“Excuse me?” I keep my voice even and lift an arrogant brow.
“We fucked, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to spend the night together.”
She sits up and tries to hop out of bed, but I’m faster. I pull her back onto the bed and cover her body with mine, my face inches from hers.
“We didn’t just fuck.”
“Yes. We did.” She tries to wiggle out from under me, but I’m much stronger. “Dominic, you’re hurting me.”
Back at you, sweetheart.
I immediately release her and shake my head. My feelings are hurt.
This is new.
I glance back at her to see that she’s wrapped the sheet around her, and she’s gazing at me with uncertainty. Not fear, just as if she’s not sure what I’ll do next.
“I’ll go.” I pull my shorts on and turn back to her. “But I’ll be joining you for breakfast.”
“It’s necessary to me, Alecia,” I reply and lean down to capture her swollen lips with mine. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
I turn and leave without looking back and stalk down the long hallway back to my own room.
She fucking kicked me out.
That’s never happened before.
I flop onto my back on the bed and stare at the ceiling. I can still smell her, and it makes me wish she were still pressed up against me. I think back over the evening, wondering where things went wrong.
The sex was…
The best I’ve ever fucking had.
And I know I wasn’t alone in that. The way she responded to my touch was extraordinary.
But it was when we were cuddled up, ready to sleep, that she panicked.
My piccolo tesoro is uneasy with intimacy.
I feel my lips tip up in a smile, as I realize just how much of a pleasure it’s going to be to keep her on her toes.
Just as she’s keeping me on mine.
And fuck if that isn’t sexy.
It’s early when I let myself into Alecia’s room. She’s still in bed, under the sheets, curled into a ball on her side. The gentle rise and fall of her delicious curves are outlined with the white sheet. Her honey-blonde hair is fanned out behind her on the pillow, her cheeks are pink with sleep, and her rosy lips are parted and wet.
She’s an angel.
I set the breakfast tray on the table beside the bed, tether my iPhone to her wireless speakers via Bluetooth and press play on the new Alecia playlist. It’s full of soft, moody music like Sarah Bareilles and Adele. Unable to resist, I pluck the pink tulip from its vase and slip under the sheet next to her as Adele begins to sing Chasing Pavements. I’m still wearing my gym shorts. I’d rather be naked, but I’m not even sure she won’t scream the house down when she realizes I’m in bed with her.
I inch close to her, drag the petals of the flower, then my fingertips, down her soft cheek and grin when she presses closer to my touch, as if even in sleep she’s drawn to me.
“Alecia,” I whisper before pressing my lips to her forehead.
“Mm.” She frowns in her sleep.
“Alecia,” I repeat and kiss her nose. “Wake up.”
“No.” She opens one eye half-mast, snags the flower and snuggles it next to her cheek, sniffing it, then wiggles down further into the covers.
I chuckle and wrap my arms around her, drawing her against my chest. Ah, that’s better.
“I brought you breakfast.”
“Why are you in bed with me?”
I smile against her head and press a kiss to her hair as she wraps her arms around my waist and holds on sleepily.
“Because it’s morning; I didn’t sleep here as you asked, and I needed to see you.”
“I can’t resist your charm when I’m half asleep,” she murmurs and kisses my chest sweetly. “If you brought me tea, I’ll let you live.”
“Tea and fruit and some other delicious things.”
“Strawberries?” she asks.
“Do you enjoy strawberries, sweetheart?”
“Yes. I like it better when you use the Italian words.”
I chuckle and pat her ass through the sheet. “I’ll remember that.”
“I thought you were mad at me,” she admits with a small voice. I tip her head back so I can look into her deep brown gaze and shake my head.
“Confused, but not mad.”
“Sleeping together pushes this into a category that I’m not sure I’m okay with.”
“We’re already there, Alecia.” She begins to stiffen again, but I kiss her forehead and tuck her against me, not willing to allow her to pull away again. “But that doesn’t mean that we won’t go at the pace you’re comfortable with. We have all the time in the world.”
“What if sex is all I can ever give you?”
My heart hurts for her. Who taught her that love means pain? Why is she afraid to see where this leads?
“Then I’ll be a very sexually satisfied man,” I reply, rather than ask my questions. She sighs deeply and relaxes against me again, and I can’t help but smile in satisfaction. “Alecia, as long as I can feel you come apart in my arms, and share moments like this one, and like the one the other night by my fireplace with you, I’m content.”
“Hey.” I lean back so I can look her in the eye. “Right now is all that matters. I’m not asking to put a ring on your finger.”
She bites her lip and looks so uncertain.
“I need to be honest, Dominic.”
“Always,” I agree.
“I don’t think I believe in love. If you think that that’s where you want this to go, you should know that I am not capable of that.”
Rather than argue, I sigh deeply and rub her upper arm soothingly.
She sighs in relief and offers me a sweet smile. “Okay. I’m hungry.”
“I’m hungry for fruit and tea,” she clarifies with a laugh, and my stomach clenches. I love her laugh and her smile when she’s happy and carefree like this. It happens so seldom.
I want to give her lots of smiles.
“Let’s feed you then, tesoro.”
“What happened to cara?”
I’ve been slowly falling for you for a long time, and I’m afraid I fell the rest of the way in love with you last night, and you’re so much more than my darling. You’re my treasure.