The Divorce Party(10)

By: Jennifer Hayward

But it had been too much. Troppo. It was time Lilly remembered who she was. Who she belonged to.

He skimmed his gaze over her still form. If anything, she had grown more beautiful since that day he’d bumped into her in that SoHo bar. She’d reminded him of a young colt, tripping over those long legs of hers, over him, as he’d stopped to put his wallet back in his pocket. She’d apologized, biting her lip in that trademark gesture of hers, and everything about her—her beautiful shoulder-length glossy brown hair, her big hazel eyes and her air of extreme innocence—had knocked him sideways. He wasn’t used to women without artifice. And it had made him want to possess her like no other.

He hadn’t let her leave the bar until he’d had her reluctantly given number. Then he’d pursued her, called her every day for a week, until she’d agreed to go out with him.

Finding out she was a virgin had been the end for him. He’d put a ring on her finger the week after.

She shifted restlessly onto her back and rubbed her hand against her face. Her vulnerability hit him like a punch to the chest. Lilly was different from any other woman he’d met. She hadn’t been attracted to his power or money. In fact it had made her distinctly uncomfortable, given her poor upbringing. But he’d pushed his agenda through anyway, like the big, forceful bull of a man he was. Because that was what a De Campo did. Took what he wanted. Success at all costs.

* * *

Lilly fought her way out of the drug-induced fog that held her under, reaching desperately for the glass of water she kept on the nightstand. But her hand grasped only air, and this didn’t feel like her bed. It felt bigger, softer, familiar and yet...

It was her old bed.

She bolted upright.

“Here—drink,” a husky, fatigue-deepened male voice urged, pressing a glass to her lips.

A strong arm slid around her waist. She blinked and opened her eyes and stared straight into the worried dark-as-night gaze of her husband.

Oh, God. She was in bed with Riccardo.

She pushed the glass away and pulled, panicked, at the sheets.

“Lilly.” He placed firm hands on her shoulders and held her down. “Drink for God’s sake. Those pills are always rough on you.”

She shook her head and reached for the side of the bed, but a series of wheezing coughs racked her body. She reached desperately for the glass and drank greedily. Her thirst quenched, she pushed the glass away. “What time is it?”

“One a.m.”

A dull, deep throb at the front of her head made her sit back against the pillows. “I want to go home.”

“You are home,” he said quietly. “Stay in the bed, Lilly. You’re in no shape to be going anywhere.”

It was then that she realized he was still fully dressed. Hazy memories filled her head. Him holding her hair out of her face while she vomited. Him carrying her to bed. Her cheeks heated with mortification. She needed to get out of here.

“My home is my apartment.” She swung her legs over the side of the bed, wincing as the movement made her head throb. Her legs were bare. And she was drowning in one of Riccardo’s white T-shirts. “Did you undress me?” she demanded, flicking him an accusing look.

An amused glitter flashed in his eyes. “That’s the way it’s usually done, tesoro, but I stopped at the underwear. I prefer to dispense of that when you’re fully conscious.”

Her face felt as if it was on fire. She scanned the floor desperately for her things. “Give me my goddamned clothes, Riccardo.”

His expression hardened. “Are you forgetting our deal? You live here now. You’re mine for six months.”

“Tu sei pazzo,” she spat at him. “I might have agreed to your crazy plan, but in no way, shape or form will your hands ever be on me again.”

“Tu sei pazzo?” he murmured appreciatively. “I do believe your Italian’s coming along. And, yes, I am crazy when it comes to you.” He gently pushed against her shoulders and sent her back into the soft pillows. “Tomorrow we go over the ground rules. Tonight you rest.”

“You are such a bully,” she muttered wrathfully, too weak to defy him. “I have an early clinic tomorrow.”