I flinch, and he nods.

“I’m sorry,” I say again. “I don’t… I don’t know what to say about that. You know me, you know I’d never say that.”

“Maybe I don’t,” he suggests, tugging his jacket back on. “Maybe I only thought I did.”

I don’t even know if he’ll be receptive—he didn’t kiss me on the mouth once either time he fucked me these last two times—but I push up off the bed to stand in front of him. I feel nervous, and my mind goes back to our first kiss at the bar, but it makes me sad. It feels almost sacrilegious, but I grab the tie he just fixed and pull him in so I can brush my lips against his. He doesn’t immediately respond, but then he does, his hands locking around me, tugging me against him, his tongue sweeping into my mouth. Of course now my blood starts heating, my heart hammering against my chest as he kisses me, touches me, pulls me against him.

We’re both a little breathless when he finally pulls back, but he also looks a little lost.

I wish I knew how to fix this. I wish I knew how to convince the least trustful man in the whole world that even though all logical signs indicate otherwise, I haven’t betrayed him.

A truly impossible task.

“He’ll never touch you again,” he states, his voice a little husky. “No one will.”

“Good,” I say. “I only want you to touch me.”

“Good,” he returns evenly.

Chapter Twenty

I can’t say exactly why, but the last person I ever expected to be my door guard was Vince.

Here he stands outside Mateo’s bedroom door. Judging by his level of surliness, he would rather be doing just about anything else.

Me too, though. I’ve only been here one day, and already I’m so bored I could cry. Dinners are still cancelled and I don’t even know what Mateo does all day, but he left in the morning and despite it being around eight o’clock, he’s still not back.

Peering out the door, I ask Vince, “You’re totally sure I’m not allowed to come out?”

“Never been so sure of anything in my life,” he returns dryly.

“Then why don’t you come in,” I suggest. “You’ve gotta be bored out here, too. Does Mateo have games? I know there are some in the servants’ quarters. Maria is partial to Scrabble. Bring a game; let’s get to know each other.”

“I’m supposed to guard you, not play games with you.”

“You can’t do both? You’re my best friend’s boyfriend and I know nothing about you.”

“She’s your only friend,” he states.

“Which is why she’s my best. Come on,” I coax, waving him in.

“Mateo probably wouldn’t like…” He stops, cocking his head to the side. “Eh, okay.”

“It’s not the level of exuberance I was hoping for, but I’ll take it,” I tell him.

Since I’ve lost my phone privileges and Vince has to guard me, he has to send Cherie to retrieve our game. I know there actually are other rooms connected to Mateo’s where we could sit at a table to play, but I’m not allowed to leave the bedroom, so we set the game up on the bed.

When I explain this to Vince, he seems even less enthusiastic—which is saying a lot, because man, can this kid brood.

“Mateo walks in here and sees me on the bed with you, he’s going to rip my head off.”

“With a Scrabble board between us,” I say, rolling my eyes. “I realize how unbelievably sexy that is, but I think he’ll be able to figure it out.”

He shakes his head, but sits on the edge of the bed anyway. “You need to be more careful.”

“Apparently I can have an affair with a man I’ve never even met, so I don’t think careful is sufficient. Might as well enjoy myself, right?”

Lifting an eyebrow, he says, “I don’t know, I hear there are text messages.”

“Do I strike you as unintelligent, Vince? If I wanted to cheat on Mateo Morelli, you better believe I would be smart enough to delete the text messages,” I state, emptying the letters on the bed. “Pop out the SIM card, throw the phone in a body of water, set fire to my clothes for some reason. I would cover my tracks like it was my job, not leave a damn phone lying around for him to find.”

He nods, conceding me that point, and doesn’t argue further. I don’t get the impression he gives a single fuck if I cheated on Mateo, so I don’t feel the need to defend myself.

“So, don’t take this the wrong way, but I did not think you’d be the new Adrian.”

He cracks a smile, taking the letters I dole out and setting them up on his tray. “I’m not. Adrian doesn’t usually do stuff like this—I mean, he did with you and Mia, but that’s because Mateo was invested in whatever games and investigation he wanted Adrian to carry out for him. Guarding the door is easy. A monkey could do it. Adrian was overqualified.”

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