She moved closer, feeling braver with the connection they’d shared. Lines of fatigue depressed the skin around his eyes and mouth, his expression remote. His hair was rumpled, his only clothing the tight-fitting pair of boxers he’d worn earlier.

“You don’t sleep because you’re always on duty. With Mondelli. With your sister.” With her. A pang filled her chest. “Alessandra is lucky to have you.”

He lifted a shoulder, a naked, stunningly muscled shoulder that made her remember what he did with all that power. “She drew the short end of the stick when it came to a father. I couldn’t make up for what Sandro did, but I did what I could.”

“You did a lot. She adores you.”

“We are...complicated.”

Silence stretched between them. She didn’t know whether he wanted her to stay or go, so she remained rooted to the hardwood floor. A question came, unbidden. “Why didn’t Giovanni leave you a controlling stake of Mondelli? It makes no sense.”

He sat up straighter, his brows drawing together. “How do you know that?”

“I overheard it at Mondelli,” she lied.

His expression darkened. “I have no idea what was going on in Giovanni’s head when he made that decision.”

“You think he didn’t trust you.”

His gaze narrowed on her, razor-sharp and infinitely dangerous now. “What makes you think that?”

Her teeth pulled at her lower lip. “It’s a natural assumption. He didn’t leave you a controlling stake. You wonder why. But that’s not the case, Rocco. Giovanni thought you were utterly brilliant.”

“More things you talked about?” His ebony eyes glittered in the moonlight. “He thought I was a loose cannon. That’s why he did it.”

She wrapped her arms around herself, a shiver making its way up her spine at the aggression emanating from him. “Everyone has limits. He felt sometimes you didn’t recognize yours. No man is an island, Rocco. Although you try very hard to be.”

The glitter in his eyes intensified. “Oh, but I am. Don’t fool yourself, Olivia.”

She recoiled from the sarcasm lacing his tone. It was a clear warning of where the line was. But fool that she was, she’d walked right over it last night, and it was a one-way street.

She might have left then, her skin stinging, but he snaked an arm out, captured her around the waist and dragged her down on his lap.

His gaze fused with hers. “While you’re here...”

Held against all that delicious hard muscle, every centimeter of her skin burned with the impact of his on hers. Antagonism blended with want as she absorbed his erection pressing against her bottom. He was angry. She should walk away. But her body wasn’t in agreement with her head. It was tightening, remembering, anticipating him.

Her breath jammed in her throat. Yanking it forcefully into her lungs she tried to resist. “Maybe we should...”

“Do it again.” He slid his gray T-shirt up and cupped her breasts. The rasp of his thumbs over her nipples made every inch of her tighten. “I ignored these earlier,” he murmured, his gaze hot on her skin. “A travesty. They are so...fantastici.”

All thoughts of walking away fled as he rolled her nipples into hot, aching points between his fingers. She wanted him inside her again desperately. Craved the way he’d brought her such intense pleasure.

He lifted her up with the power of those amazing biceps and turned her so she was facing the skyline of Manhattan, her back against his hard, hot body.

“Rocco...” She didn’t like that she couldn’t see him. That he had complete control...

His hand slid between her thighs, his thumb making electric contact with her still-tender skin. She moistened where he touched, her body readying itself for his possession. “So responsive,” he murmured in her ear. “You take me so perfectly, Olivia.”

She closed her eyes and gripped the sides of the chair as he used her arousal to moisten her flesh, to slide over her in insistent, deliberate caresses that had her arching against his skillful fingers. He was hard, pulsing beneath her, promising heaven.

He sucked her earlobe into his mouth, the heated pull sending another shock to her core. “Tell me when you’re ready for me,” he murmured. “It will be deeper, more intense for you this way.”

“What way?” Her words were a low croak, wrestled from her throat.

He removed his fingers from her, released himself from his boxers and sank his hands into her waist to lift her above him. She felt the hard pressure of his erection brushing against her.

“This way, cara.” He brought his mouth to her ear. “Take what you want.”

She wanted all of him. She reached down and guided him into her. He lowered her slowly onto his hot, turgid flesh, his strong arms controlling the penetration. Which was a good thing—she gasped as he filled her—because he had been right. In this position he felt so big; she felt him everywhere. Unable to look at him, to experience this with him, all she could do was close her eyes and feel.

Rocco shifted his hands to her buttocks and took the weight of her in his palms. He was buried inside of her now, the sensation so wickedly good she dropped her head back on his shoulder and just breathed. His soft laughter filled her ear. “I told you you would like it.”

He pushed her forward gently with a palm to the small of her back so she was angled forward. His hands took the weight of her buttocks again, lifting her up and down on him in a delicious rhythm that stole her breath. Every time she came back down on him, he filled her breathtakingly full, stroking every centimeter of her. And then her hips caught the rhythm. She increased the pace, taking him inside her, retreating, then claiming him again. His thumbs slid over the unbearably sensitive tips of her breasts, pinching and rolling.

She knew then that whatever this man asked of her, she would give him. It was that good between them.

His breath came harder in her ear, strained. She wanted to let go for both of them, but she couldn’t get the friction she needed, not in this position. Frustration escaped her throat in a low mewl. Rocco brought her back against his chest, one arm wrapping around her waist to hold her secure. He slid his free hand between her legs and found her clitoris. She was crazy for him, arching against him uncontrollably as he rubbed two long fingers over her time and time again. “Come for me, bella.”

One last press of his wicked fingers and she cried out, her release so intense and centered it was more like a scream. His mouth came down to smother the bulk of it in a long, hot kiss as he drew out the pleasure for her, made her rock against his fingers a second time.

His low groan filled her ear as she regained sanity. “I need a condom.”

“I’m on the pill,” she managed to get out. “It’s fine.”

His fingers bit into her hips, then, needing no second urging as he tipped her forward, filled her again and again with hard thrusts that made her release reverberate through her body. He chased his orgasm fast and hard, and it was explosive when it came, his essence filling her with a sweet, hot warmth that seemed to touch every part of her.

She wasn’t sure how long it was—five, ten minutes perhaps—before he pulled his T-shirt over her head, cleaned them up and carried her back to bed.

Olivia wrapped herself around his big warm body and willed her complex, hardened lover to sleep. He passed out in her arms minutes later.

The triumphant, warm feeling that filled her at being able to soothe him was matched only by the stark, fairly terrifying knowledge that she was lost, totally irrevocably lost, to him. And he would likely never, ever return those feelings.


ROCCO WAS CONSIDERING going in search of his fiancée with a Milan Fashion Week kickoff party on the agenda when Gabriella returned from an errand she’d been running for him and stuck her head in his office, a horrified look on her face.

“Did you forget your meeting with Renzo Rialto?”

His stomach plummeted. Dio del cielo. He had. He’d been fixing a last-minute seating glitch with the wedding planner.

“His PA just sent me a message to reschedule.” Gabriella’s gaze searched his face as if to say he’d been off lately and was he okay?

No, he wasn’t, he decided, raking a hand through his already rumpled hair. In the week and a half since he and Olivia had been back from New York, his attempts to drown himself in his soon-to-be wife’s charms and get her out of his system had failed miserably. If anything, he was falling harder.

He was distracted and antagonized, and it was a problem he couldn’t seem to fix.

“I clear forgot,” he said to Gabriella. “What did you tell Renzo’s PA?”

“That you were detained in another meeting, were ever so sorry and would reschedule.”

“Bene.” He flashed her a smile, grateful for his PA’s tact. But inside, his guts were churning. He and Renzo had been meeting to discuss North American business strategy, a key priority for Mondelli in the coming year. His fingers tightened around the pen he was holding. Renzo would drag him over the coals for this. Ask him where his priorities were...