Blake moaned, breaking my train of thought, as he smiled with his eyes closed. “Good morning, cara mia.”

“Good morning,” I greeted the sleepy man, leaning over and connecting his lips to mine.

Blake cupped my face before he pulled away, eyeing me with great scrutiny, gold bursts standing out amidst the midnight blue. “How are you with pain today? Do you need to see a doctor? I can summon my zio’s physician. He’s brilliant.”

There he went again, always worrying like I was going to crumble into a heap. “I’m fine. So much so that I’m dying to see, taste and experience Rome. We’ve been hiding here for three days now. I’m ready to go out and have some Italian fun,” I said, trying to convince him to lower his guard.

“Poppet, I’m not too sure about that. It could still be dangerous.” He exhaled, thumping his head back on the white, goose-down pillow, thinking aloud. “They’re still out there. Who bloody knows when they’ll strike again? The thought itself turns me cold.”

Every night, I dreamt of the accident. It never ceased to replay in my head as if it had only happened yesterday, but I couldn’t for the life of me live in a hideout forever. If I had a day, a month or a year before they succeed with their mission, then I would live whatever time left to the fullest. How many bullies did I have to tackle before I was set free? Cowering surely wasn’t a valid option for me. Whatever happened in the future, I would be happy to know that I had lived each day without regret, without the dark past hindering me from moving forward, without giving a flying f**k about what those blasted people had in mind for me. I wasn’t going down like some dim-witted fool because they had to catch me first before I got to that bitch who’d pushed me. I was going to get my revenge, my f**king way.

“Oh, come on! It’s not like someone’s going to shoot me while I’m walking around Rome. You act like I’m so darn fragile. I’m doing okay. Please, I beg of you to take me out, just you and me. I’ve missed you.”

“I can promise to take you out for lunch, but that would be all.”

“Well, what’s the point of staying here then? Might as well go to Marbella now instead of next week. At least there I’ll have friends around.”

Blake sat up, exposing the contoured expanse of his back, hard and sculpted. “You’re right. We can head out to Marbella tomorrow, or even today, if you wish it.”

Man, this man knew how to make me happy sometimes. Marbella had Chad and Toby, and I needed those boogers with me. “Really? We can leave today? I’d rather do that than wait for tomorrow.”

“Your wish is my command. I’ll go ahead and make some calls.” He held my hand, stroking the inside with his thumb. This was a habit I loved about him. Blake wanted to be connected to me in all aspects; always. “What would you like for breakfast? I’m sure Zia and Zio are already waiting for us to join them.”

His Uncle Luciano and Aunt Seraphina were lovely people and I would hate to leave too soon after they’d gotten all excited that we were staying here for a while. However, as much as I liked them, I needed to be around people who I could easily confide in.

They weren’t upset with us at all, though, the couple made us promise to come back for Lent and spend a weekend there then. “We’ll definitely be back. I’m not sure when it’ll be knowing Blake’s schedule.” I smiled at Seraphina.

Her bright green eyes twinkled at me. “When you get married, promise me you’ll have it here in Italy. Blake is the closest thing I have to a son after I lost my own sweet boy. I’m very happy that he has you in his life. The power of love is powerful, si?”

Wedding? Maybe in the next few years, I thought with wry amusement. “When the time comes, you’ll be the first person I’ll call to help me arrange everything.”

Seraphina gleefully clapped her hands before she gave me a big hug. “Yes! That would be perfect. Hurry and get married soon. We want lots of bambinos and bambinas.” She kissed both of my cheeks, making me promise her that I’d seek her out in the garden before we left for the airport.

Blake and I were on our way back into our room to change and shower when I leaned closer, needing more warmth and affection. “Make love to me,” I murmured the second we entered our room, making him pause and eye me cautiously. Damn, he was going to decline me again. “Save it. I don’t want to hear anymore excuses,” I muttered under my breath, walking away and heading towards the closet, feeling more than dejected.

After five minutes, I heard him behind me and then he pulled me close so I could face him. “Poppet, stop sulking.” Blake looked concerned as his fingers brushed my cheeks, caressingly. “I ran you a bath. Come on, my love.”

A bath, how thoughtful, I thought bitingly as I followed him into the bathroom. Slowly peeling off my clothes, I was careful not to move too quickly since the pain was still there. Now fully naked, I looked at him. “Aren’t you going to join me?”

Blake shook his head. “No, I have some reports to go over. Do call out my name when you’re done.” He came over and tilted my head to look closely into his eyes. “I love you, Sienna.”

Dammit, I knew he did. That’s why it was impossible to be angry with him for long. “I love you, too.” Sigh.



We boarded my private jet in Ciampino airport before noon, heading to Marbella.

Sienna was still a bit miffed over reasons I kept telling myself were the right thing to do. Sex in her delicate state would be too much. Not only was I worried, but I was also scared I would hurt her more. My sexual urges were toned down from taking care of it myself, which was profoundly lacking. As much as I loved making love to Sienna, kissing her or touching her would lead me into a frenzied state. I had to refrain from it all.

My messages had been quite impossible for me to go through over the last few hours. Working away from the office was difficult enough, add on the stress of Sienna’s safety and now her mood swings, all of it combined was seriously pushing me mental. My inbox beeped again, indicating a fresh message.

Camilla. We need to talk. Call me when you’re back in town.

What the bloody hell did she want now? The last time we parted, I was crystal clear about whom I had chosen to be with and it was definitely not her.

My glance flickered to the woman who sat across from me, pouting as she read, engrossed in her novel with her brows furrowing. “Do you need anything, poppet?” I asked kindly, knowing I wasn’t her favorite person at the moment.