Kaine let out a groan as she rolled to her side and tried to blink open heavy-lidded eyes. Her head throbbed, not much but there was a mild bang on her temples. She pushed back the thick-layered cloth that seemed to envelope her to the soft bed and struggled to a sitting position. Again, she struggled to flutter her eyes wider open, winced at the gritty pinch she felt. She managed to get them open though and lifted her head to stare about the room.
The sapphire-blue drapes that covered the glass windows were still drawn, so the room was only faintly brightened from the light of the Chandelier behind the pale silver-sheen wood shelf. She tried to get a hand on her elusive memory. How had she gotten into bed? She only seemed to recall the dinner with assorted dishes and wine…
Oh God, he had carried her up the stairs and into their bedroom! Kaine felt her entire body warm and tingle with embarrassment as she recalled what happened next after he laid her on the bed.
She had asked him if he wanted to kiss her!
And he had kissed her and—what next?
She pressed a slightly trembling hand to her temple and stifled a groan. She couldn’t quite recollect what had happened after the kiss… if anything had happened. She dropped her head and was about to let out another groan when she realised that she was wearing her nightie.
When had she… how did she come to be wearing the pink-lace silk nightgown Dominic had talked her into picking at her under-duress shopping trip in Lagos?
“When I make love to a woman she’s never in doubt whether I did or not… trust me.”
Kaine let out a low shriek and spun her head around, wincing at the gripe of pain on her left temple because of the forceful movement. Dominic was sitting on the antique-designed armchair by the half-length armoire, dressed in a dark-coloured suit, legs crossed at the knee and he was watching her with what might be his usual amused expression.
“I…” She stopped, unsure what she wanted to say. Her cheeks felt like they were burning. She wasn’t quite she if he was assuring her that nothing beyond the kiss happened between them last night. “Ah… good morning…”
“Good morning, beautiful Kaine. Anyone ever told you, you look softly and alluringly beautiful when you wake up?”
She couldn’t quite clearly see his face with the room not brightly lit but she could hear the laughter in his voice. “No one has.” She reached for the coverlet and tugged it up. “Ah… where’s Tobi?” She was desperate for a distraction.
“With mama now, I expect. Raquel came in earlier to pick him for his bath.”
“Oh.” She hadn’t even woken up on time to attend to her son—for he was her son now—and when she’d finally managed to wake up, she hadn’t immediately remembered him. What kind of a mother was she?… Or wife for that matter. “Ah, I’m sorry I woke up late. I must have… is there anything I can get for you?”
“If you’re talking breakfast and all that, Catia took care of that. It’s her job. And Mama was up early—as she most often is—to see to matters, so worry not your poor head… which I’m sure must be pounding some.” He made a murmur as if in sympathy, then added. “But if you’re feeling wifely, I can do with a morning kiss.”
Though the addition came in a teasing note, Kaine dropped her gaze in embarrassment. She had only been bold enough to ask him to kiss her last night because of the drinks she’d had, now she wouldn’t dare. Nor did she want to, she silently assured herself.
“No?” He let out chuckle, then dropped his leg and rose to his feet. “Just checking my luck this morning. Anyway, I’ve got to go the office… the hotel, La Quinta, I work mostly there. Though now I have to oversee the Bar also and the winery all alone with my brother gone now.” There was a pause, then he expelled a breath. “I’ll probably be back late but you won’t be lonely. Mama is here; she’s most often at home except when she’s in the mood to visit the winery. And there’s the house-staff, most speak passable English, so you can communicate with them for whatever you might need. And should there be any difficulty, you’ve got my numbers stored in your handset, call me.”
“Ah… okay. Have a good day.”
“And you too, minha querida. Have Catia get you some pain-relievers for that head.” He let out another chuckle before striding to the door and slipping through it.
Kaine blew out a breath the moment the door shut after him and closed her eyes. She let go of the coverlet and pressed a hand against her fast beating heart. Gosh, she’d slept beside him all night long without even knowing it. Her first night in what was now her home and she’d ended up so tipsy she barely had any recollection of the night.
And what would he think of her now that she’d asked him to kiss her after begging for time to get to know him first before any intimacy? Kaine let out a low groan and pushed her hands over her face in mortification.
Dominic stared blankly ahead of him in his contemporary, lavish-furnished office. He’d spent the last hour attending to a load of backlog work and there was still plenty left but even with his busy day, he couldn’t quite get last night out of his mind.
Having her ask him if he wanted to kiss her had done unspeakable things to his senses. He’d barely had any sense left when he’d leaned down and helplessly taken her lips in his. He’d sunk into the kiss since he’d wanted to do nothing more all evening.
She’d chosen a foil-lace waist-flared, cup-sleeved dress for the dinner and had, as was usual these days, pulled her dark ebony hair up and had only accessorized with a pair of silver drops and a bracelet. She hadn’t exactly been looking to appear dressy, Dominic was certain of that, but she’d looked stylishly elegant and he’d found himself returning his eyes again and again to her all through the dinner.
He’d noted the swift, almost nervous, way she’d emptied her wineglass and had wanted to caution her given the experience of their wedding evening dinner together but feeling a little mischievous, he’d opted to let her be and had instead enjoyed the way her full, pouty lips laid over the rim of her glass.
But the pleasure had doubled when he’d kissed her and her soft mouth, tangy with the taste of the wine, had moulded perfectly with his and had yielded willingly to the pressure and passion of his kiss.
He’d kissed her for a lot longer than he’d planned to… he couldn’t resist the temptation to linger and to savour, especially when she’d slipped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. And he had almost succumbed to the temptation to do more than just kiss her but even as they kissed, he’d felt her arms go limp and her response start to die off. And when he’d pushed back and looked, her eyes had been droopy with sleep and she had only let out a murmur and then shut them.
It had been either leave her to sleep in her dress or undress her himself and put her to bed. Well, it hadn’t been a difficulty making the latter choice but it had been an arduous punishment seeing her flawlessly beautiful body and being unable to do more than just slip her nightwear on it and push the covers over that alluring perfection.
And having to lay next to her with a hard-on that had stayed-on for the better part of an hour had even been a worse punishment.
But he’d borne it and he’d woken up proud of his self-restrain. Now, after watching her sleep and wake up, he wasn’t so sure how much longer that restrain would last.
He was a man, a very virile man. He wanted a woman—he wanted Kaine.
Camilla had heard of his return. If she’d known he’d be coming back yesterday she’d have been at the airport to welcome him. But she hadn’t because he still didn’t pick her calls and his saintly mother wouldn’t tell her anything, even if she’d asked.
But now he was back and she was impatient—no, desperate to see him. There had been some buzz about his return but she wasn’t the type to listen to idle chatters from lower-ranked officers and in any case, there was always a buzz when you worked in a hotel and are surrounded by entertainment-seeking folks.
She had dressed right for this reunion. It’s been almost two weeks since they last saw and with him now acting like his attention was waning, she needed to ginger-up afresh his interest… to help him remember how much he can’t resist her charms. And so, she’d carefully chosen the pinstripe plaid-ruffle pencil dress and had made sure not to cover up its sleeveless straps and plunging V-neckline with a jacket. She’d pulled up her hair, rolled and pinned it up, knowing his almost fetish-like love for a woman’s long, flawless neck. And the rose-pearl beads around her neck, gifts from him, were so his attention would be drawn there.
She wished though that they didn’t have to have their reunion at his office. If only he’d called her and made arrangements, they would have spent last night together and she would have rightly welcomed him back. Anyway, one made the best of the opportunities granted.
She illuminated her smile, straightened up her shoulders and with her chest slightly jutted forward, she placed her hand on the chrome doorknob and pushed open the leaded, frosted-glass door without knocking.
Camilla studied his expression as she glided towards him with long, swaying strides. He was quick to replace the frown of displeasure with a mild smile but she’d seen it and it worried her.
She buried the worry as she cornered the L-shaped desk and leaned down to kiss him. “Meu querido, how I’ve missed you!” She murmured against his lips.
“Camie, how are you?” He said, pushing back his chair.
She squashed the disappointment that followed his withdrawal. “How do you think I am?” She sent him a pout, lowered her bum onto the soft-leather-top of the desk. “How could you neglect me so, meu Nico?”
“I beg your pardon, Camie, but I was caught up in Nigeria handling some personal affairs. I could hardly find time to attend to other matters.”
Though he smiled, there was an edge to it. Camilla found herself frowning. “What personal affair was this? You have some woman in Nigeria?” She said the last bit with a teasing twinkle but she saw his hesitation before he lifted his shoulders.
“I do now, I guess.”
“O quê?” Her heart skipped a beat. “What do you mean, Nick?”
“Maybe you should sit comfortably while we have this talk?” He suggested, gesturing to the seats in front of his desk.
Camilla was about to brush aside the suggestion when a glint caught her attention. “Is that… the ring on your finger, is that a wedding band?”
There was a long pause as Dominic dropped his left hand and looked down at it. Then he let out a long breath. “Sim, Camilla, it is a wedding band. I am now married.”
“Ó meu Deus!” Camilla exclaimed, gaping at him in utter stupefaction.
*** ~~~ ***
Ó meu Deus!: Oh my God!
Meu: My (for men)
O quê?: What?
Meu querido: My darling, my love, my sweetheart (in reference to a man)