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He presses the soft petals of the rose to my lips, further shushing me, and my pulse accelerates, as does my breathing.

“I won’t take from you what I don’t deserve to have.” He quells my protest with another dark, dangerous look. My spirits sink, but then he trails the rose from my lips, down the column of my throat, and into the valley between my full breasts, where he pauses.

“Whatever you do, Mrs. Riley Benenati.... do not move.”

Chapter Twelve

MATTEO

THE WOMAN IS KILLING ME.

I thought that my eyes might bulge right out of my head, first when she showed up in the office wearing that little slip of nothing... and now, again, with her entire luscious body spread out before me to enjoy.

Every fiber of my being wants to lose myself in what she is so sweetly offering. And the Matteo of just a few days ago would, without thinking twice.

But Emilia... for once, Emilia has been the voice of reason. She is so very right...

Riley is nothing like the women who are normally a part of my life. She needs to be treated with care. And that’s why I’m trying to be a man here, even though the way she’s taunting me is just about killing me.

I’m so serious. I feel like I might die. I’m in physical pain.

Riley lies on the bed before me, her smooth, pale skin cast with intriguing shadows from the flames of the candles that she lit—that I meant to light myself, to make our wedding night romantic.

Her eyes are half shut, and her focus is entirely on me. It makes me feel like more of a man than I ever have in my life.

And it’s driving me crazy, trying to hold on to my restraint when a fundamental part of me wants to make her my wife in every sense of the word.

I need something. More, I need to give something to her.

“Matteo?” Riley props herself up on her elbows. The movement makes her breasts jiggle, and I close my eyes and count backward from ten.

When I open them again, I cast a deliberate, hungry stare down the length of her body. I’ve n ever seen a woman like her in the skin... never knew what I was missing. But now I know what wonder there is in full hips, in the softness of a woman’s stomach... in the delicious movement of full, natural breasts, and in the softness of thighs that aren’t stick thin.

I’ll never be happy with anything else. And I don’t quite know how to resist sinking into all of that softness.

“I believe I told you not to move, Mrs. Benenati.” The challenging spark in Riley’s eyes tells me that she is bound and determined to see this through.

I can’t. But I can do... something.

“And if I do?” Those pale eyes of hers catch my own, hold, and I can feel my pulse stutter. Dio, but this woman is gorgeous. Like, seriously beautiful.

I place my hand flat on her chest, my palm in between her breasts. She gasps, a sexy little sound, as I push her back down so that her head is once again cushioned by the soft pillow.

“I mean it. Do not move, or I’ll tie you in place.”

Her lips fall open a bit in shock, but rather than repulsion, I watch her squirm a little bit.

Sweet little Riley Tremaine likes that idea. Heaven help me.

“Eyes closed.” I brush the rose over her lids to demonstrate. She sighs heavily, but does as I’ve told her.

“Not a word,” I warn her as I start to trail the rose down her face, brushing it over her cheekbones, the line of her jaw. Her lips part beneath the petals as I stroke her mouth, her tongue darting out to swipe over her lower lip, and I’m hard pressed to hold back my own groan.

In silence, I trace the shadows cast by the candlelight over her collarbones, her shoulders. She hugs out a small laugh when I reach the sensitive skin beneath her arms, but true to my command, she remains silent.

Her body tenses when I begin to stroke the flower over her right breast. With long strokes, I trace stripes from the plump base to the erect tip, over and over again, savoring the way her breathing quickens and grows shallow and rapid.

Her teeth sink into her lower lip, and her fists clench in the sheets. I smile grimly, my cock hardening even further, as I watch the flush of arousal turn her skin the most delicious shade of pink.

A sharp cry echoes from her throat when I love past her breasts, pleased to see the way the nipples have contracted tightly and darkened. My own throat goes dry as I continue to play the rose over the soft planes of her belly, enjoying the way she trembles when I reach her lower abdomen.

She moans with frustration when I skim just slightly over that space between her legs, instead moving to tease the sweet skin of her inner thighs with the soft petals.

“Matteo!” Her eyes fly open as I trace more lines, this time leading up those soft inner thighs, to the place that I know needs my attention. Her eyes are wide, glassy with need, and it humbles me that she’s nearly undone by something so simple.

I don’t chide her for speaking—I’m nearly at the end of my own control, as well. It’s harder for me to breathe as I watch the head of the rose glide into the space between Riley’s legs, gathering the moisture there.

That’s where I want to be. But I can’t... I can’t take that from her. I don’t deserve it.

“Matteo, please!” Propping herself up on her elbows again, Riley looks down the length of her body, eyes avidly taking in the sight of the stark white petals stroking over her creamy skin. Her pupils dilate, and knowing just how aroused she is drives me wild.

Still, I hold on to my last sliver of control—hold on to it until she falls back to the pillow, closes her eyes, and begs.

“Matteo, please... I... I need... more.”

I move without even thinking, throwing the rose aside carelessly. Shifting my weight on the bed, I spread her thighs with both hands, drop a kiss onto the softness of her belly, savoring the whimper.

Then slowly, so slowly, I slide my hand between her legs. Her eyes again fly open, and our gazes lock as I slide my fingers through the slickness.

“Is this okay?” I barely recognize the sound of my own voice, hoarse with need. She arches against me in response, and I chuckle darkly.

I wonder if she’s ever done anything like this before. I wonder if she’s ever been naked with a man. The thought that I might be the very first makes me want to thump my chest like a caveman, ridiculous as that sounds.

I have to make this good for her.

My focus narrows, until the only thing I’m aware of is Riley—the way she responds to my touch. I watch her face intently as I find the centre of her pleasure and circle overtop, greedily taking in the way her hips twist beneath my touch, the way she gets louder, making throaty, sexy little cries.

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