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But something in me hesitates. And I don’t care for it.

“By morning,” I snarl without turning around. And then I am gone.

Chapter Five

MATTEO

THE CRYSTAL SNIFTER in my hand is heavy with scotch. My father would have mocked me for it, preferring traditional Italian drinks—campari with white wine before dinner, grappa or strega for a digestif.

If he had been alive, I probably would have swallowed down the bitter grappa to keep comments on my manhood at bay, though I’ve always detested the stuff. And then I would have gone to my room, to drink my scotch away from those eyes that were always judging me.

It’s a small thing, being able to drink what I want, eat what I want, do what I want without commentary from Carmine. But as today’s reading of the will has shown, it seems likely that I will never be out from under the thumb of Carmine Benenati.

“Enough, Matteo. That’s enough for tonight.” Arching my neck from side to side to remove the accumulated tension, I tug open a couple more buttons on my shirt. Unbidden, I imagine Riley moving my hands aside, to do it herself. Riley, those bright eyes full of heat as she removes her own clothing and presses her wet, naked heat against me.

I’m already hard from being in the same room with her, from smelling that sweet, feminine musk, and from watching those sheets slither over her naked thighs.

I should scroll through my phone, find the number of one of the literally hundreds of socialites, aspiring actresses, models and singers... I even have the personal number of a very sexy young princess.

These women, they would all understand if I took them to a high end hotel, fucked them long and hard, then sent them something sparkly the next day. They might be disappointed not to have me for a longer time, but they know the rules of the kind of lives we lead.

Riley would not. And it is precisely because of that that I don’t want the European princess, or the American singer, or the Italian actress who is rumored to have a mouth like a vacuum.

Which means that any relief I seek tonight will come at the touch of my own hand.

As I pass the front door I hear the doorknob turn, then a muffled thump as someone turns a key in the lock, only to find that it doesn’t work. I turn sharply toward the sound, startled only for a moment before I realize that Emilia is the only one besides Carmine who would be able to get past security at the front gate, and who would think that she could gain entry.

I haven’t told her that I changed the locks, and smile grimly when I hear her push on the heavy mahogany door, though the wood is too thick for me to make out what I know is a stream of curses.

The doorbell chimes, a somber sound that has rarely been heard here. No one entered this house without Carmine Benenati’s approval—no one even knew about it.

I wait a moment, sip my scotch, knowing that to wait will infuriate Emilia. Finally I stride to the door and wrench it open. I’m in no mood to deal with my step sister, but I would enjoy handling her resultant tantrum if I ignored her even less.

Emilia poses in the doorway as I open it, making a visible effort to smooth away her irritation. This puts me on edge, as does the fact that she doesn’t immediately tear into me for making her wait.

“You’ve changed the locks.” She eyes me narrowly, fingering a strand of her glossy dark hair. I don’t reply; it isn’t a question.

We wait, eyes locked upon one another, neither willing to do so much as be the first to ask what it is she wants—to break would be to show weakness, after all.

“Let’s cut the nonsense, shall we?”

I watch, puzzled, as her fingers slide briskly to the loose knot in the belt of her coat. I watch her undo it, watch the coat fall open, but my mind struggles to catch up to what I’m seeing.

Within seconds the long black overcoat is on the floor. Emilia stands in the doorway, and she has my attention.

As teenagers, we explored more than was healthy, given our relationship. And the attraction never faded, no matter how superficial is was.

But never did I think I would see her in front of me like this. A scrap of black lace covers her mound, a trio of elastics emphasizing her coltish hips on each side. It hides nothing. Her legs, impossibly long and slender, are displayed in spike heeled leather boots that extend all the way to mid-thigh.

But my attention is caught by her breasts. I’ve felt them before, in secret, in the dark. But she is wearing a black lace... I don’t even know what to call it. It looks like a bra, a bit—it is black and lacy and fits the way a bra would. But rather than covering her breasts, holding them close, the garment offers them up like they are sitting on a shelf.

It leaves nothing to the imagination, and I’ve imagined those small brown nipples, those creamy globes plenty.

I’m already aroused by the woman in one of my spare bedrooms.

Emilia’s tits make my already hard cock press painfully against the front of my slacks, begging for relief.

“No more skirting around it, Matteo.” She drops to her knees in front of me, her eyes fixed on mine. Warning bells clang in my head—Emilia Guerra does not kneel—but then she takes my belt in hand, and my attention is drawn elsewhere.

“What are you doing?” My voice is rough, harsh, and she seems to like it, looking up at me and licking her lips.

“I’m offering you what we’ve both wanted since your father starting fucking my mother.” She smiles up at me, that seductive half smile that I’ve seen her use on so very many people, both men and women.

“You can have me, Matteo. Any way you want to.” Eyes on me, she starts to pull my belt through the loop. My pulse accelerates. And my cock hardens to the point of pain

She’s right—we’ve being dancing around this since we were young teenagers. Part of me feels like it’s inevitable. And today has me so confused, so fucked in the head—and the whisper of her fingers over the front of my pants feels so damn good—that I seriously consider it.

What man wouldn’t? And no matter the steely resolve forged in me by the sadistic man that I called father, no matter that I know well that I can’t trust this woman for an instant...

I feel myself caving. I want to grab her by the back of the head and thrust past her lips. Want to press her against the wall and take what I need.

Maybe if I do, I’ll have a clear head when I ask Riley for her answer.

I feel my fingers fisting in Emilia’s silky hair, smell her perfume wafting up to my nose. It’s expensive, I’m sure, and overly sweet... cloying.

It makes it hard for me to inhale. And that might not have been so noticeable, if I hadn’t just met Riley, whose presence seems to make it easier for me to breathe.

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