‘Since we met...’ he said again, and his voice was low, rich and smoky.
And she lowered herself a little more, and he felt her, tight and hot.
She wanted him so badly but could not see that last bit through. ‘Raul...’
There was a plea in her voice again, and he heeded it and took control and thrust hard.
Lydia sobbed as he seared into her. Everything went black, and not just because she’d screwed her eyes closed. She thought she might faint, but he took her hips and held her still and waited as best he could for her to open her eyes.
They opened, and she thought she would never get used to it—ever—but then her breathing evened. And when she opened her eyes again, as she had on the canal, this time they met his.
Raul’s hand went to the very base of her spine. His touch was sensual and she moved a little, slowly, acclimatising to the feel of him within her.
She was sweaty and hot as his hands moved to her buttocks and he started to thrust.
She wanted him to slow down, yet he was moving slowly.
And then Lydia wanted him never to stop.
Pain had left and in its place was a craving, an intense desire for more of what built within.
His hands had guided her into rhythm, but now she found her own. And it was slower than they could account for, for their bodies were frantic, but they relished the intense pleasure. Raul felt the oiled and yet tight grip of her, and each thrust brought him deeper into the mire, to savour or release. Lydia was lost to sensation. His breath in her ear was like music as it combined with the energies concentrated within her.
Her calf ached, but she did not have the will to move it, and then her inner thighs tensed as she parted around him.
The centre of her felt pulled so tight it was almost a spasm, and then she was lost for control and he held her still. And then, when she had thought he could fill her no more, Raul swelled and thrust—rapid and fast.
Lydia screamed, just a little, but it was a sound she had never made before and it came from a place she had never been.
Her legs coiled tight around him, her body hot and pulsing as he filled her.
‘Since we met,’ he said as she rested her head on his shoulder and felt the last flickers of their union fade, ‘I’ve wanted you.’
‘And I you,’ Lydia said, for it was the truth.
And then he kissed her down from what felt like the ceiling.
‘Res...’ Raul said, and then halted and changed what he had been about to say. ‘Rest.’
And she lay there in his arms, silent.
Lydia knew there could be no going back from what had just taken place.
And it had nothing to do with innocence lost.
How the hell did she go back to her life without him?
A GORGEOUS CHANDELIER, creating prisms of light in every shade of spring, was the first thing Lydia saw when she awoke.
There was a long peal of bells ringing out in the distance, but it was a closer, more occasional, deep, sonorous chime that held her attention. It rang low, soft and yet clear, till the sound slowly faded. When it struck again she remembered gliding underneath the Bridge of Sighs with his kiss.
Lydia knew the legend.
She had stood by the bridge with one of her school friends and struck it from her study sheet.
Eternal love and bliss had not applied to her then and it could not now, Lydia knew.
And so she stared up instead and remembered her vow to not show the hurt when it ended.
Pinks, lemons and minty greens dotted the ceiling, and she saw that the beads were actually flowers that threw little prisms of light across the room.
He was awake.
Stretching languorously beside her.
Lydia relished the moment.
His hand slid to her hips and pulled her closer, and rather than ponder over the fact that soon she would be gone, Lydia chose to keep things light.
‘I never pictured you as a man who might have a chandelier in the bedroom.’
Raul gave a low laugh.
He was a mystery, but not hers to solve, and so she did her best to maintain a stiff upper lip.
‘A floral chandelier at that,’ Lydia added. Her eyes could not stop following the beams of light. ‘Though I have to say it’s amazing.’
‘It drives me crazy,’ Raul admitted. ‘When I first moved in I considered having it taken down, or changing the master bedroom, but the view of the canal is the best from here.’
‘Oh, you can’t have it taken down,’ Lydia said.
‘Easy for you to say. I feel like I am having laser surgery on my eyes some mornings.’
Lydia smiled and carried on watching the light show.
She never wanted to move.
Or rather she did, but only to the beat of their lovemaking.
His hand was making circles on her stomach and he was hard against her thigh.
Lydia didn’t want to check the time just to find out how little time they had left.