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She looked at him and the moonlight glazed his features with a silvery hue. His expression was stark. She nodded her head and he moved over her body, pushing her legs further apart with his thighs.

She could feel him press against her and had an urge to push her hips up, instinctively seeking that deeper union. He huffed out what sounded like a tortured chuckle, and once again she was struck by this lighter version of Nicolo Santo Domenico and how he made her heart swell dangerously.

He put a hand under her buttocks, angling her up towards him. She was totally at his mercy, and yet she had never felt more powerful than right at this moment. She trusted him implicitly. It came from deep inside her.

And then, with a surge of his body against hers, he thrust deep inside her. Her body bowed in shock and awe at the intrusion. There was a moment of red-hot pain and tears stung her eyes.

He stopped and looked down, the shock she felt mirrored on his face, ‘Chiara? You’re’

She nodded miserably, all her self-confidence draining away. She fully expected Nico to pull back, disengage, look at her with disgust. But he didn’t. Instead something ferocious lit up his expression and he put a hand between them, his fingers touching the point where their bodies met.

‘Bear with me, cara, it won’t hurt for much longer. Trust me.’

She held her breath as Nico started to move again, slowly this time. His fingers moved against her, making her feel something besides pain and discomfort—a burgeoning pleasure.

And then, miraculously, the pain diminished and the glide of his body in and out of hers took on an ease that hadn’t been there before. She could feel her body adapting to his and a whole new set of sensations took over. Aligning them. Making her seek a deeper connection.

Instinct took over. This was an age-old dance and Chiara found herself succumbing to its rhythm. She wrapped her legs around Nico’s hips and felt him slide deeper. She silently urged him to go harder, faster, as tension mounted in her body and begged for release.

He was remorseless, though, refusing to give in to her demands, eking out her pleasure, until Chiara had to bite into his shoulder to stop herself begging out loud.

And then something snapped inside him...some control he’d been clinging on to—for her benefit? The thought was too fleeting to hang on to because Chiara got a sense of how restrained he’d been when his movements became wilder and less controlled, pushing her higher and higher. Finally she climbed to the top of the peak and her whole body tautened like a bow against his for a long, infinitesimal moment, until finally she fell over the edge and into a sea of pleasure more exquisite than she’d ever known, so exquisite that she never wanted it to stop.

Nico’s huge body went still and she felt the rush of his release deep inside her—she was too stunned to consider what that meant. He sank over her, deep shudders racking his body, and she could feel her own body still pulsating, milking every last ounce of pleasure from him.

* * *

Nico stood under the pounding shower spray as dawn spread across the sky outside the bathroom window. His body felt wrung out. Weakened from an overload of pleasure.

He braced his hands on the wall, bending his head against the sluicing water as if it might wash away the memory of how completely he’d lost it.

She’d been a virgin. A virgin. Nico had never made love to a virgin before—not even when he’d been one himself.

And, to Nico’s disgust, his first reaction had been one of very carnal male satisfaction. To know that he was the only man she’d known intimately. To be the first man to wring that unbelievably sensual response from her lush body. To be the first to see her orgasm and feel the contraction of those tight muscles around his—

Dio. He cursed again.

He could still see the look of wonderment on her face after they’d made love. It had taken him completely unawares. He was

used to women feigning emotion, not really feeling it. It had to have been because she was innocent. She wasn’t like his other lovers. World-weary and jaded. Cynical.

Never in a million years had he imagined that the attraction he felt for Chiara would be so all-consuming and intense. To the point where he hadn’t even thought of protection. Something he’d never failed to do with any other lover.

But she’s your wife.

That might be so, Nico thought grimly, and he had fully intended theirs to be a marriage that would produce heirs. It was part of his plan. He’d told her that. But he’d also promised to honour the six-month trial period. Even he had thought that wasn’t such a bad idea.

But any kind of coherent rational thinking had gone up in flames as soon as he’d seen her naked body.

He tried to curtail the resurgence of desire just from thinking of her. He reassured himself that it was highly unlikely that one night would have got Chiara pregnant. And next time he wouldn’t forget.

Next time.

His body reacted forcibly to the thought of introducing his very innocent Sicilian wife to all the pleasures lovemaking had to offer and he cursed through gritted teeth as a slew of X-rated images flooded his brain.

He switched the water to cold.

* * *