To celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of Naughty Nights Press, I thought I'd share the opening of my nest novella with you - it's a brand new suspense/thriller with a very sexy edge!
As the rings went through, Francesco Donati smiled, his mind preoccupied with what still lay ahead of him before he could leave the office. His team had come through another tough assignment, and they’d asked him to join them for drinks. Much as he would have preferred to go directly home, the tenuous bond that was slowly being forged with Carl, Daniel, Claire and Alexa was important, and it deserved his time and attention as much as his personal life presently did. The rings stopped when the receiver was picked up in his apartment.
“Hi, I wasn’t sure you’d be there.”
He smiled when Maree Casinni murmured his name, her voice husky with sleep. The flight into
from South America had been a long one, and
she was obviously still jet-lagged.
“Come stai, caro?”
“Hard day,” Francesco assured her.
“Mmmmm...” The sheets rustled, and Donati could practically feel her stretching. “How much longer will you be?”
“About an hour.”
She groaned slightly.
“I may have to make a short stop on the way,” he added, his smile still in place.
“Franc,” she said quietly, her voice an appealing mix of interest and frustration.
“Half hour, no more, tesoro,” he promised.
“Ti amo, Francesco Donati,” Maree told him in a seductive whisper.
“Yeah, me too,” he answered instantly.
“It’s been too long,” she said, voice quiet, thoughtful.
“I know,” he agreed.
“I miss you, Franc,” Maree decreed, the longing unmistakable.
“I miss you, too,” he told her.
“Hurry home,” she ordered with a throaty laugh, then the line went dead.
Donati’s smile deepened with pleasure and he replaced the receiver in its cradle, then reached out to drag his computer’s keyboard closer.
* * *
“You don’t really have to leave already?” Carl asked when he saw Donati reaching behind him to drag his leather coat off the back of the chair he’d been occupying for less than an hour.
Francesco smiled, his amusement genuine when faced with the varying degrees of suspicion in the four pairs of eyes now waiting for his answer.
“I’ve already been longer than I meant to be,” he said quietly. “Listen, I appreciate you including me in this, but I really do have to go.”
“Who is she?” Alexa asked, her large blue eyes sparkling with teasing and real curiosity about his answer.
“She?” Carl interjected. “Are we only now learning about a Signora Donati?” he wondered with a broad grin. The truth was, they didn’t know if Donati was married, involved, or really the loner he appeared to be. For all they knew, the man could be gay.
“No,” Francesco replied, not telling them anything. They actually did know Maree, but it had been nearly six months since they’d worked with her.
“No what?” Daniel asked, turning his attention back to the conversation after paying for a round of drinks. “Hey, I just paid for this,” he added, indicating the five drinks that had just replaced empty glasses on the table. “You can’t leave now.”
Francesco looked from face to face, saw the same appeal in all of them, and he relented. He sat down and picked up his glass, silently toasting the team.
* * *
Donati stared carefully at the security panel inside his front door and punched in his personal code after only a slight hesitation. He glanced at the heavy silver watch on his right wrist and winced at the lateness of the hour. He’d promised Maree he’d be home about four hours earlier than it was now. He glanced around his apartment, still lit by a single lamp left burning in the living room. Her coat was draped over the back of a dining room chair, and he saw her keys on the table. The rooms were quiet, but oddly comforting in their present tranquility. He could feel her presence in his home, and it felt good.
Francesco hung up his coat and headed straight through to the large bedroom at the rear of the spacious flat. He stood in the doorway for several moments, simply watching her sleep. The bed linen was only pulled partway up, and the air conditioning unit was whirring away, making the place a few degrees cooler than he liked it. She’d always preferred the cold to heat, though, and he made no adjustment to the temperature. Moving with customary silence and grace, he crossed to the bathroom and went in.
When he returned a short while later, she was no longer in the bed. He heard the soft sounds of music drifting from the living room and headed toward it. Italian opera Arias, she adored them, especially the weepy romantic ones… When he reached the room, he leaned on the doorframe and his entire mood was one of satisfaction and pleasure. She was lighting candles, her nightgown was silk and lace panels left no room for speculation that there was anything under the gown… She was curvaceous and sexy, every motion fluid and graceful.
The mane of golden-highlighted red hair that fell is massive waves to her waist was one of the sexiest things about her. She hadn’t done more than brush it and let it tumble in disarray around her shoulders and down her back.
“Feel like dinner?” She handed him a steaming mug of coffee, then went back to the counter to continue setting the table.
“Not really, did you cook?”
She laughed. “Not tonight. I knew you’d be late.” She grinned and walked over to him, the heeled slippers making the sway of her hips even more evocative. She put her arms around his neck and pulled him down to meet her kiss. It was endless, passion and love, mingled with discovery and need. She knew she tasted like the sparkling wine she’d been sipping, he tasted like his last beer.
“You and I are like explosives, Francesco,” she murmured against his mouth, when they finally eased back on the kiss but didn’t lose their contact.
The sense of danger was returning rapidly. Maree knew he was waiting to see if she’d be brave enough to continue being honest with him, despite her fears. They’d left a lot of things unsaid before she’d gone to her last assignment. She slipped from his arms and walked to the window that overlooked the street where she’d almost run away from him earlier, though he hadn’t known it, of course. She was suddenly thinking that it might have been better had she kept going....
©2013 Denysé Bridger
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