“Still doesn’t tell me why you’re in here,” he pointed out, a sweeping arm indicating that he meant the living room.

“I’m waiting for room service,” she said. “And don’t you dare distract me again! I can’t go much longer without food.”


His lips quirked and he sat down in one of the other chairs, angling his body toward her. She averted her eyes when she comprehended that he was still naked. How had she not noticed that immediately?

“Do you mind covering up?” she asked, not as comfortable with his nudity as he clearly was.

“Why? Is it inappropriate for me to walk around like this?” he asked, and she clenched her teeth.

“You know it is.”

“But after last night and what we just did in the other room, I think we have probably gone way off the scale by now. This can’t be much more than a four, surely?”

“I’m not playing this game with you again,” she gritted out. “Just put on some clothes before room service gets here.”

“I don’t think this is about room service, I think you find me . . . irresistible.”

“Get over yourself,” she muttered, hating that damned smug look on his face.

He yanked one of the chair cushions out from behind his back and placed it neatly over his crotch, folding his hands over the top of the embroidered pillow.

-- Advertisement --

“What?” He challenged at her dubious look. “This worked for you earlier.”

It hadn’t really worked that well, considering the events that followed, but Cleo wasn’t about to bring that up now.

The doorbell chimed and she jumped up, grateful for the distrac-tion. She could have hugged the waiter when he pushed the cart into the room.

“Tip him,” she ordered Dante, already lifting the lids off the bowls and dishes, her knees almost buckling at the divine smells.

“Bossy little thing, aren’t you?” he murmured directly into her ear as he came to stand behind her, close enough for his body heat to penetrate the thickness of her robe. The waiter kept his eyes averted as Dante signed for the meal and added a generous tip. The waiter thanked them and beat a hasty retreat.

“You’re naked again, aren’t you?” Cleo asked without turning her head. He didn’t respond immediately. Instead, his hands dropped to her shoulders and kneaded gently. He was pressed to her body, and his growing erection started to make its presence known against her back, even through the thickness of the robe.

“Not naked again,” he denied. “More like . . . still.”

His lips dropped to her earlobe and he sucked it into his mouth, giving it a little nip in the process. Cleo moaned, and as he ground his substantial erection against her, she pushed back until he groaned appreciatively. His hand reached around and slid into the front of her robe, finding her breast with unerring accuracy. Cleo allowed him a squeeze before looking down at the food in front of her and stepping away from him.

She turned around to face him and dropped a quick glance down at his huge, straining penis, which had her salivating for a completely different reason.

“Put that thing away,” she said softly, nodding down at it decisively. “You and your insatiable penis will not be distracting me from my food this time.”

He turned away from her and she could have sworn she heard a chuckle, which just about melted her heart because Dante Damaso was not prone to humor.

“Eat your food, florecita; you’ll need the energy for later.”

He really was a cocky sonofabitch. But Cleo was beyond caring about that right now, and she carried her food—a salad, penne carbonara, and cheesecake for dessert—over to the expensive-looking coffee table in front of her chair by the window. Dante followed her and sat down, with his pillow thankfully shielding his impressive package from her again. His eyes were intent as he watched her eat, and after satisfying her immediate hunger by scarfing down the first half of her meal with great gusto, Cleo grew more and more self-conscious beneath that relentless gaze.

“Please stop staring at me,” she finally said around a mouthful of penne.

“I like looking at you.” Well, that was completely out of left field. She felt her mouth gaping, knowing that with the half-masticated pasta in there, she probably looked like a drooling idiot. She recovered quickly and shut her mouth, barely bothering to chew the rest of the mouthful before swallowing.


“I like looking at you,” he repeated. “You’re interesting.”

Well, at least he hadn’t lied and called her pretty. She knew she had a weird face. For one thing, her lips were too big in a too-narrow face. Her schoolmates had nastily called her “Juicy Lips” throughout primary school, and in high school the boys had started making all kinds of offensive suggestions about the things she should be doing with those “juicy lips.” Then there was her crooked nose, broken when she’d fallen during a dance rehearsal years ago. It wasn’t horrendous, and after the surgery to fix the damage had failed, Cleo resigned herself to accepting her slightly off-center nose. And finally there were her ridiculously big green eyes, which had people likening her to a baby doll for most of her life. Cleo hated her bug eyes; she thought they made her look continually surprised.

Her ridiculous face, combined with the petite body, often led people to underestimate her. That had been an asset while she was pursuing her dance career; she had wanted to be underestimated before “wowing” her competitors and choreographers with her talent. Choreographers and directors loved that unexpected quality about her, had raved about her “freshness” and her “quirkiness.” But now, in the real world, being underestimated led to fewer opportunities and greater frustrations.