Home > Bound by Duty (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #2)(9)

Bound by Duty (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #2)(9)
Author: Cora Reilly

I lay on my back, waiting for him to do something, nervous and excited and scared. I had to stop myself from making the first move. That would have been too forward.

“I have an early day tomorrow,” he said simply and then he turned the light off and rolled away from me. I was glad the darkness hid my shock and disappointment. I waited for a few more minutes for him to change his mind, to claim his rights, but he didn’t. He lay beside me quiet and unmoving, his back a few inches from my arm.

Hurt welled in me and I rolled over, away from him. Dante was into women, so why didn’t he want to sleep with me? What was wrong with me that after two wedding nights I was still as untouched as the virgin snow? I wasn’t sure I could go through this again. I wanted to experience lust, wanted to be desired. With Antonio, I’d known trying to seduce him was a losing battle from the start, but with Dante I had to try at least. Even if he still loved his wife, he was a man. He had desires and I was perfectly capable of giving him what he physically needed, even if he kept his emotions locked away.

I listened to his calm breathing. Although we weren’t touching, I could feel the heat radiating off of him. He wasn’t an iceman. There had to be a way to crack his mask.






Dante wasn’t in bed when I woke the next morning. His side of the bed was cold as I pressed my palm against it. Forcing my anger down, I made sure the door was closed before I slipped my hand into my panties. Over the years with Antonio, I’d learned to give myself pleasure with my fingers. I buried my face in Dante’s pillow, inhaling his musky scent and imagined he was touching me as I stroked myself to an orgasm. Afterward, I lay on my back for a while, staring at the ceiling, wanting to cry and laugh at the same time.

I slipped out of bed and headed into the bathroom and took my time making myself presentable. I chose a form-fitting brown dress that ended above my knees and a cute red cashmere cardigan. Even if Dante didn’t care, I felt more comfortable if I put an effort into my outfits. I left the bedroom, hesitated and looked down the long corridor, wondering what hid behind the other doors. I’d have to explore at another time. Instead I headed down the staircase. I wasn’t sure if I was expected downstairs for breakfast. I didn’t know my new home, didn’t know the people who worked here, and worst of all: didn’t know the master of the house, my husband.

The double doors were ajar and I approached them, then lingered in front of them for a moment before I walked inside. I’d expected Dante to be gone already and was surprised when I found him sitting at the dining table in the vast living and dining room. As with the rest of the house, the floor was dark wood, the walls light beige, and the furniture dark and imposing.

The newspaper hid Dante’s face but he lowered it when he heard me entering. My brown heels clicked on the hardwood floor as I approached the table slowly, unsure of how to act around him. Antonio had been my friend first, and then my husband, but there was nothing between Dante and me. We were strangers.

The table was set for two people, but my plate wasn’t next to Dante, instead it had been set at the other end of the table. I stared at the distance between Dante and me, considering to ignore the set-up and to sit beside Dante, but then I lost courage and took my seat at the end of the table.

“I hope you slept well?” Dante asked in his smooth voice. He hadn’t put down the newspaper, still held onto it, and I had a feeling it would come up as a barrier between us again soon.

Was he being serious? “Too well,” I said, not able to stop the jibe. Didn’t he realize I’d expected a bit more from our first night together?

“I still have to prepare for a meeting with Luca. He’ll be here soon as he heads back to New York tonight, but I told him you’d be delighted to keep Aria company while we discuss business.”

I doubted Aria was in need of my company. She had her family here. This was a way to keep me occupied, nothing else. If he’d wanted a naïve wife, maybe he should have agreed to marry someone younger. But I liked Aria and it would have been rude to retract the invitation, so I smiled tightly. “That’s very considerate of you.” Sarcasm tinged my words. Now that we were married, it would be more difficult to keep up the polite mask.

Dante met my gaze, and there was something in them that made me lower my eyes and grab a Croissant. I wasn’t hungry, but it was better than doing nothing. The rustling of paper drew my attention back to the other end of the table. As expected, Dante had disappeared behind his newspaper. Was this how he wanted our marriage to go? He hadn’t even showed me around the house yet. “Will you give me a tour of the premises? I can hardly host guests without knowing my way around the house.”

Dante lowered his newspaper again and folded it on the table. I felt the unreasonable urge to rip it into shreds. “You are right.”

Excitement bubbled up in me but quickly dissipated at his next words. “Gaby!”

A moment later a door half hidden behind a massive cupboard opened and a short teenage girl entered the room and headed toward Dante. “Yes, sir, how can I help you?”

I had trouble masking my surprise. Gaby looked like she belonged in high school. How could she be the maid in this house?

“My wife,” Dante said with a nod in my direction. Gaby turned toward me briefly with a shy smile. “Would like to get a tour of the house. I’m busy, so please show her around.”

Gaby nodded and walked toward me. “Would you like to go now?” Her voice was hesitant, but I could see curiosity in her eyes. I swallowed the last crumb of my Croissant and poured coffee into my mug. “Yes, please. I’m going to take my coffee with me if that’s okay?”

Gaby’s eyes grew wide and she darted a look toward Dante, who was back to reading his newspaper. He didn’t look busy to me. If he had time to read the news why couldn’t he show me around? But I wouldn’t cause a scene in front of Gaby. Dante must have felt Gaby and me watching him expectantly because he raised his eyes. “This is your home now, Valentina. You can do whatever you want.”

So he had been listening to our conversation. And I wondered if what he said was really the case. I wished I were more courageous so I could test the theory. I turned back to Gaby and cradled my mug in my hands. “Then let’s go.”

She nodded and led me toward the door she’d come through earlier. “We could start in the kitchen and staff room?”

“Do whatever you think is best,” I said. “You know the house better than I do.”

Again a shy smile flitted across her face. Behind the door was a narrow corridor, which led into a vast kitchen. Potts hung from hooks attached to the ceiling. Everything was stainless steel and it reminded me more of a canteen kitchen than a place where family meals were prepared. A round older woman stood at the oven and checked the temperature. Inside what looked like a lamb roast was cooking. I assumed this was the cook, Zita. She turned around as she heard us enter and wiped her hands on her white apron. Her black hair had gray streaks in it and was secured in a hair net atop her head. I guessed she was in her mid-fifties.

“I’m giving our mistress a tour of the house,” Gaby said excitedly. I startled at the use of mistress. That sounded like I was a whip wielding dominatrix. Maybe Dante was comfortable being called ‘Sir’, but I definitely couldn’t live with ‘mistress’.

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