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Seduced, Page 16

Melody Anne

  She just gazed at him with her eyebrow raised. Men! He was the one who’d been wanting to play. OK, she’d admit she wasn’t doing anything to stop him.

  They worked side by side the rest of the afternoon building a giant fire pit and getting their camp ready. As they settled in for the night, Lia lay in Shane’s arms, wondering whether this would be their last night lost at sea — well, lost on a deserted island in the middle of the sea.

  It would be good to be rescued, but the worry of what would come next wouldn’t leave her troubled mind. She wanted to stay with him, get to know him, learn more about his life. But was she ready for what he wanted? Were they at the same place in their lives? Or were they bound to have only a day or a few days together, and then go their separate ways?

  She just didn’t know. Falling asleep wasn’t easy, but finally she drifted off, Shane’s heartbeat sounding in her ear.

  Chapter Twenty-Five


  “We’re so very glad to have you here, Ms. Palazzo. I hope you will enjoy working for the embassy. ”

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  “Thank you. I’ve gone through all of the materials and feel I’m ready to do this job well. I’m excited to be here,” she answered her new boss, Mr. Romano.

  It had been only a few days since she’d slipped from Ian’s room, and she couldn’t believe the lingering ache that leaving him had left inside her. When she’d turned to look back at the room one last time, she’d paused, feeling an overwhelming need to run back to Ian’s bed and wait for him for just a little bit longer. Knowing she was being foolish, she’d shut the door with a final click and walked away, not allowing herself to turn around again.

  She’d been with the man for a mere week, but it was a week she’d never forget. There had just been something so magnetic about him. And the sex. Oh, the sex had been out of this world.

  It was too bad she’d experienced something so spectacular at such a young age. She had a feeling it would be hard to find it again. But she had no interest, really, in looking for it right now. She was on a mission — a mission to prove she wasn’t a little girl anymore, to prove she was a responsible adult.

  Her new boss left her in her cubicle, not even an office, with a ton of forms and documents that a monkey could take care of. It was almost ridiculous.

  So here she sat at the U. S. embassy in Italy, behind a desk, wearing a respectable outfit, and she was bored out of her mind. She’d be handling a lot of paperwork in the back, not even getting to visit with people, but just stuck behind a desk.

  That’s what grown-ups do, she reminded herself. Not every job was full of glamour and mystery. She needed to accept that. If she were to run home just because she was bored, she’d be proving to everyone that she hadn’t grown up, at all. That was unacceptable.

  No. She would do her job, and on the weekends she would just have as much fun as possible. Explore the beaches of Italy, travel to nearby countries, and meet new people. It had been a while since she’d connected with people she knew in this part of the world, but she was sure a few phone calls would have her reuniting with longtime friends.

  The only problem was that they were all upper-class friends, friends whose idea of fun was to attend lavish parties and rub shoulders with only the wealthy. At one time that had been enough for her, but she was bored with the very idea.

  She had changed. She wanted to be just a regular person, live on her salary alone, and make a life for herself just as her brother did. OK, so he made billions, but who was counting?

  Halfway through the day her phone rang and she picked it up with relief.

  “How are you settling in, Rachel?”

  Rachel smiled at the worried tone of her brother’s voice. Even if he was slightly — OK, a lot — overbearing, she adored him.

  “It’s wonderful here,” she lied, putting as much enthusiasm in her voice as she could muster.

  “Then why are you lying?”

  She’d never been a good liar. Rafe was thousands of miles away and could still hear the boredom in her voice. She’d have to work on her acting.

  “I’m not fibbing, Rafe. I am just very busy now, and don’t have time for personal calls,” she said a bit haughtily, though she didn’t really want to get off the phone.

  “Have it your way. I’m making a trip that way in a couple of weeks. Make sure you pencil me in for lunch. ”

  “Of course I will. We can swing over and visit with Lia,” she said, excited at the thought. Her sister wasn’t too far away, but on a nearby island while working on her resort project.

  “I haven’t heard from Lia in several days. I’m beginning to grow concerned,” he said at the mention of their sister’s name.

  “I’m sure she’s fine, Rafe. You know that Lia and I can take care of ourselves perfectly well,” Rachel told him.

  “It’s not like her. She usually returns my calls. If I don’t hear from her in the next couple of days, then I’ll have to move up my trip. ”

  Lia would kill him if he started treating her like a kid again. Rachel decided that she’d better change the subject. Lia would owe her big later.

  “Have you gotten Ari to speak to you yet?” That would get his hackles up. Rachel loved Ari even more for her ability to resist her big brother. Rachel didn’t normally like the women Rafe dated, but she’d bonded instantly with Ari, and she’d been sad when the two of them had broken up.

  But she had supported her friend, especially knowing what an ass and a tyrant Rafe could be. Ari was too good a person to deal with that. Rachel did hope the two of them could eventually work it out, but the more time that passed, the more she doubted a happy ending was in store.

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  “Not that it’s any of your business, but we have spoken,” he replied smugly.

  “From what I hear, you are stalking her in the classroom,” she replied lightly.

  “I just chose to take a history class. That isn’t stalking,” he said. “And how do you know? Are you gossiping about me?”

  “Always, Rafe. That’s what girls do best. Plus, according to Ari, you came in and asked her on a date in front of the whole class and then refused to leave. She also said your homework leaves something to be desired. ” Rachel loved having the upper hand with her big brother — a guy who always tried to be in control.

  “That is nonsense. I don’t fail at anything. My homework has been impeccable,” he countered, making Rachel laugh out loud. Of course he’d ignored her other comments.

  “OK. Sure. Fine. But I think I’ll believe Ari on this one. ”

  “When did you speak to her?” He was trying to sound casual, but not quite pulling it off.

  “We speak at least a couple of times a week. ”

  “Since when?” Rafe blurted out.

  Rachel knew he was surprised to be out of the loop with something that was going on in his family.

  “Since forever. Just because you were a fool and broke her heart didn’t mean that I was going to end our friendship. I really like Ari,” Rachel said.

  “I knew you still spoke to her, but I didn’t realize it was so much. You could have told me. ”

  “Ari didn’t want you to know. I respected what she wanted,” Rachel said.

  “I’m your brother,” he reminded her.

  As if she needed reminding. Rafe wasn’t someone you could forget, whether you were related to him or not.

  “And I love you to pieces, but I don’t think I could stand dating you, Rafe. You are arrogant, pigheaded, and domineering. I would have knocked you out on the first date,” she told him pleasantly.

  “I don’t know why I bother calling if you are just going to insult me,” he grumbled.

  “Because you love me more than anything. Just like I love you. Don’t worry; I have faith that you will someday pull your head out. I hope to have Ari for my sister-in-law. I ad
ore her, which is really something because I’ve despised every other woman you’ve ever been with. They were nothing more than puppets for you to play with. ”

  “I wouldn’t go that far, Rachel. And I am considered a great catch,” he told her stiffly.

  “Ha,” said Rachel, starting to giggle.

  “I have a conference call in a few minutes, so I have to run. If you hear from Lia, tell her to call me immediately,” he said. He was obviously unhappy with what Rachel had to say, but also worried about Lia. He might be overbearing, but he did love his sisters.

  At the genuine worry in Rafe’s tone, Rachel softened. Was it really so bad to have a family member worry so much about you? No. She and Lia were lucky to have such a good big brother.

  “I will try to get ahold of her today. I love you, Rafe. ”

  “Love you too, squirt. ”

  Rachel hung up the phone and looked at the clock. It was only one. She had four hours to go. She just hoped she could make it. The worst part was that it was Monday. Her week had just begun.

  “Hi, Rachel, just checking up to see how you are doing. ” Rachel looked up to find Harold standing in her doorway, and it made her smile.

  He’d only been at the embassy for a short time, too, and seemed like a nice enough guy. It felt like he was flirting with her, since he always seemed to be around, but she just couldn’t tell.

  “It’s another day,” she responded, trying her best to give him a positive smile.

  “How about we grab a bite to eat after work? We can compare notes about who has the more boring of the jobs,” he said with a wink.

  It was too bad that Rachel wasn’t attracted to him. Still, she wanted to make new friends and this was a great place to start.

  “I’d love to, Harold. I’ll meet you out front,” she said, trying to be friendly without being too friendly. She hoped she was pulling it off. With a wave, he disappeared and Rachel looked back down at her computer. It was now only five after one. The day wasn’t dragging out any less slowly.

  As she began responding to an email message, she reminded herself once again that she was a grown-up. If she told herself this enough, maybe her day wouldn’t drag on so painfully.

  Somehow she doubted it.

  Chapter Twenty-Six


  Lia stretched her arms out groggily and smiled. As usual, the tent was too hot — the bright morning sun blazed through the open flaps, and Shane’s body raised the temperature to supernova levels. But, she didn’t care. She felt content, happy, and ready to face another day on their deserted island.

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  She slipped from Shane’s embrace, getting away for once without waking him, and moved outside the tent, enjoying the warm rays shining down on her. Deciding to take a swim in the now calm ocean water, she stripped off her clothes and walked in.

  By the time she emerged, she found Shane sitting on the beach with a smile and breakfast of fresh fruit and the last of their trail mix.

  “Now that’s a sight I could be happy to start my day off with for the rest of my life,” he said as he stood and met her at the water’s edge.

  Lia’s heart stuttered at his words. She knew he was simply flirting, but the thought of spending every morning with him until the end of time sounded like perfection to her. She didn’t know how she was going to go back to the real world when this was over.

  Her mornings would never be the same again.

  “You’re a pretty great sight yourself,” Lia murmured as she came up to him and ran her wet hands along his bare chest.

  Yowza. All solid muscle covered by tight, dark skin. She could touch and taste him every single day and still not get enough. Their bodies fit together perfectly.

  At the instant lust filling Shane’s eyes, Lia almost forgot about her hunger; only the growl of her stomach reminded her that it had needs, too. She decided that men shouldn’t be allowed to have shirts. The only garment they needed to wear was low-slung trousers.

  There was nothing sexier, in her humble opinion, than a man in only a pair of semi-loose pants. Bare chest and bare feet. Yum.

  Looking even more delectable with his couple of days’ growth of facial hair, he made her want to drag him to the sand. They’d made love so many times, it was almost ridiculous, but she wanted more and more and more no matter how much she was getting. She was becoming a nymphomaniac.

  As his hands reached around her, she felt her ni**les instantly harden in anticipation of his touch. The heck with food. She was hungry for something else entirely.

  Shane dropped to his knees, the water lapping at her feet and soaking his thin pants. Lifting his hands up, he cupped her br**sts, holding them gently as he gazed upon her.

  “You are so beautiful, Lia. Seeing you come out of the ocean completely bare is the most erotic sight I’ve ever witnessed — you are my Aphrodite, my goddess of love. No, don’t laugh, my lovely Lia. I don’t think I will ever tire of looking upon your perfection. ” He leaned forward and ran his tongue over one of her ni**les, making her stomach drop and her legs shake.

  She gripped his head to keep herself from falling over.

  Moving to her other side, he circled her nipple with his tongue before sucking it into his mouth and gently nipping the sensitive peak. Gasping with pleasure, Lia wobbled before him. No problem. She wasn’t going to remain on her feet for much longer.

  Fire raced through her veins and her heart thundered behind her br**sts. Fisting her hands in his hair, she tugged him closer, wanting more of what he was giving.

  When he reached down and thrust two fingers inside of her wet heat, her body responded instantly, shooting her over the edge and making her shake with pleasure. As the last tremor died down, she sank into the sand in front of him, grasping his head and kissing him for all she was worth.

  “Thank you,” she whispered as her tongue traced the edges of his lips.

  “It was my pleasure,” he said with a sigh as he caressed her back, not in a hurry to find his own release.

  “No, it was all mine. Now, it’s your turn,” she told him as she pushed him backward.

  Catching him off guard, Shane fell against the sand, the gentle waves lapping at his legs. She grabbed the waistband of his pants and tugged. Shane lifted up, making the impossible chore easier, and soon she was looking upon his beautifully engorged erection.

  “You are so breathtaking, Shane,” she said in awe.

  With the sun shining down on his perfect body, she lifted her hand and circled it around his straining member, rubbing slowly up and down, delighted when he groaned his approval.

  “Ah, Lia” was all he managed to say.

  Kneeling before him, Lia bent down and ran her tongue along his stomach, enjoying the touch of salt on her taste buds. Shane quivered beneath her open kisses, his stomach flexing as her tongue followed the hard planes of his abs.

  “I could taste you all day,” she sighed.

  “Damn, Lia. I can’t even think when you are doing that. What you do to me should be a crime,” he groaned, his head thrown back as she continued rubbing her hand up and down his shaft, using its natural lubrication to help her glide more easily.

  “We’ll see exactly how far I can take you,” she teased him as she moved further down his body, her head poised above his hardness.

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  “No, Lia,” he said, reaching for her head.

  “It’s my turn, Shane. You just lie back and enjoy. ”

  She didn’t give him any more time to protest; her mouth descended and she covered the top of his erection with her warm mouth. His body jerked from the sand as her tongue ran along the sensitive head of his arousal.

  He cried out when she dipped low, taking as much of him into her mouth as she could before retreating, then pushing back down again.

  As the water lapped at their feet, she found her r
hythm, gripping the bottom of his shaft tightly in her fist while her mouth moved quickly up and down him.

  “Lia, you have to stop,” he cried out, but he wasn’t doing anything to stop her.

  She quickened her pace, wanting to feel his pleasure explode on her tongue and slide down her throat. She’d never allowed another man to do that, somehow thinking it was too intimate, too much.

  She pushed as far as she could, feeling his thick shaft enter her throat and fighting against her body’s desire to push it back out. Then she felt warmth rush against her throat as Shane tensed.

  “Lia!” he cried as his body shook and he groaned deeply. She pushed against him, taking him in just a bit farther as he released his pleasure inside her mouth, his erection pulsing between her lips.

  When she couldn’t breathe, she moved slowly back up his staff, taking just a moment to suck on the tip as he shuddered beneath her and she tasted his salty essence.

  When she’d drained him of his release, she climbed up his glorious body and sat on his hips, sinking his arousal inside her folds. He was still hard, and she wanted to enjoy him until he wasn’t.

  “I can’t…” he murmured as she began moving up and down his shaft, pressure and passion building inside her almost instantly. Feeling him let go so completely had turned her on beyond anything in her wildest imagination.

  Knowing she’d been the reason that he lost control had made her feel powerful and sexy, and she needed to find release.

  “Yes, you can,” she cried as she moved faster, hitting his h*ps as she moved her body, glorying in the way he filled her so completely.

  Shane groaned and his eyes widened in shock. He gripped her h*ps to steady her as he began thrusting upward quickly, pounding hard against her backside as he sank deep inside her.

  “Yes, Lia,” he growled, and his speed picked up. Sweat beaded on his chest and brow as he closed his eyes and thrust inside her. Pressure soared until she couldn’t take anymore. Then with a cry together, they both shook with their own powerful releases.

  Lia collapsed against Shane’s slick chest, her breathing ragged, her body feeling torn in half from the pleasure.

  “I can’t believe…” he began.

  “You are one hell of a virile, sexy man. I can believe anything,” she said, kissing his damp neck.