Chapter 1



Basking out on the veranda with Blake Sienna, Chad and Toby, we were enjoying our late afternoon siesta after we’d returned, peckish and thirsty, from shopping in the Piazza di Spagna and Via del Babuino. We had enjoyed some peach Bellini’s while the men enjoyed their alcoholic drinks as we shared the mini pastries, olives, cold cuts and assorted cheeses that were always right before us.

“Paris and Rome are like fashion orgasms for the gays. I think I’ve shopped myself to exhaustion. If I see one more Armani, I’m going to keel over and die.” Chad sighed, exhausted. “But then again, if it looked good on me, I’d die wearing it. I’m going down hot, that’s all I’m saying.”

“Don’t forget the hot men!” I chirped, remembering the sizzling encounters we’d had earlier.

Toby snorted and slammed his glass down, head shaking in disbelief.

Chad looked at him then at me. “Why aren’t you two speaking or looking at each other?” Chad pointed at me and then at Toby, swishing his finger back and forth, suspicious. “You guys want some shots to loosen the tubes or what?” He grinned evilly, wicked thoughts etched in his dark eyes.

I stilled, hoping he would shut it before things went out of control. All morning I had tried to forget, but I just couldn’t for the life of me believe what had happened last night.

I gave Chad a nasty look while he started laughing his butt off then slid a shot towards me and another towards Toby. “Heavy sexual vibes going on, that’s all.”

Toby shook his head, staring at the shot in front of him before he took it in one slug. “I suppose it’s my fault. I kissed her yesterday.”

Blasted fuck. Why did he have to brazenly announce something so personal?

I groaned, covering my face. “Shut up!”

Toby flinched, looking offended at my reaction. “Well, why don’t we just have it out here, shall we, Lucy? After all, we are amongst friends.”

All air left me as I stared at him with horror. “You wouldn’t dare!” I spat back.

Our eyes battled while his nose flared, and he contemplated what to do next. When his lips pressed together, looking determined, I knew he was going for the kill.

Toby stood up, towering over us with his eyes flashing everything he was going through, baring it all out in the open. “Fine. I’m a twit! I’m a pig. I’m a bloody, fucking adulterer because I fucking had sex with you last night! I’m not going to apologize because I fucking loved every second of it. There wouldn’t have been a difference anyway because I’ve cheated on my wife on a daily basis; looking at videos and pictures of you—of us. From the second our eyes met to our first kiss, it’s you that I’ve loved.” He looked away, mellowing down. “It was supposed to be you on the altar with me, Luce. It was supposed to be you and me forever, remember?”

This was too much. “Stop, please… I can’t handle this,” I begged, attempting to hold it all in while my eyes started to gloss with tears.

Sienna tried to reach out and soothe me, yet nothing was helping because, apparently, he wasn’t done yet.

“It’s true… I love you. Just say the word and I’ll divorce Amelia straight away. I haven’t consummated the marriage because… the thought of her as my wife repulsed me.” He paused, composing himself. “I know this is a lot, especially since I have a kid on the way, but I’m fucking dying here, Lucy. When will you stop punishing me for what my family said to you and end my agony?”

“I don’t know.” I looked away, feeling uncertain.

“Okay. I’m walking away. I’m going to throw everything—every memento I have that reminds me of you—out. All I need to hear is for you to tell me that you don’t love me.”

He had the audacity to throw ultimatums? I was beyond incensed. “Easy. I don’t love you!”

He painfully swallowed, sighed and toyed with his empty shot glass before he nodded, lips pressed together. “Mate, you know I’d be here for you, but I hope you understand that I have to leave right now,” he directed at Blake then started to retreat towards the villa.

What? He just walked away after all that rubbish?

“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” I stood up, yelling at the top of my lungs.

Not looking back, he yelled, “Home,” and continued walking.


Clenching both of my hands, I groaned before I shot back, “London?”

“Spain,” he responded before completely disappearing inside.

Still staring after him, I was rendered speechless. I was livid, shaking with rage, my tears unstoppable as I slowly sat back down, looking perplexed.

Chad instantly came towards me, holding me close.

“I had sex with him last night. When he kissed me, I forgot the fact that he was married,” I managed to say, sobbing.

Blake looked at me, frowning with concern, as if he was in pain, too. “Lucy, I adore you, but you’re too thick-headed sometimes. If Toby goes back to her and really tries to make this marriage work, you’d be in a shambles. Is that what you want?”

Instead of responding, I cried harder, knowing the weight of his words. Hell. This was pure Hell.

Out of nowhere, Chad slapped my cheek, catching me off guard as all I could do was stare at him. Horrified.

“GET YOUR ASS MOVING AND GET YOUR MAN BACK! GO!” he screeched into my face.

My cries stopped, halting amidst my shock with my mouth hanging ajar, my eyes unblinking.

Chad looked mad as he placed his hands on the side of my hips before he lifted me to stand on my feet. “GO!” he screamed into my face like a bloody Sergeant.

Huffing, I snapped out of my funk before I started marching indoors. “You’re going to pay for that!” I managed to throw back at Chad, walking ahead.

“It was my pleasure!” he called after me, laughing.

I wasn’t sure if Chad’s brazenness offended or warmed me, however I knew I had to settle things with the determined man inside.

Bracing myself, I strode inside the villa, towards his bedroom.


Last night…

I could feel the weight of his stare—heated, angry, impassioned…and defeated. Those crystal blues zoned in on me as if there was no one around—as if we weren’t surrounded by three of our closest friends. His eyes told me what I didn’t want to see. What I surely didn’t need to feel.

He should know better, but apparently, the idea hadn’t come across in his drunken brilliantness.