luca leisurely walking down the stairs. This was definitely Luca’s downfall. He never seemed to rush for anything. He thought I was now under control, but he had another thing coming. Before any of them could register what was happening, I unhooked my silk gown and showed Alessandro—and anyone else who was watching—my assets. Alessandro’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head, and I knew then I would be able to carry on my journey. “Fuck, Clara. What the fuck are you doing? Alessandro, stop fucking staring at her!” Luca’s growling was escalating around the hallway, and I knew that once he caught me I


was going to be in big trouble. “Clara, don’t you dare fucking run away from me!” I puffed a sarcastic laugh, winked at Alessandro, and then bolted. “Get back here right now. Don’t fucking make me run after you.” Too late, I was out of the hallway and running through the kitchens. “Hey, Tony. Hey, Samantha.” “Hey yourself. What you doing in here like that? And why are you all out of breath? Does it have anything to do with that ruckus outside?” It would seem that everyone had gotten used to Luca’s presence. I smiled and was about to answer when Luca barged through the door. For a split second, I almost lost it. He looked fucking hot, but he was even more so when he was angry. “Sorry, guys. I’ve gotta split!” After grabbing a grape from the counter and giving yet another wink, I was off, leaving behind a trail of laughter from Samantha and Tony,


and a, “Stop fucking laughing,” from Luca. Miserable fart. He had no sense of adventure. Swinging myself through another door, I ran like the wind down the corridor and out through one of the back exits to the hallway. I took a peak outside but I couldn’t see anyone. In fact, I couldn’t see anyone behind me. All seemed a little too quiet. Where was Luca? I didn’t know quite what to do. I didn’t have a particular place to go or hide; I had just gone with the flow and bolted without thinking. Knowing I couldn’t possibly stay like this for much longer, I swung the door open into the packed hallway and went running for the stairs. Everyone was watching and smiling as I ran past them all, winking as I went. I was actually by the stairs, and I went to place one


foot on the first step when I felt a pair of alltoo-familiar arms from behind me. “I’ve got you now, you piece of work.” Luca hauled me over his shoulder and proceeded up the stairs. “Put me down,” I protested. That just awarded me a swift spank on the bottom. I looked down to the crowd and saw Belinda, Samantha, and Melinda smiling from ear to ear. “Help me,” I pleaded with them. They just smiled and waved at me. “Traitors!” “Don’t worry, Clara. I’ll sort out the rest of that list!” Belinda shouted. “You’ll be sorting out more than a list the next time I see you!” Just before we disappeared from sight, I saw a very disappointed Rachael shaking her head from side to side. I would have to have words with her at some point. “Luca, for fucks sake, stop being all cavemanish, and put me down!”


As soon as we were inside the room, that’s exactly what he did, but not before pinning me up against the wall. “You ever fucking do that again, and I swear I will rip Alessandro’s eyes out. Do you hear me?” Still feeling playful, I stuck my tongue out at him. Luca just closed his eyes and shook his head. “How many fucking times do I need to remind you?” “I have work to do.” Trying to duck under his arm for a getaway, Luca gripped me. “Where the fuck…” Luca untied my strings and let the gown fall open, exposing my heaving breasts. “—do you think you’re going?” Luca stared at my breasts hungrily, and I felt my knees buckle. Realising I was quickly losing resilience, I took a deep breath. “You can’t tell me what to do. I still have a business to run.” “Yes—a business that is being taken care of in your absence. You’re not needed for now. Besides, you are my fucking business,


and when I tell you not to run, you don’t fucking run, Capisce?” Shaking my head and smiling, I said, “No-ah. I no Capisce, Luca. I don’t want to do-ah what you want me to do. I am not a child-ah.” I smirked at my impression of an Italian accent. I think I even saw a hint of a smile in Luca. It wasn’t long before the heated, stern look in his eye was back. “Stop jerking around. It’s not funny. You went downstairs in that fucking gown when I specifically told you not to. Not only that, but most of my fucking men now know what you look like naked. Especially Alessandro! I’m going to have to sack them all and bring some new guys in. Blind ones!” I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I should have been angry, but Luca’s overly-possessive jealous streak was somehow highly amusing.


“Stop laughing.” Luca grabbed one of my breasts and squeezed. I threw my head back and I moaned in pleasure. Leaning down towards my nipples and suckling them, Luca said, “You. Do. As. You’re. Fucking. Told!” Knowing full well he was trying to get me to relent, I held on to as much composure as I could muster. “No,” I whispered, but it was a token effort. Rising up, Luca grabbed the back of my head and pulled me possessively to his mouth. Soon, his tongue was exploring with mine, causing us both to moan and writhe in pleasure. Placing a finger inside me, he grunted. “You will never disobey me like that again. Do you hear me?” All I did was moan and let my body ride the waves of pleasure. When he didn’t get an answer, he grabbed one of my breasts and flicked his


thumb over my nipple. “Clara, do you hear me?” “Yes!” I shouted without thinking. God I hated this man. How dare he make me say these things under his sweet brand of Luca torture? All he had to do was touch me, and I was gone. Picking me up, Luca carried me towards the dining table and rid me of my robe. It wasn’t long before Luca had his trousers off, and before I knew it, he was possessing me with that mouth again. Longing to feel him, I grabbed his cock and stroked along his shaft. Pretty soon, Luca had a grip of my arm. “I tell you when you can touch me.” Searing heat from his eyes melted my whole body as I quivered. Not wanting to let him get away with his stern words, I hit him… I smacked him right across the face. Luca growled and shoved his cock inside me. I gasped. “You hit me like that again, and I swear I’ll fuck you until you can’t see


straight.” Thrusting himself inside me again, he grabbed one of my nipples in his mouth and sucked. I moaned, throwing my head back. Moving fast, Luca started his torrent of words. “You’re mine, and no one else’s. No one gets to see this body but me. Do you hear me?” “Yes!” I screamed, unable to hide my desire. With each thrust, Luca’s words were sounding more and more heated and strained. “No one gets to taste you, no one gets to kiss you, and no one gets to even look at you but me. Do you hear me?” “Yes!” I screamed again as he pounded and pounded into me against the dining table. I thought I was going to pass out soon; the intensity of what he was doing was too all-consuming. “Am I refreshing your memory, Clara? Are you getting a good fucking recollection of what I’m trying to say?”


“Yes!” “Do you like me reminding you of whom you belong to? Do you like me fucking you hard until you can’t stand it anymore?” “Yes. Oh fuck, yes!” Manoeuvring his hand down, he lightly pinched my clit. I cried out in pure, unadulterated bliss. “Luca!” “Do you like it when I make you come so hard your body feels like it’s going to explode?” “Yes!” Picking up his pace, Luca shouted, “Who do you belong to, Clara? Who?” “You, Luca! I fucking belong to you!” Not knowing whether I would be able to stand the pressure anymore, I was suddenly there. Luca could feel it too as his pace grew even quicker and harsher. The more he pounded into me, the more violent the buildup became. I was at the very tip of my


orgasm, and I knew it was going to be like no other before it. Squeezing my nipple, Luca shouted, “Now, Clara. Now!” I did as I was told and screamed his name over and over again. The orgasm was rippling through every nook and cranny of my body. It was humming so violently that I couldn’t hear a sound other than the beating of my heart and the trembling of my core. I was riding the most magnificent and glorious wave I had ever experienced, and Luca was almost there, riding along with me. The orgasm just went on and on as his pounding grew even fiercer. He was close, ever so close to joining me high on that wave. “Luca!” I shouted, and that was it for him. He exploded inside me, releasing himself over and over again. Panting and finally spent, Luca pulled me into his arms and cradled me there for a while. I suddenly had this feeling this


immense pressure weighing down on me, and before I knew it, the floodgates open. Sensing my tears, Luca pulled away. “Amore mio, what’s wrong?” “I have no fucking clue,” I laughed. What was wrong with me? Luca smiled and stroked my hair. “Was your orgasm that good?” “I’m crying because I had an orgasm?” I had never experienced anything like that before. “It’s normal.” “Is it?” I said, blubbering some more. Luca laughed. “Yes, of course. Sex—as long as it’s with the right person—can be a very emotional and moving experience. They’re not tears of sadness, Clara. Enjoy the moment.” “I hate crying,” I sighed. “But you don’t feel unhappy—do you?”


I smiled. “No, of course not. Every time we’re together, it’s perfect. Well, apart from when you’re trying to tell me what to do.” Luca smiled and whisked me up in his arms before placing me on the bed. “You, amore mio, are like a thorn in my side when you misbehave.” I smiled sweetly and spanked his bottom. “And you, Luca Belatoni, are a pain in the arse.” Luca’s eyes widened in shock. “Did you just spank me?” “I believe I did.” I couldn’t help the cheeky grin. “Oh boy,” Luca said, shaking his head. “You’re going to need lots of boosters today, aren’t you?” “Oh yes! And, Luca?” “Yes?” His voice was a growled whisper. “Speak to me in Italian!” “Ah. You like that, do you?” “Oh yes!”


In-between sucking and nibbling at my nipples, Luca began, “Tempo non mi parea da far riparo contra colpi d'Amor: però m'andai secur, senza sospetto; onde i miei guai nel commune dolor s'incominciaro.” “Oh God, carry on.” He did as asked and between his licking and suckling, he continued his onslaught. Sliding his hand down towards my clit, he gently rubbed around the nub and placed a finger inside of me. That, along with those sweet words was going to have me exploding again. He might be telling me animals make their young have a bowel movement for all I knew, but fuck me it sounded like the words of sex to me. It all did. “Trovommi Amor del tutto disarmato et aperta la via per gli occhi al core, che di lagrime son fatti uscio et varco.” That was it for me; I was coming, and I didn’t care if it was all happening too quickly. As if sensing my impending orgasm,


Luca sped up the movement of his fingers and gently suckled some more on my nipple. It was bliss. Pure and simple. “Quando fra l'altre donne ad ora ad ora Amor vien nel bel viso di costei, quanto ciascuna è men bella di lei tanto cresce 'l desio che m'innamora.” That was it! I was gone. Completely tipped over—sent spiralling—you name it. I was thrashing and screaming and calling out his name, and I didn’t care who heard me. I didn’t realise words could be such a powerful tool in making people orgasm. Luca didn’t even need to speak Italian to me—he just spoke to me. Pure and simple. In our short time together, we had quickly gotten to know each other’s bodies. Well, Luca had with mine. It just felt as though we were in perfect tune with each other. He seemed to know my body better than I did. He knew what buttons to press—what touch he could master to make me go crazy.


“Did you enjoy having your memory refreshed?” As my breathing calmed, I held onto Luca’s hand and kissed it. “Oh hell yeah, baby. That was one hell of a Luca booster!” “I didn’t realise Italian would make you go so crazy. Your orgasm was quick and intense.” I shook my head and frowned. “I didn’t realise either. Just your words and your touch. It was making me go wild. What were you saying anyway? More sonnets?” “Yes, more from Petrarca. The first one was, “It seemed no time to be on guard against love's blows; therefore, I went my way secure and fearless. So, all my misfortunes began in the midst of universal woe.” “Okay. What was the next one?” “Love found me completely disarmed, and it found where the way was clear to reach my heart—down through my eyes,


which have become the halls and doors of tears.” “That’s beautiful,” I sighed. Luca was mesmerizing. “And the last one you said?” He stroked my cheek as he told me, “When the love within her lovely face appears now and again among the other ladies, each is less lovely than she. And the more I wish, the more the love within me grows.” “Wow, he really loved her didn’t he?” Tenderly stroking my chin, Luca sighed. “Yes, but she unfortunately was married to another. He was infatuated by her, but he could never have her.” I frowned. “That sounds awful.” He nodded in agreement. “Well, yes. For him. Not for her husband. If someone else was infatuated by you, I would rip his heart out and feed it to him.” I laughed so hard at that. Luca was trying to be serious, but I just found his antics comical. “Luca the Lion! Grrr!”


“Are you poking fun at me again?” “Me? Never!” “Do we need to get reacquainted again? It seems you need it constantly.” “Yes, baby. I believe I do. The booster’s only last for so long.” With heated desire in his eyes, Luca and I became reacquainted again … and again … and again…

It got to around six o’clock before Luca finally managed to admit defeat. We had practically lazed around all day just talking, eating, and having sex. We did snooze for a bit, but that was soon over once Luca woke up with the biggest erection I had ever seen in my life and decided to play “Pin the Clara” with it. Getting dressed, I had the sudden realisation that I had the biggest smile plastered on my face. It was the mirror which caught my smile. And boy did it give me away. I thought I had better clear that up in an instant. I would be looking like a grinning idiot all night otherwise. Not something I wanted to show the horny clients. “Wow! You look stunning as always. I’m going to have to keep an eye on you all night.”


Staring at the beauty before me, I couldn’t help but sigh. I so wanted to tell him to go shove his possessiveness up his own arse, but I couldn’t quite seem to muster the heart for it somehow. Maybe he is mellowing me. I certainly couldn’t be having that! “I was perfectly capable of looking after myself before you came along.” Pulling me to his chest, Luca tenderly brushed his lips with mine. “I know you have, my lioness, but now your lion is here and has become king of the land. No one else goes near you.” I raised my eyebrow at him. “Let’s go now, so you can take your time rubbing yourself up against all of the walls—marking your territory.” Pulling in closer, he held my gaze. “You know, I might just do that.” Finally leaving my tower, we ventured down towards the stairs where Luca seemed to take everything I said seriously. By the


time we got down the stairs, he had rubbed himself up against the whole of the wall by each step. I was laughing so hard I thought I might trip. “I see we’ve been having fun.” The harsh tone of voice abruptly halted my good mood. Rachael. Finally done with her attitude, I turned to Luca. “Excuse me a minute whilst I have words with Rachael.” Luca smiled and nodded his head. I grabbed Rachael’s arm and I pulled her into the boardroom. “Can you please tell me what your problem is?” “My problem? My problem? For fucks sake, Clara! You were always around for the business. Now, you’ve let this arsehole come in and take over. He’s spoiling everything and taking you away from something you once cared about. You’re slipping, Clara. Slipping badly.”


I felt my insides buckle as her words hit home. I wasn’t about to let her get to me. I quickly recovered from her onslaught and began one of my own. “Luca is here now, and whether you or I like it or not, he’s staying. He holds several shares in the business and has a right to both be and stay here.” Her eyes widened. “He owns part of The Castle?” “Yes, and it’s a rather large part. It’s a long story, but that’s really all you need to know for now.” She was flustered. Then, the pacing started as she rubbed her forehead. “Can’t you just buy him out? Do something. Get rid of him!” Her demands shocked me. I couldn’t believe she was telling me what to do. “Listen, I don’t care for your tone. He’s here, and he’s staying. That’s all you need to know.”


“He’s changed you. You used to be here for us, and now you’re abandoning everyone.” I could feel my anger rise. What she said hurt. I always took pride in my girls and in the fact that I had always been there for them. It was true I had been neglecting them somewhat during these past couple of days, but I would never let them down. “Abandoning everyone or abandoning you?” I had to air this. It needed to be said. The question silenced her for a minute. I didn’t think she was expecting that. “He’s not letting you out of his sight. He’s constantly there, constantly with you. It’s unhealthy, Clara. Can’t you see that? It’s like he’s obsessed or something.” I couldn’t believe this. Everyone but Rachael was happy for me. Everyone but her had been saying it was a long time coming.


Finally fed up her tantrum, my voice went up a notch. “What’s happening here is none of your fucking business!” She didn’t like that. Rachael was a pretty girl, but when she wasn’t happy, her features began to resemble those of an evil creature. She was quite frightening when she was like that. “Oh, I get it. I should just do as I’m told by the great Clara Murphy should I? Just fuck whomever you tell me to and keep my fucking mouth shut.” I was mortified. She knew I would never force her to do anything she didn’t want to do. That was always my number one priority. “You know for a fact I would never force you to fuck anyone. You decide, Rachael. Not I!” Getting closer to me now, she started screaming, “Why do you think I do it? I never enjoy it. I was just trying to make you happy. I’m always trying to make you happy,


and yet you never fucking notice me. Never even batted an eyelid!” Her confession shocked me. I always knew she liked me, but never to this extent. I guess I had been blind. Calming a little, I offered her a hug, and she cried in my arms. “Why won’t you love me?” she whimpered. I stiffened, and before I could even comprehend what she had just said, Rachael’s lips were on mine, forcing my mouth apart so she could stick her tongue down my throat. “I could love you. I could make you happy. Just let me.” I tried pushing her away, but her strength was enormous. “Get off me.” She ignored my pleas and strengthened her grip. Her tongue was there again—almost making me choke. Her hold eventually slackened as she moaned into my mouth. I took the opportunity to reach behind and pull her away from me.


I slapped her hard across the face and I pointed to the door. “Get out!” Hearing the door creak open, I looked up to see Belinda enter. “What the hell’s going on?” Her face looked shocked when she saw the state of us. My dress was now riding halfway up my arse, Rachael’s hair was all tossled, and she was rubbing the side of her face. “Rachael, I want you to leave and never come back. Consider yourself fired.” Belinda’s eyes widened, and Rachael’s face took on an even more sinister mien. “You’ll fucking regret this,” she seethed as she marched out the door. Belinda rushed over to me. “What the hell was that? Are you okay?” Taking deep breaths, I nodded. “Yes, she said some things I wasn’t aware of, and then it all just spiralled out of control. I’m shocked. I really don’t know where it all came from.”


Belinda offered a sympathetic smile and stroked my arm. “To be honest with you, she has been acting weird lately. Ever since Luca came on the scene really. All of us have been saying how happy we are that you have someone in your life and that it was a good thing you were finally taking a break. Rachael, on the other hand, has been saying the opposite. She seems to think you’ve abandoned everyone. I knew there was something definitely wrong with that girl.” “Well, she kept it well hidden until now.” I chuckled a little, but I didn’t find any of this amusing. I had never been forced upon by a woman before. It was all a little too shocking for me. “We all know she hated Luca. Even Luca’s bent her ear about her attitude. That couldn’t have helped matters much.” My eyes widened. “Luca never said anything to me.”


“He probably didn’t want you to worry. He may have been trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.” I shook my head. “He still should have come to me. We’re supposed to be business partners. We should be telling each other everything.” “Does this mean you’ll tell him about Rachael?” Thinking about it, I realised I would have to. Rachael had been fired, and I would have to give him a reason. “I don’t think I have a choice in the matter. Rachael’s fired now.” Belinda sighed. “Well, luckily for us, we are operating on a first-come, first-serve basis tonight. Any of Rachael’s regulars will have to be picked up by someone else.” I nodded my head and I smiled. Maybe it was better to do business this way; people could mingle and get to know one another before being paired off.


“Is everything okay?” Peaking from behind the door was Luca. When he saw my discomfort, he arched his back and raced through the room. “What’s happened?” “I’ll leave you to it.” Squeezing my arm, Belinda smiled and walked out the door. “Rachael just stormed out the house. She looked pretty mad. What happened with her?” “She’s been fired.” “Fired? What for?” “For kissing me!” I was still mad about it all. Luca gritted his teeth and tightened his fists. It would seem even women got Luca’s possessive streak going. “She’s lucky she’s not here.” “Or what? You’d slap her one? I already did that for you.” Luca half smiled and half growled. Pushing me up against the desk, he whispered. “One, I would never—ever—hit a


woman. You should know that about me by now. Two, you slapped her when she kissed you?” “Yes,” I said, smiling a little. His presence and playful tone were quickly becoming infectious. At least it was calming me a little. Luca ground his erection into my stomach. “Stop it, Luca. You’re too much!” Luca leaned in and nibbled my ear. “I wish I had been in here to see that. You’re some woman, Clara Murphy.” I playfully smacked his arm. “Stop it. We have guests arriving.” “Well, I’m glad she’s gone.” He pulled away, and the serious face was back again. “She was rather rude to me.” “Yes… So I heard. I had to hear it from Belinda, though. I’d have preferred to hear it from you. You should have told me. If you had, maybe this could have been dealt with sooner and a bit more easily.”


As I stroked my chin, Luca pouted a little. “I’m sorry, amore mio. I won’t do it again.” I shuddered under his touch, and Luca rewarded me with a smile. “I’m afraid I do have to leave you to it for a couple of hours. I have to take care of some business at one of my casinos. Tony, Alessandro, and a couple of others will be here to take care of everything. I have assigned Stefano to take care of you.” I frowned. “Stefano?” “Yes. He is one of my men who hasn’t seen you naked.” I shook my head in frustration. “I don’t need looking after. When are you going to get that through your pigheaded skull?” Stroking my cheek and leaning in for a kiss, Luca said, “I always take care of what’s mine. I would never be able to live with myself if anything happened to you.”


I frowned and pulled my head back to look at him. “What could possibly happen to me?” Luca sighed. “Nothing. I just feel better having someone look out for you.” Judging by Luca’s face, I could tell he was lying. I didn’t bother asking, though. There would be no point; he would never tell me. “Boss, the car is ready.” Tony was standing by the door, scratching his head. Luca looked towards the door. “I’ll be out in a minute.” Tony nodded and left us alone. “I will miss you.” He placed his tender lips to mine, and the fire between my legs started soon thereafter. I had been sore all day, but that hadn’t stopped me from wanting more. Reluctantly pulling away, Luca went on his way, leaving me breathless and extremely horny. It really didn’t take much. Not much at all…


A couple of hours later, Luca still hadn’t returned, but the party was in full swing. Stefano never left my side, and it both amused and irritated the hell out of me at the same time. Melinda was upstairs with Matthew, and a few others had paired off quite well. Eventually, they had all disappeared, too. Only I and around a dozen others were still in the bar. While drinking my glass of champagne, a movement out of the corner of my eye sparked my attention. It was Belinda. “Clara,” she said, eyeing Stefano. “Jeffrey is being unruly again.” Oh, shit. I’d known this would happen. I had just made a slight move off of the bar stool when Stefano pounced to attention. “Oh, for fucks sake, Stefano. Cool it! I’m going to the ladies with Belinda. Do you want


to follow us in there and then explain how you also saw me naked to your boss later?” Stefano cleared his throat and let us pass. “Thank you. I shall be back in five minutes. If I’m not, send the fucking search party.” Belinda giggled and Stefano looked away in embarrassment. “Come. Let’s go before he catches on to us.” Belinda and I raced for the stairs towards Belinda’s room. Along the way, Matthew and Melinda were walking down, smiling and linking arms. “Clara, hello. How lovely to see you.” “Hi, Matthew. I would love to stay and chat, but I have a matter that needs tending to quite urgently.” “Of course, of course. Nothing too bad, I hope?” “No, not at all. I just need to show someone who’s boss.”


Matthew’s laughter echoed round the halls as Belinda and I reached the top of the stairs. “So tell me, what’s he up to now?” “He keeps flinging his pens across the room and saying that he can do whatever the hell he likes.” Pushing the door open, I found an unruly schoolboy sitting on the floor in his uniform, flinging a red colouring pen across the room. “Jeffrey, what have I told you about this kind of behaviour in Miss Nelson’s class?” Looking up from the floor, Jeffrey gave me a stern, boyish look. “I can do what I want!” He flicked another pen across the room just to prove his point. Grabbing him by the ear again, I shouted, “You have to stop being this unruly, insolent child. Miss Nelson is always kind to you, but your behaviour towards her is nothing short of disgusting. You should be


ashamed of yourself.” I gripped his ear tighter causing a groan from Jeffrey. I looked up to Belinda. “Miss Nelson, I think three strikes with the whip are in order … preferably across the bottom.” Jeffrey moaned again. I was about to go on, but the door bursting open drew my attention away. It was Luca, and he didn’t look happy. Before he could speak, I held my hand up to him. Luca abruptly stopped and looked down in shock. “Now, where was I? Jeffrey, I want you to apologise to Miss Nelson.” When Jeffrey didn’t speak, I gripped his ear tighter and pulled at him. “Apologise. Now!” I screamed. Jeffrey cried as I yanked at his ear. “I’m… I’m sor … sorry, Miss Nelson.” Sighing, I let Jeffrey go. He was now putty in Belinda’s hands. “Good. Do what you will, Miss Nelson. I shall get back to my other students now.”


“Yes, Miss Murphy,” Belinda smiled. Bringing my attention back to the door, I found a completely shocked Luca still standing, mouth wide open. Once the door was closed behind me, Luca seemed to gain some composure. “I don’t know whether to fuck you or spank you senseless for that stunt you just pulled.” I hitched my eyebrow at him. “Maybe a bit of both.” The loud cracking sound of a whip and a moan from Jeffrey had me and Luca wincing. “Or maybe not,” I said, walking off. I didn’t have far to go before Luca had me hauled over his shoulder again and in one of our bathrooms. “Luca, what are you doing?” Luca frowned as he sat me down. “Do you know how conflicted I am?” His confused face nearly had me giggling. I was determined to control it as much


as possible as I knew he was being serious. “What do you mean?” “You were turning that man on in there.” “Probably,” I said, smiling. “Clara, I’m being serious. You were inflicting punishment on someone, and he was enjoying it.” Luca pushed his hardness up against me. “Yes, but I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t feel anything about it. It’s just a means to an end, and it makes the client happy.” Grinding his erection into me, Luca breathed, “Yes, but that’s Belinda’s job; it’s not yours. Your job is the give me pleasure, not someone else. Never anyone else. I thought I made myself clear on that front.” “Crystal clear. You remind me all of the time—or have you forgotten?” Pulling his hand up my dress and pushing his fingers through my panties, Luca stroked my clit. I gasped as he placed a


finger inside me. “I think I need to remind you again of who you belong to.” I moaned, my breaths harsh against his chest. “You fucking loved finding me in there with that man at my knees, didn’t you?” Luca growled. “Never again.” His breathing was becoming just as harsh as mine. “Did you find it sexy, Luca? Did seeing me have power over that man make you horny as fuck?” Luca growled again and thrust his finger deeper inside me. I knew what he saw was having an unwanted affect on him. Pulling his head to mine for a hungry kiss, I glided my hand down towards his hard cock and squeezed him. Luca moaned. “Did you like seeing him at my mercy? Did you like knowing your woman was in control? Did it turn you on to see that man at my feet? Did it make you want to fuck me then and there?”


That was the last straw for Luca. He growled again and practically ripped his trousers down. Soon my panties came flying off, and before I knew it, Luca had me up against the wall and was thrusting his hard cock inside me. “Don’t.” Thrust. “Ever.” Thrust. “Do that again!” Thrust. I knew what he was doing. This was punishment for my actions. He was marking me and reminding me of whom I was to him. I was his. He was regaining his power over me, and he was making damn sure I knew it. Grabbing my head, we met each other for a violent kiss. With each powerful thrust of his hips against the wall, I knew it wouldn’t take long for me to blow. He was masterful—powerful. He loved to know he had the control, and boy was he controlling me. “I hated seeing you give pleasure to that man. I hated knowing that what you were


doing was turning him on. At the same time, I can’t get the image of how goddamned sexy you looked with him at your feet out of my head. The way you controlled him… The way you commanded him… I could have fucked you right there.” “Luca!” I screamed, my orgasm rising quickly. “What do you say, Clara?” Knowing exactly what he was trying to convey, I shouted, “I’m yours, Luca! Only yours!” Luca pushed on harder than ever and that was it; I knew I was going to go. The beautiful rhythm of his hips was in perfect tune with my body. He knew exactly what it wanted and delivered it every time. With each of his grunts and moans, the feeling just grew that much stronger. “Now, Clara. Now!” My body obeyed him instantly. I was off screaming his name as my walls closed down


on his cock, milking him for everything he had. Luca grunted, “Fuck!” as he slammed into me one last time before his eruption. With a few more token thrusts, he was done, breathing heavily at my neck. “I never know whether I’m coming or going with you,” Luca admitted. Pulling my head back, I looked at him with a smile. “Okay, I get it wise-ass. It’s much better if I’m coming, right?” I gasped. “You took the words right out of my mouth.” “I’ve never known anyone quite like you, Clara Murphy.” The sincerity in his eyes nearly had tears springing to my own. I wasn’t an overlyemotional person, and I never had been. My parents saw to that when they thought beating me instead of hugging me was the way to bring me up.


I smiled brightly, trying ever so hard to fight back the tears. “I could say the same for you.” Carefully pulling out, Luca gently put me back on my feet. I winced. I was sorer than I had ever been. Only now was my body deciding to tell me. “What’s the matter? Have I hurt you?” “No,” I said, blushing. “I’m just a little sore.” Luca smiled. “I’m sorry, bella.” I laughed out loud. “No, you’re not. You’re proud of the fact you’ve made me sore, aren’t you? You little shit.” “I could never be proud of hurting you, amore mio. I will look after you tonight. I shall bathe you tenderly and take care of you. No more sex.” My eyes nearly fell to the floor. “You’re denying me sex?”


“I’m not denying you. Your body is telling you it needs a rest, so let’s answer it by cooling it until you’re better.” “You make me sound as though I’m ill. I’m not ill, Luca. I’m sure my body will eventually adjust to the new regime it’s just started.” Pulling me to his lips, Luca kissed me hungrily. “I like the sound of your body adjusting to mine. I like to know that there hasn’t been anyone for so long that your body has to cope with your ‘new regime.’ It makes me feel proud that you’re all mine.” “I think my body is adjusting to yours a little too much.” Luca kissed my nose and sighed. “Too much is never enough.”

Three months later The following few months were a whirlwind. Business was doing better than ever, the girls were happy, and Luca and I were just as infatuated as ever. We could never seem to keep our hands off of each other, and it showed. I think everyone knew by now that we were a couple, and because of that, I was left alone. Even Jeffrey had stopped calling. Whether that was because he knew about Luca and me, or whether Luca had had a word with him about it, I didn’t know. To be honest I wasn’t bothered that much about it. I would do it if I wanted to, but never felt a need for it. It just made Jeffrey happy, and I thought there was no harm in it. I hadn’t heard a word from Rachael, and I was glad of that. I thought with her


spitefulness and her “you’ll live to regret it” comment, I would have bumped into her. Maybe she had moved on and decided it wasn’t worth it. That was what I hoped for anyway. My Aunt Trudy was out of rehab and was doing much better. Both Luca and I visited as often as we could. There seemed to be a mutual admiration between my aunt and Luca. It was nice to see and often had my heart swelling. It did, on the other hand, frighten me when I felt this way. I had a feeling of immense joy and excitement whenever Luca was around, but it scared me to death. I didn’t like feeling this vulnerable around him, and I didn’t like feeling such emptiness whenever he wasn’t around. My body, mind, and soul called out to him whenever he was away from me, and I hated myself for feeling that way. I wasn’t sure what that feeling was, but the alien nature of it had me petrified beyond words.


“See, I told you she was cock-whipped.” The sudden outburst from Samantha had me on full alert. Belinda and Mia giggled as we sat, drinking coffee in a local café. We had just been shopping in the town centre, and I was beat. I didn’t know shopping could be so exhausting. “What do you mean cock-whipped?” With a silly grin plastered on her face, Samantha looked at Belinda, then Mia, and then back to me. “You’ve been staring off into the distance with a dreamy look on your face. I wonder who you were thinking about.” They all giggled again, but this just got my back up a little. “I’m not fucking cock-whipped. What’s the matter with you all?” “Oh no, of course not.” Belinda smiled and with a gruff voice, said, “Clara, who do you belong to?” In a squeaky voice, she answered, “You, Luca—you fucking arsehole!”


All the girls threw their heads back in laughter, and I couldn’t help smiling at their joke. They were right of course. “I just love it when you give in, but you’re still calling him arsehole or shit-head. It always gets the girls going.” Mia looked at me with an amused smile as I shook my head. “You girls! Have you got nothing better to do than stand outside my door with your ears pressed to it, so you can hear Luca and I having sex?” “My goodness!” Belinda shouted. “We don’t need to press our ears against the door at all. You two are loud enough for the whole fucking castle to hear.” Staring in disbelief, I felt my face blush. I didn’t realise we were that loud. “Yeah,” Samantha began. “All we do is grab a bottle of vodka and some popcorn, sit outside your door, and enjoy hearing the show. It’s like one of those silent picture


films, but the other way around. We have to use our imagination, but it certainly doesn’t take a bright spark to realise what’s going on in there.” “Oh,” Mia piped. “My personal favourite is, Luca!” and then all of the girls joined in, “Speak to me in Italian!” The girls fell about giggling again as I sat, uncomfortably shifting in my seat. “Oh, fuck off,” I said, unable to hide my smile. They were picking on me; I knew that much. But, it was all in jest. They would never ever be vindictive or nasty towards me. They were my girls, and we had each other’s backs. No matter what. “I’m going to the toilet, and when I get back, I suggest you three think of another topic of conversation.” With a quick, defiant nod of my head, I went in search of the ladies. Once I was done, I opened the door and bashed into someone’s chest. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said absentmindedly.


“That’s quite alright, Clara.” Looking up, I was amazed to find Antonio Cavelli blocking my path back to the girls. “What do you want?” I felt anger rising through my veins. It still pissed me off every time I thought about what he did. Antonio looked stunned. Genuinely so. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realise you were so angry with me. Tell me what it is that I’ve done, so I that can correct it right now.” I almost stomped my foot I was so steaming angry. “How dare you come here and corner me like this? You know very well what you did. You lied to me about those two monsters at the club. They weren’t working for Luca at all. They were just scumbags. Pure and simple. In fact they’re both locked up as we speak.” With an air of nonchalance, Antonio replied, “I do apologise for that. I could have sworn those two boys worked for Luca. I do know a lot about Luca, though. A lot of actual


facts. I’m sure some of it would make your head spin. And such a pretty girl as well. You shouldn’t be wasting your energy on him.” Antonio smiled somewhat suggestively and stared at my breasts. “My face is up here, arsehole. They won’t talk back to you.” Looking back at my breasts again he said, “Hmm, that is a shame.” I rolled my eyes. “Oh please, spare me. I haven’t got time for this. I’m off.” I tried to sneak past him, but he blocked my path again. “If you don’t move out of my fucking way I’m going to make sure that for the next couple of weeks your dick will be out of action. You get me?” My words just seemed to heighten his excitement. Oh please, he’s not another Jeffrey is he? “You’re so feisty. I love it. No wonder Luca never lets you out of his sight. I’m surprised you’re alone now.”


Getting beyond pissed off I said, “Do I need to remind you of what I just said?” Blimey, I was sounding like Luca now. “No, of course not.” Antonio moved to let me pass and I almost hesitated, wondering why he was suddenly so accommodating. Thinking it wasn’t worth deliberating over, I made a move to pass him. It didn’t take long for the dick to change his mind. He was there again, all up in my face. “I know you want to go, but just one more thing before you leave. I understand you think I’m a lying bastard, and I can fully understand why you would feel that way. Our first encounter didn’t exactly go off with a flying start.” I huffed my annoyance at him, but all he did was smile. “There are things you don’t know about your boyfriend. Things I personally think a lovely young girl like you would run a mile from. He’s not the man you think he is.”


Standing my ground, I glared at him. “I’m not blind, Mr. Cavelli. I understand the kind of work Luca does for a living.” “Of course not. I was never insinuating that you were stupid. I can tell you’re a very bright girl. The thing I want to ask you is: What do you really know about Luca? You’ve been together, what? Nearly four months now? How much do you really know about your boyfriend? Oh, I’m sure you know him very intimately, but it really ends there, doesn’t it, Clara?” Stunned by the force of his words, I stood my ground. “What I know about Luca is none of your business. What Luca and I do is none of your business.” Smiling and staring at my breasts again, he said, “Of course it isn’t. I just don’t want to see a nice girl like you getting hurt. He has secrets, Clara. Dark ones.” Not wanting to hear anymore, I pushed past him. “I think you’ve said quite enough.”


With a triumphant smirk, he nodded his head and let me pass. I was wound tighter than a monkey’s nuts. I was pissed off that I had let him get to me. Pissed off at the way he was leering at me the whole time. Most of all, though, I was pissed off because what he said was true. I knew nothing about Luca other than what we had together. He knew my past, knew what I had been through, and yet I knew nothing about him. Getting back to the table, I grabbed my coat. “We need to go.” Sensing my sudden anger and unease, they all rose from their chairs, and we quickly made a beeline for the road. Once we got out onto the noisy street, Belinda grabbed my arm. “What happened in there?” “Antonio Cavelli happened in there! How on earth did he get past us all without anyone noticing?”


They all looked stunned. “He certainly didn’t come past us while we sat waiting for you. He didn’t hurt you, did he?” The look of care and annoyance on Samantha’s face made my anger calm a little. “No, he didn’t. It was what he said that pissed me off.” “What did he say?” Looking down the end of the road to the car park, I spotted Tony getting out of the car to get ready for us. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked at the three of them. “He just said some shit about me not knowing anything about Luca, that’s all.” Belinda shook her head. “I wouldn’t listen to a word that arsehole said. Remember what he did last time? He’s a lying piece of scum.” I scratched my head. “I know what you’re saying.” Belinda’s eyes widened. “You believe him, don’t you?”


I sighed. “Well, come on, Belinda. I probably know as much as you do about Luca. What the fuck do I know about him? He seems to know the ins and outs of me, but I know sod all about him.” I often did wonder at times, but because I was having so much fun with Luca, I never pushed it. Grabbing my arm, Mia looked me in the eye. “Look, I know what you’re saying, but one thing we all know for sure is that Antonio Cavelli is a bad man, and he seems intent on breaking you two apart. Are you going to let him do that? Again?” Sighing, I looked down to the floor for a moment before meeting Mia’s sparkling, bright eyes. “No, you’re right. No wonder Alessandro loves you so much.” Mia’s eyes twinkled ever brighter as she blushed. She and Alessandro had been going just as strong as Luca and I. She had given it all up for him of course. She didn’t want to leave, and I wasn’t about to let her go, so I


offered her a position as the right-hand woman to my right-hand woman, Belinda. Both girls have been doing a stand-up job running the place, and as for me, my job has been so much easier. Half the time, I could just sit back, relax, and let the money roll in. It got me antsy at times as I was still used to doing it all myself. Letting others take control was not easy for the first couple of months, but I had been learning to live with it and had even been enjoying myself a lot more. All of my girls thought Luca was a blessing in disguise for me. They thought I’d become a changed woman—in a nice way of course. Rachael didn’t feel the same, but the others have welcomed the change. “See, there’s the smile we all know and love. Don’t let what that bastard said get to you. I know you, Clara. You’re going to stew on everything he said, but don’t let it rule you. He’s won if you do.” I smiled at Samantha, but noticed movement out of the


corner of my eye. It would seem Tony had noticed our little huddle and knew something was wrong. “What’s happened?” He could definitely tell something was up. “It’s nothing, Tony. Let’s go home.” Tony stood strong. “Something’s happened. What is it?” With a shy smile, Mia looked up to Tony. “Antonio Cavelli happened.” I glared at Mia. I didn’t want to be starting trouble. Not here. “Where?” Pretty soon there were two others joining him. Did they have fucking radar? “In the café down the road there,” Mia pointed to where we had just been. “He cornered Clara when she came out of the toilets.” Feeling a little annoyed, I said, “Okay, Mia. I think I can speak for myself.” Belinda and Samantha smiled knowingly. Yeah, I was being the alpha female


again. I didn’t like people speaking for me. Not when I had a perfectly adequate tongue in my mouth. “Yes, of course. Sorry.” Mia looked away timidly, and I felt like such a shit. “Did he hurt you?” Snapping my attention back to Tony, I shook my head. “No, he was just being a prick.” I smiled trying to lighten the mood, but Tony and the others were off. I knew it would be a wasted journey. Antonio would be long gone by now. With a sigh, we all walked towards the car. I pulled Mia into my shoulder and planted a kiss on her head. “I’m sorry I snapped at you.” Mia laughed and squeezed me back. “That’s okay. I know what you’re like and should have realised… Sorry.” Standing by the car, it wasn’t long before Tony and the others were back. “Let me guess. He wasn’t there?”


Tony shook his head. “Luca’s super pissed, and he wants you back at The Castle—pronto.” I rolled my eyes. “Of course. We can’t keep the lord and master waiting, can we?” I was trying to be light-hearted about it all, but the whole journey back, I couldn’t help but replay Antonio’s words back in my head. How much did I really know about Luca? I was mad because I didn’t want what Antonio said get to me. But how could it not when there was some truth to what the arsehole had said? Getting back to The Castle in next to no time, it wasn’t long before Luca was out the door and running towards me. “I’m going to rip that fucker’s heart out. What did he say?” Ignoring him, I carried on up the stairs to the door. “Why do you look so worried, Luca?” Huffing he shouted, “Don’t play fucking games with me. What did he say?”


Stopping momentarily in the hallway, I was aware that an audience was gathering. “I’m not having this conversation here.” Getting madder, Luca stood his ground. “Well, let’s go up to the tower and discuss it.” I gestured to the bar and smiled at him. “I will do. But I will get a drink first. I’m suddenly dying for one after all that shopping.” Luca looked dazed and flustered. “What the fuck? Clara, get your fucking ass up the stairs now!” I glared at him. “No! Drink first and then we talk.” Walking towards the bar, I noticed a number of my girls—and even some of Luca’s men—smiling in amusement at our little battle of the sexes thing we had going on. I’m not sure if Luca was shocked or too angry and high on adrenaline to act, but he let me go without a word.


I sat down at the bar and gestured towards Bill. “Hey, Bill, can I get a brandy—neat—please? “Certainly, Clara.” Swivelling my chair around, I noticed a very pissed off Luca glaring at me along with some highly amused faces. “I’m ever so parched,” I said, winking. Forgetting himself for a moment, Alessandro blurted, “Oh Luca, I think you’re in trouble now.” Luca glared at him with clenched fists. “Shut the fuck up!” I got angry. “Don’t you dare speak to him like that!” “Or what, Clara? Tell me?” Downing my drink in one go, I shouted, “Or the next time you’ll be moaning my name it won’t be because I’ve just given you the best fucking orgasm you ever had in your life!”


Shocked and regaled is what I would call everyone’s expressions. It didn’t take a genius to realise Luca had had enough. “Are you finished with your drink now?” Shaking my head, I stood firm. I was finished, but I’d be damned if I let Luca have his way anytime soon. “No. In fact, I think I’ll have another.” I was about to swivel my barstool back round to Bill when I felt his hands on me. “You’ve had enough because I say you’ve had enough!” Luca picked me up like a rag doll and threw me over his shoulder. No one was surprised by this. It was definitely a regular occurrence in this house. Just for an added show of authority Luca smacked my arse. I really didn’t want to yelp, but it was so shocking that I couldn’t help it. “You fucking arsehole!” I seethed. Once in “our tower” as we seemed to now be calling it, Luca placed me down on the bed and towered above me. I had to


snigger at that. He always wanted to assert his authority over me. Even now! “Are you going to stop acting like a child and talk to me?” I could have spat back, but I held my tongue. Instead I surprised him. “Who are you?” I figured it was about time we had this conversation. “What do you mean? I’m Luca, the man you—” “What, Luca? What? The man I’m fucking, ‘cos we seem to be doing very little else. You know everything about me, and yet I know diddly-squat about you.” Clenching his fists, Luca bared his teeth. “You know we mean more to each other than that.” Deciding I didn’t much like sitting on the bed with a towering lion hovering above me, I decided to stand. “Really? Don’t kid yourself. What do I know about you? Oh yes, you’re an Italian, hard-nosed, domineering


little arsehole who likes piña colada’s and getting caught in the fucking rain!” Getting up in my face, Luca locked my eyes with his. “What did he say to you? What did the fucker say to get you so angry? You mean everything to me. I thought you would know that by now. I keep telling you as much.” I shook my head in exasperation. “That’s the thing. They’re just words, just goddamned fucking words. They don’t mean shit.” “What do you want from me?” “I want you to tell me the truth!” Exasperated, Luca let go of my arms and paced the floor running his hands through his hair. Turning back to me, he stood firm like a bull about to charge. “Okay. You want the truth? I’ll give you the goddamned truth. I fucking love you. Is that what you want to know? I can’t stop thinking about you and haven’t stopped


thinking about you since the moment I saw that fucking picture. You’ve stolen my heart, and you’ve stolen my soul. I cannot breathe without you. I cannot live without you. Every time you’re not with me, it’s like I can’t function properly without you. I’m like a fish without water—a fire without its spark. I’m nothing unless I’m with you. Nothing unless I have you in my arms. You’re my missing piece in a symphony, my lantern in the dark. My world. My one and only. You complete me.” Feeling the tears sting at his words, I walked away. I couldn’t look at him as I knew I would cave. “It’s not enough. I need something—anything. I need more.” Grabbing my arms and pulling me to face him, Luca looked desperate. “What more can I give you that I haven’t already?” I momentarily looked down at my feet. “It’s not about the gifts you buy or the number of orgasms you can give me. I need to


know what’s in here.” I placed my hand on his heart. “And in here.” I moved my hands to his head. Sighing in defeat, Luca dropped my arms and turned away. I stood, silently waiting. Every second that passed was like an agonising hour. Shaking his head, Luca looked down towards the floor, sighing. He groaned, taking a few more deep breaths, and before I could even register it, he turned towards the door and left. Shocked and bewildered, I sat down on the bed, wondering what the hell had just happened. How on earth could he tell me he loved me in one breath and in the other refuse to let me in? I didn’t know what on earth was going on, but I knew one thing was for certain. I wasn’t going to let this lie—not by a long shot. He would come back, and when he did, he would have some explaining to do.


Three days passed, and I still hadn’t heard from him. A part of me yearned for him, but a huge part of me was royally pissed off. He said he couldn’t live without me, but somehow, he had been managing very well for three days. He was like a walking, talking contradiction, and quite frankly, I had exhausted the many ways I thought we could move on from this. We couldn’t possibly move on. Not at this point. Not unless he was willing to reach out to me and tell me about his past. How could I possibly love someone who was not willing to give all to me? It just didn’t seem fair. Even absent, he was asserting his alpha status by knowing a damn sight more about me than I did about him. He had walked away from me for the time being, but he couldn’t run forever. He would either face me, or we would be done.


“Are you sure you’re okay?” I didn’t even realise I was in a daydream until Belinda spoke. “Yes, I’m fine. Would everyone stop fussing?” “We’re just worried about you,” Mia said, placing her hand on the bar. With my posture picked up, I smiled brightly and slapped the bar with my hand. “I’m fine. In fact, I’m more than fine. I fancy a night out on the town. We haven’t done that in a while. Who’s with me?” Belinda smiled. “I would love to, but someone has to stay and run this place.” Mia jolted up. “Why don’t you two go with a couple of others? I’ll stay and help keep an eye out. Well, me and Alessandro of course.” Just as his name was mentioned, the one and only walked into the bar, placing a gentle, possessive hand on Mia’s back. “Hey, ladies.” Bending down, Alessandro placed a


seductive kiss on Mia’s lips. Mia moaned, and everyone rolled their eyes. Managing to pry himself away, Alessandro looked up. “What are we talking about?” “We’re talking about a night out. Belinda and I along with a couple of others are going.” Alessandro looked flustered all of a sudden. “But you can’t. Mr. Belatoni—” I glared at him. “Mr. Belatoni can shove his attitude where the sun don’t shine. Do you hear me? I haven’t heard from him in three days—yet, he seems to think he still has a right to order me around and tell me what to do. I’m not sitting around here like a lost puppy waiting for her lord and master to return. I refuse to do that.” I got out of my seat. I’d had enough. I was more determined than ever to have that night out. “Mia, I will accept your offer to


look after the place this evening. Thank you.” I gracefully nodded to her and smiled. “You’re very welcome. Don’t worry. You ladies have fun, and I promise I will look after everything while you’re away.” Alessandro nudged Mia, causing her to glare back at him. Great! I had probably caused an argument between those two lovebirds. Squeezing Belinda’s arm, I pulled her away from Mia and Alessandro. If they were going to fight, I would let them get on with it. “So, who do you think will be up for it tonight? Any ladies feel they need a break?” Belinda looked away in deep thought. “I think Samantha would like to come. She’s always good for a night out.” Biting her lip, she thought some more, but then something caught her eye, and she smiled. “Oh, and I think I know just the other person.” Looking in Belinda’s direction, I spotted Tammy smiling and looking around the


hallway. “Tammy!” I shouted. I was glad to see her after so long. “Clara!” she shouted back as we both ran in for a hug. “How are you, Clara? I heard things had changed around here since I left.” Just as she said this, Natalie—the girl who took Tammy’s place—wandered over. “You can certainly say that! I’ll get to that in a bit, but first of all, I’d like to introduce Natalie here to her predecessor. Natalie, this is Tammy.” Shaking hands, they both smiled while taking one another in. I knew they were sizing each other up. “So, what were you two looking so excited about before Tammy came in?” I smiled at Natalie. “Well, Belinda and I are going out tonight, and we were wondering who would want to come.” I nudged in Tammy’s direction and she gasped, “Oh I’d love to. We’ve never really had the chance to have a girly night out, so count me in.”


Turning towards Natalie, I felt the need to include her. “I would love to, but I’ve got a very special client coming in tonight—Mr. Gosport.” Natalie’s eyebrow rose. “No! The famous actor?” Tammy squealed. Natalie nodded with a smirk. “The one and only.” “Damn. I’ve missed out there,” Tammy said, biting her lip. Elbowing her in the arm, I said, “Oh come on, Tammy. I thought you had the love of your life?” “Oh I do. I love him to bits, but for Mr. Gosport, I think I’d have made an exception.” Giggling across the hall, we soon had a load of eyes upon us. “Look, it’s probably best we don’t continue this conversation until tonight. Can we meet you at Club Med—say around eight?” Tammy squeezed my arm. “I’ll look forward to it.”


Getting ready for my evening out, I was startled when a text suddenly arrived on my phone. Retrieving it from my packed and ready bag, I opened it up. Luca: You’re not going anywhere tonight. I shall see you in a couple of hours. Stay put! Tossing the phone back in my bag, I checked my make-up one last time and moved towards my door. Upon opening up, Tony stood to attention. “Mr. Belatoni told me of your planned night out.” Closing my door behind me and heading for the stairs, I said, “Yeah. What of it?” “Please, Clara. You can’t go out tonight. Luca would have a fucking hernia.” I stopped at the stairs momentarily, trying to calm myself. I turned to a flustered Tony. “Listen, I appreciate your concern, but


it really is none of anyone’s business what I do—least of all Luca’s.” I could hear Tony’s loud footsteps behind me as I carried on my journey. Seeing Belinda at the foot of the stairs, I smiled. “Are you ready?” Belinda held out her arm to me and smiled. “As I’ll ever be. Samantha can’t come, but Tammy said she would meet us there.” Turning to Tony, I squeezed his arm. “Goodnight, Tony. I may or may not see you when I get back.” Hearing Tony cursing, Belinda and I laughed all the way outside. I knew Tony had instructions to keep me in my castle, but all of them also had strict instructions not to touch me. Where did that leave them when it came to stopping me from doing anything? Not with much I thought. It didn’t stop them doing what a lot of them did next, however. Halfway up the road in the taxi, I spotted


Tony and some others climbing into another car. I guessed I was going to be tailed and stalked all evening. No rest for the wicked. “Wow, you both look great.” Tammy was waiting outside Club Med wearing an elegant, black, knee-length dress and the most gorgeous high-heeled shoes. Kissing Tammy on both cheeks, I smiled. “You look great, too. Come. Let’s go in now before the mob turns up.” Looking confused, Tammy just shook her head and tagged along. The music was booming, and it was welcome. Club Med was having an eighty’s night, and I loved eighty’s music. After ordering our drinks, we were about to head over to a table and chairs when a security guy came marching over. “Excuse me, Miss Murphy?” All the girls shrugged their shoulders. “Yes?”


“I have a VIP table upstairs for you and your lady friends.” The security guy eyed both Belinda and Tammy, and then his look turned to one of hunger. “Okay. Lead the way, McDuff!” Laughing inside, I knew full well who was responsible for this. Even now, he was getting his own way. I wasn’t going to say no, though. I wanted to be with my girls more than anything tonight. Walking into the plush, cosy room, I experienced a sense of comfort. It was well put together with comfortable sofas and a bigarsed TV screen taking up the expanse of the room. On one of the tables by the balcony—which overlooked the dancers below—was a bottle of champagne and three glasses. Shaking my head again, I sighed in disbelief. “I can’t believe he’s done this.” The security man nodded. “I shall leave you ladies to it. Unless I can get you anything


else?” His leering eyes were still roaming over Belinda and Tammy. “No, this is fine, thank you.” With a little bow, the security guy was out the door. “What the hell is all of this?” Tammy looked around the room in awe. I sighed and looked at Belinda for a moment. “It seems I have a lot to tell you.” Settling down in our seats and helping ourselves to our drinks, I began telling the full story to Tammy. She sat, listening attentively with occasionally widening eyes and a few cheeky grins. It seemed she was just as amused as everyone else had been. “I can’t believe Rachael did that.” Tammy looked pissed. Shaking my head, I completely agreed with her. “I know. I really didn’t think she felt as strongly as she did. It was quite uncomfortable—the whole experience was.” “I bet it was,” Belinda interjected. “She’s always been a little strange. At times, I


thought she may have been bipolar or something. Her moods were all over the place.” Feeling this conversation was getting a little too deep, I decided to change the subject. “So, Tammy. You and John. How’s that going?” Smiling, Tammy put her drink down. “We’ve set a date. Well, a roundabout date” “Really?” Belinda’s posture picked up. “When?” “We were hoping for mid-June. It will be two years since we met by then.” Squeezing her hand tightly, I smiled. “That’s so sweet. I hope you’re going to invite us all?” Biting her lip, she looked a little apprehensive. “What is it sweetie?” “I wanted to ask you something, and I didn’t know how you would feel about it.” Feeling a little worried, I asked, “What is it?”


Tammy nervously darted her eyes and paused for a moment before she spoke. “I was kinda hoping we could have the wedding at The Castle. I understand it would be a big deal, and I know it would mean hiring it out for the day and the evening, but you would be highly compensated for it. John is rather wealthy, you see.” Taken aback by her request, I hesitated for a moment. “I told John it would be a bad idea.” Shaking my head, I found my lucidity. “No, of course it isn’t. I’m just surprised; that’s all. I thought you wanted John well away from The Castle.” “Well, I know it carries a certain risk, but I also know that I trust everyone there not to blab. It’s just that I talk about The Castle a lot to John, and he knows how much the place—and all of you—mean to me.” Tammy smiled sweetly, and it caused my heart to flutter a little. Giving her a reassuring squeeze, I looked her dead in the eye.


“Of course you can have your wedding at The Castle. It would be my pleasure.” For a solid half an hour or so, we made plans for the wedding and figured out how much it would cost. I would normally charge quite a bit for hiring out The Castle exclusively, but this was Tammy. I wasn’t going to charge her and her husband-to-be the going rate. She wanted some of her guests to stay as they were travelling a great distance, so I worked it all out in my head and came up with a figure. She was stumped. “That sounds way under-priced to me.” Smiling, I kissed her hand. “It’s for you.” “But, I can’t. That’s too much.” Shaking my head, I knew I had to get through to her. “Let’s just consider it a wedding present from me to you.” I was still going to buy her a present of course, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. She suddenly jumped up squealing. “Come here! I need to give you a hug.”


Bouncing out of my chair, we hugged each other, and soon after, we were on to other subjects and getting well and truly tipsy. “I love this song!” Belinda shouted as we all rose out of our chairs. The booming sound of “Get Down On It” was blasting through the speakers down below. Standing up, we all started dancing forwards and backwards and singing our arses off. All in sync with our dancing, we sang, “Get down on it, suck my helmet. Get down on it, suck my helmet.” I was laughing so hard, I thought I would wet my knickers. “You can’t sing that song without those lyrics.” Belinda flopped her drunken self back in the chair and tried to calm her giggles. “I’ve got something funny for you to try.” Sitting up in their chairs, I had Belinda


and Tammy’s full attention. “Say, ‘I work for Cunard.’” “I work for Cunard,” they both said, looking confused. “Now, say it over and over again really fast.” “I work for Cunard. I work for Cunard. I work forkin ard.” When they realised what it sounded like, they stopped dead and looked at me. “You’re telling me you work fucking hard!” I shouted. Erupting in laughter again, I realised it had been a long time since I had been out, having a good time with my girls. “That’s so funny. I’ll have to try that one on Jeffrey.” Looking timidly towards me, she pouted. “He misses you.” Not wanting to dwell on it, I shrugged my shoulders. “Nothing lasts forever. I’m sure with Mr. Arsehole out of the picture, we could get back to some sort of normality.”


“Over my fucking dead body!” I looked up and found Luca hovering above me like the proverbial lion that he was. Behind his sexy glare, he looked tired and somehow anxious. It didn’t stop the anger from rising within me, though. “Oh, look who it is. The one and only. Tammy, you haven’t met the arsehole yet, have you?” Blushing, Tammy shook her head and held out her hand. “Nice to meet you.” Luca looked as excited about shaking her hand as an eight-year-old would be about going to the dentist. He took her hand nonetheless, but I could tell what his main agenda had been all along. Me. “We need to talk.” Sighing, I stood up to face him. “I don’t want to talk to you now. I’m out having fun with my girls.”


Exasperated, Luca glared at me. “Okay, listen. I got your message loud and clear. Now, stop being childish and let’s talk.” “What the hell are you on about? What message?” “You ignoring me and coming here.” Sitting back down in my chair, I thumped the arms in frustration. “I’m not a plaything. You can’t just up and leave without a word and then come back thinking that Little Miss Obedient will be sitting at home with her knitting, waiting on the infamous Luca Belatoni to return. I’m not like that. Haven’t you got that through your thick skull yet?” Putting his hands in his trouser pockets, Luca glared at me. “We’re not having this conversation here.” Looking over towards the other girls, I knew he was having a hard time controlling himself.


“You’re right. I tell you what. Why don’t you go back home, and when I’m done here, I will speak with you when I get back?” Turning back towards the girls, I heard a growl beside me. “I wait for no one. Excuse me, ladies. I need to steal Clara for a few moments.” Nodding their heads, Luca leaned over and grabbed me by the waist. Again, and before I knew it, I was being dragged over his shoulder and taken to an adjacent room. Placing me down, I noticed immediately just how much quieter it was in here as opposed to the other room. It was a lot smaller, but it had a huge window overlooking everyone below us. “You bastard!” I slapped him hard across the face, but almost felt guilty by the sombre look he gave me. “Do you feel better now?” “No,” I admitted. “You’re angry.”


“You left me.” “I know.” Coming closer, I could feel myself being taken in. I was angry with him, but yet feeling him so close after what seemed like an age apart was doing things to me I didn’t expect. “Don’t come near me,” I tried. It was only a token effort, and it was no use. Pulling me towards him, I immediately felt his hardness. “Luca, no.” His nose was there—just where he knew I liked it—tickling the base of my neck. Without meaning to, my body relented and relaxed in his arms. Feeling he now had me at his mercy, his hand began sliding up my dress. “Do we need to get reacquainted after our time apart, baby?” “Luca, no. People can see.” I pointed to the window, but Luca shook his head. “We can see them, but they can’t see us.” Finding my panties now, his finger slid


between my crevice where he was greeted by my wetness. My God, I wanted him. I had missed him these last three days, but I hadn’t realised just how much until he was there, rubbing his finger along my clit. “Fucking hell. You’re so wet, baby. I’ve missed this so much.” Luca’s breath was tickling my neck as he leaned in to nibble on my ear. Breathlessly, I wanted to somehow make a point. I was mad at him, goddammit. He thought he could just barge in here and pick up where we left off. “Luca, we can’t do this. I’m still mad at you.” Flicking my clit, my body went rigid as a moan escaped me. “I know you are, and I know we have to talk. I need to feel you, though. I have to make you mine all over again. Remind you of whom you belong to.” Withdrawing his hand, Luca whisked me around to face the window. Unzipping


my dress, he slowly trailed it over my body causing me to shiver. “Fuck, you look so sexy.” He grabbed my arms placing them high above my head and onto the glass window. With both hands, he cupped my breasts and flicked his fingers over my nipples until I thought I would pass out. Sliding one hand down towards my panties, Luca started his onslaught on my clit. “You see all those people down there?” I looked down and could see all of the people dancing and laughing. All of them were having a good time. It was kind of an alien feeling, knowing I could see them, but they couldn’t see me. Fuck me, though; it turned me on. I was wetter than otter’s pocket. Grinding my hips into him, I leant my head back towards his shoulder and felt his delicious tongue at the base of my neck. Grabbing my breast with one hand and


rubbing my clit with the other was too erotic for words. I tried turning, but Luca halted me. “Stay there with your hands on the glass!” I wasn’t sure why, but I did as I was told, hoping that the window would be able to hold me up straight. His hands were touching me everywhere, and yet I couldn’t touch him. The feeling of no control was both frustrating and highly arousing all at the same time. Holding me close to him and biting my neck, Luca knew I was close. So damn close. His hands and the thought of us being on show—without these people knowing—had my senses going into overdrive. I wriggled and writhed in his arms and my moans were telling Luca that my orgasm was imminent. “I have to make you mine again, Clara. I have to feel you.”


Just before my climax hit me, Luca stopped, ripped my panties apart, and was inside me quicker then I could think. Thrusting hard, Luca growled in my ear. “Who do you belong to?” Thrusting again, I knew my orgasm was coming again and fast. It had never disappeared; it just simmered there on the surface, waiting for the heat to turn up. Feeling my hands dropping slightly, Luca squeezed my hips. “Hands on the fucking glass!” Complying with his demands, I kept my hands still, knowing that I would go at any moment. Watching the people below us, my eyes began to roll in the back of my head. Luca was fucking me—fucking me good—and no one had a clue as to what was going on right above them. Luca pounded into me relentlessly, and it was delicious. The feel of his cock sliding


in and out of my soaking wet entrance had me spellbound. Feeling my walls tightening, Luca thrust hard. “Who do you belong to, Clara?” I let my orgasm take over and shouted, “You, Luca! Always you!” That was it. I screamed. My walls sucked him in deep and just kept sucking until my body couldn’t take much more. “Fuck, Baby, I missed this so much. You’re mine! Fucking mine. I’m never going to let you go!” Growling hard, Luca thrust one last time before I felt his hot come shooting inside me. With my hands still on the glass, I felt Luca lean his head on my back. I felt his tender kiss brush against me as he pulled out and tugged me back into him. Hands finally free, I looked up to see the outline of them on the window, and it made me smile. I wasn’t sure why it made me


smile. It may have been because I knew why the handprints were there. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered in my ear before kissing my neck. I turned to face him and scowled a little. “This in no way means you have gotten away with what you did.” Luca smiled and leaned in to kiss my lips. “I never thought otherwise. Let me take you home, and we can talk.” I shook my head. “Ah, ah, mister. I’m having a night out with the girls.” Wrapping my legs around his waist, Luca moved towards the glass. “Do we need to go again? Maybe up against the window this time?” The thought made me wet again with anticipation. It was tempting. Ever so tempting. “No, Luca. I’m supposed to be enjoying my time with Belinda and Tammy; I shouldn’t spend it being fucked up against a window.”


Luca growled. “I don’t fuck you, Clara.” “It certainly felt that way to me just a few minutes ago.” Biting my lip, he pushed me higher up against the glass. “It may seem like I fuck you, but you’re in no way just a fuck to me. You never have been.” Trying to shake my uncontrollable urge to tell him to do just that to me, I pushed him back a little. “Oh, no. You’re not wrapping me round your little finger this time, buddy. My girls are waiting for me.” Nibbling my neck again, Luca whispered, “They’ll understand.” I stood firm and giggled as I pushed him back. “No, Luca. Not now.” “You’re saying that a lot this evening.” He sighed, placed me down and handed me my dress. “I suppose after what I’ve done I should let you have the rest of your evening with the girls. Afterwards, though, we must talk.”


I rolled my eyes and curtsied. “Oh thank you, lord and master.” Pulling up his trousers, Luca moaned. “Get dressed before I change my mind.” As I slipped my dress on, Luca zipped me up. “There’s a toilet through that door if you want to get cleaned up.” Tiptoeing to his cheek, I kissed him lightly. “Thank you.” He smiled and patted my bottom. “No problema, amore mio. I shall see you at home.” Returning to the room after my cleanup, I found Belinda and Tammy eagerly waiting for me. Another bottle of champagne had promptly arrived, and Belinda was pouring us each a glass. “Oh I know that look,” Tammy squealed. “That’s the look you get after having makeup sex.” Completely giving myself away, I smiled. “See! I told you.”


I looked at Belinda and she winked at me. “What was it like?” I sighed my contentment. “Like it always is with Luca.” “I couldn’t hear you this time.” She turned her attention to Tammy and nudged her. “Normally, you can hear them all over. No matter where you are in The Castle, everyone knows when the famous Murphy and Belatoni are having sex.” “Belinda!” I was trying to protest, but couldn’t help the giggles that were escaping me.

We stayed for an hour longer than we probably needed to. It was mostly because I wanted to teach Luca a lesson. As we said goodbye to Tammy, Belinda and I clambered into the back of Tony’s car. I knew Luca wouldn’t have let me go on with my night without a chaperone. The minute


we all wandered down the stairs, he was there—smiling and saluting us. “You can text his lordship now and let him know we’re coming home.” Looking in his rear-view mirror, Tony smiled. “Already done.” Tony laughed at my rolling eyes. “You didn’t think I wouldn’t now, did you?” “Tony?” Glancing momentarily my way, Tony said, “Yes, Clara?” “Shut up and drive, will ya?” Chuckling, Tony nodded. “Okay. Anything you say, boss.” Being so used to my blunt behaviour, Belinda smiled at me. “What?” “You get away with so much shit, you know that? I don’t know how you do it.” I laughed, giving her a light slap. “I don’t know what you mean.” Giggling my drunk ass off, I didn’t even realise we were back in front of The Castle


until Tony opened my door. Suddenly—without warning—my arse met the cold ground outside. Belinda cackled, and I heard an “Oops” leave Tony’s lips. Leaning down, Tony offered to pull me up. “Don’t you fucking dare!” I would know that voice anywhere. I was in perfect tune with it. Leaning my head back on Tony’s legs, I felt him stiffen as he raised his hands up in the air in surrender. It was so comical. “Tony?” Looking down at me, he smiled. “Thank you, darling.” Seeing him smirk, I soon felt a pair of arms around me. I knew them straight away, too. “Go help Belinda, Tony. I’m sure she would more than love you to.” I giggled and heard Belinda do the same. “Yes, sir.” “Take me to my chambers.” Belinda raised her hands in the air, and a very


obliging Tony stepped in to take her in his arms. He was so gentle; it was adorable. “I see we’ve had a lot to drink.” I snuggled my head into the crook of Luca’s neck and inhaled deeply. I instantly felt dizzy from his scent. “Take me to bed.” Luca held on tight to me and snorted. “It’s about the only damn sensible thing you’ve said to me all night. Come on.” Shutting my door, he carried me in his arms up the front stairs and towards our tower. Tony was doing the exact same thing to an evergiggling Belinda. Reaching the stairs, I gripped Luca’s arm. “Hold up a sec… Belinda?” “Yes, sweetie?” she asked, tossing her feet up into the air. “I’ll see you tomorrow, and we can compare notes.” Luca—obviously not liking my joke—stiffened and growled. Giggling some more, Belinda shouted, “Okay!” Before they were completely out of


my view, I took another peak. I could see a big grin spread across Tony’s face. It would seem he thought he was getting laid tonight—and it didn’t look like he was hanging around for anyone. Not quite knowing what to make of it, I shrugged my shoulders and wrapped my arms around Luca’s neck. Pretty soon, I was being laid on my bed with the covers wrapped around me. I tried to speak again, but Luca gripped me tighter in his arms. “Shh. I got you, baby. We’ll speak in the morning.” I wasn’t sure what happened after that because I didn’t have a bloody clue!

Why was I being tortured like this again? I had been to that damn place twice, and it had given me the two biggest hangovers I had ever experienced in my life. I moaned and tried to open my eyes to the light, but it blinded me. “Morning, beautiful.” I didn’t know whether to punch him or kiss him for sounding so damn cheery. How could he sound so fucking happy when I felt like shit? “Here, take these.” Forcing my eyes open, I found a couple of tablets held out in front of me. “They helped before, and they’ll help again.” I took the pills and popped them down. “Why are you looking after me?” “Why wouldn’t I? I love you, and I care for your well-being. I stayed up half the night


trying to get you to drink plenty of liquids and making sure you wouldn’t puke.” Rising up from the bed a little, I tried to remember any of that. Nope—nothing. “You stayed up to take care of me?” “You’re my world. Why wouldn’t I? I take care of what is mine.” Swallowing hard, I quickly remembered why he had that face. The guilty face. “Where have you been?” “Scotland.” My eyes furrowed. “Scotland? Why Scotland?” “I have a house there, and sometimes I use it to get away and think. The people that know me realise that once I go up there, I’m not to be disturbed. I knew I had to come back to you, though. In fact, I was already on the verge of doing so. When I got the call from Alessandro earlier today about your plans, I knew I couldn’t leave it any longer.”


I shook my head, but I kind of knew Alessandro would rat on me. If he hadn’t, it would have just been someone else anyway. “What could you possibly go up to Scotland to think about? How does running away from your problems help?” Luca sank his head to the floor and sighed. “I guess I’ve been doing it for so long—for most of my life—that I don’t know any different. If you had been anyone else, you never would have seen me again.” Pulling my head back in shock, I saw the sincerity in his face. “Luca, what on earth is going on?” Luca sighed in resignation and gripped me tighter to him. “Don’t ever leave me. You promise me this?” “Luca, you’re scaring me.” And, I was scared. His demeanour was seeing to that. This was the first time I had ever felt scared with Luca. “Just answer me, Clara.”


I straddled his waist and cupped his face in my hands. “I promise.” Pulling me into him, he held tight, and I felt his hot breath at the base of my neck. “I killed my father.” Stiffening in his arms, Luca sensed it, and he tightened his grip. He was frightened I was going to bolt. What he said shocked me, yes, but I wasn’t going to leave him. “Why?” When he loosened his grip, I pulled away from him so that I could watch him as he spoke. He knew I wasn’t going anywhere now. “I used to live in a picturesque village in Cefalù in Sicily. I was an unruly boy who mixed with the wrong crowd and got up to mischief. Even then, I wanted to be my own person. I was virtually left to my own devices and was happy enough. Happy, that was, until my father started binge-drinking. He lost his restaurant business, and it made him


resentful. Very resentful. He started blaming my mother for everything that had gone wrong in his life. At first, it was verbal, but then he started using his fists. I was fifteen, and I was scared. I used to hide away when he got mad, and I was disgusted with myself for doing so. “One day, he took things too far. I heard him shouting and my mother screaming at him to stop. I tried covering my ears, but it all became too much.” Feeling Luca’s rigid body, I ran my fingers through his hair. Relaxing slightly, he carried on. “Something in me snapped. I grabbed the first thing I could find and hit him with it. As I stared down at my hands, I realised I had his blood on them. I had stabbed him and hadn’t even realised it. I watched as my father looked at me with pleading eyes. “Why, son? Why have you done this?” I watched as the life faded away from him.”


Pulling Luca into my arms, I cradled and caressed him. I wanted him to know I was still here. I promised him, and I was keeping that promise. “My mother acted very quickly. She was very resourceful and very intelligent. My dad didn’t give her enough credit for her contribution to our family. She told me it was okay. She assured me that everything would be okay. “Before I knew it, she was organising my getaway. She contacted some of her family and got me on the next flight out to England—with the promise that I would never return to Sicily again.” Feeling his pain, I tenderly kissed his cheek. “Oh, Luca. I’m so sorry.” It all made sense now. He was enraged when Michel had hit me all those months ago. It all must have felt too close to home for him.


“You remind me a bit of my mama in some ways. She was strong and feisty. The only shit she took was from my father.” Kissing his fingertips, I gently grazed my teeth across the tips. Luca hissed with pleasure. “Why couldn’t you tell me this before? Why didn’t you share this story with me?” “I’ve never told this story to anyone. The only person who knows is my uncle who arranged everything for me. He looked after me, and made sure I was well taken care of. He said my mother would beat him otherwise.” Luca chuckled a little causing my heart to flutter. “I like the sound of your mother. I think she and I would get on like a house on fire.” Pulling my hips over his groin, he breathed in my neck. “It’s a pity you will never get to see her. She’s a wonderful woman.”


“Can’t you go back now? I mean, it’s been, what? Fifteen, sixteen years. Surely it would have all died down by now?” Luca shook his head. “She made me make a promise.” “But—” Luca stopped me with his hand. “She made me make a promise.” I sighed realizing I wasn’t going to get through to Luca. “Do you at least know she’s okay?” Luca smiled. “I get regular updates from my uncle, Giuseppe. He calls every week to make sure she’s doing fine.” “And is she?” “As far as I’m aware, yes. She never married. She just stayed at home and looked after my brothers and sisters.” I searched his eyes for sign any sign of pain. “And you don’t know how they’re all getting on?”


He looked at my expression and gently placed a strand of hair behind my ear. “They were all much younger than me. I came quite quickly, but the others didn’t follow until seven years later.” I swept my thumb against his lip. “Was that on purpose?” Luca searched my eyes. I knew he was finding it difficult to talk about. “No. I think my mama had a difficult time with me, and it just took them a long time to conceive again.” Breathing him in again, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I asked Luca to make love to me. He smelt too good for words. He looked too good for words. “I’m going to freshen up. I’ll be right back.” Racing to the bathroom, I had a quick wash and thoroughly brushed my teeth. I walked back in and Luca looked up. “Feeling better?” Luca’s appreciative eyes greeted me from the bed.


“Yes, thank you.” I crawled on my hands and knees to straddle him again. “So, you’re not going to leave me now?” His question caught me off guard. “Of course not. Why should I?” Looking stern, he grabbed my hips. “I’m a murderer, Clara.” I kissed him lightly on the lips and stroked his face. “You were justified in what you did.” Captivating my eyes with his, Luca stated, “But, I’m a murderer.” He emphasized those words so sternly that I knew he wasn’t getting at his father now. “I know what you are, and I don’t care.” His face was full of shock. “How can you not care?” I laughed. “I think I know enough about you now to know that whatever you do, you do it for a reason.”


Pulling my hips over his groin again, I realised quickly how hard he was. “You trust me that much, do you?” Pulling myself over his hardness again, I gasped. “Yes, Luca, I do.” He pulled once more and growled in my ear. Even with me on top he still wanted control. “Let me take care of you.” I leant forward and brushed my lips against his neck. Descending lower, I trailed kisses all the way along his chest down towards his stomach. Once I finally reached his hard cock, I licked it ever so gently with my tongue. “Fuck!” Luca hissed as he clenched my hair. “I think we need to jog your memory again. You need to remember who you belong to.” I shot him a no-nonsense glare, and before he could offer a retort, my mouth was devouring his cock like it was a popsicle on a hot summer’s day.


“Fuck!” he hissed again as his hips raised slightly off the bed. I had given men blow-jobs before, but nothing in this world could have prepared me for just how erotic it would be for me. Hearing his moans and hisses of appreciation alone almost tipped me over the edge. His pleasure was soaring through me as I licked and sucked up and down his cock like a woman possessed, and boy was I loving it as I lapped up every single morsel of him. I caressed him in my hands and sucked him in as hard and as deeply as I could. Feeling his grip tightening on me, I knew he was close. “Baby, I don’t want to come in your mouth.” Letting him know I wasn’t going to stop for anything, I slapped him hard across the hip. Luca relented and moaned, and I knew he was going to blow at any second. “That’s right, baby. Oh fuck, Clara! Your mouth is so fucking—”


That was it, he was gone. Before I knew it I had his come shooting down my throat, and I was sucking and licking it all up like he was the best goddamned ice cream I had ever tasted. Withdrawing my mouth from his cock, I raised myself to look at him. With a wipe of my mouth, I sucked the last juices up with my finger. “You don’t fucking realise just how sexy you look doing that.” Luca closed his eyes and breathed deeply. His climax was obviously a good one. I could tell it was. I had them often enough with him to know firsthand. Opening his eyes back up, he glared at me, desire in those caramel peepers of his. “I think it’s your turn now.” I shook my head. “This wasn’t about me this morning. This was about me giving you the pleasure. You’re always doing it for me.”


He wagged his finger in front of me like I was a naughty child. “Ah, ah, Clara. I think we need to refresh your memory.” I looked at Luca and could tell he had a mischievous glint in his eyes. That was all I needed to shoot out of bed and go running for the hills. Where on earth I was going, I had no clue. Standing in the kitchen, I picked up the first thing I could find. Luca was just looking highly amused. “Are you going to ladle me to death?” Turning my attention away from Luca for a second to see that what I was in fact holding was a ladle, gave him the opportunity to sprint. Before I knew it, Luca had me in his arms and was placing me down on the kitchen countertop. Grinding his groin into mine, Luca eyes danced with fire. “This is a really good position to have you in.”


“Really?” I asked bringing his lips to mine. “I thought up against the glass window at your club was sexier.” Biting my lip, Luca brushed his thumb over my nipple before delving his tongue in my mouth. Pulling out briefly, he lingered his eyes on my lips. “You had your chance, but you turned me down.” “Oh really? It’s like that, is it?” “Yes, it’s like that.” His smiling eyes nearly had me gone, but I held strong. “I don’t think I want you tasting me.” Brushing his nose against my neck, Luca—in one swift motion—had my tank top ripped from my chest. “I’m going to have you whether you want it or not. I’m going to force you to orgasm. Because I can. Do you get me, Clara?” Oh boy, I thought I had just come on the spot. Luca never failed to amaze me by just how much he dominated me. It was to the


point where he took my breath away. And, oh did he take my breath away. Seeing my heated desire, Luca ripped my panties from my hips, leaving me completely naked and exposed. “I’m going to taste you now. Lick you until you scream my name and come on my mouth. Do you understand?” I felt his hands on my breasts and moaned out. “No, I don’t want you to. I want to come on your cock.” Luca growled in my ear and bit my earlobe. “Revenge is a dish best served smoking hot.” Breathing heavily, I squeezed his arms. “This is not an eye for an eye. I made you come in my mouth—so what?” Suckling on one of my nipples, Luca flicked his tongue. My goodness I was as ready as ever for him.


“I told you not to do it. I gave you specific instructions, and you ignored me. Now, it’s your turn.” I pushed him away from me and glared at him. “You never have the right to tell me what to do!” Pulling my head to him, Luca smashed his hungry lips against mine. The heat and the feel of him were all too much. Placing a finger inside me, Luca pushed so deep—and so forcefully, it made me moan loudly into his mouth. “I fucking own your body, Clara. I own your mouth, your breasts, and that sweet pussy of yours. I own you and every single fucking part of you. Do you hear me?” I don’t know why every time he talked to me like this, it turned me on something chronic. I could already feel it just from his words and his fingers alone. The build-up was coming, and Luca knew it.


Pulling away, Luca ground his hips into me. My God, I needed to come. “I can’t hear you.” He lowered himself down and suddenly his tongue was there, lashing violently against my clit. “Oh God, Luca!” I screamed. Luca stopped to a halt, pulled his head away and blew on my little nub. “No. That’s not the right answer.” Feeling myself on that tip from pre-orgasm to orgasm, Luca held me there just by the breath of his mouth alone. How the fuck was he doing that? I was there—right there. I could blow if he just either flicked his tongue or sank his cock into me. “Luca, stop fucking doing this. I need to come!” It was becoming painful to be held there rigid with the pent-up torture Luca was relishing on me. “All you have to do is give into me, baby, and I’ll give you what you want. This pussy, who does it belong to?”


Getting angry, I shouted, “You!” “Every part of you is not yours; it’s mine. Isn’t that right?” Oh I was so going to get him back for this. “Yes, for fuck’s sake. Just DO something!” Smiling his cocky, triumphant grin, Luca flicked my clit with his tongue. I was right back there again—right on the tip. Just a few more lashes, and I would be gone. “I’m going to come. Please fuck me now.” Luca was ignoring me. He was determined to get his own damn way; he didn’t care for my pleas. Fisting his hair in my hands, Luca buried himself even deeper. It just took two more lashings of his tongue, and then I was gone. Screaming and wriggling beneath him, I didn’t even have a chance to calm down. Luca thrust his cock so hard inside me that I almost lost my breath.


Pulling me from the counter, Luca whisked me up against the wall and pounded into me like a ferocious animal. Not caring if I hurt him, I yanked his hair and pulled him to my lips. Luca growled, and if I thought he couldn’t go any faster, I was wrong. Suddenly realising orgasm number two was fast approaching, I held on tightly to Luca in a vicelike grip. “You’re going to come for me baby, aren’t you? I can always make you come hard.” Oh God, yes, he could. “Say it, Luca. Speak dirty to me in Italian.” “Ti scoperò fino a farti esplodere di piacere.” Fuck me, I was going again. “More, more!” Thrusting even harder, Luca growled. “Sto andando a farsi fottere fino a quando non si grido.”


That was it. It didn’t take much. I screamed and bucked underneath him. I didn’t care what the hell he’d said; it was just so fucking hot! “I love making you come!” he screamed, and before I knew it, he was right there with me—thrusting and stiffening as his cock exploded come inside of me. Breathing hard into my neck, Luca stroked my hair tenderly. “Why can I never seem to get enough of you? I want you all the fucking time. Marry me, Clara.” I stiffened in his arms. Did I just hear correctly? He asked me to marry him? Was it actually even a question? When I didn’t answer, Luca pulled his head from my neck and looked me in the eyes. Swiping a lock of sweaty hair from my brow, Luca smiled. “Have I made you speechless? That would be a first.” “This is no time for jokes.”


Tenderly stroking my cheeks, Luca brushed his thumb over my mouth and kissed me. “Marry. Me.” I shook my head and Luca thrust me up against the wall to make me stop. “You’re asking me while you still have your cock inside me after we’ve just had sex. Your head’s not screwed on properly.” “My head is very screwed on. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but just didn’t know how to ask you.” I laughed sarcastically. “So you thought you’d give me two orgasms, then ask, thinking that my brain would be turned to so much mush that I’d say yes?” Luca smiled and raised his eyebrow. “That was the plan—yes. Why, has it not worked?” I puffed out some air. “I can’t believe you.” “Is that a no then? If it is, I may have to work on reconnecting with you again.”


Shaking my head, I cupped his face in my hands. “You’re so romantic.” “I didn’t think you were the hearts and flowers kind of girl. If you are, then I shall rethink and ask you again.” Seeing how serious I must have looked, Luca pulled out and placed me down. “Do you not want to marry me?” Looking into his worried eyes, it was the first time I had ever seen any vulnerability. “It’s not that, Luca. It’s just so … so sudden.” Luca held my face to his and sighed. “My mama once told me that I would find the girl of my dreams, and when I did, I had to hold onto her tightly and never let her go.” Laughing in my head, I began to realise just why Luca was so dominant with me. Why he always said I belonged to him. Luca held my gaze and pinned me with his pleading eyes. “I don’t need to wait any longer to know that we’re meant to be together. I felt it since the day I saw that


picture of you in your aunt’s place. You are the girl of my dreams. The one my mother told me about. I knew it that day, and I was certain of it the moment I laid eyes on you. You can’t get away from me. I will win your heart. I will always win. There’s just no escape from me. You may as well give in and say yes now.” I smiled. I couldn’t help it. Even now, Luca was ordering me around. Even for something as serious as marriage, he still couldn’t seem to relinquish an ounce of his control. Luca kissed me gently and sighed. “Do you love me?” I stilled, but I couldn’t deny it to myself or to Luca. “Yes, I do love you. And now, I’m really bloody mad at you!” Stomping off, I got really angry. “What?” Luca was dumbstruck. “I don’t understand. You say you love me and then you get angry with me?”


“Yes, and do you want to know why?” Strolling over to take my hand, he muttered, “Of course I want to know why.” “Because, even now, you’re going completely over-the-top alpha on me. I was coerced into telling you I loved you rather than being allowed to let it come naturally. Are you happy with yourself now?” Luca laughed, grabbed my hand and kissed it. “I love it when you get angry.” I ran into the bathroom and turned the tap on for a bath, huffing as I went. As I spun around, I caught the fucker’s grin and almost slapped him. “My baby loves me.” Putting my hand in front of me, I shook my head. “Don’t you dare, Luca. You’re not worming your way around me again.” “But, you love me.” Seeing the overjoyed little boy look, I couldn’t help but smile. Within an instant, he’d had me coming twice, shocked the hell


out of me, had me ready to bash him about the head—and now? Now, I was smiling like an idiot at him. Luca, seeing my reaction, pulled me to him and started nibbling on my ear. “Dimmi che mi ami.” Oh God, how does he do that? “Stop it, Luca.” “Ti amo di piu’ che della mia vita.” I think I may have stopped breathing. I think my brain had lost any and all ability needed to string a coherent sentence together. “Sposarmi il mio amore.” Grabbing both of my arms, Luca brushed his nose against my neck. Just how he knew I liked it. “Luca I—” “Marry me, amore mio. Make me the happiest man in the universe, and be my wife. Let me take care of you and love you how I know you need to be loved. How you


deserve to be loved. You are my life. I couldn’t possible exist without you.” I could feel the tears brimming as I closed my eyes. My head was spinning so much that the only thought that came to me instantly was Trudy. The story of her one and only true love was swirling around in my head like a tornado. Her words seem to batter down upon me like a ton of bricks. “He was looking at you like you were the only woman in the world who ever existed. I knew then he was never going to let you go.” A small croaking sound seemed to tear away from me when I didn’t want it to. I was overcome—overwhelmed by the force of it all. “Yes.” Pulling me from his arms, Luca burned his eyes into mine. “What?” A single tear escaped my eye, and Luca was there straight away to wipe it away. I


knew then he would always be there to wipe away all of my tears. He just completed me. Finding it hard to focus on him with my blurry eyes, I said, “Yes, I’ll marry you.” Grinning like a silly twat, Luca pulled me into his arms and spun me around. “You’ll be my wife? You’ll actually marry me?” Laughing hard, I shouted, “Yes, now put me down!” “I knew speaking to you in Italian would do it.” I shook my head. “You are a right prick, do you know that?” Luca smacked my bum and growled at me. “You can’t talk to me like that now. I’m your husband.” Turning off the tap and getting in, I glared at him. “Not yet you’re not.” Luca joined me, sliding in all excitedly and pulled me onto his lap. “I’m your husband because I fucking tell you I am.”


Laughing and shaking my head, I pushed at him. “It didn’t take you too long to go from sweet and sexy to a commanding little shite now, did it?” Luca stroked my face and kissed me. “You love it when I go all commanding on you. No matter what, you always put up with it—despite your complaints. You get me, Clara, and that’s why I know for a fact that you’re the woman of my dreams.” Laying my head on Luca’s shoulder, I sighed my contentment. He was right of course. He always was in an annoying way. Luca was the man of my dreams, and I couldn’t wait to become Mrs. Belatoni.

Smiling like Cheshire cats, Luca and I eventually made it out into the big, wide world. Luca needed to make some business calls, and I needed to do some admin in the office. We reluctantly pulled away from one another and were waltzing into my office when something caught my eye. Looking up to the next floor, I found Belinda and Tony coming out of her room. She smiled at him seductively and stroked his face. Tony, in turn, pushed her up against the wall and kissed her. Not wanting to spy on their tender moment any further, I turned away and walked into my office. I was sitting there for about ten minutes when the one and only Belinda walked in. Silly grin. Check. Flushed cheeks. Check.


Glassy eyes. Check. Just-been-royally-fucked look. Check and double check. “Belinda, how are you this morning? Do I really need to ask?” Strolling in, Belinda sat down on the chair and regally crossed her legs with a smile. “That good, ha?” Belinda giggled. “That good.” “You know, when I teased you about sleeping with him, I didn’t actually literally mean for you to sleep with him.” I shook my head with a smile. “I couldn’t help myself. He was so just so damn cute and gentle with me last night. He speaks highly of you, and I love anyone who does that. Having him cradle me in his strong arms was too much to resist.” I slinked back in my chair and sighed. “You know this is going to cause problems for you.” I saw her shocked expression and waved my hands in front of me. “I’m not


talking about me. Don’t get too flustered. I mean for you and Tony.” She bit her lip. “How did you know?” “Know what?” “That he would get possessive quickly?” I smiled knowingly. “I didn’t. It was just a guess. So I take it you’ve already had this conversation.” Belinda frowned and looked away. “Yes. He said he didn’t want me sleeping with anyone else.” I shook my head. “Jeez, what is it with Italian men?” “What do you mean by that?” Snapping our heads up, we found Luca walking through the door. “Don’t you ever knock?” He completely ignored me and asked again. “What do you mean?” I threw my hands in the air and I started pacing. “Oh, you know, Italian men giving us


all the, ‘You can’t sleep with anyone else’ crap.” Luca smiled. “Don’t knock Italian men, Clara. We take our women very seriously.” I looked towards Belinda with a sigh. “You see, this is the thing. You want to know what the thing is?” Belinda nodded and smiled. “Luca talks about women like possessions. Noticed how he said, ‘Our women?’” “But you are mine, Clara.” I flew my hands up in the air. “See? Now this is what you can expect from Tony now. I bet even Alessandro is the same with Mia.” Taking my left hand, Luca kissed my ring finger. “You don’t understand. We Italian men take pride in our women. Once they become ours, we look after them—cherish them, if you will. You can see that now, and you will still see that once we are married.” Luca smiled. The little fucker!


“Married!” Belinda shot out of her chair faster than feet on hot coals. “Well done. I hadn’t had time to get round to that yet.” Luca just smiled, but Belinda was hyperventilating. “Married? You’re getting married? Eek!” Running over, she gave me a big hug. “Oh, Clara, I’m so happy for you. And you, too, Luca.” Belinda kissed Luca on both cheeks. “Thank you, Belinda. You are the first of the ladies to know.” My head snapped towards him. “You’ve told your men already?” “I told them yesterday.” My eyes widened. “What?” I could feel the anger rising again. Deep breaths, deep breaths. “You only asked me this morning. What if I had turned you down?” Very matter–of-factly, Luca stated, “That was never going to happen. I would have tortured you into submission. I always


have, and I always will. Remember what I said from the start? I always get what I want.” I pointed towards the door and shouted “Get out, before I gouge your eyes out.” “I love you, baby.” “Oh, shut up, arsehole!” Blowing kisses he retreated out the door, but not before saying, “I’ll be back later to take you for lunch.” Once the door was closed, I turned to Belinda. “You see that? He always has to have the last word! My God, he frustrates the hell out of me.” “As you do him I should imagine.” Belinda smiled. “Do you think he had a reason for coming in here?” “He probably thought I wasn’t going to tell you, so thought he’d barge his way in and do it himself. Tosser.” Belinda giggled. “You were made for each other. I’m so happy for you.”


Seeing her genuine delight, I couldn’t help but smile back. “I must admit—so am I. And I never thought I would say that.” “You two are so adorable one minute and like grrr the next. It’s quite fascinating.” Sitting down, I shook my head—although I still couldn’t help the smile. “So, getting back to you and Tony. How do you feel about him?” She rubbed her hands over her face and sighed. “I don’t know. I don’t think I would have slept with him last night if I had been a bit more clear-headed. It just complicates matters, you know?” “I know, but I did offer you the option of quitting your clients a while back. You’re getting paid for being Manager, so do you really need to do the other side of it anymore?” She bit her lip and looked away for a moment. “No, but I enjoyed that part. I suppose a part of me thinks I should settle down


a bit now, but the other part of me doesn’t want to be dictated to by a man.” Smiling, I knew exactly how she felt. “I feel for you, hon. I really do. The problem we have here is that if Tony knows you’re going upstairs with a client, he might freak. The other problem we have is that I doubt very much that Luca would rein him in.” She closed her eyes in frustration. “I see what you mean. They’re going to stick together, aren’t they? Like two peas in a bleedin’ pod!” “Exactly.” “Why do men have to complicate everything?” Cracking up laughing, I walked around my desk to Belinda and squeezed her shoulder. “Look, don’t over-analyse it all. Take each day as it comes, and see how you feel. Take a breather from that side of work, so you can concentrate on what you really


want. It will make Tony happy, and in turn, it gives you the time to see how you feel.” Belinda smiled up from her chair and squeezed my hand. “Thank you. It’s probably what I should do; it’s for the best really. What should I tell the clients when they come in?” “That’s up to you. You can tell them the truth, or if you think its best, tell them that you’re not well and that the doctor has told you to take it easy for the next few days. I’m sure they’ll understand.” Standing up, Belinda took me in for a hug. “I actually have a new client coming in shortly. I suppose I had better go and find someone else to look after him.” I was about to ask for more details, but a knock on the door interrupted us. “Come in!” The door opened and behind it stood a timid-looking man of around seventy years old. “Miss Murphy?” I looked at him in confusion. “Yes.”


Coming through the door, the gentleman quickly marched over to me with something in his hands. I didn’t know what it was until he held out his hand to me. “Mr. Belatoni sent me to get your ring size. May I?” Shaking my head towards Belinda, I reluctantly gave the guy my left hand. He tried three different ring sizes until we found what seemed to be the perfect fit. “Very well,” was all he said before he marched back out the door. “I can’t believe that man!” I was beyond exasperated already. Belinda laughed and headed towards the door. “I’ll come speak to you in a bit.” After a few minutes of shaking my head, I decided to get on with my work. For a couple of hours, I buried myself in emails and correspondence, which needed tending to. I dealt with a few bills and made a couple of calls.


I was just in the middle of needing a break when a knock at the door sounded. I knew for a fact it wasn’t Luca because he never knocked. “Come in!” It was Belinda. “I took care of that appointment. He’s actually here now with Melinda.” “Okay, great. What’s this new guy like?” Scratching her head, she looked away for a moment. “He looks to be in his early to mid fifties, dark blond, greying hair. That’s not the worst part, though. The worst part is that he’s a vicar.” I shook my head. “Sometimes, they’re the worst.” She started laughing. “Yeah, I know. And the weirdest part of all is he that has your surname.” Stiffening, my head snapped up towards Belinda. “What’s his first name?”


Sensing my anguish, she started to look panicked. “Michael. Michael Murphy.” I slinked back in the chair and closed my eyes. I couldn’t believe that of all the people in the entire world, my father had to be the one to come here. “Does he know about me?” More sternly I asked, “Does he know?” Shaking her head, she shut the door behind her. “No, I never said a thing. What’s the matter? Who is he?” Slamming my fists into my desk, I shot up. “Fucking arsehole!” I raced to the door and had a very panicked looking Belinda behind me. I was halfway up the stairs when I felt an arm wrap around my waist. I didn’t even realise I was crying until I turned to find a blurry looking Luca. “Shh, baby. I got you. It’s all taken care of.”


Wiping my eyes, I glared at him. “Let me go, Luca. I’m not fucking around this time. I need to see. I need to see!” Luca pulled me against his chest and held me tight. “Stop fighting me. Don’t do this to yourself.” Wriggling and writhing underneath his grip, I screamed, “Let go of me!” Pure adrenaline-fuelled rage ripped me apart from the inside out. I had to go see for myself. I had to see what it was my father was doing now after all those years of beating me fucking senseless because I was the one who was the sinner. ME! Spinning around to Luca, I glared one more time. “If you don’t let go of me, I will never forgive you.” Seeing I meant business, Luca dropped his tightened grip. “Baby, please. Don’t do it. Don’t do this to yourself.” I wasn’t listening. I was off running up the stairs towards Belinda’s room. I took the


special key card I had, which opens all of the doors, and I placed it in the slot. Once the light turned green, I pushed the door open. No daughter ever wants to see her father lying on a bed being fucked into oblivion. The fucker wasn’t even aware I was there at first. His moans and groans underneath Melinda made me feel sick. Melinda noticed straight away and mouthed the words, “What’s wrong?” as she was riding him. I just stood there, as still as a statue. I couldn’t think, couldn’t move. All I could do was stand there and watch as my father got his jolly’s off. It was only when his breathing got faster and more erratic, that he grabbed Melinda’s hips, moaned out loud and shot his eyes open to find his one and only daughter had just witnessed her father come inside someone other than her mother.


Eyes still wide with shock, I gave my father a disgusted look and turned and walked out the door. I raced down the stairs with Belinda and Luca following me. They looked concerned for me, but I couldn’t utter a single word. I was numb. Suddenly, I was so numb that I didn’t feel whole anymore. It was like my inner core was missing. Shutting my office door behind me, I slunk back in my chair and buried my head in my hands. It wasn’t long before I felt his arms around me. We stayed like that for a couple of seconds before I managed to calm, and my senses came back. I pushed Luca away and stared into his eyes. “You knew about this, didn’t you?” Luca looked down to the floor, and I knew then I had my answer. “Why, Luca? Why?”


He sat himself down on the edge of the desk, sighed and took my hand. “I didn’t do anything; it was your father that enquired about the place. I was going to keep it a secret from you, so you didn’t have to get hurt in all of this. Once he started making enquiries, I started one of my own. He’s been doing this sort of thing for years, Clara. I don’t know how he found out about The Castle, but the minute he made the enquiries, I saw it as an opportunity.” I glared at him for more answers. “What, Luca?” “I thought if he came here then I could get evidence on him. You wouldn’t let me kill him, but I’d be damned if I let him get away with what he’s done to you.” Seeing Luca’s anger and worry for me didn’t quell my own anger. I was fuming at Luca for keeping this from me. I was fuming at everything that had happened since


Belinda told me who he was, and I was absolutely livid with my father. I was about to tell him he had no right when Melinda barged through the door with a dressing gown on. “What was that all about? This guy’s having a full-on meltdown—whoever he is.” I shook my head and chuckled. I actually chuckled! I just couldn’t believe this was really happening. “Clara!” a voice shouted from the door. Luca stood to attention and was about to lunge for my father when I put my hand out to stop him. “Luca, no. Let him in. I want to talk to him.” “Oh, no. I’m not leaving you alone with him!” I threw daggers at Luca to let him know I meant business. “Luca, go. I’ll be fine. I need to speak with my father alone.” Belinda—and now Melinda—both had their eyes wide open in shock. Their mouths


were practically on the floor in astonishment. Walking towards the door, Luca had his back to me, but now faced my father. “Okay, I’ll be right outside, but if I hear even a tiny bit of distress from my fiancée, I’m coming in, and it won’t be pretty. Capisce?” My father nodded his head, but then returned his eyes back to me. Once the door was shut, I stood still. Waiting. “So, you’re getting married?” I laughed. Is this man for real? “Yes, I’m getting married.” “So, this is what you’ve been doing since you left home. Whoring yourself.” Yes, I think he was for real. “Quite frankly, what I do here is none of your fucking business.” My father had the cheek to get angry. “Don’t blaspheme, young lady!” “Or what, Daddy? You’re going to get your belt and beat me like you used to?”


Stepping closer, the rage on his face brought back unwanted memories. I almost recoiled, but I stood strong. I wasn’t going to let him get to me. “Your mother and I always said you had the devil in you. You were always going against the Bible—always going against us.” I shut my eyes and breathed deeply, so I wouldn’t completely lose it. “And you’re saying this after fucking one of my workers. How did you rate the experience, Dad? Did you like her better than all of the other women you’ve been screwing behind mum’s back?” Pointing his finger at me, he shouted, “This is not about me!” I threw my hands in the air in frustration. “Oh, no. Of course it isn’t! I can’t believe you have the gall. How dare you have the nerve to come in here and be righteous with me after what you’ve done? What does it say in the Bible, Dad, about screwing


women who aren’t your wife? What does it say about paying to sleep with other women, ha?” Stepping closer to him and pointing, I said, “What does the Bible say about beating your daughter so badly that she had to crawl on her hands and knees for two days because the pain was so unbearable that she couldn’t stand up?” Seeing the rage in his eyes, I knew he was going to lunge. He was halfway towards me when the door flew open and Luca came in with rage and fire in his eyes. Pulling him away from me, Luca grabbed his neck and hurled him out the door before closing it behind him. I felt the numbness come again as I flopped back on my chair. I knew Luca was going to do something bad now, but I didn’t care what. Timidly, Belinda and Melinda came through the door and sat down on my desk in front of my chair. They took one hand


each, and we just sat there in silence—not one of us saying a word. I felt grateful to them for that. They could have been asking twenty questions and giving their two cents worth, but they knew that wasn’t what I needed right then. Around twenty minutes later, Luca came in, and the girls quickly ran out the door to leave us in peace. Pulling me from my chair, Luca took my seat and placed me on his lap. He didn’t say anything; he just held me. I played with the button on his shirt and just took time out, trying to calm myself after everything that had happened. “You’ve done something, haven’t you?” Stilling, Luca tightened his grip on me. “Do you trust me?” Realising in that moment that I did utterly love and trust this man with all my heart, I gripped his shirt in my fists and nodded my head.


Luca didn’t say a word after that, and neither did I. His actions have and would speak louder than words.

Two days later, I woke in my bed with a hunk of an Italian man entwined next to me. I raised my head to look at him, and was greeted with the biggest smile I had ever seen on Luca’s face. “What’s that smile for? Do you want to play?” I bit his chest and rubbed my leg against his hardness. “No, not yet.” Wondering what was wrong with him, I stretched with a big yawn, and it was then I felt it. This alien feeling on my finger. Something was there that wasn’t there before. I pulled my hand in front of my face and gasped at the beautiful diamond and sapphire ring staring back at me. “Do you like it?”


I pulled myself up to a seated position and carried on staring. “Oh, Luca, it’s beautiful.” He kissed my cheek with a smile. “Just like you.” I beamed and kissed him back. “Thank you. It’s perfect.” Luca grinned. “Again, just like you. It was my mother’s you know, so look after it.” “Your mother’s?” I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like this. If this ring was what his father had bought for his mother, then I would feel very uncomfortable wearing it. “Her mother gave it to her when she died. My grandmother and grandfather were childhood sweethearts who stayed together until the day they died. In her will, my grandmother requested that my mother keep it and give it to her firstborn son—on the condition that he would give it only to the woman he loved wholeheartedly.”


Releasing a breath, I grabbed Luca and pulled him to my lips. “That was beautiful. I promise to cherish this forever.” He frowned for a moment. “You thought I was giving you a ring from my father, didn’t you?” Feeling guilty, I looked away. “Yes. Sorry.” Shaking his head and pulling me into his arms, he kissed the top of my head. “Don’t be. I would never give you anything that belonged to my father. My grandmother was a wonderful woman, and she lived a wonderful life. Now, it’s your turn to live a wonderful life with me.” “When did she give it to you?” I saw his saddened expression and my heart melted for him. “It was just before I left—after she made me promise that I would never return. She quickly told me the story of my grandmother and placed this little box in my hand.”


Snuggling my head in his chest, I began to comprehend the enormity of what Luca had done by giving me this ring. If I didn’t know whether Luca loved me before, I definitely knew it after that. “I will make a promise to you now, Luca. I promise to take care of this ring just as well as you and your grandmother did. I will never take it off. I will treasure it with all my heart.” Squeezing me tighter to him, he kissed me lightly before pulling away. “I know you will, amore mio. And I promise you that I will never leave you. You are my home now.” After we consummated our ring appreciation ceremony we headed our separate ways. I went to work in my office while Luca went out to take care of some “business.” As I sat down in my chair, I noticed my usual morning paper placed neatly on my desk. It was the picture on it that caught my


eye. A picture that looked all too familiar. My father. Pulling it open, the headline read, “Local vicar caught up in prostitute scandal.” I was just about to start reading it when my auntie barged through the door. “Have you seen it?” “Good morning to you,” I smiled. Sitting down opposite my desk, Trudy studied the paper in my hand. “I see you already have.” “I was actually just about to start reading it.” I could see she looked disgusted as she shook her head. “I had no idea he was doing this. Can you imagine if he had come here?” She smiled and shook her head again. At least then, one of my questions had been answered. I knew this was Luca’s doing, and I knew he would do his utmost to keep me from being involved.


“The papers have got pictures of him on a bed with another lady on top. You probably shouldn’t see that. They’ve pixelated her face, but you can clearly see it’s him.” I tried to stifle my laugh, but it was just too much. Trudy snapped her head to me in shock. “Why are you finding this whole thing so funny? Did you know about this before the papers printed it this morning?” Raising my eyebrows, I just shrugged my shoulders. “Hold on a sec; give me that newspaper.” I did as instructed and watched as she frantically turned the papers to the offending picture. Seeing it again, I turned my head in disgust. I still felt nauseous every time I thought about that day. “This room, it looks awfully like—” I watched as it began to dawn on my aunt what had really occurred. Scrunching


the paper on her lap, she looked down to the floor. “I’m so sorry, Clara.” “Don’t be. I’ve put it to bed now and moved on with my life. Excuse the pun.” I laughed sarcastically. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I sighed. “I just didn’t want to cause you any unnecessary upset. You’ve had enough on your plate without this.” “But it’s all over the papers. I would have known about it eventually.” “I had nothing to do with that,” I said, pointing towards the newspaper. Trudy frowned, but then her face relaxed once she realised what must have happened. “Oh.” Sighing somewhat, she smiled and faced me. “He loves you very much.” Smiling right back at her, I knew she never had to tell me; I knew that all too well myself. “I know.”


She looked down at my hand and spied my ring. “When did that happen?” I pulled my hand up to my face and smiled. “He asked me a couple of days ago, but it wasn’t really official until this morning. I was actually going to call you before you barged in here.” Getting teary, she stood up and waved for me to come to her. I dutifully did as I was told and wrapped my arms around the woman who I had always thought of as my mother. “I’m so happy for you. After everything you’ve been through, you deserve it—more than anything.” “I only wish I could do the same for you.” She shook her head and pulled me out of her arms. “Don’t be so silly. I’m too old for that kind of thing anymore.”


I made a tutting sound. “Don’t be so silly. You’re never too old for romance. You just haven’t met the right man yet.” Seeing her sadness, I felt like an idiot for blurting my mouth like that. She had met the right man—only to have him ripped away from her. I would be absolutely devastated beyond words if anything happened to Luca. “I’m sorry, Trudy. That was insensitive of me. Do you forgive me?” She gripped my arms with a smile. “There’s nothing to forgive. I know you’re only thinking about my happiness, and I really appreciate that.” “Can I take you to lunch? I would really love to.” Her smile grew wider. “I would love to.”

I had a brilliant time with my aunt. Tony took us in the car to a quaint little French restaurant about five miles away from The


Castle. We sat and chewed the fat for a little while, talking about The Castle and its future plans. Despite enjoying myself with Trudy, I couldn’t seem shake this feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was like I was missing something, but I didn’t know what. I tried to ignore it, but it was there no matter what I did. Once I was done, I came back to an air of excitement when Melinda realised she was actually in the newspapers—without everyone really knowing it was her of course. She oohed and aahed, asking me if I was okay with seeing my father again and making sure I was still okay with her. As if I would ever not be. Melinda didn’t have a clue who he was. As far as she was aware, he was just another horny client out to get his sexual fix. I would never hold that against her. It did, on the other hand, make me think about The Castle. Everything that had happened since


the engagement and my father coming here and tainting the place just brought it to the forefront. I was still talking with Melinda about the whole sordid thing when Tony came bounding through the door. His face was ashen, and his breathing was harsh. I knew instantly something was very wrong. “What’s happened?” I stood to attention, waiting and hoping that what I was feeling was wrong. Luca. Please, God—not my Luca. “Clara.” His tone was so soft and so gentle that it made my heart ache. Tears were brimming in my eyes, and before I knew it, they were flooding down my face. “Please, Tony, no. Please. I don’t want to hear it.” I shook my head frantically as he came over to take me in his arms. He grabbed my face and locked his eyes with mine. “We don’t know yet. We aren’t sure what’s happened. Luca went to a


meeting in Soho. Stefano arranged it all. He said that one of his business partners wanted to see him, so he went. Two minutes ago, I got a phone call. One of our men managed to tell me that it was a set-up—a trap. There was a big shoot out, and a lot of men got killed. I don’t know who because the line went dead. I’ve been trying to call Luca, but I can’t get through.” Panicking, I ran to the phone and frantically tried ringing his number. All I got was voicemail each time, and it was tearing my heart out. “What do we do?” I was desperate. For the first time in my adult life, I felt completely powerless. Just as Tony was about to respond, the phone rang. I immediately grabbed it, hoping and praying it was Luca. “Is this Clara Murphy?” “Yes.” Oh God, please don’t let this be someone telling me that Luca is dead. Please.


“We haven’t met yet, but my name is Giovanni Belatoni. I’m Luca’s uncle.” My breathing hitched up a notch. “Do you know where he is?” “I’m trying to find out now, but I know Luca—above all else—will desperately want to make sure you’re safe. Is there anywhere you can go until I can find out what’s happened?” With shaking hands, I let the tears fall. “Yes.” Giovanni sighed. “Good. Please put Tony on the phone with me briefly. After that, you must leave immediately.” With my hands still shaking, I handed the phone to Tony. With a worried brow he said, “Of course, sir. I shall do that straight away. Thank you, sir.” He handed me back the phone, and as soon as he did, panic ensued. Grabbing my coat, bag, and phone, I ran out of my


office—screaming for everyone to meet me in the hall. “We haven’t got time for this, Clara. You’re my priority.” I glared at him and I pulled my arm away from his grip. “Are you willing to leave Belinda behind?” I knew he wasn’t, and that was why I asked. Once he shook his head and sighed, I leaned closer to him. “Then don’t ask me to do the same to my girls. I won’t leave them behind. I will never leave them behind. Do you get me?” Seeing a hint of a smile, I knew he was now comparing me to Luca. It didn’t make me smile. It just broke my heart. “I get you, Clara. Let’s go.” One by one, Tony, Melinda, and I rounded everyone up and told them all that we were going to the lodge. Once outside, we clambered into all the available cars and I gave directions to Tony, who led the fleet towards the lodge.


When I realised everyone was inside and safe, I ventured off into my main bedroom with Tony and Belinda in hot pursuit. They shut the door behind them, and I watched their worried faces as I paced the floor. “I can’t stay cooped up in here. It will drive me crazy. I need to do something. I need to find him.” Looking over at Belinda, I could sense Tony’s concern. “I understand, but you can’t. It’s too dangerous. Luca would never forgive me if I didn’t take care of you.” With tears in my eyes, I stopped my pacing. “He promised he would never leave me.” I saw the anguish in their faces and almost lost it. Belinda rushed to my side and wrapped her arms around my shoulders. Knowing that Belinda had me, Tony left us in peace. “Tony will get to the truth. We’ll have some news soon enough, I’m sure.”


After a few more tears, Tony came back in the room with some golden liquid in a glass. “Here, take this to calm your nerves a bit.” I did as instructed and marched out the door to find a mass of worried eyes bearing down on me. If the room hadn’t been silent before, it was now. Walking over to the sofa, I sat in between my favourite girls, Belinda, Mia, Samantha, and Melinda. One by one, they took me in their arms and stroked my hair. If it wasn’t for them, I think I would have lost it. The minutes ticked by, and not a word was said by anybody. Every little noise that vibrated through the house was putting Luca’s men on high alert. Again, I was just numb. I didn’t show emotion; I just sat there waiting for the inevitable. It was the not knowing that killed me. Every minute that went by—every tick of the


clock—was like another agonising kick in the gut. Death was taunting me. It had taken Luca, and now it was laughing at my anguish. It was pointing at and mocking me with its supreme wizardry. And there I was, sitting and waiting. I was completely powerless to do anything. Completely lost—completely broken. I could feel everyone’s vibes in the room. We were all hoping, all silently praying. I was never a religious person. I had never prayed. But, I was praying then. I was asking for His leniency. I was asking for His strength to guide my Luca back home to me. Back home where he belonged in my loving arms. Home where we would marry soon and be together forever. With my stomach gripped in pain, I remembered what Luca said to me in the bath that morning after we had just made love. About how it only takes a minute, or even a second, for your life to get ripped away from


you—taking with it all the days and nights you could have been lying in your beloved’s arms. I needed his arms. I needed his strong arms to hold me tight and tell me that everything was going to be okay. As I closed my eyes, I willed it to be okay more strongly than anything I had ever wished for in my life. Behind my lids, all I could see was Luca’s smiling face. His soft brown hair and beautiful caramel eyes danced over me with joy. I wanted to see that now more than anything. I even wanted him back so he could tell me what to do. I needed his dominance and authority because right now I had just had the rug swept out from under me, and I didn’t know if I would ever get back up. It was Tony’s phone eventually ringing that brought me round. With my heart thumping a million miles an hour, I watched as Tony listened to whomever was on the other line. He barked instructions to


whomever was there about where the lodge was and immediately belted for the door. I ran after him and grabbed his arm. “What’s happened?” “He’s coming. He’s alive, but he’s been shot. He managed to get himself to one of our doctors before he collapsed in his arms. The doctor’s bringing him now.” Panicking, I frantically searched for headlights up ahead. Pretty soon, the silhouette of a light came dancing around the trees and along the path. Once the car had come to a halt, a man who looked to be in his forties and who was dressed in a suit and long coat stepped out and greeted Tony. “Where is he?” Seeing my distress, the doctor turned to me. “Clara, I take it?” I nodded my head. “He’s taken a bullet to the chest and has lost a lot of blood. I managed to get the bullet out and did what I could to fix him up. His strict instructions—despite my pleas—were to


bring him to you once I was done. We will have to take him to a bed so he can rest and I can properly monitor him. The next twentyfour hours will be crucial.” Nodding to Tony and some others, the doctor opened the door, and they carefully carried Luca out from his stretcher. “I had to put all my seats down to accommodate him in my car. My car is big, but it wasn’t made to fit patients.” I grabbed the doctor’s arm and watched as the boys led him in. I felt a small amount relief. “Thank you.” Running back in the house, I led the boys to the main bedroom on the ground floor. Once they laid him down, I pulled the covers over him and sat by his side. As I stroked his cheek, I saw how pale he was. I was so elated because he was with me, but my elation quickly turned to terror at the thought that he may not make it.


The doctor was soon in the room carrying all sorts of machinery and contraptions. I reluctantly stood up and let him do his thing as I knew he was trying to help, and I didn’t have a bloody clue. Once he was all set up, he sat down. “Is there somewhere in this room I could sleep? I will need to monitor him all night.” “Of course.” I glanced at Tony, who looked all too eager to help. “Tony, there’s a fold-up bed in the cupboard under the stairs. Can you get it for me? Fresh sheets and towels will be in there too.” Nodding, he went straight out and did just that for me. I made the bed with the help of Belinda, who seemed just as eager to help me. Both Belinda and Tony were about to leave me to it when I grabbed both their hands. “Thank you. I wouldn’t have known what to do without you.”


Bringing each of them in for a close hug before they left, I hoped and prayed that everything would be okay. I loved Luca. I had known that. I just didn’t know quite how much until that moment. “He’s a fighter, you know.” Pulling my gaze away from Luca’s face, I spotted the doctor in the corner chair. “Can I have your name?” He got up, offering his hand to me. “Of course. How rude of me.” “Well, you have had your hands full. Luca really knows how to make a person’s hands full.” The doctor laughed, nodding his head in agreement. “Quite. The names Wayne Jacobi.” Shaking his hand, I got the sense that he knew Luca very well and truly cared for his well-being. That made things a little easier for me. Anyone who cared for Luca was a friend of mine.


“It’s nice to meet you, Dr Jacobi, although I would have preferred to have met under different circumstances. He sat back in his chair and clasped his hands together. “Of course, but I do want you to know that I will do everything I can to get Luca back up and in his normal fighting spirit.” I started chuckling a little. “I know you will. Thank you.” “No need to thank me. Luca will have quite a huge bill to pay once I’m done.” I saw the cheeky grin on his face and smiled. “I just want him to wake up and start telling me what to do. No matter how much I hate it when he does that, I’d give just about anything to have him shouting commands at me now.” Looking down at his pale face, I took his hand. “I’ve known Luca a long time, Miss Murphy. He never gives up on anything.”


I laughed, caressing Luca’s cheek. “Yes. I know that all too well.” Dr. Jacobi got out of his seat and took my hand. “Then, we have nothing to worry about.” A certain growling noise from Luca made me jump. Looking over, I thought maybe he had seen the little touch the doctor had placed on my hand. When I saw he was still asleep, I started laughing. “Even in his sleep, he doesn’t like other men touching me.” After a light-hearted chuckle, silence rained down upon the bedroom, and all I could do was hold Luca’s hand and stare. I felt helpless and alone. More alone than I had ever felt in my life. He wasn’t going to leave me, though. I wouldn’t let him. A little while later, Belinda came in with some food for me and the doctor. I ate a little, but my stomach ached too much to eat more. I was frightened, and quite frankly, I


was freaking out inside. That seemed to override any hunger I may have had. I eventually fell into a fitful sleep. I kept dreaming about Luca getting shot and dying in my arms. I wasn’t even aware I was crying until a hand on my thigh alerted me to the fact. “Clara… Clara. You were dreaming.” Looking around the dimly lit room, I spotted Dr Jacobi hovering over me. I sat up, wiping away my tears, and my immediate attention went to Luca beside me. “Is he okay?” “He’s fine. No change. You can go back to sleep if you want.” Knowing that Luca was fine, my eyelids became heavy again. It wasn’t long before I had gone right back to sleep.

I felt my hair being stroked and light kisses being placed on the top of my head. Absentmindedly, I pulled my knee over onto Luca’s crotch and rubbed his hardness. “Do you want to play?” I whispered. “I don’t think we should in front of Dr Jacobi.” My eyes flew open to find the doctor looking highly amused in the corner, and a smiling, less pale Luca lying flat on the bed. “Luca!” I cried, not caring if I sounded dizzy with happiness. “Good morning, baby.” Shooting off the bed, I started pacing the floor. “I’m so mad at you! If someone hadn’t shot you, I would have bleedin’ shot you myself.” Luca looked over to the doctor and smiled. “See, I told you she loved me.”


Coming back to the bed, I took his hand. “Don’t you ever do that to me again.” Luca looked serious as he gripped my hand. “I won’t. If there is one lesson I have learned from this, it’s to never trust any of my men again.” Standing up, the doctor moved to the door. “I shall leave you two alone for a moment.” Luca nodded and looked at me with love in his eyes. My God, he was beautiful—even after being shot. “What happened?” “Stefano happened. He went to the other side.” I saw him gritting his teeth and could tell he was having trouble keeping calm. “Stefano told me that one of my business partners wanted to meet and discuss a few issues. I went in blind, not realising it was a trap. Antonio was there, and like the coward he is, he ran before it all got to be too much.” Lacing his fingers through mine, Luca shut


his eyes. “All of them are dead, Clara. All of my men are dead because they were trying to protect me.” “Don’t beat yourself up. Your men do this because they are paid to, but also because they want to. Sometimes, shit happens.” He looked into my eyes, smiling. “You say that like it’s normal.” “I’m not trying to belittle what’s happened—nowhere near it. I just don’t think that you should beat yourself up for something that was beyond your control. Your men go with you each day with the knowledge that—at some point—the shit might hit the fan, and they could die.” “Like me.” “No, not like you. I’m not going to let you.” Glaring at him, I think my look told Luca I meant business.


“You’re one hell of a woman, Clara Murphy. I can’t wait to marry you, amore mio.” “Infatti la suoi pantaloni.” Luca’s eye arched in amusement. “What the hell was that?” I nodded my head triumphantly. “I can speak Italian, see?” “Where on earth did you get that from?” “I learnt it from a beer advert.” Luca chuckled. “And in the beer advert someone says, “In fact his trousers?” Looking around the room, I paused and said, “Yes. Yes, he does. It was a mafia advert. He goes round to each man kissing their eyes and ears because his men see and hear for him. One of the men holding a beer says something along the lines of, “I’m off because I make his trousers.” Luca pulled me towards him and chuckled a little. “You don’t realise how much I love you right now.”


Snuggling up to him, I replied, “And you don’t realise how annoyed I am at you for making me worry myself sick. I’ve never worried myself that sick in my entire life. I thought I was going to burst from it all.” Squeezing me as hard as he could with one arm, he whispered, “I made a promise that I’d never leave you. Just like I made a promise to mama and never broke it, I’m making the same to you.” “Why does he hate you so much?” Luca stiffened at my question. “He wants to be number one. Pure and simple. He wants everything I have. He was the one who had been running the show before I came back, and now, he hates me for taking over.” I got angry. “I’ll kick his fucking arse if I ever see him.” Luca winced and gripped me tighter. “You promised never to go near him again.


Like my promises, I expect you to keep yours.” I huffed. “Okay, okay. Keep your hair on. It certainly didn’t take long for my commanding Luca to come back, did it?” “I bet you missed it.” I thought honesty was the best policy. “I did.” I ran my hands up and down his chest and sighed. “Does it hurt?” “It’s a little sore. As long as I don’t move too much, though, I should be fine.” Trailing my fingers around his stomach, I felt the familiar heat rise. “You know I could help you feel better. I could do all the work, and all you would have to do is lie there like the good little patient you are.” Luca stopped my hand and growled. “You don’t know how bad I want to sink my cock into you right now.” I placed my hand on his face. “There’s no way anything’s happening until you’re better. I was only teasing—well, sort of—but


once the doc says everything is good to go, you can guarantee I will be calling the shots in the bedroom for a wee while.” Luca huffed his annoyance. “Ah, ah. No way. Once I’m better, things will go back to normal, and I’ll be working damn hard at making you my wife.” I looked up to Luca with a frown. “Why do you need to work hard at making me your wife? I already told you I’d marry you.” Abashed, Luca looked away towards the bedroom window. “There are things I need to take care of first.” “No way. There’s no way in hell I’m going to let you do that to me again.” Snapping his head back to me, Luca held his hand out. “Tranquillo amore mio. I’ve already told you that will never happen again.” I grunted. “It had better not or I’ll kill you.”


“How can you kill me if I’m already dead?” “Don’t make jokes like that, Luca.” Stroking the knuckles on my hand, Luca smiled. “I haven’t had anyone care for me this much since my mama. It’s nice.” Smiling at one another, we almost didn’t hear the knock on the door. Once Luca shouted to whoever it was to come in, our room was quickly filled with people. “Boss, it’s so good to see you.” Tony stood by Belinda, tears in his eyes. “I wasn’t about to go without a fight. I have someone who needs me.” Taking my hand, I looked over to Luca’s loving eyes. I couldn’t have been more in love than I was right then. “How are you feeling?” Belinda asked. Luca smiled. “Happy to be alive.” Squeezing my hand, Luca looked timid. “Would you mind leaving me with Tony for a moment please, Clara?”


I shook my head and I kissed his hand as got off the bed. “Of course not.” “As soon as I’ve finished speaking with Tony, I want you back in here. I need to get reacquainted with you again, since we were forced to spend more time apart.” Seeing his hitched eyebrow, I nearly laughed. It had only been a few hours since he was shot, and yet he was talking about having sex already. Not wanting to argue with him for a change, I curtsied. “Certainly, my lord and master.” “See that girl there?” Luca asked, looking at the others and pointing to me. “I’m going to marry that girl.” Feeling teary and flustered, I made my way out of the room, leaving a trail of laughter behind me. Belinda laid a hand on my shoulder. “How are you feeling?”


Thinking honesty was still the best policy, I smiled. “Exhausted, scared, and above all—happy.” “Tony and I prayed for him last night. We knew he would make it. I didn’t think he would ever let you go that easily.” I pulled Belinda in for a hug as we laughed together. “Thank you. Again.” “You don’t have to thank me. You never have to thank me.”

Three weeks later. Things settled down after a week or so, but I could tell all of Luca’s men had been out trying to find Antonio. It had been to no avail, though. Luca thought he may have gone into hiding for a while, but he wasn’t going to give up searching. Luca wanted revenge, and he wanted it badly. I had to admit, I wanted it badly too. It was crazy when I thought about it. Maybe I was becoming a gangster’s moll after all. When I got back to the room that day at the lodge—after Luca and Tony had finished talking—I was instantly reminded of whom I belonged to. We didn’t have sex; Luca would never let me have that much control. He did, however, work his magical fingers on me.


Suffice it to say, I wore him down eventually. After a week or so of driving him crazy, I finally got my wicked way and was able to thoroughly enjoy myself on top of him. Luca had to take control even then, and he guided my hips as I went. Even then, he just couldn’t relent. Having that lack of control just made Luca even angrier with Antonio. Every time we had been apart in an intimate manner, it had been because of Antonio, and that thought made Luca look venomous at times. Despite that, I was still enjoying myself on top of Luca, taking care of each and every one of his needs. It was quite nice to have someone to look after—other than my girls of course. Business was back on track, and in Luca’s absence, I was watched like a hawk. Poor Tony must have been exhausted as it seemed he was the only one Luca trusted to


watch over me. I felt bad because I was taking his time away from Belinda. Talking of which, she still hadn’t entertained a client. I thought that, deep down, her feelings ran a little deeper for Tony then she let on. Mia and Alessandro were still going strong. I think they had a competition going to see how many rooms they could have sex in. I caught them a couple of times on my rounds, and I haven’t let them live it down. Alessandro just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’ve seen you naked, so I suppose it’s only fair that you see me naked, too.” Thank God Luca wasn’t there when he said that! Reluctantly, I left my tower this morning so that I could go to my office and do some work. Belinda and Mia were doing their best to run things, so I could take care of Luca as much as I could. The reason for my absence didn’t make me feel any less


guilty about it, though. They were all so used to having me there whenever I was needed. I was actually in the middle of doing some admin when a knock sounded at my door. “Come in!” The door pushed open, and Belinda came in looking a little out of sorts. “What’s wrong?” “There’s a lady here. She says her name is Isabella. Are you expecting her?” Frowning, I tried to recall if I had ever heard of her before. “No. Why is she here?” “She says she wants to speak with you. I just assumed she was either another potential girl or a client.” Feeling my curiosity peak, I said, “Okay, let her in.” Belinda nodded and walked out the door. A couple of seconds later, a knock sounded and in walked a beautiful Mediterranean-looking lady with long, silky black hair and the most pristine olive skin. If


she was here for the job, I might have to hire her on the spot. She was beyond beautiful. Smiling, she came towards my desk and held out her hand. “Clara Murphy?” Her accent had an Italian twang which sounded sexy. Standing up, I took her hand and shook it. “Yes, I’m Clara Murphy. And you are?” “Oh yes, please excuse my poor manners. I’m Isabella Belatoni … Luca’s wife.” To be continued in, LUCA (Because You’re Mine) Turn to the next page for a preview of book two.

Murderous thoughts. Those are what I had once Isabella walked through the door and revealed to me who she was. I needed an escape. An escape from my thoughts, an escape from the hurt, and an escape from ... him. I was a broken woman, but I was never going to break my resolve. I grew up being a fighter because I had to. No man could ever bring me down... Not even Luca. But, I had to admit, I never thought my heart would break as much as it did that day.


Of course, I fled, but I was a fool to think he would ever let me go. He always told me I was his ... no matter what the cost. He was determined to keep me—regardless of the lengths he had to go to reach his goal. He was like a moth to my flame, a tattoo carved into my heart. I could never escape his pull. I may have evaded him, but I knew it would just be a matter of time. Once he inevitably caught up with me, there would be no going back. But, no matter what I had expected—or even imagined—absolutely nothing could have prepared either of us for what happened next...

I never know how to begin thanking everyone who had been a part of me throughout the whole process of writing my books. I can tap away writing chapter after chapter, but acknowledgements seem so hard. I guess it has something to do with not being able to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for the people who support me. You all know who you are. I will have to name names, so I want to first of all thank my editor Shannon Steed. She is extremely patient with me. Seriously, I don’t know how she puts up with me at times, lol. I also want to thank Tee Cullen for offering to proofread it once it was edited. I will always appreciate as much feedback as possible. I need to thank my girls, Sabine Willems, Line Nørgaard Fallesen and Serena Kett


for beta reading You Will Be Mine. I know you have waited an age for book two, and for that, I apologise. I am onto rectifying that ASAP. I have a very special thanks reserved for my PA, Amanda Perrie. Amanda, as always you do an amazing job pimping the life out of my books. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I want to also thank Kellie Dennis from Book Cover By Design. As always, Kellie you did a fantastic job on the book cover and teasers for Luca. I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve for my future books. Leigh Stone from Formatting by Leigh, thank you for jumping in there quickly for me and formatting the book on a tight deadline. You were a lifesaver. Another special thanks to SBB Author Services for organising the blog tour. No doubt we will be working together for a little while on other projects.


And talking of which, I need to thank all the bloggers out there who do an amazing job with helping indie authors. It’s hard for an author to get their name out there without the help of others, so for that I am forever grateful. And last but not least, I want to thank you, the reader. I have gotten to know a lot of amazing people through the love of books, and I’m sure I will meet more in the not too distant future.

Take a Breath, and Take it Deep – Both have been pulled from Amazon for rewriting and editing. Release dates for both to come. Until I Met You – Released 1st June 2014 Her Guardians – Released 31st August 2014 DEVIANT – Released 31st October 2014 Her Guardians Lost – Released 19th December 2014 Redemption – Released 3rd April 2015 CHAINED – Released 17th July 2015


A Step Too Close – Released 17th September in 2015 Luca (You Will Be Mine) – Released 15th January 2016 Luca (Because You’re Mine) – Release date to come Her Guardian Found – Release date to come

I used sex to help me forget. To help me numb the pain. Because for those few minutes of pleasure, I could shut it all off. The reminders of all that I had lost. All that I had endured. Of all that I saw die before my eyes. I slept with a man I can’t get out of my head. It was supposed to be a one-time thing with no attachments and no commitments. No names were exchanged, no phone numbers swapped. And that was fine by me... until I lay awake at night, dreaming about that


man’s caress. Wanting and yearning to feel his touch once more. But one day, my fantasies of seeing this man become an all-too-consuming, nightmarish reality. Suddenly, he is in my house, that cocky grin of his silently promising more to come. And the reason being? His father is getting married to my mother. We are going to be family. I am in the seven circles of hell. His look alone consumes my soul and makes me beg for more. He wants me and is determined to get me. I’m his obsession, and I’ve just become a slave to his infatuation... to the games he likes to play. The games he knows will have me surrendering to his will.


But that’s not the only problem. That’s not the only reason I am living in my own personal hell. The year before I met my soon-to-be step-brother, Hunter... The year I made a decision that will ultimately end up destroying my very soul... I lost my virginity to Hunter’s dad. Warning: Contains scenes of emotional and physical abuse. Readers with sensitivity to such subjects are advised to proceed with caution.

“Daddy, please don’t leave me.” My face was wet from crying so much. My daddy was bleeding, and there was no one around to help me. We had been driving in the car when a small tree came out of nowhere, smashed through the window, and went into my daddy’s chest. He was finding it hard to breathe, and I could see blood coming out of


his mouth. I knew something was very wrong. Daddy was hurt. He tried to say something to me, but all he did was choke. “Daddy, don’t... I need you. Please, Daddy... Please.” He tried so hard to speak, but all he did was make funny noises. There was no one there. No one to help me. There was blood on my new birthday dress and all over my hands as I screamed for someone to help my daddy. The only thing I saw was an empty road ahead. No cars had come by because everyone was indoors. It was too windy to go anywhere, but Daddy took me out so he could get me something special. “Daddy, what do I do? Please tell me what to do. I’m scared, Daddy. I’m so scared.” I was crying harder and squeezing his hand. I didn’t want him to leave me. He couldn’t leave me.


All I could hear was the wind and my daddy’s coughing. I was so frightened. I needed someone to help my daddy. Why was no one here? Suddenly, he started coughing really badly and yanked on my hand like he was desperate to speak. His eyes went wide like he had just seen a ghost... and then... Silence...

As per usual, my mother was really pissing me off. If it wasn’t for the fact that I couldn’t afford to live anywhere else, I wouldn’t be here. My mum had control of the trust fund my dad left me when he died until I turned twenty-one. I couldn’t go anywhere until I had that in my hands. There were over two more years to go. Two long, arduous fucking years of putting up with her accusing looks... the ones which told me everything. The looks which said it was all my fault that he was gone. I couldn’t stand her. She was like a never-ending thorn in my side. She was always out fucking Godonly-knew-who and then bringing them back to our house. I had to just sit and listen to them. Some men stayed overnight, and they were the scum of the universe. The amount


of times they would hit on me after they had just slept with my mum was too much for words. I mean, seriously? Fuck that shit. It made my skin crawl. As sickening as it was, she was already at it again. Apparently, she met someone eight months ago. At least this one kept some distance from the house—so much so that she wanted me to meet him and his son tonight. She had a big announcement, she had said. Fucking great. Closing my eyes, I wandered back to two weeks ago, when I had met a man a couple of years older than I. I was at a bar and getting pissed with Mandy. Getting pissed with Mandy was a regular occurrence. She knew all about me and was the only solid in my life. I had two months to go until my nineteenth birthday. Normally, my dad’s death didn’t start hitting me until a month before the anniversary date, but this time it was


happening two months early. I dreaded this time of year. I wanted to be emotionally numb. I wanted to only feel pleasure. Feeling pleasure was good for me, especially when it involved a man going down on me or using his cock to pound me up against a wall. I wasn’t a slut by any means. I didn’t sleep around at all. I only seemed to want to be with a man when it got near my birthday. I actually lost my virginity to a man when I turned eighteen. And when I say a “man,” I mean a man. I wasn’t sure how old he was, but I was pretty sure he was twice my age. I wanted someone who knew what he was doing. I didn’t want a fumbling young buffoon, who came the minute his dick was inside of me. I wanted someone with a solid amount of experience, and I wasn’t disappointed. The man who approached me at the bar on my birthday was staying at a well-known hotel about half an hour away from my town.


Mandy told me that only the finest of men frequented there. She knew I wanted someone refined. Someone who would take care of me. Someone who knew what he was doing. “Hi. My name is—” I put my hand up. “No names, please. Or, if you want, call yourself by another name.” The guy standing next to me at the bar smiled. It was a nice smile. It showed off his gentle eyes. They were the kind of eyes a woman could easily get herself lost in. They were the most unusual shade of green I had ever encountered. His dark hair was cropped short, and he had a very welldefined jaw. Scanning him further, I noticed that not only was he the most handsome and mature man I had ever seen, but he was also the sexiest. His body was toned and taut, and his hands were big and bulky.


Looking at his hands, I spotted no ring on his left wedding finger. Bingo! Glancing back up, I saw a very rugged five o’clock shadow. I suddenly had this urge to lick his face and run my tongue against his stubble. Lord knows where the hell that thought came from, but I ran with it. “So, let me get this straight, young lady. If you’re asking me to give you a fake name, then am I right in thinking that you’re planning on spending the evening with me?” He leaned over the bar and swept his finger over his mouth as he waited. That was all the encouragement I needed. Man that was sexy. “Yes,” I breathed, a little uneasily. “How old are you... ?” “Nikki.” He smiled. “Nikki. Hmm, I like that. So, how old are you?”


“Old enough. In fact, it’s my birthday today. I’m out celebrating.” I smiled and held my drink up for him. “Well, happy birthday... Nikki.” He winked at me knowingly. “Call me Miller.” He held his hand out, so I shook it. “What can I get you to drink, Nikki?” He was good. In fact, he was better than good. The only problem was that I had no one else to compare him to until I met Brent. Boy, what an arsehole he turned out to be. I found him in a nightclub toilet getting a blowjob from my so-called mate, Jennifer. To say she didn’t go home that night with a slapped face would be a lie. I never saw her again after that. Brent still called for a while afterwards, though. I got the usual bullshit. “She means nothing to me.” “It was all a mistake.” “You’re the only one for me.” He was the one who began my theory that men could never be relied upon. I


especially found that out for myself with my next boyfriend, Chris. We had only been dating for two months when he shagged his next door neighbour’s daughter. I would have given the arsehole a thorough hiding, but the girl’s dad got to him first. I must admit I felt a little smug about that. From then on, I had had no one. I had not relied upon men for anything. All they had ever done was leave and disappoint. The problem I was having was with my last encounter. He was a man I couldn’t get out of my head. Miller, my first, knew what he was doing, but this other guy? Wow. I wasn’t sure if it was the chemistry between us that set the fireworks off, or what. All I knew was that I wished it had never happened. For the last two weeks, I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about how he touched me in a way that made me think he knew my body better than I did. He couldn’t have been that much older than I, but boy...


he knew how to please a woman. There was no second guessing needed regarding the number of women he had probably slept with. I mean, he agreed to sleep with me with no promises of a phone call after. That kind of told me everything I needed to know. I suppose I was being hypocritical, but I doubted I was wrong about him. He called himself ‘H,’ and I told him to call me ‘AJ’ for Ayden Joanna. I didn’t know why that slipped out. In fact, I cursed myself for giving him my nickname—a nickname which was only ever reserved for my father. Why did I do that? “Why are you coming to bars to pick up men? You don’t look like you belong here.” I placed my hand on my chest. “Me? Not belong here?” I started laughing. That damn sexy eyebrow of his arched again. He was hot, and I mean really hot. His hair was dark brown, almost black. He also had green eyes that reminded me of the


man I lost my virginity to. What was it with me and men with dark hair and green eyes? Although the man, who called himself Miller, was gorgeous, he couldn’t hold a candle to this guy. When he looked at me, it was almost as if he was reaching into my soul. It both terrified and fascinated me all at once. Despite my head and my heart warning me that this guy would only be trouble, I ignored them both. I went with what my body craved, and it craved to have this man inside of me. On top of me. Underneath me. “You don’t look like the kind of woman who picks up men at bars.” He smiled, leaning in a little bit more. I caught a whiff of his aftershave, and it hit me straight between my legs. “I don’t usually. It’s just tonight. I need to forget.” Why on earth did I tell him that?


He gave me a concerned frown. “Why, darling? What do you need to forget about?” I sighed. “Everything. I need to forget the life I have and the person I am. Just for one night, I need to forget.” I looked up into those emerald eyes which held me captive. “Can you be the one to help me forget?” He leaned down, mere inches away from my mouth. Desire sparked between us instantly. “I can certainly try.” “Ayden!” I jumped. “Ayden!” “Fuck!” It was my mum. What in the hell did she want? She burst through my bedroom door without knocking. “Mum, what the hell? I could have been naked here.” She ignored me. “Ayden, Mason and Hunter will be here at any moment. You have to look presentable. You’re always doing this to me! Always trying to make me look bad.”


I smiled. “Why? Are you worried that your little show of happy families is going to fall flat on its arse?” She put her hand on her hip and sighed. “Ayden, I don’t need your fucking shit today. You’re an ungrateful bitch, who needs to show me some fucking respect.” I rolled my eyes. “Like you’re doing now? Very respectful, Mum.” She actually stomped her foot. “Ayden, don’t you mess this up for me! This is the first guy since your father who has shown any real respect for me. He treats me like a lady.” I huffed, thinking that that was rich. She was anything but a lady. The way she treated me was a prime example. “Besides, I heard his son is quite the catch. Every girl your age is after him. Mason's son is very popular around High Wycombe and beyond. You need someone


like him in your life. Maybe he can get you out a bit more.” I laughed. It was funny really. I thought I was out of the house a lot already. Obviously, my own mother thought it wasn’t enough. “Sure, Kat. Whatever you say.” She began to walk out, but paused at the last second. “And that’s another thing... call me ‘Mum’ when they arrive, please. I don’t think they’ll feel we’re that close if you call me by my first name.” I laughed again. That was hilarious. “Oh yeah, because we really are that close. When do you fancy braiding my hair next, Mum?” She sighed. “Just fucking do as you’re told.” She looked over my attire. “And tidy yourself up; you look like a slut.” With her last jab at me, she was out the door. Yeah, that’s my mother. Isn’t she swell? Sighing, I got off of my bed and looked at myself in the mirror. I didn’t look too bad.


Sure, my skirt could be a little longer, but my grey, off-the-shoulder, loose-fitting top didn’t look at all slutty. I smoothed my hands down my skirt, but decided to appease my mother and look for something a little longer. I liked wearing skirts because I always got complimented on my legs. I have very long legs. I think I got my height from my father. He was the tall one. I also have his blonde hair and light blue eyes. My hair is long, almost trailing to my bottom. I kept my hair unchanged all of these years because it was the one thing my dad used to rave about when I was little. He loved my hair, so I daren’t cut it. Luckily for me, I had naturally wavy, smooth hair. Sighing to myself, I walked over to my wardrobe and looked through my things. There were a few more short skirts in there, but the others looked a little boring. Some of my skirts would have given my mother a


heart attack. That thought brought a wicked smile to my face. In the end, I settled on an above-theknee, red, flowing skirt. It still said sexy, but it also said elegant. I could handle that, though I wasn’t sure my mum could. Pleased that I had done enough to satisfy my daughterly duties, I sat back down on the bed and read a magazine. I wasn’t sure how long I had been reading before I heard a car outside. I pricked my ears up, but I didn’t move from my bed. When she wanted me, I had no doubt she would call for me. In the end, it must have been a record ten minutes before I heard her screaming my name. Even though the door was closed and she was downstairs, her voice still sounded like nails on a chalkboard. “I’m coming!” I shouted dutifully. Yes, I wished I was fucking coming. Since meeting “Mysterious Sexy Eyes,” that’s all I had thought about.


I stood up, straightened myself out, and glanced in the mirror one last time before venturing down the stairs. It wasn’t long before I heard the baritone sound of a male voice alongside the sickly, stick-your-fingerdown-your-throat giggles from my mother. I saw my mother at the same moment she spun around to see me. She smiled sweetly and clasped her hands together like she was the proudest Mum in the universe. Please, someone, give me a bucket! “Ah, here she is! My only daughter,” she cooed. I rolled my eyes before the man came into view. I secretly hoped he wasn’t like the other scumbags. I really couldn’t be bothered with having to kick someone else’s balls. As I neared the next step, I saw his legs, then his torso. Hmm... seemed okay so far. He was actually dressed to impress with a suit. He even looked like he was in good shape.


Next step down. My heart was beating wildly as his mouth came into view. That mouth looked awfully familiar. The lips were full and pouty. Just like the pair of lips I remembered sucking on the night I had lost my virginity. Just like the pair of lips that had licked... Next step down. Oh. Fuck. Me. Deer caught in the headlights. That’s how both of us looked. If it wasn’t so serious, I would have been laughing my head off. This was no laughing matter, though. None of it was funny at all. It was only when I got down the next step and noticed that my hand wasn’t moving that I realised I had it gripped to the banister like it was my only lifeline. I really hoped he was the mail man or something. Maybe just a delivery guy? Jehovah’s Witness, perhaps?


“Ayden, I would like you to meet Mason Davenport.” Maybe not then! I was so screwed. She smiled sweetly and placed a loving hand on a very shocked Mason. “Mason, this is my daughter, Ayden.” Mason stared at me a little longer. It was beginning to look and feel a little awkward all of a sudden. As if he sensed this, Mason cleared his throat, smiled, and leaned forward to take my hand. “Nice to meet you, Ayden. I’ve heard so much about you. I practically feel like I know you already.” The undertone to his statement didn’t go unnoticed. At least he remembered me . . . God, what was I saying? I cleared my throat. How much more agony did I need to endure? “Nice to meet you, too.” My mother made a noise like a little chipmunk. “It’s so nice that you’ve finally


met each other.” She looked around. “Where’s Hunter? He is coming, isn’t he?” Mason managed to pry his eyes from mine to look at my mother. “Erm... yes. He’s just gone to the local shop to get us a couple bottles of champagne.” My mother cooed, “Oh, that’s great. Would you like something to drink now?” I shouted, “No!” just at the same time as Mason shouted, “Yes!” I didn’t want to be alone with this guy, but it looked like he had other ideas. My mother laughed. “Mason, what can I get you, darling?” Mason smiled. “Just some water for now, Kat. Thank you.” She tapped his shoulder, glared at me to behave, and moved away. I really didn’t want this. “Maybe I should go and help—” I made a move to go, but Mason grabbed me. “I had no idea.” At least he had the sense to look panicked.


“Oh, and you think I did? This isn’t exactly a picnic for me either.” His eyes widened. “You won’t say anything?” I gave him a look. “You really think I want to tell her that the man I lost my virginity to is the same man she’s dating?” Mason’s eyes went wide again. “I didn’t know you were a virgin.” I shook my head. “This is so not the time to be discussing this.” He nodded. “Yeah. You’re right.” He paced a little, looking seriously stressed. “Fuck.” “Darling, here’s your water.” My mother walked in with a spring in her step. You would think she had won the lottery the way she was parading herself though the house. “So, what is it you wanted to tell me?” I asked, wanting to get to the bottom of it. “All in good time, sweetie. Hunter hasn’t arrived yet.”


I didn’t know which was more sickening—my mother being nice or calling me “sweetie.” I guess it had to be a mixture of both. I couldn’t understand this. When I met Mason, he seemed like an intelligent man. How the hell he could have failed to see past my mother’s fake smile was beyond me. I barely had time to comprehend all of this when I heard a car horn blaring outside. Mason smiled and turned to my mother. “That must be Hunter.” I soon heard a knock on the door, and my mother turned on her heels to answer it. In that brief moment alone, Mason gave me an apologetic look. Yeah, buddy. You and me both. I heard my mother greet Hunter in the hall, and then I heard his voice filling the air. I inhaled sharply. My nostrils flared, and the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. I would know that voice


anywhere. That voice was nearly identical to the one that was whispering sweet words into my ear not so long ago. “Fuck, you’re so tight. You’re pussy is so sweet. I can’t get enough of it.” Surely this couldn’t be? Karma wouldn’t be so cruel! He entered the room, and all of the air that was in my lungs escaped me at once. He stood there in shock as he penetrated me with those eyes. Suddenly, his lips curved up into that cheeky, but beautiful smile I remembered from two weeks ago. I felt dizzy. I felt nauseous. Suddenly, the whole room was spinning. “Shit!” I heard someone shout. As my head cleared, I was suddenly aware that Hunter was on one side of me with Mason on the other side. They were pulling me up and ushering me towards a chair.


I was in the seven circles of hell. Surely I had just died, and now I was in hell for being responsible for my father’s death. I was being punished for being the murderer my mother always made me out to be. This couldn’t be any more surreal than it already was. I had two men—both of whom I had slept with over the course of a year—holding me up on either side. Father and son. “I can’t say I’ve ever had that affect on a woman before. I suppose there’s always time for a first,” I heard Hunter joke. My mother giggled. “She’s always been a little melodramatic.” Trust my mother to stick her nose in it. She would think I had purposely acted faint just to get attention. All I wanted to do was grab a bottle of something strong and head up to my room. “Are you okay?”


I looked up to see the concern in Mason’s eyes. I gave him a look to say I wasn’t okay. Of course I wasn’t okay. Nothing about this situation was okay. “I’m fine. Thank you.” “Are you sure?” I looked to my other side and saw Hunter smiling down at me. He asked the question, but he was obviously too busy feeling smug about my reaction to him when he walked in to care about my answer. He thought I almost fainted because of him alone. He didn’t know the half of it. I nodded my head, and Mason gestured for me to take his water. I uttered my thanks, took a sip, and felt my nerves calm down a bit. “Well, that was a great start to the introductions.” My mother laughed, but then glared at me while Hunter and Mason


weren’t looking. They were too busy staring at me like I would break. I didn’t want this. “Have you eaten today?” Hunter asked. I nodded. “I had a sandwich at lunchtime.” He frowned. “That’s not enough. You need to eat.” He turned to my mother. “Kat, do you have anything she can nibble on for now? Some bread or crackers, perhaps?” My mother laughed like they were being ridiculous, but moved towards the kitchen. “Sure thing, Hunter. I’ll go grab some crackers from the pantry.” She glared at me again and walked off. Hunter kneeled down and took my hand. “Are you sure you’re okay?” I looked up, and I really wished I hadn’t. My obsession with those eyes was playing a taunting game with me. His mesmerising gaze was like none other I had ever experienced in my life. It was almost as if he could


reach into my soul and pick out all of my sins. Sins I didn’t want him to know about. Sins that would ultimately destroy me if they ever got out. If he knew my sins, he wouldn’t be kneeling beside me with my hand in his. He wouldn’t be sharing with me that look of promises to come. He would be disgusted with me. I was disgusted with me. I nodded, but averted my eyes. I couldn’t have him looking at me like that. Looking like he wanted to eat me until he devoured me whole. There would be no way I could ever go back there with him again. “Fuck, you feel so good.” Shit, I was going crazy. I had to stop thinking about that night. I had to get him out of my head. “Isn’t that just so sweet, Mason? Look, they’re bonding already.” Mason looked up to my mother and smiled as she handed me the crackers. As I said my thanks, I grabbed one off the plate.


Hunter winked at me and then gently swept his finger under my palm. My whole body reacted. Shit, if just that little touch could set off sparks, then how would it feel if he touched me somewhere more intimate again? I couldn’t allow myself to ever be alone with him. It was just a good thing that my mum wasn’t marrying Mason... Then, I would be in serious trouble. “Right. Shall we make the announcement, Mason?” She walked over to him, and he placed a loving arm around her shoulder. They both looked happy for some reason. “Hunter, why don’t you open a bottle of that champagne first?” Hunter reluctantly let go of my hand and walked towards the two bottles on the table. My mother raced out the room, grabbed four glasses, and came running back. Hunter smiled at my mum and then popped the champagne. My mother cheered,


and we all watched as Hunter poured some into all four glasses. He handed them out, and when he came to me, he purposefully swept his finger over mine. I looked into his eyes, and he winked at me. The fire burned between my legs. Shit, he didn’t even need to touch me for it to start. All he had to do was simply be in the same room with me, and I wanted him with a passion. “So, what’s this all about, Dad? You’ve been keeping me hanging for two days now.” All eyes were on my mother and Mason as they smiled brightly. I popped another cracker in my mouth and waited for someone to speak. “We’re getting married!”

Jaimie Roberts was born in London, but moved to Gibraltar in 2001. She is married with two sons, and in her spare time, she writes. In June 2013, Jaimie published her first book, Take a Breath, with the second released in November 2013. With the reviews, Jaimie took time out to read and learn how to become a better writer. She gets tremendous enjoyment out of writing, and even more so from the feedback she receives. If you would like to send Jaimie a message, please do so by visiting her Facebook page: AuthorJaimieRoberts

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LUCA - You Will Be Mine The Si (Sicilian Mafia #1) - Roberts Jaimie

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