Inside the musty-smelling building, he tossed their backpacks to the ground. Then he shoved her against the wall and leaned heavily into her. His mouth closed over hers again and devoured her lips.
Once again, the mysterious force that had drawn them together swept them up in its fierce tide. Their passion was like a wave that took charge of them, lifting them higher and higher and then shattering them against an unknown shore that was part of a strange, thrilling world they’d never known before and felt lost in.
The moist heat of his breath on her nipple through cotton made her heart skip. She was aching, dying for him as he pulled her T-shirt up and her jeans down. As eager as he was, she fumbled for his zipper. When she’d opened it and released him, her hand closed around him for a moment, every long inch of him, causing his breath to come ever more harshly. Then her hand fell away, and she stood on her tiptoes, arching herself toward him. He leaned closer, cupped her buttocks and plunged inside her.
Clinging to him, her nails dug into his back. He drove faster and faster until she began to weep. Then he shuddered and she quickly followed, and for a timeless moment they were joined in all ways, physically and emotionally.
Long seconds later, his black head slumped over hers. She felt herself falling back into herself, wondering once again what was happening to her. Sex had never been anything like this before.
“Cara, Cara….” His deep voice was infinitely tender. “If only…”
She was still gasping for every breath when he lowered his mouth to her throat and kissed the pulse beating madly there. Through her tears of exultation, she laughed a little, for she was so close to some edge, she was both happy and sad.
“I will never forget you.” Clumsily, she wiped her eyes and then touched his cheek with her damp palm.
He pulled her close, kissed her tears away, then simply held her while the balmy sea breeze rustled the leaves of the lemon trees outside the farmhouse.
“Two days. That’s all we have,” he said in a tortured voice that indicated he never wanted to let her go.
“Two nights, too.”
He began to kiss her throat again and then her lips, murmuring more Italian endearments that she didn’t understand. And, as before, their desire built until the white heat of passion melted everything away once again, except the searing fact that they’d been made for each other.
Never again could she go to bed with another man without comparing him to Nico. Would she ever be able to fall in love again, to marry?
“And I wasn’t even good at sex before,” she said.
“I don’t want to know about before,” Nico said, his voice so harsh he would have frightened her if she had not felt exactly the same way.
Never before had she felt so completely possessive about a man. She wanted him to be hers, only hers, for the rest of her life.
But what good were such feelings when she was going home the day after tomorrow?
“I…I wish you were a gigolo!”
“No, you don’t.”
She pulled her jeans up and her shirt down. “Don’t you see, I thought I was safe with you.”
“Safe? With one of those guys?” He wasn’t smiling as he arranged his own shirt and jeans.
“I couldn’t possibly care about a gigolo. I just wanted…”
“Sex,” he finished, his voice dark. “Something simple. I know, because all I wanted was to use you to forget my wife.”
“But this is too much,” she said.
“For me, too, but it is what it is.”
His expression was growing gloomier by the second. She sensed in him a bleak determination to separate from the powerful force that had taken them both over, to separate from her. Forever. She half expected him to run down the trail.
Pain tore at her heart.
“Men always want to leave me,” she said. “My sister says it’s because I’m too bossy.”
“Believe me, I’m used to bossy.” When his lips curved in amusement, she wondered who had caused that smile. “I would never let you go if I had a choice.”
“Are you engaged or something?”
He went still as death.
“Is that it?”
He didn’t deny it.
“That’s it. Oh, my God! You’re engaged! And you’re with me! You told me about your wife to win my sympathy. The real truth is that you’re with me because you’re having second thoughts about the woman you’re about to marry.”
“No!” But he looked away. “Not exactly.”
“Listen to me. I love you.”
He looked so stunned by this admission, she almost believed him.
“No, you don’t. So don’t lie. You’re going to marry somebody else.”