The Italian's Deal for I Do(71)

By: Jennifer Hayward

She pushed back from Rocco, jerking her chin subtly in their direction. “Do you have any idea what’s going on there?”

Rocco looked over at his sister. “She’s been heartbroken without Giovanni. They were very close.”

And maybe you are a blind, blind man. But Olivia wasn’t about to stick her nose where it didn’t belong. She’d caused enough waves today.

Rocco passed her to her father after that for a dance. What should have been extremely awkward given the little communication they’d had with each other over the past years was instead another kind of closure.

“You look happy with Ella,” she said. “I’m glad.”

“As do you with Rocco,” he replied. “Liv, I...”

She shook her head. “It’s okay, Dad. I understand. I do.”

His eyes grew watery. “Sometimes you looked so much like her, it just...hurt to see you.”

A fresh wave of tears pooled at the back of her eyes. She blinked them resolutely away. Sometimes life was heartbreaking. She saw that now. And sometimes you just had to forgive and move on.

“It’s okay,” she whispered, her hand tightening around her father’s. “I’m glad you’re here.”

When she had made the requisite rounds of the dance floor with the rest of the Columbia Four, her husband stole her back for another dance. He, too, had taken some first baby steps with his father, the two of them having had a long talk while she’d been gone. It hadn’t been perfect, but it was a start.

Rocco’s warm, familiar scent wrapped itself around her as she tucked herself into his big warm body. She let most of the song go by before she drew back and looked up at him. “Rocco?”

His dark eyes, almost ebony tonight against the black tux, held hers. “Sì?”

“I’m not so interested in dancing. Do you mind if we skip it?”

He didn’t bother to answer, just wrapped his hand around hers and pulled her through the dancers and up the two flights of stairs to their suite.

The windows were open as he worked the buttons on the back of her dress free. Darius Montagne’s sexy rasp floated on the air up to them. Rocco’s curse as his fingers fumbled over the tiny buttons made her smile.

“Mario again.”

He continued doggedly, until he had most of them undone, then pushed the dress off her shoulders to fall in a pool of silk in the moonlight. She disposed of his jacket, shirt and tie as fast as her hands could move. Impatient with her lack of speed, even at the rate she was going, Rocco undid his belt and pushed the rest of his clothes off until there was only his magnificent, olive-skinned body to ogle.

He didn’t give her much of a chance to do so, swinging her up into his arms and depositing her on the rose petal–covered bed. He took his time, lavishing every centimeter of her body with sensuous kisses until she was arching up against him, begging for his possession. His name a soft cry on her lips, he slid his hand between her thighs, prepared her for him and brought the tip of his impressive erection exactly where she needed him.

“Ti amo,” he murmured as he possessed her body and soul. He said it over and over again, as if he couldn’t say it enough, until his kiss captured her scream and forever with him was all she could see.

I love you, too, my dragon slayer. She wound her arms around his neck and laid her face against his chest. Because sometimes you needed to fight your own battles, and sometimes you needed a warrior to help you along your way.