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Page 28 of A Bride for a Billionaire

“I’m going to sunbathe.” Innocently, I gesture to the pristine white loungers that are arranged at the far end of the deck. “Unless you had another idea?”

I try my best to sound seductive, but think I probably sound a bit more like I have a head cold than anything. Still, I’m gratified to see that Matteo can’t take his eyes off of my body. It gives me the confidence to strut across the deck, the wooden planks warm beneath my feet.

Dante doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s checking me out. It makes me feel good as I settle myself in one of the loungers.

“Get your eyes back in your head or get off the boat!” Matteo snaps at the young man as he pushes away from the table so fast that he upends his chair. He storms across the deck after me, coming to loom over the lounger.

“You’re blocking my sun.” Shading my eyes, I look up at him, and for a moment I tremble, thinking about his analogy of lions and lambs.

He’s one mad lion.

“I thought you said you understood.” He adjusts his position, and I see that he’s trying to block from view of the crew.

Well, then. Matteo is jealous. My feelings aren’t entirely one sided.

“I do understand.” Lying back, I close my eyes, a show of nonchalance, though I really want to keep looking at my big, beautiful Italian stallion. “I just don’t agree.”

“Put your damn clothes back on,” he hisses, looking from side to side. I can’t help it then—I laugh. Never did I ever think I would see Matteo being a prude.

“You or your staff purchased this bathing suit for me.” I remind him, enjoying his scowl. “I’ll change it on one condition.”

“And what is that?” His voice is impatient. Over his shoulder I can see Dante grinning at me... if Matteo saw him right now, I think he just might throw him overboard.

I sit up, and all I can see is Matteo. I shift on the lounger, feel my breasts jiggle with the movement. Matteo curses under his breath, and I watch, fascinated, as a bulge appears in the front of his casual shorts.

“Are you prepared to make me your wife?” Despite all the teasing, this question is dead serious.

“You are my wife.” I can see his range of emotions, lust and irritation and a jumble of other things. I suppose it’s a good thing, that he’s trying to be so noble, but what’s frustrating is that he’s not listening to me.

I know what I want. And I want him.

“Not yet, I’m not.” There. Challenge issued. I lie back down and close my eyes.

And laugh quietly to myself when Matteo mutters a curse and flops down beside me.

Chapter Thirteen

MATTEO

I KNOW WHAT she’s doing. Riley of the cheap yoga pants is playing dirty, and damn it, I gave her the ammunition when I ordered one of the shoppers at a high end department store to pack a bag full of sexy honeymoon clothes for my bride.

I had anticipated ripping those bits of fabric from her body. And what I thought had started as a simple matter of being noble has turned into a challenge.

One the one hand, it’s fascinating to watch my sweet virgin bride own her sexuality like this.

On the other... I’m dying a slow, very painful death. All I’ve gotten in the last two days for being noble is a sunburn from guarding her on deck and a major case of blue balls.

Though I haven’t sullied her with my darkness. So that’s something. But when I think of resisting her for the rest of the month, I actually feel the pain.

Right now we are having cena—dinner—at the little table on the deck. We’ve made it through an aperitivo of olives and martinis, an antipasto course, and a primo—first—course of wild mushroom risotto.

The secondo is delivered, a flaky, steamed fish that one of the crew members caught just hours ago. Riley murmurs her appreciation, reaching for her wineglass, and the movement causes her breasts to press against the fabric of her sundress. The cotton is pale yellow and tissue thin, and I can clearly see the outline of nipples that make my mouth water.

“Stop.” I don’t even realize that I’ve spoken, that I’ve risen to my feet. Riley pauses with her wineglass halfway to her lips, surprised.

“Please. Just stop.” I gesture to her dress, then rake my hand through my hair with frustration. “I’m trying to do the right thing here.”

My bride’s temper snaps like a whip, almost audible in the warm evening air. She stands too, the movement arching her spine, pressing those breasts forward, and I think I’m about to go crazy.

“That’s all well and good, Matteo. But don’t I get a say in what I want?” Those wraithlike eyes shoot pale sparks of temper.

“No. You do not.” Goaded past restraint, I reach across the table, catch my fingers in the front of her dress. Pulling her halfway across the table, I kiss her, the embrace hot and hard and full of frustration.

She blinks at me as I release her, pressing her fingers to her lips, the gesture innocent and sensual.

I let out a gargled sound of pure frustration, and storm away from the table before I lose my mind entirely.

I head directly for the room in which I’ve been sleeping. I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone so long without sex, especially not when I’ve been teased and taunted by the woman of my dreams at every turn.

I’m barely through the door when I start to unfasten the zipper of my shorts. Sliding them over my hips, I shove them down, kick them away, then pull my shirt up and off.

I need relief. I should go for a shower, but that would take too long. Instead I throw myself down on the bed and wrap my erection in my fist, the bite of pain.

I’m too far gone to have any kind of restraint when Riley slams open my door, gasping when she sees what I’m doing. Temper has added red to the sun kissed glow she’s gotten while torturing me over the last two days. Knowing exactly where her tan lines are under that dress doesn’t help my self-control.

My hand slows, but doesn’t stop. Riley’s eyes are riveted on me as she slowly crosses the room to stand at the foot of the bed.

“Matteo.” Gone are all traces of seduction, of flirtation—if I had had any doubts about what she truly wanted, this moment would have answered them. “Please. Let me.”

Rising quickly, I pull her into my arms, take her mouth with a kiss that demonstrates every bit of my pent up frustration. Setting myself on the edge of the bed, I slide a hand between her legs, urge her thighs apart, then settle her on my lap, straddling me.

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