The dining room was stunning with a long wooden mahogany table set for twenty people. The kitchen was my favorite with the tall white cabinetry and top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances that were complete with the blue and grey glass tile backsplash and a kitchen island.

The first floor had two additional bedrooms that were connected to a joint bathroom, another guest bathroom, and an office/library. The second floor had three additional large bedrooms each with a bathroom and balcony overlooking the ocean. The master suite was another favorite. It was bigger than my entire apartment.

In the middle of the master suite sat a California king mahogany sleigh bed decorated beautifully with a brown silk comforter along with blue, white, and brown accent pillows. The entire right side of the wall was all–glass, overlooking the beach. You could step out to the terrace where a hammock, table and two chairs were neatly placed.

On the left side of the room, a doorway led into a sanctuary spa-style bathroom. A Jacuzzi was in one corner surrounded by brown and beige marbled tiles. A steam shower big enough to fit six people was set beside the tub. On the opposite side was a long two-sink vanity. The sinks were the shape of large white bowls with stainless steel modern fountains. Above the sinks were two matching oval-shaped stainless framed mirrors. The toilet sat alone behind a wall. Behind a sliding door was a walk-in closet. I was surprised by the lack of clothing, but then again it was a vacation home.

“You can sleep in here, Mia; I’ll take the room next door.” Marcus said, giving me the master suite.

It was beautiful, but I could not possibly take his room. “I couldn’t. I’ll be fine in another room.”

“No, you’ll sleep in here, and that’s final.” I nodded.

“Come. Let’s get you fed.” Grabbing my hand, he led me back down to the kitchen. He sat me down onto a stool by the island. I folded my hands as I watched him take out chicken breasts, mushrooms, butter, olive oil, some seasonings, and flour. “Are you cooking?” I asked astonished. He walked over to a cabinet and removed two wine glasses. “Yes, I’m cooking for you.”

Slamming my hand against my chest, I let my mouth drop open. “Wow, I’m surprised Mr. DeLuca, you can cook?”

“I guess you’ll be the judge of that.”

I laughed. “Did I tell you that I’m starving? Maybe we should have pizza on standby, just in case.” He shook his head.

Removing red and white bottles of wine from the hidden wine refrigerator behind one of the cabinet doors, he held both up to me, and I pointed to the red. Opening a drawer, he removed an electronic wine opener. Then he poured the red wine into both glasses. He walked over to me and set my glass down. Leaning over, he placed his soft lips against my forehead; the gesture made me smile from ear-to-ear. “Sit back, relax, and watch me cook, baby.”

Walking back to the opposite side of the island, I thought of him cooking naked. Now that would be something. He removed a few more items from the cabinet and washed his hands before preparing the food.

Every muscle in his arms and chest flexed with each chop and slice, making him even more attractive. “Who knew that watching a sexy man cook could be such a turn-on?” I grabbed my wine and took a few sips.

He looked at me with a crooked grin. “So you think I’m sexy, huh?” Slowly I nodded and continued gulping down my wine. “So I smell good, and I’m sexy. Good to know.”

“And I’ll let you know if you can add “great cook” to that list as well.” I winked. He laughed. It was an adorable laugh. He seemed so carefree and worriless, as if he were in his element: enjoying his surroundings, cooking, and drinking wine. Watching him like this, I didn’t see him as the powerful attorney of Boston. I saw him as a twenty-nine-year-old man enjoying life.

After slicing two chicken breasts in half, he lightly rubbed flour on the four pieces. A little salt, pepper and other seasonings and they were placed on a plate. Placing a pan over medium heat on the stove, he poured a little olive oil and two scoops of butter into it. He took a few sips of wine, waiting for the butter to melt.

I felt buzzed from the one glass of wine since I drank it on an empty stomach. As if reading my mind, he walked over to the fridge and removed a small tray of cheese, crackers, and grapes. He placed it in front of me and popped a cube of the cheddar cheese into his mouth. He winked before returning to the stove. The grapes were mouthwatering, and my stomach growled after I teased it with just a few. I look up embarrassed, but from what I could tell, he didn’t notice.

While eating a few crackers, I watched him stab the chicken breasts with a fork and place them into the sizzling pan. I poured each of us another glass of wine. “So how did you learn to cook?”

He smiled. “My father was very big on cooking. He loved it. Every Sunday he enjoyed spending time with my mother, and he helped her prepare a huge feast. On days my mother felt sick, he let me help…I wanted to help. He made it seem like so much fun the way he would throw salt behind his shoulder before placing it in a recipe or grab a whole chicken, wobbling it across the counter making chicken noises. He was always happy in the kitchen.” His eyes gleamed with the memory of his father. You could tell he’d been very close with him. I imagined Marcus as a little boy with dark brown, messy hair and big brown eyes and the most adorable dimple, sitting on a counter laughing at his father’s goofy ways.

“You seem to have lots of good memories of your father.”

He nodded as he worked his way around the kitchen. “I do. I couldn’t have asked for a better father; he made us his priority, and family meant everything to him. The best memories I have of him were in this house.” He flipped the chicken breast in the pan, revealing a golden crisp top, allowing the other side to cook.

I glanced around the house again, it seemed so new. I recalled that he mentioned his father passing away when he was in high school. “Really?”

“Yeah, he would bring us here several times during the summer. Sometimes my brother didn’t want to come, so he would just bring me. I can remember as far back as five years old, and we would go on the beach, collect seashells, watch movies in the den, and play games.” He smiled. I didn’t remember seeing a den, but noticing a door in the far right of the kitchen, I assumed it led to the hidden room.

“The house seems so modern, did you remodel?”

“When my father passed away, my mother wanted to put it up for sale; she said it was too difficult for her to come here because of all the memories. I begged her not too…I told her I wanted to keep it. She didn’t want to at first, and my brother didn’t care for it. I had so many memories with him here I couldn’t give it up. She didn’t sell it, but we never came back here. On my eighteenth birthday, I had access to my share of my father’s estate, and my mother gave me the keys. I flew here the first chance I had. It was abandoned, uncared for. I extended the home to make it bigger and modernized it with the exception of the den of course. I didn’t touch one thing in that room; it’s exactly how my father left it, except for the TV. The old one was broken, so I purchased a new one.”

Tags: E.L. Montes Disastrous Billionaire Romance