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“I want to, baby. Let me do this.” His hand found mine and he laced our fingers together.

I nodded, seeing that he wasn’t going to be deterred. It did feel nice to be looked after like this, though. And I’d never sat in first class before.

Soon we were seated in the wide, leather seats of the plane’s first tow, sipping champagne from crystal stemware. First class blew my expectations out of the water. Instead of having a cramped, smelly seat with someone bumping my arm and stealing my armrest, Ben and I lounged and chatted, sipped champagne, and nibbled on salted almonds. Before I knew it, we were deplaning and en route to our hotel.

• • •

“There’s someone I want to introduce you to,” Ben said, kicking off his shoes.

I’d envisioned a romantic candlelit dinner in the heart of Milan, but I nodded. “Okay.”

“Angelo and Rosa own a winery just outside the city. I haven’t seen them in years. We’ll have a tour and dinner, if that sounds okay to you.”

“Yes. Of course. I just need to shower.”

He nodded. “Will an hour work? I’ll call ahead.”

“An hour’s fine.” I’d have to hustle; I needed to shave, too.

Fifty-seven minutes later, I emerged from the marble bathroom showered and made up, dressed in a black pencil skirt, strappy heels, and a silver beaded tank top. Ben was lounging across the bed, reading a novel he’d picked up at the airport. I grabbed my little diamond-studded earrings left to me by my grandmother and stood in front of the bureau mirror to put them in. Ben rose from the bed, coming up behind me to sweep my hair over one shoulder, and planted soft kisses against the back of my neck.

“Mmm, that feels nice.” I dropped my head to rest against his shoulder and his arms came around me.

“You look beautiful.”

Our reflections staring back at me were a study in contrasts. Ben was a foot taller than me and strikingly handsome. The plain brunette I saw with him wasn’t beautiful to me, but I was glad he thought so.

Ben slipped on his loafers. His two-minute getting-ready ritual left him looking amazing, as usual. He was dressed in dark chinos and a polo shirt rolled up at the sleeves. He looked casual yet still gorgeous.

We hailed a cab and were en route to the countryside, holding hands in the backseat. Homes and buildings dotted the rolling hills, which soon turned into an expanse of leafy green trees unlike any we had back home.

“So how do you know Angelo and Rosa?” I asked.

“Rosa is a friend of my mom’s from a long time ago. They used to model together during Milan Fashion Week. And now she runs a winery with her brother. I usually try to visit when I’m in town.”

I turned to face him. “She’s not the one you . . . lost your virginity to, is she?”

Ben laughed loudly, catching the attention of our cab driver in the mirror. “No.”

I wasn’t sure what was so funny about that, but when we arrived thirty minutes later and Rosa greeted us in the driveway, I understood. She was roughly fifty years old and time had not been kind to her. She was a large woman. She’d probably been quite attractive in her youth, but her face was now lined with deep wrinkles from working in the sun.

She pulled me into her arms while speaking in Italian to Ben. He laughed and conversed with her, though you could tell the language didn’t come as naturally to him as French. He struggled for words and nodded along. I worried that I’d be left out tonight if she and her brother spoke only Italian. Extra wine for me then. Rosa held me at arm’s length, surveying me from head to toe.

“So nice to see Ben with a real woman,” she said at last, her English heavily accented.

I wasn’t sure if I should take offense or thank her for the compliment. I chose the second. Ben’s arm looping around my waist sealed the deal. He was proud to introduce me to people he considered family friends.

“Emmy’s as real as they come.” He pressed a soft kiss to my temple.

Angelo came strolling out of the house, a straw hat atop his head, and joined us, hugging and kissing both Ben and me.

His English wasn’t quite as clear as Rosa’s, but at least I wouldn’t struggle tonight.

“Everything set up?” Ben asked, nodding toward a barn in the distance. I wondered what he had planned.

“Yes, please, go, enjoy,” Angelo said. “And we’ll see you for dinner in an hour or so.”

After greeting us, they shuffled back into the winery to attend to their customers. It was a beautiful day and there were several cars in the parking lot. Ben said we’d have dinner with them later, once the winery tours were done for the day. He took my hand and led me toward an old barn on the edge of the property.

The barn appeared to be several hundred years old. It was dimly lit and cool inside. Ben brought me to the back, where we walked down several steps to a rustic wine cellar. Stone floors and shelving units stacked with wine bottles lined the walls. There was a small round table set up in the center of the room with two bar stools, and the soft glow of white Christmas lights strung from the ceiling made the room romantic and alluring. On top of the table were a bottle of chilled white wine resting in a marble ice bucket along with a platter of assorted cheeses and sliced meats. It was a lovely, romantic gesture.

I glanced back at Ben. “Did you arrange this?”

He nodded, silently watching me. “Sort of a private tasting. I thought this might be more relaxing than joining one of their tours.”

Very thoughtful of him. He pulled out a stool and motioned for me to sit. Once we were both seated, Ben uncorked the bottle and poured us each a glass of wine.

“Cheers.” He clinked his glass to mine, his dark eyes still watching me.

“Cheers,” I murmured, bringing the glass to my lips. It reminded me of our first date, sharing a bottle of wine and some polite conversation. Of course, now we were much more well acquainted. And I felt slightly more comfortable around him, though he still sent my pulse spiraling out of control.

We sipped our wine and nibbled on delicious cheeses while Ben told me some of the vineyard’s history. It had been in the family for sixty years and run by the various relatives during that time. I liked that family values seemed to be alive and well in Italy. Big family dinners and running businesses together were the norm. It reminded me of the South in some ways. Soon the bottle was empty and Ben rose from his seat to select another from the hundreds surrounding us in the room.

I ventured over to where he was closely inspecting a bottle. “I’m guessing you’d like this rosato.” The word rolled from his tongue with his Italian pronunciation. “It’ll be fruity and light.”

“And it’s pink,” I added, brilliantly.

“Yes it is.” He smiled at me sweetly. “My favorite color.”

I raised a brow. “Pink is your favorite color?”

His hand pressed between my thighs, stroking delicately. “Pink is definitely my favorite color.” He smiled devilishly.

Whoa.

Setting the bottle down on the shelf, Ben leaned in closer, bringing his hand to the nape of my neck to pull my lips to his. He kissed along my mouth, jaw, and cheeks. Feeling lightheaded from the wine and the rush of blood pounding in my ears, I clutched his bicep. It was warm and solid under my palm.

He placed sweet, tender kisses all over my lips and neck. He took his time seducing me. It was impossible not to fall under his spell. He lingered at my neck, trailing kisses down the column of my throat, stopping at my chest. I felt his teeth graze my collarbone, and darts of pleasure shot down to my breasts, where I desperately wanted to feel his mouth. I squirmed against him, still clutching his biceps, brushing my breasts against his chest. “Ben . . . we can’t here. . . .” I breathed against his mouth.

“Are you only brave enough to tease me through text?” He trailed a finger along my jawline. “Where’s your courage, sexy girl?”

I wasn’t sexy or courageous. But Ben made me feel like maybe I could be. I glanced around at our surroundings. At least it seemed semiprivate. And if our hosts were busy with customers . . .

He dragged his fingertips down my spine, his knuckles brushing past each vertebra, lighting my skin on fire while he nipped at my lips. He was so unrushed, so sexy and in control, while I felt like I was burning up.

I gripped him through his pants and found him already rock hard. When my hand wrapped around him we each let out a simultaneous groan. Ben roughly pulled my tank top down, revealing my black lacy bra, and pressed a kiss to the center of my chest. My heart thumped steadily as I looked down and watched. His full lips traveled across my breastbone, pressing delicious kisses. He dragged down the cups of my bra, exposing my breasts to his mouth. His warm tongue circled one nipple while his eyes lifted to watch my response. His tongue flicked back and forth over the sensitive peak and I let out a soft groan. Ben responded by sucking my breast into his mouth, kissing and licking me greedily.

“You taste so fucking good, baby.” His hand caressed one breast while his tongue stroked the other. I was lost to the sensations, my panties growing damp and my knees already trembling. My fingers wound their way into his hair, holding him in place as he worshipped my breasts.

His cell phone rang, interrupting our bliss. He groaned a frustrated growl and pulled it from his pocket. “Fuck. One second, baby. It’s Fiona. Probably just wanting to check in.”

He answered the call, leaving me standing in front of him with my breasts damp and exposed. Ben watched me while he spoke, placing one hand on my waist, his thumb lightly stroking my hip. He asked about her visit to the doctor, and even though I knew he was just being polite, it frustrated me. The conversation dragged on—something about Paris Fashion Week—then Ben’s brow crinkled in concentration. He pulled the phone away from his ear and mouthed, just a few more minutes. . . .

I tried not to pout. I knew it wasn’t attractive, but I hated that Fiona had called him, interrupting our private time together. A sudden idea took hold of me.

Fueled by three glasses of wine and a healthy dose of lust, I dropped to my knees in front of him. His body went as tight as a wire. Ben’s eyes widened as I reached for his zipper and tugged it down. I couldn’t help the smile curling on my mouth. I liked that he brought out my daring side. Not only were we in a public place where someone could discover us at any time, but he was on the phone with my boss. His hand caressed my hair and he looked down at me with a wicked grin.

I slid his pants and boxers down to his knees. He wasn’t fully hard, but as my hand curled around him, stroking him slowly, I felt him thicken and lengthen in my grip. I watched his face as I worked. Pleasure overtook his features, his eyes growing dark with desire.

“Yeah, I’m still here,” he said roughly into the phone. “Sorry, what did you say?”

I wanted to claim him, to own him.

Would he tell me to stop . . . or would he get off the phone with Fiona? I wasn’t sure which was more likely, but I grinned at myself for thinking up this little experiment. I needed to see who he would choose. If she was more important to him, he’d stop me to continue his conversation. I prayed he made an excuse and let her go.

Now fully hard and long, I stroked him faster and felt his knees tremble. My mouth closed around him and a sigh broke from his lips. I wrapped both my hands around his thick length and suckled the warm flesh of his tip, using my tongue to lavish him in broad strokes before pulling him all the way to the back of my throat. I heard him saying something into the phone, but all my attention was on him. I worshipped his cock, thoroughly enjoying myself. A strangled squeak escaped the back of his throat as he fought for control.

When both of his hands cupped my jawline, I knew he’d ended the call, and I was flooded with emotion as Ben surged forward, filling my mouth. I lifted my eyes to watch him. He pushed his hips forward, invading my open mouth, and retreated, dragging himself in and out of my mouth slowly but deeply. The expression on his face was raw pleasure. His eyelids were heavy, his breathing accelerated. Soft groans escaped his parted lips each time he thrust forward and bumped the back of my throat.

“Fuck baby, that’s pretty.” Ben’s warm hands swept the hair back from my face as his eyes followed my movements. “I love seeing you with my cock buried in your mouth.”

I realized I’d never done this start to finish for him, and suddenly I wanted to make him come. I opened my mouth wider to accommodate him, still gripping his length in my hands.

“Emmy, fuck, fuck . . .” His breathing increased and a soft rumble in his chest told me he was getting close.

“Baby . . . I’m gonna . . . baby . . . fuck . . .”

Cupping the back of my head with one hand, he pressed forward as he came, sending hot jets of semen sliding down the back of my throat with minimal effort on my part. He knew what he was doing; that was for sure.

Ben reached down for me, pulling me up to my feet, and kissed my forehead before tucking himself back inside his pants. “That was . . . wow.” He smiled sweetly.

I basked at his compliment, happy and proud to have brought him pleasure. “It was okay?”

“I’m about ready to get down on one knee.” He chuckled.

There was little time to ponder what his comment meant because almost as quickly as he’d hauled me to my feet, his mouth was traveling down my throat and his hands moved to the edge of my skirt. I hadn’t realized just how wet the process of pleasuring him had gotten me, but there was no denying it. I was soaking. His large index finger invaded me, and I let out a whimper. I gripped his shoulders, kissing him greedily as he steadily brought me closer and closer.

Voices just outside the wine cellar broke our kiss as we both looked toward the door. Shit! I struggled to arrange my skirt and cover myself, but Ben’s hands stopped mine. Was he crazy? Angelo and Rosa were apparently leading their tour group through the barn.

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